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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Salad in a Jar Deluxe -The Balsamic Beef Salad

You know I love having a prep day once a week to make the rest of life easier. That idea is the backbone of the Diner system. Here is another idea I have developed that follows up on the Salad in a Jar technique I already blogged about. I had already added some grape tomatoes to my jars, then it dawned on me that full meal salads might work too. I researched it and found some blogs talking about a similar system--none of them low carb, of course! But how cool is it to put together 4-5 days worth of entree salads in one day?

So even though my kitchen is still not operational, I came up with some combination recipes. I have tried a couple of them, but I know the system works. I will give you one idea here, but the rest of the recipes are in the September newsletter. There are a few guidelines that must be followed if you don't want to eat a soggy mess. Those are in the newsletter too.

Choose a quart size jar. It can be a canning jar, but doesn't have to be. The salads can be vacuum sealed, but if eaten soon enough, just a regular jar will do. Layer the ingredients in the order listed, but you can choose the amount.

The Balsamic Beef Salad
1. Balsamic Vinaigrette--pour a little in the base of the jar
2. Italian Minute Beef (or browned beef with tomatoes and Italian spices, cooled)
3. grape tomatoes
4. mozzarella cheese, 
5. lettuce
6. Pepperoncini (optional) 
7. Italian seasoning blend sprinkled on top.

When lunchtime rolls around just empty the contents of the jar into a big salad bowl and toss. Pouring the dressing in the bottom keeps it away from the lettuce and prevents wilting. Just don't turn the jar on the side when you pack it up.

I have six more recipes for salad in a jar in the newsletter, so if you want more, look in there. It also gives some advice on prepping a work week's worth of salads in one cooking session. That is Diner style for sure!

Monday, August 29, 2011

PBJ Muffins for Breakfast

I wanted a nice breakfast for my honey on our anniversary, so I managed to make these mini muffins in my Babycakes cupcake maker. Even in our less than functional house, these were yummy. I kinda winged it on the recipe, but they turned out nicely. So here ya go. A taste to make you feel like a kid again. I could use that on number 25!

PBJ Muffins

3/4 cup peanut flour
1/3 cup whey protein powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Zsweet or equivalent sweetener
1 egg
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Sugarfree fruit jam or preserves

Stir together all dry ingredients. Combine egg, almond milk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients. Add a bit more almond milk if the batter is too thick. ( aim for brownie consistency, not cake batter) Place liners into muffin tins or Babycakes machine. Bake until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. The Babycakes machine finished these in 5 minutes. Let cool and add a 1/4 teaspoon of jam on top of each muffin. Makes14-16 mini muffins.

My ZSweet jar was running low, so I actually used half ZSweet and half brown sugar style Ideal Sweetener. The batter tasted much sweeter than the finished muffin, but they were still plenty sweet for us. We used apricot and blackberry sugarfree jam made by Smuckers on ours. Even the carby boy liked these.

Side note: For any of you with a Babycakes Cupcake maker, I did use the standard mini muffin cups with these. While they are a little small for the well, they bake up just fine. A few get a tiny bit lop sided, but the lack of clean up is worth it. I got my liners at Michael's yesterday with my 40 % off coupon. Way cheaper than ordering the correct specialty size from the company!

Hubby and I will be dining out tonight for our true anniversary. Steak, I think. It will probably be an early night with him back to work after a week's vacation. In addition to that, it stormed here last night, and my poor sweet Golden Retriever, Gracie, was scared to death. Well, not to death, but close when she decided to stand on John's head in the bed. Given the damage done to our house a few weeks ago, she had the right to be scared and wake us up. Hoping the hurricane on the east coast doesn't hold up our repairs any the company hinted at today when we called to see if anything is ever going to get underway. I am terribly sorry for all you east coasters too, but the unbearable heat is getting to us. I am cranky when I am hot, and I actually miss cooking dinner.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summerberry Tea

So there is not much I can do in my kitchen these days. It is hot with no ceiling! Breakfasts are about the only meal tolerable to cook. I have plastic sheeting up for the ceiling.(sort of a ceiling, more like a tent) That catches most of the exposed insulation. But since our weather remains around a hundred, we all clear out of the house during the daytime hours. Needless to say, my cooking adventures are very limited. Probably by the time we get ceilings and the weather cools off, the insurance money will be in and we will be getting new floors and wallpaper in there, also making it unfit for cooking.  Not fabulous news for a food blogger.

It is hard to keep me down, and tonight I did venture into the heat to make this cooling beverage. I am copycatting a drink served to me at Wendy's the other day. Yes, we are eating out a lot of meals. That time I had their chili and side salad. I figure the beans wouldn't hurt too much compared to french fries. We are concerned with just how much our insurance will cover in the meals out expenses, and they are being vague. We are trying to be careful on that point. When the tea was a suggested sale, I asked the manager what was in it, and he promised it was simply pureed fruit with no added sugar.  I liked the tea, sweetened it a bit with the pink packets they had available...and made some plans to try some at home.

Today as most days, I stayed out all afternoon to avoid the heat. It is amazing how much time one can spend in Michael's when you just want to stay in the air conditioning! I did get some ideas for fun fall goodies--but I will save that for when it is fall. Please Lord, send fall!  When I got home I was thirsty and it was hot, so I got busy with this recipe in mind.

It is fruity and healthy, made with green tea. Berries are good for us low carbers too. My berries are a combination of blueberry, blackberry and raspberry.You may want to strain out the seeds, but I am drinking it as is because I was getting overheated just waiting for the water to boil for the tea. Did I mention it was hot?

Summerberry Tea

1 quart boiling water
4 green tea bags with lemon
1 cup frozen berry blend
1/2 cup ZSweet
1 tube raspberry flavored Splenda
1 cup ice, plus more in pitcher

Prepare tea with the boiling water. Let steep while preparing the fruit. Into a food processor blender--I use my Ninja--add the fruit, sweeteners and ice. Blend well. My mixture remained a little chunky. Pour the tea into the frozen fruit mixture and blend again. Pour into a serving pitcher and add ice to fill. Add more sweetener if desired. 

If you don't have the flavored Splenda, it doesn't make too much difference. A couple of packets of another sweetener will do. Of course, this recipe can be easily adapted to whatever sweetener you prefer. Also, my green tea happened to be lemon flavored. I like the slight tartness, so if you only have plain tea, add a squirt of lemon juice or a packet of true lemon.

We went out of town last week on a trip to Branson paid for by my hubbie's station. It was fun, other than riding there and back with no air conditioning. Yes again, me complaining about being hot. We used the trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary, although it is actually tomorrow. Wow. 25  years went so fast! We will probably go out for a steak to celebrate again, although eating out is not such the treat it used to be.

Remember, I am still looking for reader contributions for the newsletter. With all this mess, I just cannot get in there to test new recipes for you this month. I would love some more contributions, and it will get you 6 free months of the newsletter. What a deal. One might even say it was a hot deal.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jamie V. Guest Posts for the First Day of School

Hey Diners! It is an exciting day around here. Nope, still no work done on the new kitchen, but fun none the less. At the Marshall house, all the boys have a big day. First day of college and first day teaching at the Headstart for my youngest. Taking the middle son back to college today for his senior year. He did fabulous at his internship this summer and is now ready to take the final classes on his way to his brilliant career. Oldest son has a  very important job interview today that would be perfect for the future business partnership he is praying about. John and I are getting ready to go on a small getaway to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this week. Exciting times for us.

If that wasn't enough, we here at the Diner are uber happy that our friend and ultra famous low carb guru, Jamie VanEaton, aka Cleochatra is today's guest blogger. How cool is that for us? Her guest post is all perfect for the first day of school too. So study her words hard, and it is fine to laugh out loud a bit. I get the feeling Jamie is the class clown.

Back to school: Making the grade with a healthy lifestyle

What can the educational institution, with its share of cooties and hand sanitizers, crayons, crashes and crushes, teach us in terms of living the best lives that we can? Follow along, and put your own luscious lesson plan together, based on these tenets:

Recess. Get more sunshine. Even as days grow shorter and more brisk, it’s important to make the effort to get outside and absorb Vitamin D.
Extra credit: Wear a hat to protect your face from the elements. Lemonade should be freckled, not you.

Lunch. Eat your vegetables. With micronutrients aplenty, you can skip the multivitamins (or at least some of the necessity) with healthy, full-bodied flavor.
Extra Credit: Choose colorful, robust, in-season veggies for maximum nutritional value. Who knows? You might not be able to dance, but you can keep the beet.

Naptime. Naps aren’t just for the very young. Those late nights make you tired, and lethargy can hinder making the right , healthy decisions
Extra credit: Even 20 minutes of shut eye is enough to recharge those batteries. (And no, you don’t have to sleep on a floor mat.)

Gym: Unlike the days of old, when running laps in fashionably questionable gym shorts was the order of the day, playing and working out regularly burns fat and keeps those muscles toned.
Extra credit: See your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. It’s also a good excuse to compare his/her scale with yours at home.

Math. Keep track of what you’re eating with a reliable food journal. Free programs like (or even your Hello Kitty pen and paper) keep you accountable.
Extra credit: Track how you feel to pinpoint possible trouble foods and food intolerances (Sore throat, itchy skin, and a runny nose are possible indicators).

Reading. Check the labels before you buy. Low fat and/or gluten free foods might up the sugar content. Never assume frozen fruits and vegetables don’t contain sugar and starch, unless you read and investigate for yourself.
Extra credit: Learn the other names for sugar. They usually end with the suffix –ose. You’re sweet enough without it.

History. Do you eat when bored? Put off exercise? Set yourself up for success by making new habits and hardwire your brain to the new routine. Even something as simple as putting on your gym shoes will change your mental mode from one of coming home from work to exercise.
Extra credit: It takes 21 days to make a habit, so start today. Like right now.

Science. No need for beakers here. Make sure to get ample amounts of dihydrogen oxide in your diet and beverages, and burn more O2 when you move to keep those Bunsen burners in good shape.
Extra credit: Feeling weak and tired? Consider adding a little NaCl to your dishes.

Music. Music makes us cry, builds us up, and soothes us, so put it to work for you to clean the cupboards, walk the dog, get on the bike, or even to decompress during stretching exercises.
Extra credit: Find your anthem and let it motivate you through the hardest part of workouts.

Show and Tell. Has your lifestyle been one of weight loss and health gain? Let your light shine for others. Just like the cute puppy you brought to class ages ago, your brilliant, healthy smile is enough to make people feel fuzzy inside.
Extra credit: Pay your lifestyle forward to friends. There’s nothing more rewarding than the shared benefits of health. Besides, you can have each other’s back during the rough moments, and laugh when your baggy pants fall down.

Jamie VanEaton is the author of Your Lighter Side, and has acted as the National Low Carb Examiner since 2008. From her bat cave in Denver, Colorado, she spends her days keeping the dog from eating the dirty laundry, coveting bacon, and writing recipes as a thinly veiled excuse for snacking. Her four kids say she is so old she owes Sophocles a buck. She can be reached at

Be sure to tell Jamie thanks for the advice!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Storm Damage Update and Newsletter Challenge

The adjuster finally made it out today. The good news is that which we were covered. The bad news is--the amount of work that needs to be done and the speed--or lack thereof--of the integral workings of the insurance and contract labor professions. It may be a couple of weeks before we see any money or further authorizations for work. In the mean time, we live without flooring in half the kitchen, and much of the living room. The gameroom had the pad yanked out from under the carpet and all the furnishings and books cast in piles on one side of the room. Too hot to deal with that now. That is not too bad, since we avoid that room in the summer time anyway.

I don't have ceilings most of my kitchen and half of my living room. That is a pain because these rooms dump dust and insulation on us, and stay incredibly hot. We tacked a giant sheet of plastic up as make shift ceilings, so it is just lovely to look at. I will get new paint and wallpaper. Now to find wallpaper. I think hardly anyone uses it anymore,but I loved the scrubable vinyl I had. My bedroom is getting new carpet since they had to rip it away from the doorway. I am really happy about that one! A couple of bathrooms are getting new paint jobs, at least on the ceiling. The gameroom gets new walls and ceilings too. Can you imagine the number of workers that are going to take over my home soon? Even better, nothing can be done inside until the roof is repaired. Well, maybe the fence, but we don't have any money for that one yet.

I am worried about the newsletter for September. I just don't have the ability to get in the kitchen and try out a lot of new recipes. I may have to get creative. I may borrow  my mom's house to get some cooking done. In the mean time, if you wonderful Diners have any ideas... it would be really fun to feature a theme-- kind of like the "Chef's Special" where I could publish favorite recipes sent in from the readers of the blog and facebook fans. What do you think? If you have a favorite recipe to share, send it to me. I will add my email link to make it easier to find me.

If you aren't already a subscriber to the Diner Newsletter, it would be a great chance to check it out, as I will give every contributor a 6 month subscription, or additional months on a current subscription. Remember, I am still looking for guest bloggers too. I have one promise from a low carb guru you will all be thrilled to hear from! Be watching.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Loretta Guest Blogs

Loretta has been a favorite Diner of mine for quite a while. She is a natural encourager, a sweet spirit, and I sure wish we lived closer together because  we would have great visits at each other's kitchen tables. When I put out the call for guest bloggers, she sent me this email that really lifted my spirits. What a jewel this woman is!

Just Sayin' Thanks

When I read that Lisa's home was hit by catastrophe and she asked for guest posters, I decided this was a great way to say "thank you" to Lisa. Without realizing it, she has helped me tremendously in making my Low Carb way of life PERMANENT. 

How, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked...let me tell ya! 

When I first started, I had what I will politely call "resistance". My normally sweet and supportive husband got ruffled when I explained that I wanted to stop eating sugar and flour.

He looked me right in the eye, and emphatically declared: "I love my carbs... I am NOT giving up my carbs!"

Okie dokie then! Right from the start... it was a challenge. I pouted. I felt sorry for myself. I felt sabotaged. I thought "if he really loved me" he would support me. You know... all the self-serving stuff we tell ourselves when we want to be Right!!

But then a great thing happened... *I* changed. Yep, I changed my thinking. I was made to realize... after much whining and complaining to God (disguised as Prayer) that I had a choice. I could continue to have a Pity Party... or I could take this as AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET STRONGER. 

Holy cannoli... I hadn't thought of it that way before. And so... I changed my mind, as solidly as I changed my menu. And when I found Lisa's 24/7 Low Carb Diner blog, I felt encouraged. Here she was, cooking for a whole crew with mixed nutritional needs... and she was making it work! And generously sharing her ideas on this blog.

So I became a copy cat. I would make meals like she suggested, with the heart of it being low carb stuff that I could eat. And then just make add-ons for my man. And the funny part... he never guessed. He didn't realize that slowly but surely, he was eating less and less sugar. Less and less starchy stuff.  

I didn't overdue it, or push it, or preach it. I just did it. In other words, folks, sometimes it pays to keep your mouth shut, LOL! This year, after almost 2 years, and after a medical diagnosis of diabetes, he made the choice to officially join me in eating Low Carb. And it is now easier. I'm not perfect, and it isn't always easy. But it's doable.

But because of that initial resistance, I was forced to make a choice: In or out. Yes or no. And thankfully, I'm all IN. And part of my success is due to seeing how this low carb healthy lifestyle can be lived in the real world, in real life situations, as Lisa shows on her blog. So, thank you, Lisa!

Enjoying the journey,

Loretta,  I am so glad my efforts have made a difference!

Update on the storm damage: Some meteorologists are now admitting we were hit by a small tornado. Because the warning system never went off, they aren't willing to admit much...
We have had the emergency work completed, but the adjusters are just too busy to bother with us it seems. We won't see one until Friday. My hubby is really stressed out trying to pay for eating out plus our other bills. We only have a plastic sheet for a ceiling, no insulation in that area (Except that which falls into our food when we try to eat at home), missing walls and concrete floors.  At least all the noisy blowers have been moved out,  so we can hear each other now. Unfortunately, the temps are going back to the upper 90's outside, which seems to equate about 10 degrees hotter than that in the uninsulated areas of the house. Hardly habitable, but the insurance won't promise to pay for a hotel. We just aren't sure how to handle it all.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kitchen Disasters and New Successes

Hi everyone. Those of you who follow me on Facebook must know that my life has been turned upside down a bit by a non-tornado weather event this week. My house was really damaged in a storm with some freaky winds which left a 30 foot hole in my roof--near my kitchen of course. We also lost all of our privacy fence, the windows in my van, my favorite tree and my almost new custom made paper bag flooring. Wah. All that work from the spring on that floor.

In the mean time, we have these giant fans trying to dry the house. It is almost unbearably loud in here, and the temperatures are rising fast. I have tried to cook a little, but the breakers blow all the time, it is hot, and insulation keeps falling into the food. Not a good mix, so the insurance promised (as much as they ever "promise") that they will pay for us to eat out. Better than cooking, but I know our healthy diet will suffer some. Even my Diner system can't save us from that. You can only eat so many chicken salads...

I know there are a few other choices, but we have 6 mouths to feed right now, and no up front money from the insurance company. It is getting challenging. Meantime, I am keeping busy choosing new flooring and paint for the kitchen. I think I will even rearrange things a little. Not much I can do with my tiny work space, but I am trying. Have any of you used that new flooring the is a floating floor that is vinyl? We are thinking about that but I don't know anyone with it.

I got a nice comment from a reader who has reinvented the most popular recipe on this blog. The Mr. Peanut Bread. Jen has turned it into a muffin with lots of yummy stuff...blueberries and chia. Since I am not baking these days, I thought I would send you over to Jen to see what she has done. Hope you don't mind I am reposting the photo of the muffins here. Read her variation here. Thanks, Jen. I did  try my regular Mr. Peanut recipe as muffins today in my Babycakes machine and they were great. I made them sweet with a fourth cup of ZSweet. If you don't mind a little yellow fuzzy topping, aka insulation, they were perfect!

If any more of you have great ideas, please let me know because I could sure use some guest bloggers the next couple of weeks. To make it easier to find me, email me directly at My computer space was compromised too, so I am not able to check as often. Wish me luck or send up some prayers that this will be an easier fix than they are anticipating....and a cool breeze would be great too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Triple Berry Coconut Cream Parfaits

This recipe, while certainly delicious, was birthed in failure. You see, I am trying to come up with a good cookie pie crust to be made in my Babycakes cupcake maker. This was not it. I saw a recipe for a low carb shortbread type cookie, so I tried it. No. The nuts in the dough just burned in the machine and the whole lot stayed wet and goopy. Burned, yes. Crispy? No.

So after that failure, what to do? I placed the rest of the dough--which tasted wonderful uncooked by the way--onto my stoneware toaster oven pan. I baked it for about 30 minutes, and it still seemed wet. Granted it was the toaster oven, and my temperature numbers rubbed off years ago. In the mean time, I checked out the burned piles of "crust" I had discarded from the cupcake machine. To my amazement, the leftovers had hardened up nicely and were even almost crisp. Pearson, my avowed nut hater, even tasted and approved. So maybe the project wasn't a wash altogether...

I turned off the oven and left the crust overnight to cool. This morning, I had a nice, sturdy, shortbread type crust. I had scored the dough, and it even managed to break along score lines. The only problem was that it was decidedly too sweet after baking. That and the cooling effect of the ZSweet was a little noticeable. I have reduced the sweetener for you to try.

To counter the sweet, I knew I did not want to leave these as cookies, but rather, return to my original idea of pie fillings. Parfaits filled the bill. I made sure to make the cheesecake layer a little less sweet than I normally would to compensate for the crust. A few taste tests, and I had the right ratio. These really do taste like a berry cheesecake pie. Mmmm.

The next step involved a new idea I learned about on Pinterest. Whipping cold coconut milk into a whipped cream substitute. I had wanted to try it out, and this seemed like the perfect occasion. I read a few blogs and most seemed the same. Chill the full fat coconut milk, scoop out the fat solids, leave the watery part behind. Then whip as if using cream. My first challenge came with the fact that I couldn't find the difference between the fat and the water in the milk. The pictures I had seen looked obvious. My can was not. Perhaps there is a difference in brands. I choose those with no gums as additives. They might make a difference. My product whipped a bit--not super fluffy, but nice. I tried the slightly watery remnants in the can and they seemed to whip the same. I even tried adding a little xanthan gum. I don't know if it helped or not. So I am no expert, but the end result was good, even if it was not huge in volume. Maybe if you all try this, you can let me know which brands work best? I might have waited to blog about this recipe, but it might take a while before I make it again, so I decided to go ahead. Just the heads up that your mileage may vary on the coconut cream portion. Maybe yours will be even better.

So here is the recipe with every effort to make it intentional, mistakes corrected. I would make it again, just not now. I have too many other things to try...and I am going to try another brand of coconut milk whipped. Trust me, even the mistakes are terrific, and I am pretty sure this will work for you too.

Triple Berry Coconut Cream Parfaits

Crumble Cookie Crust:
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup powdered ZSweet (I used more and it was tooooo sweet)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Grind walnuts in a food processor. Add in coconut flour, salt, sweetener and butter. Mix until the butter is distributed in pea sized chunks. Stir in coconut oil by hand. Mixture should then be easily formed into a ball. (assuming the coconut oil is liquid and warm.) Press dough onto baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and crumble, setting aside to layer when the other steps are completed.

Coconut Cream Layer
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tablespoon Granular ZSweet

Chill coconut cream several hours or over night. Open can and remove the solidified fats, reserving the watery liquid for another recipe. Add vanilla and sweetener. Beat with hand mixer until the coconut milk is whipped and fluffy, about 2-4 minutes. Reserve one cup of the whipped coconut to stir into the cream cheese mixture.

Berry Cheesecake Layer
8 ounce cream cheese
1 cup frozen berry blend or Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
4 Tablespoons granular ZSweet

Use a mixer or food processor to combine thawed berries and softened cream cheese. Stir in sweetener. Gently fold in the reserved cup of whipped coconut until just combined.

Into small individual dessert cups, layer the nut crust, then the berry layer, then the coconut cream layer. Repeat the layers. Fill all dessert cups and chill. Serves 6.

If creating recipes comes from salvage operations and winging it, then these are a good thing. We who cook and bake 24/7 usually learn to make do, rethink and "fix" kitchen mistakes. Sometimes, just sometimes, they are still worthy to share.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sausage Breakfast Bites

These are pretty much a variation of the breakfast casseroles I have done for years. This time, baked in my Babycakes cupcake baker. Yes, I know I am on a roll here. These will work in any muffin tin you choose as well, so there. No complaining about my specialty gadget.

My oldest boy said making these in the machine took them up a notch. You see, he and I love corners. We want the edges of baked goods, casseroles, etc. He even eats all the pizza crusts that others leave behind. As my friends will often attest, we don't like underdone anything. Cookie dough. No. Marshmallows anything less than blackened? Umm, no. Is it any wonder he loves this casserole made into mini muffins? More surface area equals more browning equals happy boy. That is about as mathematical as I get.

It might be just as quick to make this as a standard casserole and cut it into squares. It might be just as easy to pour the batter into muffin tins or silicon cups. But I love my new gadget, and it does cook these in a flash. About 5 minutes for each 7 bites. I made the whole batch and saved some for breakfasts later in the week. That is how I do it at the Diner. If you don't want to cook ahead, you could even make up the batter on the weekend and keep it in a jar to make fresh muffins each morning during the week. I haven't tried that, but I have heard that it works.

Sausage Breakfast Bites

1 pound pork sausage
12 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded Jack cheese
4 ounces green chilies
3 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown sausage and drain off grease. In a large bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. Stir in chilies, cheese, coconut flour and sausage. Spray muffin tins or cups with cooking spray and fill each with the egg mixture. Bake until set and lightly browned. If baking in an oven, 350 degrees for about 15 minutes depending on the size of the tin.

Serves 12 at     342 calories       2.4 net carbs      (Carbs per muffin will vary by size)

Any of the savory muffins in the e-book would work as well. I just used what I had this morning. I often add some cream cheese to help with the texture baked eggs sometimes get, but I was saving that for some work on some mini-pies later this afternoon. I'll keep you posted on those, but how does a blueberry cream cheese mini pie sound to you? Yeah, me too. Check back soon!

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

Order our books at:

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blueberry Mini Muffins

In my new Babycakes Cupcake maker...because it is too hot for an oven. So far I like all the low carb treats I have made in this machine. Only the Jiffy Mix muffins was an epic failure. The good stuff works great.

More later, but I am out the door for some back to school shopping for my college boys.

Blueberry Mini Muffins

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup ZSweet  (or alternate sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
3-4 fresh blueberries per muffin

Mix dry ingredients well. Combine eggs and coconut oil and stir unto dry ingredients. Fill muffin tins and place 3-4 blueberries on top of batter.  Bake until lightly browned.

I got 14 mini muffins from the Babycakes appliance.These go together really quickly, and bake up even faster with this little machine! Since the so called quick mix, full of sugar and wheat did not perform nearly as well, I think I will just keep to the good stuff for all my guys, low carb or not!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Portabella Pizza

Pizza love. I can't get past it. Using portabella mushroom caps instead of crust makes them easy peasy. Not that these are my idea--I am just a fan. I have some mushroom haters living at my house, so they didn't get one of these beauties. Too bad for them.

Clean mushroom caps and remove stem if there is one. Some people also remove the gills. I didn't. Some people prebake them a  bit, some don't. If you do, spritz or brush with a little olive oil and bake gill side down for 5 minutes. This may release some unwanted moisture. Next add toppings of choice. I did not pre-bake and still loved it. YMMV. The average cap has about 3 net carbs, so I would guess my pizzas have about 5 net carbs each.

Just a few little hints, since these practically make themselves. Of course, you can customize them with any toppings you want.

Hint 1:  If you like softer onions and peppers, saute them separately in a skillet before filling the cap.
Hint 2: Save time by using pre-cooked toppings like my Minute Beef or Minute Sausage. If you froze the packages flat, it is easy to break off just enough meat crumbles to top a mushroom or two.
Hint 3: Since these are best eaten with a fork, not the fingers, use the mini pepperonis to avoid the inevitable top slide when you try to cut a large pepperoni. You may wish to forgo the preservatives in pepperoni, but that is not one of the foods I am willing to give up for life!
Hint 4: Use a toaster oven to save energy. Small food, small oven. Can't do that with the standard pizza!
Hint 4 1/2: If you do use the toaster oven, be sure to place mushrooms on a pan with a rim. They can release a little moisture and make a mess in the bottom of the oven.

We are still trying to avoid the heat here, so dinner is AGAIN in the crockpot. It is usually a skillet meal, but not today. Yesterday it was 113 here. My air cannot keep up and it is over 90 in my house even with the unit running all the time. I am so cranky when I sweat. And lazy too.

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

Order our books at:

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Southwest Scramble and Green Chili Day

Scrambles are some of the easiest and tastiest breakfasts around. They are even delish for lunch or dinner--especially this one with the spicy green chili peppers. I am in the process of freezing up my big can of chilies, but set aside a cup for breakfast this morning. Yum. Even my hubby, who doesn't share my passion for peppers, likes these. Maybe because they seem to remind him of his mama. The only slightly spicy thing she liked was green chili. Or so he tells me. Sure wish I could have met his power packed pint sized mom, but he lost her in college. All the more reason to watch our health! Amazing that they used to tell us eggs were the enemy to a healthy life.

Southwestern Scramble

6 eggs
3 Tablespoons cream
1 cup green chilies
8 grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 diced onion
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Beat eggs and cream together. In a skillet, saute tomatoes and onion in oil until onion is translucent. Add the green chilies and stir. Stir the egg mixture into the vegetables and scramble until set. Serves 3-4.

These were easy, fast and good. What more could you want--except that 66 ounce can of chilies like I have! If a small can is all you have, that will do too. I used a cup because I have lots of chilies. We had Green Chili Pork made in the crockpot tonight, but the boys ate it all up before I got home from my appointment. Sorry, no photo for my green chili day. Guess that means it was good!

I had a mini prep day this morning while it was cool--relatively cool that is. (Sunday I was a little busy with the newsletter and didn't get it all done) I got two additional pork chop meals prepped for later crockpot dinners. I also made 4 bags of Minute Beef regular and 2 Italian Minute Beef packages. Instead of a breakfast casserole, I made a huge batch of Sausage Jicama Hash. That will be perfect to warm up quickly on busy mornings.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crockpot Cheesecake

The newsletter is out with lots of great crockpot ideas. This is one of them. I saw the original idea over at A Year of Slowcooking blog. I tried it--with a few low carb substitutions--and we liked it. It is really about the same amount of work as a regular oven baked cheesecake, but the method is interesting. It would be helpful at times when the oven is full. In addition, I must admit this is the only cheesecake I have ever managed that had absolutely no crack. Woohoo. The only problem being that my cheesecake pan will not fit into my crockpot, so the cheesecake is stuck inside a cakepan. Not the prettiest presentation. I may just have to find a small springform pan that fits inside my crock. This is a smaller cheesecake than I usually make, but that means it is better for everyday eating. No one needs all the calories that are in my 5 bricks of cream cheese New York Style dessert. So this is good. It will even be very pretty once I find a small springform pan. I am thinking tomorrow's servings will have some blueberries. My goal is to get some better photos then. For now, this will do. The cheesecake was not ready to cut in time to be included in the newsletter, so if you were wondering, here it is.

The crockpot bakes the cheesecake in a waterbath, and I guess the smaller cooking space regulates the heat to prevent the cracks. Just be sure to observe the cooling procedures. Also, mine is in an older crockpot that seems to cook on a lower temperature than newer models, so mine took a little more than 3 hours to be done. Just test it with a finger poke in the center. I think I made mine a little more firm than Stephanie did on the original recipe, but we like a firm New York Style.

Just a note on sweeteners. I developed my version of this recipe to use ZSweet. The nut crust uses granulated, and the cheesecake filling takes advantage of their wonderful powdered version. Unlike Ideal, ZSweet does not add starches to make the powdered version. The texture really does prevent the gritty sweetener problem we get with straight erythritol. I love this stuff for that reason....just take care in adding it to the mix. That powder does fly! I stirred it in by hand before using the mixer. Problem solved.  I also love  the fact that they have added in stevia to balance the tastes. I used to have to do that myself. Now I can confidently use only one sweetener.

Now all this, and you may say, give me the recipe. It is in the newsletter. If you are a Diner subscriber, you have it. Now aren't you glad you are--or don't ya wish you were? It is never too late! We have another car in the shop again, and I'm guessing I would only need to sell about 100 newsletter subscriptions to get it fixed. Hint. Hint. I do have some exciting projects in the works at my little Diner, but time will tell on those. Until then, we are living lean. Well, I did use a little of my Diner earnings to buy a Babycakes Cupcake baker. Walmart has them on clearance for just $15 online. I can't wait to try it out. Cupcakes, muffins and low carb pies are in the future. Having given up turning on my leaky oven during the heatwave, it has been a long time since we have had any baked goods around here. Since the heatwave shows no signs of imminent demise, I must prepare for temperatures in the hundreds plus teens. I think my oven is becoming kitchen storage for August. I will dream tonight of miniature pumpkin pies, complete with coconut flour crust, baking in my new red little cupcake machine. Can' wait for fall. Until then, this cool and creamy cheesecake is summertime dessert heaven.