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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Harvest Hotcakes

Love, love, love pumpkin this time of year. This is the breakfast I made for my boy this morning. These are not difficult at all, and the flavor is all autumn! What a treat for an easy weekend morning.

I made these in my Ninja blender, but any food processor will work. If you are using almond flour, then these would easily mix by hand.

Lisa's Harvest Hotcakes
This is one of the recipes included in my new cookbook project, Low Carbing Among Friends.
This recipe is available in the book, along with over 60 additional 24/7 Low Carb Diner recipes. By ordering the book, you get more than 300 favorite gluten free recipes from four other well known low carb cooking experts…Jennifer Eloff of Splendid Low Carbing cookbook fame, Kent Altena, the Atkins Diet Geek and You Tube star, nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal, and popular blogger and food stylist, Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Unlike any other cookbook you may own, this one is a compilation of mini cookbooks featuring the talents of these well known low carbers. Think of it as a “best of” project.
Low Carbing Among Friends also features recipes from numerous other talented low carbing friends and recommendations from the medical community who recognize the health benefits of low carb, gluten free living. To preorder your copy, visit The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.

Now what to do with the leftover pumpkin! More recipes to come.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Chazown

That's me as a little girl with my cousins Vickie and Bobby. Life was all about fun back then, and I wasn't worried about my life vision. Although I was always driven, I somehow ended up overweight and not healthy. I just have to quote my pastor. I attended a study last week that really impacted me and would be great for all of you too. Here goes:

"Everybody ends up somewhere. Few people end up somewhere on purpose." Craig Groeschel, Pastor of LifeChurch.

It is so true--especially where our health goals are concerned. We need a vision--that's what the Hebrew word Chazown means. That is a key part of the Diner program too. If our vision for our health is to be leaner, to have low blood sugars, then we need a plan. That is how we get there on purpose!

Now believe me, I am not saying my menu planning e-book is your key to good health. It is a tool to keep your life manageable, and it is one spoke on your life wheel. As my pastor pointed out, when one spoke is broken, the others soon follow. Healthy habits are important to our spiritual life, our careers and our relationships. Poor health impacts us in so many ways. I have been there!

One thing we must do to take control is to have a plan. The second thing we need to do is to actually follow that plan. That is pretty much as difficult as the 24/7 Diner plan gets. I have spoken with so many diabetics who tell me that you just can't expect anyone to live low carb--that it is too hard to do without...(insert your carb of choice here) But then, how do they explain that we have been able to follow this plan for years? John regularly has blood sugars under a hundred. Although he is tempted to say he is not diabetic any longer, I am quick to point out that if he returned to a high carb diet, his deadly symptoms would return. I am thankful that he has responded so well through diet, but that would not have happened if we cheated the plan.

It is work to keep a kitchen stocked with healthy foods. It is tough to give up on foods others get to enjoy. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself having to cook all the time! That is why I have a system to help make all those meals easier. Having a plan in place each week means we won't be left hungry or running to the drive-through, surrendering to bad food.

The system works with any special diet--I have a friend who has approached me with the hopes of compiling a similar e-book for families treating autism through diet. I hope to do that soon, as my son is also on a similar restrictive diet now. Yep, more for me to juggle, but so worth it. I have learned that when you see results from your diet, it is much easier to stick to. But then, when you stick to it, it is much faster to show results!

If you want to be successful at any diet change, there are some steps to follow. These are my Top Ten.
1. Plan your menu. Make sure to have foods you really enjoy, not just ones that you think you should be eating. Lettuce everyday will lead to pizza binges.
2. Prepare food in advance. One day of extra cooking a week will save you so much time. You will appreciate it later in the week.
3. Get rid of trigger foods that cause binges and cravings! I spoke with a friend today who can't seem to tolerate sweeteners at all. Even no calorie sweeteners give her carb cravings. Better to banish those, at least for a time.
4. Keep a food diary. Sometimes when we are just starting out, accountability to a diary can keep us real. I use Fitday...not everyday, but enough. A notebook will do too. We low carbers can easily eat far more calories than we realize. Cheese is a major problem for me!
5. Related to #3 above, be careful with grazing. I am especially bad about this when I am cooking for others. Tasting easily becomes cheating, which becomes a binge. Can you smell the guilt?
6. Find something else to do rather than eat. You decide.
7. Grab a partner. John and I do this together. So great to have support and accountability. If you don't have one, drop me an email. I love to hear from you guys. Or get involved with an online support group. There are great ideas there.
8. Learn to pack a good lunch. It is much easier to pack a nice lunch than to guess at what you can eat out. Plus, nothing is worse than opening a brown bag to a squished, damp sandwich. If you have good food to look forward to, eating away from home is fun! Make sure you have variety and lots of color and textures. Make your meal better than their fast food and avoid the dreaded food envy.
9. Keep emergency snacks at work, school or in the car. Vending machines are not our friends. Life happens, so anticipate those emergencies!
10. Try not to listen to naysayers who tell you that your eating plan is not healthy. You make the decisions on your own health. I have found that if I don't make a big production, most people don't even notice that I am eating any differently. You will soon have the health to prove them wrong!

I bet you all have some great ideas too. Not planning led my family down the road to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Yes we were certainly getting somewhere. Now that we are educated and committed, we are on a much healthier path...and we are getting there on purpose. I am so much healthier than I was five years ago. Are you?

Of course, your life wheel has other spokes too, not just health. If you would like to learn more about the Chazown for your life, visit here. It could change your future!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Maple Butternut Squash

Since I am working on the newsletter this week, I am trying out some ideas for Thanksgiving side dishes. I have a certain boy who really loves butternut squash. The others, not so much. In order to make more than one trial dish, I am testing some different flavors in smaller batches. He loved this one! I will now work on converting it to a recipe for an entire holiday side dish. That will be in the November newsletter for sure.

Butternut squash is not terribly low in carbs, about 22 carbs per cup, so this dish would be a holiday treat for most of us. Still, if it is this or a serving of sweet potatoes, go for the squash. The flavors are similar, but the glycemic load is not. My online source says sweet potatoes will have about 41 carbs per cup. Good trade, I think.

I did take a taste of this, and it was yummy. A few drops of maple flavoring, some sweetener and lots of real butter. That is what you have to look forward to. No marshmallows on top, but sweet none the less.

Tonight, the boy had it with meatloaf and some oven roasted green beans. I love oven roasted veggies. They aren't as pretty, but the flavor is wonderful. So good that it is cool enough to use the oven again.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chicken Pizza on a Nutty Crust

Do you miss biting into a thin crispy pizza? My college kids got pizza today, but that crust is against the low carb rules for us! It didn't take too long to put together this nut crust, which is thin and crunchy. All home made and yummy.

I used one of my ground chicken patties for the meat topping, spiced up with a bit of Italian seasoning--heavy on basil and garlic. It is also topped with thinly sliced tomatoes. No sauce to make it too soft. Another sprinkle of herbs and a generous helping of shredded cheese. This one happens to be sharp cheddar. So much flavor!

Nutty Pizza Crust
2 c. nut flour (almond, hazelnut or a blend of any mixed nuts)
2 eggs
2 t. coconut oil or olive oil
1 t. salt

Melt the oil, let cool slightly.  Beat the eggs, add in the coconut oil and salt. (You don’t want it to be boiling hot or it will curdle the eggs; if you don’t melt it, it’s hard to mix in evenly.)  Then stir in the nut flour; mix thoroughly.
Form it into a ball, and then pat it out on a greased pan or cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes until browned.  Then add the toppings – sauce, vegetables, and cheese.  Bake another 10 – 15 minutes until it looks ready.

I will be working on some autumn recipes this week. Hopefully, I will have enough success to share. You certainly don't want the recipe for one of the recipes I worked on last week. They don't always turn out as winners!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grilled Eggplant Slices with Beef

I am having a super busy few weeks here. My friend and fellow diner, Tinkerbelle, told me about a meal she created using leftover beef and one of her favorites--grilled ggplant. I thought it sounded wonderful, so I asked her if she would snap a photo and let me feature her as a guest blogger. Fortunately, for all of us, she agreed. It takes a little pressure off of me to feature more of your ideas, and gives you creative cooks a chance to share your creations too. I would love more guest bloggers!

Lots of you liked the idea of the eggplant pizza rounds. This is similar, but takes advantage of the wonderful flavors of roast beef, Italian seasonings and Havarti cheese. Oh my!

Tinkerbelle's Eggplant Beef

Grilled Eggplant slices
3-4 oz shredded beef (I used leftover Tip roast)
4 oz tomato slices
1.5 oz Havarti
Simply Organic Italian Seasoning

Layer and pop under the broiler till cheese bubbles. I had it with 1/4 cup Daisy Sour Cream for a dipper.

Simple ingredients, but a wonderful flavor combo. I am certainly going to try it with the next roast I cook. It would make a super addition to a roast beef Triple Play meal, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dollar Tree Flavorings

I frequent my local Dollar Tree Stores all the time. You just never know what you will find! Being into crafts and foods, I keep my eyes open.

This week, I noticed some bottles of coffee/tea flavorings that were new. I looked at the bottles--Vanilla, Hazelnut and Caramel. Those are three of my DaVinci favorites. The bottles did not say sugarfree. But for some reason, I flipped over to see the ingredients list. No calories, no carbs, no fats, no nothin'. Sweetened with Sucralose. Hmm. Why didn't the bottle say so in the first place?

For a buck, I had not much to lose. Amazingly, these are good. Maybe not quite as strongly flavored as the premium syrups, but way cheaper! The plastic bottle holds 12.7 fluid ounces. It recommends using between half an ounce to an ounce per serving. Hoping to find more about the brand, Cafe al Fresco, I did an internet search. Nothing came up, so I am assuming that these were perhaps once a part of gift packages? Who knows?

They passed my taste test. I am enjoying a cup of joe right now flavored with the Hazelnut. The would be good in my cream cheese puddings too. I am going to stock up on some more later this week. Who knows how long they will last?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting Burgers Wright

A good burger is a thing of beauty. Our dinner was Miss Universe caliber tonight! When Christian began his SCD diet, I had to find an additive free liquid smoke to make barbecue sauce from scratch for him. Yes that sauce is also divine, but it has honey in it, so it is a no-no for Dad and me as low carbers. Now back to the burgers...

What I didn't know is that this liquid smoke product, Wright's, would be head and shoulders above all competition! It is natural, and very concentrated. Even at that, it is not the most expensive brand on the shelf. I have been adding this to my ground chicken patties with awesome results. It is fabulous in meatballs too. And tonight's burgers--the ultimate in flavor. I won't ever make them anyway again. Well, maybe not exception maybe some stuffed with cheese...and jalapeƱos...and grilled onion. I am still having hamburger fantasies here. I think it is about time for a Burger Buffet night around here.

Burgers the Wright Way

2 pounds of lean ground beef
2-3 teaspoons of Wright's Liquid smoke
2 teaspoons of Bragg's Liquid aminos
1 Tablespoon of dried minced onion
course ground black pepper to taste

Blend everything together by hand. Form patties and cook over charcoal.

Don't dare put mustard or barbecue sauce on these burgers. The liquid smoke adds a flavor that even the charcoal misses. The company even says you can add the flavoring to the lava rocks on a gas grill. Wow. Sounds great, but I haven't tried that, but anything that helps that flavor. Sorry Hank Hill, I love my charcoal.

As a marinade, this can't be beat. It turns a dump chicken or pork chop meal into a real treat--even when you bake in the oven. For "George" meals, just mix some Wright's with some melted butter and baste the meat and vegetables too. I am going to the store to get a spray bottle to keep some of this diluted and handy to season green beans, and other veggies too. I use my Bragg's Aminos this way, and it is very handy.

Notice that I have a plateful of burgers in this photo. Those are the leftovers. In true Diner fashion, I always make extra. This package of burger meat will feed us several times. I might as well put them into the Multiply Meals section of my cookbook.

I can only find this at one grocery store locally--Reasor's. It is available through Amazon, though. I might just have to ask for a case for Christmas! I tried the Hickory flavor, but I hope to find the Mesquite too. They say this is your favorite restaurant's secret. So glad the secret is out!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Could This Be Apple Cider?

Nope. I can't find a way to make apple cider low carb. Juices and sugars just go hand in hand. But, with my son drinking a big jug of fresh pressed apple cider--so good this time of year--I felt deprived. Instead of sulking, I got into some kitchen engineering. Hurray. I am back in the kitchen after a week of do it your self floor overhauls at my house. That is the reason I have been absent from my computer for a while too! Now that that is almost complete, I will be back to the blog. But I digress--back to the apple beverage.

I found a carton of apple drink mix made by Walmart's Great Value brand. Yes, it does have sweeteners that I generally stay away from...but if aspartame doesn't do terrible things to you, then this occasional splurge won't do any harm. Still no carbs or calories at least. So, I made a pitcher of the apple drink. Good, but certainly not the harbinger of fall. To get that tart zing, I added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to my glass. Good for you, you know! Then I added a few drops of pumpkin pie spice flavoring from Capella. OH, YES! This may not be fresh pressed, but I am certainly no longer feeling deprived.

If you want to order the drops, visit the Capella site. I use several flavors to liven up my coffee and to use in desserts. One of my favs is Boston Cream Pie. They have free shipping right now, so check it out.

Knowing most of you don't have this, I tried a glass with a pinch of ground pumpkin pie spices. The flavor was not as strong, but still worth a try.

Yes, it is my favorite season of the year--Fall at the Marshall house!