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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pavlova --Beautiful Dessert Light as Air; and Marshmallow fun too!

This dessert is lighter than air--much like the ballerina it is named for. Light in looks, texture and calories. Woohoo. It looks far more complicated than it long as the humidity is not too high. The base is a meringue, the topping a marshmallow cream crowned with fresh berries.

This has always been on my to do list. This month, the Diner News is featuring recipes that are light. Low in calories as well as low in carbs. This is a hit. The fresh berries of summer are right at home. I chose to make individual desserts, but the dramatic cake size original Pavlova is a beauty. The original recipes call for cornstarch to create a marshmallow texture inside the lightly crisped edges. I didn't get that--mine are more meringue all the way through. So, instead of the typical whipped cream (not so light) or lemon curd (also not so light) I made a marshmallow cream for the topping. More on that below.

Go ahead and give these meringue bases a try. They are not hard at all. They peeled off the parchment with just a little coaxing. Just be careful and don't over bake. I left 4 in the oven overnight and they were still perfect the next day. You can make these ahead of time for special occasions I would think. Since then I have stored 2 in a plastic bag and they seem fine as well.

Individual Pavlova Bases

4 egg  whites
6 tbsp powdered Swerve
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a glass bowl, add egg whites, sweetener, vanilla and cream of tartar. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat egg whites until they are glossy and form small peaks. Do not whip until stiff. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Make 6 circles of the whipped mixture. Bake for 18 minutes. Turn oven temperature down to 200 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let cool with door closed.

Loosen the puffs from the parchment and place on a dessert plate. Top with sweetened berries and  whipped cream. For lower calories, whip up a batch of Diner Style Marshmallow Cream. 

6 servings:  28 calories each with raspberries and marshmallow cream-- 1 net carb

I first played around with marshmallow recipes years ago, trying to recreate Smores for a camping trip back in 2009. I followed the recipe from Low Carb Luxury. This is pretty much the same recipe. I used my organic gelatin and added my own capella flavor drops--Cookies and Cream this time. Vanilla will do fine. I will include my instructions here, although the credit for that really is all theirs. I found that I can leave out the coconut flour dusting they call for. These did not stick on any of the surfaces I tested. You can make square marshmallows that are close to a traditional, just none of the stickiness.

One thing about the cream. It is very similar in consistency to marshmallow cream--but only for a short window of time. As it cools, the properties of the gelatin take over. My jar ended up much more like a spongy marshmallow. Stirring it just creates a lumpy mess. The secret is to ever so gently reheat it back to that creamy stage. If you want to dip fruit or spread the cream on the Pavlovas, be sure to do it before it sets, or reheat it gently. I experimented with it 4 times. Each time you reheat you will lose some of the fluffy volume, but the cream is still good for dipping. And that is what I love this for--dipping strawberries. You get a nice, almost white coating with almost no calories at all! Just dip a dry berry and set it on a plate to cool and firm up. That makes it even better than marshmallow cream. It actually firms up without being gooey. Pretty too! I am not sure if they would take the summer heat, so keep these chilled if you make them for Independence Day.

I only needed about 1/4 of the recipe for the Pavlovas, so I also made a jar of "cream" and a batch of 8 marshmallows. The marshmallows are fine plain, but I decided to add some colored Natvia to make them special for the upcoming holiday. Two ways to do this one too. The sweetener will easily cling to the sides of the marshmallow, or you can dip a marshmallow into the cream and sprinkle the sweetener on with your fingers.

Marshmallows and Marshmallow Cream

1 cup water, divided use
3 tbsp gelatin (3 packets)
5 tbsp powdered Swerve
2 tsp vanilla
7 -10 drops Capella flavoring of choice
3 egg whites

In a small sauce pan, add 1/4 cup cool water. Slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water. Let the gelatin set up for 2-3 minutes. When it a almost a solid mass, add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in sweetener, and flavorings. Let cool.
In a glass bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. (Not dry, stiff peaks) Slowly drizzle the gelatin syrup into the egg whites while beating. When it is all incorporated, use the mixture immediately as a marshmallow cream. It will set up quickly, even at room temperature. If it becomes clumpy, just reheat it slightly.
For traditional marshmallows, pour the mixture into a dish sprinkled with a pinch of coconut flour. Chill. Cut into squares. Drizzle with sugarfree chocolate sauce or colored sweetener  for a fun treat.  

Serves 12: 8 cal.  <1 g carb

Now back to the Pavlovas. The second day, I made strawberry topped desserts. I simply mashed some ripe berries and added some sliced berries in too. Both the base and the marshmallow toppings are so sweet, I really didn't need to add any sweetener to the berries. You could top these so many different ways. It is hard to believe you can have this gorgeous dessert for just 28 calories and 1 carb. Seriously.

Tough to beat that for a fine dessert! No guilt. That is what this month at the Diner is all about. Delicious food that is low carb, but also low fat, low calorie and full of taste. Here are a few previews from the July issue.If you aren't s subscriber, go here to get your Diner News. Just $6 a year for an e-subscription delivered every month. 

Oceanside Poppyseed Salad

The Hamlet Wrap

Frozen Lemonade

Single Serve Ooey Gooey Brownie

Asian Mushroom Broth

Creamy Shrimp Salad

Nut Butter Lite

Taco Stuffed Peppers
Spiced Coffee Cooler
Chicken Stuffed  Baked Tomato

Portobello Bacon

Crispy Cucumber Salsa 

Raspberry Trifle with Lemon Cream

It may be hard to believe, but all these recipes are very low calorie as well as low carb. In fact, the Diner News for July has even more recipes than pictured here. These are low fat, not that I am a fat phobe, but I need to restrict some of those excess calories. Lots of us older girls do, I hear.

I sadly turned in my keys to the school building today, so I am officially done. I will have more time here as promised, and I want to get busy again over at our book Facebook site.

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.

Friday, June 12, 2015

My New Baking Master Mix and Chocolate Zucchini Crockpot Cake

Hi all. I promise I have not fallen off the planet. Closing the school is taking much more out of me than anticipated. Emotionally and physically, it has been tough. Tomorrow is my final day of moving out. Things that didn't sell, a few things I want to hold on to sell from home, and of course the things I can't bear to part with...Then will come the final clean up and turning in the keys. Ending my dream of three years has been really hard. I have to admit, time and interest in making up new recipes have been rare lately.

I did have a foray into the world of baking mixes. I saw that the girls over at Trim Healthy Mama came up with a new one. I was going to try it, but they were all sold out. I looked at the ingredient list and started playing around on my own. I began with little bitty batches, since some of these ingredients are a little pricey. I hit a winner early on. Then, when I ran out of a couple of ingredients, I ventured into a slightly altered recipe for a second version. I have to say, I love them both. I have no idea if my recipe performs similarly to the THM version, but I was developing my own recipes anyway.  So make your own, or buy theirs here. It might be back in stock.

What I love about this new baking mix, I now call it my Master Mix, is that it uses the best properties of the well known flour substitutes and combines them into something new. In doing so, we also avoid some of the not-so-favorite qualities. You know, the expense and calories of almond flour. The grassy taste of flax. The dryness of protein powder. The obvious coconut flavor of coconut flour. The cardboard texture of too much oat fiber. The possible tummy issues with psyllium husk. 

The synergy is amazing when all these ingredients balance out. Plus, some texture help in binding from the glucomannan and gelatin. Gelatin is also good for you. Just look at the nutrition stats here. A 1/4 cup serving is really huge! Many of my recipes would be about half that amount. That puts us in the low calorie range. Choose lower fat ingredients like egg white and yogurt to take that even farther, or go with whole eggs and more oil for a luxurious mouth feel to baked goods. Good either way. I am not afraid of fat, but as an older girl, I need to watch calories.

This recipe #2 is what I have chosen to use with breadlike recipes and darker cakes. It is a little sturdier than version #1. It is also cheaper than the other, using whey protein rather than the purer isolate, and regular flaxmeal over golden flax. I am now buying my coconut flour and  flaxmeal at Sam's club at great prices. Coconut oil as well. If you want both Master Mix recipes, you will need the June issue of the Diner News.

Master Baking Mix #2

1 1/2 cup coconut flour
1 1/4 cup oat fiber
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup whey protein powder
1/2 cup flaxmeal
1/4 cup ground psyllium husk (be sure to grind this yourself, don't rely on the flaked as it comes in the can)
2 tbsp glucomannan
2 tbsp beef gelatin

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container.

18   - 1/4 cup servings  116 calories 2 net g carbs

Now what can  you do with this? Sub it in any Minute Muffin. Make lots of terrific baked goods. I am not so crazy about pie crusts or pizza crust, but I love the lightness for cakes. Even made in the microwave and crockpot.

Here is a recipe to get you started. It is perfect for June when you don't want to turn on the oven. Let the crockpot do the baking. I used my little crockpot. It was so easy!

Crockpot Zucchini Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup Master Mix (#2)
1/2 cup Erythritol blend sweetener (Natvia is what I used)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
1/4 cup liquid coconut or MCT oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded zucchini

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients to the bowl and stir until no clumps remain. Stir in zucchini.

Oil a mini crockpot and sprinkle an additional tsp of master mix in the base. Shake and turn to distribute. Pour batter into crock. Bake on low setting for about 3 hours.. Check at the 2 1/2 hour mark. If center is still wet, up the heat to high for the last half hour.

Serves 6:  163 cal.  2.5 net carbs  14.5 g  fat

This is so moist and delicious. The texture is amazing, and you really can eat it like a snack cake with no frosting. I added a spoon of frozen whipped cream. Remember that hack from the May Diner News? The cake lasted us three days, with the last piece as yummy as the first.

If you want more recipes with my new Master Mix obsession, you can get them in the June issue of the Diner News. Here is a sampling of what you get.

Banana Chocolate Chippers

Blueberry Crumble

Italian Cheese Crackers

Short Time Strawberry Shortcake

Italian Cheese Rolls

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Cheeseburger Pie

Sausage Bread

Vanilla Minute Muffin

Cool Ranch Wannabes

Pepper Cheese Waffles

Peanut Butter Muffins

Low Cal Strawberry Pie

Sriracha Crackers 

See? I have been busy even if I have not been posting. Life is just crazy, crazy, crazy. In just a bit, I will get my summer break. And who knows what the future holds?

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.