companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

I have been trying to cut back lately. Adding some meals that are not only low carb, but low calorie too. I know, many of you don't need to do that. And, believe me, I am not counting or doing anything too drastic. But it seems smart to me to lower the amount of calories I normally take in as I age. I recall some dear friends of ours saying that they began to be filled up on much less food as they aged. Now that I officially qualify for many senior menus, I am awaiting that change in my hunger level.. My husband seems to be eating less, but not me. I stay as hungry as ever. Granted, he does have several years on me. My menu plan now calls for a few meals that range more in the 300 calorie range. Still low carb, but low fat too.  I still get my good-for-you fats at other times during the week.

So as spring has arrived and more salads are on the menu, I wanted a new low calorie dressing. I generally like the Skinny Girl dressings, but they do all seem to taste the same to me. This home made dressing is so different. I love cumin and this dressing tastes exotic and so substantial. Plus it is just around 11 calories per serving with just 1 carb. So move over Skinny Girl, I am more about Golden Girl these days. Even though I do still refuse AARP!

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

3/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sunflower lecithin
1/4 tsp glucomannan
(optional: 1 drop lemon oil)

Combine  ingredients in a bullet blender. Process until smooth. Let rest 5 minutes. Check thickness. Add more glucomannan if necessary and blend again.

Serves 6:  11 calories   1 g carb

This dressing is tart, but earthy. The sunflower lecithin helps as a thickener, but you could add a bit more glucomannan or xanthan gum instead. The strength of that product can really vary. I am experimenting with lecithin these days as I try to get the most nutrition out of everything I put in  my mouth. It helps with mouth feel and is good for my brain and nervous system as well.

I am doing this month's Diner News on the theme of  'Slimming Secrets". I have quite a few ideas to keep you--or get you--a little lighter. You won't want to miss it. In the mean time, this sweet puppy is my other way of keeping my energy up. Puppies make you feel young! My Trooper. Isn't he adorable?

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Copycat Monterey Melt Burger

I love it when restaurants low carb regular menu items for me without making an act of congress out of it. I always get a smile when we eat out at Whataburger. I have my order memorized. "Monterey Melt, not the meal, no bread. Please put all the other fixings on and put the Jalapeno Ranch in a cup. I would like a side of shredded lettuce to replace the bun. I know, it doesn't usually come with lettuce, so could you please add that for me?" I always get what I want. Sometimes the dressing is in a styrofoam cup, sometimes a ready made container. It is always delicious, and no order taker has ever been annoyed. Granted, it takes some longer than others to get that side of lettuce added. If you don't have Whataburger in your area of the world, then I am truly sorry. But then, you can make this copycat version of mine. Win!

I had a hankering for one of these burgers the other day. Yes, I can say "hankering" because I am from Oklahoma. Translated, it means craving or desire. But it was my only day during the week that I didn't need to leave the house. Woohoo, a no make up day for me. I had the choice of letting the world see my dark circles and age spots, or try to make it myself. You can tell which won. A couple of my students still talk about the day I didn't come to school with my makeup on. No, I don't wear a lot of make up, but my eyes definitely benefit from a good dose of mascara and eyeliner. That's another subject. Lunch is more important now.

So...lately I have been experimenting with sheet pan recipes. Now that we are just two, once sheetpan can easily cook our entire meal. I could never have done that with three teenage boys at home. The thing about the peppers on the Monterey Melt burger at Whataburger, is the texture. The are soft and lightly browned. Done like they were not in a hurry with a hot griddle. (Guess who usually hurries that step) They definitely benefit from a good dose of fat. So I thought the idea of peppers and onions baking on a sheet pan with the burger patties would work. Wow. It was awesome. And so easy. I even started with frozen patties.

Copycat Monterey Melt Burgers

4 - 1/4lb  80/20 ground beef patties
1 green bell pepper
1/2 onion
smoked sea salt to taste (or regular salt)
1/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
1/4 tsp Chili Dawgs Jalapeno Seasoning
2 slices Monterey Jack Cheese 
2 slices American Cheese

Prehat oven to 350 degrees. Place beef patties on a rimmed cookie sheet. Slice pepper and onions into thin strips. Place vegetables around burgers. Bake for about 30 minutes. Toss veggies in the rendered beef fat and turn burgers at the 15 minute mark.

While the beef is baking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine Ranch Dressing and Jalapeno spice. Flavor will intensify as it sits.

When burgers are cooked through, plate the patties. Top with cheese slices and surround with peppers. Drizzle dressing over all.

Serves 1 or 2: each patty with fixings: 332 calories   4 net g carb

This is the seasoning mix I used to get a dressing that tastes exactly like the one at Whataburger. (it has more than just jalapeno in it) See the Chili Dawgs site for more info. No, I am not getting paid or product for this one. I just like it.

You might want to pick up the green chile version too for a recipe in the  April Diner News. Hint. Hint.

Now one little thing about the cheese. The burgers have one slice of each, but they use a thinner patty than I did here at home. You could go half and half on each burger. My hubster eats two, so it is easy to give him both. I think they would be cute half and half--I would break on the diagonal. Of course, you can use any cheese you like. Mine was actually Cheddar in the photo.

Now I get it. Some of you are going to balk at the idea of baking a burger in the oven. I promise, this works. As long as you have a good quality beef and don't overcook, it is going to be moist. No tough sear necessary. The peppers and onions are soft and flavored superbly with the beef fat. Just adjust your salt and pepper and use as much or little of the dressing as you like. Afterall, I have mine on the side.

So there, no super fancy meal here. No winning the Pinterest superstar meal. Just a yummy way to satisfy a specialty burger craving. I am trying to enjoy spring break without too much work. Progress reports are due. The weather has been chilly after weeks of sun and warm weather. Grr. That is not going to help the kids settle in after break. This is the time of year we teachers burn out and kids get extra squirrely. Still, I will be so proud at graduation. I hope you are doing things that make you proud too.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Rosemary's Cocktail Nuts

Just let me warn you now. Portion control ahead.

These nuts, flavored in your kitchen with butter and dried rosemary are spectacular. Sophisticated. Addictive. This will be a go to recipe for me from  now on. Perfect for parties and showers, gift-giving, or that extra little treat in my lunch bag.

I love a good wasabi almond or chile lime peanut. But these are nothing like the nuts you can buy at the store. Once I stumbled upon the idea of rosemary and nuts, I found that many a gourmet had traveled this path before. The world is filled with variations. Some with garlic, others with maple, some sweetened, some not. I was really interested in discovering the flavor of the rosemary itself, so I chose one of the simplest recipes as my launching point. The Diner recipe is closest to that of the Food Network.

I backed off the heat of the cayenne. That was for the hubby's best interest. He doesn't do hot, and I don't want to be responsible for eating this entire recipe alone. Not with all the nut tasting I have been doing this month while working on a nut related newsletter. Besides that, the hubs has been using all my cayenne to sprinkle into holes the new puppies have been digging in the back yard. I think our yard has the definite scent of various peppers wafting from the soil. I am not sure it is working how he hoped, Rather than abandon their digging, they simply seek virgin ground to dig. Our yard will be so fun to mow this summer with scores of small holes, all able to twist an ankle. Joys of puppies. (I still miss the days when it was Tonka truck construction creating the holes.)

My oldest son just celebrated his 4th anniversary yesterday. These nuts would have been wonderful for the wedding reception. Sweet memories. And even better news for our family today. My middle son Pearson, has great news, Following his radiation treatment, the doctors now see no evidence of cancer. We are praising God for that!

Without further avail, here is my promised recipe from this month's 24/7 Low Carb Diner News.

Rosemary’s Cocktail Nuts
The unusual flavor of this nut mix is unexpectedly good!

3 cups mixed nuts*
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 1/2 tsp salt if using unsalted nuts
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In a skillet, melt butter. Stir in rosemary, salt if using, and cayenne. Stir in nuts to coat. Transfer nuts to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes if using raw nuts, 5 minutes if using pre-roasted nuts. Let cool in the fridge to set butter.  Transfer to jars or serving bowls.

*preroasted will have a shorter baking time than raw mixes. I tested the recipe with pre-roasted, but the times listed in the recipe should be correct.

Serves 16:  169 calories  5 g carb

Note that serving size and don't overdo! It will be hard. I am practicing discipline these days. Never sit down with the whole bowl. Never. Limit your portion size on this recipe, and you will be able to try all the other nut and seed recipes this month. A year of the Diner News is just $6. Take a look:

So Frugal Almond Dip

5 Spice Almonds

Sunflower Seed Hummus

Vanilla Pecan Butter

Thai Slaw with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Cowboy Crockpot Walnuts

Southwest Pepita Spread

Home Made Vanilla Almond Milk

Sweet Maple Pumpkin Seed Butter

Honey Sunflower Cookies

Chicken with Romesco Sauce

Bitchin' Sauce

Coconut Cashew Butter

Sunflower Seed Milk
Pesto Chicken

Remember to order the Diner News:

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

Order our books at: 

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Honey Sun Butter Cookies

Life is certainly nuts around here. This month, all my recipes in the Diner News feature nuts. This is a favorite--they taste nutty, but they are actually made with seeds. Sunflower Seeds, ground into a butter. Great for schools with no nuts policies. Good eating for all of us.

The old magic peanut butter cookie with just three ingredients was my inspiration. This one, the sun butter replaces the peanuts. A honey flavoring replaces the actual honey. Very nice. Chewy, not crumbly or hard like some low carb cookies. And talk about easy to make! Just 4 ingredients. No baking powder to react with the sunflower and turn green! (although that is rather fun)

You can make them without the honey flavoring, but I think that really does add to the taste. I use Lorann Super Strength Honey Flavoring. I got mine at Netrition, but it is available in lots of places.
These cookies are a nice little treat that everyone can enjoy anytime. Perfect for lunchboxes. It is a little harder to make that signature criss-cross shape with a fork--at least harder than I remember when I used to bake peanut butter cookies with my sweet grandma.

Honey Sun Butter Cookies

1 cup sunflower seed butter (sunbutter)
1 cup powdered Swerve
1 egg
1/4 tsp honey flavoring

Combine butter, sweetener, egg and honey flavoring. Use a scoop to place balls of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. The dough will be sticky. Use a fork  to gently shape a criss-cross design. (the dough will be stickier than traditional peanut butter cookies) Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Remove to a solid surface and cool.  Makes 36

2 cookie serving is 93 calories and 1 net carb (of 3)

The Diner News will be out soon. I am on the run since we have a short month! I have lots of fun nut mixes, some entree ideas and recipes for making your own nutmilks and nutbutters. Seeds too. You are going to love it!

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

 It is almost Valentine's Day. I keep seeing this commercial that makes my husband cringe. A young couple...a dramatic build up...she opens her gift and her heart is obviously touched. How did he know? What she truly wanted was not an engagement ring. No, she longed only for a heart shaped ice cream cake. While they swoon, my less that romantic hubby complains. Every. Single. Time.

I guess he has given his share of stupid gifts. Yes, even my sons still tease him about giving me the vacuum clearner cover that looked like a maid. Somehow, he thought she was cute and that I would love telling all my jealous friends that I had a maid. Actually, she was even scary to look at. My boys were totally creeped out at the sight of her. John learned a good lesson. He sticks with flowers and teddy bears now.

But in honor of that commerical, I present this treat from last summer's Diner News. Yes, some of you may want an ice cream cake more than diamonds or teddy bears. In that case, make this. Your blood sugar will thank you, and you may be around to enjoy more holidays with your sweetheart.

This has all the things that fancy one on TV has. Except the sugar.  A chocolate cake base, wonderful strawberry ice cream filling. and a chocolate magic shell topping. Extra pretty with a few fresh berries to garnish. So go out and enjoy that steak dinner. Skip the dessert and come home to  this!

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake with Chocolate Magic Shell Topping

Begin this by making microwave chocolate mug cakes:
4 tbsp almond flour
4 tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup erythritol/stevia blend
1/2 recipe sugarfree strawberry ice cream 

Combine all ingredients. Spread half of the batter into a small (6”)  round silicone cake pan. Microwave one minute or until set in center. Repeat with remaining batter. Let cakes cool. Cut cakes to be flat on top. Place each cake in the base of a mini springform pan. Spoon softened strawberry ice cream over the cake. and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze several hours or overnight.

Remove cakes from freezer to counter. Release and place on a serving plate. In a mug, combine 1/4 cup coconut oil with 1/4 cup cocoa and 1 tbsp sweetener. Stir and heat until liquid. Pour over the cakes.                                           

Serves 6:    242 calories   3 net g carb

I originally thought this would serve 4, but it is rich and half a cake each was a bit too much. You can use any baking pans you have, even making this as a loaf or individual cakes. The strawberry ice cream recipe is in the August issue of the Diner News. You do know that you can order the 2016 Bundle if you don't have them all.  You could use commercial low carb ice cream, or head over for my recipe for a super simple blender Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. A bit pinker, but it would still be gorgeous for Valentine's Day. So good either way.

It would be a great idea to make some sweet treats this weekend so you can stand strong against all the chocolates and sugary sweet treats that may come your way this week. My number two son, Pearson, starts his radiation treatment this Valentine's Day. What a time to become radio-active! His poor girlfriend is such a good sport about it. He has to be quarantined for three days. We have faith that this will be the absolute end to his cancer. This weekend, I am making him some of his favorite dishes to have in the fridge while he goes through this last hurdle. I hate that he has to be alone. Prayers are appreciated.  Love to you all!

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book or the latest version for couples and singles,  A Table for Two here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stuffed and Stacked Portobellos

This dish is awesome. Unusual and not hard to make. Take a big mushroom cap, stuff it with ricotta and an awesome sausage and veggie mix. Then  stack those layers again. The mushrooms are meaty and quite satisfying. A little like lasagna, but easier--much easier.

I took one to school today. A few finicky ones looked at me funny when I told them that I was eating a portobello mushroom cap. Who cares? These are people who somehow sustain life on ramen noodles and spicy Takis. Aah, youth!

The February issue of the Diner News is going out tonight. It features comforting foods for chilly weather. Let's enjoy cozy foods while the winter chill is still in the air. I do not mind winter at all. Maybe because I love a good bowl of stew or chili. I adore hot tea and coffee. I prefer oven baked casseroles to salads. So, I love winter! Of course, I also do not live in a super cold climate. As a teacher, I have not even been blessed with one snow day vacation this year.

Stuffed and Stacked Portobellos

Meat Sauce:
½  lb bulk pork sausage
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
½ cup water
1 yellow summer squash or zucchini
1/4 cup sliced bell pepper
1 tbsp cooking sherry
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
2 packets stevia
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

4 large Portobello mushroom caps
Olive oil spray
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp almond flour

Brown sausage. Roughly dice the zucchini, and bell  pepper. Add the vegetables to the pot. Pour most of the liquid from the tomato sauce into the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes and water over all. Add spices and stevia. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.

While meat sauce is cooking, prepare mushroom caps. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray caps with olive oil and grill 2 minutes on each side in a grill pan. Set the caps on a wire rack on a cookie sheet, gill side up. Spread half of the ricotta cheese on the mushroom cap. When sauce is finished, top each mushroom with tomato sauce. Add the remaining ricotta over the sauce. In a cup, combine Parmesan cheese and almond flour. Sprinkle over each mushroom cap. Bake for 15 minutes. Heat the leftover sauce to pour over the top when plating the dish.
Serves 4:     312 calories     11 net g carb

Yum! Want to take a peek at some of the other recipes in this month's Diner News? Thought so! These dishes are great for warm you up meals.

Shredded Beef Chili

Warm Bacon Coleslaw

Pennsylvania Dutch Warm Radish Salad

Beef Stew Francais

Sheetpan Sausage and Veggies

Dutchy's Beef Stew

Roasted Eggplant Shakshuka

Mediterranean Roasted Cabbage

Sheetpan Chile Lime Salmon

Cinnamon Cashew Sipper

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