Low Carb Zen http://www.lowcarbzen.com Not a Diet ~ a LIVE it! Tue, 27 Jan 2015 23:53:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Magically Easy Slow Cooker Bone Broth http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/side-dishes/magically-easy-slow-cooker-bone-broth/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/side-dishes/magically-easy-slow-cooker-bone-broth/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:07:51 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3390 I’ve been reading and reading about all the wonderful benefits of consuming bone broth. Seems like everybody and their brother is making some. The Atkins book, , suggests broth for avoiding some of the unpleasant side effects of  first transitioning to low carb.* The folks I know who have tried it heartily recommend it, so I decided […]

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?????????I’ve been reading and reading about all the wonderful benefits of consuming bone broth. Seems like everybody and their brother is making some. The Atkins book, The New Atkins for a New You, suggests broth for avoiding some of the unpleasant side effects of  first transitioning to low carb.* The folks I know who have tried it heartily recommend it, so I decided to give it a go!

What is bone broth?

Bone broth is the made from bones, plus maybe some meat and vegetables, cooked in water until it’s gradually reduced to a flavorful liquid. The broth is then strained. While stock is cooked maybe 4-12 hours, bone broth is cooked over a longer period than ordinary stock in order to more fully extract the nutritional content from the bones. Depending on the type of bones you are using, 24 – 72 hours may be appropriate. Basically, we’re looking at cooking the bones to the point that they are soft when pressed between the fingers, bordering on disintegration.

Why would I want to eat bone broth?

Bone broths are rich in nutrients, minerals and amino acids. Bone broth has the amino acids, proline and glycine. It has calcium, magnesium and potassium. Bone broth has proteins, collagen (which turns into gelatin), and glucosamine (like what’s sold in supplement form for joint pain). It’s good for inflammation, joint health, easy on the digestive system, cheap to make and utilizes ingredients you’d otherwise throw away. How awesome is that?

Making Easy Slow Cooker Bone Broth

When I was ready to get started, I read 101 recipes to get as much info as a could. After seeing so many techniques and suggestions, I felt I had a good handle on the process. While some people use a large stock pot or even pressure cooker, I don’t have either and I was more comfortable leaving my slow cooker on for long periods than leaving the stove on overnight, anyway.

Step 1: Collect Bones! Although some people buy bones for their broth, I wanted to make use of what I had. People will suggest using the best quality bones possible (i.e. 100% organic, grass fed, etc.). While it makes sense to me the better quality ingredients you start with, the better the outcome will be I didn’t really sweat the particulars here. I figured I would start where I’m at and use bones from the meat I am already eating.

So I started a bag in the freezer and threw bones in it after meals–this batch was probably a couple of chicken’s worth, a steak or two and a turkey. Yum, Turkey!

I also threw leftover vegetables in a baggie in the freezer–celery that was past it’s prime, bits and pieces of onion that weren’t fresh enough to serve as is, the ends of zucchini from my zoodle-making, and some carrots I hadn’t used up. I’d recently made some fire cider, and had a mess of veggies and fruit from that operation as well, which I popped into the freezer until I was ready to make my broth. You can really use whatever you want, other than leafy greens like spinach and kale, because those become bitter if cooked over several hours.

Once you have your bones and veggies saved up, you’re ready to rumble!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Magically Easy Slow Cooker Bone Broth
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This tasty bone broth can be drank straight - great warmed up with a little butter - used to flavor meats for cooking, as the base in soups, or any other way you would use stock or bouillon. Ingredients besides the bones are merely suggestions to get you started.
Ingredients
  • Lots of Bones! (Small bits of meat, cartilage and gristle remaining add to the broth's flavor and nutrition. The cartilage pieces help create gel.)
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ideally with the mother)
  • Water (filtered)
Vegetable Suggestions (Added at the End)
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • Random Leftover Veggies
  • Salt and Pepper as desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread frozen bones and a cookie sheet covered in foil, and roast about 30 minutes.

    (Optional, but improves the flavor of the broth considerably. This also creates a darker brown color.)
  3. When the bones are nice and roasted, add them to the slow cooker. Scrape any leftover juice or baked bits from the pan into the slow cooker as well for extra flavor.
  4. Fill the slow cooker about ¼ of the way or so up with water. I was concerned I didn't put in enough water, but it ended up being more than I needed as it was nearing the top of the pot while it cooked.
  5. Add the Apple Cider Vinegar. Don't add the veggies yet!
  6. Set crockpot on low.
  7. Check from time to time. I discovered my slow cooker shuts itself off after 12 hours, so I had to restart it a few times when it went off in the night. I was aiming for 3 days, though I probably lost a few hours due to the auto-shutoff. So I estimate my batch was cooked between 60-72 hours in total.
  8. On the last day, add your veggies. If they are there from the start, they will totally turn to mush before your broth is done.
  9. You know the broth is done when the bones become soft and you can easily dent or crush them between your fingers and your veggies are mush.

  10. Allow the broth to cool down enough to work with.
  11. Strain broth and put about a weeks worth into a jar to refrigerate. The rest I put into ice cube trays, and set in the fridge in preparation to freeze.
  12. Don't worry if it looks completely gelled when it cools. That's what you want! The more gel, the better the broth is.
  13. I keep the cubes bagged in my freezer and pulled a few out to heat in a cup with some butter mixed in, cook with meat or add to soups.
  14. Enjoy!
Notes
For the bones: I used primarily turkey and chicken bones, with a couple of steak and ham bones tossed in for good measure. Evidently, chicken feet increase the gelling factor, which is a sign your broth has lots of collagen and is especially potent. I didn't have any chicken feet.

Most of the recipes I saw used a tablespoon or two of Apple Cider Vinegar. I am not sure why so little, but I love the benefits of ACV and I had plenty on hand so I used more. It helps leech the nutrients out of the bone, and I wanted to get the most out of it. It did not make the completed broth taste of vinegar in the least. You can also add lemons; they serve the same function plus add a little flavor.

Some people skim the foam a few times early in cooking, or skim the fats off after cooking, especially if they are concerned about the quality of meat. Mine didn't seem to have a lot of either foam or fat, so I didn't bother with it.

Random tips: I’ve heard people say they do more than one batch with the same bones. I think if you cook it long enough, there won’t be much of the bones left to do additional batches. I found using a Nut-Milk Bag PERFECT for straining. I also prefer ice cube trays to jars for freezing because if it expands too much, your jars can shatter in the freezer. Oops! A bone-brothed freezer does not a magically easy slow cooker bone broth success make!

Nutritionals not provided because it’s going to depend entirely on what ingredients you use, but we’re talking a small number of carbs related to whatever veggies you use. And since you don’t eat the actual vegetables, I’m confident it will be minimal.

Have you made an easy slow cooker bone broth? How did yours work out? 

*New Atkins for a New You suggests that fatigue, lightheadedness, constipation and leg cramps indicate a need for sodium and balancing electrolytes when first transitioning to a low carb regime. The diet initially has diuretic effect. A cup of broth twice a day is one of the suggested remedies.

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Low Carb Recipe Roundup, Jan. 11 – 17 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/low-carb-recipe-roundup-jan-11-17/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/low-carb-recipe-roundup-jan-11-17/#respond Mon, 19 Jan 2015 23:25:58 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3393 It’s been a minute since I did a weekly favorite Low Carb Recipe Roundup. I’ve been too busy, but I do miss doing them. It’s fun to see which recipes were the most popular on the Low Carb Zen facebook page. All together, millions of low carbers across the globe clicked, pinned and made these […]

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It’s been a minute since I did a weekly favorite Low Carb Recipe Roundup. I’ve been too busy, but I do miss doing them. It’s fun to see which recipes were the most popular on the Low Carb Zen facebook page. All together, millions of low carbers across the globe clicked, pinned and made these very recipes in their very own kitchens.  How cool is that?!

This Week’s Best Low Carb Recipe Roundup

Bacon Wrapped Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast

Bacon Wrapped Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast

All my favorites, together! Bacon, cheese, mushroom and stuffed chicken. Make it here!

Low Carb Avocado Chicken Salad

Low Carb Avocado Chicken Salad

Love anything with avocado. You too? Get the recipe.

Low Carb Fried Pickles

Low Carb Fried Pickles

Who wants a snack? Try some Fried Pickles!

Baked Parmesan Mushrooms

Baked Parmesan Mushrooms

Easy and elegant side dish. Get the recipe.

Low Carb Broccoli Brussel Sprouts

Low Carb Broccoli Brussel Sprouts

Lots of healthy stuff in this great looking veggie roast. Here's the recipe for you!

Low Carb Spinach Artichoke Dip

Low Carb Spinach Artichoke Dip

Nothing better than a creamy, gooey spinach dip! What are you waiting for?!

Low Carb Chicken and Zucchini Poppers

Low Carb Chicken and Zucchini Poppers

Don't these look like the perfect finger food? They do to me! Make them here

Low Carb Enchilada Zucchini Boats

Low Carb Enchilada Zucchini Boats

Mexican food in a zucchini. Ingenious! Get the recipe

Low Carb Pizza

Low Carb Pizza

How is this magic accomplished? Find out!

Low Carb Twiced Baked Fauxtatoes

Low Carb Twiced Baked Fauxtatoes

I think baking twice makes for a better textured fauxtato, myself. Check these out.

  1. Bacon Wrapped Cheese and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast – nothing fancy required to make this! A few ingredients, skillet and baking pan and you’re in business!
  2. Low Carb Avocado Chicken Salad –  Wouldn’t this look lovely in a pretty serving dish
  3. Low Carb Fried Pickles – Instead of using foil to line your baking sheet for this one, it would be an excellent time to use silicone baking mats if you’ve got some. Mine get regular use.
  4. Baked Parmesan Mushrooms – You don’t need the cast iron skillet to make these, but it is a lovely way to present them, don’t you think? 
  5. Low Carb Broccoli Brussel Sprouts – This would be an excellent use of saved bacon grease! Mmmmm… 
  6. Low Carb Bacon and Roasted Garlic and Spinach Dip – I still haven’t gotten any cute little ramekinss yet. On my “to buy” list… 
  7. Low Carb Chicken and Zucchini Poppers – I think I would like to try shaping these in my mini-muffin pan to get a uniform size. ‘Cause Lord knows I wouldn’t manage it any other way! 
  8. Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats – This recipe gets it’s zing from chipotle chile in adobo sauce. I love chipotle.  
  9. Low Carb Fantastico Pizza – Word to the wise: with these types of crusts, do not skip using either Parchment Paper or some baking mats or you’ll never get your pizza off the pan. Not that I would know anything about trying to take some shortcuts…eherm… 
  10. Low Carb Twiced Baked Fauxtatoes – I like cooking my caulimash twice. It gets a little more moisture out and is more potato-y. This recipe is another one that calls for Parchment Paper.  

Have you tried any of these low carb recipe roundup recipes? Your thoughts?

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Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash Review http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/wishlist/reviews/zero-cuisine-cauliflower-mash-review/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/wishlist/reviews/zero-cuisine-cauliflower-mash-review/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:48:27 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3143 Running the Low Carb Zen Facebook page, I sometimes get the opportunity to try out new products and report back to y’all.  That’s one of the perks of my job. Obviously, I’m only presenting my personal opinions, but I hope to help you make informed choices. Dix’s Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash Review Zero Cuisine Cauliflower […]

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Running the Low Carb Zen Facebook page, I sometimes get the opportunity to try out new products and report back to y’all.  That’s one of the perks of my job. Obviously, I’m only presenting my personal opinions, but I hope to help you make informed choices.

Dix’s Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash Review

Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash* was a product I really, really wanted to love unconditionally from the start. It’s made with dried cauliflower, some spices and guar gum (a thickening agent). Nothing dicey in the ingredients list, and no nutritional labeling voodoo to diddle the carb counts. I always appreciate companies that are trying to do low carb the right way instead of looking to make a quick buck off of new low carbers and move on.

But if I’m going to love a product, hate it, or anything in between, it’s got to come down to the product itself. So I grabbed a bag and got out my reader glasses to follow the directions on the package. I had the garlic flavor.

Right off, I noticed was that directions were only given for a single serving, whereas the bag makes four servings. I know how to multiply so it wasn’t an insurmountable stumbling block, but it struck me odd. I also noted the water measurement was given in ounces and not cups,  although the mix measurement was given in cups. (Four ounces of water is 1/2 cup, so to make the whole package, you’ll need 2 cups of boiling water).

After I double-checked the ounces to cup ratio to make sure I was doing it right, I boiled the water and carefully added the package contents in according to directions. Once you add the mix, it was like a lot of magic going on in there! It immediately fluffs way up as you stir sort of grows to a mashed potato consistency. This stuff got thick, quick! It didn’t even want to fall right the spoon once it’s mixed.

 

It looked perfectly like mashed potatoes. But we don’t buy food products for their looks, do we? So both my husband and I taste tested, first plain, and then with some butter and bacon bits, because hey…butter and bacon bits! Duh.

The verdict? The garlic flavor of the product tasted like garlicky cauliflower. Meh. It wasn’t bad at all, but it wasn’t great and it sure wasn’t going to woo carb-eaters from their beloved mashed potatoes.

I wasn’t ready to give up, though.

Fortunately I had a second package, so the next batch, I made it more like I make my own caulimash. Instead of butter on top, I whipped in couple ounces of softened cream cheese and a couple ounces of melted Havarti cheese (any mild tasting cheese works, such as Brie or Swiss), along with a little extra salt and pepper.

Bingo! The texture was already spot on. With those minor additions, my husband and I were both happy with the taste. It takes literally five or so minutes to make, so the convenience factor is definitely strong. My additional ingredients toned down the cauliflower and garlic flavors, which were mildly distracting the first batch. It tasted a lot like mashed potatoes at that point and covered in some gravy or along with other foods, I think carb-eaters would be willing to suspend their disbelief on the dish, even if not 100% fooled.

Prepared correctly, I think we have a winner here. As long as you’re willing to doctor it up just a touch, it’s really good!

This is approximately a serving size. I didn’t use the measuring cup to be all precise or anything.

The price point on is currently higher than I’d like (as of Jan 2015), which I suspected was due the fact the company is small, they are using high quality ingredients and it’s a relatively new product. I mentioned this issue, and the company confirmed my suspicions. They told me they are looking forward to lowering prices as production increases.

All told, it’s a solid choice. If you’d like to give it a spin, you can purchase Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash from the the Zero Cuisine website.

Have you tried this? What would you say in YOUR Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash Review?

*Disclaimer: I was provided two packages of Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash in exchange for my honest assessment of the product. The opinions expressed herein are entirely my own!

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Great Low Carb Recipes Roundup, Dec. 1 – 7 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/great-low-carb-recipes-roundup-dec-1-7/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/great-low-carb-recipes-roundup-dec-1-7/#respond Mon, 08 Dec 2014 23:12:02 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3292 We do indeed have some great low carb recipes in this week’s roundup of the most popular on our Low Carb Facebook page! There is more than enough to make a delicious meal here and it appears y’all are not especially into the treats this week so much–we just have the one–but are hankering for […]

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We do indeed have some great low carb recipes in this week’s roundup of the most popular on our Low Carb Facebook page! There is more than enough to make a delicious meal here and it appears y’all are not especially into the treats this week so much–we just have the one–but are hankering for some extra-easy as well as healthy dinners and sides. So here you go: Great low carb recipies that millions of low carbers world round are saving, sharing, clicking, pinning and of course, cooking! Listed in order of popularity.

Making this Week’s Great Low Carb Recipes…

Peanut Butter Balls

These super-easy 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Balls would be SO cute made up as mini peanut butter cups, using something like these Mini Muffin Silicone Liners. I would probably also use Swerve as my sweetener, but I use Swerve for most sweetening. Stevia is a great option, too. Just be vary careful not to put too much in, as it can become bitter if you do. 

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

 A little Olive oil, a few seasonings and a lined pan, and you have Oven Roasted ‪‎Cabbage‬ Wedges! Betcha they would be especially good with some Flavored Olive Oil

Chicken, Avocado & Bacon Salad

Chicken, Avocado and Bacon Salad looks scrumptious! And I love that the dressing recipe has Apple Cider Vinegar–not only for flavor but because it’s so good for you. 

Low Carb Taco Soup

This ‪Low Carb Taco‬ Soup requires soup pot and just a few ingredients. (For our international friends, “Rotel” is Diced Tomato & Green Chilies.) 

Cheeseburger Casserole

Cheeseburger Casserole doesn’t have any odd ingredients. It’s cheeseburger ingredients, popped into casserole dish. No bun required! 

Chicken Florentine Casserole

Chicken Florentine Casserole could not be easier! Another “just need a dish” and a few simple ingredients recipe and you’re good to go!
Recipe:

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers are one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” combos. She uses a muffin tin here to keep them from tipping over. Brilliant! 

Zesty Chicken Bites

Low Carb‬ Zesty Chicken Bites can be breaded with either Almond Flour or Flax Meal. Spices like Cayenne Pepper, chili powder and Red Pepper Flakes put the “zest” in Zesty! Mmmm. 

Southwest Chicken Salad

Southwest Chicken Salad can make deliciousness from chicken leftovers, or you can use up any canned chicken you bought and later wondered, “Why?” Another one that calls for Diced Tomato & Green Chilies known around here as Rotel. You can also just combine your own tomatoes and green chilies instead.

Chicken & Zucchini Poppers

These Chicken and Zucchini Poppers look like a whole lot of delicious! I’ll bet they would be especially good fried up in ghee, one of the suggestions on the recipe. Add a cute serving dish and you’re set for company. 

 Have you tried any of these great low carb recipes? What’s your verdict?

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Homemade Low Carb Onion Soup Mix http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/condiments/low-carb-onion-soup-mix/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/condiments/low-carb-onion-soup-mix/#respond Wed, 03 Dec 2014 23:05:51 +0000 http://lowcarbzen.dixiblog.com/?p=3230 A particularly insidious source of hidden carbs are items we use as flavorings or condiments. I would never have thought I needed to look for low carb onion soup mix. Somehow, if it’s not a major ingredient, I’m not always thinking about it being a significant player in the nutritional profile. I started thinking about it, though, as I […]

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A particularly insidious source of hidden carbs are items we use as flavorings or condiments. I would never have thought I needed to look for low carb onion soup mix. Somehow, if it’s not a major ingredient, I’m not always thinking about it being a significant player in the nutritional profile. I started thinking about it, though, as I happened to be working on a recipe for low carb meatloaf and wanted to include onion soup mix. To a basic cook like me, meatloaf and onion soup go together like low carb and bacon, man!

Well, have you actually stopped to look at the carbs in onion soup mix? Because some of them have upwards of 20 grams of carbs per packet! Some manufacturers also count packets as multiple servings. Not really what I’m going for. An onion soup mix is going to have some carbs, sure, because hey–onions! But why have so many more than necessary?

So I reviewed a whole bunch of different recipes for homemade onion soup mix to come up with my own. I mixed up a big batch and put in a small mason jar to keep with my spices so I’ll have it on hand for flavoring hamburger and Crock Pot meals. You could easily make less, though. I just like having plenty on hand when I need some. That kind of preparation makes it a lot easier for me to stay low carb.

Low Carb Homemade Onion Soup Mix
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 9
  • Serving size: 1½ Tablespoons
  • Calories: 34
  • Fat: trace
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Net Carbs: 6g
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Low Carb Onion Soup mix for recipes or dip.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Gather your ingredients.

  2. Dump measured ingredients into a bowl.

  3. Mix it up!
  4. Store in a small mason jar other other, airtight container.

Notes
In my best estimation, 1½ tablespoons = approximately 1 packet soup mix, roughly what's pictured above in the baggie and what I based serving size on. Please figure nutritionals based on the products YOU use, though. In particular, the beef bullion will make a difference in the carb count. 1 packet bullion = 1 cube.

I choose the Sodium Free Bullion (even though it has some sugar in it, boo!) because I wanted more control over how much salt goes into the actual recipes. So many kinds of bullion are overwhelmly salty!

With the exception of the bullion and onion, most of the spices I included are optional, although commonly found in the soup mix replacement recipes I reviewed. The only spice I saw included in several recipes I don't have in the ingredients here is Turmeric, because I didn't have any on hand. Otherwise, I would have tossed some in there, too!

Do you use onion soup mix in your cooking? Is it store-bought or homemade?

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Pinwheel Low Carb Meatloaf http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/main-courses/pinwheel-low-carb-meatloaf/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/main-courses/pinwheel-low-carb-meatloaf/#respond Thu, 04 Dec 2014 03:07:26 +0000 http://lowcarbzen.dixiblog.com/?p=3228 So a while back, I posted a meatloaf stuffed with cheese on the Zen Facebook page that people went nuts about–both because it looked great, but also because I missed some high-carb ingredients. Crackers! The horror! But it was stuffed with cheese and I thought that was an awesome idea, so I’ve been wanting to […]

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So a while back, I posted a meatloaf stuffed with cheese on the Zen Facebook page that people went nuts about–both because it looked great, but also because I missed some high-carb ingredients. Crackers! The horror! But it was stuffed with cheese and I thought that was an awesome idea, so I’ve been wanting to do something similar ever since.

I’ve made this a few times now and while it’s good, I don’t think the Pinwheel effect pleases me quite yet. I’m just not sure how much cheese I’d have to pile on there to make it noticable and colorful in the finished product. It would probably end up being, like 29 kajillion and two calories a slice. (I know most of us don’t count calories, but no need to be ridiculous.)

So for now, I’m leaving the recipe like it is–plain ol’ low carb meatloaf with a taste surprise inside–and you can tweak it yourself if you’re so inclined. Despite the fact it’s not dramatic enough to suit the pink-haired chick in presentation, it does taste very good and got a thumbs-up from the Mr. Very filling. Goes great with some caulimash. Also? Bacon! Yum!

Pinwheel Low Carb Meatloaf
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 379
  • Fat: 28g
  • Saturated fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Sodium: 380mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 22g
  • Net Carbs: 10g
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Low Carb Meatloaf rolled into a fun pinwheel around some delightful shredded cheese and bacon bits.
Ingredients
Topping
Meatloaf Filling
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese (shredded)
  • ¼ cup real bacon pieces (crumbled)
Meatloaf Topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put your hamburger in a large bowl.
  3. Add worcestershire, liquid smoke, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning and soup mix. Combine well.
  4. In a small, seperate bowl, whisk the eggs together with a fork.
  5. Add eggs to the hamburger mixture.
  6. Use a sided cookie sheet, to catch extra grease. Line it with a piece of aluminum foil. Add a second sheet of aluminum foil on top of the first sheet. (This will be used to help roll up your pinwheel.)
  7. Dump the hamburger mixture onto your cookie sheet.

  8. Spread the hamburger mixture into the cookie sheet, spreading and flattening it out. Smooth over any holes. (You can use gloves for this part if it's too messy for ya!)

  9. Cover the flatted hamburger mixture with your shredded cheese and sprinkle on the bacon bits.

  10. Use the aluminum foil to lift, start rolling up your pinwheel. You can start at the narrow side of the pan if you want a fatter pinwheel, or the longer side if the pan if you want a thinner pinwheel.

  11. And roll...

  12. AND roll...

  13. After your pinwheel is rolled up, discard the extra sheet of foil. Position your pinwheel on the cookie sheet.

  14. Seal together the edges and any holes in the hamburger mixutre by squishing it together with your fingers.

  15. Put the meatloaf in the oven and set timer for about 35 minutes.
  16. Now it's time to make the topping. Add the tomato paste, brown mustard, blackstrap molasses and Swerve (or sweetener of choice) in a bowl and mix it up. The blackstrap molasses is not required, but a very small amount adds a brown sugar flavor.
  17. Leave the topping in the refridgerator until you're ready to use it.
  18. When your meatloaf is almost done, approximately for when the timer is set, take it out and and smear the topping on.

  19. Cook your meatloaf for another 5 or 10 minutes to finish up and heat up the topping.
  20. Drain excess grease and serve.

Notes
Obviously, you can use whatever topping you want or none at all, use whatever cheese you like, and in general tweak it however you generally do meatloaf!

You could also mix in crushed pork rinds to soak up some of the grease. Leaner hamburger will produce less grease, naturally. Or you can be lazy and just pour the grease off into a jar before serving like I did. Ha!

How do you like your meatloaf?

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Top Low Carb Recipes Roundup, Nov. 24 -30 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/top-low-carb-recipes-roundup-nov-24-30/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/top-low-carb-recipes-roundup-nov-24-30/#respond Mon, 01 Dec 2014 06:27:27 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3199 Checking out the top low carb recipes for last week from our Low Carb Zen Facebook page, it’s clear there was a taste for Mexican! Casseroles were also even more popular than normal–kind of hard to do–with a full half of the recipes making the top list being of a casserole-y variety. Add a snack, […]

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Checking out the top low carb recipes for last week from our Low Carb Zen Facebook page, it’s clear there was a taste for Mexican! Casseroles were also even more popular than normal–kind of hard to do–with a full half of the recipes making the top list being of a casserole-y variety. Add a snack, a couple of sides, and just one dessert, and you’ve got this week’s roundup. A special shout-out goes to Kyndra of Peace, Love and Low Carb who managed to get two recipes on this week’s roundup. Not an easy feat!

Here are the top low carb recipes for the week, in order of popularity.

Making the Top Low Carb Recipes This Week!

Easy Mexican Chicken Casserole

This Easy Low Carb Mexican Chicken Casserole  really IS as simple as cooking up some chicken and layering the ingredients in casserole dish. Be sure to check out the comments on the recipes for lots of ideas of additions to make this your own.  The feedback on this recipe has been overwhelmingly positive (and gratifying). 

Antipasto


Low carbers need ready-to-go snacks, and you cannot get more ready-to-go than this dleightful Antipasto. I think I’d fraction the recipe out–it makes massive amounts–and store in a handy covered bowl until I was ready for a bite, or three! 

Low Carb Enchilada Pie

Low Carb Enchilada Pie is another super fast, super easy 1-disher. It would probably be a good idea to mix up your own Taco Seasoning, since store bought often has lots of ingredients (and carbs) you don’t want, including sugar!  I think something like this spice jar set with some little chalkboard labels would be not only functional but very cute! 

Wrapped Asparagus


Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus is a very fancy but only takes minutes. It’s made with ghee. I imagine you could make it without, but after trying ghee, I’m willing to bet it adds a lot to the overall flavor. 

Low Carb Lasagna


Just Like The Real Thing Lasagna is actually made in a loaf pan, but I just keep thinking I’d need to double up and make two. It looks so good, I’ll need one to have leftovers the next day! 

Parmesan Dijon Roasted Cauliflower

Parmesan Dijon Roasted Cauliflower is so delicious! This is one where you’ll need either your Baking Mats or something like a Parchment Liner to keep it from sticking. 

Low Carb Pumpkin Cake

My mouth starts watering just looking at this Pumpkin Cake wih Cream Cheese Frosting! She uses Xylitol and Stevia Extract to sweeten it. I don’t keep Xylitol in the house because I have pets, it’s too toxic for them. It also creates…um, gastrointestinal disturbances if you have too much and have not built up a tolerance to it. I would probably just substitute Swerve, myself. 

Cucumber , Avocado and Feta Salad

This Cucumber, Avocado and Feta Cheese Salad would look lovely Porcelain Serving Bowls. Just like in a magazine! 

Spinach, Artichoke and Chicken Dip

Technically, making this Spinach Artichoke and Chicken Dip reqiures two dishes: a casserole dish and a mixing bowl. But I mostly count it as one anyway. I just adore artichokes and spinach mixed together! 

Low Carb Mexican Casserole

This Low Carb Mexican Casserole looks like a real winner. And the recipe even says it’s freezable! How awesome is that? You will need either a Food Processor or at least a cheese grater to make the caulirice. I’m of the lazy variety, so I vote food processor. But however you make it, you’ll want to make it! 

Did you make any of these? How’d it turn out?

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The Day After Thanksgiving… http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/inspiration/day-thanksgiving/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/inspiration/day-thanksgiving/#comments Sun, 30 Nov 2014 22:20:53 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3174 The day after Thanksgiving is probably not the day to decide, this array of little sausage sticks I call fingers are too “fluffy” to be safe, so I better take my rings off…Before I can’t. The day after Thanksgiving is probably not the day to wake up, anxious, feeling the need to get those rings […]

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The day after Thanksgiving is probably not the day to decide, this array of little sausage sticks I call fingers are too “fluffy” to be safe, so I better take my rings off…Before I can’t. The day after Thanksgiving is probably not the day to wake up, anxious, feeling the need to get those rings off now,  right now, right this minute, after months of saying to myself, “They’ll be fine when I lose  few pounds.”

How many times and how many ways have I said, “Oh. It will be fine. I just need to lose a few pounds?”

It was hard for me to acknowledge I needed to take the rings off. These two rings, my wedding band and engagement ring, are the very first I’ve ever had in a normal size ring. Not a fat-lady size ring. About 10 years ago, I guess it was.

And for me, kind of a big deal! I had just started back to the gym. It was also the first time ever that I can remember, my BMI was in the normal range. Normal! Can you believe that? I was floating when I realized that. And the first time in my adult life, I actually weighed less than what my drivers’ liscence said I did.  Not the same. Less! I had normal sized clothing. And normal sized rings.

Now…not as much. And that doesn’t feel good to think about.

You know, I don’t much like being the “weight loss authority figure.” Did you realize, it’s a tough gig? Besides the fact so many people know more about it than me–and they do!–besides the fact that I’m not a doctor and I don’t know what all your health conditions acronyms mean anyway…well, I’m extremely human. I fall down. The goal is to get up again after each fall, but I’d be lying if I said I never sat there sometimes, thinking about how much effort it takes to get back up again and looking to convince myself I’m perfectly comfortable sitting on the floor.

I never quit considering myself a low carber. Not even once. But I’ve had stretches, where my conviction of that identity was the most notable element. No, I never have gone back to eating “the old way.” But little by little, I became less vigilant.

That was part of why I sold my old low carb community, when presented with the opportunity. I’d started putting weight back on. Who the heck am I to tell people what they should eat? I’d seen low carb site owners show up with a mea culpa and a great big suitcase full of shame, confessing dietary failings. The coin flips both ways, you know. It feels great to be an inspiration. It’s a rush! It doesn’t feel so good to let people down, or perceive yourself as a hypocrite. How can you say, “I did this, you  can too” when it’s’s been a minute, and you’ve also undone some of it? I didn’t want to go there. How could I keep cheering people on about how easy all this is–and it is, when you’re in the groove–while I was crazy slip-sliding down the “just a little bit won’t hurt” path?

That “just a little won’t hurt” mentality woos you, a little at a time. That chocolate bar I bought at the gas station–just a single serving, so I can’t eat too much–started turning into two. One for today and one for tomorrow. Eventually it was 3–one for the way home, one for later today and one tomorrow. But hey, I was “controlling it,” right? Not at all addictive, shoveling in chocolate on the 5-minute drive home so nobody can see me eating it.

Yeah.

I sidestepped it for a long time and mostly, didn’t make it that big of a deal. While I “stayed aware,” I kept eating stuff I didn’t need to be eating, but not the worst of worst, not constantly, so I said it was “fine.” I told myself I needed some new clothes anyway; I bought some that were more forgiving. Feeling bad about yourself and wearing clothes that are too small don’t help anything.

Then my Low Carb Facebook page I had kept alive on a whim…well, with the help of a friend, it took off. Really took off and suddenly, my friend wasn’t able to help anymore…Eeek! I had to participate again, I had to step up so as not to let all these folks down. I brought Theresa on board, but I still had to step up myself. Being immersed in the low carb world again, I was prompted to up my game again. Answering questions meant I needed to remember the answers, or find the new ones. I couldn’t sit this one out anymore.

This Thanksgiving, I did pretty well on the low carb end of things. It would have been easier to scrap low carb for the day, but I felt obligated not to do that. I made my own bread for stuffing (next time, toast it more). The rolls I made didn’t rise well, but they tasted okay. I made alternatives for me to the traditional food I served my family, all carb-legal. Running a low carb recipe page comes in handy at holidays! I did a couple bites here and there of the no-go foods, but ate very little off-plan overall. Still, that on-plan food? I had plenty. And really, I’ve been eating pretty well, but not that well and not for that long.

So yeah. The day after Thanksgiving, still not the best day to declare a ring-removing emergency.

I wanted those rings off the same way  I want the weight off, NOW. But that’s not enough, doing pretty well for a little bit, wanting it now. It takes what it takes, you know? As the time goes by, it gets harder and it takes a little more.

Even at that,  I was 50% successful. I got 1 ring of 2 rings removed (and one beat up, swollen finger). I’ll have to try again, I guess. Heal up. Acknowledge my progress. Keep working at it, and try again. And you know? That’s not bad a bad plan overall.

Keep working at it. Heal up. Appreciate the progress. Keep trying.

I’m grateful today, for the progress I’ve made so far, in every way. All progress is good progress. I’m grateful to find the impetus, to keep working, keep healing and keep trying.

I wish the same for all you–the motivation and knowledge you need, to heal, to keep doing what you need to do to take care of yourselves.

Much Love & Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

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Experimenting with Salads in Jars http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/inspiration/salads-in-jars/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/inspiration/salads-in-jars/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 23:44:04 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3015 I’m probably one of last people on the internet who is trying out the whole “salads in jars” concept. Just call me stubborn. I mean, sure, I always thought they were cute. But what does cute mean? Homemade bath soaps in jars are cute, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to get past pinning them […]

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I’m probably one of last people on the internet who is trying out the whole “salads in jars” concept. Just call me stubborn. I mean, sure, I always thought they were cute. But what does cute mean? Homemade bath soaps in jars are cute, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to get past pinning them along with 1001 other cute, crafty ideas.

I also thought they were a bit gimmicky and didn’t pay them much mind until I heard people on the Low Carb Zen page sing their praises. Whaaaa? They keep the salad fresher, longer? They allow planning ahead, easy transport (which doesn’t apply to a work-at-home chick like me, but still a plus), and they are super-duper convenient? They make it easier and more fun to eat healthy?

Okay. I’m listening. I decided to give it a go and share what I found out form my experiment.

So I got myself some supplies. Ball Jars, an armload of veggies from the store, and an awesome *Salad Spinner.

Actually, salad spinners are another one of those ideas I didn’t quite get. They just seemed silly to me–what, you need a gadget to mix things up? I have utensils. Of course, I learned that’s not what the spinner actually does. It removes moisture–faster and more efficiently and better than just draining your food.  So not to give the salad spinner an easy time, I actually bought marked-down lettuce! Living dangerously, huh? If the spinner is to help to extend the life of the salads, it will have to do it on it’s own merits! (I also discovered the salad spinner was great for drying out the cauliflower and spinach I was using elsewhere in my dinner, but that’s a whole different topic.)

I proceeded to make an absolute mess of the kitchen while I assembled six salads in six jars. I ate them spaced out over several days to judge the freshness. And you know what? It works!

 A Few Take-Home Tips from Experimenting with Salads in Jars

  • Wide-mouthed jars work the best.
  • You will probably need bigger jars than you think you will, once you start layering ingredients.
  • Dressing goes on the bottom to keep the other ingredients from getting wet.  Want to keep the lettuce dry!
  • A firm veggie that would be fine marinading in the dressing goes in after the dressing, to form a barricade between the dressing and greens.
  • Next goes softer items and topping items, like tomatoes, cheese, hard-boiled eggs and bacon. Mmmmm, bacon.
  • You’ll need LESS dressing than you think, even if you like a whole lot of dressing. (Not like I would know or anything…err…)
  • To eat it, you shake up your jar to coat the salad and pour it out on your plate. The dressing coats everything that way.
  • Some people recommend vacuum packing the jars with your FoodSaver and that probably works magical wonders and all, but I didn’t test that option.
  • The salads with greens run through Salad Spinner and stored in jars actually lasted longer than the lettuce stored a second, unopened bagged salad I bought at the same time. I was suitably impressed.

They sure are pretty, aren’t they?

Too much dressing! But still tasty.

Verdict? If you would like longer-lasting, make-ahead salads, the mason jar storage thing is a good idea.For best effect, use a salad spinner, too. I’d like to try this with different kinds of salads as well. It looks like a really handy way to make your food ahead and be ready with good, healthy options. Win!

Have you done the salad-in-a-jar thing? What did you think of it?

Disclosure: Salad Spinner provided courtesy Paderno USA, in consideration for sharing an honest appraisal of the product. The opinions expressed here are entirely and unabashedly my own, however.

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Most Awesome Low Carb Recipes, Nov. 17 – 23 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/awesome-low-carb-recipes-nov-17-23/ http://www.lowcarbzen.com/blog/low-carb-recipes/roundups/awesome-low-carb-recipes-nov-17-23/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 22:48:06 +0000 http://www.lowcarbzen.com/?p=3099 This week’s most awesome low carb recipes–as selected by being the most popular among the week’s posting on the Low Carb Zen Facebook page–has nice variety. We’ve got some breakfast items, lunch, dinner and sides or snacks. There also seems to be an emphasis on simple, workable ideas that are practical for everyday kind of meals. […]

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This week’s most awesome low carb recipes–as selected by being the most popular among the week’s posting on the Low Carb Zen Facebook page–has nice variety. We’ve got some breakfast items, lunch, dinner and sides or snacks. There also seems to be an emphasis on simple, workable ideas that are practical for everyday kind of meals. Duly noted, low carbers! So without further ado, here we go!

This Week’s Most Awesome Low Carb Recipes…

This Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Bacon Casserole could not be more simple. A few, everyday ingredients, plop into a casserole dish, bake and boom! Carb-friendly dinner. 
What lovely little Egg Puffs! I don’t eat a ton of eggs, but I do want to try these. You’ll need either Parchment Paper or some Silicone Baking Mats to make these so the puffs don’t stick to your cookie sheet
This Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar Soup sounds a-maz-ing! I would definitely suggest grating your own cheese for it; did you know store-bought grated cheese has starch added to keep it from sticking together? Plus, freshly grated cheese tastes so much better! I grate a lot of cheese, so I use this nifty Drum Grater to make quick work of it. 
Well, some Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs are also an awesome idea. That bacon and Jalapeno just go together. I’d skip the small amount of sugar suggested altogether (or use something like Swerve), and then dish this up on a pretty egg platter
This Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken with Lime and Melted Mozzarella is super, super simple. You cook the chicken in your Crock Pot, then transfer it to a small casserole dish to broil a minute and melt the cheese. I also wouldn’t work about doing low-fat cheese, but then again, I don’t do South Beach, either. Looks scrumptious! 
The Chipotle Cheddar Broiled Avocados call for Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce sauce. Theresa suggested putting some shredded chicken or crumbled bacon underneath the cheese. I like the way that woman thinks! 
 ‎Low Carb‬ Kickin’ Chili is another slow cooker recipe – I’m digging that! Haven’t tried this version yet but it’s gotten great reviews from our members. 
Low Carb Southern Fried Chicken uses some whey protein and calls for optional oat fiber (which I’d probably just skip). But looking at this makes me want to whip out a big ol’ cast iron skillet and fry up some chicken for sure! 
 Savory Ricotta Snacks are another candidate for my muffin top pan – yay! I’d never heard of flaxseed oil before, but Olive Oil is not hard to come by. 
Easy Low Carb‬ Ice Cream Bars are calling to me! The recipe recommends a combination of Erythritol or Xylitol and liquid Stevia for the best results. A lot of time with low carb sweeteners, there is a synnergistic effect to using more than one. 

So, those are this week’s most awesome low carb recipes, according to the members of our Facebook page, anyway. Have you tried any of these? How did they work out for you?

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