Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nutrition Label on "Diet" Orange Crush

I am sitting at my desk, on a business conference call... I pop open a can of diet orange crush. Mmmm, it tastes pretty good. I had not yet tried this particular diet beverage. As my mind wonders away from the conference call, I turn my can and begin reading the label. Crap! Total carbs = 5. I then scan the ingredients. Number two on the ingredients list is "high fructose corn syrup". How in the heck did a "diet" beverage end up with HFCS? I have become so accustomed to picking up diet drinks under the assumption that they were sugar-free. I should have taken the time to read the label at the grocery store.

Hamburger Buns - 0.4 net carbs

This recipe is not a "Big Daddy" original. I got it from Cleochatra of cleotratra.blogspot.com. She called them "Atkins Revolution Rolls". Does anyone know if this is truly an original Atkins recipe or has the name "Atkins" simply been attached due to their being low-carb?

Cleochatra states the net carbs as 0.7 per round. I calculate this to be 0.4 per round. The difference in carbs is probably due to my using sweetzfree instead of splenda. If using as a hamburger bun, you'd use two (0.8 net carbs). Her version simply called for a "pinch" of cream of tartar. I used 1/4 t. and it worked well.

Now... about taste and texture. While these taste pretty good, they are a bit too light and fluffy. They also make a sort of quiet squishy noise when you bite into them. Regardless, they are a nice change from other low carb bread recipes that tend to be either heavy or have a funky after taste. I personally prefer these over any other low carb hamburger buns that I have tried. I'd give it a 6 on a scale from 1 to 10.

Ingredients:

3 T. cream cheese
dash of salt
1 t. equiv. to sugar (I used 1 drop sweetzfree)
3 eggs
1/4 t. cream of tartar


Instructions:

You will need two mixing bowls, a cookie sheet, and some parchment paper. Put cream cheese in first bowl and nuke for 30 seconds to soften. Add salt and sweetener to cream cheese. Separate eggs, putting egg yokes in with cream cheese and egg whites into the second bowl. Whisk the egg yoke mixture and set aside.

Add cream of tartar to egg whites. With an electric mixer (easiest with whisk attachment), whip until stiff. The whites should form a peak when you pull the mixer out.

By hand, gently fold egg yoke mixture into egg whites. Be careful not to break down the egg whites.

Place parchment paper onto cookie sheet to prevent sticking. Spoon mixture onto cookie sheet, making six mounds. Flatten each slightly to resemble a hamburger bun size and shape.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Cooking Low Carb Comfort Foods

Last night, I was in a cooking mood. I made my favorite, Cinnamon Flax Muffins (2.5 net carbs). Having some of these on hand really helps satisfy cravings for starchy snack-cakes. If you haven't tried them, you don't know what you are missing.

I also tried a new way to make hamburger buns. We used a recipe from cleochatra of cleotratra.blogspot.com. She calls them Atkins Revolution Rolls. She says that she got it from www.low-carb-diet-recipes.com. Due to the name, I doubt that the latter is the original source either. I will make another post with my version of the recipe. It's mostly egg-whites and is extremely light and fluffy. When eating them, my wife made two comments... the first comment was that if we added sweetener, it would make a good strawberry shortcake base... and second, that they were kind of like ladyfingers.

Hmmm, I thought... ladyfingers are used in tiramisu. I then broke out a few cookbooks, looking at lady finger and tiramisu recipes. Sure enough, the recipe is surprisingly similar to ladyfingers. As for the tiramisu, I am not sure if I can make a custard without sugar. But, I found one recipe that calls for instant pudding instead of custard. This substitution also cuts down substantially on the prep time. The custard (or pudding) is then mixed with whipping cream and cheese. Layers are created with a sprinkling of instant coffee, etc. I have written up my version of low-carb tiramisu on paper. As soon as I have a little time to experiment, I'm going to give it a shot. My gut tells me that it will be superb! If it is as good as I think, I will post the recipe here. So, keep an eye on my site for my low carb tiramisu!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm back...

While off the diet, the most interesting phenomena is that the more carbs that I eat, the more that I crave. When you have a craving, you would suspect that once you ate it that you'd be satisfied... but it doesn't work this way with me... I simply crave more. It's a vicious cycle that I need to come to terms with when I finally reach my goal weight.

My weight has really shot up the last 2 weeks... I'm shocked by the weight that I have gained in a very short time period. So... it's back to low-carb.

I've not yet made up my mind about future "carb up" days. I know we'll work Thanksgiving Day in there but am uncertain of whether or not I'll return to the every-other weekend off the diet. I'm leaning toward 2 or 3 floating days per month. The carb cycling worked great the first few months. For me, it seems that my body (or metabolism) takes about 3 months to find a balance. This means that it is extremely hard to make any long-term plan work well continuously. I find that I need to keep shaking things up to make the diet keep working. I'm not sure of the best approach for continued weight loss. I'm sure that exercise would help but I'm not willing to take that step just yet. With regards to cycling or planned cheat days, my wife and I will have to discuss and agree on an approach that we can both live with...

BTW, I'm in town this week, so keep an eye open for new recipes...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Slipping...

I have experienced very little weight change for 3 months.... This is partly because I have not been very true to my plan. It's become increasingly frustrating as I have had a hard time losing the final 15 to 20 pounds. As such, I've let myself slack on the plan. The fact of the matter is that I love food. And, when dining out, it's been very nice to order what looks best rather than the one or two menu items that with substitutions would meet my diet needs. I realize that I can't continue like this or else I likely will re-gain the 80+ pounds that I have lost. I need to take a little time to re-evaluate my current state and intentions. And, I hope to get my mind back in focus. It's too easy to tell myself that I can go back on the diet after the holidays... this, I know is procrastination which could lead to infinite delays. Hopefully, I'll be back on track soon.

I'm not telling you this in hopes of pity or understanding. I think what I am going through is natural and quite common. It's a constant battle to keep my mind on track. It's much, much harder when progress is slow and when you are no longer feeling aches and pains related to being grossly overweight.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Cauliflower Salad - 2.9 net carbs per serving

My wife and I have been making this dish for quite some time. I don't know why I didn't think to post the recipe sooner. I think you'll find variations of this moc potato salad all over the low carb community. This dish is very similar to potato salad and tastes just as good. I seriously doubt that you will miss the potatoes.

8 Big Servings @ 2.9 net carbs per serving.

Ingredients:

1 head of Cauliflower...15 net carbs
5 eggs...2.8 net carbs
2-3 T. dill relish or diced dill pickles...3 net carbs
2 green onions...0.2 net carbs
3-5 T. mustard...2.0 net carbs
6 T. Mayonnaise...0 net carbs
Salt to taste...0 net carbs

Instructions:

  1. Chop up cauliflower into pieces at about 1 inch or so in size. Place in pot of water along with eggs. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
  2. Drain in colander and place cauliflower in mixing bowl. Peel eggs and dice up. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Serve warm or chilled.



Thursday, October 4, 2007

Strawberry Lemon Pie - 7.5 net carbs per serving

Dessert is no longer "pie in the sky". I intend to show you that comfort foods can contribute to your low carb lifestyle. Here, I am introducing yet another fabulous low carb dessert... Strawberry Lemon Pie.


This recipe is loosely based off of another high-carb recipe from my "Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook". I have changed it enough that I don't really need to site a source. The reason I mention it here is to encourage more of you to experiment with converting standard sugar based recipes into delicious low carb recipes. If you are creative and determined, then you can do it.

The entire pie's crumb crust has about 12 net carbs. The pie crust recipe can be found by clicking here. Counting the crust, the entire recipe has 60 net carbs.


8 servings @ 7.5 net carbs per serving.


Ingredients:

9 or 10 inch Crumb Crust in Pie Pan....12 net carbs
1/2 package (4 oz.) Cream Cheese (softened)....4 net carbs
1 T. equiv. to sugar*
2 t. lemon zest (grated lemon peal)....0 net carbs
1 T. lemon juice (about half a lemon)....1.4 net carbs
1 c. heavy whipping cream (liquid)....6.6 net carbs
1 pint strawberries....20 net carbs
2 cups Hood Calorie Countdown dairy beverage**....6 net carbs
2 pkgs (4-serving size) instant sugar free LEMON pudding....10 net carbs


Instructions:

  1. Put cream cheese, sweetener*, lemon zest, lemon juice in mixing bowl. Mix until smooth, preferably using a whisk attachment. Add heavy whipping cream. Beat on high until mixture thickens into a creamy, yummy fluff. Spread mixture into bottom of pie crust.
  2. Trim green tops off of strawberries and slice in half. Press strawberries into cream cheese layer.
  3. Pour 2 cups of Hood Calorie Countdown** into mixing bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat for one minute. Spoon over strawberry layer in crust.
  4. Refrigerate 4 hours to set.
*For the sweetener, I used 1 T. of Sweetzfree which has no carbs. If you use granulated splenda, add 1.5 net carbs to the entire recipe which amounts to about 0.2 net carbs per serving.

**If you do not have hood, you can substitute 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of water but add an additional 6.6 net carbs to the entire recipe which amounts to about 0.8 net carbs per serving. If you prefer, you could also substitute 2 cups of whole milk but this adds 22 net carbs to the entire recipe which amounts to about 3 net carbs per serving.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Simply Scallops - 10 net carbs per pound

For this recipe, I'm not listing exact measurements. It doesn't really matter how much or how little of each ingredient you use. What does matter is that scallops have more carbohydrates than most meats. One pound of scallops has about 10 net carbs. Regardless, this dish tastes wonderful and is very easy to prepare. Please calculate your own net carbs taking into consideration the amount of each ingredient you use.

Ingredients:

Olive Oil
Butter
Red bell Peppers (diced)
Garlic (minced)
Scallops
Green Onion (chopped)

Instructions:

Put butter and olive oil into skillet on medium heat. Add minced garlic and diced red bell peppers. Saute until tender. Add scallops. Cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped green onions. Serve.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Crumb Crust for Desserts - 12 net carbs entire recipe

What do you do when your recipe calls for a graham cracker pie crust? The answer is make your own low carb version using nuts and flax. The following is a simple recipe for a crumb crust that can be used for cheesecakes or pies. You can leave it uncooked or bake it with fillings.

Entire recipe is 12 net carbs, divide by number of servings.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. hazelnut meal*
1/2 c. flax meal
1/2 c. equiv. to sugar**
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter melted

Instructions:

Mix hazelnut meal, flax meal, and 1/4 c. equiv. to sugar (8 drops sweetzfree). A pastry cutter works best. Once well mixed, press into bottom of casserole dish, pie plate, or spring form pan.

*You can substitute almond meal and add an additional 8 net carbs to total recipe.

**If you use granular splenda and add an additional 6 net carbs.

Strawberry Delight - 7.2 net carbs per serving

I have a Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook that has tons of recipes that I find easy to convert to low-carb. This one they call "Berry Delight". The following is my low-carb version of their high-carb dessert. My entire recipe has 86 net carbs (12 servings at 7.2 net carbs each). Strawberry Delight tastes so good that it's hard not to feel guilty about eating it. I have had 4 servings in 2 days and am still in ketosis. My wife absolutely loves this stuff. By the way, if you can't find the hazelnut meal or hood calorie countdown beverage, refer to ingredient substitutions listed at bottom.

12 Servings @ 7.2 net carbs each.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. hazelnut meal*
1/2 c. flax meal
1/2 c. equiv. to sugar**
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter melted
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
3 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream (liquid)
16 oz. strawberries hulled and halved
3 c. Hood Calorie Countdown Dairy***
2 packages sugar free vanilla instant pudding


1st Layer Instructions:

Mix hazelnut meal, flax meal, and 1/4 c. equiv. to sugar (8 drops sweetzfree). A pastry cutter works best. Once well mixed, press into bottom of a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish or cake pan.


2nd Layer Instructions:

Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/4 c. equiv. to sugar (8 drops sweetzfree) until smooth. Add 1 c. heavy whipping cream. Beat on high (whisk attachment preferred) until thick, light, and creamy. Spread over crust. Top with Strawberry halves.


3rd Layer Instructions:

Pour 3 cups of hood into mixing bowl (can use same bowl without cleaning). Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes until smooth. Pour over cream cheese and strawberry layer. Chill for 4 hours. While chilling prepare 4th layer.


4th Layer Instructions:

Rinse mixing bowl. Put 2 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream into mixing bowl. Beat on high (wire whisk preferred) until light and fluffy. Set in refrigerator while waiting. Once the 3 layer dessert has set and chilled for 4 hours, top with 4th layer whipped cream.


*You can substitute almond meal and add an additional 8 net carbs to total recipe (0.7 net carbs per serving).

** I use 16 drops of sweetzfree that has zero carbs. You can substitute granular splenda and add an additional 12 net carbs (1 net carb per serving).

***Can substitute 1 1/2 c. cream with 1 1/2 c. water and add 7 net (0.6 net carbs per serving).


Monday, October 1, 2007

Pancakes - 1.75 net carbs ea.

My wife and I experimented with pancakes this weekend. On Saturday, we tried Niki's "Oh.2.B.Fit" flax pancake recipe (click here). They tasted awesome but were a bit more like a crape in that they weren't very fluffy. Sunday morning, I read through a few different recipe books trying to figure out how to make pancakes and I came up with my own hybrid recipe. While Niki's taste a little bit better, my version had the pancake texture that we expect. The recipe follows.

These high protein, low carb, fluffy, melt-in-your mouth pancakes aren't much more difficult to make than using a commercial high carb mix. The entire recipe has only 21 net carbs and produces 12 pancakes at 1.75 net carbs each. If topping with sugar free syrup, be sure to add those carbs. Note that most sugar free pancake syrups often contain sugar alcohols. I suggest counting 1/2 of the carbs from sugar alcohols regardless if the front of the bottle says zero net carbs.

Ingredients:

8 oz. package cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 c. soy protein powder (plain)
2 t. baking powder
4 T. oil
1/3 c. equiv. to sugar*
1/2 c. cottage cheese
dash of cinnamon


Instructions:

Preheat griddle to 300 degrees or pre-heat skillet. Nuke cream cheese on high for 1 minute to soften. Whisk until smooth. Add all other ingredients and whisk until well blended. The cottage cheese lumps will go away when cooked. Add a little oil, butter, or cooking spray to cooking surface. Pour 1/3 c. of batter per pancake. Cook on first side until tiny air bubbles pop leaving small holes in their place or as edges begin to show a hint of dryness. Then, flip and cook until other side is done.

*I used sweetzfree that has no carbs. If using granular splenda, add 8 net carbs to the entire recipe.