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

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Pork Chili Verde

Move over Boston. The Boston Butt is going south of the border. This weekend, I made my Triple Play Boston Butt Pork Roast--pork shoulder if you prefer. Since the idea is to change up the flavors, I used pork cubes to make a tasty chile verde. There are several ways of doing this. Roast and process fresh tomatillos. Too much trouble. Use green enchilada sauce. Too many carbs. Or use chile verde salsa. Like spicy? This is my choice. Easy. Just dice some of that cold pork roast and throw it all in the pot with some other simple and tasty ingredients. A few minutes to simmer and dinner is served. For the carby eaters, this is good over some crushed tortillas and topped with cheese. It is good straight from the bowl too, so don't fret. A dollup of sour cream will cut that heat.

The Diner News for March will feature more ways to use the leftovers from a big Boston Butt. Cook once, eat three times with just a little more effort. Oh yeah.

Pork Chili Verde

1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
4 cups cubed or shredded pork
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 (16 oz) jar salsa verde
 1 1/2 cup chicken broth

Brown onion in butter. Stir in garlic. Add pork and brown slightly. Sprinkle coconut flour over pork and toss. Stir in the cilantro, one jar of salsa and the chicken broth. Simmer for 15 minutes.

So maybe this is not the most beautiful meal. And I know this is not the best photo, but it is just another work day, and this one for me was dark and full of cold rain. A hot steamy bowl of Chili Verde was perfect to warm us of after we shook off a layer of sleet. Blizzard warnings are not far away, but we are getting by with just a winter storm tonight. Glad to get it over  with since the big wedding is this weekend. Lots to do until then. Glad I have food prepped for us and for guests.  Such a busy time, but I am glad to be gaining a daughter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chile Colorado for my snow day

This one is spicy. The kind of dish that warms you up on a snow day like we have here today. Even if it is served over salad greens. That is spicy! Good still, but the warming is there.

I am working on the Diner News for March. This month I am featuring more Triple Play recipes.  Love those to make life easier. Triple Play is basically planned leftovers. Cook a main dish protein, then make three completely different meals from the meat. This one uses beef stew meat. I have braised 4 pounds of stew meat and will be able to serve it three ways. Chile Colorado as seen here. Also, the newsletter will have recipes for a Quicky Beef Stroganoff and a delicious Coconut Lime Beef Stew. Point proven. Those flavor profiles are so different, no picky eater will know you are taking advantage of leftovers. Since braising tougher meat cuts takes substantial time, this is a smart plan. Braise a big batch to the perfect tenderness, then add the ingredients to make new flavors pop.The Diner news will tell you more ideas of what to do with poached chicken breasts, ham, and a big batch of brats. For now you have to wait.  The Diner News doesn't come out until the 1st.

Chile Colorado can mean different things to different people. It is basically beef in a red chile sauce--not the chili some of us make with beans and tomatoes. Think of it more as a serving of meat, not a complete meal. Some cooks add tomatoes; others get indignant over the tomatoes. To avoid the inevitable fuss, I opted to go tomato free. I also cheated. A lot. I am bad and did not use whole dried peppers. After all, the whole reason I am doing this is to streamline my time in the kitchen. Pre-ground chili powders did a fine enough job for me. If you have time to be gourmet, I am sure the results are spectacular. I am aiming for weekday fare here, so please don't hate. Granted, I am using high quality chile powders ordered from New Mexico, so the flavors are intense. Please don't substitute those envelopes of pre-mixed chili seasonings meant to make a pot of chili. Read your ingredients.

This dish has intense flavor that will need to be served with other foods. Don't plan on eating  a bowl of it. Think of serving it over salad greens with toppings like guacamole or sour cream. Or over cauli-rice. Or wrapped in a low carb tortilla.  It would also be amazing over scrambled eggs and topped with cheese. Yum. Ready? To get started, braise the meat. I did this by browning it along with a diced onion in coconut oil in a dutch oven. Then cover the meat with beef broth. Add a tablespoon of wine vinegar and cook for 1-2 hours on low heat. The meat should be tender. Remove 2 pounds of the beef from the braising liquid to make this dish. Reserve the remaining meat for the other meals.

Chile Colorado

2 lb beef stew meat, braised

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 cup beef broth

1 tbsp guajillo chili powder (may be substituted)

1 tbsp regular chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp coconut flour

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Mexican oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

Brown the pre-cooked beef in hot coconut oil in a large skillet. In a small bowl, combine beef broth with the chile powders, cumin, coconut flour, garlic powder, oregano, paprika and salt. Pour this sauce over the beef. Cook over low heat until the sauce is thick and reduced by half.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red Velvet Smoothie for Valentine Breakfast

As promised, here is my quick version of a special Valentine Breakfast on the run. How about  Red Velvet Smoothies for you and your sweeties? I used my Lorann Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion for authentic flavor, but some red food coloring would probably work also. If you happen to have the emulsion, I promise you won't be disappointed with the flavor. I will put the recipe for one; you can make as many as you prefer.

Red Velvet Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 frozen strawberries
2-3 ice cubes
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion
2 packets sweetener (or 4 tsp equivalent)

Blend everything in a bullet blender. Pour into a pretty glass and serve with a dollup of heavy cream or coconut milk.

 You may adjust the sweetener to your preferences. If you don't have the emulsion, just experiment with food coloring until you get to the desired shade.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Citrus and Strawberry Kissed Pound Cake

This may be a cousin to a strawberry shortcake... but there is more going on. The coconut and the citrus take it to another level. It would be a nice dessert for your Valentine dinner. I cut my pound cake into cubes and just spooned the toppings over, but it would be wonderful in individual trifle dishes for an extra special dessert. Sorry the photo is not the greatest, but the sun goes down too early to get dessert in there! Generally, I am not a huge fan of coconut flour cakes. The texture tends to be fine and a little dry to me. I knew this application I had in mind would work though, because the berries and the sauce would add different textures and flavors. It works for me.

Citrus Kissed Coconut Flour Pound Cake

1 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup full fat coconut milk
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange or lemon extract
1/2 cup sweetener equivalent (I use E.Z. Sweetz new stevia blend with Monkfruit)

In a medium bowl, mix coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Break up any lumps. In another bowl, combine coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, extract and sweetener. Reserve the remaining coconut milk for the cream to top the dessert. Beat until well combined. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet a half cup at a time until most all lumps are gone. The mixture will thicken as the coconut flour absorbs the moisture.  Spread into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

To make the dessert as shown, make a recipe of Coconut Citrus Cream and slice three cups of fresh strawberries. Cut the cake into cubes. Arrange on a plate or in a trifle dish. Top with sliced strawberries and drizzle with Coconut Citrus Cream.

Coconut Citrus Cream

3/4 cup coconut milk ( remainder from can)
2 packets True Lemon or True Orange crystals
2 tsp sweetener equivalent

Combine the coconut milk, flavor crystals and sweetener. Chill.

The pound cake can be made without the citrus flavor, but I have found it really compliments the coconut. I made this nice little dessert a little ahead of Valentine's Day because I wanted a dessert I could eat now! I have been busy baking some trial runs of desserts for the rehearsal dinner coming up in a couple of weeks.  I am saving a little money by hosting a dessert tasting event after the more formal dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  It will be fun, but of course, for this crowd, the selections will not be low carb. I made some S'more waffle sticks, which I may just try out as a low carb recipe in the future. We will see.

Today,  we had lots of kids home sick from school, so I was able to come home early. I had the munchies, and tried out a Red Velvet Smoothie I had been thinking about. That was good. I think I will make them for Valentine's breakfast too, so be watching. I will try to have that recipe posted tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cabbage Roll Meatloaf

I don't remember my mom or grandma ever making cabbage rolls. We had a Lebanese Steakhouse in my hometown, but that was pricey and kids like me never went anywhere pricey. Heck, when I was little, pizza parlors were are huge event for us. I do have a fond memory when it comes to cabbage rolls though. They were one of the first meals I ever had prepared for me by a man as his date. Working my job as a radio station promotions assistant back in the day, I received an undue amount of attention from men. How could I help it? I sat in this one person booth that advertised my station and tried to talk to everyone about our promotion. I ended up with a lot of dinner invitations. Since ours was a Contemporary Christian station, none of the guys were creepers. I guess it is easier for a man to approach a girl who is getting paid to smile at him. But no-- lest you think I was just eye candy-- that was not the point of my job. I also wrote ad copy and newsletters and managed the sales office. But one day at a furniture store, this nice airline mechanic bought a sofa just because I said I liked it. We dated a few times before I met my future husband (ironically NOT via that promotion, though he did end up accompanying me later to a few events). That very nice guy, Bob, made me these wonderful cabbage rolls. Better than I had ever tasted. He even brought the leftovers to me a couple of days later. I think I still have the Tupperware container he brought them in.  Bad me--I said goodbye to poor Bob after John became my one true love. I should not have kept his Tupperware, but I still don't think I broke his heart. That said, thanks Bob for teaching me to love cabbage rolls...and sorry.

Now, Bob must have been trying to impress me, because I think stuffing individual rolls are way too much trouble. I have a good crockpot Lebanese dinner in the e-book. This is a meatier, flavorful version. The cabbage leaves are replaced with a super easy cole slaw mix. The meatloaf is rolled up jelly roll style. Delish and easy. I would say fast, but it does take some serious oven time.If you don't have sun dried tomatoes or chia seeds, this should still work, so don't let that deter you.

Cabbage Roll Meatloaf 

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 ½ cups minced cauliflower
1 egg
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp allspice
½ tsp onion powder
1 ½ cups cole slaw mix
8 oz tomato sauce
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sweetener

Mince and steam cauliflower. In a large bowl, combine ground beef and cauliflower with egg. Add chia seeds, tomatoes. Parsley flakes, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and onion powder. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together well. Place a sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Press the beef mixture over the foil into a rectangle. The meat should be about ¾ inch thick. Sprinkle the cole slaw mix over the meat, leaving a 2 inch border around the edges. Press the cabbage into the meat gently.  Using the edge of the foil, roll the meat mixture up jelly roll style. Seal the ends and the edge and move the foil to place the roll in the center of the sheet. 

 To prepare the sauce, add the vinegar and sweetener to the tomato sauce. Spoon half of the sauce over the meatloaf. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. At that time, spoon the remaining sauce over the meatloaf and cook an additional 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool five minutes before cutting.

8 servings     351 calories    6 g net carbs     22 g protein    27 g fat

It is funny how the minced cauliflower, which I was using to substitute for the rice, got completely lost in the meatloaf. If you want to see it better, don't mince it too finely. Though if you have a cauliflower hater, mince it quite fine and they will never know!  My hubby John just ate some and really, really liked this recipe. I told him that I was telling this story. Even though the recipe reminds me of Bob, John knows he was the guy who won my heart. Way back in 1986 and still today.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mocha Glazed Donuts and My Blogger Pet Peeve

I have a pet peeve. A purely personal, purely egocentric peeve. And it rears its ugly head again today. I always feel slighted when I see a friend  rave about a cooking idea that I shared on my blog, e-book or newsletter ages ago. It is like--"um, yeah, I have heard about that before. If you really paid any attention to the blog and newsletter I worry over all the time , you would know that." Sure, I am being a jealous blogger. Not my proudest moment, but it explains these donuts.

I was lying awake in bed this morning, worried about what on earth I could come up with that is original, tasty and new. I was at a loss. I really wanted to make mini donuts because my mom gave me a new donut machine for Christmas. Having been on the Whole 30 Challenge for a month, I had not been able to try it out. But then, I didn't have a lot of time or  ingredients to play around with several recipes. Did  I dare I do something so similar to recipes I have done in the past? I contemplated that, my inner voice telling me I could do better. Then I notice friends pinning food ideas (from someone else) that I published months and years ago. I see others on Facebook sharing pictures of treats that, hello, I have so done. Grumpy blogger time.

Now granted, not everyone is my follower. I borrow ideas too--though I share credit for inspiration when due. But it does get a little disheartening to have a great idea, put in the effort to create, photograph, and publish only to be old news. So today, you get old news. Donuts again. Rant over.

I had a little bit of a tough time with these donuts. I wanted to replace some of the egg with chia gel. I did that. I wanted to use coconut flour as my base. I did that. I also wanted to try to use stevia rather than another sweetener. I think I did that, although I did have to add more after tasting the first batch. My older recipes use syrups.

In addition, I know I did a whole newsletter on kitchen electronics in Jan. 2012. But I didn't have a donut maker then. I know I have given you coconut flour donut holes. I have books with my donut recipe--even with the coconut oil glaze. How are these different? Just a little mocha flavor. Still with me? You deserve a prize.

Mocha Mini Donuts

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp  melted coconut oil
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
Sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup ( I used the New E.Z. Sweetz Stevia and Monkfruit drops)
1/2 tsp instant coffee
5 eggs
1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp instant coffee
Sweetener to taste (I used 12 drops, or the equivalent of 3 packets stevia)

In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl or saucepan, melt coconut oil and unsweetened chocolate. Stir in sweetener and instant coffee. Stir eggs and chia gel into the chocolate mixture. Be sure it is not so hot as to cook the raw egg. Combine with the dry ingredients and stir well until no lumps remain.

Scoop batter into the donut maker or donut pan. Spread the batter to the edges of the pan, and smooth the top. It should be rounded above the level of the pan. Bake until steaming stops or tops are set. (approximately 5 minutes in the machine or 12-15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees)

To make glaze, melt coconut oil in a mug. Stir in cocoa powder, coffee and sweetener to taste. Dip donuts into the glaze to coat all over. Remove and place on a rack or nonstick surface, Chill to set glaze.  Makes about 24-28 mini donuts.

These turned out very tasty. They are not the next big thing, but we enjoyed them. They are healthier than a high carb donut for sure. Natural goodness, and another option for breakfast or a nice little dessert. I will still keep trying to come up with new ideas, and I am sure there will be more days when the latest greatest thing is something I did before. I guess it is part of getting old and having lots of competition. C'est la Vie.I have a few more ideas for trial runs with the new E.Z.Sweetz. I will be giving my opinion on that later, so be watching.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

No wings.   No beer. No real celebration of the Super Bowl here tonight.  All my guys are off partying elsewhere. Still, we are more about wedding prep these days anyway. Now that the house is quiet we just don't feel much like partying and more like relaxing. Getting old, I suppose.

I am woefully behind on my weekend prep, opting today to make a big family lunch instead. Plus, I missed grocery shopping in favor of finding out what my kids have registered for to fill their new love nest come March. Bad me! I do have a pot of soup on for tomorrow and we have some leftovers. The freezer stock will come in handy this week.

I seemed to have an over abundance of cauliflower. Some went in the soup, and the rest went to this fun snack. Now that I am off the Whole 30, I can have my favorite blue cheese dressing again.  I have seen several recipes on Pinterest for Buffalo Cauliflower. I found this one at Closet Cooking, and headed into the kitchen to roast some cauliflower. I didn't have Frank's hot sauce, so  my cauliflower is not as orange as some. Mine had a chile lime flavoring that is delish. I added a little extra vinegar that it was lacking over traditional hot sauce. It is close and yummy. Tonight, instead of being a sports theme, I will munch on these while watching Downton Abbey. Not exactly English fare, but who cares?