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

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Charleston Okra Soup

Southern cooks can make anything taste divine. I swear they specialize in taking scraps and turning them into food fit for kings. Take okra for example. I grew up scared of it. It seemed prickly on the outside and slimy everywhere else. And those seeds! They looked more like what I found in the pond water I played in. I did try the fried version. Most were good but there were the occasional bites that burst into my mouth with a slimy weird, what was that? texture. Okra. Pass. Even worse for my husband. He did not consider it human food. He claims it was grown only for the horses in his Colorado and Ohio homes. But now...

Older and wiser. I love okra in all sorts of forms. Once I faced my fear of the slime pop, I was hooked. I fell in love with roasted okra. I started asking friends who garden for all their extras. I found lots of folk are afraid of okra. They might eat it battered and fried, but cook with it? Few and far between. When I created a Diner News devoted to foods of the South last fall, I discovered stewed okra with tomatoes. Love! Still trying to convince my old Dude Ranch horse-hand hubby. He is no fun sometimes!

Seeing that there is often an abundance of okra this time of year, I explored some new recipes to take me new places. Oh the things people are doing with okra these days. It is actually a very international food. Some call the pods ladyfingers. I found lots of Trim Healthy Mamas putting okra in so many strange concoctions. Seems it is all the rage to put this much misunderstood vegetable into smoothies, soups and even baked goods. So I tried a few recipes floating around the web. I have joined the okra band wagon for sure. So sad that my gardening sources from the last couple years have dried up. I am having to purchase it at the grocery store now. I am ashamed at how few of my stores carry this nutritional powerhouse. I like it fresh, but my freezer will never be without a bag or two long as Walmart carries it at least.

According to Organic Facts, Okra can help us lower cholesterol, improve our digestion and guard our eyesight. It gives us glowing skin, strengthens bones and our immune system, may help prevent cancer and lower blood pressure too. How have we been ignoring this goodness and giving it all away to the horses for so long?

If you are not ready to table up to a big bowl of roasted okra, start with this soup. It is beefy and full of rich flavor. The uninitiated will barely notice anything green in the bowl, and may never need to know it is indeed okra. Give this one a try. I made an easier go of the Charleston original recipe, skipping a few steps here and there, but I gotta say, this soup is delicious. You may find the authentic recipe several places online:(I altered a recipe at Oysters and Pearls) so purists may want to try that one first. Or if you  just want to get your feet wet in the ocean of okra goodness, get busy with this soup recipe.

Charleston Okra Soup

This Southern soup is well known in Charleston, a tradition so they say. The original recipes calls for the slow simmering of a shin bone, but I wanted a quick version that used garden fresh okra and tomatoes. I turned to my pressure cooker for that slow simmered taste, and skipped the bone, going with thinly sliced beef. In my area, it is labeled as Carne Picada. You may use any thinly sliced, shredded beef. You may also double the recipe.

6 oz shredded beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomato
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups sliced okra
2 cups water

Turn the pressure cooker to brown mode. Brown meat and onion. Stir tomato paste and spices into the meat. Add okra and water. Bring up to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Release  pressure and serve.                   Serves 4:  108 calories  5 net g carb

Be watching for the August edition of the Diner News. It will be out tonight. If you would like to order the 2017 24/7 Low Carb Diner Newsletter, just click here. I made some other mouth watering okra dishes too. Plus some fun ideas for the overload of zucchini, the plethora of peppers and the tubs of tomatoes. Ahh--the best thing about summer.

Now for your sneak peek at the other great garden fresh recipes we have for you this month at the Diner: 

Garlic Butter Roasted Okra

Italian Flag Salad

Italian Sausage Red Sauce pver Zoodles

Lemon Garlic Zoodles

Lemony Okra Creole

Lemon Zucchini Crockpot Snack Cake

"Never Tell" Dark Chocolate Brownies

Salchicha Stuffed Peppers

Yesterday's Bell Pepper Slaw

Zucchini Gondolas

Microwave Zucchini Chips

Hide the Vegetables Red Sauce

Okra and Maters Southern Style

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lemon Garlic Zoodles

All the fresh veggies this time of year! I love when friends share the bounty of their home gardens. Just this morning, I was gifted with some homegrown cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. What a blessing! I personally have a brown thumb, so when a gift comes along, I really cherish it.

Maybe you possess more gardening talent than I do, and you have an abundance of zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and okra. This month's Diner News will tell you how to prepare them. One if the recipes featured this month is this Zoodle dish--you know spiralized zucchini.

The lemon is so amazing. The taste a delicious pairing of garlic and lemon. Light and summery and so very good for you! I wasn't sure if I would like it--something so simple. But I loved it, Be sure to give this one a try while zucchini is at its best.

Lemon Garlic Zoodles
The light and fresh flavor of real foods makes this one a winner!

1 large zucchini
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp  minced garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Spiral slice zucchini. In a skillet, heat coconut oil. Add zoodles and garlic. Sauté until just tender, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle lemon juice over and toss lightly. Add salt to taste. Serve warm.
                                                                                                                  Serves 2:  68 calories   4 net g carb

I served this zoodle dish along side some grilled Greek chicken tenders. The flavor profiles were perfect together.

Be watching for the August edition of the Diner News. It will be out on the first. If you would like to order the 2017 24/7 Low Carb Diner Newsletter, just click here.

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

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

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Salchicha Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yum. That is really all I need to say about this recipe. My Salchicha skillet is not new. If fact, it is a combo I came up with three years ago. The name comes from the Spanish word for sausage. I have to admit we have a fun time saying it--but even more fun eating it. We have enjoyed the sausage and cream cheese mixture so many times since then. A Diner patron, Jill, told me she used it to fill bell peppers. She was truly inspired. It is a great filler for some of those gorgeous bell peppers that abound during these hot months. I spiced things up a bit this time. Rather than green chiles, I added jalapeno. Just my boy and no hubby for dinner allows me to amp up the heat. Pearson loved this one...I knew he would. If you don't like it  hot, follow the original recipe. Both are phenomenal.

Speaking of hot, it topped 100 here today. What a day for my air conditioner to stop working. So this day has been filled with bowls of ice water and washcloths. Waiting for the repair guys. Good to know we didn't need to replace anything. A quick fix, but a hot house takes a while to cool down when it is hovering around the century mark outside. I makes me lazy about dinner. I am glad I made this Monday while the air was still working. Tonight, I am thinking salad. Or leftovers. I always maintain a well stocked freezer--that's the Diner way. Just grab a Multiply Meal and have a feast. I happen to have a stromboli made with the FatHead dough that is incredible. That and a salad means I will barely even be in my hot kitchen. Sounds like a plan. So good to always have a plan. If you don't, be sure to order the Diner E-book and learn all my prep ahead timesavers.

Now on to the recipe. This one will be in the August issue of the Diner News. The upcoming issue will be filled with recipes using your garden fresh veggies. You know, the ones that overflow this time of year. If you garden, you need ideas of how to eat the fruits of your labor. If you don't garden, chances are some friend will have some zucchini, okra or peppers to share. If you are lucky, you will have some beautiful bell peppers for this recipe.

Salchicha Stuffed Peppers
I love my sausage and cream cheese recipe, Salchicha. This is a variation off that. A few changes, and a delicious mix stuffed into a bell pepper. 

4 bell peppers
12 oz pork breakfast sausage
1/2 jalapeno pepper
3 oz chopped onion
6 oz Neufchatel  cream cheese
1 pkg. shirataki rice (optional)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar

Cut the tops from the bell peppers. Hollow them out, leaving cups to fill. Remove the stems from the tops and dice the remaining pepper. Dice onion and jalapeno pepper. In a skillet, brown sausage with the chopped pepper, onion and jalapeno. Drain fat. Stir in Neufchatel cheese until blended.

Drain and rinse rice if using. (may also substitute cooked cauliflower rice) Stir into the skillet. Fill the cups with the sausage mixture, packing with a spoon. Arrange the peppers in a baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Serves 4:  472 calories  8 net g carb

Add this one to your summer rotation. You will be happy. If you don't want to use the shirataki rice, you can always use pre-cooked cauliflower rice. Or you can add a few more calories, and just fill three smaller bell peppers. You decide what works for you.

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