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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Granny Cookies-- New Fashioned

My school is back in session, so it is lunch box time again. Actually with summer camps, that time never quite went away for me, but for some of you out there, brown bagging is a new challenge of everyday life. Or, if it is an everyday thing, you may be looking for some new ideas. I got that! I am devoting the September Diner News to lunch box foods. Who doesn't love a good cookie in there? I do, I do! These will make the newsletter because they are yummy.

My mom used to make Granny Cookies. At our house, they were a kitchen sink type drop cookie. Oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chip, nuts...all sorts of goodies were in there. They held up for weeks, but they never lasted that long. Not being fragile, they were perfect for brown bagging. Not pretty party cookies, but yummy. I wanted to reproduce that taste using ingredients that were low carb legal for us. That takes out the oatmeal, brown sugar and chocolate chips. My version is also peanut free, since most schools cannot allow peanuts any more. Mine may be a bit more fragile, but they are every bit as delicious as my mom's "Grannies." Sunflower nut flour replaces the oatmeal and wheat flour. Don't let that ingredient scare you. It is super easy to make in a blender or food processor. Cocoa nibs (or Cocao nibs, depending on your level of sophistication) replace the chocolate chips. You should be able to get both sunflower kernels and cocoa nibs at your health food store.

Now I know that you are out there telling me that I can buy sugarfree chocolate chips, so why go for the nibs instead? Cocoa nibs are pure chocolate from the processed bean. No sugar added. Well sugarfree chocolate chips are not only pricey, but they are reminiscent of a bad experience I had with sugar free fudge on vacation one year. Yah, let's not go there, just suffice with the fact that I avoid maltitol as much as humanly possible. The other type is not worth the price to me. Could make my own coconut oil based chips, but this other idea is so darned easy. Being a dark chocolate lover, I enjoy these straight. No sweetener necessary at all. Really. Just one or two little nibs crushed between my front teeth and I have a chocolate fix. Much more than that and they are bitter. For those of you who are milk chocolate devotees, you would think me crazy to nibble on these in this way. To each his own. I can tell you that when the nibs are surrounded by a coconut laced sweetened cookie, the bursts of intense chocolate flavor is wonderful.

Since it is Prep Day, I happened to be making a big batch of Maria's Panini Bread. I had leftover egg yolks. I bet you could sub 2 medium eggs and get close to the same results. It is probably pretty forgiving there. Haven't tried it though since I just created this recipe today. When I try another batch I will let you know.

Granny Cookies

1 cup raw sunflower kernels
1/2 cup powdered erythritol blend
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp coconut milk (or almond milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
liquid stevia equal to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp cocoa nibs

In a food processor or bullet blender fitted with a grinding blade, process the sunflower seed kernels into a flour. Place the flour in a medium bowl and stir in the erythritol, coconut flour, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine oil, coconut milk, vanilla and stevia. Stir well and pour into the dry mixture. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. If coconut oil solidifies, warm the dough in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in the shredded coconut and the cocoa nibs until well distributed through the dough.  Use a small scoop or two spoons to drop tablespoon size balls of dough onto parchment paper. If you want round cookies, do not flatten the dough. If you prefer disks, press each ball down with your fingers or thumb. Bake 10-11 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.

I thought of these today because it is my Grandma's birthday. She would have been 99 or 100 today. Funny thing, she always fudged on her birth year, so none of us are really sure how old she was. It has been a sad weekend for us, as we had to say goodbye to one of my sweet dog kids. Mandy, our schnauzer poodle mix was such a fun, spirited dog. Much like my grandma. I hope I have as much spirit as these two did when I am a granny. Until then, I will miss my Mandy girl everyday. Dogs have such a special place in our hearts, and it is so sad to see them suffer. I will miss her raiding the trash for my cooking scraps, the way she had to have her little bum touching me when she cuddled, and the way she showered me with kisses when she was happy...or hungry.  In her last year, she loved to be right under me in the kitchen, hoping to catch anything I dropped. She was always in the way in my tiny kitchen and I have been dodging her trying not to make her move with her painful arthritis. I will so miss my little cooking buddy. She was a good friend. Pound puppy adoptions are the best.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Salsa Dancing Chicken

I am happy to have my oldest son and his beautiful bride home for the weekend. Sometimes it can be tricky to serve meals that fit everyone's tastes, diets, way of eating, etc. This is one of those recipes that most people like. Not too spicy, despite the salsa ingredient. No cheese for those that are dairy free or Paleo. Low in fat for those who may be a little fat phobic. No red meat. (I'm sorry, but I don't feed grass fed beef to someone who will turn around and eat junk at the next meal) It is inexpensive, easy on the cook, and...did I forget to mention, it tastes great? I might be feeding this to the extended family, or it might be for my school staff. We will be having dinners together for a few weeks as we prepare for a big fundraising banquet for our school. Good to have a dish that appeals to so many but doesn't get you off track.

This recipe has been in my arsenal for years. My guys always loved it. It is a Multiply Meal from the e-book. That means it will feed a family of 4 three times. Or, this time, it may feed an extra large group! The chicken is so easy to prep, bake and freeze a couple for later meals. It reheats well and goes with several different sides so you can change things up. Don't let the salsa in the ingredients list fool you. It is a sweet sauce, almost akin to a barbecue. We go with a chunky mild salsa, but if you like a little heat, by all means add some hot and spicy kick.

This recipe also works with about 5 pounds of boneless chicken thighs. Perhaps those are even better given the dancing reference. Use what you like. If your chicken has bones, just increase the baking time. Another note; I don't use liquid sucralose exclusively now as I did when I developed the Diner system. More often than not, I use stevia extract. But I use many different sweeteners, and often combine them. So use whatever sweetener you like. For this dish, I used 1/4 teaspoon E.Z. Sweetz Stevia with Monk Fruit. It tasted terrific! Oh, and this jar of salsa was just 24 ounces. Don't sweat the little details. It's all good.

From the e-book:

Salsa Dancing Chicken

12 boneless chicken breasts
26 ounce jar salsa
1/4 cup Splenda (or equivalent liquid)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Brown the chicken in a bit of oil, or on a contact grill. Do not
cook through. Combine salsa, mustard and sweetener. Place
chicken into casserole dishes and distribute the sauce over the
pieces. Be sure to coat them on both sides. Chicken can also
be diced after browning.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
Eat one meal. Cool the rest. Place into freezer bags and
freeze. Thaw and reheat in microwave or low oven.

We foodie bloggers are always thinking up new recipes, and often forget to go back to older creations. I hadn't made this in a while. John and I were talking about how the web site needs some newer, better photos. My e-book photos were early on taken without a good camera. The food is great, but the photos are lacking. I promised to make some more of our old favorites so I can re-shoot them. This is probably a good idea since I am assured to be very busy with the start of our school year. Life is always a challenge! Having a prep day system saves so much time even if you don't always do it perfectly. I always tell everyone to adjust the system to fit their life. Use the best advice, and leave the rest. Whatever, don't let it make you crazy. I can promise though, that planning meals will save you over and over again. Such a wise time investment.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blueberry Poundcake Mini Doughnuts

Just another quick recipe to make in your mini doughnut appliance. You do have one, right? This is based on my usual recipe--the Coconut Flour Doughnuts in Low Carbing Among Friends I. It is a favorite around here. This one tastes extra vanilla, and similar to pound cake to me. Not really a pound of anything though. Just a small batch to make about a dozen small doughnuts.

Blueberry Poundcake Doughnuts

1/4 cup coconut flour
2 packets sweetener (4 tsp equivalent)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp liquid stevia (or equivalent to 1/4 cup sugar)
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp cream
2 tbsp powdered erythritol blend

In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, sweetener packets, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the eggs, coconut oil, cream, vanilla, and liquid stevia. Stir to combine until lump free. If the chilled eggs and cream make the mixture too thick, just heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds until easily spoonable. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon batter into the cavities of the doughnut machine, making them nicely rounded on top. Bake for 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

To make glaze, combine the cream and powdered erythritol. Spread it over the tops of the doughnuts.

Serves 4:  239 calories  3 net g carb

Flipping through the Low Carbing Among Friends Cookbook, I am reminded about how many amazing recipes are in these books. These are the top recipes from some pretty amazing cooks. If you don't have the whole collection, you are really missing out. Plus, there are always incredible new recipes linked up at the Among Friends FB page too.  No serious low carb enthusiast should be without this collection. There is a salt on right now, so head on over to

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  A Table for Two here.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken with Yogurt

I have a couple of chicken lovers in my household. They really loved this new recipe, and it is almost too easy to share. Do you love those as much as I do? Oh yeah! This is a dump meal. Although I haven't tested it in the freezer first, I think it would work. The yogurt might separate in freezing, but it tends to do that in baking anyway. The marinating makes this soooooo moist and flavorful.

The gotta gotta gotta have it, make it or break it ingredient here is this exact spice blend available at Target. I have totally fallen for the flavors in this Archer Farms Mediterranean blend. I discovered it the month the Diner News featured spices. This has turned out to be my favorite discovery, and I am not sure how to duplicate it at home. Frankly, it is easier just to buy it at Target. There ya go. Go get your own bottle.

Here's the recipe. I used thighs, but breast is fine too. The yogurt marinade keeps it moist. This should have easily fed 6, but my guys really liked it, so for us 4 was the limit. I served it with some sauteed veggies on the side. Perfect.

Mediterranean Chicken with Yogurt

3 lbs chicken thighs or breasts
2 tbsp Archer Farms Mediterranean Seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle both sides of chicken with the seasonings. Place it into a gallon size storage bag. Add the yogurt and squish around until the chicken is coated well. Let this marinate at least 4 hours; even better 12 or more. Place chicken into a casserole dish. Spoon yogurt coating over the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top in the last 10 minutes of baking. The top should be lightly browned.

I had a bit of broth collect in the base of the dish. I chose not to stir the yogurt sauce into the broth, but rather collected the broth to add to another dish.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monte Cristo Waffles

Here I go again with the sweet and savory combo. Here I go again with a kitchen electric. Do love my gadgets and love sweet ham too. Today's menu used some leftover ham cubes I had from my stacked salad in a jar from the August Diner News. Granted, I took the cheater's way out this time. I purchased some pre-formed ham cubes. They are a bit higher in carbs, but the serving size is small enough that it doesn't cause us problems. If you have some quality ham and some extra time, by all means chop away. I am sure that would be amazing.

I am happy to get to work from home this week, so I wanted to make a special breakfast for my guy. He gave me a thumbs up. Such a great breakfast makes the salad for lunch more realistic. Sometimes it is hard to fill these guys up!

These waffles, which I made into waffle sticks, are light and not too crisp. The flavors of the ham blend so well with the coconut flour and raspberry topping. Very much like the Monte Cristo sandwich that inspired them.  The Count would be proud. These waffles are a low carb treasure unto themselves.

Monte Cristo Waffles

4 eggs
2 tbsp cream or half and half
1 tbsp coconut oil
liquid stevia to equal 2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup ham cubes, divided use
3 tbsp sugar free raspberry jam
1 tbsp powdered erythritol

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with cream and coconut oil. Add stevia. Stir in coconut flour and baking powder. Mix well by hand to break up lumps or process with an immersion blender. Stir in 1/2 cup ham cubes by hand. Reserve the remaining cubes for garnish. Pour batter into a pre-heated waffle iron. Bake 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisped.

While waffle are baking, heat the jam in a microwavable bowl for 30 seconds. Spoon liquefied jam over the waffles and sprinkle with powdered erythritol. Top with remaining ham cubes. 

serves 4 at    153 calories  6.2 carbs

This recipe filled my waffle stick maker twice, giving me 12 waffle sticks. Yours may vary. If you don't have raspberry jam, just use any sugar free syrup and the waffles will still be great.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Trifle Bowl Potluck Salad

We really love these layered salads. I used to make the familiar one--with all those peas--for special company meals. This one is featured in the Diner News this month. It really is delish. Not bad as leftovers either. John has told me over and over how much he likes it! Hope you might too. You definitely don't need the peas. I left out the cauliflower this time. It was just too pricey this week. Just as good. I am a fan of the crunchy celery the most. And of course, you don't need a trifle bowl, any clear bowl will do. But somehow putting in the trifle bowl elevates this salad to something special.

Trifle Bowl Potluck Salad

1/2 pound bacon cooked, cooled, and crumbled
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 of a small head of red cabbage
1/2 head cauliflower
2 cups carrots
2 cups diced celery
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
For the dressing:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
½ cup powdered erythritol, or any equivalent sweetener
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Fry or bake the bacon. Set it aside to cool. Chop the lettuce and place it in the base of the
Trifle bowl. Finely chop the red cabbage and lay it over the lettuce. Chop the cauliflower.
Place it over the cabbage. Cut the carrots into coin shapes. Place them over the cauliflower.
Dice the celery and layer it over the cauliflower. Layer the tomatoes over the celery.
Top the vegetables with the cheese shreds.

To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise with the sweetener. Stir in vinegar, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the salad, spreading it to seal the edges.  Crumble the bacon and sprinkle over the top of the salad.

Serves 12 at  268 calories    7 g net carbs    22 g fat

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This makes a sweet dressing, Feel free to reduce the amount of sweetener depending on your preferences. You can certainly change out the veggies too. Just don't leave out the bacon. That makes all the difference!

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