Monday, February 2, 2015

Best Laid Plans

I injured my foot yesterday. Or maybe I should say my foot just decided to be injured since nothing actually happened. I didn't fall, drop anything on it, walk into something. It was fine and then it wasn't. Out of no where it was badly bruised and swollen. Its not clear whats wrong but I am having difficulty standing and walking so needless to say I am having trouble cooking. I hope to be back soon.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Turtle Thumb Print Cookies


What's a Super Bowl party without a sweet or two? This recipe has an added benefit of using some of the caramel sauce I bought for my German Chocolate Cheesecake. These cookies are delicious and even got a thumbs up from my super picky daughter. These cookies are a recipe redo in order to make them sugar and grain free. the original recipe can be found here.

Turtle Thumb Print Cookies
You will need: 
1 cup fine almond flour 
1/3 cup cocoa powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 stick  butter at room temperature 
2/3 cup Swerve 
1 large egg, separated 
2 Tbsp heavy cream 
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4- 1/3 cup sugar free caramel sauce ( found with the ice cream toppings at the market)

Combine almond  flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and Swerve until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk, cream and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredients, just until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy.  Place chopped pecans in another shallow bowl. Remove dough from fridge and roll into small balls (however many cookies you want–I made 18).
Roll each dough ball in the frothy egg whites, and then roll and press in the chopped pecans. Place on a greased baking sheet. Use the back of a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. Bake at 350 Degrees for about 15 minutes, or until set ( the cookie will still e very soft). As the cookies come out of the oven, gently re-press the indentations with a small spoon.

Very Carefully slide your cookies onto a spatula and move to a cooling rack. The cookies will be fragile at this point but with firm up as they cool. Once cool pour or spoon caramel sauce into the indentation on each cookie. Enjoy!
**If you don't love caramel don't pass this cookie up. Consider using a sugar free chocolate sauce instead or skip the sauce and just flatten the cookies slightly when you put them on the cookie sheet  and enjoy a chocolate pecan cookie instead. 

I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl Snack recipes. Enjoy the game or the commercials as the case may be!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Garlic Bread Balls

If you are like me the the best bite on a piece of garlic bread is a toss up between the crunchy edge and the warm buttery center. These Garlic Bread Balls have both without the bread! I seriously think I am in love with these. I got the idea while perusing Pinterest and decided to de-carb it and spice it up. The original recipe can be found here.

I bit on in half so you could see the inside.
Its a tough job but someone had to do it.
Garlic Bread Balls
You will need:
2 1/2 cups of shredded Italian cheese blend
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese ( I used the kind in the green canister)
1 Tsp baking powder
2 Tsp garlic powder (less if you are not a garlic lover)
1/2 Tsp oregano
4 Tbsp finely ground almond flour
2 Eggs
Oil for frying
In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients except for the oil in a large bowl, it will look chunky not smooth. Roll small 1/2 Tbsp size balls between your hands.  The dough will have a smooth texture once the are rolled. This made about 40 for me. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan. Carefully add the cheese balls  to the oil a few at a time leaving room to roll them around. Fry the Garlic Bread Balls until they are golden brown on the bottom then roll them gently over to brown the other side. they will puff up in the process. Drain them on a paper towel and serve warm.

Serves 15: 77 calories a serving and 1 useable carb

Potsticker Stuffed Mushrooms

As a child I remember my parents having guests over. They would put out all these tasty little appetizers and allow my brother and I to fill our plates before we were sent off to watch TV upstairs. My favorite among my mother's delicacies were the stuffed mushrooms.  As an adult I figured out stuffed mushrooms can be a good bit of work and often have bread crumbs or crackers in them, making them tasty but not not low carb.  Well as I thought about the snacks for Super Bowl 2015 I knew there had to be stuffed mushrooms in the mix, I wanted them to be easy and low carb. Voila! Potsticker Stuffed Mushrooms were born.

Potsticker Stuffed Mushrooms
You will need:
1 8oz package of whole mushrooms ( cleaned and stems removed)
1/2 pound ground pork
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 Tsp ground ginger (not dried)
1 green onion (sliced thinly)
1 Tsp sesame oil
1 Tsp soy sauce

Heat the oven to 350 degree spray a baking dish with cooking spray and lay your mushrooms on it stem side up.  Mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Careful scoop your meat mixture into the mushroom caps so that they are stuffed generously. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

I served this with a simple dipping sauce which I of course did not remember to take a picture of. Sorry! You can serve this without the sauce but the sauce really gives you the potsticker experience without the carbs.

Dipping Sauce
You will need:
1 Tbsp sodium soy sauce
1/2 Tsp sesame oil
1 Tsp Splenda or sweetener of your choice
garlic powder and red pepper flake to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small ramekin. I encourage you to taste this as some people may find the soy sauce strong if that occurs try adding 1Tsp  of water or consider using a low sodium soy sauce.

Makes 8 servings: 87calories and about 1carb each (I rounded up)

Stop back later today for my Super Bowl ready garlic bread balls!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicken Wings with Peanut Sauce

Ok, Ok anyone who knows me will laugh at my excitement over the Super Bowl! I don't watch football, I don't have a favorite team, I don't have any clothes I can show team pride in. I'm in it for the snacks and the commercials...I mean we all need to know what happened to the Budweiser puppy right? So here's the first of my snack line up, check back for over the next few days for more Super Bowl Finger Food.

Chicken Wings with Peanut Sauce
You will need:
24 chicken wing pieces
1 Tbsp smooth peanut butter ( make sure there is no added sugar)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp Splenda or sweetener of your choice
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp hot water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking pan with foil. Spray foil with non stick spray and lay chicken wings on pan skin side up. Roast chicken wings in the oven for 45-60 minutes until the skin is crispy. Meanwhile combine all of the other ingredients in a small bowl and stir, make sure your water is hot as it goes into the mixing bowl because that helps smooth the sauce out. In a large bowl combine the chicken wings and sauce. Enjoy!

Serves 4 with each serving having about 2 carbs

Check back tomorrow for two more Super Bowl snack recipes...

Crispy Green Beans

Green beans lend themselves to so many methods of preparation. If you have never moved beyond steaming them I encourage you to play around with some different recipes. This recipe was inspired by a meal I had at a friend's home years ago. I was raised on frozen and fresh vegetables so the idea of canned green beans had me awfully nervous when she started cooking, but the end result was delicious. At home I changed things up a bit to match what I had in my home and a hit was born. When I serve these there are never any leftovers. This dish is so popular in my home that when some of my past foster children visit for dinner they request "the green beans".

Crispy Green Beans
You will need:
2 cans of green beans drained
2-4 Tbsp Butter
1/2-1 Tsp Mrs. Dash table blend
salt-if your butter and green beans are low salt

Melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium low heat in a large frying pan. Add the green beans to the pan and stir to coat with butter. Add half of the Mrs. Dash to the green beans. Cook stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes. If your pan becomes dry add more butter. Add additional Mrs. Dash and salt to taste. If your green beans begin to brown quickly after adding to the pan turn the heat down to prevent burning. Cook until the beans until most of them have browned and serve.

Serves 4 Assuming 2Tbsp of butter each serving has 76 calories and trace carbohydrates ( my app actually says 0 but we all know green beans have a few)

Tune in later today for the first of three Super Bowl snack posts!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mediterranean Chicken Drumsticks

The weather here has been icky to say the least. My daughter is enjoying a snow day today and there is a group of neighborhood boys who have figured out I hate to shovel and have been getting rich off me this week. I have been pretending it's summer by eating strawberry shortcake and making Mediterranean chicken drumsticks. One can imagine right?

Ready for the oven

Mediterranean Chicken Drumsticks
You will need:
6-8 chicken drumsticks
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tsp garlic powder
2 Tsp Oregano
paprika, salt and pepper to taste

In a gallon size zip lock bag mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder and oregano. Add the chicken and marinade turning the bag occasionally for 8-12 hours. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the chicken on the baking sheet skin side up and sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper. These are optional but the paprika really adds a nice color to the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear. Enjoy!

Serves 6, assuming one drumstick per serving: 256 calories and only a trace of carbohydrates

Monday, January 26, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake

It is the middle of winter and snowing today, any sign of summer would be welcome at this point. However where I live I have at least two more months before signs of spring are going to show their heads let alone summer. A summer time treat will have to do in the meanwhile I decided to rework the chocolate one minute cake recipe I use to make a moist strawberry short cake.

Strawberry Shortcake
You will need:
4Tbsp butter
1/2 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp vanilla whey protein powder
1/8 Tsp baking powder
 2 Tbsp water of vanilla coffee flavoring
2 egg
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 Tsp Knox unflavored gelatin
2 Tsp sugar free sweetener of your choice such as Swerve or Splenda ( I used liquid Sucralose)
1tsp vanilla
 one box sugar free strawberry jello- made according to package direction, cooled on the counter but not set

To make the cake: Begin by melting your butter in the microwave in a small microwave dish. In a microwaveable 8x8  baking dish mix the almond flour, vanilla whey protein and baking powder. Add the butter and water or coffee flavoring and mix. Then mix in the eggs stirring until the batter is looks like a cake mix batter. Cover the asking dish with saran wrap with a few holes poked in it to vent. Microwave for 2 and half minutes then remove the saran wrap and microwave for another 2 minutes. Microwaves vary so what you are looking for is a cake that is baked through and not jiggly in the middle. Allow the cake to cool. 
To make stabilized whipped cream: Put the 4Tbsps of water in a small microwaveable dish and microwave for a minute or two until it is boiling. Add the 1/3 Tsp of unflavored gelatin stirring until the gelatin dissolves completely. In a large mixing bowl add the cream, vanilla and sweetener. Begin to beat the cream using an electric mixer. While mixing slowly pour in the gelatin and water mixture. Beat the cream mixture until stiff peaks and then spread it on top of the cake edge to edge. Carefully pour the cooled jello onto the whip cream. Do this slowly starting in the center and spread it gently towards the edges. Refrigerate the cake until the jello sets.

Serves 8. Each slice has 334 calories, 3.5g carbs and 1g of fiber for net carb count of 2.5

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blackened Steaks

I needed to defrost one of my freezers so I have been emptying stuff out and found two lovely boneless rib eyes hiding near the bottom. Yumm! Since I did not start defrosting them until mid day I decided to go for a dry seasoning versus a marinade. I love blackened seasoning but have to tone it down for my daughter. So this is my not too spicy blackened steaks.

Blackened Seasoning
You will need:
1 Tbsp paprika
4 Tsp dry thyme
2 Tsp onion powder
2 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Swerve
2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
1/2 Tsp cayenne
1 Tsp oregano
1/2 Tsp cumin
 rib eye or other steak that can be broiled or grilled such as sirloin, or New York strip

Sprinkle your steaks with seasoning. There will e seasoning left over unless you are making quite a bit of steak. I store mine in generic seasoning shaker. Heat your grill or broiler. If using a broiler place your steaks on a broiler pans. Put the steaks on the grill or under the broiler and cook until done to your liking. the time for cooking will vary based on the size and thickness of your steaks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Not So Italian Chicken

Have you ever had a simple recipe at a friend's home, then week later you try and make it and it's just not the same? My recipe foil is chicken marinaded in Italian dressing. Seriously! Supposedly you throw the chicken in some store bought dressing and several hours later cook it up and it's juicy and delicious. At least this is what both my mother and one of my friends claim. I have had this very recipe at both of their homes and it makes you want to run home and try it yourself. Somehow this never works out when I do it at home. At home chicken is always bland, but since I want you to stop back we won't make that today. So instead I decided to get creative with a package of chicken thighs.

I choose bone in chicken thighs with skin because I love the crunchy skin on a well baked piece of chicken. This chicken is simple and tasty.

Baked Chicken Thighs
You will need:
1 package of bone in chicken thighs ( about 4-5 thighs)
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp onion powder
1 Tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Line a baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a small bowl mix the garlic powder, onion powder and paprika together. Sprinkle it on the chicken pieces making sure to seasoning both sides of each piece. Salt and pepper the chicken to taste. Preheat your oven to 425, and place your chicken on the baking pan skin side up. Bake the chicken until the skin is crispy and the juice run clear about 45-60 minutes.

*I season my chicken before pre-heating the oven because this give the seasonings a chance to rehydrate a bbit as they sit on the chicken.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

German Chocolate Cheesecake

One tough part of the low carb lifestyle is what is referred to as "food porn." Beautiful images of food found all over the internet, television and magazines. More often than not even the most straight forward looking recipe attached to these lovely images has a hidden scoop of brown sugar or flour. In the past I would  just move on. However  last week the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine arrived and as I perused the pages I found a recipe I just had to tackle, German Chocolate Cheesecake. The original recipe can be found here:!

I can't explain my fascination. As a rule I don't like chocolate cheesecake. I don't dislike German Chocolate Cake but it's not usually my first pick. Somehow when I saw this cheesecake in the magazine I became a woman on a mission. I hit the grocery store with my lists I had a plan for making a low(ish) carb evaporated milk substitute, I found the most large flaked unsweetened coconut that promised to hold up to what I had planned for it. I was ready! Ummmm... did someone say cream cheese? Back to the store I went.

I'm not going to lie, after waiting for the cheesecake to chill overnight, I had cheesecake for breakfast. Really what else would you expect? This cheesecake was worth the effort. It turns out I like chocolate cheesecake after all!

Disclaimer: There are plenty of sources of hidden carbs in this recipe because of this I decided to go crust free. the original had a chocolate graham cracker based crust. If you just have to have a crust on your cheesecake a simple chocolate almond flour crust would work here.

German Chocolate Cheesecake
For the filling you will need:
12 ounces of heavy cream
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sugar free caramel ice cream topping
1 stick of butter
3 egg yolks
1 and 1/2 Tsp vanilla

For the cheesecake you will need:
24 ounces of cream cheese
3 ounces sf dark chocolate ( I used a simply lite bar)
7 drops liquid sucralose or 1/4 cup powdered Splenda
1 cup granular Swerve
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray the foil with non stick spray. Lay the coconut on one tray and the pecans on the other, roast each for about 10 minutes watching carefully to avoid burning. Set coconut and pecans aside to cool. Meanwhile pour the heavy cream into a medium saucepan and cook it over  low heat for about one hour, do not allow the cream to boil, you just want to reduce it a bit. Allow the cream to cool. Once the cream is cool add the caramel sauce, egg yolks,vanilla and butter to the saucepan. Return the saucepan to the stove and cooking for 10 minutes over medium heat stirring at all times. The sauce will appear thin but towards the end of the cooking time it will begin to bubble and thickening up a bit. Stir in the coconut and pecans and set aside to cool.

To make the cheesecake layers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with non stick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a small microwave safe dish. Melt the chocolate by microwaving it for 30 seconds at a time stirring after each 30 seconds until it is melted. Set it a side to cool off a bit but do not let it set. In a food processor Mix the cream cheese, cocoa powder, sucralose, Swerve and eggs until just combined. Add the sour cream vanilla and melted dark chocolate tot the food processor. Again mix until combined.

Putting the cake together and baking: Pour half the cheesecake mixture into the spring form pan. Top this carefully with 2/3rds of the filling mixture spreading it lightly with your spoon. Top with remaining cheesecake mixture. Take a large baking dish and fill it 2/3rds full with water. Place the pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack just above the water. Bake the cheesecake for between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes. The cheesecake will still be jiggly at this point. Place the cake on a cooling rack for an hour or two then place in the refrigerator for at least eight hours to chill. Put remaining filling in a storage container and refrigerate. Before serving warm the remaining filling for 30 seconds in the microwave to loosen up. Run a knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake and then release the pan. Spread the remaining filling on top to the cheesecake and serve.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Small Batch Meatballs

Typically when I make meat balls I make a huge batch and a huge mess. Then I pack them up and freeze them so I can easily make spaghetti (or zucchini noodles) and meatballs on a moments notice. Meatball subs are also popular with my daughter. Right now I am trying to clean out the freezer and reorganize so making more frozen items is not on the agenda. So I have set out with the goal of making a small batch and only a small mess.

Small Batch Meatball
You will need:
1 pound ground beef
2 clove of garlic minced
3 Tbs Parmesan cheese
2 Tsp dried minced onion
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp olive oil or oil of your choice
1 jar of low carb pasta sauce ( I used simply Enjoy Marinara from GIANT Food Stores)

In a medium size bowl mix your ground beef with the garlic, Parmesan cheese, onion and egg until the seasonings are well distributed and the egg is fully incorporated.  Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Roll the meat mixture into 12 meatballs using clean hands. Carefully place the meatballs into the hot oil. Allow them to brown  rolling them around to ensure they are browned on much of the outside surface but not cooked through. In a medium saucepan heat the sauce over medium low heat add the meatballs being careful to drain as much grease from the frying to avoid thinning the sauce. Cover the saucepan and allow to meatballs to cook for about 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure the sauce and meatballs are not sticking to your saucepan. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Apricot Spiced Pork Steaks

My daughter and I did the what's for dinner dance again today. When I told her we were having pork steaks she said "We're eating a lot of meat recently." Uh kid you don't eat vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, most lunch meats, soup and about one million other things but you do eat meat. If I make something else you won't eat. I love that kid to death but I am not always able to keep up with her thought process. I decided not to go there and just told her it worked with my diet and she said "ok" and wandered off. Works for me!

If you have never seen a pork steak, this is what you are looking for.

Pork steaks were completely unfamiliar to me until just a year or so ago. I found them in the store and they were inexpensive so I thought "Why Not?".  why not indeed! They quickly became a family favorite. They can be cooked up quickly, and can seasoned a million different ways.  I like that they stay moist and often are large enough to split one steak among a few people. I often serve these with some steamed veggies and a fruit salad for my daughter.

Spiced Pork Steaks
You will need:
1-2 pounds of pork steaks
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
1Tsp Splenda
2 Tbsp sugar free apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking ban with foil and grease it with cooking spray. Mix the Garlic, Cinnamon, Black Pepper and Splenda together. Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the pork steak. Lay the pork steaks in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Melt the apricot preserves. I do this in a small Pyrex custard cup in the microwave. Brush the half preserves on the pork steak and return to the oven for ten minutes. Flip the steaks over and brush with the remaining preserves. Return to the oven for 10 additional minutes. Enjoy!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Crispy Teriyaki Wings

 I think I might be a "foodie". Each time I sit down to share a recipe here my mind goes to how I just "love" whatever it is coffee drinks, wings, steak and on and on. If I wrote the way I think it would be super easy as all I would have to do each day is change pictures and insert a few words about whichever recipe I prepared that time. Probably be pretty boring pretty quick for everyone involved. So I will try to refrain from declaring each food my "favorite".

Nine times out of ten when I make chicken wings I make buffalo wings but today I wanted something a bit different. I decided to marinade a few wings in a homemade teriyaki sauce then bake them until they were crispy and begging for me to eat them. A side benefit of this recipe is the wings are marinaded so when you serve them there is no sauce to make your fingers messy. 

Crispy Teriyaki Wings
You Will Need:
12 chicken wings pieces
1Tbs soy sauce
1Tbs pineapple flavor coffee syrup , I use DaVinci's
1Tsp garlic powder
2 1Tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all of your ingredients in a gallon size zip lock bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat all of the chicken. Place the bag of chicken in the refrigerator to marinade for at least two hours. I tend to let it marinade closer to 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking pan with foil. Grease your pan with oil or cooking spray. Lay the chicken wing pieces on the baking pan skin side up. Bake the chicken wings for about 45 minutes until the skin is nicely colored and crispy. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mexican Mocha

I might have drank half of this before I remembered to take a picture, sorry! 
Is there anything better than a really decadent cup of coffee? I have to admit I love to sit in a coffee shop sipping my coffee visiting with a friend or reading. The smooth soothing taste of a latte or breve is divine! Some of those drinks can be ordered low carb and they make a filling snack for me so I am still enjoying them. However there are times I can't sneak away to grab a coffee and some days I just don't want to spend that $5 on coffee. Plus there really is something to sipping your treat from your favorite mug, even if it is chipped. Time to get creative. I wanted something more than a cup of coffee but I wanted to stick to something that could be made without fancy equipment or ingredients. Enter Mexican Mocha!

Mexican Mocha
You will need:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1Tbs unsweetened cocoa
4Tbs Splenda or equivalent ( I use liquid sucralose)
8oz of brewed coffee, hot
1/8 Tsp cinnamon (optional)

In a small saucepan warm heavy cream over medium low heat. Whisk cocoa powder and sweetener into heavy cream.

 Pour the coffee in and whisk again. Just before serving whisk the cinnamon in if you are using it. Pour the mixture into your mug using a sieve just in case there are any cocoa clumps left. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sweet Barbecue Ribs

I don't know about you, but I can totally relate to Emeril's catch phrase " Its a pork fat thing".  Yup pork fat improves many things. Amongst my favorite low carb dinners is ribs. Meat that just falls off the bones those familiar barbecue flavors but of course many of the pre-made sauces and rubs out there are full of sugar. So I make my own.

Don't be scared off by the ingredient list, most if not all are probably sitting in your spice rack right now. The exception may be Mrs. Dash Table blend, and to be honest I can not say enpough good things about that seasoning blend especially for veggies.

Sweet Barbecue Rib Rub

You will need:
1/2 cup Splenda
1 and 1/2 Tbs Mrs Dash Table Blend- this is finely ground unlike the original blend
2 Tbbs Garlic Poweder
5 Tbs Salt
2 Tbs Onion Powder
4 Tbs Paprika
2 Tsp Ground Sage
2 Tsp Dry Mustard
2 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Black Pepper
2 Tsp of Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Mix everything together in a large container with a tight fitting lid. This makes a lot so I use a a tall plastic container. I make enough to use for for multiple recipes if you are uncertain you can certainly cut this recipe in half. Generally I dump everything in, snap the lid on and shake to mix everything. Keep a hand on the lid "just in case".

*Although I call this a rib rub, I'm not going to lie. I have put it on steaks, pork steaks, chicken you name it I've probably sprinkled this on top. It's sweet and flavorful and although it does not caramelize it adds great color to your meats as well as flavor

Sweet Barbecue Ribs

You will need:
1 Batch of Sweet Barbecue Rib Rub
1 Rack of Pork Ribs silver skin removed, St Louis or Baby Back will work.
Two ways to go here. The first is for those of you who will not be home to put the ribs in the oven mid afternoon. This is perfect for a week day. The second is for folks who don't own a crock pot and/or have time to slow roast the ribs before dinner. They both come out very tender.

Method one: Cut your rack of ribs in half or quarters so that you can fit the rack of ribs in your crock pot. Season the ribs liberally with Sweet Barbecue Rib Rub. Place the ribs in your crock pot and cook  on low for 6-8 hours. Do not add any liquid. Just before dinner pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Place your ribs on the  baking sheet and roast the ribs for 10-15 minutes to get a nice color and crisp up some of the surface fat. Serve and enjoy!

Method two: Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking pan with foil. Liberally season your ribs with Sweet Barbecue Rib Rub. Lay the ribs on the lined pan and cover the pan tightly with foil. Roast the ribs low and slow for two hours. Uncover the ribs, raise the temperature in the oven to 425 degrees. Roast the ribs uncovered for 10-15 minutes to get a nice color and crisp up some of the surface fat. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rethinking My Blog

As many of you know I started this blog in a very fly by the seat of your pants sort of way. I thought to myself that having a blog might make me more accountable and help me link to other folks on similar journeys so I could give and receive more support. Ten minutes later I had a blogger account and a blog with a terrible name which I have improved a bit.  So lesson #1 think hard before you name your blog. Beyond this fanciful idea that I would blog about my life I had no direction. Early on a friend said don't use your blog as a diary. Good advice! Mark that as lesson #2. After mostly posting recipes I finally was able to conceptualize my blog a little more clearly. In order to post recipes I need to cook. I need to get creative. I can hardly post high carb recipes on a low carb blog and hope for any success. I am not rich so I am not making a low carb recipe for the blog then making a high carb recipe for dinner. So if I am going to keep posting low carb recipes I need to keep cooking and eating them. Win/Win! So today I have decided this blog will mostly be a a low carb cooking blog. Please feel free to comment, follow and share the blog.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken

 Roasted chicken is a classic meal in my home. A whole chicken, roasted until the skin is crispy and you barely need to put a knife to it to get the thighs and breast to separate is a thing of beauty. For a small family like mine the left overs are a bonus. The next day there is almost always chicken salad at my home. You can season chicken in many ways making your own spice rub or using a store bought one. I use a variety of seasonings depending on my mood. This week I used a Penzy's spice called Galena Street but really what I want to share today is how to roast a chicken so is is moist and succulent with a delightfully crispy skin.

Roasted Chicken
What You need:
1 whole chicken, gizzards removed
strong kitchen shears
a large baking pan  that has a lip- I used a cookie sheet
dry seasoning of your choice

Using your kitchen shears cut the back bone from the chicken first cutting along one side and then the other. To clarify this is opposite of where the chicken breast are so your two chicken breasts will still be connected to each other.  Season your chicken with the seasoning you selected both inside and out and Lay the chicken flat on the baking pan so that the skin is up. Preheat your oven to 325 and bake 2-2.5 hours uncovered until the skin has crisped and juices run clear. When the chicken is done you can easily cut it into pieces. I usually remove the wings and the thighs. I will then separate the drumsticks from the thighs. If I plan to serve the breast I will separate them and then cut each breast in half, if I am saving them for leftovers then I usually just pack them up with out cutting them at all.

* I season my chicken then preheat the oven because I find  the seasoning has a chance to mix with the moisture of the chicken and rehydrate a bit while it is waiting. I think this improves the impact of the seasoning.

** If you have never roasted a chicken and want some further ideas about seasoning you can sprinkle you can sprinkle your chicken with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Some other tasty options are to sprinkle it with lemon pepper seasoning mix or dry ranch dressing mix. I like to sprinkle a bit of paparika on my chicken if there is none in my seasoning mix because it really adds to the chicken coming out of the oven looking beautiful. If you are interested in the Galena Street spice I used, it can be ordered from the Penzy's web site which you can find here:

*** Use kitchen shears that can be taken apart for cleaning. with raw chicken this is not just convenient it is important for food safety. Mine are pictured above.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tale of Two Hamburgers

* Small disclaimer I started this post last week but needed the week end to finish it up hence the days not quite making sense, sorry!

Remember just a few days ago when I was so proud of myself for making dinner in advance do we could eat right as we walked in the door from an appointment? This is the opposite of that.
Yesterday once again I thought I had it together. I was going to go to a training yesterday evening. I picked out a quick dinner for myself and something my daughter could heat up since we would be eating separately (something I try to avoid). There I was sitting innocently at work when the call came. The very sweet foster parent coordinator from my agency calling to see when she could reschedule  me for the training   I missed  the evening before. Ooops! After many apologies she emailed me what I needed to self train at home and I ran to the freezer  and pulled  out some ground beef to make burgers for dinner. Did I mention I work from home so I can pull stuff from my freezer and be back at work in about 60 seconds?


After work I checked on my daughter who was tackling this huge pile of homework, she looked uo snd asked " What's for dinner?". The question is common from her, normally I say something like " chicken and a salad" and she just looks at me ored with my answer. However this time when I said "Hamburgers" she lit up and launched into a careful Q&A about exactly what would be on her plate and specifically on her burger.

So I head to the kitchen to make my burgers. I actually won a grilling contest with burgers once but that's another post because those burgers had enough sugar in them to count as candy. Here's the kicker. I get to the kitchen and guess what? My ground beef is still frozen like a rock. Ok no problem. I can make several other things like chicken wings or eggs. So I head back to my daughter's room to see if she could get excited about hot wings. This time I got the blank stare and then she says "but I really wanted that burger and fries". I know many of you may be rolling your eyes but my daughter is slightly underweight and couldn't care less about food 99% of the time. So this is not our standard protocol. I point out she has a mountain of homework and she counters with a plan to do the home work at a restaurant so she can have a burger and fries. I argue the meat will defrost and there will be burgers and fries for dinner tomorrow aka today. This is when I realize aliens may have taken over her body because my daughter who never cares much about food launches into a lecture about the differences between homemade burgers and fries and restaurant ones. Her argument ended in the conclusion at least from her perspective that homemade burgers and fries and restaurant burgers and fries are not even the same meal. Whatever...we went to Chili's.
But tonight homemade burgers it is!

There's really not much to this recipe but the burgers are tasty

You need:
1 pound of Ground Beef, cold
1 Tbs Onion Onion ( this is a Tastefully Simple product) if you don't have that you could use dry onion flakes or onion powder, salt and pepper
1Tbs Butter
Romaine Lettuce, washed and dried ( you can pat them down with a clean towel if you forget to do this earlier)
American Cheese
and any burger toppings you enjoy ( I used Tomato, Mustard, and SF Relish) 

Mix the Onion Onion into the ground beef so that is it is incorporated throughout. You know me I just got in there with some clean hands . Divide the meat into 3 portions (or 4 if you prefer a smaller burger) and form into a patty you can do this by rolling each portion in a ball then flattening it or by using a burger press which is what I did. In a frying pan melt you butter over medium high heat, you want to have the pan hot when the hamburgers hit it. Carefully add each burger to the frying pan. If your pan is too small for all of your burgers cook them in two patches they won't cook up nicely it they are squished in there and they will be harder to flip. Cook your burgers until until they are nicely browned on the bottom and then flip each burger and repeat. I found this took about 12 minutes on my stove. My burger was cooked perfectly and was very moist.Overlapping you lettuce leave lay the romaine lettuce out on a plate forming lettuce bed large enough to wrap around your burger. Lay your American cheese on the leaves and place your burger on top. I do this on one half of the leaf bed so it is easy to fold the lettuce around my burger when I am done. Add whatever toppings you are using and fold the lettuce over to form a wrap. I had never cooked my burgers in butter before, I may never go back!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Kirkland Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I am all for cooking fresh but let's face it sometimes you just want to have an easy meal. I was pleased to find a Broccoli Cheddar Soup at Costco. The down side to Costco is if they aren't handing out a sample, you have to buy large portions without knowing if you even liked their recipe. I decide to live dangerously and brought home eight servings of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

It is bitter cold here so it seemed like the perfect day to have a piping hot bowl of soup at lunch. I warmed mine up on the stove top which is the recommended method but there are microwave instructions as well.

There was a nice mix of small and large pieces of broccoli but nothing to big for your spoon. The soup was creamy and the cheese taste was not overwhelming. While I have had some other broccoli and cheese soups that I liked more this was great for a quick on plan lunch.

Here's a look at the nutrition label and ingredient list

 What quick go to lunches do you keep on hand?