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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Unbelievable Brined Birdy

"Brining" just does not sound all that pleasant. Definitely not something one would want to do to a defenseless little chicken thigh. But my husband just deemed tonight's dinner as "unbelievable." All I did was make a brine for the chicken thighs I used tonight. I have done this with the turkeys I make for the holidays, but never for a simple family dinner. I guess from the reaction of my men, this won't be that last time.

I got the recipe method while researching grilling for this month's newsletter. Not being the griller at our house, I am woefully ignorant in this art! It sounded like a great idea. I knew brining made a marvelous Thanksgiving bird, so I gave it a try. With only a package of thighs to deal with, I didn't have to bring out the giant pail to accomplish the soaking. Nor did I have to give it so much time and worry about keeping the contents safe from bacterial invasion!

This is from the July 24/7 Low Carb Diner Newsletter:
"For a basic brine, use 1/4 cup kosher salt to each quart of water. It is easiest to dissolve the salt in very hot water, so dissolve salt first in a cup of boiling water. Then add this concentrated solution to a quart pitcher and add cold water to top it off. Many people add spices, vinegar or wine to this brine as well. Experiment with flavors you enjoy."

Tonight, I soaked the thighs in the brine only for one hour, although most meal sized portions can be brined for up to six hours. Larger meats, such as turkey, benefit from longer brining. Amazingly, the poultry does not taste overly salty, but it is extremely juicy and flavorful. Brining is not about seasoning; it is about chemistry tenderizing on the cellular level. I won't get into that!

I added a touch of vinegar to my brine solution, then sprinkled the chicken with McCormick Rotisserie Seasoning. I intended to have the hubby grill these out, but he ended up working overtime, and I wanted to let him rest. Instead, I turned these into a "George" meal. Not being one who appreciates meat on the bone as much as some, I am a bit inexperienced at knowing when they are fully cooked. Glad to have that trusty meat thermometer!For sides tonight, I added some Nana's Coleslaw With a Kick, some sugarfree sweet pickles, and for the carbavore boys, some cheesy mashed potatoes. It's all good--well except for the pseudo potatoes. One day, perhaps they will see the light!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mexican Minute Beef Salad

My "Freezer Favorite" selection for this week was Mexican Minute Beef. Brown five pounds of ground beef, add some Mexican seasonings, and pack it up in freezer bags. Now I have the base for several delicious Tex-Mex favorites, and I only had to cook once. Today's lunch is a salad.

Doesn't it look fabulous? I simply topped my romaine salad fixins for the week with the Mexican Minute Beef. I added some cheese and some diced red onion. I have to say, this home made salad is SOOO much better than fast food salads which always run short on meat. One of the Mexican fast food places has an ad out now that says just that. You know, that one that asks how it is a salad if the guys can't find the lettuce? The lettuce is under the beans, she says. That technically makes it a salad. (and carries the perception of being healthy) Well, this salad really is healthy, but it certainly is not rabbit food!

Mexican Minute Beef is also very handy to have around as omelet filling, for tacos and enchiladas, nachos and casseroles. Don't forget about the recipes in the e-book, Chili in a Flash, 2 E.Z. Enchilada Skillet, and Taco Pizza! Got a minute? Gotta great lunch!

Now I am off to finish up the July newsletter. It is filled with ideas for the grill. Don't miss it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Better Than Hot Pockets

Generally, sandwiches are a no brainer. At least I thought so. But then, think about the number of frozen sandwiches that are on the market today. While browsing at Sam's for some lunch items for my working boy, I am constantly amazed that these frozen, undersized, less than tasty and thoroughly over-processed foods are so expensive. Just about everything is a least a dollar a serving, and a serving is far too small for a young man's appetite.

These turkey roll ups that I assembled today for lunch, are prepped, cooked and eaten in under five minutes. Really. Well, you can take longer to eat them, but cooking is a breeze. Just take a sheet of Joseph's Lavash bread and cut it into 4ths. Sprinkle a handful of shredded Jack cheese, and plop on a slice of smoked turkey. Add a line of ranch dressing. No need for a knife, just squirt it on! Roll 'em up and put them in the microwave to cook for one minute. The cheese is all melty and oozy. The ranch dressing goes great with the turkey. It really is better than a hot pocket! What could be easier than this? Add a bowl of coleslaw or some veggies and dip, and you have a hot lunch with no hot oven.

My youngest son's film project is premiering tonight. The kids are walking the red carpet, arriving in a limo and the works. I had better get in the kitchen and make the family some low carb movie snacks for the show--Cheese Crisps.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

The Signature Pizza section of the e-book gives lots of ideas for pizzas, some of which are a bit unusual. Tonight, I chose to bake up a barbecue style pizza. It is a great change of pace from the norm. To make it, heat up a bag of Chicken Cubes, or grill some tenders and dice them. I also sprinkle the chicken with some rotisserie seasoning and a Knorr Cilantro cube.

I happened to have some home made barbecue sauce still in the fridge, but you can use KC Masterpiece Classic if you can find it. It has disappeared from the shelves around my town. I also diced up some red onion. Our low carb crust of the night was Joseph's Pita bread. Not having to bake a crust kept me from having a hot oven for too long. Very important when it is over 100 degrees outside! Just spread on the sauce, top with shredded cheese, chicken, onions and another layer of cheese. Bake for about 8 minutes and dinner is served. I added a bagged salad. We had eaten so much salad this week, my supply from last weekend had run out.

I'm tired now; the heat really drains me. Maybe I can talk someone else into doing the dinner dishes...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Candy Cane Latte

It is so hot! I wanted something soothing and cool. I happen to still have some Christmas flavors from Celestial Seasonings; I stock up in November. This morning, I made a cup of double strength candy cane tea. Once it was cool, I added about 1/4 cup of cream, sweetened it with my liquid sucralose and added some ice cubes. All this went into my new blender. I added a drop of red food coloring just to make it pretty, but that is optional. Now I am enjoying a really refreshing summer drink. If you want it even thicker, make up the tea and freeze it in an ice cube tray before blending. Mmm...

Now on to an afternoon of crafting. I am making awards for the student actors in the film project my youngest son is in. The premiere is Saturday, and we are all very excited to see the student version of Lord of the Rings. Stay cool!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crockpot Jambalaya Diner Style

It is certainly the time of the year when it is too hot to be in the kitchen at dinnertime. Unfortunately, we still want to eat. The crockpot meets both of those needs. This morning, I took advantage of that purchase of smoked sausage to make up a crockpot version of Jambalaya. Ours isn't quite authentic because my oldest is allergic to shellfish. The shrimp would do a number on his lip worse than that dog bite. BTW, his stitches are out now and he looks great--no complications.

Here's my recipe to add the "What a Crock" section of your e-book.

Crockpot Jambalaya

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.

Everybody liked this, and with one boy gone, we managed to finish it up with only four. It would also be good with some hot wing sauce or Tabasco stirred in.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

White Turkeyladas

Today I had a terrible day. Somehow I managed to misplace some mail, which in turn cost my boys some college money. Why is it my mistakes are so expensive, while those of others seem to just get shrugged off? Oh well, water under the bridge now, I suppose. My sweet youngest son wanted to run out and buy me some barbecue potato chips--my comfort food. Chocolate just doesn't do the trick for me. I abstained, but no promises tonight.

Maybe this yummy casserole will keep me filled up and away from carbs. Maybe I will learn not to comfort myself with food. That is one of the tricks to be thin, yes? Maybe you could send up some prayers that we can find our way out of this financial mess I have gotten us into.

I liked this dish. It is interesting. I got the idea from Shelly over at The World According to Eggface blog. I changed it up quite a bit, but she is an inspiring cook. Using my new blender, this went together quickly. Now if I could just figure out a way to make it without an oven!


20 ounces of sliced turkey, oblong slices, not round
24 ounces cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
2 Knorr Cilantro cubes
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 diced zucchini
1/4 cup diced onion
optional: one seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper

Saute onion and zucchini in a pan. While that is browning, make the filling. In a food processor or blender, blend cottage cheese until smooth. Add the cilantro cubes and chipotle powder and blend until incorporated. Add about 1/2 cup of veggies to the cottage cheese puree and blend again. Stir in 1 cup cheese to complete the filling.

Spray a large casserole dish with non stick spray. Place a large spoonful of the cheese mixture inside a slice of turkey. Top with a spoonful of zucchini. Roll up to make a short roll, not lengthwise. Place the roll in the pan. Repeat with remaining slices. (I got 18) Spread remaining cottage cheese mixture over the rolls. Top with the last half cup of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for at least five minutes. Use any moisture in the bottom of the dish to spread over the top of the meat rolls.

These were just hot enough for my pepper hater hubby. If it was just for the rest of us, I would add a chopped jalapeno pepper to the zucchini. Serves 6-8

Next time, I think I will double this recipe and make it a Multiple Meal. I will freeze the leftovers and see how they do. Tonight, I served it with a green salad, and homemade black refried beans for my carby boys. Other than one complaint from my zucchini hater, everyone liked it. John told me to make it again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Healthy Low Carb Ice Cream for Hot , Hot Days

It is so hot in my part of the world. I absolutely loathe the Oklahoma summers. The thermometer near my house read 103 degrees as we drove past at five p.m. The weather guys claim it was only 98 degrees, but I think I believe the other guys! I was so glad that our Multiply Meals dinner needed only to be popped in the microwave, and voila! Amazing Aztec Meatloaf --Great man food for my warriors, but easy on the overheated cook. All I did was steam a little broccoli, and grab the salad from the fridge.

I decided to venture out again, still mindful with the calisthenics I went through last time with my ice cream maker, and try a batch of super healthy ice cream. Somehow the old diet mentality of eating a bowl of cream still sends chills down my spine. What I came up with tonight is quite creative, even if I do brag. It does, however, break with some of my usual procedures. Generally, I shy away from specialty ingredients. It seems like this ice cream is full of them. Granted, I like to keep things simple, but sometimes nutrition and taste win out. I have been incorporating chia seeds in many foods, and tonight I used my new blender to make a slurry with them. I thought about chia ice cream, looked it up online, and behold, someone HAD thought of it before I did. Theirs, however, tends to be made as a raw food, and I am not into soaking cashews to replace the cream. I gathered my vast food knowledge, and came up with this. To up the protein, I added a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Use your favorite. When I made my order with Capella for flavoring drops, I chose Cookies and Cream because it was half price. I also got Boston Cream Pie, Chocolate Butternut Crunch and Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Cookies and cream. We low carbers don't eat too many cookies. But then, the black chia seeds I have would look like the oreo crumbs in the original stuff. I blended up my chia slurry so it didn't look like frog spawn, and it did begin to look remarkably similar to a cookies and cream milkshake. Add the other ingredients, blend and pour into the freezer.

Yes, it did it to me again. The ice cream freezer from hell almost won again. Lesson number 2. Never try to do this alone. Three to five hands are definitely required.

Here is the recipe at last!

Cookies and Cream Superfood Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup cream
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
1/2 cup ice
10 drops cookies and cream flavoring
dash of salt

Hydrate the chia seeds for 20 minutes in the water. Stir every five minutes while jelling. In a blender, add chia gel and process until the seeds are ground and evenly distributed. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.

I wasn't too impressed with the cookies and cream flavoring; it tasted rather artificial, but this would make a wonderful base for other flavorings. Maybe I will just add more plain vanilla and call it "Vanilla Bean." The texture beats that of the coconut milk ice cream, and the protein boost is a huge nutrition plus. If you try it, I would love to hear about your variations. Until then, it is a great summertime treat, and I will experiment further!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lise's French Dressing

Once I was a guest in a home where the children were chastised for setting a bottled salad dressing on the table. Oh my, it was supposed to be poured into that quaint little pitcher! This was no fancy dinner party, and I was embarrassed. I certainly did not want any poor boy getting in trouble because I poured my ranch dressing directly from the Hidden Valley bottle. Granted, salad dressing pitchers are pretty, but not exactly necessary to a good family meal. Guests at my house are likely to be greeted with five or six store bought bottles. I am the one who washes the dishes, and who needs another thing to wash? Besides, you don't actually pour the leftovers back into that commercial bottle, I gather. I am far too frugal for that.

That all being said, I do love the bottle this dressing is in. I found it at Old Time Pottery for a dollar. It is now home to my homemade dressings, at least those which are thick. I have a different bottle from Dollar Tree for vinaigrettes. I made this dressing tonight in my new blender. It is similar to a Magic Bullet, but came from Macy's sale. $18.99. I sent my hubby in for a new immersion blender, but this is what the salesman gave him even though I sent the ad. The last two hand blenders I got at Walmart, both failed to work right out of the box. I would not recommend the Oster brand. After returning the second one, the clerk told us they must be junk because they got so many returned. Sad, since that is an old, reliable name, or so I thought. Wanna see my new toy? Go here. I'll keep you posted on how well I like it. Now back to the dressing...

Lise was my French name back in high school. Yes, I can still recite French poetry, thank you. I browsed the recipes online, and merged a few into this recipe--a classic French. I have another which is similar to Ott's brand French, but this is sweet, tangy and uncomplicated. I have to admit; I love sweet dressings. I tried to salvage the raspberry vinaigrette that I was making when the first machine failed to function, but it now is not so fresh. I think I will have to start over on that one. Before I do, I have to figure out what to do with the solid chunk of raspberries that thawed when my son used the bag for his cold pack for his bleeding lip. I hated to toss the bag out, so I refroze it. I'll try to figure out something. Any ideas?

With today being Father's Day, we ate out at a local diner--a colorful spot in our town filled with Route 66 memorabilia. I tried so hard to be good. I ordered a burger with blue cheese dressing and a salad in place of the fries. Unfortunately, the waitress brought me the salad, and it wasn't very good. Just lettuce and watered down ranch dressing. Guess I am spoiled when it comes to salad. Then, when she brought my burger, it had fries anyway. Have to admit, I ate them, and they tasted so good. At least the bun made it home to the puppies. I have been trying not to eat the rest of the day, doing penitence of sorts. Eating carbs always seems to make me ravenous later. I have had a couple of my Cinnamon Lover's Muffins though. They are our "Multiply Meals" brunch item for the week, and they smelled too good fresh from the oven!

Lise's French Dressing

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup low carb ketchup (Heinz is what I buy)

1/3 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup diced onion

If not using a blender or food processor, finely dice or grate onion. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well.

Update: This dressing is very pourable when fresh, but upon refrigeration, it tends to thicken quite a bit. Leave some time before dinner to let it sit on the counter and come to room temperature.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

The ice cream I made last night is tasty stuff! My old favorite flavor of milkshake from Sonic was coconut cream pie shake. This is very similar, but without any sugar! The recipe is simple, and if you have a good ice cream maker, it is a snap to make. I had a few problems getting mine in the maker, and getting the lid on, but the dogs loved cleaning up what I spilled. My son Pearson came to the rescue when I just didn't seem to have enough hands. Now, I will remember to assemble everything before I dump in the cream mixture. Lesson learned.

Because of my little mishap, and the time I lost switching bowls, mine may not have set up as well as it would have. We ate some soft serve style and froze the rest. After it has been in the freezer overnight, it is far too frozen to be scoopable. I let it sit on the counter a while, then we had more luck. I did still have to shave it a bit. That is fine though---the taste is worth it. Way better than that stuff they can't even call ice cream. Just what is "frozen dessert" anyway? I hate to think what is really in there. Don't you love it when they call it a cone of soft serve? Soft serve what? I remember one summer when my boys were little, we got them a treat from the ice cream truck. Pearson got a confection that looked like a Ninja Turtle. After a couple of bites, it fell off the stick. Green residue from that treat stayed in our grass and on the driveway for months. Eeeuuww! We never did that again.

I digress--now back to my real ice cream. I read online that if you add a spoon of vodka, the freezing chemistry is changed, and you won't get the ice crystals common in home made ice cream. I may try that some time, but we don't drink around here, and I wasn't about to send my sweet hubby to the store for that!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

14.5 ounce can coconut milk

1 pint half and half

3/4 to 1 cup sweetener of choice (or equivalent)

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of xanthan gum

Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into an ice cream freezer and follow directions for that model.

We planned on eating Father's Day dinner out tonight, but John has a migraine. We opted to stay home. Of course, that menu spot was empty, so I threw together a casserole using leftovers from last night's Hobo dinners. I added a can of Spam-like loaf from Aldi, some extra cauliflower and American cheese slices. They melt so nicely and make their own sauce. SO simple for comfort food. Hope he feels better for the big day tomorrow. Andrew is having company over and I need to pick up a bit. Living with a house of men does have it's neatness problems!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Polish Hobo

Tonight's family buffet was Hobo Dinners. This is one of those family buffet meals that is fun and accommodates different tastes. Remember this post about them? This afternoon, I found a reasonably priced pecan smoked country sausage at Walmart. They were pretty low carb, one carb per 2 ounces, so I picked up the package. Three of us chose these for our Hobo dinners. One boy was away from home and one chose chicken tenders. I also picked up a package of frozen stew veggies so I would have less chopping when I got home. Sure, this package has potatoes and carrots, but they are already peeled and diced. My carby boys like them, and I don't have to do all that work!

I like using smoked Polish sausage in these because the smokey flavor permeates the veggies. You can of course, place these foil pouches on the outdoor grill too, but tonight, I just used the oven. Set the temperature, then got out of the hot kitchen! John and I used a rutabaga to replace the taters; I like those even better. We chose green bell peppers and onions to fill our packets. Yum. The rutabagas do mean that I had to cook them a bit longer than usual. 45 minutes to an hour will do, depending on how small your veggies are diced. I use a sharpie on the foil to make sure I don't mix up orders. We all get to choose our seasonings, so they are each unique. Later tonight, I plan to mix up some homemade low carb ice cream. I'll post that later.

My boys just told me I'd make a great hobo. True. My tastes are pretty simple. I think the finer things in life aren't found in fancy houses or expensive jewels. I'd take a life on the road with my family over a mansion alone any day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cream Cheese Lasagna

More playing around with recipes today, in between errands. For dinner, I wanted to make something my eldest son would like. Yesterday afternoon, he startled our sleeping dog and ended up with a bite to the mouth. After we spent some time in the doctor's office, he's back home with a very swollen lip. He needs fairly soft foods, but does not like sweet things. Somehow he managed to eat pizza, (not my idea) so I don't feel too sorry for him, but still, it has to hurt. He loves lasagna, so today I brought out the Dreamfield's pasta I had been saving for a special occasion.

This lasagna is totally delicious. Very rich and flavorful. We had company tonight. What was supposed to serve twelve ended up serving 6 with only one serving left over. It is not that the serving size is too small, they just really loved this dish!

Cream Cheese Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground Italian Sausage
Dreamfield's Pasta Lasagna noodles, dry, not boiled
16 ounces cream cheese
1 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes
8 ounce can tomato sauce
6 ounces fresh spinach
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups mozzerella or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Brown and drain the ground beef and sausage, or use Minute Beef and Minute Sausage.
While the meat is browning, add 8 ounces cream cheese to a bowl. Blend in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, blend and set aside. In a food processor or using an immersion blender, mix the spinach, and remaining 8 ounces of cream cheese and teaspoon of garlic powder.

In a large casserole dish, begin by spreading a layer of meat on the bottom. Be sure to include some of the meat drippings. Top this with about one ounce of the tomato sauce. Place 1/3 of the dry noodles over the meat. Layer the entire contents of the cream cheese and spinach mixture over these noodles. Top with more ground meat and add 1/2 cup of cheese. Top this with 1/2 can of diced tomatoes. Add another layer of noodles and top these with the cream cheese/tomato mixture. Add additional layers of meat, tomatoes and cheese. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the casserole. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 for one hour. Let stand about ten minutes before cutting.

Serves 12

Serves 12 unless you have hungry young men, that is! Sore mouth or not, I think my big one had three pieces. I intended to put half in the freezer for another day, I am home from a meeting and I just have a single serving that the guys are fighting over. So much for those plans.

I don't serve the Dreamfield's pasta too often, because it does give my diabetic hubby a jump in his blood sugar. It is better than the traditional pasta, however, and everyone needs some comfort food now and then, even if they aren't wounded. I am thinking this lasagna will be a regular for holiday dinners from now on. Subbing cheese for the ricotta adds a lot of flavor and creaminess. I think a 10 ounce package of frozen spinach would work well too.

I served this with a green salad dressed with a standard vinaigrette, and topped with Bacon Salt. Perfect!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hot Day, Hot Dog Bento

Oscar Meyer franks are the star of this bento lunch for today. It has two hot dogs cut up, with a barbecue sauce for dipping. I even added some habanero sauce to the standard barbecue sauce. Spicy food is actually supposed to help cool you off. I don't know about that, but I like it anyway. Plus, it is going to a scorcher here today. I could barely stand to water the plants this morning.

In addition, I packed olives, celery sticks, and no sugar sweet pickles from Mt. Olive. I am so glad I finally found these pickles in my area. They are great for summer lunches and snacks. In fact, I actually had cucumbers to make my own pickles in my shopping basket when I found these.

I made a quick batch of cheese crisps in the microwave. Believe it or not, that is only one slice of cheese. Cheese crisps only took about two minutes start to finish.

The bento cloths are something I dreamed up. The red and white checked cloth underneath the foods has been waxed to be waterproof and easy to clean. It can be used in the bento box, or it can be removed and used as a luncheon place mat. I made a napkin to match. From one bandana, I got three napkins and a place mat. Pretty good for the 60 cents I invested.

My other bento find of the week is a set of clear rectangular boxes. Those are what the veggies and sauce are packed in. They were at the Dollar Tree. Amazingly, you get eight for just one dollar, and they even have lids. That is great for sauces, dips or puddings and yogurt. That way, there is no worry about spills.

We are going to be gone all afternoon, so I am thawing French Hen Quiche, a Multiply Meal, for dinner. All I will have to do when I get home is heat it up and make a salad. That is the plan for a hot, hot day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fajita Salad in Crispy Cheese Bowls

This month, our meat distributor offered beef fajita meat for $1.50 per pound--pre seasoned. We grabbed up that bargain, and I put Fajita Salad on the menu for tonight. Of course, if you aren't lucky enough to find such a sweet deal, you could always substitute with some Tequila Chicken or even some Minute Beef.

While our fajita beef was sizzling, I made some cheese shells. To do this, just put a large handful of shredded cheese into a nonstick skillet. Let the cheese fry until it is well browned around the edges and can be lifted in one piece from the skillet. Then, pick it up and quickly invert it onto an upside down bowl.The cheese will harden as it cools and will retain the bowl shape. Cool, huh? I wonder who figured that one out? It is a great substitute for a flour tortilla bowl. As long as you are patient enough to watch the pan until that perfect moment, it is a pretty easy kitchen task as well.

Add the peppers and onions, and you have an incredible fajita salad. We filled our bowls with lettuce, meat and peppers, salsa, cheese and sour cream. Too good. Our carby boys ate theirs in the traditional style, with flour tortillas. That is a no brainer to add in to this meal. The cheese lover in me can't believe I get to eat this dinner without guilt.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stuffed Zucchini a la Minute Beef

Last year, my mom grew some interesting round zucchini squash. We looked, but didn't find those seeds this spring. That doesn't stop me from using the recipe I developed last summer, though. Even the long, slender zucchini can be cored and stuffed. Because I am using Italian Minute Beef, the meal goes together quite easily.

Stuffed Zucchini ala Minute Beef

1 package thawed Minute Beef, Italian style or add some spices and tomatoes
1 large zucchini
8 ounce can tomato sauce
garlic powder
Italian seasoning
cheese for topping

Slice the zucchini lengthwise. Remove the inner core. Set this aside and use it for another dish. Sprinkle the cavities of the squash with salt, garlic powder and Italian seasonings to taste. Fill the cavities of with the beef mixture. It is fine if it is overflowing. Pour tomato sauce over the meat and squash. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the zucchini is fork tender. Top with shredded or sliced cheese and return to oven for another 5-10 minutes. Serves 2.

Because my sons are not big zucchini eaters, I used the leftover cores, chopped finely (more like disguised) in a hamburger skillet dish. They got some pasta for a change, and a little bit of zucchini. I think our dinner looks much more delicious.

If I was making this for 4-6 people, I think I would double the beef to about 2 pounds cooked, but keep the tomato sauce at 8 ounces. It doesn't need a full can, but what do you do with just a tad of sauce? Being frugal, I used it.

Here is a photo of my mom's round zucchinis from last year. Maybe we will find some at the farmer's market...

John just asked me if this was a new recipe. When I advised him that we had eaten it last summer, he told me, "Well, I guess that is a testament to how much variety you have in our meal plan. We sure don't have the same meals over and over!"

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

My sweet friend and fellow Diner, Kahri, just gave me a gorgeous, handcrafted gift. I couldn't wait to make something pretty to show it off. Isn't that doily in the picture with the Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins beautiful? I cannot crochet, knit, or even keep count to do cross stitch, so I am in awe at the beautiful work she does. It is even more amazing that she does this as well as care for four kids! I am not too sure my muffins are worthy, especially since the whipped cream kept melting on me. That's summer in Oklahoma.

Pretty or not, these little cheesecakes are very easy to assemble and my guys loved them. The recipe is slightly altered from my usual recipe in the e-book, so I'll give it to you here.

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

8 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar substitute
2 Tablespoons Vanilla DaVinci Syrup
8 drops Capella strawberries and cream flavor drops (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon extract)
2 strawberries

Soften cream cheese and dice strawberries finely. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix with a hand mixer. Pour into sprayed muffins cups and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. When cooled, invert onto a plate and top with whipped cream. Optional: drizzle with strawberry or raspberry syrup.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Asian Coleslaw

My friend and fellow Diner, NeeCee, asked for some salad dressing recipes. I have shared a few in the past, and have had some dismal failures that never made it into the blog or newsletter. This recipe is a new one I just tried today. This dressing is inspired by a find in Bon Appetit. I tweaked it a bit to our tastes, and wow! I love it. It is made into a coleslaw, but would be equally as good over a bok choy and napa cabbage salad.

Unlike most coleslaws, which are based from mayo or oil, this one uses peanut butter. Who doesn't love that? I used two Tablespoons of creamy and three tablespoons of chunky peanut butter, because I love little bits of nut in my salad. This one should be assembled fresh, though. I don't think it would hold too well. I think I would classify this recipe as an "E.Z. Fix" recipe. For a complete meal, it would be especially good as a "Freezer Favorite" with some Chicken Cubes thrown in too.

Asian Coleslaw
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.

I have been trying out a Raspberry Vinaigrette, but I managed to get another sick kitchen appliance. My brand new immersion blender, fresh from the box, refuses to work at all. Guess I have another trip to the store. Hopefully I can squeeze in that and the rest of my prep day recipes too. I'll post that one when I get it all done!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Salami Scramble

In the E.Z. Fix chapter of the e-book, I have a section called "Deli Delights." It gives you great ideas on how to use deli meats and cheeses. Don't make the mistake of thinking they are only for lunch. Today, I fixed Salami Scramble for breakfast. It is very quick. I cut my salami slices in half and pan fried them just a minute, while chopping some green pepper. I added that to the pan and let it cook while I beat three eggs. Once the pepper was cooked tender crisp, I added the eggs and scrambled everything together.

Nothing special, bet definitely a change from the standard scrambled egg breakfast. My boys like it with pepperoni too. While the skillet was out, I made some Salsa Beef for lunch. The guys can just layer it in a tortilla for lunch. John and I eat it on salad greens. Super easy with the ground beef already cooked.

I will be out all the rest of the day. Dinner tonight will be Signature Pizzas for buffet night. The sausage is ready to go, as are the other topping choices. That will be easy. Our low carb crust for the night is lavash bread turned into crispy thin crusts. To see how that looks, go here.

Good eating--minimal work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chicken in Pepper Sauce

This is another one of those too easy meals. It is a "Freezer Favorite" if you happen to have some frozen Chicken Cubes handy. If not, you can still grill the chicken up fresh. The sauce goes together quite easily--unless your hand blender breaks like mine did mid-sauce! Oh well, I use this thing so often, I have gone through several. Everything is breaking around here anyway. Just replaced the fridge. The hot water heater did not stay repaired-- twice--and the vacuum is trying to die. Why wouldn't my favorite kitchen appliance quit too? And I was planning on making some homemade ice cream tonight.

Anyway, the sauce is a little chunkier than usual, but it was still tasty. I could not get the photographs to do it justice. It is a beautiful salmon color, rich with red peppers and real cream. If you love peppers and garlic, you should like this sauce. The recipe is in the e-book. If you haven't purchased that, please stop by the web page and get a copy. I need some help paying for all these new appliances!

Now I am off to clean up my mess from crafting with my mom. We are making some fun and functional lunch items. I'll show those off in another blog. Let's just say when school resumes in the fall, I will be bringing my low carb meals in style! Right now I plan to enjoy summer break and watch some videos with my guys.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cornybread Waffles Topped with Chili

This dinner was a huge hit with my guys. I made a quick chili from frozen steak strips. We are fortunate enough to live near a meat packing plant that holds monthly dock sales open to the public. One month, they offered precooked steak strips for $1.50 per pound. Those became the base of our chili this evening.

The chili is pretty intense, and needs a side dish. Cornbread was always one of my favorites. I always liked the crunchy, browned ends the best, so I learned to make my cornbread mixes into waffles--way more edge! This recipe combines the ideas from other low carbers, but it is not quite the same as any I have seen before. Funny, it is easier, but I think I like it just as least in a waffle iron.

Cornybread Waffles
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.

I ate my chili on two sections, John ate three. Now on to that chili.Be sure you have some cheese and onions to top it off.

Chili Pronto

2 pounds fully cooked beef, strips or ground
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes
1 Knorr Chipotle Chili cube
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

Add all ingredients to a pot and let simmer until dinner time, or at least 30 minutes. Serves about 8.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pooh Bear Chicken Bento

Last weekend I used a 40% off coupon from Michael's to buy these silicon muffin cups. They make great dividers for Bento box lunches. Tomorrow, we have Pooh Bear Salad on the menu. I will be up and out earlier than usual tomorrow, so I got it packed up tonight. John will have his chicken with salad greens in a bigger container, but the Bento style is great for me. I love the variety.

This is what is in mine. Left to right, broccoli salad made with leftovers from dinner. Honey Mustard dressing coating the chicken--that's on top in both cups. The 22Too Mini Muffins are on the bottom right. Peanuts--I can never control my portions without these measured out already. Tucked in under the salad is a cheese stick, cut in half. My water bottle has a packet of vitamin mix, lemon flavored. I'll add water at lunchtime; I like it cold!

Drinkable Yogurt on the Go

They say the drinkable yogurts in those cute little bottles are a trend that is here to stay. I have been making my own yogurt, even the drinkable kind, for a while now. It is handy when you don't have a spoon, or want to take it along for the drive. Or when everyone else is drinking milkshakes from Sonic. I have incorporated a few ideas to make yogurt smoothies even better for your health. These home made drinks are much cheaper than the store brands too. Plus, you can make your favorite flavors.

I use the yogurt fresh from the culturing process. Homemade yogurt tends to be a little thinner than store bought variety. After setting some aside to drink, I drain the rest to make thicker, Greek style yogurt for spoon eating, or drain it even longer for yo cheese. For the drinkable variety, I thin it, flavor it and pack it for later.

One trick I have used to make the yogurt healthier is to use the powdered vitamin supplements intended for water bottles. There are several brands available which are sugarfree. In my cupboard I happen to have Fulfill, which adds one additional carb and uses part aspartame, and Vita Splash, which adds three carbs, but is sweetened with sucralose. Unfortunately, I haven't found any that are unsweetened. These add some flavor, so taste as you go. It really depends on how much yogurt you are sweetening, and which flavors you choose to use. Each tube of vitamin mix is meant to be added to one water bottle, but with yogurt, the mileage may vary.

If you don't like any artificial sweeteners, you can still make drinkable yogurt. Thin your yogurt of choice if you use store brands. If you get unflavored, just add the flavors and sweetener of your own choosing. I sweeten it and add coffee flavoring drops or DaVinci syrups. The Capella Boston Cream Pie is delicious. It is also especially yummy to blend in strawberries or other fruits, or to add a fruit puree.

Now, what to pack it in? I have saved old mustard jars that are just right. They hold just over 4 ounces, and have openings that are easy to fill. I can travel with the lid on, then remove it and pop in a straw in the car or at my desk. In the photo, the jar is decorated with glass etching and polka dots. That is a craft project I am testing for Christmas. Just so you know, the yogurt does not have the measles!

One of these will go with me out tomorrow. Now, I am off to finish up the meatloaf and broccoli salad for tonight's dinner. It smells fabulous in here!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gardener's Layered Casserole

This recipe is my step in faith. I will have wonderful zucchini this year, despite the fact that I have only found male blossoms for the past three weeks. I will have bountiful bell peppers, which I love. My herb pots will flourish, giving me plenty to dry for the winter time. Now that I am on a roll, perhaps I should claim some goats to provide, that might make me unpopular with the neighbors.

I am taking a few breaks from my regular Diner schedule during the summertime to develop some new dishes for my recipe repertoire. Tonight, I would normally have heated up an already prepared Multiply Meal, but I wanted to play around with some wonderful summertime ingredients. Even if my plants fail to produce, I know someone around here will have a bumper crop of zucchini.

I thought this recipe was wonderful. It might be a tad bit on the veggie spectrum for my meat lovers, but the cheese appeased them. I will, however, be the one to claim the last portion of these leftovers. This would be wonderful for a ladies' brunch or garden party. The use of turkey lunchmeat means you can skip the step of cooking the meat. That is a big plus.

Gardener's Layered Casserole

8 ounces sliced turkey breast
2 cups creamed cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack, but any would do fine)
2 small zucchini, or one large
1 yellow squash
1 green bell pepper
1 tsp. olive oil (I have a basil flavored oil)
fresh herbs, or dried Italian seasoning

Cut vegetables into long strips. Toss them with olive oil. Grill on an outdoor or indoor grill, or roast them in a hot oven for 20 minutes. While veggies are grilling, combine cottage cheese, garlic and eggs. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil spray. Lay veggie slices to cover the casserole dish. Place a layer of cottage cheese mixture over the veggies. Top with 1/4 of the shredded cheese. Over that, place slices of turkey. Repeat layers. Mine ended with a partial covering of veggies and the grated cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Mine were basil, chives and thyme from my herb garden. Let stand a few minutes before cutting. It may form a bit of fluid in the base of the dish.

Serves 6 299 calories 7 net carbs

I served this with a green salad. The carby boys had garlic toast. John and I loved the croutons I made from last week's leftover focaccia bread. It was just like eating those big gourmet croutons from expensive restaurants. I simply dried them in the toaster oven at about 300 degrees. Later tonight, we will have a light dessert of some shaved lemon ice. Just the right ending to a cheesy meal, or a fun summertime treat.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

22Too Mini Muffins

I just love catchy names for recipes. It is just one more way to have fun in life. Today is prep day for the week. I have chosen to make some Flaxy Minis, hoping these little muffins will fit neatly into my Bento box lunch. The name really does describe them well. They are 2 flavors, 2 bites and they are TOO cute!

I used the regular flax muffin recipe using almond meal. The variety comes with the flavorings. Today, I experimented with some new Capella flavoring drops I just received. The flavor of choice today is Chocolate Butter Crunch. After assembling the muffin batter, I divided it in half. In one half, I added a teaspoon of cocoa powder. Then, I marbled the batters in the muffin cups. I began with 16 drops of flavoring, but the resulting muffins did not have a noticeable flavor. I added more drops to the remaining batter. You may have to play around a little to find your "flavor zone" as the company calls it. I think mine would end up at about 22 drops per batch of muffins. Easy to remember, given the name of this recipe. That seems like a lot, but I consistently find that I need to double the amount of spices I use in flax muffins as compared to other types of batter. I need to hide the grassy taste since I use regular flax rather than golden. If you have golden flax meal, you might want to ease off on the additional flavorings in all my flax recipes.

22Too Mini Muffins

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar free vanilla syrup
1/2 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup flaxmeal
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
22 Capella flavoring drops (or flavorings of your choice)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add oil, butter, syrup, sweetener, flavorings and water. Stir until well combined. Combine dry ingredients, except cocoa powder, in a bowl. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Divide batter in half. Add cocoa powder to one half. Spoon batters into muffin cups. Use the end of a spoon to make a zig-zag pattern in the batter. Bake mini muffins at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

139 calories, 1 gram carb for two muffins

If you want to get creative, you could always try new flavor combos. Chocolate and peanut butter, strawberry and vanilla, maple and pumpkin pie spice, etc. I love trying new flavor extracts and flavorings. Check out the Capella drops here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kabob Buffet

Tomorrow is a busy day, and we'll be gone for both lunch and dinner, so I thought I'd go ahead and post our dinner tonight. Usually, Friday nights are buffet night around here. Tonight, I tried something a little different. This idea isn't in the e-book, but it should be. "Build your own" kabobs are too much fun! Marinate the meat ahead of time, then chop an assortment of veggies to go on the skewer. Try some of these with your beef, shrimp or chicken:

Yellow squash
Bell Pepper
Cherry tomatoes

Rutuabaga? Yes, that is the golden yellow veggie you see in the picture. I peeled and cut it into chunks, then softened it a bit in the microwave. That way, it is done when the other foods are ready.

By setting out a buffet, everyone gets to choose the veggies they really will eat, and avoid wasting those others. At my house it tends to be mushrooms that get disapproval. It was never the same after they dissected them in our biology studies. Funny how they still eat pigs... I made some brown rice for my carby boys, but we liked it just fine without.

Once assembled, slap these babies on the grill--outdoors, or a "George" like I did tonight. I brushed my Italian dressing marinade over the kabobs a few times during cooking. Delish!

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

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


It's the third play of the Triple Play meal for lunch today. That smoky pork butt roast is now Carnitas. The smokey goodness blends so well with the Mexican seasonings. If you are working from an oven roasted pork shoulder, try adding some liquid smoke for that extra flavor boost.

My normal recipe calls for diet soda and Knorr Chipotle cubes. Unfortunately, I forgot to put a large sign on the soda saving it for this recipe. So, when I went to get it for lunch, alas, no cola in the house. Improvise time. The result is pretty darn good as well. Here is the new recipe, just in case you have cola thieves in your house too.

Make Do Carnitas

3-5 cups shredded or cubed charcoal or oven roasted pork
1 can Rotel-type tomatoes with green chilis
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 Knorr Chipotle cubes
1/2 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke (more if you are working from oven roasted pork)
3 teaspoons Splenda or equivalent sweetener

Stir all ingredients into a skillet. Cook over low heat until all liquid is absorbed. Turn to high heat to brown the meat slightly. Serve in low carb tortillas, lavash bread or over salad greens. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and peppers.

I also added a shot glass of my 24/7 Salsa Verde on the side.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sloppy Tom Casseroles

Tonight is a Multiply Meals night. I just made three casseroles--one for dinner tonight and two more to put in the freezer for future dinners made easy. It really is not much extra work to make multiples of a recipe. In the summer, it is especially nice to fill the oven since you already have it hot. For later servings, this casserole can be heated in the microwave--or even in the toaster oven if you choose to cut it into individual servings.

I brown the meat all at the same time. Five pounds of meat fits into two skillets. I added the additional ingredients while the turkey was still in those skillets, then put that mixture into the casserole dishes. That means fewer dishes to wash later tonight.

Sloppy Tom Casserole is an easy, stick to the ribs kind of meal. It is flavored like sloppy Joes, but features ground turkey instead of beef. There is nothing fancy or creative about it, but it is tasty. Tonight, I used a blend of ground turkey and turkey sausage for an extra flavor boost. The addition of packaged coleslaw mix means I don't spend much time chopping or dicing. I just have the celery to chop while the meat browns.

All three boys were home tonight, so I served some whole wheat cheese toast for them, plus a big green salad for everyone. I especially like a creamy dressing with this, such as ranch or blue cheese. If you want the recipe, just look in the e-book. It is there under Multiply Meals. Cook once, eat three times, what a deal!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Honey Do" Day Menu --Breakfast Bonanza Muffins

My hubby is a busy guy. Programming a radio station keeps him on call 24/7. If I need some projects around the house worked on, I have to plead with him to take some vacation. Even then, he still escapes from time to time to his computer to tweak some programming. Yesterday, he got the light fixture in my kitchen changed. The overhead had not worked for about ten years! Now I can see how badly the back half of my stove needs a good scrub. Add that to the list of chores. He also managed to fix the fence, do some lawn care, and load some photos in a digital frame. (I had been waiting since Christmas for that one.) Today, we are cleaning off the porches and our closet gets an overhaul.

It will be a busy, messy day, and I sure don't need to be doing any elaborate meals. This morning, we will be dining on the Breakfast Bonanza muffins I made Sunday. I've got Chili in the crockpot, so all I will do is make some soy cornbread to go with it tonight. I hope I am not too sore to manage that! Lunch will be build your own salad. That's my plan for getting everything done today.

Here is the recipe for those muffins just in case you want to make a big batch to simplify your mornings. I put mine in cupcake papers after baking to make them a bit less oily for serving, but it is not necessary. I freeze them, and place them in a ziploc bag for storage. A minute in the microwave has them hot and ready to eat in the morning. They are also excellent for box lunches.

Breakfast Bonanza Muffins
1 pound sausage, any flavor
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard

Brown sausage with mushrooms and green pepper. Drain. While sausage is cooking, whisk eggs. Add cream, cheeses, salt and mustard. Use a measuring cup to fill 12 greased muffin tins. Be sure to get an equal amount of cheese in each cup. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serves 12 331 calories 2 carbs

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dinner at the "Pig Stand"

Today is a day for reminiscing. My oldest boy turned 21 today. We celebrated with a lunch out so he could be out with his friends tonight. At the last minute, he changed his restaurant choice from our favorite Mexican to Buffalo Wild Wings. "Hey, it is 40 cent wing Tuesday!" he said. There are some low carb choices there. I had a blackened chicken salad with blue cheese dressing. It was wonderful. John had wings--garlic parmesan. Definitely messy, but tasty. We were at opposite ends of the table, and I didn't hear what he was ordering. Oops. He ordered Teriyaki wings as well. He thought it was legal because I make teriyaki here at home. He forgot that this sauce is sweet. Somehow I doubt they used Splenda. Oh well, the occasional goof won't kill him. At least he got lots of physical labor accomplished today working on my "honey do" list while on vacation.

Now back to the reminiscing part...I have been pouring over baby pictures, and my guys finally got the digital photo frame they gave me for Christmas loaded. Memory lane for sure! Just last Memorial Day, my mom and I were talking about small town life before the coming of chain fast food restaurants. She said one big splurge when I was little, was take out barbecue from a place called Carl's Pig Stand. Now wouldn't the PETA bunch have a heyday with that name! Tonight's dinner was pretty much like those old pig stand meals. Some slow roasted pork from Sunday's roasting marathon, some homemade barbecue sauce and some sliced sweet onion and cherry peppers. So least in this part of the world! My family were also known to be pretty big Pepsi drinkers back in the day too, so the diet version of Pepsi helps add flavor to this sauce as well.

I let the sauce simmer all afternoon after we returned home. Nobody was too hungry after that big lunch, but the meat can be reheated in the microwave and topped with sauce. What doesn't get eaten tonight will be shredded, combined with the sauce and frozen for a quick lunch another day. The sauce is sweet and thick. The ingredient list is 16 items long, but it goes together quickly and simmers unwatched, so it is easy.

Pepsi One Barbecue Sauce

1/2 onion, roughly diced
2 Tablespoons oil
16 ounces tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Pepsi One- sweetened with Splenda
1/2 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
5 teaspoons liquid smoke (more or less to your taste)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon flavoring (I used Burnt Sugar flavoring, but maple would do fine)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon bacon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

Saute onions in oil until they are lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and puree in a blender. I use my immersion blender in the same pot with the onions, so there is less to clean. Let simmer til dinner...or 30 minutes to three hours on low. If you like a spicy sweet sauce, replace half of the black pepper with cayenne.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert Shots for Two

It is another one of those wonderful days when meals do not require gray matter on my part. Everything is already prepped and a snap to put together. Dinner tonight will be Tuna Alfredo. Since that is already prepared, I tinkered around with more desserts this afternoon.

Hopefully, you have read my blogs about dessert shots here and here, oh, and here. Well, now you have another idea which uses those glorious strawberries that are so plentiful now.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert Shots

2 ounces cream cheese
2 Tablespoons sour cream
dash of lemon juice
3 whole strawberries, divided
1 Tablespoon DaVinci French Vanilla syrup
1/8 cup Splenda or equivalent sweetener
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
1 Tablespoon ground pecans

Soften cream cheese. Blend with sour cream, two strawberries, syrup, sweetener and lemon juice. (I used an immersion blender) Mix flax and pecans and lightly toast them. Slice the remaining strawberry into thin slices, reserving the slices with stem for garnish. Layer the dessert, alternating between pudding, nut mixture and strawberry slices. Garnish with a berry slice.

Serves 2 172 calories 4 net carbs

Remember, these are tiny glasses, note the size of the strawberry. It is a small to average berry. This is just enough to keep you from feeling deprived on low carb. Most of our carbs should be coming from vegetables. But, hey, let's enjoy life!