Volume 1 – Introduction and Recipe Notes

Volume 1 – Introduction and Recipe Notes

I am providing this text, taken directly from the cookbook manuscript, so you can get a better idea of my low carb philosophies and cooking methods.

Welcome to delicious and nutritious low carb living.

I hope that you find my recipes and this book helpful and easy to use. I did my best to keep things simple. If there’s a shortcut to take in the kitchen that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for convenience, I usually manage to find and incorporate it. But I am very particular about my food – I have one hard and fast rule that I never break: It has to taste good, or I don’t eat it. It’s a good rule to live by.

I also believe in the Low Carb Way of Life with all my heart. The more I research and question and read, the more convinced I become that this really is the path to true health for many, if not most. And it is certainly no sacrifice – to the contrary, low carb eating is infinitely more versatile and satisfying than low fat. You just have to be creative, and it doesn’t hurt to be open to new things.
In the relatively short time since I began eating low carb, my tastes have undergone a profound transformation. I enjoy many foods today that I once shunned. The green beans that I used to dislike intensely taste delicate and sweet to me now, and the taste of white sugar and flour makes me recoil in disgust.
You, too, can build a healthier relationship with food. You just have to make a sincere commitment to yourself to do this. Do it without cheating for one month. You can do anything for just thirty days! Tell yourself that if you are really not happy at the end of thirty days, you can always change the game plan then. You have nothing to lose but excess weight and/or bad health. And when you make it to day thirty, you will join the ranks of millions of dedicated low carbers like myself who have vowed to never give up the energy and sense of well being that low carb eating brings. At that point, weight loss becomes just a pleasant side effect and this truly becomes a way of life instead of a temporary “diet”.
I did my best to keep the ingredient list short. Luckily, many or most of the “specialty” ingredients required are readily available in retail stores in many areas already. Given the effectiveness and resulting popularity of low carb eating, I suspect that the availability of low carb products will only continue to improve. That’s a mixed blessing — it can make life more convenient, but this Way of Eating (I REFUSE to say diet) works best when you keep your food as simple and natural as possible. Preparing the bulk of your food yourself insures not only that you are eating as healthily as possible, but that you will get the results you want.
Designate one day per week for food preparation. Roast pre-marinated meats for thin slicing later, shred and slice the less expensive cuts of bulk cheeses, boil eggs, bake a couple casseroles, a batch of muffins or mini quiches … portion out nuts, prepare tuna salad, and wash salad vegetables for easy assembly later …. cook bacon or sausage links or patties and freeze them in single servings so you can microwave them fast, later. If you make a commitment to surround yourself with the foods you like from among the many you are free to choose from, so that there’s always something for you to grab when you need to, I can almost assure you of success. And if you let yourself run out of convenient choices, I can almost assure you of trouble. Listen to your local Girl Scout — Always Be Prepared!
If you need to reduce your overall fat consumption for various health or gastrointestinal reasons, by all means go ahead and substitute reduced fat versions of the ingredients. Everyone reacts differently to different things, we are all individuals, and no one thing works for everyone. But low carb does work for me, and no matter how crazy the rest of my life may be at times, I have discovered that there is at least one area in which I am in complete and total control at all times – and that is: as far as what I put in my mouth and what I do not. I now view food as a source of fuel and health first, and a source of pleasure, last. But, one doesn’t necessarily have to preclude the other! And that is what this book is all about.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:

No laboratory analysis has been performed on any of the recipes herein. No guarantee is being made as to the accuracy of these statements and no liability will be assumed for any errors. This book does not attempt to provide complete instructions regarding cooking and safety procedures.
None of the recipes or material herein should be used as, or construed to be, medical advice of any kind. No one should ever undertake any weight loss, nutritional, or exercise program of any kind without prior consultation with, and continual monitoring by, a qualified physician.
IN OTHER WORDS: I did all the recipe analysis myself based on the best information available to me at the time. I cannot personally guarantee the accuracy of the information for individual ingredients, so I certainly can’t guarantee that the dish you end up with will exactly match the analysis I provide. As a dieter, it would be best for you to always count your own carbs, calories, etc., based on your own products and their labels.
 I expect my readers to be adults who already have a minimum proficiency in the kitchen as well as good old everyday common sense. If you burn yourself while cooking something from this book, or fail to cook, store, or discard something in a timely manner (or in the case of meat, in a “safe” way), that’s not my fault! Let’s be real, here. This is not a complete how-to-cook manual; this is just a cookbook.
This book is not intended to serve as a diet plan or to constitute medical advice of any kind. Please educate yourself about low carb eating by reading and adhering to one of the following plans. Or, read them all and learn things from all of them, as I did, thereby customizing the low carb plan that works best for you. My current favorites include: Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution, Protein Power Lifeplan, Life Without Bread: How a Low Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life, and the Schwarzbein Principle.
Please see a doctor regularly. As I said before, nothing is right for everyone and no one should do this alone. Have lab tests done both before, and during, so your improved results can serve as additional motivation for you in establishing better, healthier eating habits for a lifetime.

RECIPE NOTES

Splenda™ Granular is the artificial sweetener specified in all of my recipes, except those which only perform well (set up properly) with a sugar alcohol-based (maltitol) syrup. You can easily substitute other sweeteners if you prefer, since Splenda measures the same as sugar. I use Fiberfit instead, except when the dry bulk matters.

Wherever my recipes call for something “SF”, it stands for “Sugar Free”. (This is simply a space consideration.)

Whenever you see a measurement given in grams, it refers to actual weight. If you do not own a food scale, I highly recommend purchasing an accurate model. It makes food preparation and carb counting much easier and quicker, as well as more accurate. All metric conversions have been listed in mls, in order to avoid any confusion between weight versus volume.

The only sugar free flavored syrups I personally use and recommend are made by DaVinci Gourmet™. You can certainly substitute other brands, but you will likely get the best results in my recipes using DaVinci™ syrups. Please do not bake with syrups (or any other product) sweetened with aspartame, which is not heat stable.

I have listed the total carb grams for each recipe when made as directed, as well as total fiber and sugar alcohol grams wherever applicable. You do need to deduct the fiber from the carbs to arrive at the “effective carb count”, if your plan allows for these deductions.

 Whenever I list options in a recipe, I analyzed it using the first choice listed.

In recipes that call for protein powder, I am referring to shake mix. I figured carb counts based on using a brand with 3 carbs per cup. I did substitute several different brands in various recipes, and most worked out well, other than a difference in taste between some brands. I recommend a brand that blends soy, whey, and egg protein, for the best baking results. The different textures between brands did cause some small variances in the final products. Please keep in mind that small adjustments in the quantities of protein powder or liquid may be required depending on the brands used, and if you accidentally bake up something with the texture of a tennis ball, a different brand of protein powder may be the cure.

 Almond flour, unsweetened coconut, flax seeds, and nut meals are often sold in bulk in the U.S., rarely seem to use a brand name, and often bear no nutrition label (or worse, incorrect data). In instances like these, my nutritional counts are based on USDA information and weights/measures tested personally by Yours Truly.

Many of my recipes call for vinegar. In recipes which call for cooking after the addition of vinegar, you may substitute an equal amount of wine, if you wish.

Recipes that call for minced garlic were formulated and analyzed using prepared minced garlic, in a jar. You may substitute fresh garlic, but I find the extra work involved is usually not reflected with improved flavor in the finished products, so I do not bother with fresh garlic very often myself. I call for garlic powder in many other recipes, and I have found that the more “granulated” ones work a lot better for me than the brands that actually resemble powder, in so far as their textures.

When a recipe calls for the zest (peel) of a lemon and some of its juice, you should of course always use the freshly squeezed juice. If a recipe calls for lemon juice only, I typically use bottled juice with good results. Only go to extra trouble in the kitchen when the taste is directly affected! Otherwise, make it easy on yourself. You will probably find that you enjoy cooking “from scratch” more, and may do it more often.

 ThickItUp™ tends to thicken after setting, so leftovers and sauces using this ingredient may need to be thinned when reheated, for best results. Guar gum can usually be substituted for ThickItUpNotStarch at the ratio of 1/6 the amount with decent results – if the recipe calls for 3 Tb. ThickItUp, you can substitute 1-1/2 tsp. (1/2 Tb.) of guar gum, if you wish. The guar gum is MUCH more likely to lump, so use extreme caution when substituting.

Baked goods using soy do not keep well for any length of time. I suggest portioning and freezing them promptly. You can then thaw just the amount needed. Not only will it taste better, you will be less likely to eat on impulse and that can help you achieve your nutritional goals more consistently.

 My main dishes often call for a small amount of chopped onions and I use frozen, pre-chopped onions most of the time. If you can’t find the pre-chopped frozen onions in your store, or if you just prefer to do this yourself, chop one onion, spread it out on a flat baking sheet in a single layer, then freeze it uncovered for about one hour. Scrape the onion pieces into a plastic bag and remove excess air, for long term freezer storage. You will be able to measure out the right amount easily, each time, because the individual pieces will stay separate instead of clumping all together in one big frozen ball. Use this same method for preserving fresh berries, raw diced bell peppers, blanched vegetables, etc., when they are in season and are therefore less expensive.

If I call for “cream” without specifying a particular type, use whatever kind you would like. The small variance in carbs between half and half and whipping cream is usually not enough to affect the average carb count of a single serving. Nutritional data in these instances has been based on using half and half cream.

In some recipes that call for bake mix as an ingredient, I only list one set of nutritional values. In these cases, using any of the versions of bake mix result in such similar data that I simply chose not to list it separately.

Freshly ground pepper is ALWAYS best!

Karen

About Karen

Less than a year after starting a low-carb diet, I was TEN SIZES and SIX HUNDRED cholesterol points lighter! Now, YEARS later, (I am into "decades" now) I STILL love and live a low-carb life! Interests I have TWO grand-angels now, a husband of 24 years, and two kids, one of whom is grown and making those grandbabies (my girl), the other still in school (my boy). I do everything for the office end of my husband's electrical contracting business, as well as everything for my website(s), and am fortunate enough to (read that: I worked my butt off so I could!) live in the beautiful Vail Valley of Colorado. When I can find a spare minute, which isn't that often, I like to ride my big bad motorcycle or ski, depending on the weather.
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