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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

I am cooking up a storm here! Speaking of storms, it is been a weird week. We had some severe weather--spring in Oklahoma. Tornado in the next town over. Lots of power outages, so school attendance was down. We had no problems at my house, thankfully. We have been there and done that! The basement at school took some water...but life is back to normal now.

The cooking storm is all the new recipes I have been creating for the next Diner News. Man Food. Oh my goodness, my hubby loves me lately. Every one has been a winner! Just you wait until the first of April when that comes out. Until then, I did promise you more with those chocolate chips I have been making. How about a thick, creamy vanilla, mint and chocolate chip shake? Oh yeah! Add a little protein and it is all good. Very good. Husband liked his too, and it is not even in the newsletter as a guy favorite. I got the idea from Julieanne at Joy for Our Journey.

This is tasty as a plain chocolate chip flavor if you don't care for the mint. I love the little bursts of chocolate that travel up the straw and surprise your tastebuds with the wonderful flavor you love! When making it, you have some wiggle room with the thickeners. My glucomannan seems to need a little more than many recipes call for, so start with the smaller amount and add more if necessary. It should help make the shake thick but not slick. (play around enough with glucomannan and xanthan gum and you know what I mean, right) Once you know your supply's thickening power, you can adjust recipe amounts up or down.

We are loving the cashew milk these days. It is a little lower in calories than almond milk, and it seems to be thicker too. All the better for a thick shake. The cottage cheese helps there too, but I promise you won't know it is there. John is an avowed cottage cheese hater, and he loved this. It can be a filling breakfast or just the thing to ward off the evening munchies. Yes, Sonic has started the half price shakes after 8 promotion. Not good advertising for my diabetic husband or my late night urges to eat.

If you need to make your own chocolate chips, the recipe is here.

Lisa's Mint Chocolate Chip Shake for 2

1 1/2 cups cashew milk or almond milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 scoop whey protein isolate, vanilla or unflavored
3 tbsp sugarfree chocolate chips (divided use)
3 tbsp erythritol/stevia blend
2 tbsp heavy cream (optional for creaminess)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 - 1/2 tsp glucomannan or xanthan gum
6-8 ice cubes

Combine cashew milk, water, cottage cheese, whey powder, 2 tbsp of chocolate chips, sweetener, cream if using, vanilla and mint extracts, and thickener of choice. Start by adding the lower amount of glucomannan or xanthan gum and add more if the shake is too thin. Process until the chocolate chips are in smaller pieces. Add ice and process again until ice is well blended. Add the remaining tablespoon of chocolate chips, processing just until they are broken well enough to fit through a straw. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.

Per serving: approx.    200 calories      4 net g carbs (protein powders will vary)

Now that the cold weather seems to be behind us, it will be time for more cool shakes like this one. Since Sonic has so many flavors, maybe it is time for me to get a little more creative. What is your favorite flavor?

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

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Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ultra Sriracha Barbecue Sauce and the Ultimate Man Burger

If you happen to have the Classic Diner e-book, you  probably know that "Ultra" is kinda my code word for beer. We Marshalls are not beer drinkers, but I do seem to appreciate it in cooking now and then. Beer as a marinade in my Ultra Chicken is the bomb and has lots of great recipes. I call everything Ultra because Michelob Ultra is a very low carb brand choice. That and I just like the sound of it. My man also liked the Ultimate Man Burger. You decide if it is the man or the burger that deserves that description...

Gotta admit that the hubby was rather fearful when he saw me putting this sauce together. Not of the beer, but of the Sriracha. Don't worry--the heat is not a big deal here. If you like it, you can add some more even. You will have plenty of sauce for multiple burgers. You will want leftovers because this is good stuff!

This month's Diner News is all about "man food." This sauce is in the newsletter, and let me tell you--it's perfect man food. So many complex flavors going on here, but remarkably easy to make. This sauce will be great on burgers, brisket, pulled pork, you name it. We used burgers. Yes, from frozen patties, but an upgrade would be even better. But if you are like us, and some meals need to be easy fix--this sauce will take those preformed patties to wonderful places. Cook the burgers on the grill, baste them with this sauce. Then just fry a little bacon and saute some onion for topping and you are ready for the Ultra experience.

Ultra Sriracha Barbecue Sauce

8 oz tomato sauce
8 oz Ultra Michelob or any light beer
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup granulated erythritol blend sweetener
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp stevia powder (or 2 tsp granulated sweetener of choice)
1/2 tsp glucomannan (m.o.l.)

Combine all ingredients except glucomannan in a saucepan. Stir well and simmer on the stovetop over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes. Add the glucomannan to the sauce. Use a stick blender to make sure sauce is free of clumps.  Adjust the amount of glucomannan as needed.  (xanthan gum can also be used)

Sauce is 2 tbsp serving = 25 calories 3 net g carb

We are eating good around here this month. Bet ya wanna know what other manly meals we are enjoying. But you will just have to wait til the April Diner News comes out. Hubby's team--the Razorbacks of Arkansas-- is out in March Madness, but my Sooners are in the Sweet 16. It may be time to come up with some game treats too. Spring break is over for me--again I didn't get everything done that I wanted to. I always try to fit so much in that week. But spring is here and I do love that.

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Toasted Tidbits Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toasting makes a huge difference in the flavor of nuts and coconut. These cookies are wonderful! A step above the standard chocolate chip cookie--wonderful with the addition of toasted coconut and toasted slivered almonds. That little extra browning adds so much to the flavor. If you have a sweet tooth, you really gotta try these tidbits. The recipe makes 4 dozen, so make a batch and freeze extras for special treats over the next month or so. You really must do this or you will find yourself munching on the whole batch the day you bake. So easy to overdo! Just ask my sneaky husband who keeps stealing them.

To make these precious morsels, today I made my own chocolate chips. Yes, it is spring break and I have time for that this week. You can buy sugarfree chips if you want. I am cheap and never want to pay for the good ones. I am fearful of maltitol in the more readily available sugar free chips. That stuff does a number on my tummy (and lower parts). I stay away. These chips-- it is hard to stay away--but because they are so delicious. I suggest for the best flavor to use a sweetener blend. I like erythritol/stevia blends the most. This one is made with Natvia. Serve is also a good choice. But use what appeals to you.

I came up with this recipe for dark chocolate chips a few years ago. The original recipe is in Low Carbing Among Friends Volume 2 (pg 260) back when my sensitive tummy son still lived at home. Sad that he is now grown and gone. I have to admit, I don't make chips often just for us. The squeeze model technique from that recipe works great, but this time I have a new way to make them that is even easier.

 A few months back I saw a great idea about making chocolate chips in a silicone potholder. The small honeycomb shaped holes make great small chips. All uniform size and shape. In between a mini chip and a standard chip. I couldn't find any of that shape locally. Amazon carried a set, but cheapo me wouldn't buy a whole set with two I don't need. Then, the other day, my nearby Walmart had a similar potholder/trivet. Just 5 bucks. Woohoo!

I would love to credit the right person who first arrived at this genius idea, but I can't seem to track it down. Found a similar idea at Pure and Simple Recipes, but the idea is not original to her either. If you are out there, please let me know!

Many recipes for home made chocolate chips call for cocoa butter. I don't keep that around too much. It is pricey and time consuming to make. I wanted something simpler. My old recipe needed to be kept cold. Not a bad idea with these either, but they hold together well enough in baked goods. To make the chips a little firmer, I left out one tablespoon of heavy cream. The chocolate is not exactly liquidThe recipe worked well. So if you want to make your own sugarfree chocolate chips, let's get started!

Sugarfree Chocolate Chips

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup powdered erythritol/stevia blend (I used Natvia)
1 tbsp heavy cream

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. When liquified, stir in vanilla and powdered sweetener. (If your sweetener blend is granulated, powder it in a blender before adding to chocolate) Stir in cream. Mixture will thicken with this step. Return to heat if needed, but be careful not to scorch.

Spoon approximately half the chocolate onto the silicon potholder. Use a soft spatula to press the chocolate into each cavity. When filled, place into the freezer for 15 minutes or longer. To remove the chips, flex the silicon all directions. I needed to fold row by row and use my finger to pop the chips from the mold.

Makes about 1 cup chips. 
 2 tbsp serving is  72 calories 1 net g carb

This cookie recipe does not need the full batch of chips. So what else will these wonderful little chips be delightful in? Stay tuned, and I will post more ideas. I have a couple in mind already. Now to the cookies! The toasting really ups the flavors of the coconut and almonds. That is also why I went with a caramel flavoring rather than vanilla--browned flavor there too. We Marshalls are known for liking the edges of the brownies and crisper rather than softer cookies. The toasting takes us there without needing to actually burn the cookies.

Toasted Tidbits Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup almond slivers, chopped
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup erythritol/stevia blend sweetener (Natvia)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp caramel flavoring
1 egg
3/4 cup sugarfree chocolate chips

In a dry skillet, toast the coconut until just golden. Watch carefully. Place coconut in a large bowl. Add almond slivers to the skillet. Toast over low heat until golden. Remove and let cool.

In the bowl with the coconut, add almond flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, cream the sweetener and butter. (by hand or with a mixer) When blended, stir in yogurt, caramel flavoring and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl. Stir to combine.

Chop the cooled almonds into smaller pieces. Add almonds and chilled chocolate chips to the cookie dough. Stir until evenly distributed. Chill dough while oven preheats to 325 degrees. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. They should not spread. Bake for 13-14 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes before removing from sheet, as they will be fragile when hot.

Makes 48 cookies. 2 cookies per serving
1 serving:   73 calories  1 net g carb

The husband loves these. They taste a bit like macaroons. Just a couple of hints: Make sure your coconut is very finely shredded and dry. My label from Sprouts calls them coconut threads. If you don't like almonds, feel free to add pecans or walnuts.

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mexican Breakfast Bowls

I have a dilemma. I love savory, hot breakfasts. I also love staying warm under the covers as long as possible. That usually translates in my hot breakfast being coffee. The Diner system saves me with breakfast casseroles that I can zap in the microwave. This is a little like that, but more of a stacked bowl breakfast entree. The layers of yumminess are different from most of my casseroles. But they are alike in that these can be assembled and baked in advance.

Want to know more about Diner cooking? We just released the 2014 Diner News Bundle on our website. If you don't have that year, you can now order all 12 issues delivered in one easy download.

This bowl recipe has a Mexican flair. Quite yummy, but you could leave out the south of the border flavors. The base is spiralized turnips. Since I don't like cleaning my spiralizer much, I did enough at one time to make quite a few of these breakfast bowls. I am either lazy or smart. Or both.

Taco seasoning is sprinkled on the turnips. That takes care of the turnipy taste. A splash of salsa is a treat. The cheese packs a punch with some jalapeno flavoring too. And then, there are the avocado chunks. I love 'em. Hubster, not so much. Do what ya wanna do.

Mexican Breakfast Bowls

4 small turnips
1 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
4 Laughing Cow Light Cheese wedges (jalapeno and cheddar flavor)
4 tbsp salsa
4 eggs
4 tsp crumbled bacon bits
1/2 avocado, cut into chunks

Trim and peel the turnips. Using a spiral cutter of any sort, spiral cut the turnips. Alternately, julienne them. Spread the turnips on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. (more or less depending on the size of the cut) 

Remove from oven and divide the turnip shreds among 4 ovenproof bowls. Place a cheese wedge in each bowl. (You may chop it if you like) Add a tablespoon of salsa to each bowl. Break an egg into each bowl and top with a tsp of pre-cooked bacon bits.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the egg is done to your liking. Top with cubed avocado and serve.

Serves 4:  172 calories  6 net g carbs

With these already made up, hot breakfast is a cinch. I even took one to school and heated in the microwave. It was yummy. The turnip was mild and the layering of the Mexican flavors was wonderful. Play with the recipe and make it your way. There are many flavors of Laughing Cow Cheese to play with--and the less expensive Aldi version works well also.

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Shrimp and "Grits" Casserole

Grits are a polarizing ingredient in my family. For such an unassuming food derived from corn, it seems improbable. Grits are a "Southern thang." My mama raised us eating them for breakfast. My dad learned to appreciate them while in the Air Force. My husband's family up in Indiana, Ohio and Colorado never had the pleasure. In fact, my husband won't even try them ever. Not even though my mama makes a cheese grits casserole every Thanksgiving. My sons would revolt if she tried to get out of it. In fact, this year my eldest son spent Thanksgiving with his wife's family. No grits there. She refuses to try the recipe. We southerners just keep hearing, 'That just sounds gross." He asked for a make-up dinner at New Years that would have some grits. Of course, my mom obliged. That's how special they are to my boys.

This month's Diner News is filled with casseroles. I wanted to devote one page to seafood casseroles and decided to make a Louisiana style shrimp and grits recipe. The Cajun influenced flavors called to me. I like shrimp that way. This just seemed like a natural.

Of course, grits are not low carb at all, so I haven't made them since 2007 or so. I did try a paleo almond meal version once that was good, but terribly calorie heavy. I am too old for much of that. So I decided to wing it and try my own recipe. The result is really tasty. I have added quite a few flavoring ingredients that seem odd at first, but are really very good. Yes, soy sauce in combination with cream cheese and lemon juice and cayenne too. Sounds odd. Tastes really good. Caulirice cuts the calories and carbs to a manageable level. The almond meal provides the mouthfeel much like true hominy grits. The creaminess combined with the heat called to me. Hubby was gone all day anyway, so I decided to make a casserole that I liked. Not only will he not eat grits, but cayenne is his enemy too. I will be able to eat the whole thing over this week. Not sure if the shrimp would freeze again well. See? I already have a couple of lunches ready.

I used pre-cooked shrimp. The only ones at my store still had the tails on. I left them on because the color made the casserole look nicer. The shrimp just sit atop the "grits" base, so it is not to hard to pull the tail off while you eat. Just a little mess left behind. If you don't want to mess with that, then be sure to purchase prepped shrimp.

I also added a little shake of Cajun seasoning after I dished this casserole up. It adds even more zing, but should probably be left off so each person can choose the amount of seasoning they like. A little goes a long way. Kinda like adding crushed red pepper to pizza. Some like it, some don't.

Shrimp and “Grits” Casserole

1 medium head cauliflower
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups frozen onion and bell pepper mix
4 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup cooking sherry
4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice 
1 tbsp soy sauce 
2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 1/2  lb peeled frozen shrimp, thawed

Shred cauliflower in the food processor. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil. Sauté the cauliflower, onion/pepper mixture, and garlic  for 5 minutes. Stir in the almond meal, chicken broth and sherry. Cook another 10 minutes. To this mixture, add cream cheese, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt and cayenne. Stir well and pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese and thawed shrimp. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes.
Serves 8:   282 calories    6 g net carbs

This recipe is in the March issue of the Diner News. Here's where you can order a year subscription for just $6. I will give you a sneak peak into what is in this month's addition.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Jicama Breakfast Hash Casserole

Italian Shirataki Bake

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Green Bean and Caramelized Onion Casserole

Tuna Ranch Casserole

Breakfast Bacon and Egg Enchiladas

Barbecue Beef Bacon and Baga Bake

Cow Doggy Bake

Unstuffed Pepper Bake

Cheesy Amish Turnip Bake

There's even more casserole recipes, so subscribe today!

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles, 
                                                                A Table for Two here.