Friday, January 23, 2015


An article titled, "Endangered Cuban Cuisine Preserved by Cooks in America," by Colleen O'Conner was in the Denver Post today. I thought all three of the featured recipes looked like they would be easy to convert to low carb. Hmmm, somehow they looked strangely familiar--Oh, wait a minute, I already did that! A quick look though my recipe files turned up this one for Picadillo. (I have a flan recipe in Carb Wars too and I'm sure I also worked on a Ropa Vieja at some point. Still looking for that one.)

We may be able to travel to Cuba soon, but until then, we can celebrate our new Amigos by enjoying a taste of their distinctive cuisine.

This traditional Latin American stew is perfect for parties or buffets. I like to double the recipe and serve it from a slow cooker so it stays hot. Picadillo can also be used as a filling for empanadas, tamales, and fritters. (My recipe for Pumpkin Tamales, pictured above, is in Carb Wars.)

1 tsp bacon fat, lard, or light olive oil
1 lb grass-fed ground beef or pastured ground pork
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion, or green onion, white part only
1 large Turkish bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground true cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup freeze-dried, sugar-free cranberries
2 tbsp water
Sugar substitute of choice equal to 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce*
1 chayote squash or 1 medium rutabaga, peeled, chopped, and cooked**
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup sliced black olives
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped almonds
Sour cream, chopped green onions, and chopped jalapenos, if desired, to garnish

Heat a large skillet on medium-high. Add fat to pan. Add ground beef or pork, breaking it up with a spatula. Allow meat to brown without stirring, about 5 minutes. Mix in bell pepper, onion, bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and continue to cook 2 minutes more.

In a small dish, place freeze-dried cranberries, water, and sweetener. Microwave until softened.

Add sweetened cranberries plus any liquid and tomatoes to ground beef mixture and simmer on low 20 to 30 minutes. Add cooked chayote or rutabaga, parsley, black olives, salt, and pepper and cook until heated through. Top with almonds and serve with sour cream, chopped green onions, and chopped Jalapenos, if desired.

Notes: *Choose tomatoes or tomato sauce in cans that state: “No Bisphenol A (BPA) in can lining.” (Cans that contain BPA are white on the inside.) Muir Glen's® cans are not lined with the endocrine-disrupting plastic. The Kirkland® brand sold by Costco® comes in glass jars or you can substitute chopped, fresh tomatoes.

** To precook chayote, cut in half along the puckered seam and remove seed and core. Cut vertically into wedges and peel. Place wedges in a dish, cover with water, and microwave on high until soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Alternately, cook in a saucepan with water to cover until soft.

**To precook rutabaga, trim, peel, and dice. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes, or microwave with a little water on high until soft.

Makes 6 servings
1 serving contains: 258 calories; 14.7g protein; 19.2g fat; 2.5g fiber; total carbs: 6.8g; 4.3g net carbs 

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker,

Sunday, January 18, 2015


SAAG PANEER, by Quadell 
Spinach with paneer cheese is one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine and one that is naturally low in carbs. It's not very photogenic, but tasty!

Saag Paneer would normally be served with warm naan, a puffy, oven-baked flat bread. Check out my recipe for a low-carb, gluten-free version here

1 10-oz package frozen spinach or 2 cups cooked fresh spinach
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 tbsp light olive oil, coconut oil, or butter
2 leeks, white and light green part only, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic, about 3 cloves
1 to 4 seeded green chilies or to taste, optional
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 cup water
8 oz paneer cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 and 1/2 tsp garam masala**
1 to 2 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
Salt to taste

If using frozen spinach, thaw completely. Drain spinach and press out the water. Place spinach in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Add red pepper to processor and blend until finely chopped but still visible. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the leeks to the pan and fry over a low heat for about 6 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, and chilies and cook and stir for another minute. Add the turmeric and salt and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in spinach and red pepper puree and water. The mixture should be loose, but not watery. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the paneer cubes, cream, and garam masala to the pan. Stir and cook for a few minutes, or until the spinach is creamy. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a warmed dish and serve as a side dish or over cauli-rice as a main dish.

Makes 6 servings.
Each serving: 278 calories; 13.3 g protein; 21.2 g fat; total carbs: 9.9 g; fiber 2.1 g; 7.8 g net carbs

*Paneer is a fresh cheese that can be found in many groceries or in Indian or Asian markets.

**Garam masala is a spice mixture that can be bought ready-made in regular or ethnic stores. My recipe for Garam Masala is in Nourished if you prefer to make your own.

Photo: "Saag Paneer" by Quadell - Self-published work by Quadell. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker,

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I'm taking about bacon and fish, in case you didn't guess. If you have family members who don't like fish, this might just convert them. (Squeeze the lemon over it before serving and tell them it's sea bacon.)

Kippered Herring
Imagine bacon made of fish; that’s kippered herring. The whole fish are split from head to tail, soaked in brine then smoked. Scrambled eggs and broiled tomatoes are traditional accompaniments. 

If kippered herring is purchased frozen, follow thawing and cooking directions on package. Recipe can be halved or doubled using appropriately sized pan.

2 kippered herring, about 1 pound total
1 tablespoon butter
Sliced lemon
2 halves, Broiled Tomato, recipe below

Preheat broiler. Rinse herring and pat dry. Leave tail intact to facilitate boning, but head can be removed if it is included.

Place butterflied herring, skin-side-down, on well-greased broiler pan.  Dot with butter.  Broil about 5 inches from heat source for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown. Turn skin-side-up and broil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until brown, for a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Cut each fish in half to make 4 servings and top each with a slice of lemon.

Makes 4 servings of ½ kipper each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 0.8 grams; Protein: 40.5 grams; Fiber: 0 grams; Fat: 29.7 grams; Calories: 440

Total weight, including skin, bones, and tail: 13 ounces or 369 grams
Weight per serving: 3¼ ounces or 92 grams

Preparation time: 5 minutes active, 10 minutes total

A broiled or grilled tomato is part of a full English breakfast (a fry-up), which might also include fried eggs, fried mushrooms, fried potatoes, rashers (that’s Canadian bacon to Americans—American-style bacon is streaky bacon to Brits), kippered herring, sausages, baked beans, and fried bread, served with hot tea. If you want it all, order a Full Monty.

Broiled Tomatoes
A fabulous side dish anytime, but especially good with eggs and sausage or kippers for breakfast. Prepare them in advance and just tuck them under the broiler when you put the kettle on.

2 ripe tomatoes, about 10 ounces total, as purchased
Dash salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1/8 ounce) clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons white wine
More salt to taste
Dash black pepper for each tomato half
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped, or basil, shredded, for garnish

Grease a small broiler-safe pan. Cut tomatoes in half vertically. Cut out stem button and make several slashes across the core but not into the wall of the tomato. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Invert on paper towels and let drain for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Place tomatoes, cut-side-down, in the hot pan. Let tomatoes cook without moving for about 5 minutes or until brown. (You can tell when they are brown by looking at the edges.) Remove tomatoes from skillet and place cut-side-up in prepared pan. (Can be prepared to this stage in advance and refrigerated. Broil just before serving.)

 Preheat broiler. Put minced garlic in the hot skillet and cook, stirring, for a few seconds. Add white wine and cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until most of the wine has boiled off. Pour liquid from skillet over tomatoes. Sprinkle with additional salt to taste and fresh black pepper. Top with grated Parmesan. Place tomatoes under broiler for about 5 minutes or until top is brown. Transfer tomatoes to serving dish and spoon drippings from pan over them. Garnish with fresh basil, and serve hot.

Makes 2 servings .
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 4 grams; Protein: 2.6 grams; Fiber: 1.6 grams; Fat: 8.2 grams; Calories: 110 Total weight: 8½ ounces or 237 grams

Weight per serving: 4¼ ounces or 118 grams

Preparation time: 5 minutes active; 25 minutes total

“Your rainment, O herring, displays the rainbow colors of the setting sun, the patina on old copper, the golden-brown of Cordoba leather, the autumnal tints of sandalwood and saffon. Your head, O herring, flames like a golden helmet, and your eyes, are like black studs in circlets of copper.”
– Joris Karl Huysmans (1848-1907)

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, Photo from Singletrack Forum.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


2014 has been a remarkable year--the message about what constitutes a healthful diet has finally made it into mainstream media! I tip my hat and raise a toast to all of you who made it happen: to the researchers, teachers, nutritionists, and doctors who risked careers and incomes to tell the truth; to the bloggers, authors, film makers,and all of you who saved lives by simply sharing your own success stories. The war on fat is almost over. Keep up the good work! 

By the way, sometime a while back when I wasn't looking, the page views here on the Carb Wars Blog passed one million and are now closing in on one and a half million! Thank you all so very much for your support!

Wishing you all a happy, prosperous, and healthful 2015!

"Life is not a path of coincidence, happenstance, and luck, but rather an unexplainable, meticulously charted course for one to touch the lives of others and make a difference in the world."
--Barbara Dillinham

Several readers requested that I post my fruitcake recipe even though I didn't get it up in time for Christmas. (It is still "the holidays" until after New Years Day, right? So here you go.) This is the fruitcake from Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat, slightly updated. I added a gluten-free version and options for some new products that are now available.

Did you see the 83-year-old man on Leno who claimed to have a fruitcake baked by his great grandmother in 1878? Every Christmas brings a new crop of fruitcake jokes—obviously, a lot of people have never tasted a good one! Too often what passes for fruitcake is a dry, brown brick with a few nuts and raisins. My version is halfway between fruitcake and fruit bread. It is mostly fruit and nuts with just enough batter to hold it together. 

2 cups, total, nuts: walnuts, pecans, almonds, and/or macadamias

1 cup, total, sugar-free dried fruit: cranberries, rhubarb, (Carb Wars has recipe for dried rhubarb), currents, cherries, prunes, apricots, and/or peaches, etc.

1 cup, total, sugar-free candied fruit: cranberries, watermelon rind, citrus peel, cherries, peeled and diced fresh ginger root, and/or kumquats (See following recipe.)

1/4 cup whey protein powder (2 net carbs or less per serving), plus an additional 2 teaspoons

2 eggs, separated

Sugar replacement to equal 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Brown Sugar Replacement to equal 1 tablespoon brown sugar (such as Sugar Twin Brown, Just Like Sugar Brown, Sweet Perfection Brown, LC-Sweet Brown, etc.) or 1 tablespoon black strap molasses

2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons cream or coconut cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup almond flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Flour Blend* plus 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum*

A pinch of cream of tartar (Omit if beating in a copper bowl.)

Preheat the oven to 325º F.

Butter an 8½- by 4½-inch loaf pan and a piece of foil to cover the top. Line the pan with another piece of foil across the bottom and up the two long sides, leaving a little hanging over the sides to help with removing the cake from the pan. Butter the foil lining also.

If your dried fruit is moist and chewy, you can use it as it is; if it is dry and hard, you will need to soak it in a little hot water or microwave it, covered with water, until it is plump. Taste and add a little sugar substitute to the water for fruit that is very tart, such as cranberries. Drain well on paper towels.

Combine the fruit and nuts in a bowl with the ¼ cup of whey powder. Toss to coat, separating the pieces by hand if necessary.

Put the egg yolks, the sugar substitutes, and the additional whey powder in a mixing bowl. Beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, cream, and extracts. Whisk the almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and whole-wheat flour or gluten-free bake mix and xanthan gum together in a separate bowl and stir into the batter. (If using xanthan gum, add a little extra cream or water here if batter is too thick.)

In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until foamy; add the cream of tartar (if using), and beat to the stiff-peak stage.

Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten, and then gently fold in the rest of the whites. Pour the batter over the fruit and nut mixture and stir until evenly coated. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with the piece of buttered foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cake is firm in the middle and brown on the edges.

Place the pan on a rack to cool. Remove the cake from the pan, peel off the foil, and cut into 16 slices. Store cake in the refrigerator, wrapped in foil. To freeze, separate the slices with sheets of waxed paper before wrapping.

Servings: 16
Total Carb: 9.5g; Fiber: 2.8g; Net Carb: 6.7g
Data is for cake when made with dried cranberries and rhubarb; candied cranberries; lemon, orange, and kumquat Peels; and equal amounts of walnuts, pecans, and almonds


You may need extra liquid if you use the gluten-free flour and xanthan gum option. Add a little more cream or water gradually until mixture is the proper consistency for cake batter before folding in the egg whites or adding the dry ingredients.

*I used the Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Four that lists garbanzo flour as the first ingredient. Ii is lower in carbs that most others. Any low-carb bake mix should work as well.

I found that I could purchase unsweetened, dried peaches, apricots, and cherries, but I had to dry the cranberries and rhubarb and make all the sugar-free candied fruit and peels myself. Make your fruitcake with candied watermelon rind, citrus peels, candied or dried cranberries, dried rhubarb, and nuts for the lowest carb count, but since this is a special occasion cake, you may want to add a few sugar-free dried cherries, peaches, currants, and apricots. I had all the fruit and peels ready before the day I made the cake. Was it a lot of effort? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! (I might even make it when it isn’t Christmas!)

This is part of the Prosciutto Rosebuds recipe.

Fruit to be candied, such as citrus peel, kumquats, cranberries, watermelon rind, starfruit slices, etc.
4 tablespoons polydextrose
4 tablespoons of an erythritol blend
A few grains of salt
1 cup water

Lightly grease a piece of waxed paper or parchment to drain fruit.

Prepare the fruit to be candied. Puncture any whole fruit so syrup can penetrate.

Stir the polydextrose, erythritol blend, and salt together thoroughly (to prevent lumping) in a skillet or saucepan just big enough to hold the fruit in a single layer. Stir in the water. If pan is too big, you may need more syrup.

Set pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid thickens to form a syrup. Add fruit and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is thick and the kumquats darken and become translucent. It may take about 30 minutes, but time may vary, so go by how the kumquats look--they should look candied. Add more water if necessary.

Turn off heat. Dip fruit out with a slotted spoon or sieve and let excess syrup drain back into pan. Spread in a single layer on waxed paper or parchment and let stand to cool and dry out. Sprinkle with granular sweetener if desired.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Sunday, December 28, 2014

PROSCIUTTO ROSEBUDS; the cutest appetizers ever!

I've always loved bacon-wrapped dates but they are really high in sugar. In fact, dates are sugar (look up "date sugar" if you don't believe it). When I was making the candied fruit for my Christmas fruitcake, I had an inspiration. Kumquats are like little oranges except that oranges have sweet pulp and bitter peel; kumquats have thin, sweet peel and the pulp is bitter (and seedy). I use them in recipes that call for orange zest because it is easy to remove the insides so you have just the peel or zest without the bitter white pith. As a bonus, when you pull out the pulp, it leaves a perfect shell for stuffing. I candied them so they are as sweet as dates or dried figs, but without all the sugary carbs. 

made some of these with thin-sliced bacon for Christmas Eve, but the prosciutto works better. They make a perfect nibble for a special occasion! 

By the way, I did get the fruitcake that my husband wanted made in time for him to enjoy on Christmas, but not soon enough to post the recipe and photo for you. It turned out great, but I doubt that anyone will be interested in trying it until next year. Let me know if I'm wrong. 


8 ounces of fresh kumquats, about 16, depending on size
4 tablespoons polydextrose*
4 tablespoons of an erythritol blend**
A few grains of salt
1 cup water
4 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese
8 paper-thin slices of prosciutto

Prepare a piece of waxed paper or parchment to drain fruit. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut off a thin slice from the small end of each kumquat. Cut an "X" into the pulp with a sharp knife but don't pierce the skin.

Stir the polydextrose, erythritol blend, and salt together thoroughly (to prevent lumping) in a skillet or saucepan just big enough to hold the fruit in a single layer. Stir in the water. If pan is too big, you may need more syrup.

Set pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid thickens to form a syrup. Add kumquats and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is thick and the kumquats darken and become translucent. It may take about 30 minutes, but time may vary, so go by how the kumquats look--they should look candied. Add more water if necessary.

Turn off heat. Dip kumquats out with a slotted spoon or sieve and let excess syrup drain back into pan. Spread in a single layer on waxed paper or parchment and let stand to cool and dry out for a few minutes.

Cut a slit in one side of each kumquat (kitchen scissors are handy for this) and pull out inner pulp and seeds. Stuff each kumquat with about one teaspoon (1/4 ounce) of cheese and press back into shape.

Open the package of prosciutto. Each thin slice will be separated with a layer of plastic or paper. You will need about 1/2 slice of prosciutto per kumquat. It is easier to cut through the whole stack of slices, including the separating sheets, at once with kitchen scissors. Lay a kumquat on one side of top slice and peel edge of prosciutto slice from sheet. Roll up to enclose kumquat, leaving open end with cheese exposed. Wrap excess prosciutto at the bottom up and around kumquat to make a rose. Set on baking sheet with open end facing up, as in picture. Repeat until all are wrapped.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp. Serve on wooden picks if desired. May be served hot or at room temperature.

* Info on polyD and the brand I used is at end of recipe for Christmas Pudding here:

** I used EZ-Sweetz brand erythritol with sucralose to test recipe--it also comes as a stevia blend. There are many brands that are mixtures of erythritol plus a high-intensity sweetener, including Sweet Perfection and Swerve, which would probably work as well.

Tip: I poured the leftover syrup from cooking the kumquats over hot, buttered popcorn to make caramel corn! You could also stir some nuts into the pan until coated and spoon them out like pralines.

Nutrition data per each of 16.
Calories: 38; Fat: 2.2g; Protein: 3.3g; Carbs: 1.2g; Fiber: 0.2g; Net Carbs; 1g

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I'm making several recipes with candied kumquats and cranberries for the holidays. They probably won't be up in time for you to make them this Christmas, but I'll try to take pictures so I can post them soon. Some of them will be perfect for New Years Eve! 

In the meantime, I thought you might like to have my recipe for Candied Fruit. It is a variation on the one I used in the Mincemeat Pie and Fruitcake recipes from Carb Wars and the Christmas Pudding in Nourished. I am including the pudding recipe here too. Happy Holidays!

Candied Fruit and Syrup for Christmas Puddings

1 cup (3½ ounces or 100 grams) whole, frozen or fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons (½ ounce) fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons grated orange zest (amount from 1 medium orange)
¾ cup water
½ cup (3½ ounces or 99 grams) polydextrose
High intensity sugar substitute (such as sucralose, monk fruit, or stevia) equal to 1 cup sugar

To make candied fruit:
Cut cranberries in half. Peel ginger root and cut into very thin slices and then into small dice. Remove zest (thin, orange-colored part of peel) from orange in thin strips with a zesting tool or remove with a vegetable peeler and cut crosswise into thin strips.

Place halved cranberries, ginger, and orange zest in a shallow pan just large enough to hold them in one layer and add water. Stir in polydextrose and sweetener. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer and cook on low heat, stirring, occasionally at first, and more often as the syrup thickens, until most of the water is evaporated and the fruit is very sticky and glossy, about 30 to 40 minutes. Lift fruit out with a slotted spoon and place in a strainer set over the pan so any liquid drains back into the pan. Set pan with drained juice and gooey residue, the utensil used for stirring, and strainer aside to make syrup for finished puddings. Reserve a few cranberry pieces for garnish.

To make syrup:
Put ½ cup water into the pan used for making Candied Fruit. Stir with original utensil and swish the strainer in the hot liquid to dissolve and recover any sticky residue. Cook over low heat until reduced to a thick syrup.

Christmas Puddings
A spectacular finale for a festive holiday meal.

1 recipe of Candied Fruit and Syrup, above
¼ cup (½ ounce) sugar-free Dried Cranberries, p. 12 in Nourished or purchased
1 cup nuts (4 ounces), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons (½ ounce) dried currants, optional (adds 1.4 net carbs)
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar-free vanilla whey protein powder, divided
2 eggs, at room temperature
High intensity sugar substitute equal to ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon black strap molasses or yacon syrup
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons cream or coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) almond flour or other nut flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons (½ ounce or 15 grams) white whole-wheat flour or gluten-free flour*
A pinch of cream of tartar (omit if beating egg whites in a copper bowl)

1 recipe (1½ cups) of Custard Sauce (p. 91 in Nourished).

Preheat the oven to 325º F. Butter 10 cups of a 12 cup muffin pan and a piece of foil to cover the top.

Place the drained Candied Fruit mixture, Dried Cranberries, and currants, if using, in a bowl and sprinkle with ¼ cup of the whey protein powder. Toss to coat, separating pieces by hand. Stir in nuts.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in one mixing bowl and the yolks in another. Add sugar substitute and remaining 2 teaspoons whey powder to the bowl with the egg yolks. Beat until thick. Beat in the molasses, melted butter, cream, and extracts. In a third bowl, whisk the almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and whole-wheat or gluten-free flour together and then stir into the batter.

In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until foamy; add the cream of tartar (if using), and beat to the stiff-peak stage. Gently fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour the batter over the fruit and nut mixture and stir until evenly coated. Spoon the batter into 10 cups of the prepared pan. Cover the pan with buttered foil and bake
for 15 minutes until risen. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the puddings are firm in the middle and brown on the edges. Place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the puddings from the pan. Invert onto serving dishes and drizzle with a spoonful of the syrup from the Candied Fruit. Serve warm, topped with Custard Sauce and garnished with reserved candied cranberries.

Makes 10 puddings of about ½ cup each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate for pudding and cranberry syrup: 5.7 grams (6.5 net grams with 2½ tablespoons of Custard Sauce); Protein: 9 grams; Fiber: 13 grams; Fat: 15.5 grams; Calories: 211
Total weight: 1 pound ¼ ounce or 466 grams (excluding Custard Sauce)
Weight per serving: 1¾ ounces or 47 grams
Preparation time: 1 hour active; 1½ hours total

*You can substitute Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour for the white whole-wheat flour. I added 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum and it worked fine.

“Eat like Santa; look like Jesus.” – Tim Ferriss

Polydextrose has the texture and mouth feel of table sugar and adds missing bulk in recipes made with high-intensity sweeteners. It also browns and caramelizes like regular sugar, but it behaves like soluble fiber when ingested. It is widely used in commercial products to allow a reduction in the
amount of sugar or fat needed and to add beneficial fiber. One ounce has a total of 27 grams of carbohydrate and 25 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 2 grams.

Recipes were tested with Stay-lite III polydextrose from Honeyville Grain.

Recipes adapted from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Monday, December 15, 2014



One look at the whimsical cover illustration makes it clear that this is going to be a fun read, not a dry discourse on biochemistry. Basically, The World Turned Upside Down, is the story of how we obtain energy from our environment, told by a talented teacher who explains it so even those of us who don’t know much chemistry, “can see the beauty in the life machine.” Sadly, it is also an expose of the irresponsible behavior of those in the medical establishment, the very people we trust to give us good advice, to tell us the truth and, at the very least, to do no harm. It is at once a memoir, a manifesto, and a call to arms about what must be done to save ourselves and heal our nation.

Dr. Richard David Feinman is a Renaissance man, one with expertise and knowledge in many fields, including philosophy, music, history, gastronomy, and art (his avatar is a self-portrait), as well as biology, chemistry, and thermodynamics. His writing is enriched by his wide range of interests and accomplishments. 

He first became interested in nutrition while studying the scientific literature in preparation for teaching metabolism classes to medical students at SUNY. He discovered that something was terribly wrong and found himself plunged headlong into a world of shoddy science, self-deception, and scandal as bad as any in the entire history of medicine; a perfect storm of flawed research, assumptions accepted as proof, and science corrupted by grandiose egos, greed, and special interests. The fox was not just guarding the hen house, but selling rotten eggs for profit.

Dr. Feinman has long been a larger-than-life hero in the world of nutrition and a champion of truth in science. He takes extraordinary care to never state anything as fact that cannot stand up to scrutiny and he expects no less from others. (Be forewarned: anyone who crosses swords with him on matters of science is not likely to escape unscathed.)

 He has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness about the lack of research integrity, especially in regard to the therapeutic benefits of carbohydrate restriction for the treatment and prevention of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and their related maladies, called collectively, the Metabolic Syndrome. He is not dogmatic in his views and does not favor one–size-fits-all dietary advice, but since two-thirds of Americans are now overweight, obese, or diabetic, he recommends that carbohydrate restriction should be the default diet, the first thing to try. Nowhere is the advantage more obvious than in the treatment of diabetes, a condition of carbohydrate intolerance. Diabetic patients are routinely told to eat low-fat/ high-carbohydrate foods and take medications to counteract the diet. As the complications inevitably worsen, medications are increased, leading to even more complications. This system contradicts a mountain of evidence and defies common sense. (Steve Cooksey, who blogs as The Diabetes Warrior, celebrated World Diabetes Day by wearing black for all those who listened to the American Diabetes Association, the Joslin Diabetes Center, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators.)

Dr. Feinman has been a leader in the grass-roots campaign to spread the message about bad science, statistical manipulation, vested interests, and the behavior of medical authorities who stubbornly cling to outdated beliefs that perpetuate the status quo. The tide has finally turned and the war is essentially over. We can no longer be fooled so easily. Change came from the bottom up—from word of mouth, popular books, independent documentaries, blogs, and social media and from a few brave men like Dr. Feinman, who refused to be silenced  or to cave in to pressure even when it cost him personally. Read this book and join his rag tag band of rebels. There is a lot of work yet to be done to reverse the damage inflicted by the misguided war on fat and to prevent more casualties.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, 

Thursday, December 4, 2014


There are at least 12 variations, both sweet and savory, for these little crackers/cookies in my book, "Nourished." They provide a little crunch for any occasion with almost no carbs. (I had a request for this recipe from the TypeOneGrit FB support group for parents of children with type 1 diabetes.

Almond Crisps
Here’s what we’ve been looking for—simple crackers or cookies that taste good, are super-easy, and super-low in carbs. These are substantial enough to use with dips or spreads and the variations are limited only by your imagination.

1 egg white from a large egg
1 cup (4 ounces) almond flour or almond meal
Sugar substitute equal to 2 teaspoons sugar (recipe was tested with 1 drop of EZ-Sweetz)
A pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325º F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. You will also need something for pressing
the crisps, like a flat meat pounder or a measuring cup with a flat bottom, and some plastic wrap.

Whisk egg white until blended. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Form dough into 48 small balls. They should be about ½-inch across. Place balls about 3 inches apart (to make room for tool used to press crisps) on parchment lined pans. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten balls into thin circles, roughly 2 inches across, with a flat implement. Carefully remove plastic. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Repeat with remaining balls. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 48 crisps.
Net carbohydrate per crisp: 0.2g; Protein: 0.6g; Fiber: 0.3g; Fat: 1.2g; Calories:14
Total weight: 3¼ ounces or 92 grams
Weight per crisp: 0.06 ounces or 2 grams

Preparation time: 10 minutes active, 20 minutes total (depending of number of pans used)

Tip: I used the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten my crackers. Any flat implement will do.

Almond Parmesan Crisps
Gourmet crackers to serve with soups or dips and spreads. They taste like Pringles!

Make basic Almond Crisps, above. Add 3 tablespoons (⅜ ounce) of finely grated Parmesan cheese and a dash of freshly-ground black pepper to mixture. Sprinkle crisps with coarse salt before baking.

Makes 4 8 crackers .
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 0.2g; Protein: 0.7g; Fiber: 0.3g; Fat: 1.3g; Calories: 16

Total weight: 4 ounces or 120 grams
Weight per cracker: 0.08 ounces or 2.5 grams

Preparation time: 10 minutes active, 20 minutes total

You will be tempted to eat these like chips. Make a few at a time and refrigerate the remaining dough to help with portion control.

Almond Crisp Cookies
1 egg white from large egg
1 cup (4 ounces) almond flour or meal
Sugar substitute equal to 8 teaspoons sugar
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla, lemon, or other extract

Make according to directions for Almond Crisps, above.

Makes 48 cookies.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 0.2g; Protein: 0.6g; Fiber: 0.3g; Fat: 1.2 g; Calories: 14

Total weight: 4 ounces or 114 grams
Weight per cookie: 0.08 ounces or 2.5 grams

Preparation time: 10 minutes active, 20 minutes total

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Maitake mushrooms (Grifola fondosa) are prized for their rich, woodsy flavor and meaty texture. They are also called Hen of the Woods because their feathery rosettes resemble the ruffled plumage on a speckled hen. They are popular as an ingredient in stir-fries, soups, and stews or they can be eaten raw as a snack or in salads. They are also used to make tonics, teas, and herbal extracts that are reputed to have powerful healing properties. Maitakes have been used by  practitioners of Asian medicine for thousands of years to promote health and longevity. 

Maitakes are native to the mountain forests of Northeastern Japan. They are now being cultivated, making them reliably available and less expensive. I can buy them in the fresh produce section of my local grocery stores year round. 

Maitake Mushroom Fries
Healthful fries? This may be as close as we can get. 

Maitake mushrooms, allow about 2 ounces per serving
Cooking oil or fat for deep frying 
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat fat or oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Preheat oven to low. Place a rack in a pan and keep nearby to drain mushrooms.

Rinse mushrooms, drain, and blot dry. Separate mushroom clusters into individual fans. Slice thicker pieces and stems so they are similar in thickness.

Add mushrooms in small batches to hot fat and fry for 15 to 20 seconds until crisp. Dip out with a spider and drain on rack. Place pan with rack and fried mushrooms in warm oven until all are done. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve. 

Nutrition data for 2 ounces raw weight.
Cal: 20.8; Protein: 1g; Fat: 0.2g, Total Carbs: 4g; Fiber: 2g; Net Carbs: 2g.
(Data is for mushrooms only. There will be a small amount of fat from the frying oil.)

~Maitakes will keep refrigerated for about a week. For longer storage, clean, slice, spread on a tray, and freeze. When frozen solid, place in a plastic bag to use later.

~If you have never eaten maitakes, eat only a small amount at first, as allergies have been reported.

~Read an article from The American Cancer Society on the research into the medicinal value and safety of an extract of maitatke mushrooms here:

Fresh maitakes are available by mail from Oregon Mushrooms:

Also available fresh from Earthly Delights at

Dried Maitakes can be bought online and in stores. (I haven't tried frying the dry ones.)

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Maitake Mushroom image from Wikipedia. 

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Friday, November 28, 2014


Books make perfect gifts; you can always find something that will delight everyone on your list. If you order online, it takes just a few clicks and your choices can be on their way, boxed, wrapped, and customized with a personal message.

Amazon's Black Friday sale has sweetened the deal this year. They are offering a 30% discount on any print book that is sold and shipped by Amazon. They also provide free shipping if the order qualifies, whether or not you are a Prime subscriber. The sale is only good through November 30, so time is short! Click here for the details: Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book

But wait, there's more! Some Kindle books, including Nourished, are part of Amazon's Matchbook program. Use your 30% discount to buy the print version and you can get the Kindle for only $2.99. Use one as a gift and keep one for yourself, or check two names off your list. You can also get the $2.99 price if you already bought the print book. (This is the lowest price they will offer on a Kindle book as large as mine.)

Need some more suggestions? Here are some ideas to get you started:

The Big Fat Surprise
Low Carbohydrate Living
Why We Get Fat
Keto Clarity

Keto Adapted
Low-carb High-fat Recipes
Grain Brain

These last two are due out on December 9 and 10, so not part of the Black Friday Sale, but they will be available in plenty of time for Christmas:

Low-Carb High-Fat 
The World Turned Upside Down

Disclaimer, I do not get a commission from Amazon for any of the books mentioned above except my own. I received a copy of Keto Clarity for review.

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Friday, November 21, 2014


Roast Turkey
Is it really worth the effort to have a turkey that looks like a Norman Rockwell illustration? Or could you be happy with one that cooks quickly and doesn’t need a lot of attention but is dependably juicy, tender, flavorful, and crispy-skinned? It might not win a beauty contest, but it will never be dry or chewy either.

“Those picture-perfect birds gracing the holiday table of that food catalogue are most often an illusion. As a food stylist, I know that often those birds in the photos are raw and simply painted with a toxic combination of shoe polish, vegetable oil, and soy sauce.”
– Virginia Willis,

1 (11- to 12-pound) frozen turkey, completely thawed in refrigerator
2 teaspoons salt (omit salt if turkey is kosher or self-basting, such as a frozen Butterball)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
2 carrots
2 stalks celery with tops
1 apple, cut in half
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 3 teaspoons dried
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup water

Remove thawed turkey from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400º F. Place oven rack in lower third of oven, removing other racks. Grease a large, oval roasting pan with a lid. Place a V-shaped rack inside the pan and grease the rack also. Puncture a piece of parchment paper at 1- to 2-inch intervals with a meat fork or knife tip to make drainage holes and use it to line the rack. (You could use foil, but I prefer paper in contact with food.)

Remove giblets, neck, and liver from body and/or neck cavities of turkey. Set giblets and neck aside for making stock. (See recipe below for directions.) Refrigerate liver until needed if using for gravy.

Rinse turkey and pat dry inside and out. Remove deposits of fat from body cavities and discard. Using your fingers, starting from the neck opening, loosen the skin all the way down to the thighs, being careful not to tear it. Rub turkey, with butter, inside and out, and under the loosened skin.

Mix together 2 teaspoons salt, if using, and 1 teaspoon black pepper; sprinkle inside and out, including the neck cavity and under the skin. Note: do not use salt on kosher or pre-basted turkeys, as they already contain enough salt.

Put onion, carrots, celery, half the apple, and thyme in body cavity. Tie drumsticks together loosely, if desired. (This is for appearance only and will make the thighs take longer to cook.) Place remaining half-apple in neck cavity, rounded- side-up. Trussing is optional. (See Tip below). Untrussed birds will cook more evenly.) Fold wings up and place wing tips under turkey.

Brush top and sides of turkey with butter and place breast side-down on rack in roasting pan. Brush back of turkey with melted butter. Cover pan and place in oven. Roast for 1 hour. Baste with pan juices and add a cup of water to pan. Continue to roast, covered, for about 1 hour longer or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into each thigh (not touching bone) registers 170º F. (Ovens vary, so start checking doneness after 30 minutes.) Turn turkey over so it is breast-side-up, baste with remaining butter, and roast, uncovered, for about 15 minutes more or until skin is nicely browned. (If your oven has a convection feature, this is a good time to use it.)

Lift turkey so juices from cavity drain into pan. Transfer turkey to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let stand for 30 minutes. The temperature of the thigh meat should continue to rise until it reaches 175º to 180º F. Discard the apple used in the body cavity. Discard vegetables from body cavity or save for making stock (see Sidebar). Leave apple in neck cavity until ready to carve, so turkey will look plump and attractive for presentation, and then discard it. Place turkey on cutting board, carve, and serve. 

Recipes adapted from, Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

Makes about 15 servings of 6 ounces each.
Nutrition data per serving:
Net carbohydrate: 0g; Protein: 54.6g; Fiber: 0g; Fat: 21.2g; Calories 424
Total weight: a 12 pound turkey yields about 6.4 pounds of cooked meat.
Preparation time: 25 minutes active, 2½ to 3 hours total, not including 1 hour standing time before cooking.

~Allow at least ¾ pound raw weight per person, but 1 pound will ensure plenty of leftovers.

~Enameled, oval roasting pans with lids can be purchased inexpensively from hardware stores or supermarkets, especially around the holidays. These are the old-fashioned, speckled ones called “graniteware.” The fancy cookware stores sell stainless steel versions if you care to invest in one. To use a regular roasting pan without a lid, cover turkey with a piece of greased parchment paper, and then with foil. Uncover for last part of cooking time as in recipe above.

~Trussing is not necessary and may result in uneven cooking, according to Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen. He says it is just a hold-over from the time when poultry was spit roasted and needed to be tied into a neat package to keep it from falling into the fire. Chef and author Charlie Palmer not only agrees, but recommends using a wooden dowel or metal skewer to hold the body cavity open so heat can circulate freely for more even cooking. He also drives a metal skewer through the thickest part of the thigh so it will cook in the same amount of time as the breast meat. (Chef’s Secrets as Told to Francine Maroukian; Insiders Techniques from today’s culinary Masters.)

“A turkey roast is the Squire’s boast;
A turkey boiled is a turkey spoiled;
A turkey braised, may the Lord be praised.”
– Anonymous English rhyme

Potato flour and butter give this sauce its rich flavor and deep color.

2 tablespoons of butter
2 chopped shallot segments (about 1 ounce)
2¼ teaspoons potato flour
1 cup turkey or beef stock, homemade or zero-carb canned stock
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Melt the butter or bacon fat in a saucepan, add the shallot and cook on low heat until translucent. Stir in the potato flour. Gradually stir in the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring for 2 minutes. Taste and correct the seasonings. Strain to remove the shallot. Keep hot over very low heat or in the top of a double boiler until ready to serve.

Recipes adapted from, Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

Makes 1 cup or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
Nutrition data per serving:
Net carbohydrate: 0.8g; Protein: 0.3g; Fiber: 0.1g; Fat: 3.2g; Calories: 33
Total weight: 8¼ ounces or 233 grams
Weight per serving: 1 ounce or 29 grams
Preparation time: 10 minutes active and total

~Potato flour turns out to be the best of the traditional thickeners for sauces. It is higher in carbohydrate than wheat flour, but you need only 1/3 the amount. It is also higher than cornstarch, but you need only half the amount, so there is still an advantage. Use 1½ teaspoons of potato flour to thicken 1 cup of liquid for a light sauce. Use more for a thicker sauce.

~To thicken gravy without adding carbs, stir in xanthan gum, a small amount at a time, to desired consistency.

~The turkey will be more juicy and tender if it is cooked without the stuffing inside.


Fresh or frozen?
Processed turkeys labeled as fresh are kept at temperatures low enough to allow the formation of ice crystals. Slight temperature fluctuations cause the ice crystals to melt and refreeze multiple times, resulting in water loss from damaged cells and yielding tough, dry meat. So unless your turkey came ] straight from the farm, frozen may be better than fresh.

Organic? Free Range?
An “organic” label on a product guarantees that it has no additives, so organic turkeys cannot be injected with a salt and sugar solution. They must be raised on pesticide-free feed, but it can still be corn and soy rather than a natural diet of plants and insects. This affects the taste as well as the nutrition profile. If you buy a “free range” turkey, there is at least a chance that it may have eaten an occasional bug or sprig of grass.

All Natural? Kosher?
Modern turkeys are bred to have more white meat and to grow faster on less feed. The commercially
Grown, Broad-Breasted White is ready for market in three and a half months compared to seven or eightfor heritage varieties. This has advantages for the producers, but it makes for lean birds. Turkeys need time to develop the layer of fat that makes them tender and tasty. The turkey growers compensate by using brining solutions containing salt, sugar, oil, and phosphate. The labels say they are “pre-basted.” So an all natural turkey may not be moist.

Kosher turkeys are washed multiple times with a salt solution, which has the effect of brining, making
them juicy and tender without additional soaking. However, you need to allow extra time when preparing a kosher turkey to remove pinfeathers. Religious rules prohibit the use of boiling water for processing the birds. Several machines are used to remove the feathers, each with a different plucking motion, but they leave many pinfeathers behind which must be removed with tweezers or fingers.

To brine or not to brine?
Self-basting turkeys (such as frozen Butterballs) do not need to be brined. They have been injected with a solution of salt, sugar, and chemicals to keep them moist. Brining is also unnecessary for Kosher turkeys or for any turkey roasted upside down in a covered pan.

Hen or Tom?
Tom turkeys are bigger, but hens have proportionally more meat. The bargain turkeys used to lure
shoppers at Thanksgiving are usually Toms. I prefer an 11 to 14 pound hen—big enough to feed the family, but small enough to lift and maneuver by myself.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Photo from NY Times, 11/18/ 2014
This story was in the headlines today. Merck finally got the results they were looking for on their drug Vytorin. Note that the drug did not lower plaque build-up and that all the subjects in the test were eating a low-fat / low-cholesterol diet. Vytorin (a combination of ezetimibe and a statin) showed a slight improvement over a statin alone, but it was not tested against a dietary change. Moral: give people (who already have coronary disease) a diet that causes inflammation and a drug that reduces inflammation may make it slightly less bad.

When the results of the first study done on Vytorin were released in 2008, a story in the New York Times said, "A clinical trial of a widely used cholesterol drug has raised questions both about the medicine’s effectiveness and about the behavior of the pharmaceutical companies that conducted the study." The article by Alex Berenson, goes on to quote Dr. Steven E. Nissen, the chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, who said the results were "Shocking...This is as bad a result for the drug as anybody could have feared, Millions of patients may be taking a drug that does not benefit them, raising their risk of heart attacks and exposing them to potential side effects." (

The first study did not measure heart attacks or strokes, so the American College of Cardiology suggested that major clinical decisions not be made on the basis of this one study alone and the manufacturers promised follow-up studies to see what affect Vytorin had on those events. The first of the studies was due in 2012, but was extended to 2014.

This is from the Merck website under, How to take Vytorin:
"While taking VYTORIN, continue to follow your cholesterol-lowering diet and to exercise as your doctor told you to."

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

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