May 22, 2006

Cooking Low Carb: Aladdin Salad

I first had this fantastic salad at the Aladdin Restaurant in San Diego It was easy to duplicate, and way too good to leave out! If you're ever in San Diego, I highly recommend that you go to the Aladdin, by the way. I'm going there for Memorial Day Weekend, and I just may visit the Aladdin again.

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
8 cups romaine, broken up
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet red onion
1/3 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette - I like Paul Newman's
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup shelled pistachios (look for these at Mediterranean or Middle Eastern groceries, or at a health food store with a good bulk section.)
1 medium ripe tomato

Preheat your electric tabletop grill, while you salt and pepper your chicken lightly. Throw it on the grill, and set a timer for 6 minutes or so.

While the chicken's cooking, assemble the romaine, cilantro, and onion in a large salad bowl, pour on the dressing, and toss it well. Pile this mixture on two serving plates. Scatter the feta and pistachios over the greens.

When your chicken is done, slice it, and divide it between the two salads. Slice your tomato into eighths, and arrange four slices around each salad, then serve.

2 large servings, each with 18 grams of carbohydrate and 7 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 11 grams. 40 grams protein, 1333 mgs potassium, and 320 mgs calcium!

(Reprinted with permission from 15 Minute Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender, copyright 2003 Fair Winds Press)

Posted by HoldTheToast at 10:10 PM

April 26, 2006

Stewed Pork Neckbones with Turnips and Cabbage

This week's recipe is what happens to be in my slow cooker this very minute. It's a cool, rainy day as I finish up this issue, and I couldn't think of a darned thing that sounded better than this simple dish. I found the prototype for this recipe on a website dedicated to soul food cookery, and simply substituted turnips for the potatoes to slash the carb count, and adapted if for the slow cooker, rather than stove top cooking.

About Pork Neckbones

Unless you grew up on soul food, you may never have tried pork neck bones. They're one of those cuts that are perfect for the slow cooker - they're bony and tough, and darned cheap; my grocery store has them for 59c a pound week in and week out. Yet cooked with slow moist heat, they're incredibly flavorful, and since the meat falls right off the bone, who cares that they're bony?

I did have one teeny problem with pork neck bones: I simply could not find any nutritional statistics for them, and I even wrote a big pork producer! However, you can count on them being carb free, and these carb counts as accurate; it's the protein and calorie counts that I couldn't get.

Stewed Pork Neckbones with Turnips and Cabbage

This one pot meal is not a beautiful dish to look at, but boy, does it taste good! Plenty of Tabasco is essential.

3 turnips, diced
3 pounds meaty pork neck bones
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or Vege-Sal
3 cups water
1/2 head cabbage, cut in wedges
Tabasco sauce

Put the turnips in the bottom of the pot. Put the neck bones on top of them. Sprinkle the red pepper and salt or Vege-Sal over it, then pour the water over that. Now arrange the cabbage wedges on top of that. Cover the pot, set to low, and cook for 7, 8 hours.

Scoop everything out onto a platter together with a slotted spoon, and dose it well with Tabasco before serving.

4 Servings, each with: 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 4g Usable Carbs.

(Reprinted with permission from 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes ( by Dana Carpender, copyright 2005, Fair Winds Press)

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:03 PM

April 18, 2006

Cooking Low Carb: Southwestern UnPotato Salad

What with spring having sprung and all, it seemed like a good time to give you recipes for cookouts and picnics. Of all the unpotato salads I came up with for The Low-Carb Barbecue Book, this one is my favorite!

Southwestern UnPotato Salad

½ head cauliflower
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 small jalapeno
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ cup diced red onion
1 small tomato

First cut your cauliflower into ½" chunks - don't bother coring it first, just trim the bottom of the stem and cut the core up with the rest of it. Put your cauliflower chunks in a microwaveable casserole with a lid, add a few tablespoons of water, and nuke it on "high" for 7 minutes.

When your cauliflower is done, drain it and put it in a large mixing bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, and lime juice, then pour it over the cauliflower and mix well.

Cut the jalapeno in half, remove the seeds, and mince it fine. Add it to the salad along with the cilantro, garlic, and diced red onion, and mix again.

Finally, cut the stem out of the tomato, then cut it into smallish dice, and carefully stir it in. Chill the salad for a few hours before serving.

6 servings, each with: 150 Calories; 16g Fat; 1g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 2 g usable carb. You can use light mayo if you like, and the calorie count will drop to 65; if you choose your light mayo carefully you shouldn't get more than 1 more gram of carb per serving.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:55 PM

April 08, 2006

Cooking Low Carb: Egg Salad Francais

Here, from 15 Minute Low Carb Recipes, is a really fast meal with an authentically French accent.

Egg Salad Francais

Completely different from any egg salad you've ever had, and quite wonderful!

8 ounces bagged "European style" salad - the mixture should include some frizee, so read the label! (If you can't find one with frizee, you can still make the salad, but it will be less authentic.)

2 scallions
1/3 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette - I like Paul Newman's
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (it is very important to use good quality shredded (not grated) Parmesan with no additives. Regular Parmesan in the round green shaker won't work; the cellulose in it messes it up for this.)
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 eggs, very fresh

First put an inch of water in a largish saucepan and put it over a burner set to medium high. Ignore that for a minute while you put your greens in a big salad bowl, slice up your scallion, and throw that in, too. Pour the balsamic vinaigrette over the whole thing, and toss well. Set aside.

Spray a microwaveable plate with non-stick cooking spray, and spread the Parmesan on it. Microwave on "high" for 1 minute.

While your cheese is nuking, let's get back to that water. It should be good and hot by now; turn it down to a bare simmer, add a tablespoon of vinegar, and poach your eggs in it. It helps to break each egg into a small cup or dish, first, to make sure that it's good and fresh, and that the yolk doesn't break. (If it does, keep it for something else, and use another egg for poaching.) Then slide each egg gently into the water, and poach to the desired degree of doneness.

While the eggs are poaching, remove the Parmesan from the microwave - it will now be a crispy, lacy sheet. Break it up. Pile your salad on two serving plates, and top each one with crispy Parmesan bits. Lift your now-poached eggs out of the pan with a slotted spoon, place two on each salad, and serve.

2 servings, each with 10 grams of carbohydrate and 4 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 6 grams. 20 grams of protein.

(Reprinted by permission from 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender, copyright 2003 by Fair Winds Press.)

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:49 PM

March 30, 2006

Creole Eggs

Since eggs are cheap this time of year, here's an egg recipe. I really love this, and have made it at least a half-a-dozen times in the past month! The sauce is very easy, and stands on its own - try poaching shrimp in it, instead. Wonderful!

These are deceptively simple - you make a quick sauce, then poach the eggs in it. Don't let the simplicity fool you; these are so good I made them again the next day!

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
hot sauce to taste (Louisiana hot sauce is best)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 eggs

Give a medium-sized, heavy skillet a squirt of non-stick cooking spray, and put it over medium-low heat. Add the oil and the garlic, and saute the garlic, not letting it brown, for just a couple of minutes. Add the basil, then the tomato sauce, creole seasoning, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Stir it all up, and let it come to a simmer. Let it cook for a couple of minutes to blend flavors.

Now break your eggs into the sauce, cover the skillet, and let your eggs poach in the Creole sauce until done to your liking -- 4 1/2 to 5 minutes is about right for my tastes -- whites cooked through, but yolks still runny. Lift eggs out carefully with a big spoon, top with the remaining sauce, and serve.

2 Servings: 214 Calories; 14g Fat; 13g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Fiber; 9g usable carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:01 PM

March 22, 2006

Oat Bran Pancakes, Corned Beef Hash

Since low carb bake mixes are getting harder to find, here's a pancake recipe for you, from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes:

I like these for their grainy-cinnamony flavor. I eat 'em with butter and a little cinnamon and Splenda.

1/2 cup oat bran

1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1 1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup Splenda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, and stir to distribute evenly. Measure the buttermilk in a glass measuring cup, and break the eggs into it. Whisk the two together. Dump the buttermilk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix with a few quick strokes of the whisk, just enough to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over a medium-high flame until a single drop of water skitters around when dripped on the surface. Using a hot-pot holder, remove from the heat just long enough to spray with non-stick cooking spray, then return to the heat (the spray is flammable, so you don't want to be spraying it at a hot burner!)

Pour about 2 - 3 tablespoons of batter at a time onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles around the edges start to break and leave little holes, then flip and cook other side.

Serve with butter, and your choice of sugar free pancake syrup, sugar free jelly or preserves, or cinnamon and Splenda.

Yield: 8 servings, each with 287 Calories; 14g Fat; 32g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 9 grams usable carbohydrate.

(Reprinted with permission from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes)

And here's your bonus recipe! I made this with the leftovers of the New England Boiled Dinner

I made for St. Patrick's Day - corned beef slow-cooked with turnips (instead of the usual potatoes,) celery, and cabbage. My husband and I both loved it with the warmed-over cabbage, and I ate the leftovers with fried eggs for breakfast. Fab!

I'm afraid I don't have exact measurements for this, because I was just throwing it together. But it was so good I had to tell you about it, and hey, it's a way of using up leftovers - it's supposed to be elastic.

Corned Beef Hash

I diced up a medium onion, and started it sauteing in a tablespoon or so of butter in my big iron skillet. ( I would have sprayed the skillet with non-stick spray first, but I was out.) While that was cooking, I diced up the leftover turnips - I had about 2 cups, I'd guess. I threw them in the skillet, too. I also diced a little of the leftover celery - maybe a 1/2 cup - and added that. Then I diced up a roughly equal quantity of leftover corned beef - probably 8 - 10 ounces. That, of course, went in the skillet too.

I sauteed everything together, adding a little more butter as it seemed to need it, stirring now and then. As stuff browned and stuck to the bottom, I used the edge of the pancake turner to scrap it off and plow it back into the hash.

When everything was good and hot and well-amalgamated (in particular, I wanted the fat to cook out of the corned beef, into the mixture,) I added a tablespoon or so of Worcestershire, and a little salt and pepper, stirring it in, of course. I sprinkled 2 tablespoons of Ketotoes mix (the Dixie Diner Instant Mashers should work just as well,) stirred it in, sprinkled another 2 tablespoons of Ketatoes mix over it, and stirred again.

Then I flattened the hash into an even layer in the bottom of the pan, and let it sit for five or ten minutes - I wanted it to form a nice brown crust on the bottom. When I served it, I made sure to scoop up the crust with each serving, and turn it over as I put it on the plate, so the crust was on top.

Talk about comfort food! It was soooo good. If you like hash, it would be worth slow-cooking some corned beef just to make the hash with! I liked the New England Boiled Dinner, but the hash was even better.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:45 PM

March 15, 2006

Cooking Low Carb: Dana's No-Sugar Ketchup

This is the recipe I have repeated more than any other - it's appeared in every cookbook I've written. Why? Because ketchup isn't just a condiment, it's used as an ingredient in myriad other recipes. If you can get no-sugar-added ketchup in your grocery store - Heinz's One Carb Ketchup is quite good - go ahead and use it. If you can't, this is very simple to make, and tastes - well, like ketchup. The one difference here from previous versions is that I've worked out the quantity of stevia/FOS to use in place of Splenda, if you prefer not to use artificial sweeteners.

Once you've got no-sugar ketchup on hand, it's a snap to make cocktail sauce (add horseradish and lemon juice), steak sauce (add Worcestershire, and just a touch of lemon juice,) all sorts of things.

Dana's No-Sugar Ketchup

6 ounces tomato paste
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Stevia Plus OR 1/3 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Just combine everything in your blender, and run it until the onion and garlic disappear. Store in a snap-top container in the fridge, and use the way you would any ketchup.

Makes1 2/3 cups, or 14 Servings: 13 Calories; trace Fat; trace Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 3g usable carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:14 PM

March 07, 2006

Jamie's Elvis Burgers

With warm weather on the way, I thought I'd print a recipe from The Low-Carb Barbecue Book. But since it's still a tad chilly for long, slow smoking on an outdoor grill - at least here in Indiana - here's a burger recipe.

Jamie's Elvis Burgers

Credit where credit is due: This recipe was inspired by one demonstrated by Jamie Oliver on his Food Network show, Oliver's Twist - he made some burgers for an Elvis impersonator friend. They looked very tasty, but had too much onion, and a pile of bread crumbs in them, and of course Jamie served his on a bun. Plus he's a serious purist who grinds his own beef, not to mention his own spices. This version is both easier and considerably lower carb - but still unusually tasty.

2 pounds ground chuck
2/3 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 ½ tablespoons spicy mustard

Just plop everything into a large mixing bowl, and moosh it all together with clean hands until it's well-combined. Form into 6 burgers, about 1" thick. Put 'em on a plate, and chill for at least an hour before grilling.

Get your fire going - you'll want your gas grill on medium, or a little lower, or well-ashed charcoal. Grill for 7-10 minutes per side, keeping flare ups down with a squirt bottle of water, until juices run clear. Serve with no-sugar ketchup, and some dill pickles, if you like.

6 servings, each with 3 grams of carbohydrate, a trace of fiber, and 28 grams of protein. 441 calories.

(Reprinted with permission from The Low-Carb Barbecue Book by Dana Carpender, copyright 2004 by Fair Winds Press.)

Note: Feel free to broil these inside, or even cook them in your electric tabletop grill.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 10:24 PM

February 28, 2006

Chicken Burritos

Now that the days are getting longer, and the weather's turning nice, who wants to come in and cook dinner? Here's a family-pleasing meal from 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes so you can go for a walk before the sun goes down.

Chicken Burritos

Wow. Easy, delicious, low carb, low calorie, and reheats easily. What more do you want from a recipe?

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 large jalapeno, minced (or canned)
12 low carb tortillas
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Plunk your boneless, skinless thighs in the slow cooker. Mix the garlic, chili powder, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and minced jalapeno together. Pour over the thighs, and stir to coat. Cover pot, set to low, and cook for 10 hours, or cook on high for 5 hours.

When time's up, simply stir with a fork to reduce your chicken to a big pot of tasty chicken shreds! Now, fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup chicken, top with lettuce, cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream, a generous tablespoon salsa, and a sprinkling of cilantro. Wrap and devour!

This is a great meal for a family that has some low carbers and some non-low carbers, just give them regular or (preferably) whole wheat flour tortillas. The chicken keeps well in the fridge, and reheats quickly in the microwave for a fast snack! (45 seconds on 70% power is about right for a 1/3 cup serving.)

12 Servings, each with: 225 Calories; 13g Fat; 22g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 5g Usable Carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:35 PM

February 20, 2006

Sweet Tea

Since I've recommended you quit drinking diet soda, it seemed incumbent on me to offer an alternative. So here's one from The Every Calorie Counts Cookbook:

I like my tea black, whether I'm drinking it hot or cold, but sweet tea is a Southern staple, so I had an Alabaman friend vet this for me. She doesn't promise it tastes exactly like your mama's or your auntie's sweet tea, but she says it tastes great. It also has no sugar, aspartame, or even Splenda.

The reason you use the blender to add the stevia/FOS blend is to prevent clumping. Who wants little lumps of ultra-sweetness floating in their tea?

6 cups water
4 tea bags, family-sized
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons stevia/FOS blend (our tester liked it with two, but admits she likes her sweet tea very sweet.)
water to fill

Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, then add the tea bags. Let it simmer for just a minute, then remove from the heat, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing them out in the process.

Ladle a cup of the hot tea into your blender, and turn it on. Add the stevia/FOS blend, and let it blend for a few seconds. Pour into a 1 gallon pitcher. Pour in the rest of the tea, then water to fill.

Chill, and serve over ice!

Note: Most health food stores carry stevia/FOS blend - an all natural sugar-free sweetener. I buy SteviaPlus brand, made by a company called SweetLeaf. You can also order it online.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:47 PM

February 14, 2006

Portobello Fillets

Here, from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes, is a seriously fancy, romantic main course that takes no planning, and almost no time. So stop at the grocery store on the way home tonight! You've still got time to make a knock-his-or-her-socks-off (and hey, maybe some other articles of clothing!) Valentine's Day dinner. You'll want to halve this for a dinner for two, of course.

Portobello Filets

4 large portobello mushrooms
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
4 filets mignon, about 5 ounces each
olive oil for brushing

Lay your portobellos in a shallow baking dish, gill side up, and pour the balsamic vinaigrette over them. Turn them over once or twice, to make sure they're thoroughly coated in the dressing, then let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Okay, now you're going to multi-tast: Heat up the broiler to "high", and brush your steaks with a little olive oil. Also heat up your electric tabletop grill.

Start your filets broiling close to the heat, and set your oven timer -- I'd probably give them about 5 -- 5 1/2 minutes per side, but cook them to your own preference. When you turn them over, put the marinated mushrooms in your electric grill. Let them cook for about 5 minutes. Your steak and your mushrooms should be done right about the same moment!

Put each mushroom on a plate, and put a filet on top of each, then serve piping hot.

4 servings, each with: 717 Calories; 64g Fat; 28g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 7 grams usable carb. However, this analysis assumes you consume all of the balsamic vinaigrette, while in actuality some will be left in the dish you marinated the mushrooms in. So you'll actually get fewer carbs and calories than this.

(Reprinted from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender, by permission of Fair Winds Press.)

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:04 PM

February 06, 2006

Thai-Style Crab Salad in Avocados

1 ripe California avocado
3 tablespoons lime juice
6-ounce can crabmeat, or 6 ounces cooked lump crab meat
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
Salt, if desired.

Split the avocado in half, remove the seed, and sprinkle the cut surfaces with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice to prevent browning.

Combine the crabmeat, remaining lime juice, lemon juice, mayonnaise, cilantro, scallion, pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl, and mix well. Stuff into the avocado halves, piling it high. Garnish with extra cilantro, if desired, and serve.

2 servings, each with 9 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of fiber, for a total of 4 grams of usable carb and 20 grams of protein. Plus 932 milligrams of potassium!

(Reprinted from 15 Minute Low Carb Recipes, by Dana Carpender, with permission of Fair Winds Press.)

(Unpaid plug: For those few of you who, like me, live in or around Bloomington, Indiana, Sahara Mart has recently slashed its prices on organic produce - including avocados, which have recently been running a mere 79c apiece. I've also been getting organic cauliflower for $1.99 a head. These are easily the best prices I've seen for organic produce. Sahara Mart is also a great place to get good wine at great prices, not to mention sugar free chocolate covered coffee beans, and all sorts of other stuff. In short, worth the trip. At the corner of Walnut and 2nd. Tell 'em Dana sent you!)

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:39 PM

Tequila-Lime Chicken Skillet

Cooking Low Carb!

This recipe from the upcoming Every Calorie Counts Cookbook is what I'm serving for supper tonight. Yum - I think I'll go cook!

Tequila-Lime Chicken Skillet

I came up with this recipe when I bought some terrific tequila-lime flavored chicken sausage at Sahara Mart, the local health/gourmet/international food store. It was so good, I had to come up with this version using ground chicken for all of you who may not be lucky enough to have access to specialty sausages.

1 pound ground chicken
1 medium onion
1/2 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup canned tomatoes with green chiles, drained
1/2 cup canned black soy beans, drained
OR 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained
3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 California avocado, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Whack your onion into a few big chunks, peel 'em, and throw 'em in your food processor with the S-blade in place. Pulse until the onion is chopped to a medium consistency. Place your big, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, then throw in the chicken and chopped onion. Break up the chicken a little, then leave it to saute while you

Swap the S-blade for the shredding blade in your food processor. Run the half-head of cauliflower through, and put the resulting cauli-rice in a microwaveable casserole with a lid. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, put in the microwave and set it on full power for seven minutes.

Okay, that's under control. Go stir your chicken and onions, breaking up the chicken some more. Open your cans and measure out your tomatoes and beans, and have them standing by. Chop your cilantro and peel, seed, and dice your avocado.

When most of the pink is gone from your chicken, stir in the tequila, lime juice, cumin, hot sauce, and garlic. Keep stirring until the pink is gone. Now stir in your tomatoes and beans.

By now your cauli-rice is done! Grab it out of the microwave and drain it. Dump it in the skillet with everything else, and stir it all together really well. Salt and pepper the whole thing to taste. Stir in the cilantro. Now portion the mixture into bowls or onto plates, top each serving with a third of the avocado, and serve.

With black soy beans:

5 Servings: 361 Calories; 18g Fat; 32g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 5g Fiber; 8g usable carbs.

With regular black beans:

5 Servings: 350 Calories; 17g Fat; 31g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 4g Fiber; 9g usable carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:36 PM

January 30, 2006

Vegetable Beef Soup

Cooking Low Carb!

Because it's cold and rainy here, I'm thinking longingly of soup (if the soup references earlier in the 'zine hadn't already tipped you off to that!) So on the hunch that at least some of you feel the same way, here's a recipe from The Every Calorie Counts Cookbook, due out this spring. Usually Vegetable Beef Soup has potatoes or noodles in it - but simmered with everything else, you'd never know the turnips weren't potatoes.

Vegetable Beef Soup

A true classic. Eat it at the kitchen table, and you'll feel like mom is patting you on the back.

2 quarts beef stock
1 medium turnip, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
1 large rib celery, sliced thin
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, juice and all
2 cups frozen green beans, cross-cut style
3/4 pound boneless beef chuck, in 1/2" cubes
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf

Put your stock in a big soup kettle, and put it over medium high heat. While it's warming, do all your peeling and chopping and opening. Just throw everything into the pot as you get it cut up. Bring to a simmer, cover, turn the burner down to low, and let it cook for at least an hour, and two is better. That's it!

6 Servings: 215 Calories; 9g Fat; 12g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Fiber; 15g usable carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:47 PM

January 23, 2006

Southwestern Barbecue

Here’s a family-pleasing supper that cooks while you’re out of the house. Buy leg-and-thigh quarters, and spend five minutes cutting the drumsticks off for another meal, and pulling off the skin – you’ll save 30c a pound or more.

Southwestern Barbecue

1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Splenda
1 1/2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, canned, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/8 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 pounds skinless chicken thighs

Combine everything but the chicken in your slow cooker, and stir well.

Place the chicken in the sauce, meaty side down.

Cover, set on low, and cook for 6 hours. Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over it.

6 Servings, each with: 215 Calories; 7g Fat; 34g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2g Usable Carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:50 AM

Peachey 'Rice'

Here’s a killer side dish from my new book, The Every Calorie Counts Cookbook, that’ll perk up roasted chicken, or simple pan-broiled chops. This time of year you’ll want to use frozen unsweetened peach slices in this.

Peachy "Rice"

I love the peaches with the curry flavor!

1/2 head cauliflower
2/3 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup scallions, sliced, including the crisp part of the green
1 cup diced peaches, fresh, or frozen without sugar, thawed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon butter

Run the cauliflower through the shredding blade of your food processor. Put the resulting cauli-rice in a microwaveable casserole with a lid, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and nuke on high for 6 minutes.

While that's happening, dice your celery, slice your scallions, and dice your peaches. Chop your parsley, too.

Put your big, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and melt your butter. Add the celery and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the curry, and saute for another minute or two, stirring.

When the microwave beeps, remove the cover from the cauliflower immediately to prevent overcooking. Drain, and add to the skillet, along with the wild rice. Stir everything together. Add the scallions and the peaches, plus the salt and ginger, and once again stir to combine everything well. Let it cook just another couple of minutes. Stir in the parsley, and serve.

6 Servings: 66 Calories; 2g Fat; 2g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 3g Fiber; 8g usable carbs.

What about that wild rice? It has fewer carbs and more flavor than any of the true rices, (Wild rice is a whole different species,) and that full-bodied flavor means that wild rice adds a lot of grainy flavor without a lot of carbs when combined with shredded cauliflower – “cauli-rice.” Wild rice does take quite a while to cook, so I like to cook up a whole package at a time, then stash any extra in my freezer, ready for the next time I need it. Here’s how to cook it:

Wild Rice

1 cup raw wild rice
3 cups water

Combine the wild rice and water in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Bring it to a boil, then turn the burner to low, and let the wild rice cook for 50-60 minutes, or until the kernels split open a bit. Drain any excess water. Store in a tightly lidded container in the fridge, and use it up within a week or so. Or freeze in 1/2 cup portions in zipper-lock bags, to thaw and use as you need it.

7 Servings: 82 Calories; trace Fat; 3g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 16g usable carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:48 AM

January 15, 2006

Tuscan Soup

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Southern Indiana it’s gray and chilly, and often rainy – perfect soup weather. This recipe from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes just may be my favorite.

Tuscan Soup

This Italian-style soup somehow manages to be delicate and substantial at the same time. Really addictive.

16 ounces hot Italian sausage in links
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 head cauliflower, sliced 1/4" thick
6 cups chopped kale
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, crushed

First saute the sausage until done. Remove from your skillet, and let it cool a little while you...

Start heating the chicken broth and cream in a big, heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat.

While that's heating, cut your cauliflower into 1/4" chunks. Chop the kale, too. Add both the vegetables to the soup.

Okay, your sausage is cool enough to handle! Slice it on the diagonal, about 1/2" thick. I like to cut each slice in half, too, to make more bites of sausage, but that's not essential. Put the sliced sausage in the soup, too.

Stir in the red pepper flakes and the garlic. Turn the burner to lowest heat, and let the whole thing simmer for an hour, stirring now and then.

6 servings, each with 487 Calories; 41g Fat; 20g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 8 grams usable carb.

If you prefer, you can use half-and-half instead of the cream. Your soup will then have 402 calories per serving, with 11 grams of carb, 2 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of usable carb.

Note: Please, please, please use good quality chicken broth. Most of the canned stuff in the grocery store is full of chemicals, and often also has corn syrup or sugar added. Yuck. Kitchen Basics brand is good stuff. Or go to the health food store and buy Health Valley, Shelton’s, Pacific, or Hain brand broth – no junk. Some health food store broth will be salt-free – that’s fine, just add salt to taste when your soup is done.

Me, I save up all my chicken bones in a plastic grocery sack in the freezer, and when I’ve got a sackful I boil them up for broth – something for nothing, and far, far better, both nutritionally and in flavor, than any packaged broth!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:01 PM

January 07, 2006

Curried Chicken with Coconut Milk

As I write this, my house smells incredible! Why? Earlier today, I plugged in my slow cooker. What’s in it? This! Easy, and so good.

Curried Chicken with Coconut Milk

3 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup coconut milk (regular or lite, as you prefer – but regular tastes better, and coconut oil is good for you.)
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon concentrate (granules, paste, whatever you’ve got.)

Plunk your chicken in your slow cooker. Strew the onion and garlic over it. Mix together the curry powder, coconut milk, and bouillon concentrate, and pour it over everything. Cover the pot, set to low, and cook for 6 hours.

When time's done, fish out the chicken and put it on a platter. Thicken up the sauce to a gravy consistency with your guar or xanthan shaker. You'll want to serve this with cauli-rice (see below) to soak up the extra curry sauce -- it's too good to miss!

5 Servings, each with: 310 Calories; 18g Fat; 32g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 4g usable carb.

(Recipe reprinted from 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes by Dana Carpender, by permission of Fair Winds Press.)

For you newbies, here’s how to make “cauli-rice”:


Take a half a head of cauliflower, and trim off the leaves and the very bottom of the stem. Now run the rest, still raw, through the shredding blade of your food processor. Take the shredded cauliflower and put it in a microwaveable casserole with a lid. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and nuke it on high for 6-7 minutes. Uncover immediately, or your cauliflower will mush, and lose its rice-like texture!

3 servings, each with: 24 Calories; trace Fat; 2g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 3 grams usable carbohydrate.

I use this in a vast array of dishes. Really, really good and useful stuff. And of course, feel free to do a whole head at a time if you like!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:38 PM

April 01, 2005

Cooking Low Carb: My Favorite Lunch

Here's my favorite lunch, currently. I like to use Paul Newman's Light Balsamic Vinaigrette, which has no more carbs than their regular balsamic vinaigrette, and will actually drop the calorie count on this by more than 100 calories. I use really good imported olive-oil-pack tuna in little cans; I think it makes a real difference to the flavor, and it's certainly better nutritionally - far better grade of fat. But use what you've got on hand.

1 quart mixed lettuce
1/8 red onion, sliced paper-thin
1/2 small tomato, sliced vertically
1/3 cup sliced cucumber
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
1 hard-boiled egg -- chopped
3 ounces canned tuna in oil -- olive oil pack, drained

Tear up your lettuce, put it in a big bowl, and assemble the rest of the vegetables. Toss with the dressing -- I use Paul Newman's Light Balsamic Vinaigrette -- and top with the egg and the tuna. Give it one more toss, and eat it out of the salad bowl!

1 serving, with: 471 Calories; 29g Fat; 36g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 12 grams usable carb.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:12 PM

Cooking Low Carb: Irish Cream Coffee Latte

Here's a sample recipe from Low-Carb Smoothies! You'll need sugar-free chocolate coffee flavoring syrup. Try the local fancy coffee joint; they often sell these things, and my grocery store carries them at their coffee kiosk; my beloved Sahara Mart here in Bloomington has sugar free coffee syrups, too. If you can't find them locally, they're worth ordering! The low carb etailers have them ( The biggest selection comes from DaVinci, and you can order direct if you want: . They were kind enough to donate a whole bunch of syrups to help me develop the recipes in the book, so I think they deserve the business!

I found a recipe for making your own Irish Cream liqueur, and took it from there. My Irish Cream loving husband says I got it right.

1 1/2 cups Carb Countdown Dairy Beverage
2 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar free chocolate coffee flavoring syrup
1 tablespoon Splenda

Combine everything in your blender, and run until smooth and well-blended.

319 Calories; 14g Fat; 40g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 8g Usable Carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:10 PM

February 13, 2005

Cooking Low Carb: Kashmiri Lamb Shanks

Here's a scrumptious exotic lamb recipe from 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes. Lamb shanks are just perfect for slow cooking!

Kashmiri Lamb Shanks

This was originally a recipe for a skillet curry of lamb, but it works wonderfully in the slow cooker. If you like Indian food, you have to try this. And if you've never had Indian food, you need to start!

2 1/2 pounds lamb shanks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon concentrate
1 teaspoon garam masala (recipe below)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
guar or xanthan

In your big, heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, sear the lamb shanks all over in the oil. Transfer to slow cooker.

Mix together the broth, bouillon concentrate, garam masala, coriander, ginger, and cayenne, and pour over the lamb shanks. Cover, set pot to low, and cook for 8 hours.

Remove shanks to a platter, thicken the sauce a bit with your guar or xanthan shaker, and serve over lamb.

4 Servings, each with: 530 Calories; 38g Fat; 44g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1g Usable Carbs.

Garam Masala

This is an Indian spice blend. You may well be able to buy perfectly lovely garam masala already made at a local Asian market or big grocery store - I can! - but if you can't, you can easily make your own.

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Simply combine everything, and keep it in an airtight container.

Roughly 9 tablespoons, each with: 19 Calories; 1g Fat; 1g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 3 grams usable carb.

Got a great suggestion from reader Patricia Trolian, and thought I'd pass it on - this is her variation on the Meatza recipe in 500 Low-Carb Recipes


Try this variation on your Meatza recipe- Substitute chicken for the ground beef, and chili spices for the Italian seasoning.(Diced chorizo sausage is great, too.)

Substitute enchilada sauce for the pizza sauce, and Monterey jack and cheddar for the mozzarella. I like to top it with diced red bell pepper, olives, diced scallion, and cilantro. It's a great substitute for a high carb chicken enchilada recipe I USED TO make.

Wow. This sounds so great! I'll be trying this. Come to think of it, I have ground chicken and chorizo in my freezer, and cheddar and Monterey jack in my fridge. Sounds like a trip to the grocery store for enchilada sauce is in order...

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:30 PM

January 18, 2005

Cooking Low Carb: Tavern Soup

Here's a recipe from my new book 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes - it's a hearty, creamy cheese soup, perfect for a cold winter's night.

Tavern Soup

Cheese soup with beer! (Don't worry about the kids; the alcohol cooks off.)

1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1/4 cup diced celery, diced fine
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper, diced fine
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
12 ounces light beer
1/2 teaspoon salt, or Vege-Sal
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
guar or xanthan

Before you head out the door, combine the chicken broth, celery, green pepper, carrot, parsley, and pepper in your slow cooker. Cover, set to low, and let it slow cook 6-8 hours, and even a bit longer won't hurt.

When you get home, either use a hand-blender to puree the vegetables right there in the slow cooker pot, or scoop them out with a slotted spoon, puree them in your blender, and return them to the pot.

Now whisk in the cheddar cheese a little at a time, until it's all melted in. Add the beer, the salt, and the Tabasco sauce, and stir till the foaming stops. Use your guar or xanthan shaker to thicken your soup until it's about the texture of heavy cream. Recover the pot, turn to high, and let it cook for another 20 minutes before serving.

8 Servings, each with: 274 Calories; 20g Fat; 18g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 3g Usable Carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:22 PM

December 19, 2004

Ginger Snaps and Chocolate Dips

Here are two of my very best Christmas cookie recipes from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes. Both of them call for polyol sweeteners, aka sugar alcohols. Any polyol sweetener should do - maltitol, erythritol, Diabetisweet, xylitol, what-have-you. The polyols give these cookies a better texture than they'd have if they were sweetened solely with Splenda - in particular, they're far less crumbly than Splenda-only cookies. On the other hand, I've kept the polyol content to a minimum, partly to avoid gastrointestinal upset, partly because some folks do get at least a bit of a blood sugar rise from polyols, and partly because polyols are pricey. I think the Splenda/polyol combo offers a great balance of flavor, texture, and price.

Where to buy polyols? I can get them locally, at Sahara Mart, the international grocery store/health food store that is Bloomington, Indiana's best source of low carb specialty stuff. If you have a store locally that carries a good line of low carb products, that's the first place to look. Readers have reported that they've seen Diabetisweet in the diabetic supplies aisle at WalMart. If you can't find polyols locally, you can order them online, though you'll want to pay for fast shipping if you're going to make these cookies in time for Christmas! I order mine from, but lots of low carb etailers carry them.


Crisp and gingery-cinnamony, these cookies are nothing short of extraordinary.

Serving Size : 42

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup Splenda
1/4 cup polyol
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 egg
1 cup almond meal
1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup gluten
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Using your electric mixer, beat the butter, coconut oil, Splenda, polyol sweetener, blackstrap, and egg together until mixture is creamy and fluffy.

Beat in the almond meal, vanilla whey protein powder, and gluten, then the baking soda, salt and spices.

Dough will be fairly soft, but cohesive. Spoon by the scant tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets, shaping a bit with the fingers to make little balls. Flatten balls slightly with the back of your spoon or fingers. Keep in mind when placing cookies on sheets that they will spread some -- I find that 10 per sheet is about right.

Bake at 350 for about 7-9 minutes, or until just getting golden around the edges. Cool on wire racks, and store in an air-tight container.

About 42 cookies, each with: 76 Calories; 5g Fat; 7g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2 grams usable carb.

Chocolate Dips

The high-carb version of this cookie is part of my earliest memories - my mother makes them for Christmas every year, and they're a favorite with everyone. They really dress up a holiday cookie plate, too!

1 1/3 cups vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons gluten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons polyol
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dipping Chocolate (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325.

In one bowl, combine the vanilla whey, almond meal, gluten, and salt, and stir together.

In another, use your electric mixer to beat the butter and coconut oil together. When they're combined, beat in the Splenda and polyol sweetener, until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

Now beat in the vanilla whey/almond meal combination, adding it in two or three lots. Finally, beat in the oat bran, then the water.

You'll have a stiff, somewhat crumbly dough. Use clean hands to form little logs, about 1 1/2" long, and the diameter of a thumb (unless your fingers are huge!) press them tog Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 25-30 minutes. Cool before dipping.

Make your Dipping Chocolate, and dip one end of each cookie in the chocolate. Place on waxed paper to cool.

At least 36. Assuming 36, each will have: 107 Calories; 7g Fat; 9g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 3 grams usable carb.

Dipping Chocolate

12 ounces sugar-free dark (semi-sweet) chocolate
2 tablespoons polyol
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon water

In a double boiler, over hot, not boiling, water, melt the chocolate. Stir in the sugar-free imitation honey, the cream, and the water. Keep hot over water while dipping cookies, fruit, or what-have-you.

It's hard to know how many things you're going to dip! But assuming you make 36 Chocolate Dip cookies, or dip three dozen strawberries, the dip will add to each of them: 3 Calories; trace Fat ; trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; no usable carb. Carb count does not include polyols in the sugar-free chocolate.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 11:59 AM

Amy's Step-Dad's Ham Rolls

I am such a dork. My pal Amy Austin gave me this recipe ages ago, but somehow it never made it into the cookbooks. It's a shame, because these look really pretty and taste really great, but they're pretty simple to make. These will make you popular at your next party.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons dry onion soup mix
6-8 dill pickle spears
1 pound good quality deli ham, in one ounce slices - in other words, a one pound package should have 16 slices.

First, combine the cream cheese well with the onion soup mix; an electric mixer or a food processor is easiest for this, but a good, thorough beating with a fork should work, too. Next slice each dill pickle spear lengthwise into 2-3 thinner spears. Now, lay a piece of ham flat on the counter or on a plate. Spread evenly with some cream cheese/onion soup mixture, spreading all the way to the edges. Place a skinny pickle spear at one end of the ham, and roll the whole thing up, with the pickle in the center. Repeat with all the slices of ham, distributing the cream cheese mixture evenly between all the ham slices. Cut each roll into 6 sections; they'll look quite pretty - little pink pinwheels with a bit of green in the center. Arrange on a lettuce lined plate (oh, okay, you can leave off the lettuce if you want!) and serve.

The carb count on these will vary some with what brand of soup you use - Lipton was the lowest carb brand at my store - what brand of ham you use, and what brand of cream cheese you use - you'll read the labels carefully, right? I get about 36 grams for the batch, and since you're making 96 rolls here (feel free to halve the recipe - or double it, for that matter), we're talking well under a half a gram per roll.

By the way, Amy strongly recommends making "8 million of these, to avoid riots when someone eats the last one." Consider yourself warned!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 11:55 AM

December 03, 2004

Cooking Low Carb: UnPotato Latkes

I’ve had a request that I run my UnPotato Latkes recipe in time for Hanukkah, so here it is! I am, I confess, painfully WASPy, but my pal Barbo Gold assures me that this recipe earns me the title of Latke Maven. Take my word for it, you do not have to be Jewish to enjoy these “potato” pancakes! They’re a great side dish for anyone, especially if you’re craving something potato-y.

UnPotato Latkes

1 cup shredded cauliflower
1 cup shredded turnip
1 teaspoon salt, or Vege-Sal
3 eggs
1/4 cup Ketatoes mix, original flavor
1/4 cup Atkins bake mix
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. You'll want to shred your cauliflower and turnip on the shredding blade of your food processor. Combine the two in a bowl, and sprinkle the salt over the two, stirring as you do so, so the salt is well distributed. Let the salted cauliflower and turnip sit for at least an hour, and two won't hurt.

2. Okay, come back to your shredded cauliflower and turnip, and dump them into a strainer. Using clean hands, squeeze all the moisture you can out of them. Put them back in the bowl.

3. Grate your onion, and add it to the cauliflower and turnip. Now add onion, then the eggs, Ketatoes mix, Atkins bake mix, and pepper. Using a whisk or a fork, stir everything together until it's all well-combined. The mixture will be quite thick.

4. Put your large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Give it a squirt of non-stick cooking spray first, if you like. Then pour in oil -- I used olive oil, but use what you like -- to a depth of about 1/2". Let it heat until a tiny bit of the latke mixture sizzles when dropped in. Then spoon in the batter, about 2 tablespoons per latke. Fry until well-browned on both sides -- maybe 5 minutes per side.

5. Serve with sour cream, if you like -- I understand that's traditional -- or with a low carb preserve, or both -- but these are awfully good as-is.

I got 16 latkes, which I figure will serve 8 as a side dish. Each serving will have 8 grams of carbohydrate, with 3 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of just 5 grams. 10 grams of protein. Hard to know exactly how many calories, because who knows how much oil they absorb? Don't stint on the oil, however. Eating foods fried in plenty of oil is a Hanukkah tradition because it commemorates the oil that miraculously burned for 8 days during the rebuilding of the temple, or so my source material tells me.

Can’t get Ketotoes locally? (All my local big grocery stores carry them now!) Try my pals at

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:05 PM

October 06, 2004

Cooking Low Carb: Hellzapoppin Cheese "Rice"

Here’s a killer side dish from the new 500 More! Low-Carb Recipes. I’ve adapted this from the funniest cookbook ever written, The I Hate To Cookbook, by Peg Bracken. And truly fabulous it is, too.

Hellzapoppin Cheese "Rice"

1/3 cup cooked wild rice
3 1/3 cups shredded cauliflower
4 eggs
1 cup Carb Countdown Dairy Beverage (or half-and-half, if you prefer)
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach -- thawed

You need to have your wild rice cooked before you start -- use three times as much water as wild rice, put it in a saucepan with a lid, and put it over lowest heat until all the water is absorbed – at least 40 minutes. Make more than you need for this recipe, and stash it in a snap-top container in the freezer, and next time you'll have it on hand!

Run half a head of cauliflower through the shredding blade of your food processor, and you should have between 3 and 4 cups of cauli-rice.

Beat the eggs till they're foamy, then whisk in the Carb Countdown Dairy Beverage, onion, Worcestershire, salt, thyme, and marjoram. Now, stir in the raw cauli-rice, the wild rice, the cheese, and the spinach. Stir till everything is well-combined.

Pour the whole thing into a casserole dish you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and bake it at 375 for 35 -- 40 minutes.

6 servings, each with 409 Calories; 30g Fat; 27g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 7 grams usable carb.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:22 PM

August 03, 2004

Grandma's Peach Cobbler

It's the height of the summer fruit season, so use some! Here's a recipe the whole family will love, from the upcoming 500 More Low-Carb Recipes.

Grandma's Peach Cobbler

Well, except Grandma's was a lot higher carb than this! This is a charming, old-fashioned dessert.

4 cups sliced peaches
1/4 cup Splenda
1/4 cup polyol
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon Splenda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced peaches (I use unsweetened, frozen peach slices -- saves lots of time and trouble, and since they're going to be cooked, it makes no difference in the final texture), 1/4 cup Splenda, polyol, and lemon juice. Toss everything together, and spread evenly in the pan. Dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter.

In another mixing bowl (or heck, go ahead and use the same one if you like) combine the almond meal, vanilla whey, baking powder, the 1 tablespoon of Splenda, and the salt. Stir together to evenly distribute ingredients.

Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter. Measure the cream, and stir the butter into it. Pour into the dry ingredients, and mix with a few swift strokes of your whisk or a spoon -- you just want to stir enough to insure that there are no pockets of dry ingredients lurking.

Spread the batter evenly over the peaches, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and evenly golden brown. Serve warm.

9 servings, each with: 250 Calories; 17g Fat; 14g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 11 grams usable carb. Carb count does not include polyol sweetener.

Note: If you can't get polyol sweeteners (maltitol, erythritol, and the like) locally, you can get them from lots of low carb etailers. My pals at Carb Smart carry them: . I prefer erythritol for most uses - it has a very low absorption rate, so you get very few usable carbs from it, and it's less likely to cause gastro-intestinal effects, too. You could use all Splenda, instead, but you won't get the same syrupy, gooey quality to the fruit filling. It'll taste good, though!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:28 PM

July 18, 2004

Avocado Cream Portobellos

Looking for something new to serve at your next cook out? This recipe, from The Low-Carb Barbecue Book, is one of my favorite hot appetizers of all time.

Avocado Cream Portobellos

Outstandingly delicious, and looks elegant on the plate, as well. Serve as an appetizer.

6 small Portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 dashes hot sauce
1 little black avocado
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons minced red onion
6 slices cooked bacon

Remove the stems from your Portobellos (save them to slice and saute for omelets or the like!) and set the mushroom caps on a plate. Measure the olive oil, and crush one of the cloves of garlic into it, then stir in the thyme and the hot sauce. Using a brush, coat the Portobello caps on both sides with the olive oil mixture.

Next, cut open your avocado, remove the pit, and scoop it into a smallish mixing bowl. Mash it with a fork. Stir in the sour cream, the onion, and the other clove of garlic, crushed. Salt the avocado mixture to taste.

Now we have to get your bacon cooking. Lay it on a microwave bacon rack or in a glass pie plate, and nuke it on high for 6 minutes (times may vary a bit depending on the power of your microwave.)

While your bacon is cooking, go grill your mushrooms! Lay them on an oiled grill over well-ashed coals, or over a gas grill set to medium to medium-low. Grill for about 7 minutes per side, or until done through, basting frequently with the olive oil mixture - you'll want a water bottle for flare ups.

When your mushrooms are appealingly grilled, put them back on their plate, and march them back to the kitchen. Check your bacon; if it's not crisp, give it another minute or two, then drain it. Divide the avocado mixture between them, piling it high in a picturesque fashion. Crumble a slice of bacon over each stuffed mushroom, and serve.

6 servings, each with: 167 Calories; 14g Fat; 5g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 5 grams usable carbs.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:58 PM

May 23, 2004

Tavern Soup

Having finished 500 More Low-Carb Recipes, I have turned my attention to slow cooker recipes, a subject I know is dear to many hearts. Here's a soup I tried just yesterday:

Tavern Soup

Light beer gives this cheese soup a little bite that I find most pleasant! I also used extra sharp cheddar, but use what you like.

1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1/4 cup celery, diced fine
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced fine
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
12 ounces light beer
1/2 teaspoon salt or Vege-Sal
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
guar or xanthan

Before you head out the door, combine the chicken broth, celery, green pepper, carrot, parsley, and pepper in your slow cooker. Cover, set to low, and let it slow cook 6-8 hours -- and even a bit longer won't hurt.

When you get home, either use a hand-blender to puree the vegetables right there in the slow cooker pot, or scoop them out with a slotted spoon, puree them in your blender, and return them to the pot.

Now whisk in the cheddar cheese a little at a time, until it's all melted in. Add the beer, the salt, and the Tabasco sauce, and stir till the foaming stops. Use your guar or xanthan shaker to thicken your soup until it's about the texture of heavy cream. Recover the pot, turn to high, and let it cook for another 20 minutes before serving.

6 - 8 servings. Assuming 8, each will have: 274 Calories; 20g Fat; 18g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber, 3 grams usable carb.

Notes: I used Milwaukee's Best Light beer, which comes to about 3.5 grams per can, and is cheaper than Michelob Ultra, which has roughly 0.5 grams less per bottle, and costs a lot more.

I shredded my own cheddar cheese for my soup. I suppose you can use pre-shredded cheese, but be aware that it often has some starch added to keep it from sticking together. It's pretty easy to run cheese through the shredding blade of your food processor.

As for that "guar or xanthan shaker" - you newbies may be wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Guar and xanthan are both powdered soluble fibers, widely used as thickeners in the food processing industry. They're what we use in place of flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot for thickening low carb soups, sauces, gravies, and the like. The easiest way to use these thickeners (which are available through health food stores, low carb specialty stores, and low carb etailers) is to put them in a spare salt shaker and keep them by the stove. Then when you want to thicken something, you just start whisking your soup or sauce, and sprinkle the guar or xanthan over the surface, stopping when your dish is slightly less thick than you want it - it'll thicken a bit more on standing.

You can, instead, transfer part of the liquid to your blender, and add guar or xanthan in small quantities - maybe 1/4 teaspoon at a time - until it's the thickness you want (remembering that if you're adding it back to more liquid, it'll be diluted when you do.) What you absolutely do not want to do is dump a spoonful of guar or xanthan in your food, and then start to stir. You'll end up with gooey, gummy lumps, sure as you're born.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 03:56 PM

March 26, 2004

Passover Recipes

Passover is on its way! And bless her heart, my pal Barbo Gold has sent her low carb Matzo Ball recipe, plus some menu suggestion. Be warned, however: This recipe is not guaranteed kosher, much less kosher-for-Passover. You'd no doubt figure this out as soon as you see crushed pork rinds in the ingredient list. Please, use your own judgement.

This recipe is great for folks who aren't Jewish too, of course! Everybody loves chicken soup!

Matzo Balls for Chicken Soup

Recipe By : Barbo from Barbo's Diet Kitchen

Serving Size : 12

3/4 cup pork rinds -- 0 carbs
1/4 cup Matzo Ball Mix
2 extra large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 quarts chicken broth

-Place matzo mix and crushed pork rinds in a deep bowl.

-Add everything else and mix well.

-Chill for about 1/2 hour.

-Remove and make 12 little round balls

-Keep chilled until you are ready to cook them.

-Bring the soup stock to boil, then add balls and when stock begins to boil, place a tight fitting lid on top and simmer slowly for abut 45 minutes. I added my veggies and cooked chicken chunks the last 10 minutes.

-12 matzo balls @ 3 carbs each & 8.7 gr. protein, no dietary fiber

Gefilte Fish: While Aunt Sylvia's recipe would be most preferable, this year we will use Manischewitz brand Whitefish and Pike (comes in a jar). Each piece is 3g carbs (pretty sure).

Gefilte fish is not strictly legal because it does contain small amounts of starch and sugar (very little in this particular brand) but I feel it's just not Passover without it. I serve it with a cooked carrot slice on the side (optional - garnish only) and RED horseradish sauce (Gold's Brand is 0 carbs.)

Relish Plate: Celery sticks, green and black olives, pickled red peppers.

And here's a kugel recipe from 500 Low-Carb Recipes - since it has cheese in it, it's not for a meat meal:

Cauliflower Kugel

A kugel is a traditional Jewish casserole dish, that comes in both sweet and savory varieties. This savory kugel is a nice side dish with a simple meat course - but not if you're kosher, of course! It could also be served as a vegetarian main dish.

2 packages, 10 ounces each, frozen cauliflower, thawed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt or Vege-Sal
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Chop the cauliflower into smallish bits - pieces about 1/2 inch or so. Combine with all other ingredients except paprika in a large mixing bowl, and mix very well. Spray an 8x8 square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spread cauliflower mixture evenly in it. Sprinkle paprika lightly over the top. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. 9 servings, each with 5 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 10 grams protein.

Next issue we'll talk Easter!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 04:20 PM

Brined Lemon Pepper Shrimp, Brined Shrimp, and Memphis Mustard Barbecue Sauce

In celebration of the debut of my new book, The Low-Carb Barbecue Book, here are a couple of sample recipes!

Brined Lemon Pepper Shrimp
Brined Shrimp
Memphis Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Brined Lemon Pepper Shrimp

1 pound brined, uncooked shrimp in the shell (recipe for brining below)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon pepper

While your shrimp are brining, crush the garlic and pour the olive oil over it. That way you'll have garlic flavored olive oil by the time the shrimp are ready to cook.

Drain the brine off of the shrimp, and pat them dry with a paper towel. Put them in a bowl (if you brined the shrimp in a bowl, there's no reason not to use the same one; just rinse it and dry it first. Pour the garlic olive oil over them, and toss. Now sprinkle the lemon pepper over them, and toss again.

You'll need a small-holed grill rack, or a grill wok - I like to use a grill wok for this. Lift your shrimp out of the olive oil with a fork, to let the excess oil drip off, and put over a medium-hot fire. Grill quickly, turning two or three times, until pink clear through - the timing will depend on the size of your shrimp, but shouldn't be more than 6 or 7 minutes.

3-4 servings. Assuming 3, each serving would have 6 grams of carb - if you drank the brine! But you won't, of course. So figure no more than 4 grams per serving, a trace of fiber, and 31 grams of protein. (You'll actually get a little more protein if you cook big shrimp than if you cook little ones, because of the better shrimp-to-shell ratio.) 325 calories.

Brined Shrimp

Brining shrimp makes them plumper and firmer - some say the texture resembles lobster. Adds flavor, too! I mean, what is sea water but a kind of brine? If you want to be terribly authentic, use sea salt!

1 quart water
2 tablespoons kosher salt or large-crystal sea salt
2 tablespoons Splenda
1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 pound shrimp in the shell - whatever size you like

Dissolve the salt in the water - using warm water makes it easier to dissolve the salt, but don't make the water hot enough to cook the shrimp! Stir in the Splenda and molasses. Now pour this mixture over your shrimp, in a bowl, or in a large zipper-lock bag. If you're using a bag, press out the air, and seal it. Either way, make sure your shrimp are submerged. Let them sit in the brine for 30 - 45 minutes for medium-sized shrimp, or as much as an hour for really huge ones.

If you'd rather have some ribs or the like, try:

Memphis Mustard Barbecue Sauce

This tasty Memphis-style barbecue sauce is one of the lowest carb in the book, and packs a serious mustard note. Enjoy!

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup mustard
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Splenda

Just measure everything into a non-reactive saucepan, whisk it together, bring it to a simmer, and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. That's it!

Makes about a cup, or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each. 3 grams of carbohydrate each, with 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of just 2 grams. 1 gram protein. 15 calories.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 04:15 PM

February 23, 2004

Jansonn's Temptation

This Swedish favorite is traditionally made with potatoes. I have no idea how this decarbed version compares, but it's utterly delicious in its own right. Don't be afraid of that anchovy paste, by the way. There is no fishy flavor in the finished recipe, it's just rich-tasting and wonderful.

2 turnips, cut in strips
1/2 head cauliflower, cut in strips
1 onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon salt or Vege-sal
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Peel your turnips and cut them into smallish strips -- about the size of fast food french fries. Cut up your cauliflower, too -- cut it in strips as much as possible (include the stem), but of course, being cauliflower, it'll crumble some. No biggie. Combine the turnips and cauliflower.

2. Slice your onion quite thin. Melt the butter in your heavy skillet, over medium heat, and saute your onions until they're limp, and turning translucent.

3. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Then layer the turnip/cauliflower mixture and the onions in the baking dish.

4. Measure your cream, and stir in the anchovy paste, salt, and pepper, until the anchovy paste is dissolved. Pour this mixture over the vegetables.

5. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 06:47 PM

February 02, 2004

Marco Polo Steak & Stir Fried Vegetables

Here's something easy and new to do with a steak, or even a boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Marco Polo Steak

1 cup Italian salad dressing (vinaigrette style, not creamy)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
2 tablespoons Splenda
4 drops blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 - 2 pounds steak - rib eye, sirloin, or whatever you have that's tender and fit for broiling.

Mix together everything but the steak. Using a fork, pierce the steak all over. Then either put it in a big zipper-lock plastic bag, or in a shallow, non-reactive pan. Either way, pour the marinade over it. If you're using the bag, press the air out as you seal the bag. Turn your steak over a few times to make sure it's coated, then let it marinate for at least an hour, and more won't hurt.

When dinner time rolls around, pull out your steak, and pour off the marinade into a bowl. Broil your steak as close as you can to your broiler, set on "high," basting it once or twice with the reserved marinade.

Assuming two pounds of steak, you'll have 5 servings. My programs says 6 grams of carbohydrate per serving, but that's assuming you eat all the marinade, which you don't, by any means. I'd guess no more than 3 grams per serving. 34 grams of protein.

While the steak is cooking, make

Marco Polo Stir Fried Vegetables

2 tablespoons peanut oil, or other oil for sauteing
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup reserved Marco Polo Marinade

In a heavy skillet or wok, over high heat, stir fry the vegetables in the oil until the broccoli is just tender-crisp. Stir in the reserved marinade, and let the whole thing cook for another couple of minutes - this will kill any raw steak germs still in the marinade. Serve with your Marco Polo Steak!

4 servings, each with 4 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 2 grams protein.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:34 PM

January 10, 2004

Zucchini Bread

Many low carbers tell me they miss having "a little something" with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast, and express a profound weariness with eggs. Here's something for you! This Zucchini Bread is moist, sweet, cinnamon-y, and delicious - not to mention being low carb, and having as much protein per slice as a couple of eggs!

Zucchini Bread

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar-free imitation honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup ground pumpkin seeds
1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup Splenda granular
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 6-inch zucchini)

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a good-sized mixing bowl, combine the oil, imitation honey, eggs, and yogurt. Whisk these together. Now, in a second bowl, measure the dry ingredients: the ground pumpkin seeds, vanilla whey protein powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and Splenda. Stir them together, making sure any little lumps of baking soda get broken up. Now whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir just until everything is well-combined; no need for prolonged beating. Finally, stir in the walnuts and the shredded zucchini, mixing well.

Pour into a loaf pan you've sprayed well with non-stick cooking spray - my loaf pan is large, 5" x 9". Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack for cooling.

About 16 slices, and quite delicious! Per Serving (not including the polyols from the imitation honey): 194 Calories; 14g Fat, 14g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber - for a usable carb count of just 3 grams a slice.


* Sugar free imitation honey is becoming more and more available, and a useful little product it is - in this recipe it adds some extra moisture. I can get sugar-free imitation honey here in Bloomington at my local Marsh grocery store, and I've heard that WalMart now carries a brand. For that matter, many of the low carb etailers carry Steele's brand of imitation honey. In short, it shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on some. However, if you can't, just use 1/4 cup more Splenda, and be careful not to over-bake your bread.

* Speaking of Splenda, it's important to know that Splenda granular - the stuff that comes in bulk, in a box or the new "baker's bag" - is different than the stuff that comes in the little packets. The stuff in the packets is considerably sweeter, apparently. All my Splenda measurements are for granular Splenda. I'm afraid I don't have the packets on hand (I've never purchased them) so I can't work a conversion for you. Take a look at the box, and see how many teaspoons of sugar each packet equals, and work from there, remembering that there are 48 teaspoons in a cup.

* Just about every health food store on the planet carries shelled, raw pumpkin seeds. I've been using them a lot in place of the ground almonds or hazelnuts I've often used in the past, partly because they're cheaper and more nutritious than nuts, and partly because a lot of people write me regarding nut allergies, wanting to know what they can substitute. The pumpkin seed meal has worked beautifully in every recipe I've tried so far! Just grind them in your food processor, using the S-blade, until they're about the consistency of cornmeal.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:49 PM

December 17, 2003

Reader Recipes!!

I asked for reader recipes for the holidays, and many of you responded! So here are a few to start you off. By the way, I haven't tested these recipes myself, so I'm afraid I can't answer questions!

Laur's Homemade Low Carb "Bailey's Mae" (in honor of our Chocolate labby!)

2 C any booze (Rum/vodka/bourbon/Southern Comfort or brandy)
14 oz.Heavy cream (Instead of that nasty Eagle sweetened condensed junk)
1 Cup half & half
2 TBS. Walden Farms No Carb Chocolate. Syrup (get this through the low carb etailers)
2 tsp. Folger's instant coffee crystals
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Combine all in blender. Put in a tall Ball jar. Store in fridge. Stir before serving.

Makes 5 cups. YUM!

Jenita from Missouri sends this recipe. She says: This doesn't have quite the same texture, but satisfies my cravings just fine! Hope you enjoy it.

Pecan Pie

1/2 c. almond flour
2 T. butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. Splenda
1 1/2 tsp. burnt sugar extract
2 T. melted butter
6 T. sugar free pancake syrup (I use Vermont: 1/4 c.=4 carbs)
3 T. sugar free imitation honey (found at Wal-Mart)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Melt 2 T. butter in pie pan. Add flour and stir, cover bottom of pan (I do not cover the sides). Place in freezer while combining filling. Beat rest of ingredients until blended. Pour into crust and bake 35-40 min. at 350. 60 carbs total, depending on syrups. Would be good in a meringue crust.

And Maria Marshall sends a recipe for chocolate pecan pie! She writes:

I had to come up with a pecan pie recipe for Thanksgiving! I had several good, tried and true recipes, each with millions of carbs per slice.... Thank goodness I found Nature's Flavors Splenda syrups. Using the no-carb molasses flavored syrup, the filling for this recipe is only about 40 effective carbs (if I've calculated correctly, and not counting any sugar alcohols from the chocolate), and the pie is large enough to serve 10. While the nut-based pie crusts are better from the carb perspective, it didn't seem right to have nuts in both the crust and the filling. But use your own judgement! You can leave out the chocolate for a "plain old" pecan pie.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

This recipe is only for the filling, I'm afraid, but it sounded so good I didn't want to skip it.

Low Carb Chocolate Pecan Pie Filling

3 eggs
1/2 cup Splenda flavored molasses syrup (check your etailer)
24 packets Splenda (be aware that this is sweeter than Granular Splenda - read the box to convert.)
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted and cooled
6 oz. sugar free chocolate chunks or chips

Toast pecans on cookie sheet until just starting to brown. Set aside.

Whisk eggs with Splenda syrup and Splenda. Blend in

melted butter. Sprinkle chocolate and pecans over your favorite low carb pie crust.

Pour filling over chocolate and pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Cool after removing from oven. Chill before serving. Cut with serrated knife.

By the way, for those of you in Louisville, KY, this sounds passably close to Derby Pie!

I think I'll do some special "just holiday treats" issues between now and New Years - seems to me we could all use the recipes, and the reminder to stay low carb!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:48 PM

Nut Butter Balls

I've been doing a lot of baking recently. Here's a decarbed version of one of my family's favorite Christmas cookies! These are rich, delicious, and delicate.

Nut Butter Balls

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal (if you can't get almond meal, grind almonds to a corn meal consistency in your food processor. I do this, and it works fine.)
1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
6 ounces sugar free dark chocolate, chopped pretty fine

1. In a big mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the Splenda, salt, and vanilla until it's light and fluffy. Turn off the mixer.

2. Combine the almond meal and vanilla whey protein powder, stirring them together. Now turn your mixer back on, and beat this combination into the butter in 3 or 4 additions.

3. Next, beat in the pecans, then the chopped sugar free chocolate. Wnen you have a well-mixed dough, chill it for a few hours.

4. When dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350. Now make balls of dough, a little smaller than a walnut. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes.

5. Let the baked cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before carefully transferring to wire racks to finish cooling -- the cookies are most delicate when warm.

6. When cookies are on racks, but still warm, sprinkle just a little pinch of Splenda over their tops, to pretty them up. (If you wait till they're cool, the Splenda won't stick as well.) Store in airtight cookie cans -- and, if you're not going to eat them up in a day or two, keep them in the fridge.

Makes roughly 5 dozen. Not including the polyols in the sugar free chocolate, each will have 1 gram of carbohydrate, with a trace of fiber. 2 grams protein. 57 calories.

Note: I've get questions regarding my use of ground nuts to replace flour, since nut allergies are common. I've recently had a lot of success using ground pumpkin seeds in place of ground almonds, so that's what I'd try first. Pumpkin seeds are cheaper than almonds, too! You can find raw, hulled pumpkin seeds in just about any health food store. I'm afraid I have no substitute for the chopped pecans.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:25 PM

November 21, 2003

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Crust

I'm very proud of this recipe. Serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner, and no one will guess it's made without sugar.


2 cups shelled raw pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons Splenda
1 1/2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Put the pecans and salt in a food processor with the S blade in place. Pulse until the pecans are chopped to a medium consistency.

3. Add the Splenda, molasses, and butter, and pulse again until well blended. Add the water and pulse again, until well combined. At this point, you'll have a soft, sticky mass.

4. Spray a 10-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray, or butter it well. Turn the pecan mixture into it, and press firmly in place, all over the bottom, and up the sides by 1 1/2 inches or so. Try to get it an even thickness, with no holes, and if you wish, run a finger or a knife around the top edge, to get an even, nice-looking line.

5. Bake for about 18 minutes. Cool.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.

7. Combine the pumpkin, heavy cream, eggs, Splenda, salt, molasses, and spice in a bowl, and whisk together well. Pour into the prebaked and cooled pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Cool, and serve with whipped cream.

Yield: 8 servings, each with 14 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber, for a total of 10 grams of usable carbs, and 6 grams of protein.

Wondering how many carbs you're really saving by making your pumpkin pie from scratch? A lot -- especially when you consider that a slice of Mrs. Smith's frozen pumpkin pie has 37 grams of usable carbs, or well over three times as much!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 05:36 PM

November 06, 2003

Turkey Tetrazinni

Come the end of this month, you're likely to have a big pile of leftover turkey that you need to do something with. Here's a good way to use some of it up:

Turkey Tetrazinni

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cans mushrooms, drained
1 cups heavy cream
1 cups half and half
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon crystals
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon guar or xanthan (optional, but it makes the sauce thicker)
cooked spaghetti squash, scraped into strings (about 3 cups)
3 cups diced leftover turkey

Over medium heat, melt butter in a heavy skillet, and start the onions and the mushrooms sauteing in it. While that's cooking, combine the cream, the half and half, bouillon crystals, sherry, and guar, if you're using it, in a blender, and blend it for just ten seconds or so, to combine. Go back and stir your veggies! When the onion is limp and translucent, transfer half of the vegetables into the blender, add the Parmesan, and blend for another 20 seconds or so, to puree the vegetables. Combine the cream sauce with the spaghetti, the rest of the vegetables, and the turkey, and mix everything well. Put in a 10 cup casserole that you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 400 for 20 minutes, until bubbly.

6 - 8 servings. Assuming 6, each will have 7 grams of carbohydrate, a trace of fiber, and 24 grams of protein. 492 calories.

This tetrazinni is wonderful; everyone who tries it loves it. However, if you have some folks in your family who are going to be unhappy about spaghetti squash, here's what you do: use half spaghetti squash, half spaghetti. Mix half of the sauce with the turkey, and divide the other

half of the sauce, and the un-pureed mushrooms and onions, between 1 cups spaghetti squash, and 1 cups cooked spaghetti. Put the spaghetti squash at one end of your casserole dish, and the spaghetti at the other end (it helps to use a rectangular casserole dish!) Then make a groove down the middle of the whole thing, lengthwise, and pour the turkey mixture into the groove. Bake the same way as above.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:47 PM

October 22, 2003

Margarita Cheesecake

I saw Emeril make a Margarita Cheesecake on his show one night, and I had to decarb it the very next day! Fabulous. You can make this with cream cheese and sour cream, if you like, for added richness, or with Neufchatel and plain yogurt, for a lower calorie count with no increase in carbs. Remember: This cake has actual tequila in it, and the filling isn't heated, so you may not want to serve it to kids, and certainly shouldn't serve it to recovering alcoholics.

1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup Splenda
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 pounds Neufchatel or lite cream cheese
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
1/4 cup tequila (I used Sauza, which I find far smoother than Cuervo.)
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Sweet-and-Salty Almond Crust (see following recipe)

Combine the gelatin and Splenda in a saucepan, and pour the boiling water over them. Stir over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Turn off the burner.

Put the softened cream or Neufchatel cheese in a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until very soft and creamy. (If you have a stand mixer, you can start the cheese beating before you dissolve the gelatin, and just leave the mixer mixing on its own.) When the cheese is very smooth and creamy, add the cream cheese or yogurt, and beat that in well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Now beat in the lime juice, grated lime rind, orange extract, and tequila. Now, go back to your saucepan of gelatin. It should still be liquid! If it's not, you'll need to heat it again gently. Beat the gelatin mixture into the cheese mixture and make sure everything is every well combined. Pour into the Sweet-and-Salty Almond Crust, and chill for at least 4 or 5 hours, and overnight is better.

Run a knife around the cake, between the cake and the pan, before removing the rim. Slice with a thin-bladed knife - dipping the knife it hot water before each slice is a good idea, although not essential.

Garnish with paper-thin slices of lime, strips of lime zest, or both.

12 servings, each with 11 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 9 grams. Made with Neufchatel or lite cream cheese and yogurt, this will have 328 calories per serving. Made with cream cheese and sour cream, it will have 407 calories per serving

Sweet-and-Salty Almond Crust

Emeril made his crust with crushed pretzels, to get that salty note so characteristic of margaritas. We're not going to use pretzels, of course, so I came up with this crust instead. It's great with the margarita-flavored filling!

1 1/2 cups almonds
1/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup Splenda
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I like kosher salt for this because the larger grains make a real contribution)

Preheat oven to 325. Have a springform pan assembled and well-sprayed with non-stick cooking spray on hand.

Put your almonds in your food processor, with the S-blade in place. Run the food processor until the almonds are ground. Add the vanilla whey protein powder and Splenda, and pulse to mix. You may need to open the processor and run a knife around the bottom edge, to get everything into the path of the blade. Now, turn the processor on and pour in the butter while it's running. Let everything blend - and once again, you may need to do the knife-around-the-bottom-edge-of-the-processor trick. When the butter is evenly distributed, turn the processor off. Add the kosher salt, and pulse the processor just enough to distribute the salt through the mixture.

Press firmly into the prepared pan, making sure you cover the seam around the bottom - but don't expect to be able to build it all the way up the sides or anything. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden, and cool.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:03 PM

October 08, 2003

Saigon Shrimp

Here's a sample recipe from 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes. Hope you enjoy it!!

Saigon Shrimp

Vietnamese style - hot and a little sweet.

Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 ml)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon pepper (2 ml)
1 1/2 teaspoons Splenda (7 ml)
3 scallions
4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil (60 ml)
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and cleaned (0.5 kg)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic paste (7 ml)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (10 ml)

Mix together the salt, pepper, and Splenda in a small dish or cup, keep by stove. Slice scallions thinly, and set aside. Gather all your ingredients except the scallions together - the actual cooking of this dish is lightening fast!

In a wok or heavy skillet, over highest heat, heat the oil. Add the shrimp, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp are about 2/3 pink. Add the chili garlic paste and the garlic, and keep stir frying. When the shrimp are pink all over and all the way through, sprinkle the salt/pepper/Splenda mixture over them, stir for just another 10 seconds or so, then turn off flame and divide the shrimp between three serving plates. Top each serving with a scattering of sliced scallion, and serve.

3 servings, each with 2 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 1 gram. 25 grams of protein, and 288 calories.

About Chili Garlic Paste - This is actually a traditional Asian ingredient, consisting mostly, as the name strongly implies, of hot chilies and garlic. This seasoning saves lots of time when we want a recipe to be both hotly spicy and garlicky. Chili garlic paste comes in jars, and keeps for months in the refrigerator. Worth seeking out at Asian markets, or particularly complete grocery stores.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:45 PM

September 18, 2003

Cucumber-Tomato Salad

With all those end-of-summer tomatoes coming in, I thought I'd give you a great salad to help use them up. This one is easy, delicious, refreshing, and looks really beautiful, to boot.

Cucumber-Tomato Salad

1 medium cucumber
2 smallish or 1 really large ripe tomato
1/2 medium red onion
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

Cut your cucumber in quarters, lengthwise, then cut those quarters into 1/2" chunks, and dump 'em in a good-sized bowl. Cut your tomatoes in pieces roughly 1/2" square - I cut smallish tomatoes in 16ths - and add them to the bowl. Cut your half an onion in two, giving you two quarter-onions, then slice those paper thin, and throw those in as well, along with your cup of chopped parsley. Then just add everything else, salting and peppering to taste, and toss it a bit, to coat. That's it!

This should serve 6 to 8. Assuming 8 servings, each will have 4 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 1 gram of protein.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 04:05 PM

September 02, 2003

Curried Cauliflower Salad

Long time readers will long ago have come to the conclusion that I'm kinky for cauliflower. I use it in so many recipes! There's a good reason for this: Cauliflower is a great stand-in for potatoes and rice, both, along with having its very own virtues. Plus it's always available, generally not too expensive, and very nutritious!

So here is yet another way to use cauliflower. I just polished off the leftovers of this for lunch, straight out of the mixing bowl!

Curried Cauliflower Salad

1 head cauliflower
8 scallions
3 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper

First trim the leaves and the tough part of the stem off of your cauliflower -- I don't bother coring it, though. Whack the whole thing into 1/2 inch chunks, put them in a microwaveable casserole with a lid, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on "high" for 7 minutes.

While that's happening, slice your scallions, including the crisp part of the green. Peel your hard boiled eggs, and chop them into not-too-tiny pieces. And in a measuring cup or bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and curry powder.

Okay, by now your microwave has gone "ding" -- check your cauliflower! It should be tender, but not mushy. If it's still crunchy, give it another couple of minutes. When it's done, drain your cauliflower well and dump it into a mixing bowl. Add the scallions and eggs, then the dressing and fold the whole thing together gently, using a rubber scraper.

I like this chilled, as a salad, but it's also good hot.

Makes 5-6 servings. Assuming 5 servings, each will have 4 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 6 grams of protein.

Variation: Top each serving with a tablespoon of chopped dry-roasted, salted peanuts. This adds both 1 gram of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 04:30 PM

August 02, 2003

Peanut Butter Cup Pie

This pie pushes the edges of acceptable carb count, but it's so easy, and everybody at my party the other night liked it so much, that I thought I'd better include it. It's a great ending for a cookout!

Peanut Butter Cup Pie


1 1/2 cups almonds
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup butter, melted


1 package, 4 serving size, sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup water
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used creamy)

Preheat oven to 350.

Using your food processor with the S-blade in place, grind your almonds to a consistency similar to cornmeal. Add the protein powder and butter, pulse to combine well. Turn out into a pie plate you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and press firmly and evenly into place building up around sides. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown lightly. Remove from oven and cool.

In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and cocoa powder. Pour in heavy cream and water, and beat with electric mixer to combine well. Then beat in the peanut butter until everything's well combined. Pour mixture into cooled crust, scraping it all out of the bowl with a rubber scraper. Spread evenly in crust, and chill.

8 to 10 servings. Assuming 8 servings, each will have 16 grams of carbohydrate, and 4 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 12 grams. 14 grams of protein - filling!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 10:05 PM

July 14, 2003

Thai Chicken and Peanut Sauce

Here's something good and new to throw on your grill:

Thai Chicken

1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce (called "nam pla" or "nuoc nam," depending on whether it's Thai or Vietnamese in origin)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Splenda
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put everything but the chicken into your blender, and run it until everything's well combined. Cut your chicken breasts into portions, if needed, and put them into a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Pour the coconut mixture over them. Press out the air, and seal the bag, then turn it around and about until all the chicken is coated with the marinating mixture. Let the chicken marinate at least a couple of hours, and all day won't hurt.

I like to cook these over charcoal that's burned down to a nice low, steady glow, but you can certainly cook them in your electronic tabletop grill instead, if you prefer. If you're doing them on the grill, you'll want to cook them about 5 minutes per side; in the electric grill they'll take 5-6 minutes total. Either way, baste them halfway through with the mixture left in the bag.

4-6 servings. Assuming 5 servings, they'd have 3 grams each if you licked all the marinating mixture out of the bag, which of course you won't do. So you can figure less than 2 grams per serving. Again, based on 5 servings, and exactly 1 ½ pounds of chicken, you'll get 31 grams of protein per serving.

Serve with Peanut Sauce - which will give you something to do with some of that leftover coconut milk!

Peanut Sauce

This is way too good; you'll be tempted to cheat on your portions.

½ teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Splenda

Just plunk everything into your blender (which you've washed by now, right?) and run it, scraping down the sides a couple of times, until everything's well-blended.

Makes roughly a cup, or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each. Each will have 4 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams, and 3 grams of protein. Also about a metric boatload of flavor!

About the coconut milk and the fish sauce: Some of you may be wondering where to find these. My basic rule is that if I have to look in more than two stores here in Bloomington, Indiana, to find an ingredient, I don't use it. Here in Bloomington, I can find these ingredients in the "International" section of Kroger, a big grocery store, or at Sahara Mart, a gourmet/International/Mediterranean/health food store that is also my best source for low carb specialty stuff, or at Bloomingfoods, my health food store. I could probably also get them at any of the Asian markets in town, but didn't bother to look, since I shop at all three of these other places regularly.

Fish sauce is widely used, by the way, in Southeast Asian cuisine, and really doesn't taste that much like fish. It keeps well, so if you like Thai or Vietnamese food, buy a good sized bottle and keep it on hand. If you can't find it, you can substitute soy sauce. Your results will be less authentic, but still quite tasty.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:34 AM

June 26, 2003

Cooking Low Carb - San Diego Chicken

Sometimes these things happen fast: A version of this recipe appeared in my local paper yesterday, and it looked tasty, but it was way too high carb for us. I played around with it, cut out a lot of the carbs, ended up with this recipe, made it for dinner, and - yum!

San Diego Chicken

8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
3 tablespoons Splenda
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (if you don't have any on hand, I'm sure pple cider vinegar would taste fine - different, but fine.)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 pounds cut up chicken

Mix together everything but the chicken pieces. Place the chicken pieces in a large zipper-lock bag, and pour the tomato sauce mixture over it. Seal the bag, pressing out the air as you go, and turn to coat all the chicken pieces. Let your chicken marinate for at least a few hours, and I'm betting a day wouldn't hurt a bit.

When you're ready to cook: Get your grill ready - I use a charcoal grill, and waited till my coals were covered with white ash. If you have a gas grill, you know your unit better than I; set is as you do for chicken. Pull your chicken out of the marinade, and pour the marinade out of the bag, into a saucepan. Go throw your chicken on the grill, bone side down, close the lid, and set a timer for 13-15 minutes.

While the chicken is grilling, put that pan of marinade over a low burner, and let it come to a simmer. You're going to simmer it for a good five minutes, thus killing all those raw chicken germs, and making it safe to use as a finishing sauce. Now go check your chicken for flare-ups - I keep a squeeze bottle of water by the grill to keep these at bay. You want your chicken cooked, not charred!

Timer gone "ding"? Turn your chicken, using a pair of tongs. Set your timer for another 13-15 minutes. When time's up, turn it skin side up again, and pierce a piece to the bone, to make sure all the juices are running clear. If there's any pink in the juices let your chicken cook another few minutes.

When it's done, serve each piece with a little of that marinade you simmered spooned over the top. Enjoy!

6 servings, each with 5 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 4 grams. 29 grams of protein.

Note: I used serious Jamaican Scotch Bonnet hot sauce in this, and it wasn't scorch your mouth hot, just nicely spicy. If you want to, you can crank the heat up or down by either using more or less hot sauce, or using hotter or less-hot sauce.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:40 PM

June 06, 2003

Cooking Low Carb! Jamie's Elvis Burgers

Something for the grill! I was watching Jamie Oliver on the Food Network the other day (gotta love a network that's all about food!), and he made these really cool looking burgers for an Elvis impersonator friend of his. The way he made the burgers - including a whole huge onion and a bunch of bread crumbs - wasn't going to work for us. Furthermore, Mr. Oliver is a bit more of a purist than I am, grinding his own beef and his own spices. I figured that I'd still get a tasty burger with the carbs greatly reduced, and using store-bought ground beef, and pre-ground spices. Sure enough, the burgers came out great. So here is the new and decarbed version of:

Jamie's Elvis Burgers

2/3 cup minced sweet red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pound ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Pinch salt or Vege-Sal
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon or spicy brown mustard

Throw the onion and olive oil in a medium-sized, heavy bottomed skillet over lowest heat, and let the onion saute for 10 minutes or so. In the meanwhile, assemble everything else in a mixing bowl.

When the onion is quite soft - again, after about 10 minutes - add to the mixing bowl, and using clean hands, squish everything together until very well combined.

Form into 6 patties, and chill for an hour or so - in the meanwhile, get your grill going. Cook over a low charcoal fire for 5-7 minutes per side, or until done to your liking. Or, if you prefer, cook them in a skillet, or on an electric tabletop grill.

Serve with low carb ketchup, and some dill pickle slices.

6 servings, each with 3 grams carb and a trace of fiber; count 3 grams of usable carb (not including ketchup and pickle.) 28 grams protein.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:02 PM