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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at http://www.247lowcarbdiner.com

Monday, August 30, 2010

Coconut Bread French Toast


What a decadent breakfast dish. It goes together in a hurry if the bread is already baked like mine was. If you recall, I baked 4 mini loaves of coconut bread. This is one made into French toast--the traditional way.


This is one of the recipes included in my new cookbook project, Low Carbing Among Friends.
This recipe is available in the book, along with over 60 additional 24/7 Low Carb Diner recipes. By ordering the book, you get more than 300 favorite gluten free recipes from four other well known low carb cooking experts…Jennifer Eloff of Splendid Low Carbing cookbook fame, Kent Altena, the Atkins Diet Geek and You Tube star, nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal, and popular blogger and food stylist, Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Unlike any other cookbook you may own, this one is a compilation of mini cookbooks featuring the talents of these well known low carbers. Think of it as a “best of” project.
Low Carbing Among Friends also features recipes from numerous other talented low carbing friends and recommendations from the medical community who recognize the health benefits of low carb, gluten free living. To preorder your copy, visit http://www.amongfriends.us The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.


I have had a really busy week with lots of deadlines and things to be done, so fast meals are really appreciated. I will be getting the newsletter out tomorrow. I have one more pizza to test before it goes out. I made a new chili recipe tonight. I thought I had made enough for extras to freeze, but somehow we ate it all! Yep, it was that good. I didn't get a picture, so I will have to post that another day when I make it again. Fall weather is better for chili anyway. It is hot again here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Return to Coconut Flour


I admit that my coconut flour has been languishing in the recesses of my fridge. I have been using my oven as a mere storage site for skillets. My little kitchen has been too hot to use the oven for any other purpose. We have had a reprieve from the heat wave this week, so out it came. The former "Carby Boy" is no longer eating bread, so I thought he (and his tummy) might do well with some coconut flour bread. So far so good. I baked mine as mini loaves, and he ate one for breakfast today.


This is a really simple recipe. I put it all together in my Ninja since coconut flour often leaves clumps, and I hate to sift. I think it whipped the eggs well too, so I am planning to make it like this more often. Remember, coconut flour tends to vary from batch to batch, brand to brand, so you may need to play around with your batter if necessary. It is the kind of thing that a little experience under your belt does wonders. The batter will be much drier than a normal muffin batter, but less dense than a cookie dough and less elastic than a bread dough. It is unique, I guess.

The boy ate his this morning with butter and honey--he can have that. We had some for dinner with just butter. Everyone can have that. So yummy. Now no one is ever going to mistake this for wheat bread, but it does have a goodness all its own. There are tons of recipes out there, though most trace their origin back to the Bruce Fife book, Cooking with Coconut Flour. I don't own it personally, as so many recipes need to adjust to low carb sweeteners. It is a good resource, though. You can download more recipes here.

Coconut Bread

6 eggs
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups coconut flour

Melt butter. Break eggs into blender. Blend about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until everything is well incorporated. Spoon into a greased loaf pan. Use greased fingers to smooth the tops of the loaf or peaks will burn. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or less time if making mini loaves or muffins.


You may notice there is no baking soda or powder in the recipe. Some coconut flour recipes use leavening, some don't. The eggs should do the trick on their own. If you want it a bit fluffier, by all means add half a teaspoon. My son's diet omits baking powders, so I left it out with no problems. You make the call.

While I had the oven hot, I decided to bake some chicken thighs. John really loves fried chicken. I HATE the work. This was a compromise dish. I used a blend of poultry seasoning and coconut flour to "shake and bake" the chicken. The coating was really crisp and flavorful. I am not sure if it would work with skinless chicken, but the system worked great with the skin on the thighs. I made extra so we can get another easy meal out of the chicken too. Hubby loves it cold as leftovers. Me? Not so much.

We are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary this weekend. I am trying to decide where to dine. Any suggestions for good low carb meals at any of the big chain restaurants? We don't eat out too often, and it is usually a salad bar when we do. I would love to hear some of your ideas.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meatza Pizza



This is not an original idea--in fact I don't know where it began even. I had stayed away from it, assuming it would just taste like a pizza burger which I could easily make on my George grill. But, I am working on the next Diner newsletter, and it is featuring all sorts of pizza recipes. I thought maybe I should try this one out to see. It is really popular with the paleo eaters.

The basic premise is that rather than a high carb crust--or even a low carb crust, you fashion a pizza base from ground beef itself. Some recipes have sausage too, but I wanted something with less grease. The leaner the ground meat, the less mess to deal with. Start with about half a pound of beef per adult appetite. 2 pounds should fit an average sized cookie sheet. We have only three at home tonight, so mine didn't go to the edges. I poked and prodded it thin, then baked it. Then drained, and on went the toppings. A bit in the oven again, and I had happy men! It works for all dietary restrictions we have going on in the house right now too. That makes for a happy mom.

Meatza Pizza

2 pounds lean ground beef (or any combo of beef, sausage or turkey)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian herbs

Tomato Sauce or Spaghetti sauce with low sugar.
grated cheese

Toppings of your choice

Blend the herbs and cheese by hand into the meat. Spread the mixture evenly onto a cookie sheet. May extend to the edge, or may not, depending on size of pan. Just be sure the cookie sheet has a rim to collect fat. Cook the meat at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. It will shrink considerably in the pan. Remove and drain grease. Top with your choice of veggies. I used onion, red bell pepper, and mushrooms. Over this, grate cheese. Return to oven until cheese melts and veggies tenderize.


I used a delicious pasture fed cheese, and it was really nice. I love using sharp cheeses because you don't need as much. Since Christian is on a special diet, I made the pizza sauce from scratch. This is much better than I expected it to be. I simply added a spoonful of jarred minced garlic to about 2 cups of tomato juice. I simmered this on the stove for about 30 minutes. It reduced to a sweet, thick, garlic infused sauce that really made this dish stand out. I meant to add some fresh basil to it, but it was so good when I tasted it that I didn't bother.

I chopped more onions, peppers and mushrooms than would fit on my "crust," so I added the veggies to the lettuce for a nice Italian salad on the side. Move over Mazzio's!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Escabeche


One of the things we are doing to try to heal my youngest son's IBS, is to get some balance in his gut flora. We are using loads of natural probiotics...home made yogurt and lacto fermented veggies. My decision to try this approach just happened to coincide with lacto fermentation week over at the Nourishing Gourmet site. There are lots of lacto fermentation recipes posted. If you are uninitiated into the world of lacto-fermentation, that is using the whey from yogurt to preserve vegetables. So far, I have made lacto fermented salsa and now, this condiment, Escabeche. Basically, it is pickled jalapenos, carrots, and bell peppers seasoned with garlic and oregano. This stuff is really good, and not nearly as hot as you would expect...and no strong vinegar taste. Blogger, Sarah at Heartland Renaissance offers the recipe I started from. Of course, I made a much smaller batch, not knowing if we would actually consume what seems to be akin to some science experiments from my past homeschooling days. I left out the onion too, and used powdered Mexican oregano. Some people add cauliflower, but I didn't have any on hand. My version is a little different, but these things can be suited to taste.


This is one of the recipes included in my new cookbook project, Low Carbing Among Friends.
This recipe is available in the book, along with over 60 additional 24/7 Low Carb Diner recipes. By ordering the book, you get more than 300 favorite gluten free recipes from four other well known low carb cooking experts…Jennifer Eloff of Splendid Low Carbing cookbook fame, Kent Altena, the Atkins Diet Geek and You Tube star, nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal, and popular blogger and food stylist, Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Unlike any other cookbook you may own, this one is a compilation of mini cookbooks featuring the talents of these well known low carbers. Think of it as a “best of” project.
Low Carbing Among Friends also features recipes from numerous other talented low carbing friends and recommendations from the medical community who recognize the health benefits of low carb, gluten free living. To preorder your copy, visit http://www.amongfriends.us The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.




To serve ours, I took advantage of my Diner standby, the frozen Chicken Cube. Love having these precooked, pre diced chicken chunks available in the freezer. I just pan grilled them. Then for me, I stirred in half a cup of the Escabeche. I topped it with a dollup of home made yogurt. That added some fresh creamy goodness to the garlicky, spicey veggies.


Christian ate his like chipless nachos. I added shredded cheddar and sprinkled some Escabeche on top. He got a dollup of thick creamy yogurt too. (I made this batch with whole milk and half and half to make it extra thick)

So check out the recipes if you are daring, and if you would like to introduce all the good bacteria that balance the gut and make every system of the body work better. Even if you don't have tummy issues or brain issues, this is a tasty mix to serve with Mexican food. You just have to get over the phobia of intentionally leaving food out to ferment on the shelf. We are so trained to get things promptly into the fridge, that we are forgetting the nutritional wisdom of our grandparents. Lacto fermentation is a super cheap way to get some healthy foods into our family, and it is much easier than canning. Check it out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tuna is Finger Food?


The family is into cooler recipes these days. Here is a lunch I left for my kiddo while I went to take my college students back to school. He is not a huge salad eater, and while tuna salad is quick and easy, it is not as much fun as these. I do love my finger food. It is much more fun in a lunchbox too. Just make sure they can be kept cool. I used dripped homemade yogurt, but cream cheese would work well too. They are about the same consistency. The yogurt adds a nice tartness that works well with the tuna. The layer of ground nuts keeps your fingers clean.

Finger Food Tuna Snacks
This is one of the recipes included in my new cookbook project, Low Carbing Among Friends.
This recipe is available in the book, along with over 60 additional 24/7 Low Carb Diner recipes. By ordering the book, you get more than 300 favorite gluten free recipes from four other well known low carb cooking experts…Jennifer Eloff of Splendid Low Carbing cookbook fame, Kent Altena, the Atkins Diet Geek and You Tube star, nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal, and popular blogger and food stylist, Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Unlike any other cookbook you may own, this one is a compilation of mini cookbooks featuring the talents of these well known low carbers. Think of it as a “best of” project.
Low Carbing Among Friends also features recipes from numerous other talented low carbing friends and recommendations from the medical community who recognize the health benefits of low carb, gluten free living. To preorder your copy, visit http://www.amongfriends.us The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.


These are tasty, but you could add different spices to change up the flavors. I think I will be trying some different flavor combinations soon. I'm betting they would freeze for easy lunch packing. I think I will try that out soon--not today, because the boy didn't leave any leftovers! These are yummy and a great addition to the Deli Delights section of the e-book.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Squashy Casserole


The other day, I made a bunch of angel hair squash while I had my spiral slicer out. It dawned on me today that I could use this in the place of spaghetti squash in recipes. I love these, but spaghetti squash can be hard to find in the summer--it is messy with all those seeds and it can be a bit pricey! These strands are just as good and so much easier. They don't even need to be pre-cooked. Funny thing is, spaghetti squash is used as a substitute for carbs, and here I am using a substitute for that squash. The world can be a strange place. The original recipe I based this on calls for potato hash browns. So the spiral cut squash is a substitute for lots of things I guess.

My youngest son is exploring the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for his IBS issues, so you may see some changes in my cooking. I won't go into the specifics of that eating plan, but I am doing as much as I can to merge the two ways of eating into one menu. He can consume no starches at all, so much of what we will be eating is the same. He can have honey and all fruits, so that is a bit different. Tonight's recipe is on his plan, but with ingredients that are friendly to all low carbers. My original recipe used sour cream and cream cheese, but he can't have dairy unless it is cultured. So I just substituted some of his yogurt that I had drip thickened into a Greek style, and it tastes great. Now if I can just get him to like squash as much as I do!

I baked these in individual casseroles so he and I could just have servings for one. I found those at Marshalls a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to use them, but I have been avoiding my oven if at all possible in this heat. Today, I used the toaster oven instead since these are small.

Squashy Casserole

3 cups spiral cut yellow squash or zucchini
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Beat egg and yogurt together. Stir into squash, making sure all strands are coated. Add cheese, salt and pepper. Turn into buttered baking dish and sprinkle a bit of cheese on top. Bake at 325 for about 30-40 minutes.


If you really like cheese, just add even more!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pasta? Not!


In this month's "My Favorite Gadget" column in the newsletter, I highlighted my new Spiral Slicer. I DO love my kitchen gadgets! I own a hand held julienne slicer, but I have slipped and cut myself on it more than once. When I saw a demo on youtube, I knew I really wanted a spiral slicer. I ordered one through Amazon for under $15.

This makes angel hair shreds that are so similar to pasta al dente. I used a yellow squash, It was so much easier with this little machine. The color really fools the eye, and the cut is so fine, there is no squashy taste at all. After slicing one yellow squash, I simply sautéed the strands in olive oil with a sprinkle of garlic powder, They only need about 5 minutes on the stove, which makes this veggie pasta substitute so much easier than baking and shredding a spaghetti squash.

For a sauce tonight, I opened another of my Big Lots stash of Muir Glen Organic Pasta sauce. That was easy. The Meatballs Roma took a little more time, but overall, this is a definite 4 star dinner. Tomorrow, my mom is coming over to spiral cut several zucchini to bag up into individual servings to stock her freezer. These tiny shreds are a real nutritional prize. They can replace noodles in soup too. Very few carbs, tiny amount of calories, super fun way to eat!

One of our fellow Diners, Ginny, has a great blog which features one of these slicers too. Check it out-- she is a marvelous low carb cook!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Red Pepper Soup and Sausages


I am on complete overdose on these incredible red peppers. I have had them for two lunches and dinner, and I just got them yesterday afternoon. So delicious--and affordable this time of year.

I blogged about the stir fry yesterday. For today, I chopped one up and added it to a can of tuna with some Italian dressing. That was nice. For dinner, I had planned some Italian sausages. I just steam grilled those and made this soup. Oh, so good. Gorgeous too!

Red Pepper Soup

1 large or 1 1/2 small red bell peppers
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
splash of cream

Finely dice onion and red pepper. I used my Ninja. Any food processor will work. Saute in olive oil with garlic until tender. Blend the tomatoes in the processor. Add in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer for 15 minutes. For a smoother soup, puree everything again with an immersion blender. (I did not blend mine any further than the fine dice I used with the veggies.) Salt and pepper to taste and serve with a drizzle of real cream.


The flavors blended so well, This was very good...simple, yet wonderful taste. My carby boy ate his on garlic bread toasted with the soup served over as a sauce. So yummy I licked the pot clean.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quick Red Pepper Beef


We were out on a shopping trip to Sam's Club today. Nope, I didn't get all my groceries bought yesterday for a Sunday prep day. I was at three different food stores, but still didn't "get 'er done." I will get some prepping done, but some will have to be postponed until later in the week. Gotta stay flexible, right?

While I was there, I found these great red bell peppers--8 for $5. I grabbed up a bag, and they sounded so good, I had to rush home and make something with them. I really wanted to taste the peppers, so I kept it simple. I made a super quick stir fry with ground beef and coleslaw mix, letting the peppers be the star. Isn't it pretty with the red, orange and purple? To season, I just used garlic and some pumps of my Bragg's Liquid Aminos to give it a soy sauce flavor. If you can have soy, that is really good stuff!

I still have about a million things to do, so enjoy what's left of the weekend!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summertime Lemon Tilapia


It is really too hot too cook. It is really too hot to eat. Well, it's never too hot to eat something light and lemony like this fishy. This is another E.Z.Fix meal that is perfect for hot summer evenings or light stay at home lunches.

Summertime Lemon Tilapia

Tilapia fillets, frozen
lemon pepper
1 packet True Lemon for every two fillets
a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash
1 sliced lemon

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the frozen fillets on it. Sprinkle all the seasoning over the fish. Slice the lemon and arrange slices over the fish. Wrap the foil around the fish and bake in an oven until fish flakes easily with a fork.


I bake two in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes. I never heat my big oven when it is over 100 degrees outside. Yuck. I made a simple lemon vinaigrette to serve with the cherub tomatoes as a side. You can't see it in the picture, but that tangy taste is there. Now if I could just get my boys to eat fish...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Home Made Chicken Chorizo


I like the flavors of chorizo sausage, but I have had a hard time finding it without starchy fillers. I tried one recipe for the home made variety. Maybe because I used all chicken, it was too strongly flavored--perhaps the chicken is blander than pork? It had lots of potential, so I adjusted the seasonings for the second batch. This is an improvement, methinks.

I made some into patties for quick meals. Ground chicken is my latest food obsession. The rest I dry fried crumbled to add to salads, omelets and quick egg muffins. Yum.

Here's what I did:

Home Made Chicken Chorizo

1 1/2 - 2 pounds chicken breast meat or ground chicken
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Trim chicken of fat and grind it in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to incorporate. Form into patties and brown or crumble and fry to use in recipes.


My youngest son has been having more IBS issues lately, and I have been very busy researching diet programs for his treatment. We are about to embark on an eating plan for him which is very similar to the low carb plan we follow for my hubby's diabetes. That should be interesting, and ought to make cooking even more challenging that it already is. I will probably be sharing some of our new recipes with you here. Many of my e-book recipes will be legal for him to eat, and the rest can use minor modifications.

It is amazing how many ailments can be treated through diet. Makes it rather scary that so many people leave their nutritional plans to drive throughs and what is cheapest at the grocery store. Doctors don't seem to be much help either, as they always seem to prefer whipping out the prescription pad. I think they assume people will not follow a plan--that it is too hard. We are living proof, however, that if you develop a system, all you have to do is keep working it, and you won't relapse back the the SAD. John had a doctor visit yesterday, and while all his numbers are not back yet, they were delighted with his overall health.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Ultimate Sweet Tea


Oh my is it hot. That makes it tough for a tea lover like me. I am just too sweaty to curl of with a hot cup of tea. But that doesn't change the fact that I love my dessert teas. They are especially good when you get the late night munchies, but don't want to snack.

I posted about this tea last winter. Lipton's Vanilla Caramel Truffle. Dessert in a cup. But, it has been lingering in my cupboard waiting for Fall. Today, I was entertaining a bit of a sweet tooth and decided to try it iced. I usually go for unsweetened iced tea--especially with lemon or lime. I am glad I tried this because it is good. It tastes really close to an Italian Cream Soda or Vanilla Cream...I used to drink those A&W cream sodas when aspartame wasn't an issue. This of course, doesn't have the fizz, but the taste is similar. Not bad at all. It will definitely get you over a sugar craving...or even an ice cream craving. You could add a mini moo or cream to it, but I didn't bother. The vanilla makes it taste rather creamy anyway.

So if you bought some last winter, find it in the back of the cabinet and make this ultimate sweetened iced tea. I got two cups out of one bag, and it is plenty strong. I put my hot water in a mason jar and heated it in the microwave oven. Cooler kitchen that way. Then I let the tea triangle (this is a premium tea, in a triangle bag, not a regular flat one) steep for about minutes in the jar. Then I removed it, and added ice to the top of the jar. That melted into about 2 cups of tea. I added sweetener to taste also. Easy method, and you could even drink out of the jar if you want. I am at home so I put it into a pretty glass, but the jar method would allow you to screw on the lid and take it on the road with no spills. Just another way to stay cool, healthy and not deprived at all!