Monday, November 29, 2010

Pucker Up Winter Fruit Salad with Roasted Cranberries

Many fruits are low carb or moderate carb and winter is the season to take advantage of apples, pears, grapefruits and cranberries. The carb count of this salad is too high for anyone on induction, but would work for maintenance or as a holiday treat.

I'm making it for a dinner party myself.

The recipe uses Splenda Brown Sugar blend as sweetener. I was not sure how the Splenda would work against the natural sweetness of the fruit, but it tasted great.

The colors are richer than Warren Buffet and the flavor is so tart, you'll be in the mood for kissing.


(Serves 4 to 5 people in full 1/2 cup servings)

-2 apples--I used Pink Lady which are sweet and tart
-2 pears
-1 red grapefruit
-1 orange plus its zest
-1 bag fresh cranberries
-1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

(Note: You can use all apples or all pears too if you want.)


1.Zest the orange.

2.Wash the cranberries, tossing any soft ones.

3.Mix Splenda Brown Sugar Blend with crabberries and orange zest.

4.Line a jelly roll pan (because they have sides and you don't want cranberry juice all over the oven, right?) with aluminum foil.

5.Spread cranberries in a single layer across pan and roast at 375F for 15-20 minutes. You'll know they're done when they've split.

6.Cut up your fruit and put in a bowl. For the citrus, cut off the peel and pith--kind of like how chefs supreme segmented fruit, but half-a**ed.

7.Save the orange peel--there's usually some juicy fruit still attached which we can use to juice the salad which prevents the apples and pears from turning brown. In fact, it's a good idea to slice the oranges in such a way so you have some fruit to juice.

If this part makes no sense to you, that's okay. Just skip it, but if you have any extra orange bits that can be juiced on your salad, please do so.

8.Toss everything together, serve, eat and then kiss the person sitting to your left.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moderate Carb Lemon Caper Chicken

This recipe uses a light coating of bread crumbs so not kosher at all for Low Carb. However, I do eat this and it is fine so long as my other meals are low carb for the day.

I make this once every 8 to 10 weeks. Everyone likes it and as long as I'm on plan, some breaded chicken isn't going to hurt me. Especially when it's homemade and not caked on like some fast food places like to do.

It is delicious and worth working into the meal plan rotation, just use the bread crumbs wisely.


-Chicken pounded flat
-Italian Bread Crumbs (amount varies depending on how much chicken you're cooking)
-2 eggs
-1/2 jar Capers-sliced
-Caper juice
-2 lemons, juiced
-Oil for cooking


1. Pound the chicken so its thin. For chicken breasts, cut into strips and pound flat.

2. Dip in egg.

3.Dip in bread crumbs.

4.Drop into a pan with some hot oil and fry until browned on both sides. I like to cook each side for about 2 minutes each.

5.Flip the chicken and sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice and caper juice on the breading. This adds flavor, but be careful not to let it hit the oil or you'll get burned. And we're talking just a little bit, not trying to soak the chicken or cover every millimeter, okay?

6.Add the sliced capers when the last batch of chicken goes into the pan. Let them brown along with the chicken.

7.Transfer chicken to an oven proof pan and sprinkle with more lemon and caper juice. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with green beans or mashed cauliflower. Be sure to keep the rest of meal absolutely low carb to compensate for the bread crumbs.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Low Carb Salads: Asian Fusion Ginger Steak (or Chicken) Salad

This salad makes me feel like I'm living in South Beach and 'lunching' with my supermodel girl friends. It's light with flavor layered on flavor until your palate quivers with pleasure.

Plus it is SO far away from Thanksgiving food it's like a refreshing beach vacation for your taste buds without the bathing suit stress.

Beach vacations are good for us.

Try this. You're gonna like it.

It IS a little busy, but it is not a difficult recipe. Just take it step by step. I've broken it down into meat, salad dressing, and salad sections.

Time saving tip: Make the salad dressing and chop your veggies the same time you prepare the marinade. Then all you'll have left to do is cook the meat and assemble the salad.


For the Meat Marinade:

-1 1/2 to 2 lbs Beef or chicken cut into strips
-2 tbsps. Sweetener (either brown sugar, Splenda brown sugar blend or honey, whichever your diet allows or you feel like using.)
-1/2 cup Soy sauce
-2 tsp powdered Ginger
-1/4 cup Olive oil
-4 garlic cloves pulverized by a garlic press


1.Mix all marinade ingredients in the container the meat will sit in. Add the meat and let marinate for 3-4 hours, two if you're short on time.

2.Either grill the meat (if the weather will let you) or quickly sear and fry in a pan on the stove (I like to use grapeseed oil because of its higher flash point).

Note: Be sure to make your salad dressing before you start cooking the meat.


For the Salad Dressing

-1/2 jalapeno, seeded and very finely diced
-1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
-1/3 cup Olive oil
-3 tbsps Soy Sauce
-2 garlic cloves pulverized by the garlic press
-1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (not powdered, don't do that, blech, for the marinade it's okay, but not for the dressing)
-2 tbsp sweetener (white sugar, splenda brown sugar blend, or honey, whichever works for you)
-Juice of 1 lime


1. Throw everything into a bottle or bowl and mix. Taste and adjust flavors as need. Usually it either needs more soy sauce or more sweetener so start there.


For the Salad

Salad greens
Green onions
Carrot ribbons
Honey roasted peanuts
1 to 2 tbsp Toasted sesame seeds

Other ideas: fresh peppers, cucumber, bean sprouts etc...


1. How to toast sesame seeds: Dump in a small pot over medium high heat. Shake like popcorn and watch like a hawk, they toast fast, one to two minutes tops. You'll see them turn golden and the smell will be wonderful, that means they are done.

2.Peanuts are often not on the 'approved' list in low carb diets, but 8 peanuts are not going to mess anyone up and that's all I want you to use on each salad, just 8 peanuts. No more, no less.

Got it?

3.Carrots are also controversial, but this recipe doesn't have enough to really worry about. Promise.

Yes, I'm a bit of a low carb rebel. Not a traditionalist at all. Please don't run screaming!

4.To assemble your salad, put the greens onions and carrots on a plate. Top with meat, garnish with sesame seeds, cilantro and drizzle with salad dressing for the finish.

Phew! That was a long one! I hope you try it and love it as much as we do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Holidy Back to Low Carb Menu

Here's what's going to be cooking this week at our house.

-Chicken (or leftover turkey) and green bean casserole (recipe forthcoming)

-Turkey Moussaka (recipe forthcoming)

-Hamburgers with salad

-Smothered pork chops with mashed cauliflower (recipe might be forthcoming, if it tastes good)

-Chicken Wings with celery and carrots on the side

-Kielbasa and kraut in the slow cooker (so simple there's no recipe, but it deserves its own post which I'm working on)

-Sausage cheese meatballs with salad (recipe might be forthcoming, if it turns out)

How are you getting back on track? What's your menu plan? I'm always looking for ideas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Breakfast

The best way not to eat too much on a big holiday? Don't go to the party hungry. We had eggs and Pepper Poppers for breakfast today. Yum! And full of appetite suppressing fat.

To recap, for those who missed earlier posts on these miracles of yum, to make the Pepper Poppers you need:

-Peppers (mild:cubanelle, medium hot: hungarian hots super hot: jalapenos)
-Cream cheese

1.Slice your peppers in half.

2.Stuff with cream cheese.

3.Wrap in bacon.

4.Cook at 400F for about 20 to 30 minutes.

When done, pull out of the oven and let cool a bit while you whip up some eggs (and maybe some low carb pancakes too if you're feeling ambitious).

I always always always have peppers, cream cheese and bacon in my fridge for those days you just need to eat something to kill cravings. Pepper Poppers do it for me every time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Low Carb Soups: Paprikash Soup

This soup is easy easy easy to make but offers such a depth of flavor, no one will believe you didn't have to go to cooking school to make it. If you like chicken paprikas, this is a great soup that utilizes a lot of those same flavors.

The original recipe is on the Kalyn's Kitchen site and I'll refer you there for the recipe as I did not materially change it.

However, here are some notes you may find helpful.

1. I do not water down stock, I use all stock in this soup. Meaning...this recipe can use a lot of soup stock which can get expensive. I would suggest putting this on your low carb menu plan for the day after you boil a chicken. Use the meat for some other purpose (chicken salad, low carb chicken enchiladas) and save the broth for this soup.

Or save your turkey bones and make turkey stock after the big holiday meal. (In fact you could use this recipe for any leftover turkey; make stock and add the turkey meat. Easy peasy.)

Yes I know this is not beef broth as the recipe requires, but I just add one or two cans of generic beef broth and no one is the wiser. This saves about $5-$6 on the cost of the recipe (the way I make it) as store bought broth is expensive.

Or you could just do it Kalyn's way with the 3 cans of broth and the rest made up in water.

2. I do not grind the caraway seed. I don't think it matters.

What the heck is caraway seed anyway, you ask? It's what makes rye bread taste so yummy. It is also used in E. European cooking to top roasted pork and in soups like this one. It is really good and so long as you don't hate rye bread, this should be a big flavor win for you.

3.Yes, you really do need all that paprika and both kinds. These are available in most grocery stores, but, if not, there's always the internet.

4.Do whatever you want veggie wise. I used fresh peppers each time and added shredded carrots. This soup is not picky, so feel free to experiment. However, I would not skip the cabbage as that gives the soup a lot of its bulk.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chocolate for Breakfast

The latest batch of my 'chocolate for breakfast muffins' turned out so pretty, I had to share a photo.

Seriously, these muffins make life worth living. If you are not an egg person, which I am not, you would do well to get some almond flour and try these muffins.

As a busy mom to a busy toddler, it is GREAT to have these in the fridge on Sunday for the week ahead. No muss, no fuss instant breakfast that I can eat in the car. (Tip: Have some dental floss handy the almond flour does tend to get between teeth.)

Yes almond flour is expensive but a 5lb bag at around $30 will make at least 3 months worth of breakfast muffins which is less than a buck a day. For chocolate.

How can you not try this? Can you tell I'm a fan? :)

Here's the recipe.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Back to Low Carb After Thanksgiving (Or Any Holiday)

Despite our best intentions, carbs creep into our bellies during the holidays. We either get caught at a bad time with no good food options, fail to plan, or travel and lose control of the food and schedule which usually means we lose control of what we're eating to a certain extent.

Plus there's all that dessert. Mostly stuff we loved to gorge on in our pre-LC days.

Am I right?

Food conditioning is hard wired. Most of us, I would bet, have been eating pumpkin pie since late infancy. It's hard to break the emotional hold of sugar when pie has meant family our entire lives.

It's understandable then that all the comfort holiday foods are huge triggers for over eating and going off plan.

Here's my holiday deal, I don't stress about the holidays. Sugar happens. There's a lot more sugar in the world than there is low carb. I am not going to 'win' every battle. I do the best I can in situations where I'm not in control of the kitchen and when I'm home, I go back on plan.

So you know what? If you eat some pie or have some potatoes, it is not the end of the world. Do the best you can to limit the carbs and then plan the work and work the plan for the post-holiday period. Meaning don't just come home, high on all that sugar and think getting back into your groove is going to be so easy.

It's not.

You need a plan.

Here's how I approach it.

1.Set yourself up for success. I plan and shop for my favorite low carb meals in the week following a carb indulgence. This makes it so I have tons of yummy food waiting for me and the carbs are not even a temptation. The key part is it's there in the fridge making it easy to eat. You can even precook and freeze some meals in advance.

2.Snacks. Lots of LC friendly snacks. Carbs spike our appetites so be prepared. I like to do high fat stuff like jalapeno poppers because they are very very satisfying and kill carb hunger very quickly.

3.Exercise to burn off all that sugar roaring in your blood. If you are feeling sluggish and just want to pass out, that actually means you need to exercise. Don't wait until you feel like it, chances are you won't--there's a reason they call it a sugar coma. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel after some fun bopping around to music.

If you are used to working out, ramping up the workout frequency and intensity during the holidays can prevent weight gain in my experience. You still might get a few pounds of water, but those will come off really fast if you plan the work and work the plan after the holiday.

4.Aim for progress not perfection. Sometimes I gradually come back to LC, fewer carbs in my diet day by day until they are gone. Sometimes it's cold turkey, back on plan. Either way, as long as I'm doing better today than yesterday, it's all good.

5.Fight carb hangover with supplements like Alpha Lipoic Acid and Chromium GTF. I have found that 2 pills each cuts the carb hangover in half. Your mileage may vary, but it's worth a try as those carb hangovers can be brutal.

6.Drink your water to flush all that sugar bloat out of your system faster.

7.Do not weigh yourself until you've been low carbing for 3 to 5 days after the holiday. There is nothing there on the scale that is going to help you. If anything it will make you feel more miserable. That's not the goal. Just keep eating low carb, the holiday weight will take care of itself and you will be pleasantly surprised when you do get back on the scale.

This holiday season, don't focus on any of the carbs you ate. Don't beat yourself up about any mistakes you made. Everyone trips and falls, everyone, it's what we do about it that counts.

Promise me that this holiday season, you will put all your energy into moving forward with the best low carb food you can cook. That will serve you better than any regrets.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Low Carb Salads: Not the Usual Low Carb Taco Salad

This is such an easy salad to make. It's ideal for lunch because you can make a big batch of meat and then just heat 'n eat as needed for several days.

I realize most people know how to make taco salad so I can understand why you may be tempted not to read through the recipe below. However, there are a few twists that I think are worth trying as they amp up the flavor and add the crunch of a tortilla chip without the carbs (and no it's not from the low carb nachos pictured above).

Read on and let me know what you think!


-Ground meat (beef or turkey)
-Diced onion
-1/2 jar medium salsa (I buy the cheapie generic at the grocery store just for this recipe.)
-1 1/2 tbsps cumin
-1 tbsp chili powder
-Salsa (I like the use the fresh made salsa from the deli or make my own)
-Sour cream
-Guacamole (optional--it doesn't keep well so only make it they day you plan to eat it.)
-Shredded cheese
-Nacho chips (optional)


1. Saute an onion in a wee little bit of olive oil.

2.Add in the spices and saute for a minute or two. This heats the spices and releases their flavors better than adding them to the meat.

3.Add the meat and cook until done.

4.Stir in the 1/2 jar of salsa and cook until warmed through. This adds a wonderful dimension of flavor and the carbs are negligible. Enchilada sauce also works well too.

5.Wash and prepare your lettuce and cilantro. Make your low carb nachos too if that's part of the plan.

6.Build your salad and top with almonds which are an excellent stand in for tortilla chip crunch--they really do a great job here, you won't miss the tortilla chips at all.

The roasting/toasting of the spices and the addition of the salsa and almonds are what elevate this salad to the next level. Try it, I know you'll like it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Low Carb Nachos

Here's what I did with low carb nachos the other day for a snack. I added some salsa and banana peppers to the garden vegetable 'pizza'.

Since figuring out how to make these nachos, I have had a batch of nachos that just would not get crisp no matter what I did, which was annoying. Here are some tips if you are having similar difficulty.

1.Be sure the tortillas are not soggy. I did not properly seal the bag and it looks like condensation set in. Wet tortillas do not nachos make.

2.Keep cooking in 30 second intervals in the microwave. When they're done, you'll know, there's no mistaking the 'crisp' of a nacho.

3.Don't add any toppings until the nachos are crisp. I put salt on one batch and despite 4 minutes of microwaving, they never got very crisp. Add toppings after the nachos are done, not before!

Hope that helps. Let me know if you've tried the nachos and how you topped them!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Low Carb Thanksgiving Menu

Here's what's on deck for us this Thanksgiving. I'm keeping our home Thanksgiving mostly low carb and we'll indulge at bit in stuffing and potatoes at the extended family get together.

-Green salad, either pear and gorgonzola with pecans or a grapefruit and arugula salad
-Roasted Turkey Breast with gravy made from drippings
-Roasted sweet potatoes flavored with cinnamon, oranges, and brown sugar
-Green beans with bacon and shallots
-Mashed cauliflower casserole (this one is iffy as the menu is looking rather full already, I'm not sure we can eat all this food!)

In addition to the sweet potatoes, carbier menu items include:

-Winter fruit salad
-Pumpkin pie

What are you having for Thanksgiving this year? Have I missed any good recipes?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips for Cooking for the Holidays and Keeping it Low Carb

As I've mentioned in my pre-Low Carb days, I was a baker. Big time.

And the holidays are the only time I indulge in my uncanny ability to make perfect pastries, cookies and pies.

Holiday cookies are a huge pitfall because I like to dough sample. Which is not good. So here's my strategy for still pleasing my family, enjoying the holidays, and keeping it low carb.

1. All cookie dough is made in advance and frozen. This cuts down on batter snacking
because I'm not baking cookies for four hours and constantly sampling the dough. Instead, I form the dough into balls and freeze. When it's time for cookies, I just pull what I need from the freezer and bake, no dough sampling because it's frozen.

This has worked really well on multiple fronts. It keeps me low carb and allows me to work ahead of the holiday so I don't spend four days straight cooking. No lie, before I froze my cookies, I would be up until midnight baking.

2.Eat. Don't bake when hungry and keep a low carb snack you enjoy handy while baking. Any time you go for the dough, redirect your hand to your 'allowed' snack. Something chewy like beef jerky that takes a while to process is good.

3.Use sugar free mints and contrary flavors to reduce temptation. Ever sample gingersnap dough after brushing your teeth? Blech. Use the blech factor to your advantage.

4.Make something low carb. As you expand your low carb cooking repertoire you'll find some sweet treats that are low carb. Include those in your holiday baking menu. Always always always have a 'safe' food at the ready so you don't go overboard on all the holiday goodies. And there's no reason your safe food has to suck. Some LC sweets you might like:

-sugar free buckeyes
-sugar free peanut butter cookies
-dark chocolate mousse
-almond flour cookies
-almond flour muffins
-dark chocolate (if you don't have time to cook, this is always a good standby)

These are all things non Low Carb people would enjoy, no one has to know and you may be surprised at how popular the Low Carb goodies are.

What do you make for the holidays now that you're low carbing? I've got so many menus and recipes lined up to try, I don't know if even half of them will get made and posted on the blog, but I'm going to try.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Low Carb Salad Inspiration

I like to eat a lot of salads with Low Carb, especially in the warmer months. However, I actually still eat salad a lot during cooler weather and am even trying to grow lettuce on my kitchen windowsill. So basically, rabbits envy me, and it gets to the point where, sometimes, salad does not sound appetizing at all.

So I am always looking for new flavors and different salads to try to keep things interesting.

The other day I threw some leftovers together and made what I thought was a nice salad. Here's hoping it inspires you.


-Leftover goat cheese
-Scant amount of Craisins, the very last ones in the bag (not low carb, but in small amounts I don't really worry about stuff like that, but if you do, make some LC cranberry sauce for this salad or use fresh raspberries or 1/2 a pear diced--there are lots of low carb fruit options here.)
-Balsamic Vinaigrette (home made or store bought, just read the label)


Throw together with some lettuce and drizzle with balsamic dressing and voila! a lush salad appears on your plate as if by magic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Low Carb Nachos! Garden Vegetable Pizza Nachos

Such a simple tasty recipe. Wish I had figured this one out so much sooner!

Remember the party appetizer where you take crescent rolls and bake them into a crust on which you smear ranch flavored cream cheese and top with veggies? Well, here's a low carb nacho version of that recipe.

Deeeeeeelicious! Great for parties too.


-Low carb tortillas--sliced into 6 'chips'. I used the Tumaro's brand Multigrain tortillas which have about 4 net carbs each. Here's a pic of the package:

-8oz cream cheese (more if you're making a big batch)
-1/2 cup sour cream (keeps the spread spreadable)
-1 packet Ranch seasoning (this may have some carbs, so read the label)
-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
-Chopped and diced veggies of your choice


1.Microwave the 'chips' for approximately 1 1/2 minutes. You will probably have to do this in batches of 6. The chips will start to bubble up and will be crisp when done. Here's a picture for reference:

Once the chips are crisp, set aside until you're ready to assemble your nachos.

2.Microwave cream cheese in 30 second increments until soft. Add the sour cream and ranch seasoning and mix until incorporated.

3.Chop and dice your veggies. Shred your cheese if you're not using pre-shredded.

4.Smear each tortilla with some ranch spread, top with cheese and veggies.

This will make a lot of nachos so be prepared, or cut the spread amount in half.

This recipe is also great for keeping in the fridge for instant snacking. Just dice the veggies and make the spread in advance and nuke your chips as needed.

Very yummy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Food For You

I'm here. I've been cooking but haven't made anything worthy of posting on the internet.

Lots of close, but not good enough recipes. Some made more than once.

Weird flubs like roasting the chicken upside down...twice. Sigh. I AM a little dyslexic but this is bad even for me.

Some major disappointments---layered salad I'm looking at you.

The other complication is a relative visiting us for a long time who we let cook several times a week to keep them busy. So I don't have consistent kitchen access which is driving me slowly insane.

Anyway, I have lots of recipes ready to try and one of them is sure to be a winner sooner or later!