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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Five Dynamic Views of My Blog - Cool Stuff!

 I hope you can see this! 

Update: newer post - Finally figured it out - See the URL address at the top? Type in the word 'view' next to the slash sign and hit enter. You should be able to access all the different views as seen here: COOL LOOKS

Basically this is how the URL will look: http://low-carb-news.blogspot.com/view

Five different ways to view my blog.  One might need one of the newer computer features, like Chrome, to view them, but how neat!  Enjoy if you have that ability to view the Splendid Low-Carbing blog in different ways.  Thanks to my readers for coming back again and again to visit my blog.  I'm grateful.  I will have some giveaways of my books at some point to say thanks, so keep an eye open for that.

By the way, I really wish my blog looked a little less braggy, if you know what I mean. Ian, my sweet hubby, set it up for me (I'm not technologically clever like that).  In addition www.low-carb.us is also his doing.  That is a painting at the top of my blog.  Ian commissioned paintings of me (at a much younger age - ha!) from a well-known Canadian artist, Jonathon Bowser (he calls his art "goddess art", a name I personally don't care for at all - I just look at them as pretty paintings) without my knowledge.  He likes doing things like that.  :)  Anyhow if anyone thinks I'm full of myself - nothing could be further from the truth. I'm very down-to-earth, a bit impulsive by nature (bad-bad), friendly but quite a private person in real life who loves God and her small family of 3 and few friends so much.  I'm quite aware of my faults, so I don't think of myself as better than another person.  That is the truth. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Inulin - A product gaining popularity - good for us or not?

Inulin is extracted from chicory roots.  It is a carbohydrate, but since it is not absorbed from the digestive tract, it is considered a fiber.

All I know is that I'm fairly fiber-intolerant.  I can't have too much or I'm in trouble.  As for most of the sugar alcohols, other than dear sweet erythritol, I'm also in trouble.

I read about inulin in someone's low-carb recipe and was a bit curious, so did a bit of digging and found this article:

Inulin - Friend or Foe?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Leftover Bake Mixes - What To Do With Them

 Unsifted wheat flourImage via Wikipedia  I use leftover bake mixes to bread things such as eggplant, calamari, chicken, and even for making Swiss steak.  I also use it as a filler for hamburgers, tuna or salmon patties and meat loaves.  It's incredibly handy to have in the freezer.  My bake mixes never go waste.  You can also lump different leftover bake mixes together in one container. If I'm doing a lot of baking, I simply keep adding to my fave bake mix and place in a sealed transparent container at room temperature.  To lower the carbs in the bake mix "breading", I usually add some grated Parmesan cheese (the kind in the bottle or can) and spices, of course.

The reason I came up with bake mixes is I really didn't have time to fiddle with each recipe - i.e. come up with something to replace the all-purpose flour each and every time.  That would have driven me nuts!  Maybe I am a bit lazy, but that's the story behind them. Give me a simple way to make recipes work each time and I'm happy. With the gluten-free and low-carb bake mixes, we are blazing a new trail.  I'm very happy with my new Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix and it is the one I will be using primarily.  I will unveil it in the next little while.




Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oven Roasted Veggies (GF)

 This is a photo of roasted root veggies, like beets, sweet potatoes, onions and parsnips.


OVEN ROASTED VEGETABLES
Roasted veggies are tantalizing tasty when they are turning brown, caramelizing or crisping. I’m not going to give a carb count here because the variety of veggies one can use is practically endless and besides veggies rarely make anyone put on weight.

Green beans
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Zucchini
Squash
Eggplant – cut into 1/2 -inch thick rounds
Asparagus spears
Brussels sprouts
Portabello mushrooms
Turnips
Rutabagas
Onions
All kinds of peppers
Garlic
Beets
Pumpkins
Tomatoes
Carrots

In large bowl, place vegetables, suitably prepared and cut.  In small bowl, combine olive oil and desired spices such as garlic salt, black pepper, parsley, Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, rosemary or thyme.  Pour over vegetables and toss to coat well.  Place vegetables on a large jelly roll pan or cookie sheet that has been greased or lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven and after 15 minutes, stir and turn.  Roasted asparagus spears should be checked after 8 minutes.  Keep checking and stirring or turning vegetables as needed; remove cooked, tender vegetables that are nicely browned around some of the edges.

Helpful Hints:  While raw garlic is pungent, roasted garlic has a sweeter, milder flavor. It is so mild-tasting that you can spread six cloves of roasted garlic over a slice of low-carb bread just as you would butter.  Lay a sheet of foil and lay it on a baking sheet. Cut about 1/4-inch off the pointed end of the garlic bulb. This exposes the top of most of the garlic cloves in the bulb. Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) olive oil over the exposed cloves. Sprinkle top with salt and black pepper, if desired. Wrap foil up around garlic bulb and seal the foil at the top to enclose garlic bulb.   Bake 30 to 40 minutes in 400°F (200°C) oven, or until the garlic cloves are golden brown and completely soft.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

*Crispy Potato Skins* (GF)


 CRISPY POTATO SKINS
Jonathan said with delight, “This is a great appetizer.  Put it in the book!”  Looks like I skipped the cheese for the photo.
P.S.  Watch the non low-carbers grab your potato substitute!  Haha! (wink)

Thanks very much for your interest in my recipes:  Find this recipe in Low-Carbing Among Friends.


Yield:  6 servings
1 serving
235.9 calories
9.0 g protein
19.0 g fat
6.0 g carbs

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gluten Intolerance (not Celiac) - Real or Imagined?


"A new study in the journal BMC Medicine may shed some light on why. It shows gluten can set off a distinct reaction in the intestines and the immune system, even in people who don't have celiac disease."  To view this article:  click here.

If you suspect gluten intolerance, then the logical thing to do is cut it out for a few months and see how much better you feel and if your symptoms subside.  They suggest testing for Celiac anyway, but to get a positive on Celiac, the procedure is a little more invasive than most people would like.

Good news, I thought, is that people with mere gluten intolerance do not have damage to their intestines or a leaky gut. 

I don't think I am gluten-intolerant.  I'm more fiber-intolerant.  My husband might be allergic to wheat as he gets some congestion after ingesting it, he thinks.  Time will tell as I'm mostly cooking and baking low-carb and gluten-free these days.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Soaking Grains to Make Them More Digestible


This is news to me, honestly.  I'd never heard about this until Kirk mentioned it in a recent comment.  I was reactive to coconut flour, but you know what?  Not so much anymore.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that a) I'm getting used to it or b) I took Saccharomyces boulardii which has been shown to support a healthy balance of flora in the gut.  Anyway, did some more testing today and should be unveiling my new Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix soon.

Kirk was suggesting that by soaking flour like coconut flour it would make it more digestible - getting rid of some of the phytic acid in coconut flour.  I found Sarah of the Healthy Home Economist website 

She has a neat video that explains pretty much what to do.  I found it really interesting that despite using 1 cup of liquid or more for one cup of flour, the next day one uses the exact same amount of wet/liquid ingredients that are in the recipe.  I checked up with her and this is the case.  

The Nourishing Gourmet explains why she goes to the trouble of soaking grains.

If one is only slightly sensitive to gluten in wheat, this method will make consuming it more tolerable for the body.   

Sometimes I get more emails than I do comments!   I received this interesting email tip from Marilyn.
I realize you probably don't have a Trader Joe's in your area, but for those who do, I highly recommend their Sprouted 7-Grain Bread.  It is 7 carbs total of which 3 are fiber making 4 net carbs and 60 calories a slice.  Really good bread toasted - I haven't tried it without toasting it.  Only about $2.50 a loaf in the Nashville store. 
The blurb on the back of the wrapper says in part: "Sprouting helps convert complex starches to simpler sugars making sprouts more easily digestible and naturally lower in carbohydrates and calories than the original grain. . .Trader Joe's Sprouted 7 Grain Bread is a mix of freshly sprouted whole grains of wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, rice and millet with wheat flour, lightly sweetened with honey and molasses."  I wonder if those who are gluten-intolerant could handle a little of it.
Just wanted to pass this tip on.  Thanks for all your great information.

Me again: I wish we had a Trader Joe's for sure!  We have one tiny health food store and it is a poor excuse for a health food store compared to what I was used to in Vernon, British Columbia.  I had not one, but two stores to choose from as well.  Sigh.  I do miss that - greatly!  These days I grind my own almond flour from sliced almonds that have a tiny bit of skin on them still.




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shhhh! Eureka I think I Have It Finally - My Splendid GF Bake Mix


I'll unveil my Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix one of these days soon.  I need to try at least a couple more recipes to be certain. I don't want to fall flat on my face again like last time by unveiling a recipe too soon! I'll let you in on this part of the secret.  It's actually going to be quite a bit lower in carbs than the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix, which I think I will abandon soon in favor of the new one, due to the fact that it uses much less Xanthan gum and is quite a bit lower in carbs.

Stay tuned for my next post.  It's going to be quite interesting....soaking coconut flour or oat flour to make it more digestible.  Truth be told I eat too much of my baking and even with only 2 tbsp coconut flour in 2 1/2 cups of bake mix, I'm still a bit reactive.  That's the only downside for me.  However, I know other people love coconut flour as an alternate low-carb flour.  It could be the fiber that catches me or it could be the phytic acid that Kirk alerted me to in a comment.  I had never heard of soaking grains before this.  Apparently soaking wheat flour for 8 hours, it can break down some of the gluten and anti-nutrients making it more digestible.  So for folks who are only mildly gluten-intolerant, this may actually be the answer (not that many of us consume wheat anymore on our low-carb WOL, but maybe whole wheat pastry flour could be "treated" this way).  People used to routinely soak flours, but I tell you that was a bit before my time of adulthood, because I just heard of it!  Anyway before I do my next post in this post, I'll shush.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix Not So Splendid


I've had some good successes with the bake mix, but I've also had some spectacular flops!  So, what's a girl to do?  I think I'll go back to the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake mix and maybe call it my Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix.  I will do a bit more experimenting with it and see how that goes, but I remember it worked well in a number of applications.  It made the best banana bread and cinnamon chocolate chip muffins.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.  I should not jump the gun so quickly and announce things prematurely.

*Green Beans Almondine* (GF)


 
 DELUXE GREEN BEANS ALMONDINE
A wonderful method to ensure these turn out just perfect each time!

Text Box: Yield:  6 servings
1 serving
75.8 calories
1.5 g protein
5.9 g fat
4.3 g carbs1 lb fresh green beans (0.454 kg)
3 tbsp butter (45 mL)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp salt (1 mL)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, (75 mL)
   toasted

 Cut green bean ends off, where necessary, and cut in half.  Rinse in colander.  Bring water (enough to cover beans) in large saucepan to boil, add beans and bring to boil again.  Pour beans into colander and rinse with very cold water.  This blanching of the green beans may be done earlier in the day.

In large electric frying pan or skillet, melt butter and add garlic.  Stir-fry garlic briefly until just beginning to turn color.  Add beans.  Sprinkle with salt and stir-fry 10 minutes, or until tender-crisp.  Add toasted almonds.  Stir-fry briefly.

Helpful Hint:  To toast almonds, add to dry nonstick frying pan on medium heat.  Stir-fry until slightly brown.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Diabetes and Low-Carb Living - Do they get it right?

I started thinking along these lines this morning after reading Laura Dolson's interesting article re a possible softening of the ADA's stance on low-carb diets.  It's a cheek as my friend, Barbara Goldstein, said that the ADA can pretend that they never suggested a high carb diet for people with diabetes, when all the evidence suggests otherwise.  Hmmm - I agree with Barbo, having produced two Splenda Cookbooks that were specifically geared for people with diabetes.  That was 18 years ago and the guidelines I followed did not key on carbohydrates, but fat was definitely the villain! 

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...Image via Wikipedia

I found this site for Diabetic Living that has a magazine they put out.  They mention 17 low-carb snacks - yummy!  Only problem is when I took a closer look, those snacks (not meals) in of themselves contained at least 15 to 20 grams of carbs and the emphasis is still on light yogurt and low fat milk.  Get this one - 3 graham cracker squares for 20 grams of carbohydrate!  (what a non-nutrient snack), popcorn, apples, oranges, peanut butter and whole wheat bread or half an English muffin (at least it was half - but who can stop there once one gets an insulin rush?), cheese and a bit of apple.  Here's a better snack - strawberries and cottage cheese (oh wait a bit - low fat cottage cheese!).  One cup of grapes - whew a lot of sugar for someone who has problems with their carbohydrate metabolism - no protein or fat to balance that out either!  Cereal, peanut butter and crackers and carrots, pita bread and hummus rounds up the snacks.  I don't know - I think they could have done much better, especially since we're talking about people who have diabetes!

To be fair, their low-carb meals looked much better - the few that I glanced at. So maybe they're getting there like Laura suggests.  It certainly would help so many people live happier, healthier lives.  About time!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

SPLENDID GLUTEN-FREE LOW-CARB BAKE MIX


After working and working on this, I finally arrived at 4 different gluten-free and low-carb bake mixes.  So, we have options!  My Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix (please note I'm abandoning this one) is very benign re tummy issues and that's what I like about that one. Here is the NEW Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix. My next favorite is the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix (I have also since abandoned this one but you're welcome to play with it, if you like - I found the xanthan gum was too much and I was reactive to it).  Actually the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix and the Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix are very similar, but I favor the other due to the fact that there is less fiber in it.  Liquid/wet ingredients may differ slightly between the two.  The Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix may need up to 1/4 cup less wet/liquid ingredients than the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix when substituting for regular white flour in recipes.  With both of them use 1/4 cup more bake mix when substituting for white flour.  When substituting the Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix for my other bake mixes, up to 1/4 cup less liquid/wet ingredients may be required.  If you find the batter is too moist, add a little more bake mix.  My recipes are very forgiving that way.

Four super bake mixes, but ones I am reactive to are also at these links:  The Coconut/Flax Gluten-Free Bake Mix #1 and the Coconut Flour/Flax Gluten Free Bake Mix #2 .   Not everyone has my tummy issues.  I do suffer from IBS occasionally and so I usually keep my baking to a dull roar these days.  However, I've had to do a lot of testing lately to arrive at all these bake mix options.  I hope someone out there appreciates my hard work.

Please note (updated March 10/2011):  These bake mixes are great in muffins, loaves, cookies, coffeecakes, some cakes and a few other applications, but will not be suitable for all applications nor for baking with yeast applications. In addition, my Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix and Vital Ultimate Bake Mixes and others may be used instead of the gluten-free bake mixes or the other way around  - the gluten-free bake mixes may be substituted for the Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix and Vital Ultimate Bake Mixes and others.  Liquid/wet ingredient requirements may differ slightly.

*Asparagus - A Spring Veggie* (GF)



I remember when I was living in Canada, seeing asparagus at a good price meant Spring had arrived!  Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, so eat some asparagus with a meal that you know is going to be high in sodium.  Did you know it is actually a herb (or does one say, an herb)?  1 Cup contains 43 calories, 4.6 g protein, 0.11 g fats, 7.6 g carbs and 2.85 g fiber (4.75 g net carbs).

Asparagus is also a rich source of minerals such as magnesium,  phosphorus, selenium, zinc, sodium, iron, copper, calcium and manganese. Vitamins such as, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin A, thiamine and niacin also are present in sufficient quantities.

Health Benefits:  It can help prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, prevent bladder and urinary tract infections and possesses antiviral and anti fungal properties.

Hmmm, asparagus recipes!

ASPARAGUS

This is an abundant spring vegetable, happily low in carbs.

Text Box: Yield:  8 servings
1 serving
13.6 calories
1.5 g protein
0.2 g fat
1.5 g carbs1 lb asparagus (0.454 kg)






Hold base of asparagus stalk firmly and bend stalk.  End will break off at place where stalks are too tough to eat. Discard ends and trim scales if stalks are gritty.  Cut asparagus diagonally crosswise in desired lengths.  In large saucepan, in boiling, salted water, add stalks and bring water to boil again.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until tender-crisp.  Whole asparagus will take about 6 to 7 minutes, cut-up stalks about 5 to 6 minutes.  Season with butter, salt and pepper or Hollandaise Sauce, page 92 or Lemon Sauce, page 77.

Friday, March 4, 2011

*Garlic Mushrooms* (GF)

  GARLIC MUSHROOMS

Quick and easy.  Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh ginger for a fragrant Asian twist.

Text Box: Yield:  6 servings
1 serving
69.7 calories
1.6 g protein
6.0 g fat
2.7 g carbs6 cups raw, sliced mushrooms (1.5 L)
3 tbsp healthy butter, page 96 (45 mL)
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger, optional (15 mL)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce (10 mL)
1 tsp dried parsley (5 mL), OR
  2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional) (25 mL)



Wash mushrooms thoroughly.  Set aside.  In large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter.  Add  ginger if using and garlic; saute until browning.  Add mushrooms, soy sauce and dried or fresh parsley; cook, stirring until mushrooms have softened.

High Triglycerides Raise Stroke Risk


Dr. Briffa had a very interesting article that makes us all even more glad to be low-carbing and keeping our triglycerides much lower as a result.  Cholesterol overall had practically no effect on the increased risk of stroke, however.  Triglyceride levels are raised by eating lots of refined carbohydrates.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Note To My Readers Who Don't Need to Be Gluten-Free



Some of you might be feeling a little like I've abandoned you now that I'm concentrating on gluten-free and low-carb.  Not at all.  You may continue to use my super Splendid Low-Carb bake mix cup-for-cup in place of the gluten-free ones. The carbs will be lower in the baked goodies, so that is a bonus.

Thing is, most of my gluten-free recipes will also have global appeal in the low-carb community, however, the minority who also have to be gluten-free can now also freely enjoy my recipes.  Did you know that about 1/4 of America has gone gluten-free?  Here is an article in 2008 that talks about it and in 2011 that trend is still going strong and gaining momentum.  However, the low-carb and gluten-free community is still somewhat ill-represented.  That is about to change as more and more people are providing alternatives for them.