Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Warm roasted beet salad with kielbasa and horseradish

This was tonight's dinner...


Super delicious. The kielbasa was simply browned in butter until the skin was good and crisp. Serve with mustard and horseradish sauce.


Here's the recipe for the beets and the horseradish sauce:


 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Sweet are You?

It may be a pain in the fingers, but I heart my glucometer. 

By teaching me how my body reacts to the things that I eat, this device has given me a new measure of gustatory freedom.  I've learned a lot, and have had a lot of surprises along the way. 

Our sense of taste does not always alert us when our food contains carbohydrate, and we can be lulled into a false sense of security when a meal appears to be heavy on the meat or vegetables.

One of the best uses of a glucometer is to understand whether the food you enjoy at your favorite restaurants or workplace cafeteria, or your aunt's famous [insert name of recipe], is as healthy and appropriate as you think it is for your WOE. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Do You Do With All that Sugar You're Not Eating?

Well, ladies and gentlemen,
there is some argument that you should smush it on your face and rub 'til your skin is shiny and new.  No one EVER said your skin care regimen had to be LCHF, now did they??!!
Check out these recipes from this great website that I found:
And hey, if you've already cleaned out your pantry of all of the above sweet carby stuff, have no fear, because you can make beauty booty out of LCHF ingredients you probably have lying around, including coconut products and various oils that are likely in your cabinet.
I confess to trying this sweetly au naturel way to keep my face fresh.  I just started washing my face with honey in the morning and using the oil cleansing method to cleanse it at night.  Will keep you posted ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Diet-Scape Learning Curve

How Did I Get Here?

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I started low carb on a whim after reading a discounted diet e-book called Neris & India's Idiot Proof Diet and Cookbook.  I got the book for $2 or something, and loved the book's humor and attitude.  Basically, I read that book through the night, and started my new diet the next day, and ended up very quickly in ketosis.  The ketolysis process was expedited by a stomach bug that decreased my hunger and – because I spent much of a full week retching and wretched – forced me into what was essentially a liquid fast broken up by a few occasional triscuits.  I certainly was ingesting fewer than 20 grams of carbs each day.  By the time I felt better, I was already through the nasty carb-flu symptoms.  In fact, I don't think I even noticed them, as they were completely overshadowed by the stomach bug. 

I lost weight. 

I started to wonder why I was losing weight.  From N&I, and from a previous, half-hearted attempt at Atkins, I knew what carbs were, where to find them (and not find them) in food, and I had a vague understanding that carbs turned into fat by some metabolic process.  However, I didn't really understand digestion and metabolism and hormones, and all of the other things that go into the equation.

So, I began to do research.  I did a lot of internet research in the beginning: haunting PubMed and trolling around the Frontline: Diet Wars webpage to get a feel for what the diet-scape looked like, and what the various diet practices were predicated on.  I watched the movie, Fathead.  I learned about ketogenesis, and that the key to the low carb diets was this ketogenesis.  I learned that ketogenic diets have successfully been used, for decades, by credible physicians at top-level hospitals, to treat epilepsy in children.

This spurred me to read books by some of the diet gurus I had learned about online.  I've read so much:

I started to understand that there was a very long history associated with the diet-scape, and that some of it was pretty darned ugly.  There is compelling evidence that bad politics allowed bad science to be the foundation of our modern-day standard American diet, and that Americans, today, are more obese than they used to be, suffer from more chronic health issues than ever before, and are dying, in higher numbers, from diseases like heart disease and cancer.  Tragically, more and more young children are extremely obese are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (that's the reason why T2 is no longer called "adult onset" diabetes).  Our health is imperiled and this terrifying trend starts young.

Although I appreciated the simple rules provided by Atkins and N&I, I started to worry about some of the low carb faux-foods that I was bringing into my diet: fake sugar and oddly processed starches to be precise. 

I had sat down with Nourishing Traditions and much of what the authors discussed made an impression on me.  This was the first time that I learned about the danger of grains and the anti-nutrient properties of some of their components, including phytic acid.  NT convinced me that I needed saturated animal fat to be healthy, and had to avoid certain fats (including certain oils that are produced in pretty horrifying ways).  NT started to get me thinking about the contrast between traditional ways of preparing foods and the food that I purchased from the grocery store on a regular basis.  I wondered about lactofermenting vegetables to preserve them; consuming raw, unprocessed fresh dairy products; and buying organic produce and grass-fed, pastured meat products without nitrates or other additives or preservatives.  I lactofermented my own salsa (it was good and a little fizzy).  I started making and drinking kefir water for its pre- and pro-biotics.  In short, I started to care about eating WHOLE FOODS, and avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
I started learning about theories of Ancestral Health.  In particular, I read about Primal, Paleo and Evolutionary diet and fitness.  I found that primal appeals to me.  It just makes sense on some inner "Aha!" level.  Primal mimics what our Paleolithic ancestors ate and how they exercised.  There has been no evolution since Paleolithic times, and we are born physiologically identical to our Paleolithic ancestors.  Their remains and other significant evidence show that they were vibrantly healthy, had large brains, well-developed musculature, and good teeth.  They ate meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.

I'm not completely Primal, though.  I eat small amounts of products that contain very small amounts of processed sugar, like dark chocolate.  Most significantly, I eat dairy every day (in the form of cream and cheese) and that is decidedly un-Primal. 
So, that begs the question…

What Do I Eat?

  • I do not eat grains.
  • I eat the highest quality meat and non-starchy vegetables that I can get my hands on. 
  • I enjoy eggs that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. 
  • I eat some nuts, including almonds, pistachios, macadamias and occasionally cashews, about 3-4 times per week. 
  • I cook with organic butter, virgin coconut oil, olive oil and sometimes lard. 
  • I do my best to avoid bad fats; I certainly don't keep them in my house. 
  • I try to eat avocados and coconut products several times a week for their healthy fats (and because they are tasty). 
  • I do not eat legumes. 
  • I eat 30 grams of 60% dark chocolate every single day. 
  • I rarely eat fruit, and when I do, I eat no more than 1 cup of berries in a given day, and I make sure that I eat them with fat.  I never drink juice.
  • With the exception of the sugar that is in the dark chocolate I eat daily, I generally don't eat sweetened foods or drinks. 
  • I generally eat foods that are found in the perimeter of the grocery aisle. 
  • I usually avoid things that have to be processed by the liver, including caffeine (exception is the chocolate and 1 cup of coffee in the a.m.), fructose, alcohol (I occasionally have a slightly alcoholic drink), and I don't take drugs like Tylenol unless I really need them.  This way, the liver can spend less of its time removing toxins from my body (because I'm not consuming those toxins) and more of its time breaking down my stored lipids into their constituent parts and making me healthier and thinner.
  • I drink boatloads of water. 

Recipes: Thyme Browned Butter Pork Chops; Loaded Roast Asparagus

This was dinner last night, and baby, was it good.  The pork chops were tender and delicious, but the hands-down star of the show was the asparagus.  Topped with crumbled blue cheese and roasted in butter and bacon fat, it was downright sexy.  Best of all, this meal makes it to the table in record speed. 
Loaded Roast Asparagus
Ingredients
  • 3 rashers of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, left on the stalk
  • 1 bundle fresh asparagus
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Directions
  1. In a small ovensafe skillet over medium heat, combine butter, thyme and bacon, and cook until the bacon is crispy.  Remove from heat.  (Note: Let it go slow so that you can get the maximum flavor out of the herbs and into the oil.)
  2. Meanwhile, trim the ends off of the asparagus, and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Wet a paper towel, and place on top of asparagus.  Microwave for 3 minutes, until asparagus is vibrant green but still not fully cooked.  (If you don't like to microwave, you can steam or blanch the asparagus very quickly).
  3. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and reserve (this is your cooking liquid for the pork chops); remove the pieces of thyme from the skillet and reserve.
  4. Add asparagus to remaining bacon and fat in the small skilled and toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper as desired.  Crumble blue cheese over asparagus. 
  5. Broil the asparagus for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is gooey and the asparagus starts to brown.  Serve!
 
Thyme Browned Butter Pork Chops
Ingredients
  • Reserved butter, bacon fat and thyme from the asparagus recipe, above
  • 3-4 boneless pork chops, no thicker than 1" (bone in or any thicker will increase the cooking time too much for this recipe)
  • Sea Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 cup white wine
Directions
  1. Heat the reserved fat and thyme in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Season pork chops liberally with sea salt and garlic powder (you want to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, because the fresh stuff will burn in this application).
  3. Gently fry the first side of the pork chops for about 4 minutes, or until well caramelized.
  4. Flip the chops and cook for 2 minutes, until you can see no obvious traces of pink on the outside of the chops. 
  5. Add the wine to the pan and gently shake the pan to move the chops around.  The wine should be bubbling, and everything should be pretty fragrant.  (This is a good time to put the asparagus - above - into the broiler).
  6. Cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the wine looks to have reduced a bit.  Let rest off of the heat for a couple of minutes, and serve with asparagus on the side.  Very yummy!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Last week, I posted about a low carb party menu that I was working on for the weekend.  I thought I would make this paleo-friendly coconut chocolate mousse I had read about on marksdailyapple.com.  Well.  I made it.  Unfreaking believably good.  I had to tweak the recipe a little bit, because there was an issue with the fat content of the coconut milk I had in my pantry (not really creamy enough).  Also, I've borrowed a "separatory funnel" technique that I learned to clarify butter, and applied it to separating the coconut cream from the watery coconut liquid.

Here's what I did:

Ingredients:
  • 2 x 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk (preferably organic, NOT light)
  • 1 x 3.5 oz bar of dark chocolate, melted and cooled (I used IKEA's 60% dark chocolate bar)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (it happened to be liquified)
Directions:
  1. Put a large, ziplock storage bag inside of a medium bowl.  Pour the contents of both cans of coconut milk into the ziplock bag, get as much of the air out of the bag as you can, and seal.  Place the whole thing on the lowest shelf of your fridge, and chill for at least 8 hours. 
  2. 8 hours later... melt the dark chocolate in the microwave at 1 minutes intervals, until melted, stirring between each interval.  Let it sit on the counter and cool a bit while you complete the next step.
  3. Separating the coconut cream from the water: First, get the mixing bowl out that you intend to use to whip the coconut cream, and do the same with the container that you intend to use to store the coconut water - place them next to each other on the counter.  Remove your bowl from the fridge.  Second, gently grasp the bag of separated coconut milk by the seal (careful not to mix it up), and holding the bag over the coconut water bowl, snip off a small part of one corner of the bag with scissors.  Third, let all of the coconut water go into the coconut water bowl.  Fourth, when it appears that mostly coconut cream is left in the bag, quickly move the bag so that it is over the mixing bowl, and squeeze the remaining coconut cream into that bowl (it is okay if a little coconut water is left in there).
  4. Whip the coconut cream with a whisk, or mixer, until it appears to be slightly fluffier.  Add the melted, cooled chocolate and the coconut oil to the bowl, and continue to whisk until thoroughly combined.
  5. Divide the mixture into 4 little cups, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours on the lowest shelf of your fridge. 
  6. Serve, with a little unsweeted whipped cream, and a couple of raspberries.  Each serving is about 1/2 cup.
The result is amazing: the mousse is dense, rich and creamy.  The flavor is deeply chocolate-y, with only a slight floral hint of coconut.  My guests - none of whom were either low carb or paleo, enjoyed the heck out of dessert.  I had one with them on Saturday, and one after dinner on Sunday, and it was phenomenal. 

The best news is that, as of Sunday night, I am in ketosis!  So, color this recipe low-carb induction friendly, as well.

Some ideas for future experimentation:  This would be PHENOMENAL frozen, either as a kind of sorbet, or as a fudgsicle-type ice pop. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pesto and Mustard Roasted Chicken Breasts

This was dinner tonight. It came out great. The recipe was super easy.

Mix 1/4 cup pesto (fresh or store bought, refrigerated) with 1/3 cup Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp kosher salt and some cracked pepper into a paste. Slather over 3 pounds of chicken pieces, skin on. (We used breasts, but any portion of the chicken or a whole cut up chicken would work). Refrigerate marinated chicken for at least 4 hours.

Roast in a 400 degree oven until internal temp reaches 170 degrees. (The breasts took about 45 minutes). Serve with steamed veggies, tossed in the chicken fat left behind in the pan. So good!

Recipe Page is Updated!

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Recipe: Sweet potato chips (serve with cashew chicken)

Sweet potato chips (serve with cashew chicken)

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 1lb organic sweet potato
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Scrub the sweet potato, but do not peel. Slice into a chip shape with your mandolin or v-slicer (get a cheap one if you must, as it is key to making these thin enough).

3. Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Oil should cover the bottom of the pan.

4. Fry the sweet potato slices in batches of 5-6 slices in the hot oil, until bright orange, soft and the edges are just beginning to curl up and lightly brown. It goes pretty fast.

5. Place the cooked sweet potatoes on a foil-covered cookie sheet as you finish frying them. When all the slices are lined up on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

6. Bake in the hot oven, on the upper rack, until they are brown and crisp. Check after five minutes, for every five minutes, to make sure they don't burn.

Don't throw out the leftover oil! Use it to make cashew chicken.


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Recipe: Stuffed eggplant

Stuffed eggplant

Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound meatloaf mix (ground pork, veal, beef)
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp organic butter
  • 1/2 pint white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 small eggplants, halved and contents scooped out and chopped
  • scant 1/4 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (or finely chopped almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of cayenne powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, cook ground meat in lard until well browned, scraping bottom with a wooden spoon periodically to avoid burning.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onions in butter, with a little salt, until translucent (about five minutes). Add chopped mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms have softened.

Add onion and mushroom mixture to meat in skillet, and stir to combine. Add chopped eggplant to skillet, stir to combine. Add seasonings, raisins and almonds. When eggplant softens, add water to skillet, and deglaze bottom of the pan.

Add olive oil to the empty saucepan. Lightly salt eggplant cavities, and place eggplant in the saucepan, cut side down. Cook eggplant this way for about 3-5 minutes. Flip eggplant, exposing cavities. Cook eggplant in a 400 degree oven for another 5 minutes. Remove eggplant from the oven.

Add cheeses to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Check for seasonings, and add salt if necessary. Divide meat mixture evenly, and stuff into the 4 eggplant halves.

Bake until delicious, golden brown, and bubbly, about 5 more minutes.

Serve.


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Recipe: Stick blender mayo

Stick blender mayo

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 0 min | Servings: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • Dash salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 cup oil (8 fluid ozs)

Directions:

1. Put everything but the oil into a large mason jar, then lastly add the oil (yes, before blending, and all of it).

2. Now, with the blender OFF, slowly push it down to the bottom of the jar so that it covers the whole egg at the bottom.

3. Turn the blender on and hold it there so that it fully blends up the egg, then slowly lift the blender up (while it is still running). As it comes up it will mix the oil into the egg and form the emulsion.

4. Blend until all oil is incorporated, then remove.


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Recipe: Sautéed spinach

Sautéed spinach

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 5 mins | Servings: 2 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1/8 tsp Crushed red pepper flake
  • Fresh nutmeg, grated, to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups raw baby spinach

Directions:

1. Cook garlic in butter medium saucepan over medium heat until it softens but does not turn brown.

2. Add everything but the spinach to the pan, infusing the cream with the other flavors, heat to simmer slowly over medium low heat.

3. Add spinach in 2 batches, waiting until first batch wilts before adding second batch. Fold cream over spinach mixture to help spinach wilt.

4. When greens arevibrant green but softened, remove from heat and serve.


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Recipe: Sausage, cabbage and tomato soup

Sausage, cabbage and tomato soup

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 40 mins | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 pound of Italian sausage (mild or hot is up to you)
  • 2 vidalia onions, sliced thin
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (mush/squish the tomatoes before adding)
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions:

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter until sizzling.

Add sausage and cook until brown.

2. When sausage is thoroughly browned (don't skimp on the browning!), add the onions, the spices, and half of the salt, and cook until onions have softened, about 5-8 minutes. (If onions seem to be getting too dark too quickly, lower heat to medium and add a couple of tablespoons of water.)

3. Add cabbage and the rest of the salt, stir to combine the mixture, and cook until cabbage softens, about 8-10 minutes. (It helps to put the cover on and let it steam a bit for the first 4 minutes or so).

4. When the cabbage is softened, add the tomatoes, and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so. Taste. You may need to add more salt. The soup is done when the cabbage reaches the degree of tenderness that you like. If it is not tender enough, throw the cover on the pot, and let it cook a bit longer.

5. Serve with some parmesan cheese grated on the top.

(Note: this soup was better the next day).


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Recipe: Pork chops with mushroom cream gravy

Pork chops with mushroom cream gravy

Prep Time: 6 hrs | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 4 1 inch thick, boneless pork chops
  • Quick Brine (4 tbsp salt, 1tsp coconut palm sugar, 1 cup water, shake well in tupperware that you plan to brine in.)
  • Butter
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • Splash of brandy or cognac
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock (gluten free)

Directions:

Brine porkchops for 2-4 hours, dry thoroughly.

Brown porkchops in butter in frying pan over medium high heat.

When browned on both sides, remove chops to plate and keep warm (don't worry about cooking through).

Add mushrooms to pan (don't add salt) and brown thoroughly.

Add splash of brandy and deglaze pan.

Add cream and chicken stock.

When mixture bubbles, turn heat down to medium, add pork chops, put lid on pan, and cook for about 5 minutes more or until chops are cooked through.

Take off heat and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes before consuming.


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Recipe: Pineapple Grilled Pork Belly

Pineapple Grilled Pork Belly

Prep Time: 23 hrs 59 mins | Cook Time: 4 hrs | Servings: 6 servings | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 1 4-pound pork belly (with or without rib bones)
  • 4 tsp kosher salt plus more
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar paste
  • 4 tbsp softened butter
  • 6 poblano chiles, stemmed, coarsely chopped
  • 3 habanero chiles, stemmed, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 3 serrano chiles, stemmed, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or prepared with no syrup or sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Rub pork belly all over with a paste made up of the following: 4 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar paste, 4 tbsp softened butter.

2. Place chiles in a large roasting pan. Place pork belly, skin side down, on top of chiles. Pour 2 cup water and 1 cup pineapple chunks into pan. Cover pan tightly with lid or two layers of foil.

Transfer to oven and cook pork for 3 hours, basting with pan juices every hour. Turn pork over. Cook until very tender, about 4 more hours.

3. Transfer pork to another roasting pan (if bone-in, remove and discard bones). Strain liquid from first roasting pan into a saucepan (there should be about 5 1/2 cups); reserve pineapple and chiles. Gently boil juices and pineapple until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, 45–50 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend glaze with immersion blender. Add reserved chiles. Let glaze cool; chill.

4. Meanwhile, cover pork with parchment or waxed paper. Top with a large plate. Place weights, such as large canned goods, on top. Chill overnight.

5. Reheat glaze.

6. Bring grill to medium heat. Slice pork belly into 1"-thick pieces. Grill until warmed and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Brush pork with some of the glaze from chile sauce. Serve, drizzled with vinegar.

Carb Breakdown: This tweaked recipe makes six servings. Assuming that the glaze is divided equally among the six servings, each servings has 7.3 grams of carbohydrate (palm sugar paste is 24 grams, pineapple is 20 grams). If you want to cut down carb consumption further, just use less glaze (or no glaze) on your serving of pork.


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Recipe: Kefir lime margaritas

Kefir lime margaritas

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 3-4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces white tequila
  • 2 ounces triple sec or Cointreau
  • 8 ounces kefir water
  • Juice of 1 lime, or 4-6 packets "True Lime"

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar. Screw on lid, and shake until well combined.

2. Open jar, add several ice cubes, and stir until ice cold (okay to shake if you don't mind a cloudy margarita).

3. Strain into margarita glasses (with salted rims, if you like that). Should make about 4 margaritas.

Note: I'm not sure whether prolonged exposure to alcohol will kill the cultures in your kefir water, but I don't think so. Alcohol is one byproduct of kefiring. Just in case, be sure to mix up the batch right before serving.


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Recipe: Individual low carb cheesecakes

Individual low carb cheesecakes

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Servings: 10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz room temp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup truvia
  • 1tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 packet lemon crystals
  • 3/4 cup room temp sour cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend first three ingredients until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time, blending until incorporated, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.

Place 10 foil liners into a cupcake pan, and distribute batter evenly.

Firmly tap the pan on the counter to force air bubbles to rise to the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until batter is set, but still jiggly.

Let cool for 4 hours.

Enjoy.

Refrigerate or freeze.

Carb count is 1.8 net grams per cheesecake.


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Recipe: Individual low carb cheesecakes

Individual low carb cheesecakes

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Servings: 10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz room temp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup truvia
  • 1tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 packet lemon crystals
  • 3/4 cup room temp sour cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend first three ingredients until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time, blending until incorporated, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.

Place 10 foil liners into a cupcake pan, and distribute batter evenly.

Firmly tap the pan on the counter to force air bubbles to rise to the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until batter is set, but still jiggly.

Let cool for 4 hours.

Enjoy.

Refrigerate or freeze.

Carb count is 1.8 net grams per cheesecake.


Source: My collection

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Recipe: Grilled fennel and arugula salad with shrimp

Grilled fennel and arugula salad with shrimp

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Servings: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds head- and tail-on jumbo shrimp
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons Pernod or ouzo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, divided, plus 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups (lightly packed) baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Using a small knife or kitchen shears, butterfly shrimp from tail to base of head, leaving peel and head on; devein.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; saut&eactue; until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in Pernod and 1 tablespoon fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper. Add prawns; toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature, tossing occasionally,for 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill to high heat. Grill prawns, brushing with marinade from bowl, until bright pink and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Mix sliced fennel bulb and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil over; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange salad on a plate. Top with shrimp, garnish with 1 tablespoon chopped fronds.


Source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Spot-Prawns-365819?mbid=rss_epinr&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+newrecipes+%28Epicurious+-+New+Recipes%29&utm_content=Google+International

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Recipe: Green Beans with Bacon

Green Beans with Bacon

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Servings: 4-6 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of green beans or skinny asparagus stalks
  • 1 pound of bacon or pancetta
  • Long wooden skewers (like for kabobs)
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the ends off of the green beans, or trim the end off the asparagus stalks.

2. Bundle 5-6 of your veggie of choice, and wrap in just enough bacon or pancetta to secure the bundle. Continue making bundles until you've used up all over your veggies. Make sure that your bacon/pancetta is wrapped around the center third of the vegetable bundles. You will probably make about 8 bundles or so. (You may have bacon left over, depending on how generous you are.)

3. On a cutting board, lay 4 bundles out in a line. Using two skewers, impale the 4 bundles through the bacon/pancetta area. Repeat using another 4 bundles and two skewers.

4. Drizzle your skewered bundles with a little olive oil. Grate just a bit of nutmeg over the bundles, and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.

5. Take it to the grill – put it in a medium-hot spot on the grill and cook until the bacon is done and crisping on the edges. If your stalks/beans seem to be getting a little too charred, put them on a cooler part of the grill.

6. Serve immediately, removing bundles from skewers with tongs. Very tasty!

(Note, I just made this recipe over the weekend, while camping, with asparagus and pancetta. It was so good! It would maybe be better if drizzled with just a little balsamic and topped with just a touch of crumbled goat cheese. Ooh... or maybe some warm hollandaise sauce? Very fancy!!)


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Recipe: Garlic mustard marinade for beef

Garlic mustard marinade for beef

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Mix together marinade ingredients in casserole dish. Add beef, and massage marinade in to beef for about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate for about 5-8 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Note: marinade time may differ with cut and size of meat - smaller pieces will need less time to marinate, more tender meat will also need less time to marinate. 5-8 hours worked very well for the top sirloin steaks I prepared. You could also use this marinade on bone-in chicken pieces before you roasted or grilled them, or on an oily fish like salmon. Note, if you pan-fry your steaks in a bit of butter (like I did - drat this weather and it keeping me from my grill) you can add some beef stock and a bit of heavy cream to the pan after the steaks are done, and make a pan gravy, which would be delicious.


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Recipe: Corned beef and cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage

Prep Time: 23 hrs | Cook Time: 9 hrs | Servings: 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 corned beef flat cut, about 4 pounds
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 carton low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces, washed not peeled (these are not for you!)
  • 4 small red potatoes, washed not peeled (ditto, don't eat!)
  • 1 green cabbage, cut into eight wedges
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp creamed horseradish (or to taste)

Directions:

The "Slow" Part:

Soak the corned beef in cold water in the fridge overnight.

Line the cold crock pot with a crock pot liner (you'll thank me later). Lay the beef in the bottom of the crock pot. Drizzle Worcestershire and soy sauce on the beef, sprinkle beef with pepper flakes, arrange onion slices around beef.

Reserve ½ cup of the stock and stick in the fridge for later.

Pour remaining chicken stock around the beef (not on top of it – you want to leave the chili flakes on the meat).

Set the crock pot to low, put the lid on, and cook for about 8 hours (or until you get home from work).

Ready to Eat:

After the meat is cooked, carefully remove it from the crock pot and set it aside to cool for a bit.

Place a large pot on the stove, set to medium heat (on your electric stove – if you are using gas, you want a solid simmer, so don't put the spurs to it). Add the reserved chicken stock to the pot. Layer the carrots, then the potatoes, then the cabbage, sprinkling each layer with a little salt and pepper. (Don't overdo it – your corned beef is going to be salty enough!) Dot the top with butter. Put the lid on the pot, and let the veggies steam and get delicious and soft. It should take about 30-45 minutes. The carrots will take the longest to cook, so check those for doneness. If your cooking liquid dries up too quickly, turn down the heat a bit, and either add some water, or a bit of the cooking liquid from the corned beef.

Mix together the sour cream and horseradish. Note: prepared horseradish is sometimes very spicy, sometimes not so much. Try 1 tbsp first, then add more if you want a bit more heat. Don't be surprised if you have dud horseradish.

When the veggies are done, remove from heat, and gently put on a big platter, keeping the veggies separated (because you're not eating the carrots or potatoes, friend!)

Place the beef on a cutting board, and with either a very sharp knife or an electric knife (Do you have one? If not, get one!) slice against the grain. I prefer thin slices. Lay your corned beef in a casserole dish, spoon some of the buttery chicken stock from the veggies on top, or some of the beef cooking liquid on top.

Serve it up, and enjoy.


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Recipe: Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse

Prep Time: 2 mins | Cook Time: 3 mins | Servings: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • ½ cube unsweetened Baker's chocolate
  • 1 packet of Truvia sweetener
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate in microwave in microwave-safe teacup, 30 second intervals on high power, stirring between intervals until melted.

2. Add Truvia, salt, and cinnamon to melted chocolate, and stir rapidly to incorporate for about 60 seconds, until Truvia crystals begin to break down.

3. Add heavy cream to chocolate mixture in 3-4 additions, incorporating fully before each subsequent addition is made. Make sure to scrape the bottom so that all the chocolate gets incorporated. Stir rapidly with spoon to slightly aerate cream.

4. Optional: at this point, you may whisk this to make it more of a mousse texture. I left it as a creamy liquid because I found the ganache-like texture appealing. If you're not wild about cinnamon, another flavor may work, such as a pinch of cayenne, a drop of vanilla extract, a little dried ground ginger (not candied ginger), or some orange peel. It will help to smooth out the aftertaste of the Truvia (which is very slight, but I notice it).

Note: Truvia has 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, but these carbohydrates are indigestible, so there are 0 net carbs from Truvia. Bakers chocolate has a small amount of carbs - 2 net carbs in the 1/2 square that I used.


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Recipe: Chocolate coconut cookies (like samoas)

Chocolate coconut cookies (like samoas)

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Servings: 20 cookies | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup thai coconut palm sugar
  • 1/8 cup truvia
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat (these are VERY sticky after baking - don't skip this step).

2. Mix together all ingredients except water. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the batter is just moist.

3. Portion into about 2 dozen cookies, using a teaspoon. I like to roll them, place them on the cookie sheet, then just tap them down slightly. These cookies don't spread, so don't worry if you place them kind of close together.

4. Bake, checking the cookies after about 40 minutes, and then every five minutes thereafter, until the cookies appear lightly browned around the edges.

These are really sticky. I had a batch actually stick to the parchment paper, and it was a mess trying to peel the paper off. I am going to experiment, the next time I make these, and see if sprinkling a little coconut flour on the baking sheet before placing the cookies will prevent them from adhering to the parchment paper after baking.


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Recipe: Chinese stir fry

Chinese stir fry

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • ½ small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 - 1.25 lbs chicken breast tenderloins, sliced thin on bias
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Corn starch
  • ½ cup Chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 1 packet granulated orange flavoring
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions:

Marinade chicken in a little soy sauce and ½ of corn starch.

Steam broccoli and red pepper until broccoli is just starting to get tender.

Stir fry chicken in hot oil in wok.

Remove chicken to plate when browned.

Stir fry onion until softened. Add broccoli and red peppers, continue to stir fry.

Add chicken back in. Push chicken and veg to the outside of the wok, creating a space in the center of the wok to make the sauce.

Make the sauce by adding to the wok the chicken stock, the sugar, the orange, the pepper flakes, and the rest of the corn starch. Stir until smooth, bring to quick boil, and mix chicken and veg into sauce.

Taste and add soy sauce as desired. Serve.


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Recipe: Chicken parmigiana

Chicken parmigiana

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Servings: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins, lightly pounded flat
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup Rao's vodka sauce
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Mix eggs, cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Dip chicken in egg mixture, let excess drain off, then dip in parmesan cheese.

Let coated chicken pieces sit for about 5 minutes before frying.

In large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown coated chicken pieces in olive oil until brown on both sides. Let chicken drain.

Arrange fried chicken pieces in a casserole dish.

Mix sauce and cream together; pour mixture over chicken.

Top with mozzarella cheese and some extra parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375°, or until cheese is melted and bubbly, and lightly browned.

Note: Rao's sauce adds 8 grams of carbs to this huge platter of chicken parm, which serves at least 4 people. That's about 2 carbs per person, which I'm okay with. This is very tasty, and it is surprising how good the chicken is. I don't miss the bread crumbs. Just be careful to not overbrown the chicken. I don't like the taste of near-burnt parmesan.


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Recipe: Cashew chicken

Cashew chicken

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.25 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • ½ fresh mango, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil, and 2 tbsp coconut oil (or leftover oil from chip recipe, above)

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, and marinade for at least an hour.

2. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat.

3. Add mixture to hot oil, stir frying quickly, until chicken is brown and cooked through.

4. Serve! You can add some thin scallion slices, chopped cilantro, or a bit of chiffonade basil to the top for some extra flavor and a bit of pizzazz.


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Recipe: Buffalo chicken dip

Buffalo chicken dip

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 8 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot®)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces

Directions:

1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through.

2. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing.

3. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm.

4. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker.

5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly.

6. Serve with celery sticks.

Note: I like this cold with celery sticks. So yummy, and kind of like a buffalo chicken salad. Very delicious.


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Recipe: Brownies #3 (healthier carb)

Brownies #3 (healthier carb)

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons organic butter (salted)
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 5 ounces coconut palm sugar
  • 3 ounces organic honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8" baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Melt the fats and cool briefly. Combine the fats, sweeteners, and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 9 squares.


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Recipe: Brownies #2

Brownies #2

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 9 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) (5 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated erythritol
  • 36 drops liquid sucralose
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten flour

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8" baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Melt the butter and cool briefly. Combine the butter, sweeteners, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flaxseed meal and vital wheat gluten flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 9 squares.

Entire recipe is 23 grams net carbs. Each brownie is 2.55 grams net carbs.

(note: if no cocoa powder, baking chocolate may be substituted. Omit butter and cocoa powder. Add 4 squares baking chocolate and 6 tbsp solid fat... Butter, coconut oil or a mix of both. Melt.)


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Recipe: Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 18 mins | Servings: 12 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces stone ground wheat flour
  • 3 ounces flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 ounces coconut palm sugar paste
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 6 ounce container peach yogurt
  • 6 ounces blueberries

Directions:

Heat oven to 365°. Line muffin pan with foil liners.

Miix first five ingredients in bowl until well incorporated and free of lumps.

Place next five ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth (or use your stick blender.

Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients. Stir to just combine.

Add blueberries. Sit gently to distribute blueberries in batter.

Use a scoop to evenly distribute batter into 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. Tops should be nicely browned.

When cooled, store in an airtight container. Eat within three days, or freeze for longer storage. Because the berries make these so moist, they are more susceptible to getting moldy.

This makes a seriously solid muffin, and is really good for kids breakfast with a glass of milk.

Alternate recipes: substitute 2 overripe mashed bananas for the blue berries, add some toasted walnuts.

Entire recipe is 109 grams net carbs, 9.08 grams net carbs per muffin.


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Recipe: Beet Soup (Polish Borscht)

Beet Soup (Polish Borscht)

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 45 mins | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized beets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carton low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey or 1/2 packet of truvia
  • 1-2 tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400. Scrub beets; cut off beet greens; place beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Wrap beets tightly in aluminum foil (making a packet) and place packet on a baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes. (This can be done ahead, or you can substitute a large can of beets for the roasted beets and proceed directly to the next step, if short on time).

2. Meanwhile, saute the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium heat. When the onion is translucent and soft, add the vegetable stock, sugar, vinegar and garlic powder to the pan. Simmer.

3. Quarter the cooked beets, add to the stock, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.

4. Carefully puree the hot soup and serve. (An immersion blender works best).

Serving options:

1. I like to add a dollop of dairy (cream, sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain greek yogurt) and a little fresh dill to the soup before serving.

2. It is very traditional to add a few pieces of boiled waxy potato to the soup prior to serving, but this soup is so hearty that I don't bother.

Note:

I leave on the beet skin because it contains a lot of vitamins and nutrients, and once its pureed, you don't even know its there. However, if you peel the beets after roasting, it will produce a smoother puree later. The best way to peel the beets, I've found, is to place one beet at a time in a bowl full of cool water in the sink, then use a vegetable peeler to peel them in the water (your hands, the beets and the peeler should be submerged!). The beet juice dissipates in the water and doesn't stain your hands, cutting board, clothes, etc.


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Friday, August 19, 2011

Grilled flank steak with garlicky pesto

My husband made dinner tonight... Grilled flank steak, drenched in garlicky pesto. So yummy!!

Low(er) Carb Party Menu

I'm having a little back yard get together at my house tomorrow night.  We're going to have a fire, and chill out with some snackers.  A friend of mine is turning 35 (sshhhh...) on Sunday, so I've been trying to figure out what I can make for her instead of a getting birthday cake (she's ridiculously healthy and would eat it but regret it immediately).  I was originally thinking about cheesecake.  Anyway, I just happened to be perusing the usual low carb and paleo sites that I frequent, and guess what I found? 
 
A recipe for paleo-friendly chocolate mouse, made with only two ingredients: dark chocolate and chilled coconut cream.  This is on the menu for sure. 
 
Not sure what I'll do for drinks, but I saw this post by MD Eades on Tinto de Verano, which sounds kind of like sangria-lite, and is a strong drink possibility. 
 
 

Sausage, Cabbage and Tomato Soup - yummy pic

This was dinner on Tuesday, lunch on Wednesday and Friday... and I still have a mountain of left overs.  Here's a pic of it from today's lunch.  Really good!!  Better today!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grilled Pork Belly - tweaking the recipe

OMG.  I saw this recipe for grilled pork belly on epicurious.com, and I just had to share with you.  It clearly needs some tweaking to be within low-carb limits, but I think its definitely doable.  Holy Moses, look at the pin up photo for that succulent meat.  Must.  Wipe.  Drool.  From.  Mouth.  'Nough said.
 
Tweakin' it:  Okay, so we don't do agave syrup, and all that pineapple is a little too much gild on the lily, if you know what I mean.  Let's try this.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 4-pound pork belly (with or without rib bones)
  • 4 tsp kosher salt plus more
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar paste
  • 4 tbsp softened butter
  • 6 poblano chiles, stemmed, coarsely chopped
  • 3 habanero chiles, stemmed, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 3 serrano chiles, stemmed, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or prepared with no syrup or sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.  Rub pork belly all over with a paste made up of the following: 4 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar paste, 4 tbsp softened butter.
  2. Place chiles in a large roasting pan. Place pork belly, skin side down, on top of chiles. Pour 2 cup water and 1 cup pineapple chunks into pan. Cover pan tightly with lid or two layers of foil.
  3. Transfer to oven and cook pork for 3 hours, basting with pan juices every hour. Turn pork over. Cook until very tender, about 4 more hours.
  4. Transfer pork to another roasting pan (if bone-in, remove and discard bones). Strain liquid from first roasting pan into a saucepan (there should be about 5 1/2 cups); reserve pineapple and chiles. Gently boil juices and pineapple until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, 45–50 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Blend glaze with immersion blender.  Add reserved chiles. Let glaze cool; chill.
  5. Meanwhile, cover pork with parchment or waxed paper. Top with a large plate. Place weights, such as large canned goods, on top. Chill overnight.
  6. Reheat glaze.
  7. Bring grill to medium heat. Slice pork belly into 1"-thick pieces. Grill until warmed and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Brush pork with some of the glaze from chile sauce.  Serve, drizzled with vinegar.
Carb Breakdown: This tweaked recipe makes six servings.  Assuming that the glaze is divided equally among the six servings, each servings has 7.3 grams of carbohydrate (palm sugar paste is 24 grams, pineapple is 20 grams).  If you want to cut down carb consumption further, just use less glaze (or no glaze) on your serving of pork. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recipes: Green Beans with Bacon; Sausage, Cabbage and Tomato Soup

Hello, friends! 

 

I read a blog post from another website, where the author described his favorite recipe for Green Beans with Bacon.  It looks delicious, but I do it a little differently (using green beans or asparagus stalks, depending on what I have), and wanted to share both recipes with you. 

 

Also, last night, I tried a recipe from Wellness Mama - it was purported to make a grain-free spaghetti dish, but it didn't turn out quite that way for me.  I made some substitutions, and the quantities were a little off.  Still, it ended up being more like a soup, and the flavor distinctively reminded me of globkis (polish stuffed cabbage).  So, in an odd turn of fate, the faux pasta ended up being a soup that was pretty tasty, and I am going to share with you my "oopsie" version of the recipe.

 

Green Beans or Asparagus with Bacon (My Version)

What makes this recipe awesome is that it is grill-appropriate… and who wants to cook inside during the hot summer?

 

Ingredients

1 pound of green beans or skinny asparagus stalks

1 pound of bacon or pancetta

Long wooden skewers (like for kabobs)

Olive oil

Freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Steps

  1. Trim the ends off of the green beans, or trim the end off the asparagus stalks.
  2. Bundle 5-6 of your veggie of choice, and wrap in just enough bacon or pancetta to secure the bundle.  Continue making bundles until you've used up all over your veggies.  Make sure that your bacon/pancetta is wrapped around the center third of the vegetable bundles.  You will probably make about 8 bundles or so.  (You may have bacon left over, depending on how generous you are.) 
  3. On a cutting board, lay 4 bundles out in a line.  Using two skewers, impale the 4 bundles through the bacon/pancetta area.  Repeat using another 4 bundles and two skewers.
  4. Drizzle your skewered bundles with a little olive oil.  Grate just a bit of nutmeg over the bundles, and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. 
  5. Take it to the grill – put it in a medium-hot spot on the grill and cook until the bacon is done and crisping on the edges.  If your stalks/beans seem to be getting a little too charred, put them on a cooler part of the grill.
  6. Serve immediately, removing bundles from skewers with tongs. Very tasty!

(Note, I just made this recipe over the weekend, while camping, with asparagus and pancetta.  It was so good!  It would maybe be better if drizzled with just a little balsamic and topped with just a touch of crumbled goat cheese.  Ooh... or maybe some warm hollandaise sauce?  Very fancy!!)

 

OOPS… Sausage, Cabbage and Tomato Soup

A mistake that turned out to be pretty tasty, in the end.

 

Ingredients

¼ cup butter

1 pound of Italian sausage (mild or hot is up to you)

2 vidalia onions, sliced thin

1 medium head of cabbage, sliced thin

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending on taste)

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (mush/squish the tomatoes before adding)

Parmesan cheese to taste

 

Steps

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter until sizzling.
  2. Add sausage and cook until brown.
  3. When sausage is thoroughly browned (don't skimp on the browning!), add the onions, the spices, and half of the salt, and cook until onions have softened, about 5-8 minutes.  (If onions seem to be getting too dark too quickly, lower heat to medium and add a couple of tablespoons of water.)
  4. Add cabbage and the rest of the salt, stir to combine the mixture, and cook until cabbage softens, about 8-10 minutes.  (It helps to put the cover on and let it steam a bit for the first 4 minutes or so).
  5. When the cabbage is softened, add the tomatoes, and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so.  Taste.  You may need to add more salt.  The soup is done when the cabbage reaches the degree of tenderness that you like.  If it is not tender enough, throw the cover on the pot, and let it cook a bit longer.
  6. Serve with some parmesan cheese grated on the top.

(Note: this soup was better the next day).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dark Chocolate, Carbs, and 3 Pounds of Water

It is Tuesday, and I am down to 205.5.  That is three pounds less than I weighed yesterday morning. 

Can you say, post-carb consumption water loss??!!  Literally, following every significant carb intake, I put on approximately three pounds of water, and within a couple of days of being carb-strict, I lose it. 
It doesn't even take much in the way of carb consumption to do it. 



Take this weekend for instance.  I didn't even go carb crazy.  I had maybe 4 corn chips with salsa - say 5 grams; and two s'mores in two days - say about 25 grams per s'more; and 2 x 1/2 pieces of chocolate in two days - say about 10 grams total max; and 1 very small bite of a flourless chocolate thing - say about 2 grams.... total, maybe 67 extra grams of carbohydrate over the course of the weekend.  That's pretty good for being on vacation!


In my experience, I need to keep my carb intake under about 40 net grams per day to avoid this water weight gain.  I get about 30 or so grams from all the non-starchy veggies that I eat, and I really have to be careful with anything extra.  If I even look at a grain product for too long... woosh.  So, I'm going to chalk up my weekend water weight gain to the corn chips and graham crackers. 


I am not going to demonize chocolate!  Let me tell you why:
I have undisputedly had weight loss success over the past couple of weeks even though I have taken to enjoying small bits of dark chocolate on a semi-regular basis.  I am down to 5 bars of IKEA 60% dark chocolate from the 6 bars I bought back on August 7th, which means that I consumed 1 x 3.5 oz bar (a total of 33 grams of net carbs in the entire 100 gram bar) over the course of one week.  That's not too bad.  Figuring that I enjoyed the heck out of every minute of that chocolate consumption, and that I got a whole bunch of healthy out of it (what - you didn't know that dark chocolate has antioxidants, blood-pressure lowering cocoa phenols, and the wonder compound, epicatechin??), I'd say that's a win-win for moi.


Never heard of epicatechin?  Listen and learn, hombre!
According to Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, epicatechin could potentially get rid of 4 of the 5 most common diseases in the western world, including stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, and should perhaps be considered a vitamin.  This is based on observational studies of the Kuna people of Panama, who consume significant quantities of natural cocoa on a regular basis, and have a very low incidence of the foregoing diseases.  In the same article, nutrition expert, Daniel Fabricant, suggested that further studies may show that these diseases are the result of epicatechin deficiency.


Here are some more articles about epicatechin that I pulled up.  Check it out for yourself: here, herehere, and here.  Note: the last link has a number of journal articles referenced that you can follow up on if interested!


I solemnly swear that I will never be epicatechin deficient.  Here's to your health!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Intermittent Fasting, and Thoughts on Faux Pizza

IF:
Today is Monday, August 15, and I am in the midst of an intermittent fast.  I last ate yesterday at about 7 p.m.  I am going to drink just water until 6 p.m. tonight.  Why?  Well, I went camping this weekend, and I was a little naughty - I just can't say no to those s'mores.  Plus, our campsite was near this beautiful little town that had competing chocolate shops - so, of course I had to sample.  Today, my weight is up 1 pound, to 208.5, despite the fact that I did a lot of hiking and swimming in the lake.  IF has, in the past, gotten me back on track re weight loss, thrown me deeply into ketosis, and has had the additional benefit of alleviating my psoriasis symptoms.  I think of IF as a "reset" button.  I am in a psoriasis flare up at the moment, I am out of meds, and I don't have a derma appointment for a couple of weeks.  So, I would like to enjoy a little break from the flaking and itching. 
 
Faux Pizza:
My last couple of attempts at cauliflower pizza have failed.  Last night, my family ordered a couple of real pizzas, and I got wings.  I was sitting there, looking at the pizza, and thinking to myself that the crust is really just a vehicle for the toppings.  I can do the toppings without any crust at all, can't I?
So, tonight, I am going to use my nonstick skillet, crisp up a load of pepperoni and maybe some chunks of chicken, then top the whole thing with sauce, then shredded mozzarella and parmesan, broil and see what happens.  Will crustless pizza be amazing?  Will it even work?  Will it be a total disaster?  Who knows.  We will see!
 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you a carb-phobic science geek?

Check out this video of Dr. Robert Lustig's presentation at AHS, focusing on the biochemistry of sugar, insulin and leptin.  Interesting stuff if you are a carb-phobic science geek like moi!  (Thanks to Dr. Eenfeldt for posting the link on his blog, which is a great low-carb and paleo resource).
 
 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weight Loss!! Sweets!

Yes!  I weighed in this morning (a day late - I forgot to do it yesterday), and was happy to learn that my weight decreased another 2.5 pounds since the last time I weighed in on Friday.  That is 5.5 pounds since I restarted low carb this Wednesday.  I now weigh 207.5 pounds.
 
Here are my measurements
  • Neck: 14 3/4"
  • Wrist: 6"
  • Bust: 43"
  • Waist: 39"
  • Hips: 46"
How am I doing so far?
 
Well, pretty good, I think.  This was a pretty low carb weekend.  I am guessing 40 grams or less each day, although I wasn't super strict. 
 
I'm hoping that it will be okay to incorporate some lower-carb sweet items into my diet without mucking it all up too badly.  Notably, I on Saturday, I had a serving of dark chocolate.  So yummy (see discussion below).  On Sunday, I enjoyed a serving of my low carb key lime cheesecake (check out the recipe, and use lime flavoring instead of lemon, same brand - so good).
 
I have rekindled my love of dark chocolate, which is a little dangerous.  We went to IKEA on Saturday, and I discovered their 60% cocoa dark chocolate bar, which is delicious and of good quality.  Nutrition-wise: a serving size is 8 squares, and has a net carb count of 11 grams, 3 grams of protein, and 6 grams of saturated fat.  So, it's not a bad carb investment, especially if you are satisfied with a half serving.  And - get this - each generously-sized bar of chocolate costs only $.99, unless, of course, you buy five bars, then you get one free.  Crazy cheap!  Confession: I bought 6 bars.  Comparision: a Lindt brand 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar costs around $3.50 at my local market, and it does not taste any better to me (Lindt does not appear to carry a 60% cocoa bar, and 70% cocoa is what they have at my market).  (Note, the carb count is comparable, 14 grams net carbs for a slightly larger portion). 

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