Saturday, March 6, 2010

Last Post Today. I Promise. I Think. #lowcarb

Jimmy Moore has amassed another collection of blog links. I haven't checked them all yet, don't know when I'll have time (note to self: it's like eating an elephant...just one bite at a time...) but I'm anxious to get started!

Thanks, Jimmy, and enjoy your trip!

What I 8 Thurs/Fri (3/4-5) #lowcarb

That's what I get for not posting it every day - I can't remember Thursday. Yesterday was a fish dinner at a local restaurant. Excellent. Not low carb. A one-meal day.

Thursday...hmmm...oh yes, supper was a roasted chicken quarter with brussels sprouts, halved, cooked with bacon and seasoned with garlic and onion powder. Seems to me I 8 lunch on Thursday also but darned if I can remember what it was...

As you can see, not all of my meals are memorable masterpieces :).

Experimenting in the Kitchen...yet another #lowcarb bread sub recipe? (groan)

I have 2 favorite "bread" recipes that I like to make. Both are cheap, both are easy, so they fit the personality of this blog. And I enjoy them both. But of course, I can never leave well enough alone. While they each have their merits, I've been thinking, a combination of the 2 would be delightful! So today I set out to see if my thoughts were on target, or not.

The first recipe that I make are Jamie VanEaton's Oopsies. (Note to Jamie: you do know that this recipe will outlive all of us, right?) There have been myriad successful and delicious variations made to this basic recipe, which proves its brilliance in the original form.

The second recipe is the one-minute microwave bread I found on YouTube, and have experimented with and made changes to without losing the basic concept; all have been good.

However, while the oopsies are great for so many things, they are a little light for my taste. And the microwave bread runs a little heavy. Oh, to marry them and feast on the resulting offspring of a more hearty oopsy, or a softer microwave bread...

Today I accomplished that. First try too. I'm quite pleased! Since I don't measure anything I will approximate the amounts...

I used 7 eggs, separated. While whipping the whites with a scant tsp of cream of tartar using the whisk attachment I started working on the yolk bowl. To those, I added
8 oz. block of cream cheese, cubed
approx. 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 packet sweetener
3 Tbsp ground golden flax meal
2 Tbsp oat bran

After the whites were stiff I removed them to another bowl, and added the above ingredients to the mixing bowl. With the mixing paddle I started slowly until the mixture was smooth but very thick. Then I dribbled in heavy cream to thin the mixture to a batter consistency, and turned the mixer up to med-high. Once the mixture had lightened up a bit, I was able to fold the egg whites into it.

(Although the yolk mixture was lighter after adding the cream, it was still too heavy to fold into the whites; I had to fold about 1/4 of the whites into it, then another 1/4, then another 1/4, then the last of the whites - otherwise the whites would have surely broken down. The end result will be fairly sticky!)

On parchment-covered baking sheets - sprayed - I made tuna-can-sized mounds, which I then flattened slightly with a spatula DIPPED IN COLD WATER (very important). Got a half dozen on the first sheet.

The 2nd baking sheet I spread the batter out in a single layer. (This was an experiment after all.)

Both I baked in a 325ºF oven - separately, not at the same time - until they browned a couple of steps past light golden. Then I immediately slid the parchment onto a wire rack. After letting them cool for just a couple of minutes I removed them from the parchment.

(NOTE: I learned that there is just a few-second difference between cooling the breads enough to release from the parchment, and the bottoms of the breads getting sticky from moisture trapped under them.)

I have to declare both methods successful. And the 2nd method easier :). They resemble oopsies more in the end, but have those little bits of bran and flax in them that give a sense of a very light whole grain bread. They do have to be browned, or they will be sticky - that's gotta be the xanthan gum, I'm a'thinkin', since this is the first time I've used it (after reading that it is sometimes used as a substitute for gluten in gluten-free baking).

As I always do, I will probably continue to tweak this a little here and there each time I make it, and I hope that you will too, if you decide to try it. And if you do, please let me know about it, I'd love to hear!

Thank you Jamie, thank you "lowcarbmeals" on YouTube.

Now I'm going to go make a grilled-cheese sammich!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

AMAZING #Lowcarb Supper!

I was going to post about what I 8 yesterday...but it is all gone from my head now, after the supper I just had! Seriously, I don't remember a thing from yesterday, not with all those great cheap'n'easy flavors and textures rolling around in my memory!

But first I made dessert. Using the tried and true low carb batter of whipped egg whites folded with the yolks and other ingredients, I made a delightful panful of cake that had the delicate consistency of the best white cake you've ever had, yet tasted like vanilla wafers but with a hint of cinnamon. I had spread it out thinly in the pan, so the finished product was less than ½" thick, then created a light, fluffy spread for the center. The end result was perfect with our coffee (we are BIG coffee drinkers around here, so we don't like our desserts too sweet), and will be perfect in the morning too - if it lasts that long!

While my egg whites were whipping up with a little cream of tartar, I added a little almond flour, a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, some sweetening (I mixed SF caramel syrup, a little granulated Splenda, and a little xylitol), a dash of vanilla, a pinch of xanthan gum, a generous shake of cinnamon, and a bit of salt to the yolks, and blended with an immersion blender. After folding it together with the whites, I spread it in a parchment lined 10x17 baking sheet (spray parchment with nonstick spray too), and baked it in a 325°F oven until golden and springy; cut into squares (I made 12) and remove from pan/paper to a rack to cook and firm up a bit.

Then I combined a half-stick of butter (the real thing of course) with 2 oz of cream cheese, 2Tbsp of SF caramel syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon in the mixing bowl and whipped it on high (using the whipper attachment) until it was light and fluffy. Because the cakes are delicate, dollops of it sandwiched between 2 pieces spreads it out evenly without tearing the cakes.

This is AMAZING. Light, sweet, perfect with coffee...Pete said that they remind him of the banana flips we enjoyed as kids - YES! That's IT! Next time I will definitely use banana flavoring in the creamy center! Meanwhile, these were...well...amazing!

I didn't make our entire dinner tonight because of my legs, and ended up in my recliner directing Pete as he picked up where I left off, and finished it. So when I say "I" did this or was Pete :).

In a zipper bag I had already mixed up equal parts almond flour, corn bran, and parmesan from the green can, plus a hefty portion of seasoned salt. I used some b/s chicken thighs that I'd gotten on sale ($2.71 for 4) to dredge and then fry in about ½" of oil

Meanwhile, Pete had used my most-excellent julienne peeler from Pampered Chef on several parsnips ($1.99), and finely chopped half of an onion. In another pan he fried those together, then seasoned them with garlic powder and sea salt after they were done...

You can see from the photo below how beautiful this supper was. Hard to believe it was low carb, eh? Parsnips and onions are a little carbier than some vegetables but the entire supper, including one of my dessert cakes, still kept me way under my 50gN daily allotment...especially since it is another one-meal day.

(NOTE - I took this photo with my cell phone, so the size and quality aren't as they usually are...)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup Made My Way #lowcarb

I got this idea from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. As usual, when I see something interesting on TV I don't look up recipes or try to copy; I take the idea and make it my way. (Usually I've forgotten everything except the general idea by the time I get around to making it anyway!)

I started with a few sliced of thick-cut bacon, cutting them into small pieces and browning them until crisp in the bottom of my biggest pot - a big stainless professional one that I used in my business, don't know the size but would guess a couple of gallons, anyway. Then I removed the bacon, and browned an onion, coarsely chopped, and 1# of ground beef in the same pot. When that was done I added a can of beef broth and some garlic powder, and let it simmer a few minutes while I sliced up a pound or so of "Velveeta-wannabe" cheese and drained 2 cans of diced tomatoes and a can of shitake mushrooms, all of which I then added to the pot, with a couple tablespoons of yellow mustard. Covered and let simmer until the cheese was melting down; cut up half a head of iceberg lettuce - good and crunchy - into bite-sized chunks. Once I stirred in the cheese and the soup was thick and creamy I added a pint of heavy cream and all of the lettuce. Stirred it until it was just heated through - you don't want to wilt the lettuce, just heat it - and tasted for seasoning. (I didn't add salt earlier because that cheese is pretty salty) Then I served it, with the crumbled bacon on top as a garnish. I would have sprinkled a little shredded cheddar on top also, if I'd had any within reach...

It was rich, filling, and tasted JUST LIKE a bacon cheeseburger! And the crunch of the lettuce and bacon were PERFECT! I was really full for the rest of the day, couldn't eat another bite, even though I didn't serve anything else with the soup.

It was easy, even though it had more ingredients and took longer hands-on than my usual dishes. As for cheap...I had paid $1.49 for the ground beef, $1.99 for the 3# bag of onions (and this was MAYBE 6 oz.), $3.99 for the brick of cheese (I usually keep it in the house just to flavor sauces, and use only in small amounts) and used about 2/3 of the brick; lettuce was 99¢ for the whole head, of which I used half, heavy cream was $2.89 for a quart, of which I used half. Diced tomatoes were 59¢ a can, as was the beef broth; mushrooms were 72¢. The cost for the mustard, sea salt, and garlic powder were negligable. It made half of the pot, or, in terms that I can better express, 5 bowls yesterday with about the same left over. 10 servings for less than $12, figuring high. And worth 10 times that!


What I've Been Eating #lowcarb

Saturday was a carby day. We won't even go there :). Chinese restaurant, fried rice, eggroll, blahblahblah. Now is history and I'm looking forward, not back.

Sunday was one of my favorite stand-by meals: pork and cabbage. I fill my big baking dish nearly to the top with shredded cabbage, and add 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar to about ½" in the bottom, then 2 Tbsp (yeah that much!) sea salt over it, and toss. Lay the pork - in this case boneless steaks - across the top and season as normally. Sunday this meant chili powder, garlic and onion powders, sea salt, brown sugar sub, cinnamon, cumin, and thyme. Cover and roast at 325°F for an hour; uncover and continue for another 30 minutes (or less, depending on the thickness of the meat; you want to brown it but not dry it out). Then I had a dish of SF ice cream for a snack later.

Monday - yesterday - I had a tuna melt on thin-sliced sourdough bread for lunch. Supper was something my husband called "A deluxe bacon cheeseburger served on two slices of soup" :). I'd seen a cheeseburger soup recipe on TV and, like I usually do, I take the idea and run with it. I will make a separate entry with how I made mine.

One other note: I've been eating a couple of prunes every day. Yeah, carby and have sugar in them (natural or not, it's sugar) - but it is one of the necessary tools in my arsenal with my digestive tract damage. 25gN per ¼c, which is about 8 of them. I eat 3 each day. I won't mention them every day, they're just a necessary evil at times.

And now to write about Cheeseburger Soup!