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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Legal New Year's Eve

I really didn't want to go to the grocery store today, so I stayed with my theme of inventing new recipes. Tonight is New Year's Eve and my family and guests will get to feast on these little beauties. I happen to adore honey mustard...especially with ham. I diced the leftover honey kissed ham we had from Christmas Eve dinner, and this is what I ended up with. While these have no honey, they definitely are "kissin" cousins.

Honey Kissed Ham Mini Quiches

2 cups chopped fully cooked ham
8 eggs
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon hickory salt
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/3 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener

Dice the ham. I chopped mine coursely then used an immersion blender on the batter. You may choose simply to chop the ham finely.

Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Spoon into mini muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

These would be really good for breakfast too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chipotle Madness Barbeque Sauce

Confession time. With the holidays and my hubby's birthday, we have been bad this week. We got a gift card from Chili's. I went totally off plan and ordered chicken strips with Chipotle Barbeque sauce. They were fantastic, and I knew I had to recreate a low carb version of that sauce. After all, the chicken is totally low carb. Just a little of this sauce and I could be in pepper heaven any day. The total surprise is that he liked it too. Amazing that I just happened to get some Chipotle powder in my Christmas stocking.

Today I surfed a bit to see how others put their recipes. As ususal, I took what sounded good to me and left the rest. Here is the sauce I came up with using ingredients I had in the kitchen. Totally good, and it has only simmered 10 minutes.

Chipotle Madness Barbeque Sauce

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 The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.

To replicate the Chili's recipe, use the sauce to coat breaded chicken tenders. Or do as I seem to be doing and just taste the back of the spoon repeatedly until the sauce is gone!

We got a smoker/roaster for Christmas from my mom. We will be trying it out soon on a turkey. Come back to find out how that adventure goes. I'll bet this sauce will be fantastic on smoked turkey!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Cold Weather Food- "Stew-a-baga"

It is still below freezing here and a pot of soup sounded good. The name is odd, but the dish is pure comfort.

I hate trying to eat a good old fashioned beef stew without potatoes. This dish uses the much ignored and perhaps maligned RUTABAGA as a substitute. Is it ever good--maybe even better than the spud. These little chunks of root veggie hold their shape better after simmering on the stove all afternoon. My hubby thought he was going to have to eat around potatoes, and was so happy to find out this stew was legal for him. He still seems surprised that I do my best to make everything as normal as can be expected while keeping those blood sugars in range. In my book, cooking for someone is showing love.


1 1/2 ground chuck
1 diced small onion
4 ribs celery
1 diced rutabaga
8 ounce tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Sherry
14.5 ounces beef broth
1/2 teas. thyme
1/2 teas. salt

Brown burger with celery and onion. Drain fat.Combine all remaining ingredients in a pot and simmer until rutabaga is tender.

7 carbs for 6 servings, 10 carbs for 4 servings

Stay warm with low carb comfort food...and cook something for someone you love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

COLD Weather favorite

It is cold outside today. My grandma used to say, "Colder than a well digger's hinie." 'Nuff said.

It is the kind of day for a warm crockpot meal. Here's what I had in mind.

Yankee Pot
3 pound beef chuck pot roast
Salt and black pepper
1 pound turnips, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup beef broth

Season beef with salt and pepper. Combine vegetables, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme in slow cooker. Place beef over vegetables. Pour broth over beef. Cover; cook on low 8 hours or until beef is fork-tender.
Transfer beef to serving platter. Arrange vegetables around beef. Discard bay leaves.

To make gravy, remove one cup broth and it let stand 5 minutes. Skim off fat. Transfer remaining juices to a saucepan and heat to a boil. Mix 1 teaspoon xanthan gum with reserved broth until smooth. Stir this mixture into boiling juices, stirring constantly 1 minute or until thickened.

You might also want some carrots if you can afford the carbs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I just completed a marathon cookie baking session. My poor hubby can't eat any of them. I had a dilemma. Do I send the college boys low carb cookies--full of pricey ingredients-- only to have them give them all away to friends? Heaven knows, those guys will eat most anything. OR, do I make my faithful hubby suffer through the sugar cookie scent wafting through the air?

I compromised. I baked all day for the finals care packages. Lots of sugar there. I hoped to be done before he got home from work. Then, John told me he was craving Pumpkin bread. So, I did a little research and found a low carb pumpkin pound cake made with almond flour. I had just enough. So, in the middle of cookie baking, I stopped and made pumpkin cake. Not bad--not Grandma's, but not bad. He was happy and fully contented until I made a batch of red velvet cookies. Sorry honey. The finals week care package got mailed this morning, so everything should go back to normal.

By the way, the pumpkin pound cake was on Linda's site:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

George is a Verb, Part 2

Today, I have been baking for the finals week care packages I will be sending to my college boys. Dinner was not my priority! I did have a plan, though.

Chicken Cubes are a Freezer Favorite. Just a quick thaw, some veggies and a jar of alfredo sauce, a sprinkle of bacon bits, and California Chicken was bubbling in the oven. That is the other reason I love to George my chicken. It is great cut into cubes and frozen. Those little bite sized chunks are delish and they make great casseroles on busy, busy days!

Monday, December 8, 2008

George is a Verb , part one

I got a new George Foreman grill for my birthday. This one is really big, so it will hold lots of chicken breasts. That makes life so easy when I am preparing Chicken cubes for the freezer or cooking a chicken Multiply Meal. How did our grandmothers live without these?

My favorite way to use George's grill is for Chicken a la George. I have 20 variations in the e-book. It is available here

Here's how it works. Slap those frozen birdy breasts on the grill. Then decide your "decorations." Need something hearty? Add a few slices of bacon to the chicken on the grill. When it is done, top with cheese and you have the "Baconeater." Feeling sophisticated? Quickly saute some mushrooms in butter and a splash of cooking sherry. I call that the Shroom. May you yearn for something more exotic. While the chicken grills, mix together some yogurt, lemon juice, oregano and a good measure of feta cheese. Ooh, the Greek is to die for!

Just add a salad. (I know you prepped that on the weekend, so it is ready to go) Now you can dine in about 10 minutes time. Thanks, George.

I'll share some ideas for using the grill for Chicken cubes in my next post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Puzzles and firetrucks

Well, I was supposed to be decorating the house for Christmas today, but not much got done.
I bought a puzzle last night at the "Keeping Christ in Christmas" workshop. Christian really wanted to start it today, so we did. I love those unstructured days when we can play.

Things were going well when he doorbell rang. Hmm. No one there. But there was this strange scent of smoke in the air. Not living in California, this is rare. Next thing we know, we see smoke billowing over the roof. My son runs to the back of the house. He returns exclaiming that our back yard is on fire. Just then, the firetrucks pull up, break down the neighbor's gate, and start hauling out hoses. So glad to say I wasn't even cooking! The cable guy did it. Really.

To calm down, we did a bit more puzzle time. Before I know it, my hubby walks through the door. So glad we are having Meatballs Roma tonight. Since the freezer is stocked, all I have to do is microwave the meatballs and grill some veggies on my brand new big Foreman grill. I love my kitchen system when life gets...well, lazy and unpredictable--both!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Delta Cafe Squash Casserole

I just discovered how to make my favorite dish from the Delta Cafe! I was modifiying a recipe for "Hashbrown Casserole" that I found on the Stella Style site. I didn't have a spaghetti squash, but I did have three of the acorn persuasion. They persuaded me to try it. OH! SO GOOD! (if you like squash) Even though I will be taking this to Thanksgiving tomorrow, I had to try some. Now it is my lunch and there will be less to share.

Delta Cafe Squash Casserole

3 large acorn squash
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Place whole squash in the microwave for 6 minutes. This will make them easier to cut. After cooling slightly, cut them in half and remove the seeds and most of the stringy pulp. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes at 300 degrees. Let cool. Scoop out the pulp into a mixing bowl. Add onions, sour cream and 2 cups of cheese. Transfer this mixture to a casserole dish. Salt and pepper and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hamming it up

Food Pyramid had hams on sale this week. We always eat Turkey for Thanksgiving, but since hams are cheap...

I went to buy a fully cooked ham for $1.49 a pound. But, as Food Pyramid always seems to do, they had better prices on some meats than they were advertising on others. I got a shank portion ham for just $1.19 a pound. Best thing is, they sliced it for free. Yep, even raw ham--sliced. This makes it an awesome find for Triple Play recipes. Last night we had it plain. I just fried up some slices. John went nuts. He must have told me he loved me five times. Freshly cooked ham does have a different flavor. The rest, I roasted in the oven for about an hour and a half.

My poor dogs were tortured. I gave them some fat scraps which they devoured. Then, the aroma of roasting ham in the house was incredible. My poor baby pitbull just couldn't help drooling all evening. He couldn't sleep like usual. John had a bit of a late night snack, and trimmed a bit more fat. The dogs were all about that! I am saving the bones for broth, and now I have at least 4 more pounds of delicious meat for casseroles and Monte Cristo sammies. I'm also going to make some Slices with Spices while I have the pumpkin pie spice out. I am thinking this is a better deal than the spiral sliced hams costing much more, and there is no pesky sugar curing or injections to ruin the carb count. Be on the lookout for good deals at your grocery store.

Monday, November 24, 2008


We had a Thanksgiving luncheon for our small church group on Sunday. Trying to keep it low carb is only so successful when it is a potluck. I made a low carb cheesecake. Everyone joked about it being low carb, but not low fat. Still, everyone chose it over the storebought chocolate cake. It was awesome. I combined several recipes according to what I had in the kitchen. Sooooo good! It is so creamy and smooth. Mine still cracked on top, but I hate messing with a water bath. If you have the patience, submerging the springform pan in a water bath will hopefully give you a perfect cheesecake top. If not, just hide the crack with some berries!

Lisa's Cheesecake

24 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Splenda plus 5 Tablespoons
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Whey Protein powder
1 cup pecans
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup frozen berries

Toast pecans until lightly golden. Chop them finely. Melt butter and stir it into the pecans. Add 2 Tablespoons of Splenda. Press this mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Bring ingredients to room temperature. Blend the cream cheese and Splenda. Add sour cream vanilla and protein powder. Blend well. Mix eggs in one at a time. Pour this into the prepared pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 50 minutes. Turn oven off. Open door for one minute. Close oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for one more hour. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Place berries in a saucepan and add sweetener to taste. (approx. 3 Tablespoons) Cook until liquid forms. I added a touch of xanthan gum to thicken the juices a bit, but this is optional. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Great FAT Debate

A couple of people who have purchased the e-book have requested the fat and fiber information. I now have that available for no cost as a supplemental file. It is easy to add those pages at the end of the chapters for the different types of recipes.

The reason that they are not included with each recipe is because low carbers generally do not count fat grams in their menu planning. There are many varied opinions on this. I'll leave that research to you. Some prefer a plan that is both low carb and low fat. I find that too restricting. Others promote the other extreme, even encouraging occasional "fat fasts." I haven't gone that far either.

Here is what I do know. I used to cook low fat. We didn't get healthy eating that way. Low fat foods tend to have additional carbs. Today, when I was typing out the nutritional stats, it would just about kill me to admit that I am advocating meals which contain 40-50 grams of fat per serving. In my old low fat days, that would have crashed the entire day. Old habits die hard. I do believe that carb counts matter most to my diabetic family. I also think caloric intake is important, but may not the main factor of weight loss. In this type of diet, the body learns to process food differently. The research is out there. Check out Dr. Bernstein's plan for much of the science. Right now our goal is controlling blood sugars, not losing weight.

So, for me, I'm not going to think about the fat. It is glorious to have real cream in my coffee and to cook with cheese. But the choice is up to you. If your body can tolerate more carbs, then switching to lower fat cheeses and using less butter may be more successful. I guess the only hard rules are that you won't be at a healthy weight if you consume both the fats and the carbs without restriction.

For more information on tweaking the low carb diets to be more calorie restrictive, check our George Stella's newer cookbook, Eating Stella Style.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life Intervenes Soup--or Creamy Chicken Cilantro

When it comes to quick fix meals, I usually don't follow recipes; I just throw stuff in a pot. Today was no exception. I didn't get my menu planning done on schedule last week. One mega cold combined with a Court of Honor Program for my Eagle Scout. Between mucus, chills and making punch for a one hundred reception guests, my shopping and menu didn't get done. So, I am playing catch up today. Yesterday was devoted to my youngest's film making venture. He didn't like the food I had planned to pack for our lunch, so we did resort to MacDonalds. Dad still had his proper food, though. (Thanks to my well stocked freezer, he had a chicken version of Mermaid Muffins for lunch and Cowboy Comfort Breakfast) Dinner was a freezer casserole. Good to have those always ready.

This morning, I cleaned up a few leftovers. In class last Friday, we had a Middle Eastern luncheon. We had some leftover garlic lemon chicken. That went into the pot with a quart of chicken broth. I still had about 2 cups of leftover coleslaw mix. I added that too. I tossed in 3 cilantro cubes, and bit of salt and pepper. I let that simmer while making coffee and cleaning up the kitchen. When the cabbage was tender, I added about 8 ounces of cream cheese. After stirring that together, I poured it into a jar for John to take for his lunch. If it sounds good, but you don't happen to have any garlic lemon chicken, just add about 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of lemon juice to your pot.

Now, I'm making myself hungry. I think I'll have a bowl of my own and finally get the rest of the week's menu written. Flexibility. It's a good thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cilantro cubes

I love these flavoring cubes from Knorr. I am one of those who adores the flavor of cilantro. It doesn't taste like soap to me, anyway. I have tried to grow it fresh, but it ends up all tall and spindly without good leaves. I buy the fresh, but seldom use the whole bunch before it gets "slimified" (a term my creative son would use to describe the mushy, slimy texture of unknown vegetation at the bottom of the produce drawer).

These little cubes do the trick. They crumble nicely between the fingers. Even though they look like their cousin, the boullion cube, they are much softer and don't have to be dissolved. I like the cilantro cubes in both Mexican and Thai food. I also use the chipotle cubes. I seldom buy fresh or canned peppers, as I need them only once in a while. These are less expensive too.

Here in our neck of the woods, you an find these gems in the spice section of the ethnic foods aisle. Look up near the top if you are at Wally World. That is where I find mine. What a great little secret!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good Friends

I just wanted to take a minute to thank all my friends in my homeschool support group for the encouragement I got last night. Our topic was how to find the time to teach the kids and still make nutritious meals. We had lots of great ideas. I learned some things. I shared my cooking system for the first time in public. Even though no one there is in desperate need of a diabetic diet, my friends were all so supportive. I really appreciate the positive feedback I received. You girls rock! Keep watching my blog even if the system doesn't work for you. Just like homeschool, we all do things a little differently.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This past weekend, I got my dear hubby to pitch in on Prep Day. It is so much more fun to share the cooking chores as a real team effort. He has been fighting cravings lately. Oh, have we all been there. He usually leaves it up to me to plan the menu for the week, but when cravings hit, some suggestions for the cook can prevent a binge! His weakness is fried chicken. My weakness is handling raw poultry. I just don't like it. I don't care for pulling the meat off the bone either. Most of my recipes call for boneless, skinless breast meat. We compromised. Chicken strips and nuggets were in order.

Now, I don't have a recipe in the cookbook for these. We pretty much follow George Stella's version. Check out his cookbooks, they are wonderful. Basically, we follow the standard technique for making fried chicken, simply substituting soy flour for regular flour. John agreed to cut the chicken. I dredged and fried. We made up six pounds worth. After all, if you are going to drag out the frying equipment and use all that oil, you might as well do a Multiply Meal or a Triple Play meal. We are doing a Triple Play meal plan. We ate some Sunday Night. Today, we are having Fried Chicken Salad. On Thursday, we will have Chicken Strip Roll Ups like you can get at McDonalds or Sonic. Yum.

Here are a few tips about frying with soy flour.
**Be careful, because the soy flour turns darker than regular wheat flour. It is easier to think your food is done before it really is. Although the chicken may appear nearly burned, it does not taste that way.
**The soy flour seems to cause a bubbling action in the oil after a few batches. This is no problem unless your oil is too close to the top of the pan. Always leave about 3 inches for the bubbles. You can lower the heat also if this becomes a problem.

Like to try my breading recipe? This is not exact (I didn't measure)
1/2- 2/3 cup soy flour
1 Tablespoon Barbeque seasoning (this had salt already in it)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

I'll try to post a photo later.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chili Cookoff

We just attended a Chili cook-off last weekend. I used my dual crock pot to make two versions of my chili--one with beans and one low carb without. I did win the spiciest chili, but that is among a bunch of greenhorns. I would have liked mine much spicier, but alas we had too many kids needing to eat. Sweeter chilis generally win with this crowd. Just can't bring myself to make it that way.

I like all different kinds of chili, and I love to experiment. In the cookbook is Punkin Chili and 24 Hour Chili--made with barbecue sauce. I'll post this year's recipe too.

Chipotle Chi-wow-wow Chili

3-4 pounds beef- roast or beef tips
2 packages of Chili Seasoning
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes

Add these ingredients to the crock pot and cook on low overnight. In the morning, shred the meat and add these ingredients:

1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can beef broth
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 diced green bell pepper
1 diced yellow onion
2 Knorr Chipotle seasoning cubes
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons Splenda
2 Tablespoons Tequila

Let this cook for several hours on low.

Just before serving, add 1-2 more Knorr Chipotle cubes and 1 Tablespoon Cumin.

I added some chili beans to one side of the chili. Low carbers could add black soy beans.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Launch time

Things just never seem to go as planned. They cookbook was ready. The web page for ordering was...well...almost ready. Then life as usual intervened, and suddenly it is two months later. But now it seems as it is the real deal. Time to launch the cooking system and let my friends and fellow low carbers know about my venture.

The webpage is ready for orders. On it, you will find some sample recipes, some photos, and a brief explanation of how my kitchen system works. I also have the newsletter ready for anyone who buys the cookbook and joins up. That has extra recipes, favorite kitchen gadgets, seasonal ideas and more stuff that somehow interests me as a cook or low carber. I will also list the recipes I have chosen for entrees for the month.

Here's a sample from the October newsletter:

Joseph’s Cinnamon Crisps
Spread softened butter on a sheet of Lavash bread. Fold it together to make sure butter is evenly distributed even to the edge. Unfold the bread.
Mix 1/4 cup of granulated Splenda with 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the buttered bread.
Cut the bread into 3 inch strips using a knife or pizza cutter.
Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Get the cookbook and newsletter to get the pumpkin dip recipe that goes with these chips. Yummy.

I promise to be posting more regularly now. Be sure to let me know when you have stopped by.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crazy Schedules!

Having a streamlined meal planning system is so vital when life gets crazy--which for many families is several times a day! Yesterday made the Suzy Homemaker in me do the equivalent of the Olympic Decathlon. I have taken on a new job trying to pay the bills. My trainers, i.e. bosses, were scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. That means breakfast needed to be prepared and cleaned up in time...not to mention the added touch ups to the house. I promise my house will not stay clean longer than 15 minutes at a time. I digress...

Thankfully, I had individual servings of breakfast casserole in the fridge. That's an easy fix. Check. Then, I had to make sure hubby had some lunch to take. He was helping with my computer training, but needed to leave for work in the middle of it. Okay...the menu plan says taco salad. To my elation, there actually IS taco meat in a baggy in the fridge and the salad greens are living happily in a paper towel lined Tupperware container. One salad to go. Check.

Computer training made me feel like an idiot, but at least my hubby did have lunch to take with him so I looked organized in that respect. Maybe there is hope for the old girl. My son informed me that women over the age of 40 seem unable to learn new things. This is his experience in training cashiers at work. Yes, I wanted to slap him. Yes, a part of me felt it was absolute truth. Great confidence booster going into this new job. After grueling training, which should be the subject of another blog, we move on to homeschool.

That goes well. Nothing like diving into the politics of ancient Rome to make you forget about dinner and computers. Then, alas, I remember that my family really likes to eat, and that I have to take one son to work at 4, then cook dinner and be out of the house for a meeting at 6:30. The meal plan says Lisa's Sweet Sauce. One number ten can of tomato sauce later, wonderful "mama mia" scents are wafting through the house. But what to do with that extra sauce--low carbers can't eat that many tomatoes. Into jars they go to chill. Some will freeze, some will go into the upcoming taco soup and sloppy joes. I sauteed some zucchini to go under the sauce. I couldn't wait until after my meeting because it smelled so good. Got that done and still had time to talk on the phone. No one but my youngest was actually going to be home at dinner time, so he agreed to snack and wait til every one came home to eat. When everyone arrived home, Christian cooked up some pasta and the guys devoured it European style--9 o'clock dinner. Dad had given in and eaten his earlier.

If I hadn't had the meats already cooked, the casserole made, and a plan on the fridge, it would have been another one of those days when our diet relied on MacDonald's and Pizza Hut. So, am I a success? As Suzy Homemaker, yes. As the next computer whiz...well, that jury is still out. Please buy my cookbook so I can cook and give you great recipes instead. What cookbook you say? It is coming soon. Now where is that computer geek hubby of mine?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Taking advantage of great sales

I like to do my menu planning after I see what is on sale. For my family this week, it is ground beef. We are fortunate enough to have a meat processing plant fairly nearby. They have a monthly dock sale. Yesterday, my sweet hubby found ground chuck for $1.35 per pound. Needless to say, this week's freezer meals will center around ground beef. I'm headed into the kitchen now to make some "Minute Beef." This is the handiest stuff to have around. It is the jumpstart to so many meals!

Here are the recipe variations...since that same sweet hubby still doesn't have the recipe book posted. I'll make some plain and some Italian this week. I already have some taco meat in the freezer.

Minute Beef

You’ve heard of Minute Rice. This is similar, because it is ready to use in just a minute or two. The idea is to brown up large quantities of ground beef to use in lots of different recipes. You always have them handy in the freezer...ready at a moment’s notice to make a taco salad, a pizza bake or a burger in a bowl. Watch for sales on beef and keep this great recipe starter in the freezer.

Mexican version:
5 pounds ground beef
1 26 ounce jar salsa
1/4 cup chili powder
4 Tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt

Brown meat and drain. Stir the salsa and seasonings. Cool and divide into 4 freezer bags for family meals, or 16 individual bags. Good for taco salads, quiches, casseroles, etc.

Serves 16 461 calories 3 carbs

Italian version:
5 pounds ground beef
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 teaspoons garlic powder

Brown meat and drain. Stir the sauce and seasonings. Cool and divide into 4 freezer bags for family meals, or 16 individual bags. Good to eat with sautéed zucchini or cabbage, or added to omelets, pizzas, salads, etc.

Serves 16 447 calories 2 carbs

Here's what I will do with it this week:

Cheeseburger Salad

1 package Minute Beef, thawed
1/2 teaspoon hickory salt
1 pound prepared salad
1/2 onion, sliced
Pickles, chopped
Tomato slices
1 cup shredded cheese
Special Sauce Dressing: Mix 1 Cup Mayo, 1/2 cup mustard, 1/2 low carb ketchup.

Mix dressing ingredients. Put salad greens in individual bowls. Heat the beef in the microwave. Stir in the hickory salt. Build salads with the ingredients of choice. Top with special sauce.

Serves 6 724 calories 3 carbs

Doesn't that sound good?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Akward First Impressions

It's almost like a first date, or that first day at school...that strange gnawing in the pit of your stomach. That paranoid wondering, "Will they like me?"

It's my first day to blog about my new endeavor. My attempt to share my method with the masses...or at least with a few friends who will stop by. What method you ask?

Well, I wish it was a diet pill that would melt the pounds off while you ate anything you wanted, is instead my meal planning system for low carb dieters and diabetics. One would have made us rich, hopefully the other will make us healthy. I'm not a doctor, so please do not substitute this blog for medical advice...yada yada yada, you know the routine.

Earlier this year, my hubby was diagnosed with diabetes. He had lost weight before on a low carb plan and loved it. It was so time consuming though--and expensive. When a son went off to college, we decided we had best switch to the beans and rice diet. Much cheaper. Not so great for a soon to be diabetic, though. After the diagnosis, we immediately began to research, and found the low carb plans for diabetics. It all seemed to make more sense than the ADA high carb plans. Seeing that the remaining 3 out of 4 of us show signs of insulin resistance, we opted for low carb, family style. The doctor approved and off we went. Converting the whole family to a lower carb diet was going to take some planning.

Restaurants just are not geared toward the low carb dieter--at least those of us who don't have the extra cash to order two entrees and throw out the parts they can't eat. My hubby's snack bar at work could feed him one legal meal for lunch. Grilled chicken salad. That is it. I began to shift into homemaking gear. I tested recipes for months, converted family favorites and returned to freezer cooking. Low carb cooking is not difficult, but it does take planning. That is how I developed my system. No one wants frozen casseroles every night. And who wants to get stuck in the eggs, steak and salad rut?

I use some of the ideas from other meal management systems and I tweak them to fit our life. It takes a lot of cooking to feed three teenage sons. There are so many good plans out there, but it seemed like each one had a big drawback---either it was too time consuming on one exhausting cooking day, or you needed to let someone else choose your recipes, or you were still left staring into the fridge wondering what to cook that night...even though you had a gallon container of frozen spaghetti sauce. Don't laugh, I've been there.

We are in the process of turning the system I now use into an ebook. I decided to call it the 24/7 Low Carb Diner because I really need to have homestyle food available all the time. Someone is always hungry around here, and I now always have something ready at a moment's notice. I have spent the summer creating recipes and cooking. Lots of cooking. I'm pleased to say we are all losing weight (except my already skinny boy who isn't suffering either), John's blood results are good, and I have enough time out of the kitchen to write the book, begin a blog, and homeschool.

Most of my blogs will be about how we are doing this system-- one day at a time. I'll share recipes from time to time. Like right now, I am eating homemade sugar free bread and butter pickles from my mom's garden. Yum. I'll share that recipe soon. The recipe book will be ready to purchase within a week or two. If you are a low carb dieter or diabetic, I hope you'll join me on our journey, and I hope you like me...