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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I'm a Leftover

Today was one of those days. You know, you hit the ground running, get drenched in the rain, have to deal with insufferable people, somehow forget to eat. Wow. I can't believe I just said that. I have never been the type to forget to eat. What gives? I really wasn't hungry, partly due to an absence of cravings, partly due to an overly full schedule. So just how do days like this fit in with the 24/7 Low Carb Diner system?

First off, we did still have breakfast goodies waiting in the fridge, I just didn't get around to eating any. I packed hubby's lunch, but never made my own. That was just a problem with timing. I left the higher carby kid on his own today, since I was away.

What about dinner you ask? Usually, I make a Multiply Meal on Thursday evenings. I already had an important meeting to attend tonight, so I knew to rearrange that on my weekly menu. I'll cover that later. Besides, once you have a stocked freezer, it is okay to skip a week here or there. I left my hubby with instructions for a George Night--that is an EZ Fix meal on the Foreman grill. He was obedient there. When I dragged home from my meeting,I was coming down from an incredible adrenaline rush. The leaders of the meeting got stuck at the airport, I was left to entertain and educate the audience for 35 minutes, unplanned. Just a bit stressful. When the excitement wore off, the hunger pangs were becoming real. One might have thought my wonderful boys would have grilled a steak for me, but...

So what to eat? A quick check of the freezer inventory showed a single serving of my yummy rutabaga beef stew, affectionately called Stew-a-baga. See the blog post here for the recipe. I added a salad--so glad that is always waiting in the fridge. Dinner was served. Who knew leftovers would create the most comforting moments in my day? I had an Advil for dessert! Sometimes that is just how life works.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Purple Passion

I have had a bag of frozen mixed berries from Sam's for quite some time now. Guess I was uninspired. Then, the other day, I made a yummy fruit smoothie with them. That got me thinking about trying another dessert. On a family trip to Silver Dollar City a few years ago, I tasted a fabulous blackberry ice cream. I wondered if I could duplicate that flavor with one of my low carb staples--cream cheese, and one of my new experimental ingredients--chia seeds. So, off I went. I gotta say, the husband is happy. We had been feeling ice cream deprived after that birthday party.

Now this list of ingredients is a little odd for an ice cream dessert. I don't know what to call it. It is not a sherbet, not a granita, not a sorbet. Any one of those would sound better, but what I came up with defies description. So here goes.

Purple Passion

3 teaspoons of whole chia seeds
1/8 cup DaVinci Raspberry sugar free syrup
1 cup frozen berry mix (mine has blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons of cream cheese
sweetener to taste (I used about 4 drops of liquid sucralose, the equivalent of 3-4 teaspoons of sugar)

First, mix the chia seeds with the syrup, cream and water. Let stand about 10 minutes. Put this mixture into a blender. Add the frozen berries, cream cheese and sweetener. Blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into a bowl and place it in the freezer. Stir every 15 minutes until it is set up. If it freezes too hard before you plan to eat it, let it thaw a bit on the counter and stir again.
Serves 2

I couldn't tell the chia seeds from the blackberry seeds, but it was delicious no matter what. The chia seeds give the mixture a gelled consistency which may have kept it from forming huge ice crystals. That might have been helped by the creaminess of the cream cheese too. I am certainly no kitchen chemist. Since the berries were already frozen, this didn't take long at all to set up. I don't have the patience to drag out the ice cream maker, though I suspect it would work well there, if the recipes was doubled or tripled. There was no need to use it for this treat, a couple of stirs as it was freezing, and we were set to go. Good and good for you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ultra Chicken Casserole

I have blogged about the wonders of Ultra Chicken before. Last time I highlighted Ultra Chicken Cacciatore. Tonight, we enjoyed Ultra Chicken Casserole. It uses the chicken breast marinated in Michelob Ultra, or any low carb beer, which is then baked or grilled and used in several recipes during the week. Tonight's casserole was rich with cream cheese and broccoli. Comfort food at its best. With a simple salad on the side, the casserole goes together quickly. It seems to disappear quickly too.

Tonight I played around with a triple berry frozen dessert. I'll put that in another blog, since I am still eating it now. Aren't you jealous? Don't be...I still need to do the dishes.

Monday, April 27, 2009


My guys always loved waffles when they were little. My hubby, who usually manages to avoid kitchen duty, always volunteered to make waffles. He even got a Belgian waffle maker as a gift one Christmas. For years, we have made enough waffles to freeze. It was easy to grab one out of the freezer, pop it into the toaster oven and add some breakfast meats and cheese. Ham or sausage Wafflewiches were always a hit.

Low carbing doesn't mean giving up waffles, just getting a bit more creative. This recipe is from the ebook. Savory Wafflewiches, which is our "muffin" for the week, goes great with ham and cheese. This morning, I used canned luncheon loaf from Aldi. So quick!

Wafflewich Breakfast Sandwiches

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.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Maple's Meatballs Deluxe

An old favorite is better than ever. After my success with adding Chia seed meal to my meatloaf, I tried it in one of my favorite Multiply Meals recipes--Maple's Meatballs. I gotta say, this makes these meatballs moister and more tender. The taste is still that wonderful savory and sweet combo that my family adores. I am the one who always dipped her sausage into the pancake syrup when I was little. I always found pancakes a bit too sweet for me, but the taste of the meat with the maple was to die for good. That is what this recipe is all about. Now with chia meal, it is even better! I know I made enough for three meals plus a few snacks, but if I don't control myself right now, they may not make it to the freezer.

Maple's Meatballs

3 pounds ground chuck
2 pounds breakfast sausage
2 teaspoons maple flavoring
1 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
3 tablespoons chia seed meal

Mix all the ingredients until well blended. Form into balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and package in large freezer containers. Remove what you need for breakfasts or to use for snacks.

Serves 18 410 calories 1 carb

Saturday, April 25, 2009

3 Minute Chocolate Cake Trifle...yeah right

The name of this endearing little flourless chocolate cake may be the 3 minute cake, but given my "ingenuity" in the kitchen, I have managed to turn an easy recipe into an hour long chocolate experience. It really started innocently enough. I was baking a birthday cake for my brand new 16 year old and the living room full of his friends. That started smelling pretty darn good. So, I ran over to one of my favorite websites for low carb desserts and side dishes, Linda's Low Carb. I remembered an easy microwave cake made in individual servings. That seemed quick. That seemed simple enough. I decided to use Kahlua flavored DaVinci syrup instead of the vanilla in the recipe. Yum.

While the aroma of a German Chocolate cake wafted from the oven, a deep dark chocolate cake emerged from the microwave. Hmm. That was easy. Now I could have a cake while the teenagers had theirs. But what about my hubby? So, with all the ingredients out, I made another for him. Not wanting to dirty even more dishes, I took the original cake out of the bowl I microwaved it in. That gave me an idea. I had purchased a cute little straight sided bowl at the Dollar Tree last week, planning to use it for layered salads or desserts. If I wanted to make these chocolatey cakes into a trifle, I would need some frosting. I had some whipping cream and a packet of Swiss Miss cocoa mix. I think that mousse recipe is from Linda as well. For color, I threw in some cut strawberries. Unfortunately, I ran out of mousse and had to whip some more cream. While all this was going on, I noticed the layers were beginning to melt a bit in the heat wave we are having here. So I popped the dessert into the freezer to chill. I would not recommend trying this recipe in the heat if you want the layers of the trifle to stay separate and beautiful.

It is funny though, the kids keep wandering into the kitchen saying, "OOOH, is that for me?" I get to laugh and say, "No, this is diet food!" Our dessert looks better than theirs!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chinese Chicken Salad

My history class is studying ancient China this week, so I celebrated with Triple Play Chinese Chicken. Today was our third meal, Chinese Chicken Salad. This is a gourmet salad, with some unusual choices for the greens. This time I used a Romaine heart, coleslaw shreds and some left over bok choy stems from earlier in the week. They added a nice crunch. To that, I added the pre-made Chinese Chicken and a quick Asian dressing. My original recipe calls for almond slices, but I was out. Today, I substituted peanuts. They are wonderful in this salad.

Having a flavorful meat ready to add to greens is the secret of great salad entrees. With the meat already prepared, the rest goes together so quickly. This Chinese salad adds variety too. It is definitely not a boring meal.

Tonight, we are having Hobo Dinners made with beef and all the fixins. I have a crowd coming over for movies, so the dinner will have to be good if I am to survive without eating popcorn. I may make some cheese crisps for those of us who low carb. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Egg Roll-ups

Breakfast burritos are a favorite around here, but I have a couple of gripes with them. One thing I don't like about them is the way the scrambled egg tumbles out and down your shirt. Hmm, maybe that's just me? The other thing, is that carby tortilla. Even low carb tortillas add up too quickly in your carb totals for the day.

These Egg Roll-ups answer both of those problems for me. Instead of using a tortilla to do the wrapping, why not use the egg itself? It tastes just as good, and is just as easy to prepare. These were an E.Z. Fix breakfast this morning. Here's how I did it.

Egg Roll-ups

1 egg per roll up
1 slice of American cheese per roll up
optional ingredients: precooked sausage crumbles, bacon bits, chopped onion or green pepper

Lightly beat the egg. Spray a skillet with non stick cooking spray or melt butter. Pour the egg into the hot pan. Do not scramble or try to do two eggs at a time. When the egg is set, flip it over in the pan. Place a cheese slice on top. Add any optional ingredients in a thin layer. When the cheese is just beginning to melt, remove the food to a plate. Use your fingers to roll it in a spiral. Top with salsa.

I try to keep a bag of frozen diced onions and peppers in the freezer. For this recipe, I remove about 1/4 a cup and soften them briefly in the skillet before I prepare the Egg Roll-ups. Once these roll-ups have cooled a bit, they can even be eaten by hand on the go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mediterranean Chicken and Lemon Thyme Spinach

Marinating just seems to work magic on chicken. All those flavors together like a happy family. My family is happy tonight with this chicken. I prepped this weeks ago as a dump recipe from the Freezer Favorites section. Today, I was able just to place it in a casserole dish and forget about dinner for awhile. When one of those teenagers selling magazines rang the doorbell, his first question was not about his product, but about that wonderful aroma that greeted him as I opened the door. Poor guy, I didn't have enough to offer him dinner, and I didn't buy a magazine either.

To compliment the Mediterranean Chicken, I chose a simple spinach saute. This recipe is light and tasty, and that is something for an avowed spinach hater such as myself. I just don't like the canned stuff, and the frozen is not much better for me. I do love spinach salads and I like lightly sauteed spinach. Tonight's recipe used some lemon thyme from my herb garden, but you could substitute a light sprinkle of dried thyme.

Lemon Thyme Spinach

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 sprigs of lemon thyme
dash of lemon pepper
6-9 ounces of fresh baby spinach

Remove the thyme leaves from the stem. Stir into softened butter. Add garlic. Let the flavors mix while you bake the rest of dinner. Just before the entree is ready, melt the flavored butter in a skillet. Add the spinach and stir to coat the leaves with butter. Cook, stirring often, until the leaves wilt. Do not over cook. Sprinkle with lemon pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chinese Chicken Soup

When you are in it for the long run, it is not enough just to eat low carb. As the food provider for my family, I want to make sure they have nutritious food as well. Dark green leafy vegetables are way up there on the super food list. Getting my guys to eat them is not so easy. For lunch today, we had the Triple Play meal of Chinese Chicken Soup. The star of the recipe is Bok Choy.

Whole Health MD says,"It is rich in Vitamin C and contains significant amounts of nitrogen compounds known as indoles, as well as fiber--both of which appear to lower the risk of various forms of cancer. Bok choy is also a good source of folate (folic acid). And with its deep green leaves, bok choy has more beta-carotene than other cabbages, and it also supplies considerably more calcium. The stalks and leaves have quite different textures, so in culinary terms, it's like getting two vegetables for the price of one."

The dark green upper leaves cook up tender, and the bottom white stalks are similar to the crunch of a stringless celery. The flavor is quite mild, and blends well with the soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil that marinated the Chinese Chicken. This soup is definitely one of those recipes that keeps us from getting bored. Variety is the spice of life. China for lunch, and for dinner, we will go to Mexico for some 2 E.Z. Enchilada Skillet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bobby-Q Pork

I spent some time planting tomatoes today, so I am happy that the pork for dinner was already slow cooked and waiting in the freezer for me. I haven't been able to find my favorite KC Masterpiece Classic Barbecue sauce lately, so I made my own.

Trouble is, I am a bit of a taste as you go cook. I hope these measurements are pretty close. Feel free to add and take away to suit your own tastes.

Lisa's Last Minute Barbecue Sauce

15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/8 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
2 Tablespoons of liquid smoke
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Barbecue seasoning (has salt)
optional, because it is hard to find, 1/2 teaspoon Burnt Sugar flavoring

Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 10 minutes or longer.

We like a sweet sauce, so reduce the sweetener if you don't prefer the sweetness. I would add some hot pepper sauce if my hubby liked it...I know I would! I served this tonight on Oopsie Rolls with Nana's Coleslaw with a Kick, pickles and onions. That is Oklahoma Barbecue at its best.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jello Muffins

I am busy doing my prep work for the week, but I took time out to take a photo of the muffins we will be eating. This is my standard Jello Muffin from the e-book, made with raspberry gelatin. That is one flavor that does not have maltodextrin as an ingredient. It also happens to be my favorite for the muffins. They become a pretty deep pink color. Today, I whipped up some frosting--cream cheese, Raspberry DaVinci syrup and even a spoonful of Chia gel. That of course, is an optional ingredient.

Jello Muffins

1 cup vanilla protein powder
3/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
1 package sugarfree gelatin
1/2 cup DaVinci syrup (any flavor)
1/4 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Mix together wet ingredients in a small bowl. Blend the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine and let the batter rest for 10 minutes. Grease 12 muffin tins or 24 mini muffins. Fill cups and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed in the center.

Serves 12 206 calories 2 carbs

4/14 update: Tonight I made this batch with E Z Sweetz Stevia and Monkfruit drops in place of the DaVinci syrup and sucralose. I measured out to equal 3/4 cup (3/4 tsp). The sweeteners really are forgiving. I did need to add a half cup of water. They still have the light texture we love. Aspartame warning: if you want to avoid the exposure to aspartame, which we generally do, I have been told you can add 1/2 packet unsweetened Kool-aid and a packet of unflavored gelatin while upping the sweetener a bit. I will try this soon for you. We have a little aspartame from time to time in small quantities. If only it was easier to find a sugar free gelatin without it.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Boar's Head

Today has been a very busy day. Our Medieval Feast was this afternoon. Those orange pork balls turned out to taste pretty good afterall. The kids did a great job of keeping us all entertained, and taught the parents a thing or two as well. Our day of eating was a bit out of the norm for us. At the feast, we had to go very lightly on some rice dishes. I passed on some bread, but did try some Welsh Rabbit. That is a beer and cheese sauce for those of you who didn't share in our history lessons today.

Dinner, as I said, was a Multiply Meals casserole, which I left in the oven for my guys while I ran out to another meeting. It was still waiting for me when I got home tonight. A bit dry after 4 hours in the oven, but I am hungry, so who is complaining.

I leave you with some photos of four of my favorite kids in the world, all of whom make me proud to be their teacher. My son is the blonde with a crown on. I'll be back to blog about real food tomorrow. But this blog is to show you how we manage to be low carb 24/7 in real life. Sometimes that means carving a bologna pig. Thanks for indulging me!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't Try This at Home

It is not too often that I will publish a recipe and tell you not to try it for yourself. This is one of those occasions. But, then this is not a normal day out our house. My youngest son, a sophomore, is preparing for a living history event for his Medieval History class tomorrow. He researched authentic recipes from the middle ages, and came up with a dish with a deceivingly simple name--"Oranges".

It is actually pork meatballs designed to look like oranges. After spending all afternoon working on this medieval delicacy, we have decided that the nobles of England and France must have had no idea what an orange looked like. Try as we might with countless dips into egg white and egg yolk, our meatballs simply do not look much like citrus to us! Granted, they are low carb and fit effortlessly into our eating plan, but those medieval cooks must have more time to spend around the spit than I do!

Poume d'oranges


Take pork, neither too fat nor too lean, and cut it up raw; grind it in a mortar and add raw egg yolk; then take broth and bring it to a boil; then take the white of an egg and rub it on your hands; then take out the meat and make round balls, like an onion, as many as you wish, and boil them in the broth; then take them out and arrange on spits so that they are not touching and put them to roast on the fire; and take two dishes and put the white of an egg in one and the yolk (in the other) and coat the "oranges" when they are rolled therein; take sugar and sprinkle it over them when they are removed from the spit, and then serve.

- Hieatt, Constance B. and Robin F. Jones. "Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections Edited from British Library Manuscripts Additional 32085 and Royal 12.C.xii." Speculum vol. 61, issue 4 (Oct. 1986): 859-882.

All this, and I still need to carve a boar's head out of chopped ham lunchmeat. Yes, I am crazy. Don't try that one either.

So in case you choose not to spend your weekends with SCA crowds, just what can I recommend you eat? Tonight we are having a burger buffet. John is graciously flipping burgers on the Foreman grill. Tomorrow, I will have a multiply meals waiting to pop in the oven after the Feast. So glad cooking is not on my schedule!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Homestyle Fried Chicken and Green Beans

I grew up in a country style family. I remember eating fried chicken and garden grown green beans at my great grandma's house. Tonight, I made a dinner that reminds me of those times.

I love homegrown green beans the way my grandparents used to make them---not so politically correct in these days of the tender crisp veggies. My great grandma cooked those babies for hours, and wasn't too shy to use real bacon grease. Nothing can duplicate that flavor except some time on the stove and the leftovers from this morning's bacon. I use frozen green beans, add a tablespoon of bacon drippings and a bit of salt. Then I cook them the whole time I am making a triple batch of fried chicken...or about an hour.

For the chicken, tonight I was aiming for flavor. I sprinkled the chicken breasts with rotisserie seasoning and let them rest for about 30 minutes. When I was beating the eggs, I added some more seasoning and a tablespoon of mustard. I even added some rotisserie spices to the soy flour. That's three layers of herbs and spices. The Colonel couldn't ask for more. I simply dipped each boneless breast into the egg mixture, then dredged in the flour. Tonight I fried in coconut oil, but any would do. Remember that soy flour browns more quickly than wheat flour, so don't use the color as a measurement of doneness. I fried mine with the lid on the skillet in between batches.

Even though I planned this chicken as a Multiply Meal, enough for three entrees, plans change. My oldest son made a suprise visit home, and chicken is his favorite. Then, all my men liked it so much, they had seconds. Now I have just enough for one lunch meal. Oh well, I am glad that they like my cooking, even if I don't have anything to add to the freezer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taco Pizza--My Signature for Tonight

I love Mexican food, but just about everything I can buy at restaurants comes laden with tortillas. When the craving hits, I can have all the same flavors at home. Same taste, fewer carbs. Tonight's recipe uses a crust that is very versatile. My Signature Pizzas in the e-book explain all the variations we low carbers can make. The combos are endless. This crust is the invention of Nancyelle over on the Low Carb Friends forum. It has been tweaked by hundreds of low carbers, so it is easy to find several variations. Basically it is a cheese and egg crust. Most people add a bit of a flour type ingredient to bind it together.

For the three of us tonight, I added 2 cups of Jack cheese, 2 eggs and 2 Tablespoons of soy flour. I spread this on parchment paper on my pizza stone. After baking for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees, I took the crust out, and flipped it over. The parchment keeps that from sticking. Then I topped it with mild salsa, Mexican Minute Beef, more cheese, some green bell pepper and black olives. Back in the oven for about 10 minutes, and the feasting began!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coconut Cream Chia Pudding

It's official. I have gone Chia crazy. First, let me tell you about last night's dessert. If you like coconut cream pie, this is a pretty good substitute. It tastes wonderful. The texture is not quite the same, but the health benefits of chia seed meal far outweigh that issue. Bear in mind, that this recipe uses the white seed. The normal black would work the same, but would have many more dark flecks from the darker seed. Here is how I made ours.

Coconut Cream Chia Pudding

1 14 ounce can Coconut Milk
3 Tablespoons of White Chia Seed Meal (or ground whole seeds)
1/2 cup sweetener of choice, or equivalent
3 drops Coconut Cream flavoring drops (optional)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened dehydrated coconut flakes
(plus 1 tsp. toasted, reserved)

Mix the first five ingredients. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes and stir again. Chill for an hour. Stir again. Chill until ready to serve. If pudding sits overnight, you may need to stir in some water to reach the desired consistency. Toast coconut to sprinkle on the top of the pudding. Carbs will vary with the brand of Coconut Milk and sweetener used. Mine worked out to 3-4 carbs per serving

In addition to the pudding, I also played around with some beverages. In Mexico, chia seeds are added to lemonade. If you don't mind gelatinous little globs floating in your drink, it is quite appealing. I think it is fine as long you are expecting it. If not, you might think you just got served some frog spawn. eeeuuuw. In Mexico, they call it Chia Fresca. I added a twist. I first soaked my chia meal in raspberry DaVinci syrup. That gave the gel a bright pink hue. Very pretty. Then I made glass of lemonade, and added a spoonful of the chia meal to the drink. The result was very nice. You should drink this with a straw to keep the Chia suspended in the beverage. Kinda cool even if it is a little scary at first...and very good for your health.

One more thing, Chia is also good stirred into tea. I made Chai Chia. I didn't get a photo because I drank it all for breakfast. If you think I am too weird, just google "bubble tea" and find out that I am not the only one!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazing Aztec Meatloaf

Okay, just what do meatloaf and the ancient Aztec civilization possibly have in common? That is not as strange as you might think--it is the chia seed. This is a remarkable little seed. I generally don't like speciality ingredients, but this is an exception. According to the experts, it was once so valuable, that it was given as tribute to Aztec rulers. For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians. Further, it was used as "running" food, as the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests or long treks.

Chia can be eaten dry, although that is certainly not my favorite way of using the seeds. Many recipes use the hydrated seeds, which make a thick gel. A few spoons of Chia seeds in a jar of water will create a gel-forming reaction from the soluble fiber. Once eaten, the gel is great for adding a feeling of fullness, often with fewer calories and carbs consumed. Chia gel is also helpful as an extender for richer foods such as butter or cheese sauces. The seeds themselves are very bland, and absorb the flavors of the food around them. As an additional benefit for diabetics, the gel also creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down. It is believed to slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.

Tonight, I used chia seeds as a binder. I hear they work well in baked goods, but I haven't tried that yet. However, I can recommend chia as a wonderful binder for meatloaf. I missed the texture I used to get from oatmeal or breadcrumbs. The chia seed substitutes very well, and made my meatloaf tender and flavorful. The loaf was moist, but did not crumble. Try adding about three tablespoons of chia seed meal to your favorite meatloaf recipe in place of the starch. The result is outstanding. We had our meatloaf with roasted vegetables, easy to do while the oven is hot, and a bacon vinaigrette salad. I had to hide the leftovers to keep my hubby out of them. He will thank me when he gets to eat the meatloaf again for lunch later in the week.

While I was playing with these little miracle seeds, I thought about the gelling properties and how it could be used in puddings. An online search gave me some ideas. My first experiment, a simple mix with sweetened cream was alright, but not quite the same as tapioca. I like today's experiment much better. It will be dessert tonight--Coconut Cream Pudding. I'll give you directions for that tomorrow.

FYI, I bought my Chia seeds, aka Blanco Salvia, at Netrition, but plan to order more through Nutty Guys when I get some almond flour.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Celebration Experiments

I hope everyone had a glorious Easter. Even though the weather was dismal here today, we had a chance to celebrate His resurrection among family, so it was blessed. As with most family functions, we had food. Some low carb, some not so low. Because ours was so good, we were able to behave ourselves at the table.

Our low carb menu consisted of a big Easter ham. I glazed it alwith a bit of maple syrup. We also had a family favorite--broccoli salad. Everyone liked that, low carb or not. In addition, my sweet mom made us some sugarfree jello jellybeans. They were really cute and were a hit with the kids.

My main experiment was a request from my hubby. He missed the sweet baked beans we had in years past. I substituted some black soy beans. I added some sugarfree ketchup, some liquid smoke, some bacon salt, some ham flavoring and some sugarfree maple syrup. They were good, although still a little firm. I buy canned black soy beans, and they seem to stay more firm than other types of beans. Anyone else have this problem? John, not having had baked beans in such a long time, still really liked them and had seconds at lunch. I guess the experiment was still a hit. I will tweak the recipe a bit, then post it when I have it perfected.

We also had the Tie Dye cheesecake I blogged about earlier in the week. My almost two year old nephew really liked that.

When I was just home, my friend NeeCee phoned to tell me about a really wonderful Easter experiment of her own. She hosted the Easter Dinner for her entire family, including her diabetic mom. She had a whole low carb feast on the table--hams, cauliflower au gratin, spinach strawberry salad, broccoli salad, dozens of deviled eggs and three desserts. At first the high carbers scoffed a bit, just putting small portions on their plates. Before she knew it, they were back for more. Even the picky little ones. She reported that she hardly had any leftovers.

NeeCee's mom has been diabetic for a long time. She counts carbs, but does not eliminate starches. Her normal routine is to substantially limit the amount of food she is able to eat because her choices have so many natural carbs. When one chooses to eat bread and potatoes, it doesn't take much food to spike blood sugars. She routinely goes hungry because her diet does not keep blood sugars under control. In fact, in their experiment today, her blood sugar reading was 197 before the meal. She ate all she wanted at NeeCee's feast today. Second helpings, three desserts and grazing all afternoon, but when she took her readings before dinner, her blood sugar had dropped to 164. That was a drop after eating much more food that she was accustomed to. NeeCee says we have a new convert to the low carb lifestyle. I am just hoping she finds a healthier way of dealing with her diabetes, and has a better quality of life. I know her family wants to keep her around for many more years.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pizza Buffet

My big boys are home from college for Easter, and there is no better meal to feed them than a Pizza Buffet. To make a low carb pizza the absolute easiest way, just grab some Joseph's Lavash bread. That is 8 net carbs for a whole big piece. I add some pizza sauce from Walmart, the Great Value brand only has 4 carbs for 1/4 cup, and we use only eat about half of that. Add a few carbs for the onion and other veggies and a couple for the cheese. Our meat is pepperoni and Minute Sausage, both pre-cooked and ready to pile on. Yum. Who needs Dominos?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tuna Alfredo Ready to Go Polar

This is one of those rich sauces we get to have when we low carb that makes everyone else jealous. Really good. Butter, cream, cream cheese... We eat ours on steamed cabbage strips. They are mildly flavored and don't fight the creaminess of the sauce. My Tuna Alfredo is a Multiply Meal recipe--it makes at least four or five meals, this one usually makes more. It depends on how many mouths you feed.

So, since you are investing in the big box of cream cheese from Sam's, a couple of canisters of Parmesan cheese, a large carton of cream, you certainly don't want to mess up when it comes to freezing this precious stuff. These are my tips for freezing sauces and soups.

It is fine to use ziploc bags, if you learn how to keep them a uniform size and flat. To do this, I keep a few old boxes around as forms. I pour my liquidy food into a freezer bag, then fit it into the box to freeze. Once it is frozen, I can remove the food from the box. That way, the bags are all the same size, and stack well in the freezer. They also tend to thaw more quickly if the food is evenly distributed. Whatever you do, don't place a freezer bag with liquidy foods in the freezer if you have wire shelves. The bag may form around the wire and be next to impossible to remove.

For some sauces or soups, I use inexpensive plastic storage bowls. I find the best place to buy these is at the Dollar Tree. I can get good quality bowl at a cost of only four for one dollar. These bowls will even stand up to microwave heat if the food content is not too fatty. These are only available in smaller sizes, so plan on these only if you are freezing two cups or less. These aren't Tupperware for sure, but they work!

Now for that recipe:

Tuna Alfredo

66.5 ounce can of water packed tuna
1 3 pound block of cream cheese
1 cup butter
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
4 cups water or to preference
2 cups cream
16 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper

In a large pot, melt butter and cream cheese together, stirring constantly. Stir in parmesan cheese and spices. Gradually add cream and water to desired consistency. Stir in drained tuna. Place the mixture into freezer containers or bags.

30 servings 396 calories 3 carbs

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Awesome Italian Sausage Bake

I'll bet you thought that I was so busy making tie dye bunnies that my family went hungry, right? My guys will always find a way to eat. But we are still eating the good stuff because I have a plan. Just in case you wondered...

Today was an Italian Day at our house. We had Florentine Scramble for breakfast. That is eggs and spinach mixed with the Minute Sausage I already had prepared. For lunch, John had Creamy Italian Soup and leftover coleslaw. I got home from a shopping trip a bit late, and wanted to put my squash plants out. So I did. Having so much of the meal prepped gives me so much more free time. Dinner was the Triple Play meal--my Turkey Red Sauce made into Awesome Italian Sausage Bake. If you like Italian sausage, this will be a favorite. Just add in a salad and you are set to go.

This makes enough for leftovers with only three of us home. But I am happy. My big boys are coming home from college for Easter. These leftovers will be good for them to get a little home cooking.

Awesome Italian Sausage Bake
1 1/2 cups Turkey Red Sauce
5 links Italian Sausage
1 pound coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage)
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese

Slice the Italian Sausage into rounds and brown in a skillet. Stir together the cheeses. Coat a casserole dish with non stick spray. Place 1/2 cup turkey sauce in the bottom. Spread about 1/2 of the cabbage mixture over the sauce. Top this with half of the cheese mixture. Distribute half the sausage over the cheese. Repeat the layers. End with turkey sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serves 6 629 calories 11 carbs

Easter Bunnies!

Even better! If you put the cheesecake recipe into a slightly bigger dish, you can use Easter cookie cutters to make the most adorable treats! The cheesecake is sturdy enough, that these will cut out fine and will transfer to a plate with no problem. Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tie Dye Easter Cheesecake

Looking for something special to compete with all those chocolate bunnies this Easter? This is it!

This no bake cheesecake is so easy and so cute! The colors of spring in a sugarfree dessert. I came up with this one after seeing a blog talking about tie dye cupcakes. I haven't had too much luck lately with cakes, so the thought of cheesecake entered my mind. Come to find out, Disney makes an almost famous tie dye cheese cake with a red velvet cake base. Well, you can try that one if you want, but I want something failproof. So I went searching for a no bake cheesecake. After all, who wants the oven browning interfering with these beautiful colors?

I found a good recipe on Linda Sue's site. If she liked it, I assumed I would too. Her recipe is here:
I made her recipe, then divided the mixture into 6 bowls. I added about ten drops of food coloring for each one. Then I just plopped the cheesecake mixture into a springform pan. Let it chill a few hours and you have a fantastic dessert that will impress everyone. More than a feast for the eyes, it tastes good too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Szechwan Pork

Have you ever noticed what a bargain large pork roasts are? Generally, there is plenty of meat for three entrees. That is why I made the Triple Play Marathon Pork Roast. Just like the runner in ancient Greece, this goes a long, long way! One meal can be barbecue flavored Pulled Pork. Another can go south of the border and become Carnitas...chipotle and cola.

Tonight, we are going Asian with Szechwan Pork. Here is the recipe from the Triple Play section of the e-book. Make sure to use the sesame oil. It really makes a difference in this recipe. Since the meat is already cooked, this meal goes together in minutes.

Szechwan Pork

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Splenda or equivalent sweetener
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil, stirred into 1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
12 ounces pork

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Heat pork in a skillet. Pour sauce over meat and stir-fry until well blended. Serve with stir-fry vegetable blend or wrap in lettuce.
Serves 4 266 calories 2 carbs (no vegetables) about 10 carbs with veggies

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cinnamon Dutch Babies

How can this be legal?

There are low carbers who believe we should eliminate all sweets from our diets. They contend that replacing real sugars with artificial sweeteners, or even Stevia, will only continue our cravings for carbohydrates. They may have a point. Unfortunately, I am not ready to give up all sweet treats. I would feel like I was in diet prison, not the full rich life I want to live. If I am sticking to this long term, I cannot feel deprived.

This breakfast treat will take you back to the old days of french toast swimming in butter and maple syrup. This German pancake is not a treat I will fix everyday, but it certainly leaves me feeling spoiled, not deprived. It is easier than flipping pancakes too. I got the original recipe from the Stella Style board, from OceanDreaming. She got it from another board, so who is to credit? I dunno. By my calculations, these Dutch Babies have only 4-5 carbs per serving, and a bit over 400 calories before the syrup or toppings of your choice. That will fit in to most plans.

I added cinnamon and syrup. Not too much syrup because of the sugar alcohols. The original recipe called for a topping of sour cream and strawberries. Have fun and do what you want.

Cinnamon Dutch Babies

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.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Forgot to Thaw!

Oh, my. I remembered late this afternoon that I forgot to thaw my hamburger for tonight's burgers. Time to be flexible. I still had some leftover Southwestern Beef, so I substituted that for the Minute Beef in the 2 E.Z. Enchilada Skillet, and added a can of low carb black soybeans. We actually had enchiladas for lunch today too. But, they were so good, we still wanted more. This E.Z. Fix meal was just right.

That is the way real life works at our house. Menu plans aren't always perfect. We learn to be flexible. Our meals are far from gourmet style. I serve real life family style food and life is good! John just got some fantastic numbers on his blood work. I'll share those when he gives me the exact report. Diabetes is not going to work its damage in my family if I can help it!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bacon Mustard Coleslaw

We had Bobby-Q Pork Multiply Meals tonight. I was anticipating company, and didn't want to do the prep work for three casseroles. This works great--I just cooked the pork in the crockpot all day, then divided it up into three entree portions.

Today, I decided to try a new idea for coleslaw--yes I do still have some cabbages from St. Patty's day. Here is what we dined on tonight. It has a different flavor than most coleslaws; no celery seed. Give it a try for an interesting change. The contrast between the sweet mustard dressing and the salty bacon flavoring is delicious.

Bacon Mustard Coleslaw

approximately 1 pound of shredded cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup splenda or equivalent sweetener
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Bacon Salt

Shred the cabbage finely, or use a bag of coleslaw mix.
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, sweetener and spice powders. Combine this with the cabbage, stirring well. Refrigerate for an hour. Sprinkle the Bacon salt over the coleslaw for the prettiest appearance, or stir it in for the best taste.
About 200 calories and 4 net carbs

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Philadelphia and the Incredible Hulk of Chickens

I know, I know, real Philadelphians will protest loudly, but this is good anyway. Chicken breasts are more within my budget than steaks, so we improvise a bit. For those of you who don't yet know--"Chicken a la George" at our house, means a breast cooked on a George Foreman grill. No thawing, not much work--the stuff of everyday lunches. Even a good work lunch if you happen to have access to a grill at the office. My hubby does, and appreciates something hot from the grill now and then. This is a simple grilled breast, topped with Philadelphia cream cheese and grilled peppers/onions. The cheese gets all gooey and creamy. I'll bet the smell of the peppers grilling with the chicken makes everyone else hungry at the office...

This was our lunch today. The chicken we got was monstrous! It must have looked like a turkey. My hubby came home from the grocery with two three pound bags of chicken last week. I wanted them to make into dump recipes. Unfortunately, these were the biggest pieces of chicken breast I had ever seen. One bag had only three breasts in it. Not wanting to thaw and refreeze, and not having one of those incredible Ginsu knives to cut frozen meat, I opted for one dump meal and to use the rest as E.Z. Fix George recipes. The meat certainly won't go as far, but we should be full. One of these days, I hope to be able to buy free range chicken, but for now, we buy the cheaper grocery store birds. I guess the variation in size, and amount of rib meat and added fluid is to be expected. With the cream cheese and peppers, even the Incredible Hulk bird tasted good.

This just may be the bird we ate for lunch today...can't be too sure!