Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe: Low carb fudge pops

There is no reason to feel left out when you hear the chiming of the ice cream truck. You can whip up your own low carb popsicle quickly and easily. These rich, tasty chocolate treats are sure to hit the spot on a hot summer day.

Wifezilla's Low Carb Fudge Pops


  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Sweetener to taste


With a hand blender, mix the cream cheese and then slowly add the whipping cream. Whip until mixture is nice and creamy. Add cocoa powder and sweetner such as Splenda, erythritol, or stevia to taste, erring on the sweet side. (Once it is frozen, the sweetness fades a bit and a mix that tasted just right in the bowl can end up tasting not quite sweet enough.)

Place in small disposable drinking cups. Add a popsicle stick and freeze for about 2 hours. You can also use the plastic smootie pop sets or tupperware popsicle makers.

This will make anywhere from 3-6 popsicles depending on how large your containers are. My smoothie pop sets makes 4.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Marinara Melt

While I advocate as much home cooking as possible, there are times when your schedule forces you to take short cuts. During those instances, the time it takes to cook your food takes priority over the ingredients. You can still stay on the low carb path, you just may have to make a few allowances for convenience items.

This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make and works great on days when a job, appointments and household chores leave you very little cooking time.

Marinara Melt

  • 1 jar of Ragu No Sugar Added Tomato and Basil sauce
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 12 oz grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp jarred minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry parmesan cheese
  • Optional: Fresh basil & oregano
  • Optional: red pepper flakes

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. If you are adding fresh herbs, add it to the meat when it is just about finished. Fresh herbs turn bitter when over-cooked. Drain and return to medium heat. Add Ragu and parmesan cheese and stir until it starts to bubble. Top with shredded cheese and cook another minute or two until the cheese melts. Makes approximately 4 servings.

Quick and filling, this recipe goes down great on a cold, rainy day. Serve with butter fried Italian summer squash and sliced onions. If you can manage to slice and cook your side dish while the meat is browning, you can still finish the whole meal in 10 minutes or less.

Steak Wraps

I am fortunate enough to have a Mexican grocery store with in easy driving distance of my house. Along with great deals on fresh produce, they also have good beef sales. I took advantage of a recent sale on sirloin tip steaks and used that to create this make in minutes meal.

Unlike big meat slabs of steak at your typical grocery store, steak cuts at the Mexican market are very thin. These thin cuts make quick cooking easy. If you don't have a Mexican market nearby, ask your local store's butcher if they can slice some steaks very thin for you. Another option is to use pre-packaged Steak Umm's, but these tend to be more expensive, and fresher is better in my opinion.

South of the Border Steak Wrap

South of the Border Steak Wrap
• Thin sliced steak
• Cream cheese
• Salsa
• Salt, pepper, and butter for frying steak
• Large Lettuce leaf (optional)

Fry thin steak pieces in butter or ghee in a larg
e pan or on a griddle. Season with salt and pepper. Be careful not to over cook. Place cooked steak on a plate lined with paper towels. Blot with additional paper towels. Spread cream cheese over steak slice. Add salsa and roll up steak. If this looks like it might be a bit messy to you, wrap the steak wrap with a piece of leaf lettuce to help keep the fingers clean.
Allow 2 -3 wraps per person depending on steak size.

Philly Steak Wrap
• Thin sliced steak
• Cream cheese
• Fried onions, mushrooms and peppers
• Swiss cheese
• Salt, pepper, and butter for frying steak
• Large Lettuce leaf (optional)
Same technique as above, you are just using a different filling. Caramelize the onions before adding the peppers and mushrooms. This one will be messier because of the filling. Just be prepared.

Thin sliced steaks fry up quickly. Be careful not to overcook or they get tough.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RECIPE: Spicy Butternut Soup

Butternut squash are inexpensive and abundant fall through winter. Take advantage of this excellent grocery store and farmer's market bargain by making a hearty, healthy, butternut soup. While squash is a little bit on the carby side, it is a great food for those who have moved beyond a very low carb induction phase and are on a maintenance program.


  • 2 small or 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 lb of spicy pork sausage
  • 6oz sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 packages cream cheese
  • butter for cooking onions and mushrooms
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • Sea salt, pepper, fennel and ground sage to taste

Half and clean the butternut squash. Either roast in the oven (350ยบ for 1-2 hour) or microwave in a covered dish with a little water (45-60 minutes). While the squash is cooking, brown the sausage and drain. Set aside. Dice the onions and cook in butter until caramelized. In a separate pan, cook the sliced mushrooms in butter until soft.

Once the squash is nice and soft, scoop it out of its shell and run through a food processor or blender with just enough hot water to get the blades to get the squash mixed well. (In my little food processor it took about 4 batches.)

Pour the squash puree in to a large stock pot. Add the sausage, onion and mushrooms. Add more water if needed to get the puree to a nice thick soup consistency. Add spices to taste. (I go heavy on the cayenne!). Once everything is hot and well blended, stir in the cream cheese. Keep stirring until it's melted.

Serve in a large bowl with a pat of real butter on top

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fantastic Shakes Without the Sugar

When the weather gets warm, the thought of sipping a cold frosty shake comes to mind. It might take a little advanced planning, but you can still sip on a thick, cold shake even if you are avoiding excess carbohydrates. Instead of sugar-loaded ice cream as your base, you just freeze some Greek yogurt ahead of time and use that instead.

  1. Take your favorite plain, full-fat Greek-style yogurt and freeze it in either muffin tins or ice cube trays. You want it to be frozen in a size that can easily be crushed in your blender.
  2. Let the yogurt freeze for several hours or overnight.
  3. When it's time to make your shake, take 6oz worth of frozen yogurt (3 "muffins" with my tin) and put it in a blender with 3/4 cups of coconut milk, almond milk, cream, whole milk or half and half.
  4. Pulse to get the frozen yogurt pieces well broken up.
  5. Add your sweetener of choice such as erythritol, Splenda or raw local honey.
  6. Flavor your shake with either vanilla extract, natural peanut butter, some unsweetened cocoa powder, or add some fresh berries.
  7. Blend on high until smooth.
  8. Serve in a frosty mug with a bendy straw.

This recipe is extremely flexible and the shake can be made as thick or as creamy as you like by adjusting the liquid amount. If you use cream as your liquid to reduce the carb count, be careful you do not blend too long or you will turn the cream to butter. Make extra yogurt cubes ahead of time and store them in the freezer in a freezer-safe container so you can make a shake whenever a craving hits.

Note: I have also tried this technique using frozen heavy cream and frozen milk. The best texture and flavor came from the shakes made with yogurt, but the cream will work in a pinch.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recipe: Abi Fae's Fat Bombs

If you are eating a low carb diet, your primary source of calories should be from fat. That's is the low carb diet's "dirty little secret". You aren't eating a high protein diet. You are eating a HIGH FAT diet.

Some people need more fat than others. If your body easily converts protein to glucose, you need more fat. Prone to seizures or other brain disorders? More fat. My "bestie" Abi Fae falls in to the seizure-prone category and has devised a very quick, tasty way to get plenty of healthy fats in to her daily eating plan. I present... the FAT BOMB! If you are looking to up the level of healthy fats in your diet, this is a great thing to try.

Shown: Fat bombs with high cocoa chocolate chips.

Abi Fae's Fat Bombs
• 8 oz unsweetened almond butter (or natural sugar-free peanut butter or other nut butter)
• 8 oz raw coconut butter (Artisana brand is excellent) OR virgin coconut oil
• 1 stick butter
• 2 Tbsp butter (for the ganache)
• 1 bar of 85% cocoa chocolate (Black and Greens, Dagoba, Lindt, etc...) or high cocoa chocolate chips
• Sweetener of choice to taste (I use a small amount of eryritol, but you can also use Splenda or raw, local honey if you are not super carb sensitive. Abi does not use any sweetener in hers.)

Optional add-ins
Roasted nuts
Dried unsweetened fruit like cherries or cranberries
Cocoa nibs
Unsweetened coconut flakes

In a microwave-safe bowl, soften the stick of butter, the coconut butter and the almond butter for 1-3 minutes until the are easy to stir together. Once the butters are blended, add in any extras making sure there is still enough butter blend to coat all the goodies. Taste and add sweetener if desired make sure to stir well.

The butter mix then needs to be put in some kind of form to cool. Silicone muffin cups, baking pan, chocolate molds, etc... just make sure it is flexible so you can get the fat bombs OUT of the molds. Make a ganache by melt the chocolate bar in the microwave in a glass dish and add the 2 tablespoons of butter to make it smooth and creamy. Dip your chilled fat bombs in to the chocolate and allow to cool on a piece of wax paper or a silicone sheet. You can also drizzle the melted chocolate over each fat bomb. Store in the refrigerator.

Because of the low melt point of the butter and coconut butter, these need to be kept cold once finished. If you plan on sticking these in a lunch box to eat later, simply put your fat bombs in small jelly canning jars and add a few low-sugar, high-cocoa chocolate chips instead of using chocolate molds and coating with melted chocolate. The thing I like about using the chocolate chips is the label shows how many carbs per chip so you can easily decide how carby or carb-free you want to make each jar full.

Low carbing on vacation

There is nothing like spending a long weekend with 4 sugar-junkies to test a person's low carb resolve. On a recent trip to Dillon, CO with members of my book club, carbs where everywhere. Fortunately I had packed a small cooler with low carb foods and was
able to avoid temptation. Instead of Skier's French Toast, I had turkey slices with cheddar, boiled quail eggs and some fresh veggies. Instead of bagels, I had a steak, turkey and pepper stir fry.

Of course, these were meals we cooked at the condo we rented. Eating out was a little more challenging. I was able to find a few goodies without going carb crazy or being too much of a pain to the restaurant staff.

Instead of a plate of giant blue berry pancakes or waffles topped with sugary syrup and whipped cream, I had a very delicious homemade green chili with pork. At one of our lunches, hot wings with veggies sticks was the perfect alternative to pasta dishes.

Now you may be getting the impression that I was some kind of low carb saint on this trip. I wasn't. I had wine, a delicious wheat beer at the Dam Brewery and even had an ice cream cone while walking through Frisco. But since I was able to make overall good meal choices, these vacation treats didn't lead to binging, massive weight gain or loads of guilt.

Low carbing in a carby world is difficult, but it isn't impossible. With a little planning, your vacations don't have to be a dietary nightmare.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Toast? Who Needs Toast?!

Thin cut eye of round makes a much better yolk-dunker than toast. The eggs are fresh duck eggs fried in coconut oil. A delicious, nutritious breakfast!

Trying to kick the soda habit?

Even if you managed to kick the regular soda habit and are no longer destroying your health with high fructose corn syrup, is it really wise to drink diet sodas? There is controversy about that topic with some saying both Aspartame and Splenda have potential hidden dangers. Until the science shakes itself out, it might be a great idea to drop soda all together.

As a long time soda junkie, I know that isn't easy. One thing that can work well if plain water bores you to tears is herbal tea. A type of tea I highly recommend is Cinnamon Spice tea. Two excellent brands are Market Spice Cinnamon Orange Tea or Country Spice Cinnamon Orange Tea. They are naturally sweet and require zero additional sweetener. How do they do it? Apparently it is the orange and cinnamon oils they add to the tea mix.

I simply brew up a big batch and put it in large swing top bottles, grab one when heading out to work and sip it throughout the day. This tea is so strong you can usually get three batches out of the same tea leaves. Using a French Press, I add 1/4 - 1/3 cup of loose tea and add hot water. Steep about 10 minutes then add more water. Each "pressing" will be a little weaker, but keep adding to a large pitcher. After you have exhausted the tea mix, add cold water to taste. That's it!

Keep in mind not all cinnamon orange teas will be naturally sweet like Market Spice or Country Spice, but I have found some at small tea shops that have a similar flavor and sweetness level. In Colorado Springs, Laura Lee's Teas carries it in regular and decaf. (I use decaf.) Ask the proprietor of your local tea shop if they have a tea that is a naturally sweet cinnamon orange tea and give it a try. If you find yourself reaching for sweetener, hop online and order yourself some of the Market Spice or Country Spice tea.