Archive | low carb recipes

Making Vegetables Delicious with infused vinegars

It’s 2018 and vegetables are “in”.  Restaurants are featuring vegetables, the trending diets are exalting  the lowly vegetable (creatively) and farmers’ markets are growing more popular every year.  Roasting veggies to the point of caramelization is one popular way of eking out more flavor,  but I think the best tip for making vegetables delicious is adding a few splashes of vinegar while roasting (or sauteeing) the veggies.

Making vegetables delicious

Roasted Veggies with Infused Vinegar

Best Vinegars to Use in Making Vegetables Delicious

Vinegar, like salt, is a flavor enhancer so experiment with different vinegar and vegetable combinations.  You can’t really go wrong.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Balsamic vinegar:  This is typically a sweet, aged vinegar, but there is quite a large range of flavor between brands.  In general, the longer it is aged, the sweeter and thicker it gets, and the more expensive also.  Less expensive balsamic vinegars can be used in roasting vegetables, as well as for marinades and salad dressings where there are many other ingredients.  Save the expensive balsamic vinegars for drizzling over cheese and greens, or to top off strawberries and ice cream.

Sherry Vinegar:  Sherry vinegar is wonderful on marinated red onions and tomatoes, and works well as a vinaigrette on salads (add in a little walnut oil or other good oil).  Sherry works well when combined with strong, robustly flavored vegetables because it has been aged in wood.  Sherry vinegar is great for brightening braised greens.

Infused Vinegars: If you’re looking to really boost the flavor of your vegetables, check out some of the infused vinegars.  Infused vinegars (aka flavored vinegars) give everything a bit of a flavor boost while only adding a few calories.  There are more and more infused vinegars on the market now, some with berries, some with herbs and some with rather exotic ingredients like tree barks.

At our farm we make a wide range of what is called “shrub syrups” which is basically different vinegars infused with fruit, herbs and some sugar.  Yes there is sugar in the shrub syrups, but you don’t use much of it when cooking (or drinking) as it is concentrated.  The large tray of roasted vegetables that I experimented with only needed 1/4 cup of the shrub syrup to enhance the flavor tremendously.  With drinks (like fizzy waters or cocktails), it only takes a couple of tablespoons to give your water a wonderful boost.

I tried the recipe below with Rhubarb-Fennel Shrub Syrup and the Cranberry Ginger Shrub Syrup.  I plan to also try it with the Orange Chipotle and the Smoked Cherry in the coming winter weeks.  This is a very versatile and easy recipe for making vegetables delicious.  Just grab whatever vegetables you have in your fridge, add some oil, some salt and pepper and a few splashes of vinegar and roast at 400 degrees for an hour.  Here’s the details:

Recipe for Making Vegetables Delicious

Ingredients:

Use whatever vegetables you have available and cut them into similar size chunks that will take about the same amount of time to roast.  This is what I used:

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower, broken up into florets
  • 1 large stalk of broccoli, broken into florets
  • 5 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped bell peppers
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced in half
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Rhubarb Fennel Shrub Syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Coarsely chop the veggies (peel the carrots) and lay out on a sheet pan or broiler pan tray.
  3. Drizzle with the oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Using your hands toss the veggies with the oil and salt so they are pretty much covered.
  4. Drizzle the Rhubarb shrub syrup over the top of the vegetables and cover loosely with aluminum foil
  5. Roast for 40 minutes and then take the foil off and roast another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Other veggies that I have used with success include: cabbage, brussel sprouts, summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash, and celery.  The vegetable world is really your oyster here 🙂

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 2 years, the keto diet for 1 year and now I currently do a nuanced version of the best of both including a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol.  I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out and customize the approach that works for them.  I am currently an online fitness coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet or exercise, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

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Low Carb Keto Lasagna – with spaghetti squash

Unlike many of the winter squash varieties, spaghetti squash does not pack in the carbs and sugar.  It has long made a good foil for substitutions for pasta dishes.  A baked lasagna made with spaghetti squash, aka low carb keto lasagna, is every bit as filling and tasty as a classic pasta lasagna.  Watch out for sugary tomato-based pasta sauces however.  Try this one with diced tomatoes for less sugar.

Low Carb Keto Lasagna

Low Carb Keto Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash vs. Zucchini Noodles for the “pasta”

Some low carb keto lasagna recipes use zucchini noodles rather than spaghetti squash but I think spaghetti squash is not only tastier, but also easier.  It does have to bake in the oven for about an hour but that is hands free.  I’ve just never gotten into the spiralizing craze and maybe that’s why I think it’s easier.

Spaghetti squash doesn’t take any specialized equipment, just stick it on a baking sheet and turn the oven on 350 for an hour (you can also turn it upside down on a plate and microwave).  If you do this part of the recipe a day ahead you can just keep it covered in the refrigerator (whole or scraped out strands) until you are ready to make the lasagna.

You do have to scrape the seeds out of the squash before baking and you do have to scrape the strands out of the squash when it has cooled, both of which take a bit of muscle.

The other nice thing about spaghetti squash is that you can buy it at the store or the farmers’ market and keep it on your counter until you are ready to use it.  Zucchini doesn’t have nearly the shelf life and should really be kept in the fridge if you are going to wait to cook it.  I never really know when I am going to get to a certain dish so the fact that I can just look at that spaghetti squash for weeks until I inspired to use it is a bonus.

I grow both zucchini and spaghetti squash on the farm and personally think spaghetti squash has more flavor than zucchini.  The flavor and texture differences are going to boil down to your own tastebuds.  They both have much more nutrition than pasta and the carbs, sugar and calories are pretty comparable.  So…..the bottom line is either one is a great alternative for pasta in a low carb keto lasagna!

Is Low Carb Keto Lasagna Quick & Easy to Make?

Well, it’s a heck of a lot easier than classic lasagna (and tastes just as good if not better).  Since I started coaching 4 years ago, I’ve seen that it is a huge challenge for people to cook whole food these days.  People are either too busy with families and careers or they never really learned how to cook so it is a bit intimidating.  My goal is to make it as easy, painless and quick as possible.

This recipe, therefore, uses canned tomatoes, garlic from a jar, and a minimum of equipment.  If you want to chop up fresh garlic and make your sauce with fresh tomatoes, it “might” taste better, but the jury is still out on that.

Like I said earlier, the spaghetti squash does take some time to bake so do it ahead, and it takes some muscle to cut in half and de-seed.  The rest of it is really just hamburger helper with a layer of cheese.

 Recipe for Low Carb Keto Lasagna

Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or two small) *a large one will weigh 4-5 lbs.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork (can substitute hamburger, sausage, ground chicken or any ground protein)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (from jar – alternatively mince 2-3 fresh garlic cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp chili spice (I used our smoked chipotle spice but use your favorite)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan (I used freshly grated parmesan but it isn’t necessary)
  • 1 egg

Directions for the squash (can be done ahead)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (or just use microwave).
  2. With a large, sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half.  With a strong spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Then, if using the oven, lay the squash flesh-side down on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour (flesh will be soft and easy to penetrate with a fork).  If using the microwave place the squash flesh side down on a plate and microwave about 20 minutes (or until soft)
  3. Let the squash cool so you can handle them and then take a fork and rake the flesh into a bowl. It will come out in strands….like spaghetti!  Set the empty squash shells aside and save for later use as a baking “vessel” if you want.
  4. Cover the bowl of strands and put in the refrigerator to use when ready.

Directions for the Lasagna:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the onion in oil over med high heat for around 5 minutes, or until translucent.  Add the ground pork to the pan and saute with the onions until no longer pink.  When meat is no longer pink, add the garlic, spices and tomatoes.
  3. Turn the burner down to medium-low heat and let the meat sauce simmer about 10 minutes while you mix up the 2 cheeses and the egg in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Now you are ready to layer the lasagna.  Put some meat sauce in the bottom of a glass baking pan or in the saved shells of the spaghetti squash.  Then add a layer of the spaghetti squash on top of the meat sauce and then a layer of the cheese mixture.  Add one more layer of the meat sauce and then top it off with little dollups of mozzarella cheese if using fresh or a layer of shredded mozzarella if using packaged.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  Let it sit for 5 minutes or so before serving so it can “set”.

** Add chopped up black olives and/or baby spinach for more taste and nutrition.

Nutrition:  Serving size = 228 g

  • calories: 396
  • carbs: 10.4
  • sugar: 3.1
  • protein: 26.6 g
  • fat: 27 g

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 2 years, the keto diet for 1 year and now do a nuanced version of the best of both including a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol.  I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out and customize the approach that works for them.  I am currently an online fitness coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet or exercise, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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Golden Milk Tea – Low Carb & Keto

I love coffee, especially in winter, but I also love sleep so I try to cut off all caffeine by 2 pm.  This Golden Milk Latte (aka Golden Milk Tea or Turmeric Tea) is a wonderful substitute for coffee, as it is warm, aromatic, tasty and yes, even healing and healthy!  This drink is quite addictive and is starting to be my go-to drink in the winter.  That first cup of coffee in the morning is still a mainstay, but this new-to-me elixir is taking over the afternoons and especially the evenings!

golden milk tea

Golden Milk Tea (aka Turmeric Tea)

What is in Golden Milk Tea (or Turmeric Tea)

I’m a big fan of the study done by National Geographic on the world’s “Blue Zones”.  A National Geographic team studied the regions of the world that had the highest number of people that reached an old age (beyond 80 years) in good health. They came up with 5 regions in the world, with Okinawa, Japan being one of them.

On the Japanese island of Okinawa, turmeric tea is a way of life. The population drinks this traditional favorite daily, and numerous studies have linked turmeric with wide-ranging anti-inflammatory effects.

While a number of different criteria were applied to understand the “why” of each Blue Zone region, the people of Okinawa were shown to have one of the world’s longest average life spans: 81.2 years.  A daily dose of Golden Milk Tea may play into the overall reason.

Why is Golden Milk Tea Considered Healing?

Turmeric is the Golden Milk Tea ingredient thought to be most beneficial.  Ginger, cinnamon, hot peppers with capsaicin, black pepper and honey all purport various types of healing, but turmeric is the star of this “tea”.

Inflammation is running wild in our bodies these days, leading to all kinds of seemingly disconnected symptoms, from joint pain to food allergies to digestive troubles.  Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, which is a well-documented powerful anti-inflammatory herb.  Turmeric contains up to 3% curcumin by weight.

Consuming turmeric (whether in tea or in curries, soups, sauces, or other cooking) is an ancient healing spice, and this tea maximizes the natural antioxidant power of turmeric because it is a) hot and b) combined with other beneficial spices and a little bit of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of milk of choice (unsweetened almond or coconut) or use bone broth in place of the milk for a more hearty tea
  • 1 tsp turmeric (or 1 Tbsp peeled, grated fresh turmeric)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 Tbsp peeled grated fresh ginger)
  • pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
  • pinch of hot pepper spice (optional – I used HeathGlen’s chipotle spice)
  • 1 tsp honey, maple syrup or sugar substitute (I use Truvia brown sugar substitute)
  • consider adding more fat like butter or coconut oil as it increases absorption (there is a little fat in the coconut milk but adding more fat is common, especially on a keto diet)

Directions:

  • Heat 2 cups light, unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk
  • Heat all ingredients in a saucepan and stir well
  • Bring to a simmer for a few minutes up to 10 min.
  • Strain if you used fresh ginger and turmeric.  Pour into a cup if you used ground spices
  • Add honey or sugar substitute to taste

**Note: This may stain blenders and countertops. The color will eventually fade, but making a thick paste of baking soda and water and scrubbing the stain can help.

Recipe for Golden Milk Tea using dry spice mix

Ingredients for the dry mix:

  • 1/2 cup turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or your favorite hot pepper spice)

To use:  Add 2 tsp of this mix to 2 cups milk of choice and simmer for a few minutes.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas – slow carb snacks

Finding alternatives for chips is often problematic for people living a low carb lifestyle.  Some people crave sugar, but almost as many crave a salty, crunchy snack.  Protein, fat and vegetables don’t lend themselves to salty and crunchy.  I’ve recommended chicharonnes (pork skins) in the past, but this easy recipe for Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas is another alternative for those that just can’t handle the idea of pork skins.  It’s really easy to make, but there is a new prepared convenience food currently in stores that is also great — Parmesan Crisps!

 

Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe for Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas with herbs and Parmesan:

This is the recipe I used in the photo above.  There is a plethora of different seasoning mixes to use with Roasted Chickpeas (just google Roasted Chickpeas), but the basic process is the same.  Here is my recipe for a low carb version, followed by an infographic with a few more ideas.

makes 9 servings of 1/4 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chile pepper spice (I used this Chipotle spice)
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs (I used a mix of oregano, thyme & rosemary)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients (oil, Worcestershire, chile spice, herbs and garlic salt).  Add the chickpeas and toss to coat.  Spread out the mixture onto a baking sheet.
  3. Roast 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in cheese and roast 25 minutes more or until brown and crisp, stirring twice (beans may pop during roasting).  Cool.
  5. To Store:  Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.  To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees and roast 5 minutes or until crisp

Nutritional analysis:

  • 131 calories
  • 8 g. fat
  • 12 g. carbs
  • 4 g. protein

Variations on the Seasoning mixes for Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas

The process for roasting chickpeas is pretty similar for all the various recipes.  What changes is the seasoning mix you might choose.  This link is a nice, clean infographic on how to make roasted chickpeas. using 5 different seasoning mixes.  Not all are low carb, but they offer some other ideas.  I like the idea of turmeric and

Also, here is a photo of the Parmesan Crisps I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  These are a great and convenient low carb snack…. slow carb also!

Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

Low Carb Breading Mix – for Fish, Veggies, Pork, etc.

The main food that people say they miss most when on a low carb or keto diet is bread.  In fact there is some trending science indicating that the “mouthfeel” of breads and starches may indeed be the “sixth” discovered taste sensation (following the five tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami).  While it is totally compliant to fry proteins and veggies in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee, it is difficult to enjoy a lot of fried food without some sort of breading.  Enter this low carb breading mix!  It tastes just as good as it looks….without all the carbs!

low carb breading mix

Low Carb Breaded Cod

Low Carb Breading Mix on Fish

I’ve been on a high-protein-low-carb diet for years now (nuanced versions of slow carb, low carb, & ketogenic) and most of the dinner recipes I share on my recipe blog focus on chicken, beef and pork proteins.

I have posted several really tasty dinner dishes using salmon and scallops, but whenever I cooked white fish of any kind (cod, flounder, tilapia, etc.) it just tasted blah.  Easy and quick to make yes, but blah.

Using this breading mix on white fish truly enhanced the flavor and is a go-to dish now for quick and easy week-night dinners.  It’s also a great foil for the walleye and crappies our friend brings us in exchange for bow-hunting the deer on the farm (thanks Greg!)

Of course the low carb breading mix could be used for zucchini sticks, fried cheese sticks, pork chops, and any number of fried foods.  I think I might try it on oysters next time.  I have a food memory of a Fried Oyster Po’Boy from San Francisco that I’d like to emulate sometime soon!

Recipe (& Variations) for a Low Carb Breading Mix

This is the recipe I used, but I’ve listed a few variations below also.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 fish filets (I used cod, but any white fish is fine
  • 1/2 cup crushed pork rinds (aka chicharonnes)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (use ghee if you have it for high temp cooking)

Directions:

  1. Place the pork rinds in a Ziploc bag and crush with the bottom of a glass or a heavy small plate
  2. Combine the crushed pork rinds, the Parmesan cheese and the pepper in a medium sized bowl.  Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, use a whisk or fork to stir up the egg
  4. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Olive oil is a low temperature oil so don’t heat it to the smoke point.  Heat the oil hot enough that when you add a drop of water to the pan it sizzles)
  5. Dip the fish filet into the egg mixture and then dip it into the pork rind mixture.  You can use tongs for this or your hands.  If it is not thoroughly coated you might want to do a double dip (repeat the egg dip and the pork rind dip for the filet).  Place all of the dipped filets on a plate.
  6. When the oil is hot, gently place the filets in the skillet.  Do not move them around or try to flip them right away.  You want the crust to get crisp.  After a few minutes, gently lift the edge of a filet and see if it is brown and crisp.  If so gently turn it over to the other side.  The fish will cook quickly (only a couple of minutes on each side).

Variation of a Low Carb Breading Mix:

If you don’t like pork rinds this combination works well also:

  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp golden flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp almond flour

Based on the current information on flaxseed, I don’t use it anymore, but the above combination is tasty if you prefer flaxseed and are not a fan of pork rinds.

Follow the same directions for either list of ingredients.  Feel free to add seasonings to match your tastes or the protein you are using.  Old bay works well with fish.  Some people like garlic powder, onion powder or seasoning salt.

Me, well I prefer one of HeathGlen’s pepper spices of course.  Sometimes I use the sweet paprika and sometimes the smoky chipotle.  It’s all good….as they say.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

 

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