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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cauliflower with Pumpkin Cheese Sauce and the Pumpkin Themed Diner News

Pumpkin is everywhere. At least in my kitchen. I have been through so many cans of pumpkin, I broke my can opener. Seriously!  It has been America's taste kitchen this last month--all sorts of pumpkin recipes have been coming out of the Marshall kitchen. Despite that, I have still managed to lose 6 pounds. Hurrah!

Isn't it great that pumpkin can be a part of the low carb diet? And it doesn't have to be sweet. Not everything pumpkin has pie spice. Like this recipe. It was so yummy. Like macaroni and cheese all tasty and comforting. The bacon adds something special, but the pumpkin cheese sauce is the real star.

Cauliflower with Pumpkin Cheese Sauce

1 head cauliflower (divided use)
4 slices bacon
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup whey protein powder
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar plus 1 tbsp for topping
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic salt

Break cauliflower into florets and steam. Remove when tender crisp. Measure out 1/2 cup and return to steam an additional 3-5 minutes until very tender. Remove and set aside. Place the tender crisp florets into a baking dish.

Bake or pan fry the bacon. Pour the drippings into a 2 qt. sauce pan.  In that pan, add the reserved cauliflower, heavy cream, water, protein powder, cheddar cheese, pumpkin puree, coconut flour, yeast and garlic salt. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When cheese is fully incorporated, pour the sauce over the cauliflower florets. Toss to coat. Top with crumbled bacon and reserved cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serves 4:  210 calories      6 net g carb

This is really a great side dish for a simple protein. A grilled pork chop or breast of chicken and you are ready for a fine meal. Keep this one in mind for your Thanksgiving dinner too.

Ready for a sneak peek at some of the other great pumpkin recipes in the October Diner News? You can order a year of the News for just $6. Order here

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Caramel
Pumpkin and Bacon Soup
Pumpkin Cheesecake Protein Shake
Pumpkin Enchiladas
Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Glaze
Sugarfree Pumpkin Butter
Pumpkin Lasagna
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Sloppy Joes on Savory Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix with Crusty Nuggets
Pumpkin, Chicken and Mushroom Stew
Pumpkin Cheddar Cauliflower Mash
Pumpkin Hot Cocoa in a Jar (for 2)
Pumpkin Butter Yogurt Swirl
Butterscotch Pumpkin Custard
Don't those look delicious? And there are even more recipes in this month's Diner News. Better get it!

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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, September 27, 2015

Pumpkin Lasagna

Seems that I have jumped ship from cranberries to pumpkins. I am finishing up the new recipes for October's Diner News. It is all about pumpkin. Lots of good stuff in there. And don't be thinking it is all sweets. No Siree. Like this recipe. Pumpkin Lasagna. Nice and cheesy, moist and yummy. The pumpkin pairs with garlic and is one of the layers in the dish. We also have sliced turkey, Provolone, ricotta, zucchini, Parmesan and Italian herbs. Quite good.

It may have a little less height than the traditional layers of gluten filled pasta. But those are just filler anyway. This will satisfy, I promise. I prebaked the zucchini ribbons so they would not give off moisture and make the casserole layers slide around. That did the trick. I only used one zucchini, but now that it is made, I am thinking of changing the recipe for two. I think that might fluff it up just a bit. You can do either. One zucchini sliced did take up the whole cookie sheet. I will go ahead and list the recipe as I made it. I will let you know the next time I try it with two. Or you let me know!

Pumpkin Lasagna
1 large zucchini (or 2)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp minced garlic
15 oz ricotta cheese
6 oz sliced turkey
8 slices Provolone cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Italian Herb and Garlic seasoning

Using a mandolin slicer, thinly cut zucchini lengthwise. Line zucchini strips in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree and garlic. Spoon 1/4 cup of the pumpkin into the base of a 9 inch square baking dish. Place  a layer of turkey slices over that. Top the turkey with a layer of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle herbs over the ricotta. Place 4 slices of provolone cheese, then an additional layer of pumpkin. Carefully place zucchini strips over this, them a layer of Parmesan cheese. Repeat with turkey, ricotta, herbs, provolone , zucchini, and  Parmesan. End with ricotta and a sprinkle of Italian herbs.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serves 6:  292 calories  8 net g carbs

 I am so into fall, but it is still so hot here. I can't wait for the really cool weather. Hate to be sweating while I am taste testing pumpkin hot cocoa, you know? I have lots of fall goodies for this month's Diner News. Check back on Wednesday for a peek.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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, September 20, 2015

Cranberry Diet Drinks

My final installment in Cranberry Week. For this beverage, I have been in experimental mode. I had read about the Biggest Loser weight loss drink with unsweetened cranberry juice. It seemed interesting. Several different recipes are online, most with varying ingredients. One constant seems to be the unsweetened cranberry juice. Since I was needing to place an order at Swanson's, I added some of that to my list. I honestly have not looked for it locally. You may be able to get unsweetened juice at your health food store. I used this. I have always been a fan of cranberry juice. Until recently, I only knew about the sugary kind on the grocery store shelves. Never too old to learn! Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants, and are great to support urinary tract health. I struggle in that area a bit from time to time, so I think this will be a terrific addition to my diet.
I have also been checking out some essential oils to add to my beverages. I love grapefruit juice. It is one thing I really miss. I used to drink the grapefruit flavored Crystal Light. Now, I don't do aspartame. I bet the loss of my sales alone led to the company discontinuing that flavor! I have to say, I love a simple grapefruit water. Just water and 2 drops of essential oil. Just enough flavor to make water more interesting. I drink that at school. Grapefruit is one of the oils recommended for weight loss. It is supposed to help with appetite suppression and metabolism--among a host of other good things. This is not a review for any weight loss promises. I just figure it is good to do what I can. We older gals have such a hard time dropping weight. If it happens to work like magic, I assure you, I will share. Even if you aren't looking for weight loss, these drinks are healthy and amazingly tasty. 
Before you look for a sales pitch, I am not a distributor for any essential oil company. In fact, I did some research on therapeutic grade essential oils because I just couldn't tolerate the mark ups and shipping costs my friends endure. Most of them signed up to be representatives just so they could afford the oils. That  just irritates me. I want to get a high quality product without a business entanglement. I found Native American Nutritionals. The prices are much better, the quality is good. Shipping was--well, free. Win. Couldn't get a better deal even if I bought from one of my friends. Sorry girls. I get no money or product for endorsing this company, just sharing a tip. While I was ordering my grapefruit oil, I noticed a blend for weight loss called Slim and Trim. It says it will help with cravings and appetite control. Yes! I added a small bottle to my order. It is a blend of pink grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, cinnamon bark and celery seed. From the reviews, some love the taste, others, no so much. I was surprised to like it as much as I did. But it needed some tweaking. See the recipe below. We shall see how the appetite control works out. 

All of these ingredients I am sharing today are easy to mix and match. Add them to water or tea, add spices or other oils. Make a custom cocktail! Be sure to use glass containers, since essential oils are thought to pull toxins from plastic. I love to drink from mason jars with lids and straws. Remember the Diner News issue where I showed you how to make you own lids with holes for straws?  Here are my favorites from this week: 

Biggest Loser Inspired Weight Loss Drink
(My version is a combo of several found online. I chose less cranberry juice. Some add cinnamon and cayenne, not a great flavor combo with the lemon in my opinion.)

1 bag green tea
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon flavoring
Ice and water to fill 1 quart
Stevia to taste

Steep green tea in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bag. Stir in cranberry juice, lemon juice, and  lemon flavoring if using. (This really does make a super lemony boost) In a quart jar or glass bottle, add ice and water to the top. Add liquid stevia to taste. (I used Hungry Girl Stevia with honey flavoring.) My favorite lemon flavoring is Simply Organic Lemon flavor. You can always just add a couple of drops of lemon essential oil instead of the juice and flavoring.

18 calories   4 g carb

Simple Cranberry Grapefruit Slimmer 

1 bag green tea
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate
2 drops Grapefruit essential oil
Ice and water to fill 1 quart
stevia to taste

Steep green tea in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bag. Stir in cranberry juice and grapefruit essential oil. Add ice and water to fill a quart jar. Drink as is or add stevia to taste.

14 calories   3 g carbs

Slim and Trim Appetite Slammer
Cayenne pepper has a thermogenic effect to boost metabolism. It is optional.

1 bag oolong tea (or green)
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate
2 drops Native Nutritionals Slim and Trim blend essential oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
Ice and water to make 1 quart
stevia or other sweetener to taste (I use E.Z. Sweets Stevia with Monkfruit)

Steep oolong tea in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bag. Stir in cranberry juice, Slim and Trim essential oil, cinnamon and cayenne if using. Fill a quart jar with ice and water to the top. Add stevia to taste.

15 calories   3 g carbs

So there you have it. No excuses for sodas. Add some nutrition to everything you take in--even your water. If any of you try these recipes and the essential oils, please let me know if you see results. In the past, I have been terribly inconsistent when I try to evaluate a supplement. I kinda fail at doing the body hacking thing. Worth a try?

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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, September 18, 2015

Cranberry Turkey Patties

More for Cranberry Week. Today is a fun little turkey patty that will give you a jumpstart on the fall flavor profile we all love. At least my guys do. My middle son, Pearson, joined us for dinner on this one and gave me a big hug to thank me for dinner. He eats from a bachelor's kitchen other days!

This is another recipe I have developed using the unsweetened dry cranberries from Honestly Cranberry. Those little bags may not weigh much, but they go a long way! The tart flavor really comes through in these patties. I don't think a sweetened berry would be right. These are just so good with the unsweetened goodness. It is not overpowering, and works really well with the thyme and sage. My family laughed that it tastes like Thanksgiving dinner. The thyme, sage and cranberries are so reminiscent of a good stuffing.  I promise you, these patties are a lot less work! Don't know that I will convince my guys to give up our traditional bird, though. I would be willing.

Cranberry Turkey Patties

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1/4 cup dried sliced cranberries
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp powdered sage
2 tbsp water

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Form into 4 patties and cook over medium heat on a sprayed non stick skillet about 3 minutes on each side. Add water and continue cooking until centers are no longer pink. 

Serves 4:  175 calories   3 net g carb

If you want to get a head start on fall favorites, head on over to Honestly Cranberry and order a couple of bags. I had tried to dehydrate my own cranberries from fresh, but they were like puffed little balls. These are better. And no, I did not get paid to say that...I only got to sample some product for you guys--and my guys.  Honestly Cranberry

Tomorrow I will have my final installment of Cranberry Week. I have a great new Dieter's Drink made with unsweetened cranberry juice and my favorite secret ingredient.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Amazing Cranberry Lemon Salmon Salad

I cannot convey how delicious this salad is. I do love lemon, and paired with these tart, unsweetened dried cranberry slices, this salad is perfect. Simply perfect. The extra infusion of lemon is a secret ingredient you don't want to pass on. And don't you dare use sweetened cranberries. The tartness is the star in this recipe. Enjoy Cranberry week!

This salad is inspired by the Whole Foods cranberry tuna salad I have heard others rave about. Personally, I don't pay over ten bucks for a pound of salad. I am far too frugal. This one is a fraction of that cost, and has several of my tweaks. So forget about that other place, and save some paycheck for a can of salmon.

Cranberry Lemon Salmon Salad

14.75 oz canned salmon, drained
3 tbsp finely diced red bell pepper
3 tbsp dried unsweetened cranberries
1 rib celery, diced
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tsp lemon flavoring
1 packet stevia
lettuce leaves

Drain salmon and remove larger bones. Mash with a fork. Stir in all the other ingredients. Chill. To serve, pack salad into a cup and invert on lettuce leaves.

Serves 4:   209 calories   3 net g carb

This is so very yummy. I want yours to be as good as mine, so here are the brands I used:

Honestly Cranberry unsweetened sliced dried cranberries. Order here.
Simply Organic Lemon Flavoring - Amazon, I Herb or I got mine at Sprouts.

Image result for simply organic lemon flavoring

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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, September 13, 2015

Cranberry Week--Cranberry Chayote Salad

My favorite time of year is just around the corner. I love fall and the holidays so much. I just couldn't stand it and had the hubby haul out my grand assortment of pumpkins, scarecrows and leaves. We had a little cool weather here, and I jumped on it! Never mind that the mid 90s are coming back later this week. I will celebrate while I can. Besides, I am testing pumpkin recipes for the October Diner News, and I am just totally into fall. But forget pumpkin--cranberries are a wonderful cool weather treat. Granted they are good all year round, but they just seem to fit cooler weather. And just try to find a bag of fresh cranberries in August. It ain't happenin'. So, when Mary at Honestly Cranberry asked me if I would like to try her dried cranberries, I jumped at the chance. Here's the deal. All those dried cranberries you see at the grocery are filled with sugar. We know we don't need that. Finding an unsweetened dried cranberry is like winning the lottery. Here's your ticket.

If you use fresh berries, you know that they are....tart. (understatement)  My first thought was to sweeten them so they would be more like the craisin type food we know. BUT It is the nature of the cranberry to be tart.Why are we messing with that? Tart is a good thing. It is interesting. So off I went to make some interesting food. The first recipe, while a winner in my head, was a bomb. I had this idea for a cran-raspberry broccoli salad. It tasted fine--maybe even good, but it kinda looked like an oddly colored mess. Pink dressing on green broccoli did not make the prettiest of pictures. And these cranberries are so special, they need to be beautiful.

So it took me a little while, and Mary even had to check back on me to see if I got them. I did, and today was the day. Two recipes that are winners! I am sure there will be more to come. But in honor of Honestly Cranberry and entrepreneurs everywhere, I declare it Cranberry week. Yes I can do that.

The first recipe is dedicated to the PBS show A Chef's Life. I love to watch Vivian Howard explore local heritage type ingredients. She talked about a Thanksgiving salad that inspired me. This is really not even remotely similar anymore, although it does still contain cranberries.  The rest is all me. But I could listen to her accent all day. This is not the prettiest of salads, but then, neither way hers! My version has caulirice instead of rice. Walnuts instead of "pea-cans" (emphasis on the pe for those in the South). Sweetened chayote squash instead of apples. And of course, unsweetened cranberries instead of sweet ones. Actually, I can't remember exactly what she said was in the recipe, I just grabbed a notepad and started jotting down my inspiration. Thanks Vivian-- or sorry. Which ever.

This is slightly sweet, but the cranberries offer a nice tang. Totally not overpowering. They soak up some of the dressing and become soft. The caulirice is tender, mild and a little earthy. The chayote keeps some texture and adds interest. The feta adds the saltiness. I do think I remember Vivian talking about balancing such flavors, but I am so not a chef. I will never play one on television, although I was once a host for a shopping channel. True.

Cranberry Chayote Salad

2 cups minced cauliflower
2 tsp coconut oil
1 chayote squash
1/4 cup water
1 packet stevia
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp diced unsweetened cranberries
2 oz feta cheese
4 tbsp low carb Honey Dijon vinaigrette dressing

Using a food processor, mince a head of fresh cauliflower. Heat oil in a non stick skillet. Add 2 cups of minced cauliflower and toss to coat. Reserve remaining caulirice for another meal. Cook over low heat until cauliflower is just tender. Chill.

Dice the chayote squash. In a 2 qt saucepan, simmer the squash with the water, adding more water if needed. When squash is tender but not mushy, drain water. Sprinkle the chayote with a packet of stevia and set aside to cool. Toast walnuts until crisp.

In a large bowl, combine caulirice, squash, walnuts, cranberries, feta cheese, and dressing. Chill. Fluff before serving.

Serves 4:  138 calories   6 net g carb

I used a prepared sugarfree/lowfat honey dijon dressing. Vivian would never do that. Don't tell. Make your own fresh and maybe you will be a star too. It will be a few more calories, though.

So, perhaps you want to buy some of these cranberries? You can go a little crazy experimenting with them too. Let Mary know I sent you. And no, I did not get paid for this endorsement. I did get to try two bags of unsweetened cranberries. One sliced and one diced. This recipe uses the diced, but either will work fine. Remember, these are light, not heavy like raisins. A little goes a long way!

I also have an amazing Cranberry Lemon Salmon Salad that I will share later this week. It is sooooo good. Unsweetened cranberries are not the only interesting ingredient there. Since it is cranberry week, I also hope to have a cleansing beverage for you. I have a bottle of unsweetened cranberry juice that should be arriving anytime. You will just have to stop by to see what I have come up with.

My new school started last week. I love it. It feels so good to be back with the kids where I am needed. Still waiting for board approval on my hours, so  I don't know how often I will be there. I may be posting from the coffeehouse next to the school while I wait for a ride. Hoping to get my cooking done on the weekend and my computer work finished after classes let out. We are down to one car right now, but things will be looking up soon.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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, September 6, 2015

Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

Flavor. That is what is important here. Wow. These little turkey meatballs have that going on! Normally, super lean ground turkey is dry and flavorless. Not so with this recipe. Each little meatball is simple--but the glaze. Oh my, that glaze will make you happy dance. And the meatballs are moist--a zucchini and chia seeds see to that. yum.

Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

1 lb lean turkey (93 or 99% fat free)
1 small shredded zucchini
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp salt

Teriyaki glaze:
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp cooking sherry
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp erythritol/stevia blend sweetener
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp stevia
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp pineapple flavoring
1/4 tsp glucomannan or xanthan gum

Garnish: 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, green onion

Place turkey in a medium bowl. Shred the zucchini over the top. Sprinkle on the coconut flour, chia seeds and salt. Combine.  Spray a non-stick skillet with coconut oil spray. Use a small scoop to make meatballs and place them directly in the pan. You may need to use two skillets or brown them in two batches.  

While turkey is browning, make sauce. In a bullet blender cup, combine all ingredients. Process until smooth.

When the meatballs are browned on all sides, pour glaze over. Lower heat to a low simmer and cook an additional 5-10 minutes until sauce is very thick. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and or green onion.

Serves 4:  161 calories   2 net g carb

Of course, you don't need to use a lean ground turkey as I did. It happened to be on sale, and I am experimenting with alternating very low calorie days among my normal diet. This way, it is a very low calorie and low carb entree. Some veggies or salad on the side, and I can enjoy a super flavorful meal.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Salad in a Jar revisited

As part of my Diner News this month featuring lunchbox treats, I expanded on the idea of the Salad in a Jar. This is not new to the Diner nor to the world in general. Just check Pinterest! The only problem with pre-made salads is that the ingredients all need to be cold. Sometimes when I go to a restaurant for a salad, what I appreciate is the warm chicken breast meat or hot spicy taco beef. If you like the mixture of hot and cold, this idea is for you. Everything stays portable, but you can achieve the two different temperatures if you have a microwave nearby.

I love all things Mason jar, and saw these fun lunch kit adapters from Cuppow that add a compartment to a wide mouth canning jar.  Great idea, but $9. Ouch. I knew there had to be an alternative. I started trying things out in my kitchen. Silicon cups can set inside, but they are not held stable to travel. I found that the plastic cups from applesauce and fruit cups work great. They rest inside the lid and still allow the canning jar lid and ring to screw on. The only problem there is the size. Great idea to carry dressing or dip. Not so great for a protein entree. Fabulous price, though and very handy. Low carbers don't eat the fruit, but my son does eat unsweetened applesauce, so I keep some around for him. Beg from friends to save theirs for you.

Then I grabbed the baby food containers I use for yogurt and slushies. Perfect fit but the rim was too tall. A quick snip with my kitchen shears fixed that. They are 4 oz containers, so they hold more. The lid adds a little thickness, so the canning jar rim doesn't screw as far, but it still screws tightly and securely. Awesome! These cups were super cheap from Dollar Tree. I am sad to say the company lists that they are out of stock right now, but they might come back in since they are still listed on the website. You may not want to use the plastic in the microwave, but they are great for keeping the foods separate.

Now to my plan for this Warm Chopped Chicken Salad. I put my layers of chopped veggies in the jar as usual--whole and heavier items in the base. The cup of pre-cooked diced chicken breast went into the container to add at the top. This salad is going onto a plate or bowl to get all mixed together. I simply invert the chicken cup onto the plate and microwave it for a minute. Then I add the chopped salad and dressing. Voila. Hot chicken. Cool salad. Happy me. Sorry, I didn't get that shot. But here it is all packed up and ready to roll.

So that is an easy lunch on the go.  Here are some of the other wonderful stuff you can get in the September issue of the Diner News.  Order a year's subscription for just $6.

Celery and Nubutter Dip in a Jar

Jalapeno Popper Quiche Cups

No Bake Tiramisu Cookies

Roasted Broccoli and Smoky Sweet Almond Salad

Zucchini Hummus Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

Pizza Muffins

Pumpkin Latte Cookies

Soft Taco Bento Lunch

Happy Harvest Sandwich Bun

Caramel Meringue Cookies

Buffalo Chicken Quiche Cups

Old Bay Tuna Muffins

Sammie Bread
Egg Wraps

There is more in this issue too. A review of lunchboxes. Ideas for No Brainer sides. More bread and salad options. An appealing lunch makes it much easier to stay on plan, I think. I love color and variety. If you are in a lunch rut, this issue is for you! Subscribe!

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 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.