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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cilantro Chile Pesto....Meets Tuna

I have been wanting to open my #10 can of green chilies and get them all divided up and into the freezer. I am doing that, although it takes me a good portion of the day if I only use ice cube trays. While I had this process going on today, I grabbed some of the chilies to make this divine pesto. In the photo, the pesto is the green stuff under the Cherub tomatoes--also a family favorite.

It seems wrong to call it pesto. It is an herb mixed with olive oil and nuts--which I love, don't get me wrong here. But this flavor. Green chile peppers combine with a fresh jalapeno and take pesto to a strange new world. New, but wonderful none the less. I have seen lots of such pestos around, so why not add my own mix? My middle boy and I really liked it. My northerner hubby goes out of his way to avoid jalapeno peppers. Pearson and I decided a tuna salad would be a nice way to go for a light Sunday supper. I really really really didn't want to cook. With temperatures well over 107 outside, my kitchen is an oven. Salad is good. Tonight I didn't even want to make a lovely omelet. While I don't doubt an egg dish would certainly show off this gorgeous green condiment, even that was too much fire. 111 later this week assures us of more salads--unless I decide to scramble eggs on the sidewalk.

So here is a fun, unusual pesto to enjoy, no matter the weather. Beware. it packs its own heat

Cilantro Chile Pesto

1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup green chilies
1 fresh jalapeno. most seeds removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic

Remove most large stems from the cilantro. Place the leaves into a food processor or Ninja blender. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. You may need to remove the lid once and push down the contents with a rubber spatula.

For the tuna salad,mix one pouch of tuna with 1 teaspoon mayo and 1 1/2 -2 teaspoons of the pesto. Serve in lettuce cups or over torn greens.

Now I need to go dish up some more of those chile peppers. A #10 can is a lot of chilies. But 99 ounces of flame roasted peppers for under $10 is worth the effort. These are mild enough, even my hesitant hubby likes them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summertime Rutabaga Fries

Cleo at the Lighter Side reminded everyone that it is National Hamburger Day. If you count cheeseburgers, I think that is the third one this year. I swear there is a holiday for every food out there. I wonder where you find that calendar that names them all? And who gets to decide anyway? I would like to be on that committee. We had burgers on the menu anyway. It was going to be for tomorrow's Burger Buffet, so I just switched the menu around. Good to be flexible for such special occasions, huh?

I had my Honey Roasted Barbecue Sauce, my copycat recipe from Chick-Fil-A. I love that stuff! But burgers are pretty self explanatory. Fries for low carbers--well that is another story.

I really do like my rutabaga fries, but I hate waiting for them to soften up while frying, so I generally pre cook them to soften them up. My kitchen is so hot when it is over 100 outside---like it has been for about a month here. As I was cleaning out my crockpot after breakfast, I decided to peel my rutabaga and toss it in to see what happens if it slow cooks.

I knew you could do baked potatoes in foil in a slow cooker, so I gave it a try. After peeling, I wrapped a good size rutabaga in foil and placed it inside. No water, just the rutabaga on low. It baked about 6 hours and came out tender, but not falling apart. Perfect for slicing then adding to my cast iron skillet with some coconut oil. It is so hot in my kitchen that all my coconut oil is liquid all the time now. Have I mentioned how much I am looking forward to fall? Anyway, it fried up evenly and quickly so I could have dinner under the fan with the guys. They are not big rutabaga eaters, so more for me and Dad!

My crockpot is getting a workout this summer. I wonder what I will try out tomorrow?

Turkey Crusted Crockpot Breakfast

This recipe is a combination of several things I love. For one, I love my slow cookers. Yes, I love them so much that I own three. Even in my tiny kitchen. Three. One standard crock. So well used that I have worn the glazing off the bowl, making it a bear to clean. I even had to repaint the outside because it was so beat up. Can't hide it away though. It stays on the cabinet all the time. It has earned that spot.

I also have a dual crock slow cooker. That was a "suggested" birthday gift from my attentive and always thoughtful middle son, Pearson. Gotta love him. Not only is it great for holidays and potlucks because it hold a lot of food, it is also wonderful for those on special diets. I can make a batch of chili--regular cheapo black beans for non dieters. Expensive black soy beans for us. No wasting pricey specialty ingredients on those who will be downing Twinkies later. Of course, it is also wonderful for cooking two separate foods at once, as long as the timing is the same. Meat on one side, veggies on the other. That way, not everything has to have that dreaded crockpot stew characteristic. You know what I mean.

Lastly, I have a cheap little crockpot. It doesn't hold much, and that is the charm. It is just the right size for hot dips Mmmm..queso. It is also perfect for meals for two. Mine hold two chicken breasts and sauce. When my niece got married, I gave her a small crockpot with recipes just for two. How romantic. I hope she is still using it now that her family has 4. She seems to be repeating my pattern by spitting out adorable baby boys. I love having boys.

You may be wondering what happened to that recipe.  Just one more reminder that the Diner Newsletter for August will be devoted to slow cooking. If you aren't a subscriber, now is the time to order. Perhaps that is why I am singing these praises today. In a hot kitchen, slow cookers are a huge benefit. In a busy life, they are huge blessings.Okay, enough for crockpot appreciation day.

My other favorite things in this breakfast casserole are red bell pepper. Red is my favorite color so I love these even more. The milder sweetness of the flavor, though has always been a favorite. It shines through in this recipe. I also am a big fan of low fat ground turkey. I found a dollar off coupon at Walmart for this hormone free natural turkey, so I tried it. For this recipe, I think it is important to make sure you have a low fat grind. With no pre-browning, you don't want a greasy or wet dish, and you certainly don't want the turkey crust to shrink! A turkey crust? Really? Really. Super easy. Just mix the spices into the turkey in the crock, then use a spoon for form a crust. Worked like a charm for me.

Turkey Crusted Crockpot Breakfast

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 chopped onion
6 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Place the raw turkey into the pot. Stir in the garlic, onion, sage, fennel and Mrs. Dash. Stir to blend. Using the back of the spoon, spread this turkey mixture evenly over the bottom of the crock and up the side about 2 inches.Chop the vegetables and layer them over the turkey.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in the cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Pour this over the turkey and vegetables. Top with shredded cheese. Bake overnight on low. Makes 6-8 servings.

If you prefer, you can use low fat turkey sausage as the crust. This was easy to put together, though. I am going to have another crockpot breakfast in the newsletter as well. That one has Southwestern flavors. I hate that most breakfast casseroles call for bread. It takes a little creativity, but the crockpots can serve up really tasty morning meals that are ready when we are.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ten Days of Salad...or More!

I shared this fantastic discovery in my July newsletter. I am so happy with it that I have to share it here too. This amazing process, brought to me through the Salad in a Jar blog, has changed the way I prepare our salads for the week. I have retired the old Tupperware system, although the container will still be useful for salad for a crowd. This amazing process will allow you to prep lettuce and a few veggies for 10 or more days worth of salads with no wilting, sogginess or brown spots. You will need some specialty items, which some of you may already own. I happened to own a Foodsaver system. Any model with an accessory port will work. In addition to that, you need a good supply of wide mouth canning jars--loved those already. Lastly, the piece de resistance--the wide mouth jar attachment sold separately by the Foodsaver company.

Interestingly, I think it is a rather strange move for the company to sell this attachment. It is definitely costing them bag sales from my home. I love sealing all sorts of foods in these jars. Since they are totally reusable, there is no waste. My unit, which I got as a Christmas gift a few years ago, came with a durable plastic container with a special lid which could be vacuum sealed. While I loved that container, it came with only one, and additional ones were far too expensive for me! I am so stingy, I found myself hating the waste of throwing away the sealable bag. I hated trying to wash them even more. I will still use them for sealing freezer meals though. When making freezer dinners, I use the roll form of "bag" and make it bigger than I need, so I can cut the top off, then wash and reseal with a smaller portion next time.

Now getting back to the salad in a jar.This attachment costs less than $10. I ordered mine online, since I could not find it locally. It is so worth it. I does a great job creating a tight seal. After vacuum sealing salad greens, they stay fresh. My experimentation has shown that they last at least 10 days. Of course, your time may vary depending on the freshness of the produce to start with. I have experimented with different lettuce mixes too. Here is my favorite greens combo.

1 head read leaf lettuce
1 head iceberg
1 bag spinach
1/2 onion, sliced into rings
3-4 grape tomatoes per jar

Just wash, dry, tear and combine all the ingredients in the largest bowl you have. Then hand pack the mix into quart sized wide mouth jars and vacuum seal. How easy is that? I love only needing to wash salad once a week. Plus seeing the beautiful greens on the top shelf of the fridge reminds us to  eat them. It makes it so easy to grab a quick side salad when I would do without if I had to prep it. If I don't use the whole jar, I can just hand seal, or reseal the vacuum way in just a few seconds. The jars can even go straight into the lunch bag to open at lunchtime at the office. You could eat out of the jar, but you would need a pretty long fork. I just send a bowl along. The jars pop open with the help of the rim of a spoon or knife. I love to hear that freshness pop.

I tried the pre-cut lettuce from Sams. How easy would that be? I was not as happy with the results. Maybe it got too hot in the car ride home--it is sweltering around here these days. It was a little less crisp by the time I packed it. I think the days in processing did too much damage before I got to seal it. I have also tried adding one small bag of prepared salad mix complete with red cabbage and carrot strips. That worked fine and did add some color, but the lettuce that came in the bag did not seem as fresh as that I tore by hand. Once I tried a gourmet blend which was pre-bagged. Most of the lettuces did fine, but one got a little limp. I will probably be leaving the field greens behind and keeping with the head lettuces.

A few pointers. Use a plastic lettuce knife or tear by hand to avoid browning. It doesn't appear in the jar, but browns quickly after removal if cut with a knife. (Yes, I did experiment with that) Don't use cut veggies except  onion or bell pepper if you like it. I add grape tomatoes, but would never use diced tomatoes or cucumbers. It is easy to add those in fresh.

I am so happy with the canning jar system, the Foodsaver appliance is out of the pantry and has been returned to the kitchen counter for everyday use. As small as my kitchen is, an appliance must really be useful to earn a spot! This is a picture of my older model. If you don't already own one, I can still recommend the investment. Just thing about how much you will save by not throwing away those soggy bags of salad. If you are like me, you will be putting everything in jars. Leftovers, soups, sauces and more. I am really thinking about ordering the regular mouth accessory too, so I can seal spices and  small portions. Most of all, however, I love how this idea goes along with the prep day idea of the Diner system. Prep once, eat again and again with no extra effort.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Asian Sesame Turkey Burgers

Here is the recipe for the Asian themed turkey burgers we had yesterday. I just robbed my herb garden and the condiment shelf in the fridge, but you may have to head to the store to duplicate the exact taste. It is truly a layering of flavors. Not difficult to put together, just a bit unusual perhaps.

One odd ingredient is the Wasabi Sake Mustard. I got mine at Target, their Archer Farms brand. Alone, I am not a fan. It packs a punch for sure. Great in the burger, but not so popular as a dip or sandwich spread around here. Another ingredient to check the shelves curry paste. Mine is made by Thai Kitchen. Just a little bit is necessary, but the flavor is there.

That curry paste has the lemongrass flavor too, but I upped mine with some fresh Lemon Balm from my herb garden. That made the burgers pretty. If you don't happen to have any of that, substitute some cilantro or parsley and maybe add a few squeezes of lemon juice and a touch of zest.

I know it sounds complicated, but it really is not! Pearson said it was the best turkey burger yet. Gotta love that review. Man approved. Yeah.

Asian Sesame Turkey Burgers

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.

We like these so much, I plan to multiply the recipe to make a Freezer Favorite meal. The next time ground turkey goes on sale, a big batch of these is going into the freezer for sure. The meat mixture would be great as meatballs too. What an awesome appetizer that would be!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sesame Cucumber Salad

I don't normally love cucumber. I like a little in a salad--but a whole salad of cucumber? Pardon me Larry Boy, but no. This is different. It is packed with flavor. Flavors other than cucumber, that is. It makes a fabulous side dish in this heat. I had planned to put some sesame oil in the dressing too, but forgot that I had loaned my bottle to my mom for some sesame cookies she was experimenting with. But I discovered, that it is not necessary at all. The taste of toasted sesame really comes through when you don't overpower the tastebuds with too many other flavors.

I used my spiral slicer, but it is not required. Just cut thin slices or strips. The ribbony spiral cuts were rather fun to eat though...they can be swirled around a fork like spaghetti. Yes, I am still a kid like that. I let mine marinate a little too long and lost some crunchiness in the heat, but the salad was still great. (I was busy playing with the turkey patties I made to go with this. I will have that recipe tomorrow.)

Sesame Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber
1/4 cup rice vinegar, unseasoned
1 1/2 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 packet sweetener
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Slice the cucumber into thin slices. Combine the vinegar, Braggs or soy sauce, onion powder and sweetener. Pour over the cucumber slices and marinate for 20 minutes. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet or toaster oven until lightly browned. Let cool. When ready to serve, drain and discard marinade and sprinkle seeds over the cucumbers. 

Serves 4.   18 calories  2 net g carb

Served alongside a turkey burger, this makes for a great low cal lunch. Fast and lots of flavor. That is the Diner way!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Herbal Vinegars

I am one of those who likes the tang of vinegar. These are among my latest projects. I gave up gardening and stuck to herbs this year. With the heat wave we are having, I am glad I did. I hear tomatoes are no longer fruiting and cucumbers are deformed around here. I could make that happen without excessive heat, knowing my "green" thumb. My herbs are doing fine though, so I am enjoying these. My first batches are ready to use. They impart a nice herbal flavor, not overpowering, but definitely there. I am using them for vinaigrettes and in uncooked tomato sauces.

All you need to do is place cleaned sprigs of herb into bottles of vinegar. Let them age for about two weeks, at room temperature, then use. I plan to give some as gifts, but right now we are enjoying the blends. One is basil and oregano, the other is lemon basil. More will come. I am buying more vinegar today. Just use a mild vinegar so the flavor will stand out. I experimented with a plain white, and the flavor is a bit too tart. My favorite is the rice vinegar in the small bottle. Just be sure to get the unseasoned or you will be getting sugar.

I have been blending my vinaigrettes with MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil for the added health benefits, but any oil will do. Just use flavored vinegars in the ratio of vinegar to oil that you prefer. Try leaving the additional seasonings out until you taste the herbal flavor. Then adjust for more garlic or salt and pepper. I use chalk marker on my bottles, so I can change the label when it is empty. The chalk will wash off with water, but stays on while using.

If you have fresh herbs, give this a try. It is too easy. I plan on making some tarragon vinegar later today.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spicy Kabobs with Cajun Ketchup

To get our Triple Play Meals in today, my hubby fired up the grill and made several meals worth of charcoal good entrees. We had chicken, pork and burger patties today. I appreciated the help from him, since I managed to injure my arm last week. I am not supposed to be active with that arm. Not so easy to leave the right arm hanging and get much of anything done. Not to mention, I shouldn't be trusted wielding a sharp knife with codeine in my system!

These chicken kabobs were lunch. So simple, but really packed with flavor. I used Paula Deen's Cajun seasoning, since I ran out of my own mix a few weeks ago. I happened to have this 20% off coupon for Big Lots today, and picked up a jar today. It is really good...and what? Something from Paula with no butter or sugar? Just the good stuff. After I tasted that, I decided to make a Cajun Ketchup to go with it.

Cajun Ketchup is really spicy, and would make a great dipping sauce in place of cocktail sauces or regular ketchup. I made mine the super simple way--with prepared low carb ketchup, but you can easily sub your own ketchup recipe. Beware. A little goes a long way!

Cajun Ketchup

2 Tablespoons Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
1 teaspoon Paula Deen's Cajun Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Tabasco Sauce

Mix everything together in a small bowl and let the flavors blend thirty minutes. Serves 2-3.

Notice the paper plates? I am trying to avoid washing dishes with this arm too. These great wicker paper plate holders were a Goodwill find. I really like the way they sturdy a paper plate, but they were so much bigger than the standard white paper plate. This morning at Big Lots, I found these blue party plates which are bigger. They are just the right size, but far more expensive. My solution is to double layer them. We should be able to get a few meals out of each blue plate as long as we are using a white one on top. That keeps me thrifty while my shoulder heals up.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mojito Marinated Tilapia

We are not huge fish eaters. In this heat, though, something that works in the microwave is great. I came up with this idea today, and really liked it. I have a nice supply of mint growing in my herb garden, and I love lime. Not much of a drinker either...I've only tasted a real Mojito once, but I do happen to have some rum flavoring in the cupboard...

Mojito Marinated Tilapia for Two

2 Tilapia fillets
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons water
1 packet stevia
1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring
Optional: Lime salt, aka beer salt

In a bullet blender, add mint leaves, juice, water, stevia and rum flavoring. Blend well. Marinate the fish fillets in this mixture for an hour or more. Place fish on a microwave safe dish. Pour marinade over the fillets. Cover with waxed paper or microwave safe plastic wrap. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on a high setting. Turn fish and cook another 1 1/2-2 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with lime salt for extra zing.

For lunch, I served this with a salad. If you are headed off to the job, you could pack a frozen fillet with the marinade, then cook in the office microwave. It is that easy. If you don't like microwaves, just place it in foil in the toaster oven and bake about 15-20 minutes. This is so light and low cal, it is the perfect lunch when you are planning for a bigger dinner.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sparkling Lemonade

It really truly is 108 degrees at my house today. It is really hard to like summer when the entire forecast for the next 8 days is filled with triple digit heat. I get really cranky when I am hot. This was my little treat for this afternoon. Cool and sugarfree, yet fancy and delicious. I used my Ninja blender to make 4 tall servings, 6 or 8 smaller ones (so you don't get the brain freeze)

Sparkling Lemonade

4 cups ice
1 packet unsweetened lemonade powder
4 tbsp erythritol or equivalent sweetener
water to bring the mixture up to the 4 cup line in the blender
12 ounces diet lemon lime soda (I avoid aspartame)

Add the ice to the blender. Sprinkle in the drink mix and sweetener. Add cold water to fill the blender up to the 4 cup mark. Process until slushy. Immediately pour in the diet soda. Stir with a spoon and serve.

I have a soda machine, so my diet sodas are sweetened with sucralose.* I am still working on making a syrup base with Zsweet or stevia, but I am not quite satisfied yet. You can use any lemon lime soda if you aren't avoiding aspartame. This is really extra lemony. If you like it with a little less WOW, it would be light and refreshing with club soda too. I, however, vote for the super lemon flavor!

I have been a devotee of lemon soda since my tour of Europe in high school. I spent the month there drinking lemon Schweppe's and  always wished I could get it here as easily. This is really similar and I love it! Besides this, we have been doing a lot of grilling to avoid heating the house. That and lots of salads like I featured in the July Newsletter. How are you staying cool?

* 2016 Update: I like this soda to make this drink. It is sweetened with erythritol and stevia.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smoked Paprika Chicken Burgers and Freezing Ground Meats

Today was chicken prep day. These smokey burgers were one of several chicken dishes I made. I love chicken burgers--especially in the summer time. I grind my own chicken in my Ninja food processor. It makes light work of it. With the milder flavor of chicken over beef, the seasonings stand out so much more in chicken burgers. Once they are all browned, I pop the patties into individual plastic bags and freeze them. That makes it so handy for quick meals. Just add a salad or veggie and you are ready to eat.

I have used a very pricey smoked paprika before. It was so expensive, that I was a little shy to use it. The other day, however, I found a bottle in the Mexican food section of one of my favorite grocery stores. At just over $2 for a 2 ounce bottle, I grabbed it fast. I have to admit this is better than my teeny tiny bottle that cost over $4....and yum. It has a much more pronounced flavor. Win. Win.

Smoked Paprika Chicken Burgers

1 pound ground chicken
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Wright's liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon salt

Grind trimmed chicken breast in a food processor. Add seasonings and process to combine well. Using a large spoon, scoop the chicken mixture onto a hot oiled griddle. Use the spoon to press the chicken into a patty shape of uniform thickness. Brown on both sides until chicken is cooked through.

I haven't served these up yet today. We ate the chicken chili I also made with ground chicken. We will have them tomorrow. The most delicious way to serve them would be topped with a grilled red pepper and a dollop of sour cream. Doesn't that make you mouth water?

Just a hint if you want to try grinding your own chicken. I always process a huge batch at once. It is not so bad when you only have to clean the food processor and cutting boards one time. I usually add a different seasoning blend to each pound or pound and a half of chicken. That way, we still have a lot of variety, and it isn't any more trouble.

If you don't have time to pre-cook, here are some more pointers. Take a ziploc bag and place a serving size blob of chicken inside. Use your hands to squeeze out the air. Then use your fingers, a can, or if you want to be a Martha, a real rolling pin to squish the meat flat and thin. Freeze those bags. When it is time to cook, the thin meat will thaw very quickly, and can even go directly in a contact grill or skillet. If you are feeding a larger family, use this same idea to press meat into a gallon size bag. With just a little thawing, it will go into the skillet and cook up in no time. After pressing the ground meat thin in the bag, I use a skewer to score the pressed meat into fourths to make for even easier handling. If you score the raw meat, you can break it into halves or fourths after freezing. That way, you could choose to use only part of the package and return it to the freezer. Or, by breaking it apart, fit it easily into a skillet. Flat disks store easier in the freezer too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Orange Mint Iced Tea

Sooo very hot here. This kind of iced tea hits the spot though. When I was out with my family for a holiday dinner, I ordered an unsweetened flavored iced tea. I liked it, and decided to make my own at home. Normally, one just uses a flavored tea, brews it up and pours it over ice. That is fine, but I wanted more flavor. At the grocery the other day, I found this box of Twining's Orange Bliss tea on sale for just 50 cents. Of course it went into my cart. I tried it brewed then iced, but then, thinking about the tea from Logan's, I started in with a little kitchen chemistry.

I have this wonderful little electric tea pot that I use all the time. It heats the water really quickly and doesn't take too much room on the counter. It will make a quart of tea in no time, much faster than waiting for the kettle to boil on the stove. I used a quart canning jar to steep four bags of the orange tea with one peppermint tea. Once the tea bags were out, I added the sweetener. This time, I used 3 Tablespoons of ZSweet granular. It dissolves very easily in the hot liquid. Although I am generally an unsweetened tea drinker, I can remember watching others stir and stir, trying to dissolve sugar into iced tea, only to be left with gritty white residue in the bottom of the glass. Since I am the dishwasher in the house, I knew I didn't want that! Drink snobs will tell you to make a simple syrup to blend sugar into cold drinks. I could do that, but instead, I just sweetened it while still hot. Clever--or lazy--me.

To up the flavor even more, I added two packets of True Orange. What an amazing difference that made!  This is a concentration intended to be diluted a bit. I like about 3 parts tea to 1 part water. If it is still hot.most of that will be in the melting ice. But it is good to place the lid back on the canning jar and keep the remainder in the fridge. My hubby refuses any sweetened tea, but I actually got one of my boys to sample and like it. Maybe his tastes are maturing. This is definitely a step up from orange Koolaid! Maybe it was that little spring of fresh mint that made all the difference....or not.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Salad Sundae

When it is hot I like salads. Sure, I like ice cream sundaes too---but seldom for lunch.

We have this cut little sandwich shop here in Tulsa town that serves scoops of salads like a triple dip sundae. I love the idea, even though I can't eat their salads. It is hard to find a good low carb salad out there that doesn't have sugars or illegal fruits added. So, as usual, I made my own. This month's newsletter has a number of recipes that would be excellent for scooping. This one happens to have minted cottage cheese, Egg Salad with Tarragon, and  Chicken and Blueberry Salad. Here on the blog, I will share my favorite--the blueberry one. For the others, and lots of other great salad recipes, be sure to order the Diner newsletter.

Chicken and Blueberry Salad

2 poached chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 packets stevia
1/2 tsp lemon juice
4 ounces blueberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Poach chicken and cut into bite sized pieces. Cool. Stir together yogurt, vinegar and sweetener. Pour over chicken and stir. to coat. Add blueberries and  pecans, stirring gently.

serves 4   at      211 calories    5 carbs

This salad  is wonderful. I always like the sweetened fruity chicken salads, but had never thought of replacing the grapes in my old recipe with blueberries. The taste is fresh and fruity, with a light sweetness and a touch of lemon. Definitely worthy of a nice presentation.

I like the three scoops idea served in a sundae dish. I found my dish at Goodwill for 50 cents. A plate lined with greens would do just as well. Just like three scoops of ice cream, it is fun to bounce between the flavors. The sweet blueberry, the creamy cottage cheese and the sophistication of the tarragon. Mmm. Try it with your favorites. Preparing several different salads to sample is a terrific idea for parties and family get togethers. Let me know what you serve if you try it.

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