THE Premier Low-Carb store .. .. AND Meeting Place

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year Everyone!


How did this year fly by so quickly? So much happened - lots good, some bad, some sad! I guess that is life, but thankfully, it was lots good too.

The biggest thing for me personally was the loss of my Shiba Inu, Happy, who was with us for 14 years. I blogged about him and it did help me to write things down - I'm sorry if anyone got annoyed by the off-topic posts. I will forever miss him while I am still here, however, I have to believe he is well now and out of pain.

God bless you all in the New Year and may your New Year dreams all come true - especially your weight loss dreams!

Friday, December 18, 2009

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE (GF)


PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE
Very rich fudgey confection for Christmas or anytime. I used Peter Pan peanut butter (sweetened with Splenda). Merry Christmas!!

½ cup SPLENDA® Granular
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated Erythritol
¼ cup whole or skim milk powder
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp evaporated milk or cream
1 tbsp water
4 tbsp vanilla whey protein

In medium, nonstick saucepan, stir together SPLENDA® Granular, peanut butter, erythritol, whole milk powder, butter, evaporated milk or cream and water. Keep stirring until the butter has melted, then stir less than a minute longer, or until the peanut butter smells a little toasty, and the fudge pulls away slightly from the sides, when stirring with a long wooden or plastic mixing spoon.

In food processor with sharp blade, process fudge with vanilla whey protein until smooth. Quickly transfer to a small, square container. The fudge begins to harden almost immediately. (I used a plastic Tupperware-type dish that was about 5 inches by 5 inches.) Place in the freezer until set and then transfer to the refrigerator. Keep refrigerated.

Yield: 25 pieces, 1 piece:
2.3 g carbs with evap. milk
2.1 g carbs with whipping cream

FRUIT COCKTAIL CHEESECAKE SQUARES (GF)


FRUIT COCKTAIL CHEESECAKE SQUARES
These squares are loosely based on my fruit cocktail cheesecake, which is lovely, and if anyone wants that recipe, I’ll post it as well, although I don’t think I have any photos of it at the moment. I have made it so often; you’d think I would have photographed it!

Kent Altena produced a video for making this dessert.  He likes blueberries in it.  Watch it here. 

Crust:
1 ½ cups ground almonds or
Almond flour
¼ cup vanilla whey protein
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten, OR oat flour
4 Splenda packets
1/3 to ½ cup butter, melted
Topping:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
½ cup SPLENDA® Granular
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned fruit cocktail in juice or water, drained

Crust: In medium bowl combine almond flour, vanilla whey protein, vital wheat gluten or oat flour, Splenda and butter. Press into an 8-inch square glass dish. Bake in 350°F oven 10 minutes.

Topping: In food processor, process cream cheese. Add egg, sour cream, SPLENDA® Granular, butter, and vanilla extract; process until smooth. Stir in fruit cocktail. Pour over crust evenly. Bake in 350°C oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until set.

Yield: 20 squares, 1 square:
139.3 calories; 4.3 g protein; 12.2 g fat; 3.1 g carbs

What Causes Cancer?

Apparently, that is still not very clear. Many or most of us have had a loved one or acquaintance who has had a battle with cancer - few diseases are more frightening. The statistics are 1 in 3. Here is a very in-depth, excellent article that is worth reading. Low-carbing is highly recommended to prevent cancer. Cancer: Disease of Civilization. Many primitive people have never experienced cancer in their population. Why? One could hazard a guess that they eat differently and more as nature intended, and that perhaps our processed foods are killing us prematurely.

This was one of the conclusions:

There are 4 aspects of modern 'lifestyle' that increase the risk of a cancer. The first is a carb-based diet, the second is polyunsaturated vegetable oils and margarines, the third is a low blood cholesterol level and the last is lack of sunshine. In other words, all the 'healthy' things we are advised to do increase cancer risk.

Christmas is the Season for giving


Anyone who has been thinking about buying my cookbooks for themselves or as a gift for a loved one, please email me at Jennifer.Eloff@gmail.com (just mention this blog post). I may be able to get you a much better price than the ones quoted on my website.

For more information about my cookbooks, check out the Blurbs about each of them in the right column of my blog.

Merry Christmas everyone and thank you for visiting my blog, and, especially thank you to those of you who take the time to occasionally comment. Love getting comments, as it makes me realize somebody out there is actually benefiting from my work. It encourages me to do better.

God bless you all,
Jennifer

PUMPKIN SPICE CHEESECAKE (GF)


Yes, I know, it's not Thanksgiving anymore. :-) I was tardy in putting this recipe up on my blog. Squirrel it away for another day.

PUMPKIN SPICE CHEESECAKE
A sweetened whipped topping will probably be the “icing on the cake” so to speak. I sprinkled grated chocolate over the top.

Crust:
1 ½ cups ground almonds or
Almond flour
¼ cup vanilla whey protein
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten, OR oat flour
4 Splenda packets
1/3 to ½ cup butter, melted
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Batter:
2 pkgs (16 oz) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup SPLENDA® Granular
½ cup powdered erythritol
4 Splenda packets
2 tbsp DaVinci Sugar Free Gingerbread syrup
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten, OR oat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp pumpkin spice
½ oz grated unsweetened baker’s chocolate (optional)

Crust: In medium bowl combine almond flour, vanilla whey protein, vital wheat gluten or oat flour, Splenda and butter. Press into a 9-inch pie dish. Bake in 350°C oven 10 minutes.

Cheesecake Batter: In food processor with sharp blade, process cream cheese. Add egg, sour cream, pumpkin, SPLENDA® Granular, Splenda (from packets), DaVinci Gingerbread syrup, butter, vital wheat gluten (or oat flour), cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice. Process until well combined. Spread batter over crust. Bake in 350°C oven 25 to 35 minutes, or until set. When cool, sprinkle with grated chocolate, if desired.

Yield: 12 servings, 1 serving:
306.8 calories; 10.6 g protein; 26.8 g fat; 6.0 g carbs

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not A Diet But a Lifestyle - I'm Not Saying What You Are Thinking


I say this, because although I remain firmly convinced after 12 years on this WOE that a diet lower in carbohydrates is much healthier than a diet high in carbohydrates, especially processed, refined carbohydrates, I loathe and detest counting carbohydrates, calories or whatever. I cannot conceive of weighing my food before eating it - things like that! It could be that it is pure laziness on my part (probably), or maybe it is impatience to eat when I am hungry and not wanting to bother with the mental math part - either way I can't seem to bring myself to do it. However, I have a pretty good idea of how many carbs are in the foods I am eating - give or take. I have a fairly high tolerance for carbohydrates and my weight is okay for a middle-aged woman (oh geesh, I just realized I'm probably a senior now at 52 and not middle-aged as such) who spends a lot of time cooking and baking, but I could stand to lose those few lbs and get to the weight I was when I was younger. If not to look better, but to at least be able to wear those clothes in my wardrobe that are gathering dust, and occasionally mold in this humid climate.

If any of you out there are like me, then you will like this approach as well. I mentioned it last year at about this time too, but did not follow through, thanks to having guests come stay in December and again in January. Then I forgot all about that exciting new idea of mine - Intermittent Fasting. Before you have a fit - remember you eat every single day! I like to have a window where I can eat two meals and a snack (or not). Usually this window of eating is earlier in the day and is about 5 or 6 hours long. The rest of the time - 18 to 19 hours, I don't eat. I get to have some tea with milk and Splenda, if I choose. If I am beside myself hungry, I'll have a teaspoon of peanut butter or cream cheese with my tea and that will settle me, until I eat again the next day. Sooo, I love how it makes me feel, how I don't have to think about food as much, how I have all this energy, and best of all how my stomach and waistline shrinks and I can feel my ribs really well again.

This is not an excuse to eat junk though. I still eat relatively low-carb, however, I won't count anything and I'm not against occasional splurges (a small potato or 3 tbsp of rice) or a banana here and there, for instance. However, if I wanted to, I could easily be in good ketosis, if I went very low-carb. For some people, this would be a big bonus in appetite suppression, as well as speedier weight loss. I don't do as well in deep ketosis. I don't drink enough and end up dehydrated - especially, during the night. I have to be drinking water through the night and I don't particularly want to do that. So, to make up for the fact that I don't get into deep ketosis, I have a day or two each week where my calories are really low at about 500 to 900 calories, and that keeps the weight coming off.

If you'd like to receive the free e-book about the IF way of life, written by a physical fitness trainer, Mike O'Donnell, click here: www.theilife.com. This book is very informative and should help you on your way.

If you're able to do Atkins or Protein Power or any of those structured diets with ease, then there is no point in doing intermittent fasting. However, my research tells me that people who do adopt this way of life are invariably also in control of their eating and reach their goal weight 9 times out of 10. They feel much happier and are much more in control of their eating. Grazing all day long is a recipe for eating too much and having too much insulin (fat storing hormone that lowers blood sugar) running around in the body, creating more opportunity for fat storage. Too much insulin means we're more susceptible to diseases that come with age, as a result of inflammation in the body. IF is a powerful way to decrease inflammation in the body. It is only now being discovered that inflammation is one of the main reasons for heart disease.

Hope this protocol proves to be the answer for some folks out there. It couldn't be easier - no counting, no worrying about food and calories endlessly, but plenty of freedom to enjoy food and experience true hunger before eating - plus all the benefits of low-carbing and yet some!

Carbs in My Recipes

One or two people have said to me that in some cases the serving sizes would be a bit smaller than they would eat. So then my solution is - have two servings. (smile) The other thought and this is for the die hard carb counters (nothing wrong with that!) is to reconfigure the number of servings that you would prefer in a particular food item. For instance, my Deluxe White Chocolate, page 90 of More Splendid Low-Carbing. The serving size is 64 pieces in an 8-inch square glass dish.

Nutritional analysis: 64 pieces, 1 piece
43.9 calories; 1.2 g protein; 3.9 g fat; 1.1 g carbs

This is where I'd say - okay, have two pieces, however, if you'd prefer then do the math:

Say, you'd like 36 larger squares, then you would need to find the total number of carbs in the dish. So, 64 pieces x 1.1 = 70.4 carbs in total

Now divide the total carbs by 36 and you have the number of carbs for the larger serving size: 70.4 carbs divided by 36 = 1.9 g
carbs


You can do this with any of my recipes - just pencil in your serving size and carb count in your fave recipes. A calculator (either online) or a physical calculator (I prefer this, but then I prefer reading a real cookbook to reading recipes online - old fashioned, fuddy duddy giving away her age here!)

Remember although my recipes reflect net carbs, most of my recipes have less than 0.5 g fiber to subtract, and many, if not most, contain no fiber to subtract. Truth is fiber should never have been included in the carb count for nutritional analysis. Fiber is not a carbohydrate.

Happy Low-Carbing!! Enjoy the season. It's the season to be with your loved ones.
Jennifer

When Not to Use Erythritol


I like Erythritol in combo with Splenda Granular in much of my baking, however, here's the thing. Erythritol will often have a tendency to recrystallize and at other times if one uses too much of it, the cooling effect on the taste buds is way too noticeable.

I have found powdered Erythritol to be more useful than the granular type, but have found uses for both.

Erythritol is horrible in any kind of oatmeal cookie or even peanut butter cookie. It does not pair well with oatmeal especially - simply for reasons of taste. The cooling effect will be extremely noticeable and will almost taste bitter.

Erythritol should not be used in cheesecakes where there is no other liquid ingredient - no bake cheesecakes or baked or for cream cheese frosting without enough liquid ingredients, as it tends to recrystallize. Ever eaten something where the sugar has not dissolved - it's crunchy in a "sandy" sort of way. Ugh! Not too pleasant, hey? Same thing happens with Erythritol in these applications.

I have used it in some fudge-like confections with cream cheese (recipes on my blog) - in this case the confection gets frozen. It was not a problem in those cases, however, in any other cream cheese application, I'd be wary to say the very least.

Erythritol is super as it has hardly any carbs or calories and has little or no effect on blood sugar, plus the added benefit of no intestinal distress. It is not the sweetest (only 70% as sweet as sugar) or most successful sugar alcohol to use in baking, however, combined with Splenda Granular, the sweetness level is raised and the synergy and texture the two provide is satisfying. Other sugar alcohols might be better in confections and baking, however, I cannot tolerate the intestinal distress. No thanks! I boycott any products containing other sugar alcohols, as I've learned the hard way that they don't agree with me. If you do a search at the top left-hand corner for Erythritol, you'll find a more in-depth discussion about Erythritol.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I watched the Julie and Julia Movie last night


Aaaah, I loved it and I highly recommend it! I blogged about it here and here before and was hoping to see it at that point. Julie Powell and her 365-day Julie/Julia Project led to a book deal as well as a movie.

I watched enraptured. The weird thing is, even today, I can hardly understand how I got into this business myself and why my life, amongst other things, revolves around recipes, cookbooks, dreaming about food (much too much!) and blogging (although I'm so very small in this universe compared to the great ones like Julia, I know, and I really don't care). Haha, last night, while sleeping, after watching the movie, I dreamed about Julie and Julia, and I was cooking up a storm as well, with the result that I woke up not at all hungry, the way I usually am. My eldest son, Daniel, surprised me with the movie - what a sweet thing to do! I was so touched, as I'd been really wanting to see this movie for a while, and it seemed everyone else but me had seen it.

Meryl Streep, one of my favorite actresses to admire - not so much for her beauty (although she can be very pretty), but for her spirit, her talent and integrity - did a fantastic job of portraying Julia Child. I loved her in this movie. Fabulous, Fabulous!!

Julie, is petite, and adorable, and pretty, and ridiculously skinny for a cook! I have to wonder if she really ate all her creations as she seems to indicate. Not that I'm very big, but I could always lose up to 10 lbs (my New Year's resolution is to get serious about that for once). Oh, wait a minute - that is the actress! A quick Google found a more "real" looking foodie doing a cooking demonstration on Food Network. The actress did a great job and was quite funny at times too - prone to tantrums and emotional meltdowns. The husbands - hmm, they were great in their supporting roles too, but I'll admit I was almost totally focused on the intriguing cooks leading their parallel lives during different time zones.

Here is an interesting interview with the real live Julie Powell.

The only part of the movie that made me feel bad was that Julia did not appear to appreciate Julie's efforts with her cooking and her public blog to showcase the famous cook's recipes. The husband hinted that it might be her occasional bad word (this girl reminds me of Bridget Jones) that Julia found offensive and disrespectful. I felt sorry for both of them, and somehow wanted that "happy ever after" to come at the end, but that part of the story did not resolve itself. However, Julie, to her credit, although she was very upset and cried bitterly, got over it, and still continued to love Julia and her recipes from afar.

I did go and look at Julie's blog. Oh my, talk about a popular blog! She reminds me a bit of Bridget Jones from the movie, Bridget Jones's Diaries. The only exception I took was the occasional bad language (bit more than that and her irreverend use of the Lord's name), but her writing style is anything but boring - quite entertaining and lively. Her posts read at a quick pace, and for me, brings Julia Child and her recipes alive again in an offbeat sort of way. However, the blog looks very unassuming - as in really blah - no pics or anything - just goes to show talent will out, even without the tinsel trimmings. It looks like the blog ended the day after Julia's death at the age of 91 on August 12th, 2004. Geesh, did she really smoke as well as eat all that butter? LOL

Oh wait a minute, Julie has another blog and she is still writing!! What Could Happen? and a website for her book/s: JuliePowellbooks.com

Bless you Julia! Your love of food and cooking was catchy and left a lasting impression on many, many people - me included. Bless you, Julie Powell, as well, for continuing her dream and creating your own at the same time. Bon Appetit!

P.S. Few people know this, but More Splendid Desserts was picked up by a French Publisher in Quebec, Canada, years ago and translated into the French language. I always used to sign my first two books - Addressed to the person in particular, then "Bon Appetit! Jennifer Eloff. That book is still selling but the publishing company quit paying me royalties years ago. That French version and the English More Splendid Desserts had stories attached to them where the publishers ripped me off - sadly! That is why I switched to self-publishing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

*HORSERADISH SHRIMP DIP* (GF)



HORSERADISH SHRIMP DIP
Serve this dip with salad shrimp hung decoratively over side of a dip bowl. 

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (125 mL)
2 tbsp tomato paste (25 mL)
1 tbsp lemon juice (15 mL)
1 tbsp prepared horseradish (15 mL)
1 tsp SPLENDA® Granular (5 mL)
1/4 tsp hot chili powder (1 mL)

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, tomato paste, lemon juice, horseradish, SPLENDA® Granular and chili powder. Stir well.

Helpful Hints: Serve with a few shrimp and/or raw induction-style veggies.

Yield: 3/4 cup, 1 tsp per serving
22.5 calories; 0.1 g protein; 2.4 g fat; 0.3 g carbs

Splenda Look-A-Likes


Do you remember Altern - Walmart's Splenda brand - cheaper than Splenda? This same company, Heartland Sweeteners, is making Nevella (A Splenda knockoff), which comprises the granular form for baking and the small packets for sweetening beverages. No doubt its prices will be quite competitive with Splenda Granular. As I don't live in the States, you'll be able to verify this at the stores. Apparently, the Dollar Stores and Meijer's carry this brand. Nevella also contains a probiotic. Can you imagine? Probiotics are useful (found in yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, etc.) and are great for keeping the digestive tract healthy.

They also have a Nevella brand without probiotics (as in the above picture). I was looking at the nutritional analysis of the granular for baking and was disappointed to see they stated less than 1 gram carbohydrate per tsp. That is less than useful information for carb counters. At least Splenda Granular states 0.5 grams per tsp. One can plug that into a nutritional program and work with that, or one can manually add up the carbohydrates. I think that is a big drawback, however, it does not surprise me at all. Companies often fudge things - if it is less than one gram for instance (could be 0.9 grams) of trans fats, the food product will say 0 grams of trans fats per serving. That is hardly true if one has more than the minimum serving, which is usually ridiculous anyway! It's almost as if they think they can fool us. It's like the Splenda Granular box saying it is a 0 calorie sweetener. That's a lie, unfortunately, and at best, it is fudging things, because they're allowed to, according to the FDA rules. I, for one, don't appreciate that kind of fudging of the numbers.

Another reason this company is not sensitive to the needs of low-carbers, is that it is still stuck in the low-fat world, same as Johnson and Johnson, the company that distributes Splenda. Taking one look at the recipes told me that! What a shame! They should address more than the regular crowd, besides a product like Splenda and the look-a-likes are great for people with diabetes - why leave them out of the target market? Well, possibly because people with diabetes are told they can eat anything as long as they use medication and/or insulin to keep their blood sugars more normal. That's really a band aid treatment in my opinion. Each time the blood sugar goes out of whack, it causes a little damage and then the band aid is needed afterwards. How about one prevents the situation in the first place with a low-carb diet? I'm getting off track here, and going off on a tangent. To me, the biggest oxymoron in the low-calorie sweetener world is combining Splenda and sugar - wow, now why in the world would I buy that? In any case, if I did want that, it would be cheaper to combine the two in my own kitchen!

Funny world we live in, hey?! Not funny, haha, but funny as in strange/weird!

Happy Low-Carbing
Jennifer