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

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

"Bacon Bits are like the Fairy Dust of the Food Community."  Jim Gaffigan.

So True. Everything may actually be better with bacon. Some even call it "Meat Candy."  I don't know about that one, but I do know that some bacon will make my hubby eat things he would otherwise turn his nose up to. Like Spaghetti squash. Butter won't do the trick. Neither will cheese. But add bacon and brats? You have a hubby pleaser!

The bacon flavor comes double--even triple-- in this recipe. First and foremost, is the wonderful flavor of the Johnsonville Brats--the Cheddar and Bacon Brat. Not a bad carb option at 2 carbs per link. Gluten free too. These are super tasty.

The next layer of bacon flavor comes in your choice of options. I used Hormel Bacon Sprinkles. Tiny bits of real bacon that adds just a touch of bacony goodness to so many foods. And no prep for me. I can just shake them out of a bottle. You can also use J & D Bacon Salt. If you want to spend some extra time in the kitchen, I am certain some home fried bacon crumbles would be amazing too. But I am lazy. Sometimes. Like today. The 3rd bacon flavor wave comes from the Bacon Ranch dressing. That is my hubster's favorite.

Another lazy thing I do is to cook my spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker. So easy to handle. I like the texture too. I cut mine in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, then pressure steam (with a cup of water in the base)  for 12 minutes. This is slightly undercooked--perfect because we will be baking again once we have that yummy sausage filling.

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

1 spaghetti squash
4 Johnsonville Cheddar and Bacon Brats
1/2 onion
4 tbsp bacon ranch dressing
1/2 tsp Bacon Salt  or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp  Hormel Bacon Sprinkles
1 cup white cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. (They cut easier if microwaved 5 minutes and cooled) Cook squash  in an oven or pressure cooker until the skin pierces easily with a knife.

While squash is cooking, brown the brats in a skillet for 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup water and braise the brats in a lidded skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add sliced onion. Sauté until onion is golden. Remove sausages and slice into rounds.

Cut squash halves half again, leaving you with 4 wedges. Lightly beak up squash with the tines of a fork, but leave the outer shell intact. Distribute  1 tbsp Ranch dressing into the squash strands of each wedge. Sprinkle  Bacon salt or Bacon Sprinkles and salt over strands. Top with 2 tbsp of cheese on each wedge. Divide the sausage and onion mixture among the wedges. Top with remaining cheese. Place into a 425 degree oven until cheese is melted and  just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle with a touch more Bacon Ranch Dressing and Bacon Sprinkles for garnish.

Serves 4:  approx.  483 calories   12 net g carb (2 fiber)

So that is my culinary artistry for this week. I needed easy since I made a few dozen cake balls for last night's prom. The theme was a night in the Big Apple, so I made them in the colors of Tiffany's of New York. Not sure the students picked up on that one. So my cakepop maker got a work out, but not a low carb one this time! My cake pops are on the right side of the photo--almost cropped out. Funny how I don't get good shots for foods I don't make for the blog! It was a fun event, though tiring too!

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

Order our books at: 

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Hot Cuppa Inspiration - Roastaroma

Some mornings you just need your coffee. It is your friend. Sometimes you crave it at night, but just don't no what to do with all that energy at 2 a.m. Enter Roastaroma. It's not coffee. Now don't get me wrong. It doesn't even taste like coffee. When I first got it, excited by the reviews of all the folks who replace coffee cravings with this caffeine free herbal tea, is was quite underwhelmed. Sure, it was interesting. I didn't have that herbal tea undertone that all caffeine free teas seem to have to me. (Is it just me or do so many seem to taste alike regardless of flavor?) And it was kinda weak for my dark coffee loving palette. It was interesting. There is chicory, roasted barley and a touch cocoa in there. I like it, but I knew I was never going to crave it. It reminded me too much of all the coffee substitute concoctions our family tested out while we studied the Civil War. In the spirit of adventure, and willing to face hardships like the army boys did, we tried everything from chicory to toasted corn to peanuts brews. They were disgusting for the most part, but we tried. Yep, we were that family. But it was fun...and memorable.

So with its lackluster appearance in the Marshall home, this blend has been sitting ignored since the holidays. Today, I was totally out of coffee. Terrible, since I have a guest this week. I decided to brew this up really strong and add some other ingredients to amp the texture and flavor. I think I really found a winner. Look at the froth on top. The taste is much richer than my first taste test with a few additions. Granted it will still not be my morning eye opener, but the Roastaroma will combine nicely with my add ins to  make a fun coffee house kind of drink. For the Diner News, I recently made a coffee as a meal recipe that is very similar. I took the same ingredients, minimized them a bit, and made a frothy, sweet hot beverage you can enjoy any time of day with healthy ingredients and not too many calories. Up for the adventure?

Frothy Roastaroma

1 mug strongly brewed Roastaroma herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings
1 tsp coconut oil (I use refined with no coconut taste)
1 tsp collagen peptides or unflavored gelatin
1 tsp whey protein powder
1/8 tsp sunflower lecithin
pinch salt
sweetener to taste

Brew the tea for 5 minutes. Pour into a blender. (I used my bullet blender) Add coconut oil, collagen, whey protein, lecithin, salt and sweetener. If using a bullet blender, shake and open cap to release pressure before blending. Process 10-15 seconds. Pour into a mug and enjoy the creamy, frothy topping.

Serves 1: 50 calories  1 g carb

I love my flavored teas. I am kind of a collector, you  might say. This particular one is a little hard to find, but you can order it online at Vitacost, and it is on sale right now. No, I don't get paid anything for recommending the tea or the store. Just something I tried and decided to share with you. Feel free to share any of your finds here. I would love to feature them.

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

Order our books at: 

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

Friday, March 31, 2017

Firecracker Shrimp

Some like it hot! These little shrimp bites are something to tell about. A little fire and a little sweet. That tender chewiness of shrimp and savory enough to keep you coming back for more. And that's okay, because these little devils are super low calorie too.  In fitting with this month's theme for the Diner News, they have a slimming secret or two. Full of flavor, but no added fat. Sweet but no sugar. Spicy to make you happy and rev up your metabolism.

I like to add easy too. I start with cleaned, pre-cooked shrimp. No fail and no hunting for little veins. The tails are attached. I happen to love that. It makes me slow down to eat them and really consciously enjoy my meal. That is a slimming secret too. I have so many of them, you really think I would have become so skinny that I could just blow away. Alas, no. I will always need to be ever mindful in my eating. If you are the same, then this issue is for you!

Firecracker Shrimp

12 oz frozen cooked shrimp
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp Sambal Oelek
1 tsp tamari  or soy sauce
1 tbsp erythritol/ stevia blend sweetener
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch cayenne
2 Green onion tops or chives

Thaw and drain shrimp. In medium bowl, combine lime juice, vinegar and Sambal Oelek. Drizzle the juice and vinegar over the shrimp in a lidded container. Stir to coat.  In small bowl, combine sweetener, garlic powder and cayenne. Sprinkle this mixture over the surface of each shrimp. Marinate several hours as the shrimp thaws, stirring from time to time. To cook, simply warm everything in a nonstick skillet.  Garnish with diced green onion or chives.

Serves 3:  119 calories  2 net g carb

Note, that this serves three. Perfect for a meal for two and a leftover lunch. I do adore leftovers. I must admit that I have the most interesting lunches at school.  This shrimp would also be great to serve for a party. Just find some friends who love the heat as much as we do! I will admit to adding an extra sprinkle of crushed red pepper. That is up to you.

Get a nice serving of protein for just 119 calories. That leaves you plenty of room for veggies and even some caulirice or shirataki rice. Think how many veggies you can add and still have a super low calorie, low carb meal! In this month's Diner News, I share several recipes that use all the little secrets in my arsenal for a slimmer life. This one is both low carb and low fat. That adds up to low calories. Not that I am counting, but we must practice moderation, right?

Check out some of the other yummy foods in this issue that will keep you light. Order the 24/7 Low Carb Diner News here.

Prep Ahead Taco Cobb Salad Bowls

Sassy Cajun Skillet Dinner

Light Layered Lasagna in a Jar

Jicama Pickles

Green Monster Moonshine from THM

Asian Egg Muffins

Albuquerque Dirty Rice

Cranberry Slushie

Taco Train Soup ( adapted from THM's Woman's Day Article)

Arnold's Oolong

Green Chile Egg Cups

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

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

Order our books at: 

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

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

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

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

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

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

Serves 6:  11 calories   1 g carb

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

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

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

Order our books at: 

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Copycat Monterey Melt Burger

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

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

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

Copycat Monterey Melt Burgers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Order our books at: 

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rosemary's Cocktail Nuts

Just let me warn you now. Portion control ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serves 16:  169 calories  5 g carb

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

So Frugal Almond Dip

5 Spice Almonds

Sunflower Seed Hummus

Vanilla Pecan Butter

Thai Slaw with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Cowboy Crockpot Walnuts

Southwest Pepita Spread

Home Made Vanilla Almond Milk

Sweet Maple Pumpkin Seed Butter

Honey Sunflower Cookies

Chicken with Romesco Sauce

Bitchin' Sauce

Coconut Cashew Butter

Sunflower Seed Milk
Pesto Chicken

Remember to order the Diner News:

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

Order our books at: 

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

Monday, February 27, 2017

Honey Sun Butter Cookies

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

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

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

Honey Sun Butter Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

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