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

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maple Glazed Delicata Rings

Woohoo. It is almost November. I can't help it. I love fall. I love October, but Halloween is not my favorite. Instead of making cute freaky food, my mind races ahead to Thanksgiving. Oh, yes. The number one food holiday of them all. I start planning early. Sure, we have all the standards that the boys require, but I always like to throw some new things in there too. This month for the Diner News, I did way too much experimenting. That may be why I didn't have too many blog posts. It takes a lot of time to come up with new recipes for the newsletter. I promise there are some jewels in there this time.

I will share one of the recipes from the Diner News today. You know I was experimenting with Delicata squash once I finally found my source. Who woulda thunk it would be at Walmart? Fries are great, but these sweet maple flavored rings are winners on all fronts. They are beautiful. The shape makes for an amazing presentation. They are tasty too. I love maple. My mom, who is not a huge fan of squash, tasted these and couldn't stop raving. They are easy to prepare, and stand up well to being made ahead and rewarmed. Win--Win! Here is a sampling from the November Diner News.

Maple Glazed Delicata Rings
You may choose to peel this squash, but the skin is soft enough, that it is not necessary.

1 Delicata squash
1/4 cup erythritol blend
1/4 tsp maple flavoring
3 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Cut the squash into rings, discarding the seeds and pulp. In a small bowl, combine the erythritol and maple flavoring. Stir well to blend the flavors.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put butter into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Place the squash rings in the pan and toss with the butter. Sprinkle half the sweetener mixture over the squash rings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn each ring over and coat with the remaining sweetener, salt and pepper.

Bake for 35 minutes, turning once at the 20 minute mark.
Each 3/4 cup serving of squash has about 6 net g carb

Delicious, simple and pretty. One of the things that makes me greet November with a smile.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Delicata Squash Fries

I finally found some. Delicata squash that is. Today is my day off from school, so I had time to make some oven baked goodies. I tried a couple of options on these, and one stood out as the winner. The are scrumptious. I love the contrast in textures--so much more interesting than a potato.

Delicata does not have to be peeled. Woohoo. It is a little easier to cut than Butternut or Acorn. Oh yeah. is lower in carbs too. Win.Win.Win. A 3/4 cup serving of Delicata has 7 carbs and 1 gram of fiber.

The winning method today involves cheese. Life is hardly worth living without cheese. A little touch of Parmesan is all we need to make these oven fries crispy and so delicious. I used an egg wash to make the cheese stick and it worked great.

Delicata Squash Fries

1 Delicata Squash
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 egg
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the ends off the squash. Cut it into fourths, with one horizontal cut a then two lengthwise cuts on those halves. That will give the steak fry size. Don't peel, the peel will soften in baking. Beat the egg and pour it over the squash. Stir to coat well. On a plate, add Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of salt. Dredge each fry lightly in Parmesan cheese and place onto a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until browned and crisped.

The other version had good flavor, but the texture stayed too soft to be considered a fry. That one was sprinkled with Cajun spices after the egg wash. I think it really needed the cheese for the crispiness. I am betting you could add some Cajun spice to the Parmesan cheese and have the best of both. All good. I will let you know next time...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Casserole

This dish--or should I say these dishes--are totally autumn. I am in the midst of researching some fantabulous sides for Thanksgiving. The Diner News for November is traditionally all about the biggest food holiday of the year--at least for those of us in America. The rest of you, just adopt our holiday if you want. I don't get to use butternut squash too often.  It is a little on the carby side. When I do use it, I generally add in another vegetable to stretch out the servings. This one is using cauliflower, a great low carb choice with good flavor of its own.

Oven roasting makes all the difference with these veggies. The butternut squash gets creamy and sweet. Despite the extra arm workout, I chose to cube the squash. Baking halves is easier, but then you get mashed squash, and that would never do for this culinary adventure. The roasted cauliflower offers a good texture and the little browned bits are wonderful. Roasting is definitely worth the time. Even though it is a steamy 85 degrees at our Oklahoma home today, I fired up the oven. After cranking up the air conditioner, I helped myself to a  nice sized helping here. Delish! You can choose it as a side, like I will at Thanksgiving, or as a main dish with the addition of some pre-cooked brats.What's more Octoberfest-esque than that?

The little bit of cream and cheese just takes this dish over the top. You can leave them out, and it will still be great, but oh my goodness, add that cheese and it is really special. Special enough for the grand holiday, I think. Simple, but wonderful.

Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Casserole

6 cups of Butternut squash cubes
1 fresh cauliflower
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese (or any easy melting variety)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Peel squash. Cut it into bite sized cubes. Break cauliflower into bite sized flowerets. Place vegetables into a casserole dish. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until tender.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and pour the cream over. Let his sit for 5 minutes. When cheese has melted, gently stir the vegetables to coat them with cheese and cream.
To make this into a main dish, stir in sliced, fully cooked bratwurst sausages.

The stats for this one ( no brats) if you can stretch it to 12 servings: 9 net carbs, 108 calories, 7 grams fat

When looking at the ingredient list, I want to say this is too simple and too easy. Truth is, cutting that squash is a bit of a workout. I hear you can buy it in some produce sections already cubes, For the big day, it might be worth the investment. Until then, I will cut and peel for myself and count it as exercise. The flavors are simple and natural. This stuff is really too good to mess with. It should serve 12--but I doubt it will here. Too yummy and not enough other goodies to compete with it today! I would love to try this with Delicata squash, but two grocery stores and none to be found in my parts. Soon, I hope. That would lower the carb count.

If you have a favorite Thanksgiving side dish, please consider sharing it for the Diner News. I have covered all of our old favorites and I am on the hunt for some new things to try. I would love to include some Diner Fan recipes. Just go here to link to my email. If you aren't already a subscriber to the Diner News, and you send your recipe, I will send the November edition to you for free!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Cinnamon is everywhere this time of  year. I love it. Today, I made some amazingly yummy muffins using golden flax and coconut flour as the base.  The texture is great. The flavors are amazing. I wanted something really bursting with cinnamon taste. I had cinnamon oil from making those old fashioned cinnamon toothpicks. Remember those? Good to ward off snack attacks. I also use it to flavor tea. But here I am highjacking my original post, so now back to the muffins.

I decided to boost the flavor in the cinnamon butter mixture I was planning to ribbon through the vanilla batter. Knowing my grocery store cinnamon just wasn't going to get me to absolute cinnamon nirvana, I added a few drops--OK, like seven drops to the butter and sweetener. Oh yeah! that is the kind of cinnamon I am talking about to rival all the fall candles I have around the house. Have I mentioned I love fall?

I  made these muffins in my Babycakes Cupcake maker. Mine took only 7 minutes to bake. I haven't tried them in a standard oven, so use your mad cooking skills to know when yours are perfectly baked.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

1/2 cup golden flax seed meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup granular erythritol (or equivalent sweetener)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp mild oil (grapeseed is good)
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla butter nut flavoring
 Cinnamon Topping:
1/4 cup granulated erythritol  (or equivalent sweetener) 
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
7 drops cinnamon oil
1/4 cup powdered sweetener
2 tsp butter melted
2 tbsp water, or less

In a medium bowl, mix the flax meal, coconut flour, sweetener, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate small bowl, bet the eggs. Stir in the water, oil and vanilla. Add more water to thin the batter if necessary, as coconut flour can vary.  The mixture should be thick, but spoonable, not pourable.

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients: granulated sweetener, melted butter, cinnamon and cinnamon oil.

Line mini muffin cups with papers. Spoon the batter into the cups. Pour about 1/2 a teaspoon of the cinnamon topping over each muffins. Use the spoon to make X shaped "cuts" into the batter to allow the topping to settle inside. Bake the muffins in a cupcake appliance or at 325 degrees until the tops are lightly browned and the middles are set. Remove and cool while preparing the glaze.

Fill a very small bowl with powdered sweetener. Stir in melted butter. Thin with water to the stage where the glaze will pour from a spoon. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins. Makes 12 small muffins (my Babycakes machine makes muffins which are larger than traditional mini- muffins, so you may get more.)

You can add nuts to these if you like. Also, I used a favorite flavor--Vanilla Butter Nut flavoring. I think it makes my baked goods taste like pound cake. Not all natural though, so you may prefer straight vanilla. Use whatever sweeteners you like best. I am pretty sure most any low carb sweetener, even liquids will do in the batter.  I happened to have Swerve for the granulated. For the topping and glaze, it is probably more important for texture to use the bulkier sweeteners called for.

These are a bit more trouble than most of my muffins, but they are so worth it!

12 servings   92 calories   3 g protein   8 g fat    1.1 g net carb

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bacon Jam-- Diner Style

I am so over the bacon in unusual things craze. Exceptions apply. Bacon cookies just didn't do it for me. I do still love bacon though. Somehow, in a rather twisted way, I think bacon ought to belong just to us low carbers. Let the world demonize it. Let Jay Leno make fun of us every night . Just leave the bacon and all its glorious flavor to those of us who don't do Krispy Kreme or Snickers Bars. Just keep my bacon out of your cookies and your ice cream sundaes.

This is the exception. I don't know how I never tried Bacon Jam, given my interest in things sweet and salty. Somehow I missed the craze. Until today. This is delish. Salty and smokey, sweet and tart. It is a condiment now, so don't stand over the jar with a spoon.

This is great over scrambled eggs, how we had it this a.m. Also with cream cheese as an appetizer. Put it on burgers, chicken, sandwiches. All sorts of things could use a little sweet bacon side. My original inspiration came from Allrecipes. I have seen recipes that included coffee, booze, peppers, chili powder, maple syrup, allspice...Obviously, there are many many ways to make this stuff. I went with a simple recipe with a tang of vinegar. It just sounded good. It is.

Bacon Jam Diner Style

1/2 lb bacon, fried or oven baked
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2-2/3 cup sugar substitute
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Wright's Liquid Smoke
1/2 tsp black pepper

Fry or oven bake the bacon. Let cool and crumble. Keep or add a few tablespoons bacon fat in a skillet, Over a low flame, saute the onion until just soft. Stir in the bacon, tomatoes, sugar substitute, vinegar, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Let the skillet simmer until the mixture is thickened. Spoon into a jar and keep refrigerated. May be frozen.

This is really easy. Mine cooked for about 20 minutes, though it may take longer. So all you carbivores, stay away from my bacon!

Update:  I am pretty sure I had a glitch in my nutritional analysis program. The stats I got when I was formatting this recipe for Low Carbing Among Friends had the carbohydrates way too high. I ran it again and again, only to get the same results. Using a different program, now in 2014, the stats seem for more in line. So much for computers! If using eryhtritol and not a sweetener with calories and carbs, this works out to 50 calories per serving and 1 carb. That is assuming you can get 24 servings in the jar.  If you own the cookbooks, you may wish to write in the correct stats. If you are counting varbs, that is definitely the way to go!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hearty Pumpkin Soup

This soup is thick and creamy, and hearty with sausage and nuts. Nuts? Yep, walnuts add a wonderful crunch other soups would envy! Peanut butter helps thicken a bit and adds a depth of flavor. The secret here is to get a tasty sage sausage that you really love. I love sage: it just tastes like fall!

This recipe was featured in the October Diner News--along with lots of other soups and stews and chowders and such. Yum. This is the second time I have made it, and this time I ran a little short of cream. Just as good. So if you are cutting calories, feel free to cut the amount of cream. The texture is still wonderful with the pumpkin and nuts, but I wouldn't eliminate the cream altogether. The creaminess it adds is so much a part of the experience.

 Hearty Pumpkin Soup

1 lb sage flavored pork sausage
1 medium onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup walnuts, diced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 can pumpkin
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Brown sausage with diced onion and celery. Drain fat. Place meat and vegetables into a Dutch oven. In a small sauce pan, sautee walnuts with butter. When nuts are lightly browned, stir in peanut butter. Add this mixture to the pot. Stir a can of pumpkin into this mixture. Slowly add in chicken broth, stirring to incorporate pumpkin well. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Just before serving, stir in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6:  499 calories  8 net g carb

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

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