companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Monday, June 27, 2016

Smash Burgers, a Method, Not a Restaurant

Granted, I liked Smash Burger-- the restaurant. The food was great, the plates were cool, but I just didn't get enough to eat. It is like that some times for us in the low carb world. Sure, we can order the bunless burger.  It tastes great. Often, though, we are left just a tad bit hungry. That can lead to "hangry" in just a little while. When we start feeling deprived, we know  a cheat looms ahead. Either that or we behave just plain nasty to those around us with full tummies. Surely my family is not the only one to succumb to the hangries?

This is rather, a method of cooking burgers. We all know the tried and true advice. Never press down on a burger on the grill. You press all the juices out. That may be true. But that is assuming that you are going for a thick, tender and juicy burger. Not being an aficionado of rare burgers, that is seldom what I am aiming for. Don't get defensive. There is room for all of us. Let's hear it for burger diversity. I, and some others like me, prefer the really browned edges of the burger. Little tastes of charred goodness. That special something that the searing brings. That is what this method of burger cooking is all about.

The idea here is to make really thin burger patties. I mean it when I say thin. Then brown them up on a really hot grill. Make the patties extra thin by literally smashing them in the pan. Sorry, this simply will not work for grill grates. We need a flat surface here-- and a good spatula. (Great for quick meals when you don't want to wait for charcoal or when you don't want to mess cleaning the big gas grill.)  Smash that little burger. And I mean little too. Just a couple of ounces. Smash it and get the edges nice and dark. Flip it over a couple of times. No need to check the thermometer. We are going for the burn. The unami will be there!

Now slap some nice melty cheese. American slices are the best melters in my opinion, but use what you love. Now the best part. You get three of these thin little burgers. You still get a nice beefy meal, but with all that browned goodness. Three times more of it than in your boring old burger of the past. Now, I get it that you are thinking those tiny gray little patties in the small burgers at McDonalds. Size, yes. Flavor, no! Go for the brown. Add some salt and pepper and it will be a totally different food group. Sure, these don't stay perfectly round either. I am serious about the smashing part!

So smash them. Stack them. Top them. Oh yeah, and eat them too.

This is one of the recipes I am featuring in the July issue of the Diner News.  Be sure to order yours.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here

Friday, June 24, 2016

Longganisa Sausages

This is something really unique. Somehow, it still seems somewhat meant to be. Just the name. Almost sounds like me. My maiden name, you see, is Long. Add that to my first name, and these Filipino sausages sound almost like a tribute. Maybe I should call them Longgalisa instead. In addition to that, my boss is half Filipino and I had a chance to meet her sweet mama not too long ago. So many cultures to learn about. Yes, I am a teacher, and I am still a big nerd when it comes to learning. It is a lifelong thing for me.

Now that I run with a crowd from the Philippines, I will have to ask if they eat these sausages. My hubby was a convert. From my research I found that there are several regional varieties. I chose to make the one that is very garlicky. We love our garlic. I am no authority, but from what I can tell, most of the varieties are sweet. That makes them a natural breakfast sausage. We had them for dinner, but in a breakfasty sort of way--with eggs and fried caulirice. Almost true island style.

I am busy making all sorts of recipes featuring ground meats for the July Diner News. This is one you will find in there. I have lots of fun ideas still to try. I am experimenting with some burger hacks too. So far, our trial with a smashburger turned out well. You will have to wait for the Diner News to get all that information.

Today I was not too bright. I decided to try my mom's really old meat grinder. Ground pork is a little harder to find at my grocery store. I usually have to go to Sprouts to get a good deal on it. I wasn't going that direction, so I picked up a small pork shoulder roast. Oh my, that was so not worth the effort and the mess! Don't do what I did. Buy pre-ground pork or use a food processor. Lesson learned. The grinder is all retro and cute, but it was such a mess. I will stick with the modern conveniences. I was hoping to get a coarse grind, but it was pretty much the same as my Ninja or food processor method. Back to electric for this girl. Good to know since I still have about 5 pounds of chicken to grind.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for these Filipino sausages, Marshall style.

Longganisa Sausages

1/2 lb ground pork
2 tbsp erythritol / stevia blend
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 ts0 Palm oil or coconut oil for frying

Combine pork, sweetener, garlic powder, pepper, vinegar and salt. Chill for several hours for flavor to permeate the meat. Shape into 8 small logs. Heat oil in a skillet and fry until cooked through.

per sausage:   88  calories and 1 g carb

Most of the photos I saw online had the sausages in a casing. No way was I doing that! These are good. Never would I personally have put so much garlic in with sweetener. The combo does work though. I used many different recipes as resources to come up with my own. Although I am not a native, I think they are quite good. Especially if you let someone else do the grinding.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lemon Dilly Turkey Burgers

I love lemon. Not so much turkey. To me, it needs a little help. Like lots of flavor infused into the meat. For summer, lemon and dill to the rescue!  These are the perfect light and tasty summery burgers. Fresh herbs, citrus, spinach and goat cheese. Totally forget they are turkey. Delightful flavor! I started out to go with a Greek burger theme. That's what I was thinking when I bought the goat cheese. But then, I started thinking lemon. And more lemon.
These little patties taste wonderful and they are pretty too.  A dollop of mayo in the meat mix keeps the lower fat turkey nice and moist. It is also an excellent carrier for the lemon oil. You have your choice here. I used my Simply Organic Lemon Oil Flavoring. (You might choose to add a drop or two of lemon essential oil, if you are one who opts to use therapeutic grade oils with foods which contain fat.) If you can't find my brand at the health food store, go for the Frontier brand. You can order it in my Amazon Store and help us out a bit.The lemon flavor makes the dish. I often don't have fresh lemons, so I keep lemon flavoring handy. Concentrated flavor with so many uses!

I used fresh dill and basil from my herb pots. You can use dried if you like. The goat cheese is super creamy, making a nice contrast of texture. You could sub feta if you prefer. One word of warning. Don't try to shape these patties by hand. The mixture is a bit wet. Just use a spoon to mound the meat mixture on the skillet. The secret is to have a nice hot skillet and to not try to flip the patties over too soon. They will be a little crumbly, so use caution or you will have a scramble. A contact grill that cooks from both sides would be an excellent option too. I just used my non stick skillet.

Lemon Dilly Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground lean turkey
4 oz goat cheese crumbles with basil and sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup diced fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3 sprigs fresh dill weed or 1/4 tsp dried
4 basil leaves or 1/4 tsp dried
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon flavoring (or 2 drops oil)
1 tbsp refined coconut oil

In a medium bowl, combine turkey, goat cheese, spinach leaves, red bell pepper, dill, basil, garlic powder and lemon pepper. In a very small bowl, combine mayonnaise and lemon flavoring. Stir into meat mixture. Divide the mixture into 8 mounds.  Heat coconut oil in a nonstick skillet until hot. Use a scoop to  mound the meat mixture  on the surface of the skillet, pressing the patties into shape. Let brown for 4 minutes before carefully flipping. Cook the other side and additional 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Temperature should register 160 degrees.

Serves 4:  317 calories  2 net g carb (3)

This month, I am working on ground meat recipes for the Diner News. This one will be in there, but I have lots more coming too. Beef and chicken, pork and turkey. Having been out of town, I am running behind a bit. The hubby will be getting some good experiments the next couple of weeks. Hope they all work out. He had his all you can eat ribs for Father's Day today, so he should be ready for about anything! Or he may not eat again until mid week!

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here

Friday, June 10, 2016

Orange Power Juice

Sometimes I miss a small glass of OJ in the morning. Usually I have my coffee, but in my youth, I preferred orange juice. Over a year ago, I hacked this little concoction for the May `15 Diner News. The theme that month was low carb kitchen hacks.

 My Power Juice is better for you than orange juice, which, as a concentrated form of fruit, is high in sugar. I added some protein, turmeric and vitamin C powder. All very good for you. Then to thicken it a bit, I tried some beef gelatin. Funny thing happened. After I tried it with some ice, the gelatin separated a bit and formed little clumps very much like pulp in OJ! I loved that.  If you are the type that hates the texture, leave the gelatin out, or drink it at room temperature. Even better, use Collagen Hydrolysate, which dissolves but  doesn't do the gelling thing. This does separate a little upon sitting, so if you chill it, give it a quick blend with a stick blender before serving.  Ah, the fun of food chemistry!

Speaking of school subjects, I am going out of town all next week to a teacher's conference. Leaving the hubby all alone. We shall see. I am signed up on the gluten free menu at the conference, but I see lots of potatoes on the menu. Most meals are cafeteria style, so I should be fine. When the meals are free, I make do. I find that it is usually easier not to be too hard on myself. I am fortunate not to have many food allergies. I empathize with those of you who have to be so suspicious of any food served in public. I had to do that while my youngest was on SCD/GAPS and it is so desperately frustrating.  My tips: 
  • Use a good quality unflavored protein isolate.
  • I prefer Great Lakes Brand for the gelatin
  • I order vitamin C powder online. Don't try to crush tablets. It is good to add to all sorts of drinks, so don't be afraid to try it. I have the NOW brand.
  • True Orange is a little harder to find at the grocery than lemon or lime flavors. It is easy to add onto an order through most of the  online nutrition stores.

Orange Power Juice

2 1/2 pints of water (5 cups)
2 tbsp erythritol / stevia blend equal to sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp whey protein powder
1 tbsp beef gelatin or collagen hydrolysate
2 tsp Vitamin C powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 packets True Orange

Blend all ingredients together with an immersion blender..
Serves 6:   22 calories   1 g carb   4 g protein

Once I return from the conference, I will be jumping right into summer school. That is busy, but a blessing since my husband is still without full time employment. Please keep him in your prayers! While I am away, I will try to check in nightly to send out newsletter orders and answer your questions. Don't give up on me. I seem to thrive on a busy schedule, but a girl can only promise so much!

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Banh Mi -- Thai Flavor, No Bun!

This is a pretty popular sandwich in the food truck world. Slow roasted pork, infused with soy, lime, garlic, ginger, chili and 5 spice. Top that awesomeness with crunchy pickled veggies and jalapenos. No wonder the lines at the food truck are a block long. This is not my mama's sandwich.

Of course, in my low carb kitchen it is not a sandwich at all. I made these into lettuce wraps. So good! I checked out several recipes and combined a few. Some of the purists use a pork pate as well as the shredded pork. I did try the suggestion of using potted meat product. Umm. No. I gave it a good shot, but this is simply better without that rather weird ingredient. (Just a little too much like cat food for my tastes)

Bahn Mi

3 lb pork butt, cut into about 2-inch cubes (don't trim off the fat)
4 cups water
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp erythritol/ stevia blend
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Braise over medium heat, uncovered until all liquid evaporates, ab out 1—1 1/2 hours. When liquid is gone, place a lid on the pot and move it to a 300 degree oven. Bake an additional 45 minutes, stirring half way through. Remove from oven and let cool. Shred meat.

While the meat is cooking, make the pickled vegetables. 

Pickled Vegetables:
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
3-4 radishes, sliced into matchsticks
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp erythritol
1/2  tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp chili paste

Combine all ingredients, chill 1-2 hours.

Serve the meat wrapped in a Napa Cabbage leaf with pickled veggies and sliced fresh jalapeno.             

Serves 8:  395 calories   3 g carbs

This would be just as good as a salad with the meat and veggies over chopped napa cabbage. In fact, I ate it that way for lunch today. Lots of grading getting done. No drips into the computer!  This is really a good flavor profile. My hubby left off the jalapenos. He usually doesn't care for pickled veggies, but liked these. They really do make the dish!

We have had a lot of fun exploring the new cuisines of the food truck craze. We went to a festival, but sadly couldn't eat most of the offerings. When you go, be sure to snap photos of the menu boards. That way you can re-create low carb versions of the ones that interest you the most. I loved the easy to prepare hot dog selection. The lastest craze is cream cheese on them. And don't limit yourself to weiners. Think brats, sausages and hot links too. I am finding more and more with very low carbs, thus fewer fillers. Great for quick summer meals when you don't want to heat the house.

Check out the offerings in the June issue of the 24/7 Low Carb Diner News.  Order and get a whole year of monthly issues for just $6. 

Peanut Butter Bacon Sliders

Slider Buns

Tulsa Dogs

Ninja Nachos

Italian Joe Sausage Dog

Greek Chicken Souvlaki

Bacon Wrapped Onion Bombs

Georgia Peach Dog

Barbecue "n" Beer Pulled Chicken Sammies

Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Seattle Brat Dog

Green Dragon Bacon Skewers

Jalapeno Peach Relish

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ninja Nachos

I am seriously obsessed with food trucks these days. It is so not the old fashioned state fair kinda foods. You know, corndogs, funnel cakes and nachos with fake cheese?  Food trucks these days are hip. They are going gourmet; they love fusion of cuisines. Hence, Ninja Nachos. The foods are often healthy and really creative! We went to a festival a few weeks ago and I got tons of ideas. Of course, most aren't low carb friendly. But stealing some ideas here and there and duplicating at home with low carb choices--yeah!  So the June issue of the Diner News is going to feature my interpretations of fabulous food truck finds. I have some pretty amazing stuff. You should watch for my truck    the Diner News for June.

It is a little weird for me, since my family used to own a food truck. We definitely did a lot of hot work and never got rich. We sold fresh pork rinds. But it seems that the day has come for the food truck revolution. I think it would be fun to own my own and sell only low carb and paleo foods. But, I am too old and tired for that! Not to mention too poor to buy a truck. So a newsletter it is.

The recipe I am sharing tonight is actually 4 recipes. The secret is in the sauce so to speak. Two sauces and a marinade. All very important!  These nachos have a definite Asian flair. Teriyaki chicken, Thai Red Curry Aioli,  Thai Peanut Sauce, cilantro and jalapeno. Forget cheese. Forget tortilla chips. These are amazing! Gotta give a shout out to Crunch, the originator of this concept. Fantastic idea, except that they use wonton chips as the base. Betting there is a tad too much sugar in the teriyaki sauce too. I am not too sure what goes into the Crunch version, but here is what I came up with. Really tasty.

Ninja Nachos

Teriyaki Chicken: 
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp erythritol / stevia blend
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp red chili paste

5 oz package pork rinds, spicy or plain
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage (or plain cabbage)
1/4 cup Thai Pepper Aioli (see page 2 for the recipe)
1/4 cup Thai Peanut Sauce (see page 2 for the recipe)
1/4 bunch cilantro, diced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper

Place chicken in a freezer bag. Add soy sauce, sweetener, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and chili paste. Marinate chicken for 4 hours or overnight. Discard marinade and grill on a contact grill. Cut into cubes. Divide pork rinds among 4 plates. Top with shredded Napa cabbage and cooked chicken. Drizzle with Thai Pepper Aioli and Thai Peanut Sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh jalapeno.

4 Servings:  356 calories     3 net g carb

Thai Pepper Aioli

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Thai Red Curry Paste

Serves 4: 79 calories  1 g carb  

Thai Peanut Sauce

2 tbsp natural peanut butter
3 tbsp water
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Thai red curry paste

Combine all ingredients until smooth

Serves 4: 55 calories  1 g carb

 One word of warning! Eat these up immediately or the pork rind nachos will get mushy. My pork rinds were a little on the small side, so I ended up eating with a spoon. If you have large enough rinds, go ahead and use your fingers nacho style.

Also, if you prefer, you can prepare the chicken in a small crockpot. Just cook the chicken in the marinade.  You can also sub Sriracha for the red curry paste.

Remember, to order the food truck issue, just order the Diner News. The June issue will be out on the 1st. You will get a whole year of the news for just $6. Such a bargain.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thai Sesame Lime Zoodle Haystack Salad

This was my contribution to my second potluck cookout of the day. Granted, I took the lazy way out and brought cheese to the first. But the second brought out a tad bit more effort today. After the weekend I have had, that is a big deal. Graduation week at school is a whirlwind of activity!

This salad is gorgeous. Put it into a trifle bowl, and you have a showstopper. It is light and flavorful too. And the secret is that I didn't even make the dressing from scratch. Just tried out the Aldi salad dressing. Like all things Aldi, you never know how long it is going to be around...but for now, I really like this. The sesame is not overbearing and the lime is just the right amount of citrus. It really brings out the flavors of the fresh veggies, but it is more interesting than the normal vinaigrette.

The recipe is more of a method. Just go with what you like! This is enough for a crowd, so you may want to half it for a family. This pretty much filled my trifle bowl. The idea of the haystack is the little pile of veggies you make on the plate. Go for a  mound like a haystack and have fun finding the little treasures of pepper, onion and tomatoes inside the zoodle strings.  It is fun to eat. I saw some friends swirling the noodle like spaghetti. I did bring leftovers home, but we had at least half a dozen terrific salads to choose burgers, chips and desserts.

Thai Sesame Lime Zoodle Haystack Salad

3 large zucchini squash
1 red or orange bell pepper
1/2 pint yellow or red cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
6 oz Aldi Specially Selected Thai Sesame Lime Dressing

Spiral cut the zucchini. Use kitchen shears to cut some of the strands so the salad will be easier to eat and serve. Dice pepper. Cut tomatoes in halves. Finely dice onion. Toss all vegetables with the dressing and chill for several hours. Stir again before serving.

Serves 12:   100 calories  4 net g carb (7)

If I had time today, I would have added some diced fresh cilantro and a few toasted sesame seeds to the salad. Truth is this morning, I couldn't decide whether to use this dressing or another Aldi offering--Roasted Bell Pepper Dressing. I didn't have time in my schedule to toast the seeds, and I hadn't purchased cilantro. Go ahead and plan to add them if you make this salad. Both dressings were good, so if you don't like tahini, go the pepper dressing route. If you don't have an Aldi nearby, just go with any favorite salad dressing. The veggies will love anything!

I recently ordered these cool bowl and plate toppers on Amazon.
They are so helpful when you want to cover a plate or serving bowl. I hate putting everything in ugly plasticware when I go to social events. These fit the bill. With so many sizes, there will be one to fit every dish, from dessert cups up to dinner plates. I love using them for my salads I take to school. No spills no mess and no plastic wrap coming undone. Order them from this link and I will make a little extra cash.  And if you don't have a spiral slicer, check this one out.

This would be excellent for a Memorial Day get together. No mayo to be worried about. I will have some other great ideas coming out soon too. This June Newsletter is going to be awesome!

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here