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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sauteed Kale Salad

Whew! I am cooking up a storm this weekend. Well, maybe cooking is not the right word, but my kitchen is a disaster. I have about 5 salad recipes going  at once in there. I am getting the Diner News ready to go out for August. Frankly, even with a bout of cooler than normal weather around my parts, I know that for most of us, August is not a month to spend a lot of time standing over the stove. My apologies to those of you in the southern hemisphere. I actually envy you because I hate the heat of summer.

My home town had a nice little storm the other night, and much of my city has been without electricity for days. This time I was among the fortunate who got my service back within  a day. Our school never lost power. My friends were not so lucky. But then most of these recipes would be fine without a stove or oven. Maybe just a grill and ice chest--an of course, that pesky trip to find a grocer that actually had fresh produce on the shelves.

So the theme is salads. Entrees, sides, lettuce-free, you name it, my kitchen has it going on. When I found my cucumber was a little too limp, I sent the hubby to the store down the street for another. He returned with three giant cucumbers. Now I am going to have to figure out something else to do with these. I have never been a huge cucumber fan, so if you have any suggestions... I have two recipes which use these, but the guys won't touch them so I usually go light on the cucumber. Maybe cucumber spa water. I have been enjoying my herb waters as of late. I adore basil water and lemon balm water.

So maybe you are wondering when I am getting to the Kale salad as promised. I actually ate this beauty a couple of weeks ago. I have been so busy with engineering camp to write the recipe down. It is hard for a history and english type to teach hands on engineering. I had lots of homework to do. Over 1000 Popsicle sticks later and at least a dozen hot glue burns, we are done with summer camps. Woohoo. Just a few things to wrap up and on to next year.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, but it can be a little dense and earthy. I loved the way it holds its shape when I sauteed it for omelets. I thought that might just work for salads too. It does! I paired it with some super yummy shredded yogurt cheese I found at Sprouts. It is creamy and tangy at the same time and was delightful with the kale. It is nothing like the yogurt cream cheese made by dripping yogurt, A sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds made for an amazing combination of textures. So different from a standard salad. The recipe is in the next Diner News, but I will share it here to give you a preview of the goodies you will find in the upcoming issue.

Sautéed Kale Salad with Yogurt Cheese
1 bunch kale
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 cup yogurt cheese*
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/8 cup toasted sunflower seed kernels

Chop the kale into wide strips and remove the tough spine. Saute kale in coconut oil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Use the remaining oil to sauté the sunflower nuts if raw. Let kale cool for 5 minutes. Divide it among 4 serving bowls.

Sprinkle with shredded yogurt cheese. Add tomatoes and sunflower seed kernels. Add a dressing of choice, a light vinaigrette is perfect to not overpower the cheese.

* You may substitute any type of shredded cheese, but the yogurt cheese melts into the kale very well. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Browned Butter Banana Bread Doughnuts

This is a really old muffin recipe for me, but still a favorite. (It is modified from the Nana Nut Muffin in my e-book) This morning, I added some zip by swapping out the oil with browned butter and whipping up a delicious browned butter glaze. Oh my! I loved these as mini doughnuts, but they would still make great muffins too. If you like the amazing flavor of browned butter, you should try these.

One thing I love about these is the light texture. They baked up beautifully in my mini doughnut appliance.They are also great if you happen to be out of almond flour or coconut flour, the usual standby baked good base. The dry ingredients here are golden flax meal and protein powder.

Browned Butter Banana Bread Doughnuts

1/2 cup golden flax meal
1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp banana flavoring
stevia or sweetener equivalent to 1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp powdered erythritol
1/8 tsp banana flavoring

In a small bowl, combine flax meal, protein powder and baking powder. In a small sauce pan, heat butter until melted. Continue to stir the butter on the stove until it turns golden brown, being careful not to burn it. Add the butter to the dry ingredients, but do not stir. Add water, egg, banana flavoring and sweetener. Stir well. Stir in nuts.

Spray a mini doughnut appliance or mini doughnut pan with cooking spray. Fill the cavities to slightly rounded tops. In the machine, bake for 4 minutes. In the oven, bake for 12-15.

To make glaze, melt 1 tbsp butter in the saucepan. Watch it closely until it is browned. Add the remaining tbsp butter to a small bowl. When butter is browned, add the browned butter to the bowl. Stir the butters together. Stir in powdered erythritol one tbsp at a time. Stir in the banana flavoring. Spoon the glaze over each doughnut. Garnish with finely chopped walnuts if desired. Makes 12-14 mini doughnuts. Carb and calorie count vary with the type of protein powder used. Flax meal is counted as 0 carbs due to the high fiber content. These are very low carb.

Use whatever sweeteners you prefer with this recipe. The doughnuts will are great with stevia, but I have made the muffins with liquid sucralose too. The glaze, however does need a powdered sweetener. I used Swerve and it did great. You might prefer another brand or product, so play around with it. The glaze stays a little wet. It might just be because it is so hot here today. Maybe if it got cooler, the butter would firm up. Don't know if these will last 'til then.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Notso Nuttzo Butter

In the July Diner News, in celebration of all things blender and food processor worthy, I have a recipe similar to the Nuttzo Butter I have wanted to try. The jar was a bit too pricey for my itty bitty budget, so I opted to try making my own. I love the fact that the founder of Nuttzo added extra nutrients into her nut blends by incorporating flax and chia seeds. Always trying to use those more. I found several copycat recipes floating around the web. My favorite was from the Gluten Free Muse. I changed her recipe up just a bit. I was interested that she also added some psyllium.  Very nice.

Since then, I have changed my recipe again. To make another batch, I wanted to get more like the 7 Nut and Seed Butter version of Nuttzo. This one also does not use peanuts, but some do. See their line up of butters here. Sprouts has a great mixed nut option in the bulk nuts section. That is the best way to get the variety of nuts into the butter without going broke. My blend had almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews. To get extra creaminess, I added in some extra cashews. This blend got creamy even in my Ninja Master Prep blender with no extra oils. No 10 minute blending time either. Out of pumpkin seeds, I added sunflower seed kernals this time. Because I was experimenting, I made a small batch. You can easily double if you are going to the trouble. Sunflower seeds really cut the costs too.

This home made version is a lot cheaper than the commercial variety. The jars I saw ran about $18 for 16 ounces. Granted, the Nuttzo brand is certified organic, and I opted for some organic and some not. The choice is yours, just know that you can do this yourself! You can mix it up and go all raw, some raw some roasted, all roasted...some soaked and dried...whichever nuts you prefer. The nuts I used were mostly roasted, but the sunflower seeds were raw. None were salted this time, so I added some salt to the recipe. I suggest you do that after blending so you can adjust the flavor to taste.

Notso Nuttzo Multi Nut and Seed Butter

1/2 cup roasted cashews, unsalted
1 cup mixed roasted nuts, unsalted
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernals, raw
1 1/2 tbsp golden flax seed
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp psyllium husk
1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients except salt in a food processor. Blend, scraping sides as necessary, until nut butter forms. This may take up to 10 minutes. If mixture remains crumbly, you may add a tsp of neutral flavored oil. This may be avoided by longer processing times.

This nut butter is different from peanut butter and almond butter. The seeds retain a little crunch. Being a devotee of the crunchy style butters--never smooth for me--I think those tiny bites of crunch are terrific. You not so much? Perhaps you should grind the chia seed and flax seed first.

The carb count on the commercial variety lists 8 carbs and 3 grams of fiber for 2 tablespoons. Since I didn't measure out each type of nut, I can't do a specific carb count on this butter. Like all nuts, use in moderation. It is so easy to overdo nuts! But we do feel better knowing this has some extra healthful ingredients in there. Now what to do with it? Basically anything you would do with almond butter or peanut butter. I may try a protein ball later this week and I am thinking about some coconut oil candies too. I'll try to post what I come up with--if we don't eat it all up on celery. If you want the original recipe I featured using only cashews, almonds, and walnuts plus the seeds, order the Diner News here.

Update: I went ahead and figured the nutrition stats for 16 servings here. In that case this butter has
100 calories      2 g net carbs       2 g fiber   8 g fat       3 g protein

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Zucchini Pizza Poppers

You know it is early July around here when you hear firecrackers popping outside and the gardens are overflowing with zucchini. Don't save these treats for holidays though. They would be great any time of year. They are especially good now because you don't have to heat the big oven. You did buy a cake pop machine like I told you to so long ago, right? Guess you could bake them in a mini muffin tin, but they are much more fun this way. These little balls of goodness are wonderful hot, but very tasty at room temperature too. Think of them as a flavor packed cousin of the hushpuppy. A  lot like my Broccoli Bites.

I have to give a shout out to the gardeners in my life. This year I am way too busy to even try my pathetic little attempt at container gardening. About all I have going this year is a big clump of lemon balm. That is wonderful in ice water. Have you tried herbal waters? I love them. I digress. I do that lately in my too much to do brain fog. Anyway, thanks Melanie and Jim and the boys who somehow, just as busy as we are, managed to grow these enormous zucchini plants. They shared some with me. Even after making these poppers, I have 2/3's of this zucchini left to use!

I named these poppers for the Independence Day here in the States. They are not super crispy, although if they were deep fried, I bet they would be. Tomorrow my family will be feasting on delicious chicken and pork sausages made fresh at the Sprouts store. I love their flavors. I wish they had exact carb counts available. Mine doesn't--I asked. I did see the ingredients list. A little sweetener in some of the blends, but it is really low on the ingredient list, so I think we are good. We have the southwest flavor, chicken basil, sweet Italian sausage and French apple. Add to that some of Nana's Coleslaw and a fruit salad. The addition of these poppers will be fun. Maybe we will save them for the park when we go out to see the big display.

Zucchini Pizza Poppers

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugarfree marinara sauce
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 oz diced pepperoni

In a medium bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in shredded zucchini, eggs and marinara sauce. Finely dice the bell pepper and pepperoni. Stir these into the batter. Spoon batter into the wells of the pop machine, rounding the tops. Close and bake 6-7 minutes. Makes 20-22 pops. If using a muffin tin, bake approximately 25 minutes at 350.  (I haven't tried the oven, so watch for browning)

Nutrition: 1/4 batch or 5 pops: 172 calories, 11 g fat, 3.7 net g carbs, 12 g protein

Speaking of the July 4th Holiday, our books in the Low Carbing Among Friends series are on sale right now. If you don't have them all, this is a great time to complete your selection.

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.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fizzy Orange Julie--a treat for a hectic summer!

I am such a bad blogger. Being an entrepreneur and blogger is sometimes just too much. I have been so swamped with our summer camps. Teaching 6 solid hours in an academic camp and spending literally 16 hours a day working. It is crazy. I have a little break this week. I do mean little. I have a seminar to prepare for tomorrow evening...

But you are here to get ideas on low carbing. The rest of the life is just fluff. Ah, bet we all wish we had tons of hours to devote to healthy eating. You don't either and that is why you are here, right? I get it. Lately, our meals have been really simple summer fare. Lots of grilling and salads. The few recipes I have found time to develop for the blog were bombs. This recipe was not--just the photo. But it has been too long and I don't want to wait for the chance to capture the perfect photo. So here it is.

For the newsletter this month, I am featuring some of the food processor and blender recipes I have used in the past. Sometimes we just don't remember to use these appliances as much as we should. They can do some amazing things and are huge kitchen helpers. And hey, this time of year, dinner can be a cold protein shake!

This drink is a summer favorite. I don't know if they have this where you are, but here in my little corner of the world, we have Sonic Drive-in. Those evil people ( and I can say that because one of my sweet students is a car hop there and she has stories) are running a special of half price shakes after 8 p.m.. I promise they are everywhere. Not in sugarfree versions, of course. But all my friends seem to have them. They are even promoting like 25 flavors. Instant deprivation. I have had shake envy.

I just had to find some time to get home and make a healthy protein shake. I mean all that sweet, creamy cold stuff can still be good for us, right? I also have a fond memory of Dr. Pepper floats from Sonic. I opted for a version of that....only with the orange soda I happened to have at home. Yum. The shake tastes like vanilla ice cream, and the orange sodapop adds a fun fizz and citrusy tang. We use our Soda Stream so the beverages don't have aspartame. (just a little in the pudding mix, but that really does add to the flavor and ice cream-like texture. You could leave it out and add in a half tsp of vanilla with a pinch of xanthan gum) If you don't do sucralose either, stock up on some Zevia sodas. This just might get you through the summer. It might taste a bit like an Orange Julius too--you decide.

Fizzy Orange Julie
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3-4 ice cubes
1 tbsp sugarfree vanilla pudding mix
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup diet orange soda

Into a blender, add water, yogurt, ice, vanilla pudding and protein powder. Blend well. Pour into a tall glass. Add diet orange soda to top the glass. Drink as is or mix with a spoon.

 The newsletter has some more smoothie ideas. It also has some very interesting ideas for using food processors--Not So "Nuttzo" Butter, Green Gazpacho, and Rainbow Shredded Salad. If you want to order the Diner News, head over to our website. I will try to be a better blogger, I promise!