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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Layered Southwestern Beef Salad

Remember that Southwest Shredded Beef I blogged about the other day? Well, here it is again for today's lunch. Layered Beef Salad. This is such a pretty dish. It would be very good to take to a potluck dinner or office party. The layers of lettuce, beef, onion, tomatoes or salsa, guacamole and sour cream are beautiful. The contrast in tastes between the spicy beef and the cool sour cream is so good. And the crisp lettuce base coated with the smooth guacamole. Mmmmmm.

Since the beef and salad greens are pre-done, I am able to throw this together this morning in plenty of time to send it to work with my hubby. It also doesn't hurt that the Italian Breakfast Cups for we just ate were already waiting in the fridge too.

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.

Now I am off to make sure the newsletter gets out today too. Be watching for it tonight.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pretty in Pink Muffins

I have dinner in the oven already. Mama Mia casserole will be ready when the hubby gets home. Instead of slaving over a hot stove, I am here playing with a batch of muffins I baked yesterday. They were tasting kinda plain, my Flaxy Minis, so I decided to brighten them up a bit. I have to say that I love the outcome of my experimentation. They are as pretty as can be, and so decadently tasty.

I told you how to play around with the Flaxy Mini recipes back in my blog entitled Muffin Mania. To get to the pink muffin heaven I am in right now, just make a batch of chocolate Flaxy Minis. Then, make this gorgeous pink topping.

Pink Cream Cheese Frosting

2 ounces of cream cheese
1 Tablespoon DaVinci Sugarfree Raspberry syrup
3 teaspoons Splenda or equivalent sweetener

Let the cream cheese warm to room temperature. Or, a quick zap in the microwave will do, but don't melt it too much. Stir in the syrup and sweetener until well blended.
Top each muffin with a dollop of frosting, or split a muffin open and spread the frosting between the two halves. This will frost about 12 mini muffins.

Double the recipe to do an entire batch. We had these for breakfast today, so quite a few were already gone from my batch.

These are so pretty, and definitely make the best Chocolate Raspberry muffins around. I am sure that the cream cheese would mix well with almost any flavor of DaVinci syrup. Of course, they won't be pretty in pink using another flavor.

I liked these so much, I took the picture on a very special plate. This pretty pink rose pattern was my great grandmother's everyday china. I love to think about all the meals she served my favorite "Papa" on this plate. It brings back childhood memories of her old kitchen, and having all the family gathered around. I know she never baked with flaxseed, but I'll bet she would like these muffins.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Southwest Shredded Beef

For the first time in quite a while, I had all four of my men home for one meal. That calls for something special. One of their favorites is Southwest Shredded Beef. It is easy on the cook. I even started it before I went to bed last night so it would be ready for Sunday lunch. It is forgiving enough to slow cook for an extended time. (Mine cooked for almost eleven hours, but then, the beef was still slightly frozen when I started.)

Better yet, everyone can assemble soft tacos using this beef, and they can make them exactly how they like them. Dad and I ate ours on half of a Joseph's pita. To limit carbs, then we just put some of the beef over a bit of lettuce and added our favorite toppings.To each his own. Three of us like extra salsa. Two don't. No problem. Only two of us like sour cream and lettuce. Okay. The boys appreciate some refried beans too, but not the parents. See how easy it is? I just put all the extras out on the table. Everyone is happy. The beef is as good as any I have found in pricey Mexican restaurants.

My guys love this meal, and being a Triple Play recipe, it is easy to adapt to extra guests. I wasn't sure if my oldest college boy would bring along some friends today, so I planned ahead to feed a bunch. Since he left the others behind, still recovering from Spring Break in Florida, I will have plenty of left overs to make Layered Beef Salad and Striped Enchiladas later in the week. It is so good to be flexible and to have a 24/7 kitchen where everyone's welcome...even if they don't show up.

This recipe is in the e-book, but I'll share it here for any of you who might be considering a purchase. Of course, if you want the follow up recipes to turn the beef into two more entrees, you'll have to buy the cookbook!This photo is the beef as it looks alone in my crockpot.

Southwest Shredded Beef
4 to 5 pound small brisket or roast, any cut
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 16 ounce jar Pace Lime and Garlic Thick and Chunky Salsa (may substitute)

Place meat in a crock pot. Mix all dry ingredients. Sprinkle over meat in pot. Top with a jar of thick salsa. Cook 8 hours on low. Cool meat for about 30 minutes. Drain off most of the liquid and discard fat. Shred the meat with two forks, adding broth back in if necessary for moisture. Serve as burritos using low carb tortillas.

Per serving 325 calories 1 carb

Now that my boys are headed back to the university, I will spend the rest of the afternoon doing my prep for the week.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

About that Hobo Soup

It ends up that this is the perfect day for a big pot of veggie soup. I am so glad we had the Hobo dinners last night, because the resulting soup is wonderful on this cold and snowy day. Yes, it is late March on the calendar here, but it looks like Christmas time outside. Must be my fault for making those Christmas cake balls earlier in the week. It seems to have been contagious from my kitchen to the weather.

Just in case it is warm where you are, this is still a good and easy soup. Just throw in any chopped veggies you have in the fridge. Add some stock or canned broth. Today, I added a bit of frozen Minute Beef, the veggies from last night's foil packet dinners, a can of tomato sauce and 8 ounces of cream cheese. I seasoned with garlic and onion powder, and of course, salt and pepper.

Perfect for a snowy afternoon. Now we are going to take our bowls, snuggle under the blankets and watch movies for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hobo Dinners

It's Friday Night buffet night at the Marshall house. Tonight, we are going back to an old camping favorite--Hobo Dinners. They are actually foil pouches filled with meat and veggies. We aren't baking ours over a campfire, although you can. Tonight it is a cold rain, so I am glad to have my oven warming up the kitchen.

My Eagle Scout son (actually I have 2 Eagle Scouts, proud Mama that I am) helped me wrap them up tight before I popped them in the oven. The great thing about this recipe--or "method" as is popular to say these days--is that everyone gets to assemble his own foil packet according to his tastes. Our Hobo Dinners tonight started with a base of chicken thighs. Other popular choices include lean ground beef or link sausages.

The assortment of veggies I had to choose from tonight looked like this:


We had a choice of seasonings too:

Italian herb blend
garlic powder
freshly ground pepper
lemon pepper
bacon salt
Cajun seasoning

I really like the rutabaga in Hobo Dinners because the texture is so similar to that of potatoes. Carbs are higher than some other vegetables, with one cup having about 8 net carbs, but the taste is worth it. We seldom have a full cup per person, but even if we did, these are the veggie carbs I would rather have than those coming from bread or pasta. After the pouches have baked for about half a hour, we unwrap them. I like to add a pat of butter if I have used a lower fat meat. I also like to offer a sprinkle of cheese, some hot wing sauce or a splash of soy sauce.

Another trick I have when I make this fun meal, is to use the leftovers for soup. After everyone has assembled his foil dinner, I add all the other chopped veggies into a pot of stock. Add some meat, seasoning and a can of tomatoes, and I have a nice pot of vegetable soup for tomorrow's lunch. How could it get any easier?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Must Be Christmas Cake Balls

This is the kind of recipe I do at Christmas time, when that wave of Martha Stewart madness sweeps over me. Actually, it was really an act of desperation for me to be making these treats for no special occasion. I like to be in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible. I do like treats, but this? Once or twice a year is enough. Oh, it started innocently enough. I saw a post on my diabetic forum about a yellow cake made with coconut flour. It sounded good, and I had all the ingredients. Little did I know how many ingredients I would end up needing...

The cake went together just fine. No problem. I chatted with my friend NeeCee about ways to frost it. I was unfortunately out of butter. After I was back in the kitchen, I decided on an old fashioned jello poke cake. Hmm. Only lime jello. That just didn't appeal to me. New idea. How about a poke cake using chocolate. Yes! So, I poked the cake using our camping hot dog grillers. Worked great. Found a recipe online for chocolate ganache that could also be thinned into a sauce. That would work. So I made a wonderful sugarfree ganache. Very yummy. I thinned it and poured it over the cake. It looked divine. I even made some extra pokes to get that liquid chocolate deep into the cake. Then, I topped it with the ganache that was setting up quickly. I was all ready to take a photo and brag about it here on my blog. It was a beauty.

Then, I decided to taste it. Eeuuw. I choked down a piece, but to me it tasted more like a cardboard egg than a moist pound cake. Even the chocolate couldn't save it for me. What to do? All those ingredients were far too costly to toss in the trash. Besides, my trash was overflowing already.

I fretted for a while, then decided to be resourceful. I could make a trifle. No, that might be more expensive ingredients wasted. Besides, we could never eat an entire trifle by ourselves. Then it came to me. My cake balls that I make at Christmas time. Yes, those would be perfect. They are a natural to put in the fridge or freezer and pull out one at a time for a decadent little treat. It seemed a natural move. Afterall, a recipe that has you bake a cake only to crumble it up and mash it into a glob along with its frosting must have been a mistake to start with, right?

So I plowed ahead. The cake was already frosted, but I knew that would not be enough moisture, and I needed to really hide the eggy taste. I decided banana flavoring would blend nicely. So, I pulled out my last cream cheese, added a teaspoon of flavoring and 3/4 cup of sweetener. After blending that together, I served up half the cake, and started squishing it all together. Unless you have tactile issues, just squish it all between your fingers. After a taste test, I decided it was a winner. So, one batch made about four dozen cake balls. If you want, you could dip them in melted chocolate, but today, I was just too tired, especially since my clan was still waiting on dinner. I rolled them in a mixture of cocoa powder and granular Splenda.

I guess that these cake balls are not too much work if you consider the potential for snacking, light desserts and brown bags. 48 little cake balls will help with portion control, and will add a special touch at the end of an everyday meal. I will still think it is Christmas, though.

The cake recipe was adapted from the Bernstein Recipe Board. I used two fewer eggs than the original recipe because others had complained the cake was too dense and eggy. Hmm. Some liked it just the way it was written, so you can try it and judge for yourself.

Yellow Cake from Alaska Man and Karen

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut milk (we had none, so Bill used cream, which worked fine)
12 eggs
equivalent of 1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Blend together butter, coconut milk or cream, eggs, sweetener, salt, and vanilla. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and beat into batter until there are no lumps. Pour batter into greased 9 x 9 pan or, if you want a two-layer cake, use two 8 or 9 inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes for the square cake or 30 to 35 for the layers, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and remove from pans.

For the Ganache, go here to Laura Dolson's recipe:
I cut this recipe in half.

Then for the remainder of my frosting, mix
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon banana flavoring
3/4 cup sweetener

Crumble cake, add ganache and cream cheese mixture. Blend together and roll into balls. Roll balls in Splenda and cocoa mixture.

Since I need a holiday for these, I took the photo by my Easter decorations. I suppose the cake balls would be good in an Easter Basket too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who Could Miss Garlic Bread With This?

Another meal to share with the Carbies living among us. MMMmmm. Italian.

Good thing is, this whole meal was so simple to put together. First, I used Minute Beef to prepare Lisa's Sweet Sauce from the Freezer Favorites. Set that to simmer while the rest of the meal is prepared. Now what to put that sweet sauce over. The boys got spaghetti noodles, but that's not for us.

Usually, I serve this with sauteed zucchini, but this time I knew I would be making garlic toast for the young guys. No matter how much I like zucchini, it cannot match that aroma of garlic and butter wafting through the air. So I went to my favorite Low Carb chef, George Stella. He has a recipe called "Bald Calzone" that is so rich, so cheesy, so good. I knew that would knock out that lust for garlic toast. If you want that recipe, get his book. While not a true calzone, this recipe is full of ricotta, mozzerella, and garlic. It is easy to put together too.

While that was baking, I slathered garlic butter on rolls for the guys and set the table with my premade salad. That was easy. The house smelled wonderful, and got my houseful of teenage guys hanging much closer to the kitchen!

The dinner was a hit. They even went back for seconds. Men really seem to like a spaghetti sauce that is thick with ground beef and is sweet too. I have never met a man who didn't love my sauce. Go ahead and give it a try. With all the garlic, herbs and melted cheese, who wants garlic toast?

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Diamond in the Rough

I have some extra boys this week. My number two son is home from college for Spring Break. He brought along a couple of buddies. That will expand the menu a bit! Last night, I made a crockpot dish that everyone always loves. Swiss Beefkey.

This is an interesting recipe. Even though everyone I have ever served it to loved it, no one seems to respond to the recipe. It is as though I am giving a recipe for toxic waste. I just don't get it. I offered it to Allrecipes. No response after two years. I posted it on the Stella Style board. Don't think anyone has ever tried it. No feedback from cookbook readers. And yet, my boys request this recipe. My mom made it for a company luncheon and everyone raved. I guess it is a diamond in the rough. Not too pretty, but oh, so good!

Okay, using frozen rolls of ground turkey and beef may not be too appealing at first read. Trust me, though, once you pull out the potato masher, (yes, we low carbers still use those) start to blend the meats, and find how delicate and tender the resulting slow cooked meal is, you will be a believer. Just try it. The turkey is juicy and tender, the beef is flavorful. The combo is heaven piled on a roll and topped with cheese.

Last night, I served the boys Swiss Beefkey on open faced, crusty rolls. We low carbers got ours on Cleochatra's Oopsie rolls.

Oh, and I subbed Monterey Jack Cheese for the Swiss. I am one of those types who has trouble sticking to the same recipe all the time. Still totally delicious. Please give it a try. Maybe you could end my Beefkey paranoia.

Swiss Beefkey

1 pound ground turkey
1 pound lean ground beef
2 Tablespoons beef base (watch for sugar)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 pound Swiss Cheese, sliced

Add the ground beef and ground turkey to the slow cooker. They may be frozen. Do not chop them, just leave as rolls. Sprinkle the top of the meat with the beef base, onion powder and garlic.

Cook 8-10 hours on low if frozen, 6 hours if thawed.

Do not discard any liquid in the crock. Use a potato masher or two forks to blend the meat rolls. They will be extremely tender. Allow the liquid to reabsorb for 10 minutes.

Serves 6 457 calories 2 carbs

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tarragon, the French Chef's Delight

I am getting my herbs planted. I usually do basil, chives, thyme and lemon basil. This year, I may try tarragon. I adore the flavor of tarragon, especially with chicken. Once upon a time, I made a wonderful breakfast casserole with chicken, eggs, cheese and tarragon all baked up in a bready crust.

Well, the crust is now gone. Now I make the recipe in a crustless version. That just makes it even richer. This is one of the most flavorful quiches around. Take the time to marinate the chicken. It is worth it. This is the recipe from the e-book written up as a Multiply Meal. So even though you invest some time marinating then baking, you will get three entrees of delicious quiche. Just pop a couple in the freezer. I find that the addition of the cream cheese adds enough density that the quiche does not seem spongy after freezing. All you will have to do to serve it again is thaw, pop in the oven and make a salad.

The French Hen Quiche

3 pound bag of boneless chicken breasts
1 cup cooking sherry
1 small bunch of green onions
1/4 cup oil
2 eight ounce blocks of cream cheese
18 eggs
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups of grated cheese
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons dried tarragon (divided)

Mix the sherry, 1 tablespoon of tarragon, and the oil. Pour into the bag of frozen chicken and marinate for several hours or overnight.
Remove the chicken and bake at 350 degrees until just done, about 25 minutes. Cool and dice the meat. Divide it into three portions. While the chicken is baking, blend the eggs, cream cheese, mustard and 1 cup of chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of tarragon.
Place 1/3 of the chicken in a casserole dish for today’s meal. Place the remaining chicken in freezer pans. This can be one large dish or two smaller ones. Divide the egg mixture among the dishes. Sprinkle each with 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.
Eat one quiche and divide the remaining into two family meals or 12 individual servings.

348 calories 2 carbs

Saturday, March 21, 2009

NeeCee's System

NeeCee sent in her photos of how she has put her 24/7 cookbook together. She had a great idea to use page protectors. Now, she can still remove her recipe pages to take to the kitchen, but they stay clean and spot free thanks to the plastic covering. She can also place pages back to back.

Much like me, NeeCee has put some of her favorite recipes for side dishes, desserts and such in the back section of the binder. That way, she has everything handy when it comes time to cook. She also prints off the 24/7 Low Carb Diner newsletters and keeps them in the front pocket. That keeps those recipes easy to find too.

NeeCee likes to plan all her entrees for the month. She prints a menu up on her computer, then files the menu in the front pocket for easy reference. Planning ahead means fewer trips to the grocery store for her family. This cook is a freezer meal pro. With an extra freezer in the garage, she can make up plenty of Multiply Meals and Freezer Favorites. She can also buy in bulk when sales are good.

Thanks, NeeCee for the tips!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Notebook System

Some have asked to see how I have my cookbook put together and how I use it. Today I will give a photo essay of sorts to explain.

I have all the recipes printed off and placed in a three ring binder. I like the kind with a place for a page insert on the cover. Using a binder has several advantages over the standard book format. First, you can choose to print only the recipes you are interested in--that saves some bulk. Second, it is easy to remove a recipe and take it with you into the kitchen.

I actually work in a tiny kitchen, so I post the recipe that I am using on the fridge using a magnetic clip. That prevents it from sitting on the cabinet getting food all over it. I have tried to view a recipe from my computer sitting on the kitchen table, but my eyes just aren't that good! If your fridge is too far from your prep area, consider holding it on the cabinet with a bit of sticky wax or putty. When using just one page at a time, it holds fine.

Inside the binder, I keep my weekly grocery ads and coupons. That helps me be organized when it comes time to plan the next week's menu and shopping list. Extra copies of my shopping list go in those that pocket too.

At the back of my three ring binder, I keep the photos for inspiration. I also hole punch the newsletter and put it in. That way, the extra recipes from the newsletter are easy to find.

In the back pockets of the binder, I keep extra recipes for side dishes, bread substitutes and desserts that I use often. I have another collection of recipes I have gathered from the web. I love to collect recipes, and one binder could never hold my collection.

Back to the fridge, you also will find my menu for the week. I find that if my family knows what is coming up, they are less likely to eat the ingredients I need for dinner or tomorrow's lunch. On the rare occasion, they might even cook for themselves!

I also made some divider tabs to mark off the different recipes sections. If you would like a copy for your book, I will have them in the April Newsletter. Don't forget to email me with your ideas too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

With a Little Help From My Friends

I need your help! Two things.

1. I want to do a blog that shows how you have put together your 24/7 Low Carb Diner cookbook. I am planning to take some photos of how I have my book set up. I know there are as many ways of doing this as there are let me know what is working for you. Take a pic and send it to me along with an email of any hints...or just tell me your ideas. My email addy is on my profile page. Tomorrow, I will feature my book. Then I will be able to highlight some of your great ideas to customize the system.

2. Help me with some ideas for eggs. I want to feature some really great egg recipes in the April Newsletter. Unfortunately, too many eggs give me a bad stomach ache. Can you see why I don't want to try out too many recipes? Who can blog while doubled over in pain? Send me your favorites and I will gladly give you all the credit! Eggs are going to be a great value in upcoming weeks, so let's get ready!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Onion Dipped Cauliflower

For my side dish tonight, I made a low carb version of a favorite casserole--once known as Onion Dipped Mashed Potatoes. Now it is made with cauliflower instead. This is a quicker version-- not oven baked as in my original recipe. It still can be made in the oven, but we were out flying kites all afternoon and this mom did not want to spend that extra time in the kitchen.

While the cauliflower was steaming, I whipped up the E.Z Fix Burger known as the Brown Derby. When I grew up, there was a quaint little diner next to my grandfather's feed store. When we were tired from playing in our feed sack forts, a fine adventure for young girls, my Papa would take us down to the Townhouse Grill for a treat. Their Brown Derby burgers were covered with a brown gravy which I thought was wonderful. This is an easy tribute to those burgers. I don't know their recipe, but mine is sour cream mixed with the pan drippings. I deglaze the pan with some water, then stir in sour cream, onion powder and salt. Too simple.

Here is a recipe for a quick take on the cauliflower dish:

Onion Dipped Cauliflower (Express version)

1 head cauliflower
1 small (8 ounce) container prepared onion dip
3 ounces cream cheese
salt and papper to taste

Steam the cauliflower until tender. Drain and mash with the onion dip and cream cheese until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.

The baked, richer version of this recipe is 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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beefy Ranch Rolls

Beef. It is what's for dinner! This has been a hectic week for me--full of scheduled business and a few surprises too. Even though I didn't get all my prep day work done, with a few ingredients in my well stocked freezer, I don't need to panic. And no, I don't have an extra freezer, just the side by side in the kitchen. It can be done!

This delicious dinner was made on the fly after I celebrated being hired for a new teaching position next fall. My interview ran late, but since I had Minute Beef in the freezer, dinner was on time. Here is what we ate tonight:

Beefy Ranch Rolls

1 package Minute Beef
2-3 Joseph's Lavash Bread
1/2 cup cheese for each sheet of bread (I used mozzerella tonight)
Bacon Ranch Dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Lavash bread on cookie sheets. Thaw Minute Beef in the microwave oven. When warm, distribute the beef over the bread. Top with cheese. Drizzle bacon ranch dressing over all. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cheese melts and Lavash begins to brown. Don't let it get too crispy on the edges. Remove from oven and cut each Lavash bread into 3 strips. Roll each strip into a spiral.

We ate this with Nana's Coleslaw with a Kick. Everyone here gave these rolls a big thumbs up.

Monday, March 16, 2009


More cabbage, but still no Irish. Tonight, we dined on a Mexican version of cabbage, so I looked up the Spanish name for cabbage: Repollo. That is way more fun, and the kids can learn a new Spanish vocabulary word. This is basically a fried cabbage dish, spiced up with some salsa and cream. I served it alongside Chipotle Chicken. With a touch of sweetness thrown in, it complemented very nicely.


1/2 head of cabbage, coursely diced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup thick salsa
1 packet Splenda or equivalent sweetener
2 tablespoons cream

Saute the cabbage in olive oil until tender crisp. Stir in salsa, cream and sweetener and cook about five more minutes. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Have You Bought Your Cabbage Yet?

Ten cents a pound--who can beat that? This week is full of cabbage for my clan--after all, we are part Scots/Irish around here.

My first recipe of Cabbage Week has nothing to do with the Irish however. In fact, it defies categorization. Coleslaw with a Kick. If you never tried coleslaw with a heavy dose of garlic, you just don't know what you are missing. My mother came up with recipe years ago. It has spoiled me on coleslaw any other way. Everyone overlooks the recipe, thinking the flavors don't blend. Wow, is that wrong. Most everyone who tastes this slaw absolutely loves it. My hubby requests it so often, that I can buy the three pound bags of coleslaw mix and get it all used up before it goes bad. We love this recipe. It is super quick to put together, and even better as leftovers. We prefer a lot of dressing, so if you like yours a bit drier, add more cabbage.

Nana’s Coleslaw with a Kick
1 pound coleslaw mix, or one head of cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper (don’t use salt)

Mix all dressing ingredients. Stir into slaw. Let the flavors blend while the slaw sits in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Serves 10 252 calories 3 carbs

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cabbage Patch

I see from my grocery sales flyers that cabbage is a hot item this week. My best price seems to be a dime a pound. With St. Patrick's Day just ahead, I am sure you will see lots of recipes for Corned Beef and Cabbage around. Since that is pretty much low carb anyway, I will spare you my version of that.

If you want to take advantage of the sales, however, the under rated cabbage has some fantastic potential. My boys have never been too enamored with this particular veggie. Perhaps their dread came from the pitiful description of watery cabbage soup in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After all, it is all poor Charlie and his family had to eat. How could we get excited about it?

But, the hubby and I love it. Fried up in bacon grease with some onion. Yum. Slow roasted, steamed, coleslaw salad...I like it every way there is. Yes, I will buy some, especially since it is a very good keeper. Plus, there are so many different ways to prepare cabbage. Below is a recipe that gives it the Lebanese flair. It tastes like cabbage rolls, but without the fuss. Try it for your crockpot meal this week. Check back too. I will post other good ideas for cabbage.

Lebanese Dinner

2 pounds turkey sausage
8 ounces tomato sauce thinned with 1/4 cup water
1 head of cabbage
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Brown the turkey sausage. Chop the cabbage coarsely. Mix together sauce and spices. In crock, add a thin layer of sauce, one half of the cabbage, and half of the meat. Pour half of the remaining tomato sauce. Repeat layers. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

Serves 6 279 calories 7 carbs

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Salsa Beef Brunch

This morning's menu called for Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Shakes. But who would have known that it would be snowing outside my window on this fine March day? Already shivering, I decided to change that plan. After putting the coffee on, I looked at my freezer inventory to see what I might whip up quickly. There I had a package of Minute Beef. Cowboy Comfort Breakfast is easy--a blend of beef, eggs and cream cheese and jalapeno. I was about to start that when I thought of my youngest son. Eggs have been bothering his stomach lately. (We do have a slight egg sensitivity that runs in the family) Not having anything else on hand for his breakfast, I decided to skip the eggs. Instead, I thawed the ground beef in the microwave for three minutes. Then I added it to a skillet with a good sprinkling of onion powder and eight ounces of cream cheese. After the cream cheese was melting well, I stirred in about half a cup of water. Now, the mixture was a bit like a hamburger gravy. To kick the flavor up a notch, I added 1/3 cup of chucky salsa.

This was very good! Start to finish it was done in under ten minutes. Definitely not pretty, but warm and tasty for brunch. My kiddo had his on toast. I didn't have any low carb bread substitutes around, so we just ate ours as is on a plate. I think it would be good served over scrambled eggs or on an oopsie roll or other low carb bread.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ultra Chicken Triple Play

Our Triple Play meal this week was Ultra Chicken. That is the breast of chicken that has been marinated in light beer. It really doesn't matter if you choose to use Michelob Ultra, but that is very low in carbs. Besides, it makes a catchy recipe name too! Now, I don't like the taste of beer, and would never drink it for enjoyment, but I do like it in cooking. The alcohol is cooked away, and this chicken has a wonderful, yet tough to discern flavor. It lends itself to many different recipes, and adds a depth of flavor to all of them. Last night, we had Ultra Chicken Cacciatore. With the chicken already baked, it was so easy to throw together. The frozen French cut green beans make a super easy and delicious base.

I used a handful of Ultra Chicken to make John a Raspberry Chicken Salad to take in his lunch today. Later in the week, we will have the Barbeque Chicken Wraps on Joseph's Lavash bread. We will have had four great chicken meals that did not taste like leftovers of the same thing. That is how the Triple Play meals work. In this case, it was actually a Quadruple Play meal. How cool is that?

Ultra Chicken
6 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
2 bottles Michelob Ultra Beer (or one of the larger size cans)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon steak seasoning

Mix marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate 3 hours or overnight. Bake or grill until juices run clear.
Single serving: 171 calories trace carb

If you want to make the Ultra Chicken Cacciatore, the recipe is in the e-book.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chocolate Therapy

A dear friend of mine is going through some hard times in this troubled economy. Because she is a Low Carb Diner too, her usual comfort food--chocolate--can be a bit tricky. I am going to see her tonight, so I made her a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Well, she doesn't get the whole batch; I ate two. They are just the thing when life demands a sweet pick-me-up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 stick of butter
4 Tablespoons of natural peanut butter
1 cup sugar substitute. (I used 3/4 cup equivalent of liquid sucralose and 1/4 cup erythritol)

Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. You may need a bit more time in the microwave, just be sure not to burn it. When that mixture is all melted and well blended, add the sweetener and peanut butter, stirring well. Use a spoon to fill 24 mini muffin cups with the chocolate. Chill until firm, or put in the freezer.

These will melt quickly at room temperature, so they are best kept very cold. They are so good, you won't mind the chill!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Encouraging Words

We just got the sweetest note from a fellow diner! I couldn't wait to share. Getting such feedback is so exciting. I love to hear that others are using the 24/7 Diner plan to help treat diabetes. It has really made a difference for us, and I hope it will give others the strength to make healthy choices too.

"Excellent e-book. I am very happy with what I have read so far. The ideas are fantastic, book looks good, recipes seem easy, tasty........Wow! The pre-cooking ...YES!! Life changing information for me. I have diabetes and use a low carb diet for control. I will be grateful to have meals in the freezer. John and Lisa accept my gratitude and thanks. May you both be blessed for sharing."

I am blessed now!

How Fast Can You Get a Meal Out?

Here in Oklahoma, we have a drive in restaurant called Sonic. They used to claim they had service "with the speed of sound." Right. But, hey, it was a good place to go when you were starving (not literally, that was the carbohydrate addiction talking). Best of all, you didn't need shoes or makeup and no one cared if you wore your bathrobe rather than getting dressed. After all, you didn't even have to get out of the car. What could be easier?

These days, Sonic has nothing on the menu we can eat, except for that obligatory grilled chicken salad that everyone restaurant seems to offer. When I want something even faster than Sonic...even tastier than Sonic...even cheaper than Sonic...the 24/7 Low Carb Diner Plan comes to my rescue.

I grab a brunch casserole from the freezer. Conveniently, it is frozen in individual servings. Three minutes in the microwave oven, and it is ready to eat. Sometimes I top it with some salsa and extra cheese, as in the photo of Farmer's Feast casserole above. It is better than fast food. No shoes. No makeup. No problem. Oh, and no need to tip a carhop!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Muffin Mania

The muffins are all done, and with four kinds from one batch of batter, there is room for everyone to have a favorite. This is what I came up with using some flavorings I had in the cupboard. Left to right, they are Burnt Sugar, Chocolate Raspberry, Maple Pecan, and Chocolate Almond.

I took the recipe for Flaxy Minis, made the basic batter using French Vanilla DaVinci syrup and the almond flour. Then I separated the batter into four bowls with about 1/2 cup of batter in each.

Flaxy Minis

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar free syrup, any flavor
1/2 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup flaxmeal
1/2 cup almond, soy or coconut flour (if using coconut, increase water)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Flavoring(s) of your choice

Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients and blend.
In a smaller bowl, mix dry ingredients. Stir into wet egg mixture.
Let batter rest for 5 minutes. If it is too thick, add more water.

Spoon into 24 well greased mini-muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

To make today's variations:

Burnt Sugar -- add 1/2 teaspoon to 1/2 cup batter. For a whole recipe, add 2 teaspoons Burnt Sugar flavoring. I was a little disappointed in this one. It really just tastes sweet, nothing distinctive.

Chocolate Rapsberry -- This is a favorite. I added 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder and 4 drops of Chocolate Raspberry coffee flavoring, Fireside brand. For a full batch, add 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon flavoring.

Maple Pecan -- Yummy with real pecans! I added 1/2 teaspoon Maple flavoring and about 2 Tablespoons chopped pecans. For a full batch, add 2 teaspoons Maple flavoring and about 1/4-1/3 cup chopped nuts.

Chocolate Almond - These are quite good. They remind me of Amaretto flavoring. I added 1 teaspoon of cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon of Almond Extract. For a full batch, add 4 teaspoons cocoa and 2 teaspoons of Almond Extract.

My hubby just got home from working an afternoon basketball game. He promptly ate one of each muffin and declared the Maple Pecan to be his favorite. The batch of muffins I bake on the weekend generally feeds us two breakfasts during the week. However, with all of our taste testing today, I don't think this batch is going to make 2 more breakfasts this week. I may be making another batch.

Sunday Prep Day

We have started to attend Church on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning when we can. I gotta say, I love having all day Sunday as my prep day. It makes things so relaxed! Right now I am listening to praise music on the radio while I am marinating my Ultra Chicken. I will cook that later today. Even though I am technically working on the Sabbath, this is a joy, because it is my ministry to my family. My friend once told me she prays for each member of the family when she folds that person's clothes. In a way, I am doing the same thing while I am preparing their food.

As soon as I drag myself away from this blog, I plan on making Three Little Pigs Casserole for our brunch recipe. Also on the plan for today is Flaxy Mini Muffins. I have some new flavorings I picked up while I was visiting my college boys in Arkansas, and I can't wait to try out the new flavorings. Aren't we lucky that flax muffins are so versatile? For a big challenge, I will divide the batter into fourths and make four different flavors of muffins. Much to the chagrin of some people,I'm a big fan of way overcooked campfire marshmallows. Those blackened balls of cinder and sweet have an unexplainable appeal, so the flavoring called Burnt Sugar was calling my name from the grocery shelf. I'll let you know how it turns out. By dividing my batter, I won't make a whole batch of trash bound muffins in case the flavoring doesn't produce the magically enticing muffin I am imagining. I promise to take some photos and blog about my trials when I am done.

'Til then, I've got an afternoon of kitchen fun ahead. Happy Prepping!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Coney,Chili Dog...whatever!

My hubby used to call Ohio and Colorado home. He grew up eating plain hot dogs with no chili. How tragic! He goes on to tell me that he never knew what a "Coney" was until he met me. He will admit to knowing what a Chili Dog was, but it was far from a favorite in his family. Then he met me. On one of our first dates, I managed to spill chili down a light pink business suit after he surprised me at my job to take me out for a quick lunch. He has never forgotten laughing at me for ruining that suit, and my going back to work with a tell tale orange stain. Despite that, I never lost my love for chili topped dogs. A couple of years later, I even battled morning sickness with jalapeno chili dogs. That is another episode in my coney love story...

I am so glad we can still have my favorite while low carbing. With all those glorious toppings, who misses the bun? Tonight was such an easy dinner, thanks to the fact that I had some leftover homemade chili from last night's Multiple Meals Punkin Chili. All I needed to do tonight was to grill up some Oscar Mayer franks, heat the chili in the microwave, and add the cheese, onions and mustard.

I made up a quick batch of Nana's Coleslaw with a Kick--that takes 5 minutes at the most. My son Christian called dinner a masterpiece. John admitted he was a definite coney convert, although he still calls them chili dogs. Oh, and this time out, I managed to spare my clothing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do You Look Forward to a Salad?

I do sometimes get tired of salads. I know they are good for us, and we eat salads often. To really look forward to eating them, though, I have to jazz them up a bit--go beyond the usual greens and ranch routine.

One answer to the "I'm sick of lettuce" lament is bacon. I have always loved bacon. I gave it up all those years I was low fat cooking. Now, we can have bacon on the menu every week. This is the salad that makes me look forward to lunch. I bake my bacon on a rimmed cookie sheet. That way, I don't get splattered, and the bacon curls less. I never liked the chewey underdone parts. I like mine crispy. Even better, with oven baking, I can knock out a whole package at once rather than 5-6 strips at a time in the skillet.

Bacon Salad

1/2 pound bacon
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons Splenda or equivalent sweetener
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salad greens
Cheese (optional)

Fry bacon until crisp. Set aside, but reserve the grease. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, onion powder and sweetener. Slowly stir in 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease. Chill. Assemble salad greens. Add mushrooms and cheese. Top with salad dressing and crumbled bacon.

Serves 4 555 calories 2 carbs

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Check up Time

My hubby John had his check up with his doctor yesterday morning. It was amazing. Just a year ago, he was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. He had been heading that way for years. Today, his blood sugar was 78. (I don't think he had actually eaten the Maple's Meatballs I had packed for him, so this was after an overnight fast. He usually averages around 100 two hours after a meal) The doctor was thrilled, and asked just what he had been up to to get such a turnaround. John explained how his loving wife, that's me, had gone into research mode and found all the studies about how the low carb diet often controlled diabetes. Last year, John had received permission from one of the associates to go on a low carb regime, but his primary doctor had been unavailable for that consultation.

The doctor asked what he was eating, and they actually pulled up the website right there at the office. The doctor loved the e-book. John offered to give him a copy, but the doctor refused saying he wanted to pay for it, because it obviously represented a great deal of work. Hurray! He also agreed to recommend it to diabetic patients he treats.

I know that this way of eating needs to be a lifestyle for my family, not a diet. We have watched friends and family suffer terribly from uncontrolled blood sugar, and I want better for my guys. The 24/7 system lets me feel secure that our food choices are always under control. I am always able to give my family the meals which will keep them healthy for life. The occasional splurge--cake at graduation, a Christmas cookie or two--is not the enemy. What we consistently eat in our everyday meals will keep nerve damage, circulation problems, and a host of other diabetic complications at bay. Daily prayer and low carb food are my weapons of choice against diabetes. We appear to be winning the war!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Two Mug Morning

Nothing too special about this morning, just another day. Last weekend was busy. I had my college boys surprise me with a visit home. I didn't get my usual double batch of muffins baked on Sunday. Since Tuesday is usually a muffin day for us, I decided just to make Minute Muffins. It is almost as quick a prepared muffin, and still very tasty. It is so easy too. Just mix and bake in the same mug.

Today I chose to make a cinnamon muffin. What is better than a nice cup of spiced tea to go along with it? I love hot tea now that I can add a nice splash of real cream. Ahh, cinnamon heaven.

This is a very popular recipe on the low carb forums. It is definitely not my own invention. But just in case you never tried one, here is the recipe.

Minute Muffin
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons Flax Meal
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
Flavorings as desired (today I added a good sprinkle of cinnamon)
Sweetener to taste (1-2 packets of Splenda or 2 T DaVinci Syrup)
1 Egg

In a coffee mug, melt butter in the microwave. Add dry ingredients and stir. Add egg and stir. Microwave on high for one minute. The muffin may rise far above the top of the mug, but will fall back a bit. Let cool about one minute and turn out muffin. It may appear too wet, but will dry as it cools. These can be baked in a conventional oven as well, for about 15 minutes. Makes one muffin.

Play around with flavorings using different DaVinci Syrups or spice blends. Thanks to whoever invented this legendary low carb treat!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Secret Granola

I used to make homemade granola for my boys. They liked it as a snack. I remember the days when all their school books had little bits of oat stuck between the pages.

The great thing about granola is that it can be used so many different ways. It can be spooned over sugarfree yogurt for a yummy dessert. It can top muffins for a crunchy surprise. With a bit of cream mixed with water, it becomes a tasty cereal for breakfast.

But when we low carb, the question is: how does one make granola without oats?

It is secret ingredient time. TVP. Sounds like something plumbers use. Practically, a versatile tool for low carbers and vegetarians alike. It is actually Textured Vegetable Protein, a nuggety, crunchy, pretty much flavorless soy concoction that just begs for your kitchen creativity. When re-hydrated, TVP is useful as a meat replacement or extender. 1/4 cup dry TVP contains 3 net carbs and 12 grams of protein. When made into granola, it will absorb the flavors of the peanut butter and sweetener. Crunchy, easy to make and wonderful by the pinchful.

Secret Granola
2 cups Textured Vegetable Protein granules
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup DaVinci syrup, peanut butter, vanilla or caramel flavor

Mix peanut butter and syrup until smooth. Mix dry ingredients together. Pour the liquid over the dry mixture and mix well. Spread into a thin layer on a cookie sheet and bake about 30 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring every ten minutes. Let cool and remove to an air tight container. Good alone, with cream as a cereal, or with sugarfree vanilla yogurt.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

24/7 Low Carb Diner News and Recipe Challenge

The Newsletter for March is out. In it, I have some really great recipes for snack foods. I also included some great advice for curbing the appetite. As low carbers there are great snack options out there. But of course, we can all use a bit of self control if we are hoping to see the scale moving down.

For anyone feeling a bit deprived on a low carb diet, I have some advice. If you have a favorite recipe you've been missing, and think you'll never get to eat it again, I have accepted a challenge. Become a subscriber and I will do my best to convert your recipe to low carb or come up with a reasonable substitute. I hope you'll take the challenge.

You can order the e-book and or newsletter at