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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Low Carbing Among Friends --Another new book!

You probably all know by now, that the Low Carbing Among Friends is a series of cookbooks. I have been featured in volumes I and II. Now Volume III is on the way! I am not in this book, but I am sure it will be great. There is so much talent out there. With our team around, there is no reason to ever get bored living the low carb lifestyle!

If you want to place a pre-order, you can take advantage of a special sale right now. It won't last long, though. so head on over and order your copy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cranberry Sparklers

I am betting you are all busy with last minute Thanksgiving prep. I am too, but I have one little jewel to share. A pretty pink soda to celebrate in style! I love a little bubbly. This recipe is not loaded with aspartame like some cranberry sodas. This is made with a cranberry simple syrup you can make in your own kitchen, using the sweetener you prefer.

I have two versions, but there are more. I made one with sparkling water alone. That one had a stronger cranberry flavor. I really like citrus with cranberries, though. My favorite drink featured about half a packet of True Lemon. Lime would be the bomb also! I have easy access to sparkling soda because I have a Soda Stream machine. That makes easy work out of drink experiments. Forget the pricey Zevia--I like making my own creations. You can purchase some club soda, or even lemon lime soda if you find a sweetener that you can live with.

Just make some syrup--cranberries are cheap this time of year. You can use this syrup in sodas, as a dessert glaze or stirred into yogurt or drizzled over cottage cheese. I used about 2 tbsp for a full glass. You may prefer more or less. I did add a little extra stevia to each glass. Just do that to taste.

 Sugarfree Cranberry Syrup

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sweetener

Combine the cranberries, water and sweetener in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries pop and thicken, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl and let the strainer sit over the bowl until the syrup has cooled to room temperature, about 1 hour. Discard the solids and refrigerate the syrup for up to 2 weeks. 

This syrup makes the sodas so pretty. Perfect for the holidays! A little added to hot tea would be wonderful. I'm pondering cranberry cocoa? I may have to give that a try too. Have a happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you!

More big news is coming after Thanksgiving, so check back soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bacon Weave Brunch

I promise someone must have turned up the speed of the earth's rotation!  My life is a whirlwind of activity these days. Yours too? Yesterday I made a little time to play around with some new breakfast casseroles. I had seen an idea for a bacon crusted quiche in a really old low carb book. Can't remember which one, sorry. Being a lover of crispy bacon, (that seems nicer than saying that limp bacon grosses me out) I thought that might be interesting, but I wondered how to keep the bacon from getting too soft.

Obviously, pre-baking is necessary. I used my less than amazing weaving skills to cover the base of a quiche dish. OK, so I messed up the weave, but hey, who would know except all of you looking at my photos? I baked that for 20 minutes at 400. Great-- except that the weave shrunk much more than I had anticipated. What was I thinking? Of course it would shrink. I may have to go search for that original recipe again and see if that recipe addressed that issue.  So rather than have a crust which didn't actually cover the base, I opted to make the bacon weave the top crust. If that is good enough for cherry pie, it is good enough for this. That inspiration worked and I didn't have to worry about soggy bacon. Don't fret, if you weave it, the bacon will lift out easily in one piece.

This made a really tasty brunch dish. It is prettier than most breakfast casseroles, so it would be great for a buffet dish during the holidays. Add a few green bell peppers to make it even more festive.

Bacon Weave Brunch

12 slices bacon
8 oz cream cheese
6 eggs
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon in a quiche dish or 8" x 8" square dish. Weave the bacon. Bake for 10 minutes, then drain off the collected fat. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven, drain most of the fat and cool. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Warm the cream cheese if it is not at room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and eggs. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes, and add to the egg mixture. Stir in the salt, liquid smoke, pepper and onion powder.  Carefully remove the bacon weave from the dish and set it aside. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven. Place the bacon weave on top and sprinkle the shredded cheese around the edges. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

This past week I did a little promotion for our cookbook series, Low Carbing Among Friends. I was interviewed by Dr. Robert Su of Carbohydrates can kill. The podcast will be available this Wednesday, so head on over to listen. .   Dr. Su is a very nice man and a true scientist. I am never good at explaining all the biochemistry of our eating plan, but I do know it works. As I told the doctor, I am glad his is there to inform people on diet and health, while I am busy in the kitchen making recipes that keep us on plan!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ginger Cakes

These are delicious. Perfect for holiday gift giving to the low carber in your life. I am bringing them to a little get together tonight. Not low carbers, but they will like them anyway. I love the flavors of ginger and spice and these little cakes fit the bill. Old world holiday flavor. The base is almond flour, so they are rich. I love the way almond flour gives a little crusty edge.  That is why I like these cakes in small baking dishes rather than a full loaf.  I love the edges the most. You can use a regular loaf, but it is not nearly as fun.

Ginger Cakes

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3/4 cup sweetener equivalent to sugar
4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp powdered sweetener
2 tsp cream

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, sweetener if using a dry variety, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder and cloves. In a small bowl, beat eggs.  Add the eggs to the dry ingredients, then add the coconut oil and vanilla. If the batter becomes too thick, heat it in the microwave for 45 seconds.  This will remelt the coconut oil which may solidify if the eggs were cold. Spoon batter into mini loaf pans or muffin tins.Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40  minutes, depending on the size of the bakeware. Let the cakes cool in the pan.

Prepare the glaze by combining powdered sweetener and cream. Stir until dissolved and drizzle over the cooled cakes.

Makes 2 mini loaves.  Serves 8:  368 calories  6 net g carb

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Minestra di Pollo

Soup weather. Love it. There are so many combinations--it seems I hardly ever do the same thing twice. Soups are great for using up odds and ends from the veggie drawer too. Today I made a really big pot as a Multiply Meal. That way, we can eat it for lunch this week too, and I can add a few single servings to the freezer too.

Minestra is the Italian word for a clear soup. Pollo is as most of us know, chicken. I happened to have some pre-baked chicken on hand. That made this even easier. Having baked chicken cubes already prepped makes soups and casseroles go together so easily. I make chicken cubes two different ways. The original way is simply to bake or poach chicken in bag batches. Let it cool, then dice it. I have also found that I like to grind chicken with some seasonings. Some of this mixture I make into patties, and some into small loaves. (think muffin size) These are great for lunch boxes and go well with lots of sauces for quick meals. My favorites are barbecue or honey mustard dipping sauces. Today, these little loaves got diced and put into this soup. Yum.

It is very Italian, filled with the flavor of fennel. I used the Hunts Tomatoes with Fennel and Red Pepper. I also added about a half teaspoon of fennel seeds. I will be the soup will be even better tomorrow.

Minestra di Pollo

2 tbsp olive oil 
3 ribs celery
1/4 large onion
1 yellow bell pepper
1 lb pre-baked chicken cubes
1 quart chicken broth
1 lb frozen cauliflower
2 - 14 oz cans diced tomatoes with fennel and red pepper, or plain plus 1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
2 oz Asiago cheese, shredded

Add olive oil to a soup pot or Dutch oven. Saute the celery, bell pepper and onion until soft. Add in the chicken, cubed, broth, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Stir in the spices: basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and fennel seeds. (add 1/2 tsp fennel seeds if using the Hunts specialty tomatoes, or add 1 1/2 tsp if using plain tomatoes). Simmer for an hour or more.

When vegetables are tender, add the spinach leaves. Stir them in as they wilt. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add pepper flakes if using. Ladle soup into bowls and top with freshly shredded Asiago cheese.

I mashed of few of the cauliflower flowerets against the side of the pot.  This thickened the soup a little bit and gave it the illusion of having some rice or orzo pasta. This recipe would allow for most any vegetable you like--zucchini or green beans would be nice additions.

We all ate it up. John doesn't like the crushed red pepper flakes, so I added those into individual bowls. Now I will go put it into glass jars for storage. Those can even be frozen if you make sure to leave plenty of expansion space for the liquid. I like wide mouth canning jars. When I take those for lunch, I can reheat them in the microwave and eat straight from the jar, Fewer dishes to wash is always a good thing. Soup is a good thing too.