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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Financiers--French Pastry Goes Low Carb

Sometimes a recipe works better than you expect. This is one of those.

This month's Diner News features a girly theme. Food for the ladies--the showers, luncheons, tea party events many of us enjoy. The manfood issue was a hit, so the girly girls should have a turn too. Spring seems the time for teas and brunches, Mother's Day treats and such. It just seems some fancier foods are in order, and French have that down to an art.

Financiers are pastries filled with the flavors of toasted almond and browned butter. They are light and sweet, and simple. Not even vanilla extract gets in the way here. Traditionally, the French bake them in special pans that create a small rectangular loaf. Supposedly, the little cakes resemble a silver or gold bar, hence the name. The other explanation is that they are a favorite of the financial districts in France. Either way, they know what is good.

I adapted a Martha Stewart recipe. You just never know with baked goods. I do love my baking mixes, but they aren't exactly the same as wheat flour. Granted, I have never had a true french Financier, but these are "tres bon" (or tres bonne, or tres bonnes-- my French is rusty and I am not sure whether these are masculine or feminine, singular or plural...does it matter?)

I invested quite a bit to test this recipe. I bought a silicone bar pan. You can get the same one on my Amazon Store. Financiers have a lot of butter. Big splurge for an experiment. A cup of almond flour. Toasting is good! Do not skip this step!

These are light and airy. I tried two different times. The first batch is lighter and cakier. The second batch baked longer. I read that french Financiers have a slightly crunchy outer surface. It is tough to get that with a silicone pan. I let them stay in the oven longer during the cool down time. I like the extra browning, but I will let you decide. Not exactly crispy edges, but still very nice. Such a simple yet sophisticated flavor.


1 cup almond flour
8 oz butter
1 1/2 cup erythritol/stevia blend plus 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
8 egg whites
6 strawberries, quartered
2 tbsp granulated erythritol/stevia blend

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread almond flour thinly over paper. Toast in a 325 oven for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Raise oven temperature to 400. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir over low heat until the butter begins to brown. When it turns golden, remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine toasted almond flour, baking mix and  sweeteners. Stir in melted butter. Stir in egg whites. Pour batter into greased muffin cups or Financiers molds. Add strawberry slices on top. Bake at 400 for 7 minutes. Turn oven heat down to 350 and bake an additional 6 minutes. Turn off oven and leave the cakes in the cooling oven for 5-10 minutes. Remove and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Sprinkle with granulated erythritol.     
 Makes 14-16 bars.   237 calories  3 g net carb

John's brother is visiting this week from Indiana. I left the guys with some Financiers for breakfast. They were too afraid to eat them, thinking they would spoil my photo shoot. Silly boys! Now I can't give you the man review. It doesn't matter since this month is all about girly girl treats anyway! I will be back tomorrow with some snapshots of the food in the April Diner News. I still have a few photos to take before I mail out the newsletter Watch for it tomorrow, and remember to order the Diner News to get new recipes every month.

Note: If you order the silicone pan to make these, be sure to click over to order the squared version rather than the rounded one on the opening page. Amazon's description link is incorrect also, so please be aware these are not intended solely for use with soapmaking. Baking is #1. This pan is also great for breakfast casserole sticks and brownies.

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 20, 2016

Cruciferous Crunch Stir Fry

We had a guest the other day with some special dietary requirements. Not having expected to serve lunch, I had no plans in place. She told me that she eats a lot of stir fry meals, so I knew just the thing to try. Now that I know we like it, I will do it again---and again.

I love the old crack slaw recipes that have been low carb staples as long as I have had a low carb
kitchen. I usually use a pre-packaged cole slaw mix to save time. But when we got our new Trader Joe's store, I knew some fun was in the future. I bought this bag of pre-shredded Kale, Brussels, Cabbage and Broccoli. They call it the Cruciferous Crunch mix. I was planning a salad, but this happened instead. So glad it did. It can't get much healthier or easier! I already had a cooked chicken breast, so this literally was on the table in under 10 minutes.

Cruciferous Crunch Stir Fry

6 oz cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz bag Trader Joe's Cruciferous Crunch mix
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp dried ginger
6 drops liquid stevia (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet. Add minced garlic and chicken, until chicken is lightly browned. Add the bagged vegetables and toss to coat. Stirfry for about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine tamari. sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger and sweetener if using. Pour the sauce over the veggies and chicken. Stir well, plate and serve.

Serves 2:   223 calories   6 net g carb

If you don't have a pre-cooked breast of chicken, just cut one up and increase the amount of skillet time before you add the veggies. You should delay the garlic too so that it doesn't burn.

I like a little sweetener in my stir fry sauce. It reminds me of a teriyaki flavor. But you can certainly do without. This is a template recipe, so add more of what you like. I added some pepper flakes to my portion. 5 Spice powder would be excellent too. A peanut based sauce would be amazing.

The kale and brussels were such a nice touch that don't usually go in a stir fry. I will grab a couple bags of this mix every time I head to Trader Joe's from now on. The price is right, and the convenience of not having to wash and chop is perfect for me. Now I need to go get another bag so I can actually do the salad I was anticipating.

Happy Spring!  Today is the first official day. It is cold here, and I am just getting a little better from a bout with the flu. What a way to spend spring break. I worked the first two days, then got sick for the days I actually had scheduled off. Boo! I am caught up on all my television shows, though. Always look on the bright side.

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, March 18, 2016

Lemony Lime Cheesecake

So I had to bring the desserts for my church group Wednesday. That can be tough when the group knows you are a food blogger. Such high expectations. Mine is a great group with no pressure at all, but there are some fine cooks among my friends. I wanted to show that sugarfree can be tasty for anyone, not just the diabetics. Since my upcoming newsletter theme is a little fancy--ladies' luncheons, showers and teas, then I knew some wonderful desserts were in order. Gotta say I outdid myself with two new recipes that are really delicious. Sadly, I ended up with a crazy headache and had to send the desserts with my hubby while I stayed home. I am glad I made both a day ahead.

The recipe I am sharing today is a lemon and lime cheesecake. The base has only a very light citrus taste, with only some lime zest to lend a lime flavor. The top is a tart, yet creamy lemon lime curd that really pops with flavor. I love the combination in your mouth. Creamy and tart in different combinations as you chew. This really is a wonderful spring dessert, and would be pretty on the Easter table, any baby or wedding shower, or on a fabulous dessert cart for a ladies' lunch. If you like lemon or lime, you really should try it. Most recipes are one or the other, but the combo is extra special. And never mind the name "curd" anyway. I never could understand why something so yummy had such an unappealing name.

Lemony Lime Cheesecake

3/4 cup almond flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
pinch salt
3 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp erythritol/stevia blend equal to sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

24 oz cream cheese
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup erythritol/stevia blend equal to sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup erythritol/stevia blend equal to sugar
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp heavy cream
pinch salt (omit if using salted butter)

whipped cream

Butter or oil the sides and base of an 8 or 9 inch springform pan. For easiest removal, cut a circle from parchment paper to line the base. In a small bowl, combine almond and coconut flours, xanthan gum and salt. Stir in melted butter, sweetener and vanilla. Press this mixture into the base of the pan. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. It will not look cooked through.

To make filling, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Slowly add sweetener, vanilla, zest, salt until just mixed.  Slowly add cream, but do not overbeat. Pour this mixture over the crust in the springform pan. Wrap the pan in foil and place into a larger roasting pan. Place both pans onto a lower rack in a 350 degree oven. Pour water into the roasting pan to create a water bath. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour. When time is up, open the oven door a few inches, but let the cheesecake remain in the oven. After an additional hour, remove cake to the counter to fully cool. At this time, run a knife along the edges.

While cheesecake is cooling, prepare the curd. In a small saucepan, heat the lemon and lime juice combined with the sweetener. In a separate bowl, beat two eggs and one separated yolk. Very slowly pour the heated juice into the eggs, stirring constantly to temper, not curdle. When all the juice is added, return the mixture to the saucepan. Heat on a moderate flame, stirring well, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted, then the heavy cream. Add a small pinch of salt. Chill the curd until time to assemble the cooled cheesecake.

When the cheesecake has cooled on the counter to room temperature, spread the chilled curd over the top. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. To serve, add shipped cream to the edges of the cheesecake.

Serves 12:  329 calories  5 net g carb

I love that the crust on this cheesecake is sturdy. I even picked up a slice with just my hand. The xanthan gum helps stabilize it, but it will work without it. I had a little trouble getting it to cover the base of the pan. It is a bit sticky. Just keep buttering those fingers. The top of mine did crack, even with the water bath. Probably because my ingredients were not quite a room temperature. It was a busy day. No problem though, because the lemon curd covered the crack. Small blessings are so appreciated!

My hubby said this was a hit at our group. I had only three slices left, and my mom who came over to help with some more kitchen cabinet work, liked it too. This is just one of the recipes I will feature in the April Diner News, so get ready for some festive foods! Just wait until you see what I did with peanut butter...

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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hatch Valley Cauliflower with Cheese

I grew up on cauliflower and cheese sauce. I loved the way my mama made it. I used to watch her cooking the cheese sauce, scaring me as she used a sharp knife to slice the cheese while standing over the saucepan. Fear that she would cut into her thumb kept me mesmerized. She still cuts that way, but I never do. I always slice away from me. But that is probably how I learned to make a good sauce. Of course, making a low carb sauce is trickier. This one is not so tough, though.

American cheese melts easily. Glucomannan thickens without too many lumps. And Hatch Chile?
Well, that adds a punch, for sure!  We finally got a Trader Joe's in my town. Woohoo. This sauce features their Trader "Jose's" Hatch Valley Salsa. Filled with fire roasted Hatch hot green chiles, and a few tomatillos and lime juice to tame the heat. Perfect with my cheese sauce.  Of course, you can sub any salsa verde and get a very similar dish.

Hatch Valley Cauliflower with Cheese

1 head cauliflower, quartered
1 cup water
3/4 tsp glucomannan
1/4 cup Hatch Valley Salsa (or salsa verde)
3 oz American cheese
1/4 tsp salt

Steam cauliflower. While it is cooking, prepare sauce. Combine water and glucomannan in a saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Add salsa. Heat to a simmer. Add cheese, diced or sliced, stirring well. Add salt to taste.

Serves 6:  82 calories  6 net g carb

 We used the sauce over steamed cauliflower and used a it on our burger patties also. Yum.  The sauce is  nice and thick. You may need more or less depending on the strength of your glucomannan. You might prefer to use xanthan gum, although I find it harder to blend in without lumps. This may make more than you need for one head of cauliflower. Keep the extra to serve with some scrambled eggs. I bet you will like it!

The sun was setting as I took the photos for this. I took a few that really did not have enough light. That is how you know this is real life cooking and not a set up with a food stylist. So here are some real photos, and although the lighting looks different from the top photo, I promise it is the same dish!

Since I am a newbie at Trader Joe's, please share with me your favorites. I found fennel at a great price, so be looking for a new recipe there. What do you like?

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 6, 2016

Gnome's Chicken Pot

My hubby bought me a Dutch oven as a gift. All these years in the kitchen and I never had a real cast iron dutch oven. Go figure. Today I tried out a new recipe using it. I think he felt a little sad that it took me so long to use it. Alas, with the refinishing of all the old cabinets, my kitchen has been a mess. We are halfway done. I decided to put the kitchen back together and get the rest of the cabinets redone, and the new ones added, during spring break. There are so many steps involved in taking my kitchen from the original honey oak to a stained, distressed linen color. I like the transformation, but it is so much time involved. Goodbye wood stained hands, this week, I will cook.

In looking for recipe ideas specifically for Dutch ovens, you find very few that are low carb. Of course, I know that this will be great for chili, stew and whole chicken, but today I wanted to try something unique. I found this recipe for Sprite Chicken, from Life in the Lofthouse and decided to convert it to low carb. Cooking with lemon lime soda sounded interesting, and I saw several variations for the campfire version. I tend to like a the sweet and savory combo, so I tried it. Some call for cheese to be added, but I wanted to see if I could taste the soda. I am a little sad, that I really don't taste it. Just a hint of sweetness.

Diet Sprite won't work because of the aspartame, but I have a Soda Stream and have some sucralose sweetened lemon lime beverage. I avoid aspartame as much as possible, and would always choose Splenda over it. Generally, I sweeten everything with stevia or a blend of stevia and erythritol. I would suggest Zevia if you want to try this recipe. Even if you choose to drink aspartame sweetened sodas, the heat would break down the sweetness.

after cooking before stirring
So, no "Wow! What is the secret ingredient in this?"  This is more like a comfort food casserole of chicken and root veggies. The original recipe calls for potatoes. I subbed radishes and rutabaga. That worked. Radishes held their shape. They are a little watery, but mild in flavor. The pink color is reminiscent of red potatoes and looks so nice with the bright orange of the carrots. Far fewer carrots to keep the carbs down a bit. But don't leave them out. So pretty!

So why the name you ask? Sprite. (Yes, I looked it up) I had no idea that it was an imaginary little being endowed with magical powers--synonyms of fairie, goblin, brownie, elf, gremlin, pixie, and the one I chose--Gnome. It seemed a little more earthy and fun. Not girly and certainly not chocolate which would have been so confusing if I had chosen "brownie." Gnome it is!

after cooking, stirred
A little coconut flour replaces wheat flour and coats the chicken pieces to be nicely browned. The chicken tastes very flavorful since it browns in the bacon fat. Our Trader Joe's just opened up this past week, and I was able to get the package of end pieces to use for this recipe. Those fried up nicely in my new cookware. It was nice being able to fry and then bake in the same pot. With all the veggies added in, all I had to do was put the lid on and get the whole thing into the oven. That is a feat unto itself. Cast iron cookery is not for the weak! I think it would take many a gnome to carry this one.

Gnome's Chicken Pot

1/2 lb bacon
1 small onion, diced
3 large boneless chicken breasts, diced
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp seasoned salt or 1 tsp salt with 1 tsp spice blend of choice
1 lb radishes, trimmed and quartered
3 carrots, diced
1 cup rutabaga cubes
1 cup sugarfree lemon lime soda

In a Dutch oven, fry bacon. While that is browning, dice vegetables. When bacon is browned, remove it from the pot and set aside, reserving the fat. Add the onions to the pot and stir. Turn heat down to low and brown. While onion is browning, dice chicken. Add half the salt and seasoning blend to the coconut flour. Toss the chicken pieces with the flour mixture. Add chicken to the pan. Brown on all sides. When browned, add radishes, carrots and rutabaga. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning and crumbled bacon. Pour lemon lime soda over the top. Place the lid on the pot and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir and serve. Add cheese if desired.

Serves 6:  361 calories  7 net g carb
Serves 4:  542 calories  10 net g carb

 So this has us fed for the day, and a meal later this week too. In case you are interested in kitcheny stuff, I will give you a peek at my new cabinets. The lighting is terrible. I have no windows in my tiny kitchen. I promise these really are the same color, just two different angles. We wanted to lighten the kitchen up a bit, so we went light. My drawers were in terrible shape, and those are not getting replaced. The builder did a terrible job 20 odd years ago and all my drawer fronts have had to be supported with screws and L brackets, which ended up showing in the front. I have tried to hide that with some scrapbook paper Mod-Podged on the front. I like the style. The bumps still show a little, but it is a vast improvement.  I love the red and the French Country look I am slowly getting. Everything matches my distressed red table that you see so often in my photos. It is about my only place for photography with a light source!

As my Christmas present, my oldest son is paying for new cabinets all along one wall. They are literally sagging and crooked on the wall. Definitely an accident waiting to happen. Maybe leftover damage from that storm a few years ago-maybe just more terrible workmanship. I still have to paint those and the old uppers we will keep. I sure hope the others stay attached to the wall until we are ready. I am so not looking forward to having workers here tearing out the old ones. What a mess that will be. It will be great to have safe, pretty cabinets though. And an update from the honey oak I have had for 20 years.
The old ones--see the steam damage from my coffee pot and pressure cooker?
If you have an electric pressure cooker, be more careful than I have been about protecting the wood from the steam. I will be better with my new finish! I would love to add drawer pulls and knobs, but we will wait until the hubby finds a job! Doing all this work ourselves is keeping it under $100.

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.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Love your kitchen appliances!

I love my small appliances. They make my time in the kitchen more efficient and more fun. This month, I am featuring recipes that take advantage of these great accessories.  I find that I am using my electric pressure cooker/multi cooker several times a week. I love that it can be used for fast cooking or for all my favorite crock pot recipes. With a keep warm function and a delayed start button, it does more than my slow cookers. Many models are well over a hundred dollars. Worth it, but the model I purchased is just around $83. Check it out!

I also love my fun little cake pop maker. I use it for both sweet and savory treats. It is fast and fun. Great non stick, unlike my traditional pans. I also use my doughnut maker and waffle stick maker often. If you don't have these, check out my Amazon store. Every little bit I earn helps out, especially since my hubby is still unemployed.

Every cook loves a good blender. I just got a new, more powerful blender. I have recipes for nut butters, but it is also great for specialty drinks, batters and soups.

Microwaves are workhorses than can do so much more than reheat your coffee or warm up leftovers. We low carbers love the endless variations of Minute Muffins and Mug cakes. I also have some savory ideas for the microwave.

Here is a peek of what is in this month's Diner News:

Chicken Cacciatore in the Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker Strawberry Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Feta Cheese Poppers

Strawberry Cake Bites

No Tell Rotel Soup

Parmesan  Chicken Pops with Marinara

Healthy Hazelnut Frozen Coffee

Broccoli Cloud Soup

Jack's Spicy Cheese Puppies

Home made Sunbutter

Pizza in a Bowl

Sunbutter Cinnamon Muffins

Pork Lorenzo

These are really great recipes, and this month's Diner News has even more inside. 8 full pages, delivered to your email every month for just $6 a year. What a deal.

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.