Tuesday, October 7, 2014

RATATOUILLE: A LOW CARB CLASSIC

RATATOUILLE, 2014, JUDY BARNES BAKER
I tried a lot of classic recipes for this dish before hitting on just the right combination to make the magic happen. This makes a lot, but it gets even better with time so plan on leftovers. You can cut the recipe in half or cook the veggies in batches if your pan is not big enough.

RATATOUILLE   
Something magical happens when the ingredients for a ratatouille meld, proving once again that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

2 small eggplants
2 small zucchini
1 green pepper, seeded
3 ripe, Roma tomatoes
6 tablespoons cooking fat, divided
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 bunch fresh basil (about 24 leaves), shredded
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Cut eggplants and zucchini into 1/2- x 1/2- x 2-inch sticks. Cut green pepper into 1/2- x 2-inch strips. Cut each tomato into 6 wedges.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons fat or oil on medium heat. Saute onion until golden. Add tomatoes and turn gently until heated through. Transfer onion and tomatoes to a large plate.

Heat remaining fat in same skillet and saute eggplant, zucchini, and pepper until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to dish with onions and tomatoes.

Add garlic and basil to skillet, stir, and then return remaining vegetables back to pan for a minute or two until heated through. Add salt and pepper, stir, and place ratatouille on serving plate. Top with Gruyere cheese. Let cool or serve warm.

Makes 6 large servings or 8 smaller ones.
Per each of 6 servings: Calories: 203; Protein: 4.8g; Fat: 16.8g; Fiber; 4.1; Carbs 10.4g; Net Carbs: 6.3g.

Recipe adapted from The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Andres De Groot, 1996.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CHOCOLATE GLAZED PECANS

CHOCOLATE GRAZED PECANS, (C) 2012, JUDY BARNES BAKER
These are wonderful as a sweet treat or a snack. Chopped, they make a crunchy topping for ice cream or desserts.

2 cups raw pecan halves
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract
High intensity sugar substitute equal to ½ cup of sugar*
A few grains of salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Spread the nuts in ashallow pan and bake for 5 minutes to crisp and dry. Let cool.

Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Stir in vanilla extract, sweetener, and salt. Add nuts and toss until completely coated and sticky. Sift cocoa over nuts and toss again.

Spread nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Stir and break apart any nuts that stick together. Return to oven for 5 minutes more. Store in airtight container.

Makes 16 servings of ½ oz each.
Per serving: Total carbs: 1.6g, Net carbs: 0.6 g; Protein: 1.6g; Fiber: 1g; Fat: 8.9g; Calories: 89

Recipe featured in The EZ-Sweetz Solution.

*High intensity sweeteners are those without bulk, like liquid stevia, sucralose, or monk fruit.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com



Saturday, September 27, 2014

SUBLIME SLIME?


ROASTED OKRA, (c) 2012, JUDY BARNES BAKER
Jane Tunks called okra, "sublime slime," but it doesn't have to be. If you think you don't like it, try roasting it whole. It's divine, but without the slime!

ROASTED OKRA
Start with the smallest, freshest okra you can find. Leave the pods whole and cook them quickly. They will be creamy inside, not slimy, with seeds that pop when you bite into them. 

½ pound (about 38 to 40 pods) small, young okra pods, 2-to 3-inches long or less
2 tablespoons light olive oil or bacon fat
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 500º F.

Rinse okra and blot dry on paper toweling. Trim ends of caps but try not to puncture the pod capsule. Place oil or melted fat in a bowl; add okra and toss to coat. Lay pods on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place pan on center rack in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp and brown, turning once or twice. (Use convection mode if your oven has it; watch the timing because it may brown more quickly.) Grind black pepper over okra, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve hot or at room temperature as a side dish, an appetizer, or a snack.
Recipe from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance

Makes 4 servings .
Per serving—Net Carbs: 2.g; Protein: 2g; Fiber:1.3g; Fat: 7.7g;* Calories: 91
Total weight: 4 ounces or 115 grams
Weight per serving: 1 ounce or 29 grams
Preparation time: 8 minutes active; 18 to 20 minutes total

Notes: 
*1 teaspoon or more of the oil or fat included in the count will be left over.

Frozen okra can be used for soups and stews, but for this recipe, only fresh will do. Choose small okra and store it in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for no more than 3 days. Okra may be easier to find in an Asian specialty market, but when it is in season (June, July, and August), many supermarkets and farmers’ markets will have it.

Use non-reactive pans, like ceramic or stainless steel, to prevent okra from discoloring. It won’t change the taste or make it hazardous; it is just unattractive.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR OWN BROTH AND BOUILLON CUBES

BOUILLON CUBES, (c) 2013, JUDY BARNES BAKER

It continues to amaze me that many low-carb gurus, including some of my personal heroes, recommend using purchased bouillon cubes or powders. Dr. Westman, Dr. Phinney, Dr. Volek, Dr. Attia, and others promote their use as a source of extra salt to ease the transition to a low-carb diet and prevent symptoms of what is called the “Atkins flu,” caused by the ion imbalance that occurs when your body loses minerals along with excess water during the induction phase. (Stored sugar causes water retention.)

Not only do these products contain nasty ingredients, they are totally lacking in any of the good ones that you would get from real bouillon made from meat and bones. Here’s what’s in Wyler’s beef bouillon cubes:

Salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, sugar, monosodium glutamate, water, beef fat, onion powder, dextrose, corn maltodextrin, hydrolyzed corn gluten, beef stock, natural beef flavor, hydrolyzed corn protein, soybean oil, hydrolyzed torula and brewers yeast protein, garlic powder, caramel color, beef extract, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, lactic acid, silicon dioxide, calcium lactate (milk), tricalcium phosphate, propyl galiate, artificial beef flavor, tocopherol, butter fat, BHA, citric acid.

The list includes three kinds of sugar and, although I don’t know what a lot of the chemicals are, I recognize at least nine euphemisms for MSG. Three soy products are listed and one is a partially hydrogenated oil. Beef stock doesn't show up until number 11. It also contains gluten. Sound yummy? You could just add ½ teaspoon of salt a day to your food to correct an ion imbalance, but if you want  the additional benefits of bone broth, you will have to make your own. It takes a while but it’s really easy. 

My recipe for Broth and Bouillon Cubes is here.

My Pot au Feu recipe makes a tasty beef stock that can also be used as a soup or a drink: Pot-au-Feu

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, wwwcarbwars.blogspot.com 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

POT-AU-FEU

"Vlaamse Hutsepot" by User: ibu - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-
Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Pot-au-feu, generally considered to be the national dish of France, means "pot on the fire." It is a family-style, one-pot meal, beloved by rich and poor alike. The ingredients may vary, but a typical, traditional pot-au-feu contains the following (notice the absence of potatoes):

- An economical cut of beef, such as chuck or brisket;
- One or more cartilage-rich meats, such as oxtail, shank, or beef ribs;
- Marrow bones;
- Root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, and celery root;
- Onions, cabbage, and leeks;
- Herbs and spices, such as parsley, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, salt, and black pepper. 

Although it takes a long time, the recipe is very easy. Nothing is coated with flour, browned, or fried and there's only one pot to clean.  

When I was ready to photograph my pot-au-feu, I discovered that I didn't have a platter big enough to hold it; it makes a LOT of food! Next time I make it, I will plan ahead and try to get an authentic photo to replace the one above, which came from Wikipedia.

Ingredients:
2 pounds of beef chuck
1 pound beef back ribs
2 pounds large beef marrow bones
1 medium onion
4 whole cloves
3 leeks, white and light green part only
2 carrots
2 turnips or rutabagas
1  small celery root (celeriac), optional
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 stem of fresh parsley
1 Turkish bay leaf (not California)
5 whole peppercorns
Salt to taste
1 small head of cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 wedges
A pinch of nutmeg

Accompaniments: 
Cornichons
Coarse sea salt
Country Dijon mustard

Directions:
Slice the leeks lengthwise and rinse well, checking between layers for dirt. Wash and peel celery root, if using, Clean and trim other root vegetables, but leave them whole so they won’t fall apart. Drive the cloves into the onion so both can be easily removed. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the cuts of beef and the marrow bones and cover with cold water. Place over high heat. As soon as the water starts to boil, turn off the heat. Remove the meat and bones from the pot and discard the water. Thoroughly wash the pot. (Don’t skip this step!) Put the meat and bones back in the pot and add the leeks, onions, carrots, rutabaga or turnip, celery root, if using, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns to the pot. Add salt and cover with cold water.

Slowly heat the pot to a bare simmer, cover, and let cook over low heat for about 2½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender. Add additional water if needed. Do not stir vigorously or let the pot come to a boil to keep the vegetables and meat from falling apart and to keep the meat tender. It may be necessary to turn off the heat occasionally or set the lid askew if your burner does not go low enough. Skim the cooking liquid with a ladle periodically to remove scum and foam.

Add the cabbage and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Remove the meats and vegetables from the pot. Cut beef and ribs into portions. Place meats and marrow bones on a large platter. Discard the parsley, thyme, leeks, and onion. (You may remove the cloves and serve the onion.) Cut up the vegetables and arrange around the meat and bones. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the platter. Strain the remaining broth, add a pinch of nutmeg, and serve as soup for a first course or with the meal.

Put the cornichons, sea salt, and mustard into separate dishes and serve with the pot au feu.

Provide marrow scoops or other small spoons for digging out the marrow from the bone cavities.

Note:
If the herbs are tied together with string, they are called a bouquet garni.

Serves 6 to 8.

Nutrition data for each of 8 servings:
Calories: 416; Fat: 25.5g; Protein: 35.1g; Carbs: 10.5g; Fiber: 3.5g; Net Carbs: 7g
Note: This is an estimate only: data not available for some of the items in the recipe.

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Edited after publication.

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Friday, September 5, 2014

LEMON CAKE WITH LEMON GLAZE

LEMON CAKE WITH LEMON GLAZE, (c) 2012, JUDY BARNES BAKER
LEMON CAKE WITH LEMON GLAZE
A reader asked if I had a recipe for a lemon cake. Indeed, I do! This is one of my favorites of the many variations on the rich, moist, basic Yellow Cake from Nourished. All are low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free, and delicious.

¾ cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) almond flour
¾ cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) coconut flour
¼ cup (2 ounces or 56 grams) granular erythritol, another sweetener with bulk, or a blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ cup (4 ounces or 1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
4 ounces whipped or regular cream cheese, softened to room temperature
High-intensity sugar substitute equal to ¾ cup sugar, ie: stevia, monk fruit, or liquid sucralose
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (for better texture)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Lemon Glaze, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, line with a circle of parchment paper, and grease the paper also. Dust with coconut flour and tap out the excess. Put almond flour, coconut flour, erythritol and/or any other dry sweetener, baking powder, and salt in food processor. Process for about 2 minutes until well mixed and erythritol, if using, is very finely ground. Alternately, grind erythritol in a spice or coffee grinder and whisk with flours, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.

Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add one egg and beat until incorporated. Blend in extracts and any liquid sweetener. Sprinkle xanthan gum over butter mixture, a little at a time, and beat in. Add remaining eggs, one at a time, alternating with reserved flour mixture, and beating until smooth after each addition. Beat for an additional minute. Scrape batter into prepared cake pan and level the top. Bake at 350º F for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center tests clean.

Set cake on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen. Turn cake out of pan and place, right-side-up, onto a cake rack. Glaze cake while still slightly warm, Serve with Whipped Cream, if desired.

Makes 10 servings.
Per serving with zero-carb sweeteners;
Net carbohydrate: 3.3g; Protein: 7.8g; Fiber: 4.2g; Fat: 21.6g; Calories: 249

LEMON GLAZE
A sweet, tart glaze, perfect over my Lemon Cake. Docking the cake with a fork or wooden
pick before glazing will make it extra moist.

6 tablespoons (2¼ ounces or 67 grams) polydextrose
2 tablespoons (¾ ounce or 24 grams) granular erythritol (erythritol crystals)
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup lemon juice (amount from 1 large lemon)
High intensity sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk polydextrose, erythritol, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl until well blended. Stir in lemon juice and high-intensity sweetener. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes or until it bubbles and forms a thick, clear syrup. (Can also be cooked in a small saucepan on the stovetop.) Add the butter and zest and stir until butter melts. Pour over whole cake or warm individual slices in microwave and glaze with 2½ teaspoons each when ready to serve. Dock cake with a fork or wooden pick before glazing, if desired. Refrigerate glaze and reheat as necessary.

Makes ½ cup or 10 servings of 2½ teaspoons each.
Per serving (glaze only)—Net carbohydrate: 0.9 grams; Protein: 0.1 grams; Fiber: 5.7 grams; Fat: 3.5 grams; Calories: 39

Notes about sweeteners: 
Polydextrose is not very sweet but it has the texture and mouth feel of sucrose and adds missing bulk in recipes made with high intensity sweeteners, like stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose. 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. It has a total of 27 grams of carbohydrate and 25 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 2 grams per ounce. I used Sta-lite III polydextrose from Honeyville Grain* to test some of my recipes. Netrition* also sells polydextrose; their Life Source Foods PolyD Fiber is similar to the one from Honeyville Grain. Polydextrose is extremely cheap compared to similar sweeteners with bulk. It is composed of glucose molecules and a small amount of sorbitol, whereas the ones made from oligofructose are all fructose.

Erythritol comes in granulated form (called crystals) or as a powder. Although all the packages I have seen say they weigh the same by volume, the powdered form really weighs about half as much as the granulated. If you start with powdered erythritol, it is better to measure by weight than by cups to get the proper amount. If you start with the granular form, you may measure by weight or cups, but you will need to grind it in a food processor or a coffee or spice grinder before using in baking, as it does not dissolve easily.

A combination of sugar substitutes has advantages over any one alone. Erythritol has no calories or carbs, unlike most of the other sugar alcohols, however, it has two significant disadvantages. First, it has an odd, cool taste if used in quantity. Second it has a tendency to recrystallize, producing a grainy texture. Using a second sweetener, such as sucralose or stevia, helps; using a third would be even better. You may find that adding a packet of another sweetener, such as monk fruit or acesulfame K (Sweet One or Sunette) to the mix improves the taste.


~“Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance” is available in print or as a Kindle with a $2.99 Matchbook offer from Amazon > http://tinyurl.com/mq42koa  
“Nourished,” is also available in Nook format from Barnes and Noble > http://tiny.cc/94t2jx

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Monday, September 1, 2014

SOOKA KEEMA (DRY-COOKED SPICY GROUND MEAT)

INDIAN DRY-COOKED SPICY GROUND MEAT, (c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker
Grass-fed ground beef is available at most of my local stores now, but the other cuts are harder to find, probably because they are more expensive and don't sell as well. As a result, I use a lot of ground beef and am always looking for new ways to cook it. This classic Indian recipe makes a nice change from hamburgers, spaghetti, chili, and meatloaf. 

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons cooking fat (such as clarified butter, light olive oil, avocado oil, or tallow)
2/3 cup chopped onion
4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 and 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1 pound grass-fed ground beef or ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons chili powder or to taste
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 cup hot broth or water
2 teaspoons Garam Masala spice blend, recipe follows
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parley, plus additional for garnish

Directions:
Heat the fat or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook and stir for 8 to 10 minutes or until evenly browned. Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Add ground meat to skillet and cook until it starts to brown. Sprinkle turmeric, chili powder, and salt over meat and cook and stir for another minute or two. Add 1/4 cup hot broth or water, reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 25 minutes or until dry, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn. If all the liquid has not been absorbed, uncover the pan, raise the heat, and cook a little longer. Turn off the heat and stir in the Garam Masala, lemon juice, and cilantro or parsley. Garnish and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings:
Calories: 370 Fat: 29.7g; Protein: 20.2g; Carbs: 4.9g; Fiber: 1.1g; Net Carbs; g

Note: Since this dish is somewhat dry, I like to serve it with a moist vegetable side or top it with yogurt or an Indian-style relish. The last time I made it, I served it with sauteed onions and cauliflower Faux rice, which complimented it perfectly! Fried okra is another traditional accompaniment.

GARAM MASALA
Use some or all of the spices on the list to make your own custom blend. When cooking with masala, add it to your dish toward the end of the cooking time. 

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
1 (2-inch) piece of stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon black cumin
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon mace powder
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 piece of star anise
A few saffron threads

Directions:
Toast spices in a skillet over a low-flame for about 2 minutes or until fragrant, shaking pan or stirring a few times. Let cool and grind to a powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, the Garam Masala will remain potent for several months.

Makes about 4 tablespoons. Net Carbohydrate will be less than 1 gram per teaspoon.

Note: Garam masala means hot and spicy in the Hindi language. This aromatic blend of roasted spices from northern India varies from one region and even one family to another. This is a basic recipe including all or most of the possible ingredients, but you can alter it to suit yourself. It’s best when made from freshly ground, whole spices, but it is available ready made at most Asian markets and many supermarkets. If using a purchased mixture, toast it in a dry skillet for a minute or two to bring up the flavor.


Masala recipe from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance. Nourished is also available in Nook format from Barnes and Noble.

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com




Friday, August 22, 2014

COULD THIS DIET SAVE THE WORLD?

KETO CLARITY
The partnership between Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman reminds me a little of the relationship between Charles Darwin and Thomas Henry Huxley, who was known as “Darwin’s Bulldog.” Darwin provided the science; Huxley defended and popularized it. Jimmy is more like a big, lovable, puppy dog than a bulldog, but his communication skills and status as a social-media celebrity make him the perfect spokesman and n=1 test subject for the low-carb guru who inherited Dr. Atkins’s mantle after his untimely, accidental death.

As the author of a ketogenic book myself, I am very familiar with the concept and the benefits of ketosis, but Dr. Westman’s updated protocol adds a few new twists. In his 2010 book, A New Atkins For a New You co-authored with Dr. Stephan Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek, he endorsed the standard practice of counting “net carbohydrates” (carbs minus indigestible fiber) and recommended eating three regular-sized meals plus two optional snacks per day. He has now swapped, “Thou shalt eat regularly…and drink regularly,” for, “Eat when you are hungry; drink when you are thirsty,” a maxim posted in every room at his Lifestyle Clinic at Duke University. He also eliminated the phases in the original Atkins plan and just has his patients stay at the induction level of 20 grams of total carbs per day until they reach their ideal weight. This makes it a much more restrictive diet, but no doubt also a much more effective one. In an interview in the January 13, 2014 issue of Woman’s World Magazine, he called his version, “The Last Chance Diet.” People who have tried a low-carb diet and thought it didn’t work for them, are sure to find success on a ketogenic diet. It probably just didn’t occur to them or to their doctors that the most severely carb sensitive among us may need to cut out almost all carbs and significantly reduce proteins as well, since some protein is converted into glucose by the liver. Lynn Daniel Ivey’s success story, one of eight in the book, is a good example of how a ketogenic diet can work miracles.

Lynn started dieting at the age of 10 (on Weight Watchers) and spent four decades following a low-fat diet and exercise regimen that left her “hungrier, sicker, and fatter” than ever. After meeting Dr. Westman, she learned that her low-fat diet was actually the CAUSE of her health and weight problems. She went from 344 to 144 pounds in two years on a low-carb/high-fat diet, or as she put it, from “desperation to jubilation!” You can see her before and after pictures here. She is now part of Dr. Westman’s team at his clinic at Duke University.

A ketogenic diet has benefits beyond rapid weight loss for anyone who wants to slow aging; improve athletic performance; reverse type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; prevent heart disease, colon cancer, and stroke; treat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn (GERD), mental illness, depression, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); and much more.

A lot of dietitians will choke on their tofu when they see Jimmy’s sample menus in Keto Clarity. He doesn’t even give lip service to the sacred cow of dietary advice: more fruits and vegetables, more fruits and vegetables, more fruits and vegetables. Some of the meal plans in Keto Clarity have no fruits or vegetables at all (days 19 and 20 for example). The medical establishment backed itself into a corner on that issue. There are only three macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. If you eat less of one, you must eat more of another or lower your calorie intake across the board. They have demonized fat, so they can’t recommend more fat without contradicting themselves; adequate protein is important but it can have negative effects when eaten in excess; and eating fewer calories resets the metabolism to conserve stored body fat, leading to weight gain. What is left? More fruits and vegetables, more fruits and vegetables, more fruits and vegetables. Most of the apparent advantage in eating a lot of fruits and vegetables may be simply the result of what they replace. Trading processed junk, starches, and sweets for fresh produce would no doubt be an improvement over the standard American diet (SAD), but trading those same foods for ones that are even more healthful and satiating, would have a bigger advantage. As to the supposed lack of micronutrients on a ketogenic diet, the authors point out that eliminating foods that deplete vitamins and minerals, like sugar, grains, beans, and starches, while eating plenty of red meat, organ meats, cheese, eggs, fish, and nuts, actually prevents deficiencies.

Americans are eating 30% more calories than we did 30 years ago when our government and health agencies first recommended that we cut down on fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and eat more carbohydrates, especially grains. Our epidemics of obesity and diabetes were the predictable outcome of our increased carb consumption and reduced intake of natural fats. (Carbs stimulate the release of insulin; insulin increases hunger.) “Keto Clarity” outlines menus for a 21 day Kick Start program that resets your metabolism to burn fat for energy instead of burning sugar and storing fat. After the third week of the plan, you should be in a state of ketosis that allows you to be satisfied on one meal a day with no hunger or deprivation. Think of the implications! How much time and energy would be saved if we prepared food once a day rather than three, four, or more times? How much less waste and garbage would we make? How much less fuel would we use for shopping and cooking and how much less would be needed for growing, transporting, processing, and packaging our food? How much less fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide, and greenhouse gas would go into the environment? How many fewer rain forests and grasslands would be destroyed to make room for more and more mono-crops to feed our burgeoning population and bloated bodies? If the ketogenic, one-meal-a-day diet catches on, it would have the same effect as cutting the world's current number of mouths to be fed from 7 billion to 2½ billion. It could save, not just the lives and health of millions of people, but our very planet.

What is next in the series from this dynamic duo and their team of diet crusaders? Will they clarify everything from autism to xenophobia? I certainly hope so. The medical establishment has strayed so far from its scientific base that it needs a good kick in the pants to set it on the right path. This could be it. The revolution has started.

Pin it > http://www.pinterest.com/pin/105764291224539140/

"Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance” is available in print or as a Kindle with a $2.99 Matchbook offer from Amazon > http://tinyurl.com/mq42koa (Click on the Kindle version to see the Bookmatch offer.)

“Nourished,” is also available in Nook format from Barnes and Noble > http://tiny.cc/94t2jx

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com



Friday, August 15, 2014

The International Food Blogger's Conference


The International Food Blogger's Conference is coming back to Seattle in 2014!

IFBC held the first conference for food bloggers in 2009. This, the SIXTH annual conference, organized by Foodista.com and Zephyr Adventures, will be held in downtown Seattle, Washington. The series focuses on three themes: Food, Writing, and Technology. The event will feature high-quality educational sessions, personal networking opportunities, and what 95% of attendees say is the best food and wine of any blogging conference!

Bloggers, Food Writers, Cookbook Authors, Publishers, Agents & Editors, Food Brand / Restaurant Marketers, and Public Relations Professionals are invited to attend, but there is a great perk for those of us who are food bloggers. Anyone with an active blog who agrees to write at least three posts about the conference, will pay only $95 rather than the regular price of $395. You can choose to write your three posts about the conference itself, the venue, the sponsors, or the food and you can do so before, during, or immediately after the conference. This is their way of supporting food bloggers who are attempting to make an income from blogging.

Last year, attendees were treated to a surprise dinner where we were wined and dined and treated like celebrities at one of 25 of Seattle's finest restaurants. That meal alone was worth many times more than the registration fee! You can read my report about the event and some of the gifts and treats that were heaped upon us here. (Be sure to bring an extra suitcase to take home the swag!)

Time is running out to sign up. Don't miss the chance to get to know your on-line blogging buddies and meet some of the world's most famous and successful food personalities. You can be among the first to sample and review new products. Learn from the experts about how to become a better writer and photographer and how to promote your blog. All this in addition to enjoying a fun-filled weekend in beautiful Seattle in September. See you there!


Dates: September 19 to 21, 2014


Registration Fee: $395 / $95

Organized by Foodista.com and Zephyr Adventures,

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com, #IFBC2014



Saturday, August 9, 2014

BACON WRAPPED ONION RINGS

BACON WRAPPED ONION RINGS (c) 2014, JUDY BARNES BAKER
BACON WRAPPED ONION RINGS (c) 2014 JUDY BARNES BAKER
I guarantee that you will have no left-overs. No matter how many I make, it is never enough! 

Ingredients:
2 large white onions, 3 and 1/2- to 4-inches in diameter
1 and 1/2 pounds sugar-free bacon (24 slices), regular, not thick sliced
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Directions: 
Peel onions down far enough to remove all the tough, thin, outer layers. You will need just the largest slices. Reserve the rest for another purpose. Cut onions in half around the equator. Cut 2 slices, each 1/2-inch wide, from each half so you have 4 center slices from each onion. Push out the centers from the slices leaving the 4 outermost rings in place. Separate them into into 2 rings that are each 2 layers thick, Be careful to keep the 2 layers of each slice intact. You should now have 8 onion rings from each onion for a total of 16 double-layered rings.

Wrap each of the 16 rings with raw bacon. It will take about a slice and a half for each one, more or less, depending on the size. Overlap the bacon slices slightly as you wrap and tuck the ends under to secure. You may use wooden picks or skewers if it makes it easier, but the bacon tends to stick to its self so you may not need them. The bacon will tighten and shrink as it cooks and that helps hold it together too. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Place the wrapped onion rings on a greased rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Grind black pepper over rings and place in oven. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes or until onions are soft and bacon is cooked. Turn heat up to 350 degrees F for a few minutes to crisp or run under the broiler briefly, if desired. Time will vary depending on your oven. (Be careful when removing pan from oven as it will contain very hot grease. Use both hands to lift the pan so the grease doesn't spill or spoon off some of the fat before attempting to remove pan.)

Serve as an appetizer or snack with low-carb barbecue sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing, Dijon mustard, or Siracha hot sauce for dipping.

Recipe adapted from one by John Thomas on his BBQ blog at www.grilling24x7.com. Thank you, John!

Makes 8 serving of 2 onion rings each.
Calories: 128; Fat: 9.1g; Protein: 7g; Carbs: 5.4g; Fiber: 1g; Net Carbs: 4.3g

Notes: 

~Using single- rather than double-layered onion rings will cut the carbs in half, but they will be a little more fragile.

~The onion rings can be deep fried at 325 degrees F until crisp rather than oven baked.

~To learn why here’s no such thing as nitrite-free bacon and why it doesn’t matter anyway: http://carbwars.blogspot.com/2013/07/rethinking-bacon-and-best-way-to-cook-it.html)



“Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance” is available in print or Kindle with a $2.99 Matchbook offer > http://tinyurl.com/mq42koa.

“Nourished,” is also available in Nook format from Barnes and Noble > http://tiny.cc/94t2jx

Review: “The recipes in ‘Nourished’ promote effortless weight loss without hunger or deprivation. They can be combined to provide a full day of delicious food that totals between 20 and 50 grams of digestible carbohydrates. Substantial scientific evidence indicates that this range keeps insulin levels low enough to provide a metabolic advantage for weight loss, to prevent and reverse the complications of diabetes and many other disorders, and to reduce or eliminate the need for medications."

“Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat" on Amazon” > http://tinyurl.com/q95ga7j  

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

SALSA CHILI

SALSA CHILI, (c) 2014, JUDY BARNES BAKER
This is about as streamlined as a recipe can get. Nothing to peel or chop. A pound of ground beef, a few items from the pantry, and you've got a tasty, homemade meal in just minutes.

SALSA CHILI
The warehouse stores, like Costco, sell two-packs of salsa in big glass jars at a very good price. You'll go though it quickly with this super-easy recipe!

1 teaspoon cooking fat
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
½ to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup prepared salsa, hot, medium, or mild
1 cup cooked, diced tomatoes, such as Pomi brand
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet and add ground beef. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spatula, until it starts to brown. Drain excess fat from pan. Add chili powder, stir, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in salsa, tomatoes, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, topped with sour cream or Greek yogurt, sliced green onions, and shredded cheese, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.
Calories 268 • Fat 15.8g • Carbs 8.6g • Fiber 2.2g • Net Carbs 6.4g • Protein 23.6g

Notes:
Look for salsa and tomatoes in glass jars or BPA-free containers.

Most brands of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce contain added sugar. (The average amount given on the USDA database is 9 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber for a net of 7 grams in a ½ cup serving.) Read the labels and choose one that comes out to 3 or fewer net carbs per ½ cup.

Pomi tomatoes are imported from Italy; they list just tomatoes and salt as ingredients and have a net carb count of one gram per ½ cup. Another plus, they come in a carton (Tetra Pak) rather than a can.


(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TENDER JUICY PORK CHOPS EVERY TIME

TENDER, JUICY PORK CHOPS, (c) 2014
Modern pork is another casualty of fat phobia. Breeding pigs to be as lean as possible has made the meat pale, bland, and dry and to make matters worse, the layer of fat on the outside is trimmed to a meager quarter of an inch or less before it ever reaches the store. (When I complained to a rep from one of the major pork producers at a conference, she told me, "We are just giving people what they want.")

Brining the pork helps, but the real secret is not overcooking it. According to the most recent USDA guidelines, pork chops, roasts, and tenderloins can be safely cooked to medium-rare, followed by three minutes of resting time. The lower cooking temperature will produce pork that’s succulent and tender and will likely yield a finished product that is pinker in color than most of us are used to.

Restaurants have been following this standard for almost 15 years. The current temperature recommendation, announced in 2011, reflects advances in food safety and nutritional content for pork. Both the USDA and the National Pork Board suggest using a digital cooking thermometer to ensure an  accurate final temperature. Note: Ground pork, like all ground meat, should be cooked to 160ºF.

PORK CHOPS WITH MUSTARD SAUCE
You can use this basic method for plain chops, but the simple sauce adds a nice touch and I know you will like it.

Ingredients
For the brine:
3 cups cold water, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons salt (or 3 tablespoons kosher salt)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

2 to 4 pork chops, center cut, bone-in, about 1-inch thick
Cooking fat or oil (such as lard, tallow, bacon fat, light olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence, optional
Salt
Pepper

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions
Brining adds flavor and keeps the chops juicy and tender. Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil, add the salt and flavorings, and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add 2 more cups of cold water to cool the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops; add more water and salt (1 tablespoon salt per each cup of water), if necessary, until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours; the longer time is better if you are not in a hurry.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place an oven-safe (no plastic handles) skillet in the oven to preheat. A cast iron skillet is ideal.

While the oven heats, prepare the pork chops. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with oil or melted fat, sprinkle with herbs, if using, and salt and pepper. Set the chops aside to warm up until the oven is hot.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stove top. Turn on a vent fan. Using tongs, lay the pork chops in the hot skillet. They should immediately start to sizzle. Sear, on one side only, until the chops are golden brown, about 3 minutes. If they start to smoke a lot, lower the heat a little. Turn the chops over and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven:

Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. The temperature will rise a bit during the resting time. Cooking time will be 6 to 10 minutes depending on your oven, the thickness of the chops, how cold they were at the start of cooking, and how long they were brined. Check the chops after 6 minutes and continue to check every minute or 2 until cooked through. Do not overcook or the pork will be tough!

Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate. Tent loosely with foil and let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Pour off pan juices from skillet and reserve for making sauce.

Add butter and shallots to the hot skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add reserved pan juices and broth. Cook and stir, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, for about 2 minutes. Add mustard and cream and bring to a simmer. Add lemon juice and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes more. Serve sauce with chops.

Serves 2 to 4
Nutrition data: Cal: 428; Fat: 26.6g; Protein: 41.9; Carbs: 2.2g; Fiber: 0.3g; Net Carbs: 1.9g

Sauce recipe adapted from www.Epicurious.com.

Pin It > http://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993907982191/ 

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com



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