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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A tribute to Folgers

I understand it is National Coffee Day. Well, I can't let that pass without the mention of my favorite coffee on the planet. Okay. Let's understand that I am really cheap. I don't do Starbucks. I don't grind my own. I am in no way a coffee snob.

That being said, I do love me some Joe. I used to over indulge in all those rich wonderful flavored creamers. Not so good when you are limiting carbs. I have blogged before about the flavored coffees from Folgers, but that was chocolate, and this is better. At least for me. This makes me a happy woman any time of day. It is so good I can even do it without cream. That is saying something.

Yesterday, I was so happy to get to go out for coffee with my BFF from way back--yes, we saw the 70s together. She lives half a country away, so our coffee chats are few and far between. Well, we were checking out a coffee shop I am hoping to hold some chuch meetings in soon. Great place. I am broke this week, and trying to drop some more pounds too, so I just ordered the house coffee. You would think that would be the ultimate. You know, it is pretty pricey in those places. I can honestly say that I like my home brew better. My husband loves that I am so easily pacified. Not a coffee diva, which is good because he won't touch the stuff. Two of three sons like it though.

That thought brings me to another hint. My youngest, who is being treated through diet for his stomach issues, can no longer drink regular high acid coffee. Sad? He is. Being supermom, I set out to find a solution. My wonderful friend and Diner, Loretta, told me about a system to make a cold brew which has lower acid. I investigated that idea from her. Unfortunately, after a month with car repairs and overdue accounts from hubby's clients, we have been strapped lately. I couldn't afford one of those specialty systems for making low acid coffee. Then I found a tip online that said you can make the same low acid brew using a coffee press. I found one on Amazon for around $17. I ordered that, and so far, so good. It is small, but makes enough concentrate for him to have about 6 cups of coffee. The trick is to use the press to soak the grounds over night in cold filtered water. Then in the morning, plunge it down and you get a concentrate to dilute in a cup. I just add about half water and half coffee, heat it up and let him sweeten it. It is really tasty, too. Here's the coffee press I purchased.

I have been sooooo busy lately. I just completed the newsletter, so I will get that out on time. I have been really stressed with too many obligations, but I can't figure out anything to drop. We still eat low carb, and are doing great. My Sunday prep day was devoted to doing some unusual fermented condiments. I will feature one of those recipes--sauerkraut, in the October newsletter, so be sure to be watching out for it. I have also been processing a lot of chicken, but I have already told you how to do that on this blog. I will get more regular at blogging again soon, so don't give up on me. I have lots of college kids coming home for the weekend, too. Hopefully I can share some pics from that. We will have Beefkey and Chili. For now, I need to go get dinner ready. We are having meatloaf tonight. I need some rest, so later I will finish the pot of coffee I started this morning, but never found time for a second cup. Hope you can rest with a cup of coffee to celebrate the day too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Barbecue Mini Pizzas with Cilantro

I have been so busy. These are actually Friday night's dinner that I am just now posting. I used the Nancy Elle's cheese crust recipe with cheese and eggs. I added a bit of coconut flour too. For some reason, these really stuck to my muffin top pan this time. It must be getting old, as more things are sticking these days. The crusts were a little torn, but they tasted heavenly. I do love the combo of barbecue sauce, cheese and cilantro. With those flavors going on, the chicken is rather an afterthought! I also added red onion and garlic. Such good stuff.

When time is running short, and the freezer is somehow lacking my normal supply of chicken cubes, I use a can of chicken in a pinch. My Sam's club sells cans of breast meat, very low calorie and all natural. It is easy to chunk up for use in salads or in this case, as a pizza topping. Super quick. Not as tasty as home made, but great convenience in a pinch. It makes gourmet pizza night a hit.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mexi-Burger Casserole, por favor?

Most nights I don't bother to snap photos of dinner if it is one that is already photographed and in the e-book. But tonight, my dog got so excited when the Mexi-Burger Casserole came out of the oven, I just couldn't resist getting a shot of that face. He reallllllllly wanted a plate for himself. He didn't get one, but this must have smelled pretty darn good to him! If you want to try the recipe, it is in with the Mulitply Meals recipes. I did alter this one by swapping the cream cheese with yogurt. The texture was lighter and eggier, but I still got clean plates turned in. That is why I love casseroles. It is so easy to play around with the basic recipe. Glad there will be more leftovers later!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Smokey Chipotle Chicken--a Salvage Operation

This dinner has a bit of a story. It wasn't exactly planned, but it was successful anyway. Almost every time my hubby grills out, he comes in offering to grill more while the coals are still hot. A while back, a tossed him some fat chicken breasts. Good guy that he is, he put them into a freezer bag after they were cooked. Since it wasn't a regular prep day for me, they didn't get recorded on a freezer list, and I kinda forgot them. Okay, I totally forgot them, so don't neglect that inventory list that comes in the e-book. I sound like the parent who says "Do as I SAY not as I DO" huh? Add a trip to the meat dock sale, and they got buried in the depths of the frozen nothingness know as the bottom back of the appliance.

When I did find them, they had been man-handled pretty well by some larger bags of food and a casserole dish. Unfortunately, the seal had broken and I observed some ice crystals that let me know these were not gonna be the best. Not giving up, but too busy to deal with it at that moment, I put them into another sealable bag and promptly forgot about them again.

Today was a really hectic day, and I pulled these out of the freezer hoping to salvage them. I thawed in the microwave and tasted. Not too bad. A bit freezer burnt, so of course, my plan was to totally inundate the chicken with a really flavorful blend of seasoning and sauces. So, that is what I did. Somehow, the twenty something boy decided they were great. Compliments on freezer burn? Go figure!

Since hubby is off running high school football tonight, I knew it would be a good opportunity to use some spices that are a tad bit too hot for his Yankee tastes. I made a fusion type dish with two of my regional favorites--Mexican and barbecue. The meat already had the grilled out flavor, so I decided that smokey chipotle would compliment that well. I used a liberal amount of my locally blended orange chipotle seasoning on the chicken that I had cut into chunks. If you don't have access to any of that, just add some regular chipotle powder and a packet of True Orange crystals. After that was well coated, I put them into my cast iron skillet with about a cup of tomato juice. Sauce would work fine too. I let that simmer to tenderize the chicken a bit. For seasoning, I added a bit of sweetener and some extra liquid smoke. It made a sweet chipotle barbecue sauce after it cooked down.

The big guy had his in tortillas. The rest of us had our chicken with a side of grilled peppers. I love grilled peppers. We added a touch more home made barbecue sauce to really boost the flavor. Good if you have it, but not essential, I think. This method would work for pre-frozen chicken cubes too, and they don't have to be freezer burnt!

It is really rather humorous that a meal I considered scrapping ended up good enough to blog about. Everyone can use a break now and then.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

Those of you who get the newsletter know September's issue is all about PIZZA! These are the little pizzas we had for lunch today. The base is a sliced eggplant. I tried baking these in the oven, but they seemed to stay too squishy. Going for a bit more crisp, I then grilled them on my cast iron griddle. They may look a bit burned, but they didn't taste that way. I sprinkled ground oregano and chopped garlic on each eggplant slice.

We ate ours topped with fresh veggies and some homemade chicken sausage I had on hand. I skipped the tomato sauce and let the fresh tomatoes fill that spot. I added some of the veggies on top raw--onions and bell peppers, and those stayed crispy. I also cooked some veggies on the griddle for more of a grilled taste. I knew I wasn't going to turn on the broiler to cook the top of the mini pizzas, and this was a great compromise. The flavor was excellent, and the melted farmer's cheese held everything together nicely. You still need a plate and fork, but if you miss the pizza flavors and want some extra nutrition, this will do it. Teenager approved--even with eggplant. Who would have guessed? Only bad point: the eggplant does shrink a bit, so I think he is still hungry. Perhaps a berry smoothie for dessert will do.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crockpots and Avocados

We celebrated Labor Day today at my mom's house. I brought out the goodies for burritos--Southwestern Beef and Green Chili Chicken. I have a double sided crockpot, so I just cooked both meat mixtures over night and packed them up to mom's house. Of course, we low carbers didn't actually eat burritos; we had ours with salad for lunch. We treated ourselves to lots of low carb veggies--green onions, red bell peppers, and sliced avocado. Home made salsa too.

When time came for dinner, we opted for leftovers. I decided to cut a red bell pepper in half, and used the pepper for a shell for the meat. I heated everything together and it was so yummy. The photo was taken with my son's cell phone--so sorry it is so blurry. You get the idea though. My bell peppers were a special variety of sweet pepper from Sam's Club. I really like these.

After we got home tonight, I started putting away the leftovers. We had half an avocado in a bag. No one in my family cares for guacamole, so I wasn't sure what to do. Then I remembered an unusual recipe I borrowed from the raw food enthusiasts. Pudding. Yep, if you have the August newsletter, you might recognize the Avocado Coconut pudding. The whipped avocado gives it the texture of a real pudding with no thickeners and no cooking and no eggs. You get all the healthy fat in that green mush, and no Mexican food necessary.

The taste is pretty good. My recipe is simple, but you could add flavorings as you like. The avocado flavor is not strong, so what you taste is the vanilla and coconut. Your eyes love the pretty green color. Of course, for chocolate pudding, you can add a tablespoon of cocoa powder too. I only had half an avocado, so I halved the recipe, and it was just right for one. I named this recipe in honor of my friend and fellow Diner, Tinkerbelle. She loves avocados, and I always think of her when I think of them.

Tinkerbelle's Avocado Pudding

1 avocado
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar or equivalent sweetener
cocoa powder optional

Place diced avocado and other ingredients in a blender. Process until whipped. Serve or chill.

If you have some leftover avocados, be sure to give this unusual dessert a try. I poured it into my dessert shot glasses, as a little of the sweet creaminess goes a long way. It is not an amazing dessert recipe, but it is pretty darn healthy and great for those who need to avoid dairy and eggs.

My middle boy turned 20 today. We are going to college tomorrow to take him out to dinner and give him a big hug. We will have almost the same dinner, but at a restaurant. We shall see whose is the best!