Monday, February 28, 2011

Low Carb Kids: Another Toddler Lunch

The toddler had scrambled eggs with cheese, salsa and kiwi for lunch. She really enjoyed spooning the salsa onto her eggs.

The only drawback to this lunch was, I should have made more eggs!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slow Cooker Low Carb: Longhorn Steakhouse Chili Recipe

I love the Longhorn chili and order it almost every time we go there. Even over and above steak, which is saying something.

Here's my interpretation of the Longhorn chili recipe using the slow cooker (or crockpot as some like to call it). It tastes pretty darn close to the real deal. Try it and tell me what you think.

If you haven't had Longhorn Steakhouse chili, it's an all meat chili with about 9g carbs (per their nutrition information) featuring large chunks of red pepper and sweet onion with a bright tomato flavor. Very yummy.

Note this is a two pan recipe. Sorry! I wish you could just dump everything in the slow cooker and go, but that's not how you get the best flavor. You're going to do some sauteing and then dump everything in the slow cooker with this recipe. The pan won't be too messy. Promise.

Ingredients for 4-6 servings
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 2 tbsps. chili powder
  • 1tbsp. cumin powder
  • 1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 sweet onion quartered
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar medium salsa (any brand)
  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish
Tip: Remember to not touch your eyes or other sensitive areas after handling jalapenos.

1. Saute onion and jalapenos in olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

2.Add chili and cumin once the onion and jalapenos have started to brown. Stir.

3. Add ground beef, being careful not to mince it into small chunks. You want some small meatball sized pieces of beef, not finely ground beef, chunks make for a nicer chili. Brown for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring gently.

4.Transfer beef, onion, jalapenos and spices to a slow cooker. Gently stir in tomatoes, salsa, red pepper and onion.

Tip: Put some water in your pan for easier cleaning.

5.Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Low Carb Kids: The Lunch the Toddler Made for Herself

This is what my toddler choose to have for lunch the other day. Not too shabby.

-Greek yogurt with some reduced sugar strawberry jam and vanilla mixed in


-Lettuce with ranch dressing and 1tbsp shredded cheese

She ate every bite.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Low Carb Meals:Faking Palak Paneer the Quick and Easy Way

For those of you who have not yet had Indian food, Palak Paneer consists of cubes of cheese and fresh spinach in a tomato sauce. It's yummy. It's vegetarian for those of us who want to do a low carb vegetarian meal and I pulled it together in 30 minutes, from start to finish.

While this Palak Paneer is not exactly authentic as I had to make some substitutions and took liberties with spice choices, but it is delicious, easy to make and a great addition to the low carb cooking repertoire. It builds on the Indian Butter Chicken recipe I posted previously.

(By the way, for the uninitiated who want to try Indian cuisine, but don't have an Indian restaurant nearby, Amy's brand of organic frozen meals has a few Indian dishes. You could try one or two of those to see if you like the flavors.)

Ingredients for 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp. ginger, minced (peel the remaining root and freeze for future use)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tsps. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth if you're going for a strictly vegetarian meal)
  • 1 package fresh organic spinach
  • 1 cup cream (optional, traditionally palak paneer has no cream, but we happen to like it with cream, it's your call.)
  • 1 tbsps. butter
  • 1 pkg. Queso Fresco cheese (this is a Mexican cheese that is similar to the Indian paneer cheese, but unlike paneer, Queso Fresco is readily available at most grocery stores.)
Other ideas: Grated zucchini would be a good way to boost the veggie content of this dish.


1.Saute onion, 3 tbsp. ginger and jalapeno pepper in butter until browned.

2.Add in 2 minced garlic cloves, 4 tsps. garam masala, 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. coriander. Saute for 1 minute.

3.Pour in chicken broth and scrape bottom of pan to get up the brown bits.

4. Add in spinach (plus zucchini if you're using it) and let simmer until wilted.

5. Add tomato paste and stir until combined.

6.Add in cream followed by cheese, stirring until warm. Note: Don't 'cook' it with the cheese as the cheese will get soft. Add the cheese, stir to heat and remove from stove.

7. Serve over cauliflower (mashed, riced, etc...).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Low Carb Cheesecake

Here's a simple recipe for low carb cheesecake that I think is really yummy. Cheesecake is the perfect low carb dessert.

I'm giving you a 1/2 and full recipe here so you can customize how much cheesecake you end up with. 1/2 a recipe will give you a small cheesecake, perfect for the heart shaped cheesecake pans I used for Valentine's day. The full recipe will fill a traditional cheesecake pan.

Crust is optional. I don't use one. I don't know about you, but I never eat cheesecake for the crust so why bother with the carbs?


1/2 Recipe (4 to 6 servings)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Splenda or Truvia
  • 2 tbsp. Truvia (optional and only if using Splenda)
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese

Full Recipe (8 to 12 servings)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Splenda or Truvia
  • 2 tbsps Truvia (optional and only if using Splenda)
  • 2 pkgs. cream cheese

2 tbsps. Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam (or fresh berries if available)


1.Mix eggs, vanilla, sour cream and sweetener until incorporated.

2. Soften cream cheese in microwave in 20 to 30 second bursts. Be careful, it can get hot.

3. Stir cream cheese until smooth.

4.Add cream cheese to sour cream mix and stir to combine. Use a hand blender or whisk to whip out any lumps.

5.Pour into a baking container; cheesecake pan or pyrex or what have you and back at 325F. For the half recipe, back for roughly 20 minutes. For the full recipe, 30-40 minutes. You know when it's done when it has the slightest jiggle in the middle. If it looks slightly undercooked, it's perfect and time to remove it from the oven.

Tip: Use a non-stick spray on your pan, even if it is a non-stick pan to avoid sticking.

6.Let cool on counter and then in fridge. Top with strawberries or reduced strawberry jam right before serving.

Carb count stacks up like so for the entire cheesecake:

Full: 87 g total carbs, 61g carbs net

Half: 44g total carbs, 30.5 carbs net

My half recipe would easily yield 6 good sized servings which would be about 5g net carbs per piece.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If You Love Yourself, Eat Rutabaga

I've been buying up every Rutabaga I can find. Seriously.

And making fries.

And arguing with my husband about who gets to eat the last of the fries.

Yes, we are arguing.

Over rutabaga.

Which is like the nerdiest of the nerd veggies, am I right?

They make such good fries.

(Although fair warning, they aren't terribly crispy, but you won't care, promise.)

This last time, I added in some McCormick Rotisserie Chicken seasoning.

I think I'm in love.

This Valentine's Day, find some Rutabaga and fall in love yourself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Palate of Low Carb

Today we went through the drive-thru at McDonalds. As much as we low carb and focus on whole foods, we are still part of a larger culture that I grew up with. I've been nutritionally warped by my carby childhood. While I contain it as best I can, it's impossible, if not impractical, to dodge all the carb loaded bullets our culture shoots at people.

Sugar happens. So does junk food. I try not to be obsessive about it.

Also, I subscribe to the belief that if I deny my child every little thing, it'll cause problems later. So every once in a while, she gets a happy meal (fruit instead of fries) and I get a salad or have a bunless burger. Then my toddler goes and runs until she's sweaty in the play area.

However, today, I had no interest in ordering any food for myself. It just didn't appeal to me when I knew I could make a much better meal at home.

And that's what I did.

My palate, it is a-changing.

It has been a slow process, one that has taken years, but I can now taste how sweet red peppers are. In fact, I don't like them as much as green peppers. A few years ago, I wouldn't have tasted the difference.

I recently had a run-in with mass produced icing and you know what it tasted like to me?


All too often now when I have a processed and refined carby treat, it just doesn't taste good. I like my low carb food better.

Last year we went on a quickie weekend vacation to a rural area. No restaurants except for fast food. I did the low carb fast food thing for a while, but found nothing tasted good. Even when I indulged in fries or pizza, it tasted bad. It was a miserable weekend because the food sucked and my body felt yucky trying to process all the junk.

Is there anything worse than eating food from your carb heyday and finding out how truly awful it is? Especially if you've built it up in your head as something that is going to be amazing because it tasted so so so good in the past?

The food hasn't changed, I have.

Is your palate different now too?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Low Carb Meal: Pork Goulash

Have I mentioned that my husband is from Eastern Europe? And that the food he grew up on is delish and fairly low carb?

The other day I had some pork chops in the fridge waiting for me to do something with them and I was just uninspired. All cooked out.

So I fell back on an old Eastern European standby: Goulash.

This goulash consists of pork and sauerkraut in a cream sauce.

Yes, really. Sauerkraut and cream. I know it sounds weird but it works, trust me. This is also one of those recipes that makes for a good amount of leftovers. One batch fed us for two dinners.

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings
  • 3 thick boneless pork chops or 2lbs pork loin, fat trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or a dash of garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 to 4 cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1 jar Vlasic sauerkraut (I think Vlasic is the best brand)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Olive oil


1. Heat olive oil and butter.

2.Saute onions and garlic until browned.

3.Sprinkle salt and pepper on meat and add to the pan. Sear quickly.

4.Add broth or water* to just the top of the meat. Don't cover, you want them poking through a bit.

*This recipe is traditionally made with just water, but I like the extra omph of the broth.

5.Cover pan, turn down heat and let simmer for a good 40 to 60 minutes. This tenderizes the meat. Check and stir every so often, adding more liquid as necessary to keep the pan from going dry. Although note that you don't have to cover the meat as much once the first batch of liquid reduces off, just keep the pan wet.

6.Drain the sauerkraut and rinse thoroughly with water. This is the single most important step of this recipe. A good rinse is key because you want to take out as much of the sour flavor as possible. Go ahead and taste it as you rinse, you'll be able to tell if it needs more rinsing. Once it's rinsed, let it sit to drain.

7.When the meat is cooked through, add the kraut. Cook until kraut is heated.

8. To finish off the goulash, add the cream and cook until the remaining liquid has reduced and thickened a bit into a nice cream sauce.

Note: At this point in the recipe you want most of the broth to have cooked off, there should just be about 1 1/2 cups liquid left in the entire pan. If you have too much liquid, strain some off.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Low Carb Fries Made With Rutabaga

Years and years ago I read that Rutabagas make a good low carb fry. However, I could never find them at the grocery store.

Well, now, all of a sudden, they are everywhere and I finally got to make rutabaga fries.

The verdict? They are really a pretty close match to french fries. Very similar to a potato in flavor and mouth feel, maybe an 85% match. They have a subtle peppery zing to them not unlike a parsnip only way milder and I prefer the mildness--parsnips are not my favorite.

I will definitely be buying every rutabaga I see and freezing them for future use. We all enjoyed my first ever batch of rutabaga fries and there's potential for home fries and mashed 'potatoes' as well.

1.Simply peel the rutabaga and cut into uniform sized pieces.

2.Toss with olive oil until well coated.

3.Sprinkle with seasonings of your choices (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of paprika).

4.Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. Check and stir them a few times while cooking.

Note that carb content is 15g per one cup with 3g fiber, so 12g net carbs. For comparison a small potato has around 30g carbs total, 26g net carbs (and that's without any breading that is used to make fries).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Low Carb No Bake Cookies

Have you ever had those no bake cookies with peanut butter, cocoa and oatmeal? This is a nice low carb interpretation of that recipe. Surprisingly good and simple. I particularly like the coconut flavor in this recipe.

No picture at the moment, because, well, the cookies look kind of like poo. I couldn't get an attractive picture, but hope to come back and add one in the future.

Here's the recipe for about 12 tiny cookies.

  • 4 tbsps. melted butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsps. cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. Splenda brown sugar blend (or 5 tbsps of Splenda and no Truvia)
  • 2 tbsps. Truvia (or 5 tbsps of Truvia and no Splenda)

1. Add and mix ingredients in the order listed.

2.Form balls and then press down with a fork (kind of like how you make peanut butter cookies).

3.Chill in fridge until set.