Friday, November 28, 2014


Books make perfect gifts; you can always find something that will delight everyone on your list. 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,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Adele Hite, of the Healthy Nation Coalition, is petitioning the agencies responsible for setting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to give us guidelines that actually serve the American people. The advice we've been given for the last 30 plus years has been a disastrous failure. Now is the time to speak up or we will likely be saddled with more of the same for the next five years. We must reach 1,000 signatures by December 31, 2014. Please sign and forward this to all your contacts! You can also leave a comment along with your name. My comment is at the end of this post. ~~ Judy Barnes Baker 

Author: Adele Hite
Target: Tom Vilsack (Secretary of USDA); Sylvia Mathews Burwell (Secretary of DHHS)

"At the conclusion of the sixth meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), we write to express concern about the state of federal nutrition policy and its long history of failure in preventing the increase of chronic disease in America. The tone, tenor, and content of the DGAC’s public meetings to date suggest that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) will perpetuate the same ineffective federal nutrition guidance that has persisted for nearly four decades but has not achieved positive health outcomes for the American public.

We urge you to adhere to the initial Congressional mandate that the DGA act as “nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public” and are “based on the preponderance of the scientific and medical knowledge which is current at the time the report is prepared.

Below we lay out specific objections to the DGA:...Continue reading and add your name here:


Below is the comment that I put in the petition along with my signature ~ JBB: 

"Recent research is showing that a low-carb, high-fat diet may have 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, cancer, and stroke; treat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, mental illness, depression, polycystic ovary syndrome; and much more.

 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. Our duel epidemics of obesity and diabetes were the predictable outcome. (Carbs stimulate the release of insulin; insulin increases hunger.)  
The medical establishment backed itself into a corner with their advice on nutrition. 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 slows down your metabolism to conserve stored body fat, leading to weight gain.
A person who is 50 pounds overweight is wearing enough calories to live on for 6 months. So why does a fat person get hungry? A ketogenic diet, low in carbohydrates and high in natural fat, resets your metabolism to burn fat for energy instead of burning sugar and preserving the body’s fat stores. According to Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University, after three weeks on a ketogenic diet, we should be satisfied on one meal a day without hunger. 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 exploding population and expanding bodies?

If the ketogenic diet catches on, it could 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." ~~ Judy Barnes Baker

PS: They took out the paragraph returns on my comment on the petition site. It would probably be better to limit your comment to one paragraph so it won't all run together like mine did. 
(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Saturday, November 1, 2014


We can add yet another one to the long list of benefits that come from eating chocolate. A new study from Harvard found that the flavanoids in cocoa had a remarkable effect on age related memory loss. A controlled, randomized trial, involving healthy older subjects who consumed either a high or low cocoa diet for three months found that those consuming more flavanoids scored on average as if they were 20 to 30 years younger on cognitive tests compared to those consuming fewer! 

The news story included the usual caveat that chocolate contains a lot of sugar and bad fats and should only be eaten in moderation; however, the sugar in chocolate is totally optional and at least some of its amazing, health-enhancing properties are likely because of the natural saturated fats it contains and not in spite of them. 

Below is my contribution to help you get more of this miracle food into your diet. It is truly nature's most delicious medicine! 


2 cup almond or cashew flour or other nut flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
Sugar substitute with bulk* (see Note below) to equal 2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, ghee, or butter, melted
3 tablespoons coconut or almond milk or other low carb milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan with a removable bottom.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the nut flour, coconut flour, sweetener, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the melted oil or butter, low-carb milk, and vanilla. Continue to stir and mix for a few minutes or until the mixture forms a stiff dough that holds its shape when molded. With greased fingers, press dough into bottom and up sides of greased pie or tart pan. Level off the top of the edges and crimp to make a decorative rim. Prick crust with a fork to prevent buckling, but do not prick all the way though to prevent leaking.

Place crust in preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Cover edges with pie shields or foil to prevent over-browning and continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until crust is nicely browned all over. Remove from oven and let cool.

Chocolate Ganache Filling
1 cup coconut cream (not coconut milk!) or dairy cream
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk or other low-carb milk
Sugar substitute with bulk* to equal 3/4 cup of sugar (I used xylitol)
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 and 1/2 ounces high quality chocolate, such as Ghiradelli's, finely chopped
Sweetened whipped cream and grated chocolate to garnish, if desired, optional

Instructions for filling: 
In a medium saucepan, place coconut or dairy cream, low-carb milk, and salt. Heat to a simmer over medium heat. Add sugar substitute and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat and add vanilla extract. Add chopped chocolate and let sit for about 5 minutes until melted. Stir until smooth. Pour filling into baked crust and refrigerate until set, about 2 to 3 hours. Let pie warm up at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Top with whipped cream or Greek yogurt sweetened with sugar substitute and garnish with grated chocolate if desired.

Cut into 12 to 16 small slices to serve, as it is very rich!

Nutritional data for each of 12 slices:
Cal: 265; Fat 27.1g; Protein: 5g; Total Carbs: 8.5g; Fiber: 4.4g; NET CARBS: 4.1g
Sweetener is not included in data counts, as it may vary depending on type used.

*Sugar substitutes with bulk include erythritol, Swerve, Xylitol, Just Like Sugar, Sweet Perfection, LC-Sweet, Natural Mate, polydextrose, and blends of erythritol, oligofructose, or inulin with stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose, among others. Check the packages to see sugar equivalent of each one.

The combination of chocolate and sucralose tastes very bitter to some people, so you might want to avoid any sweetener that includes it in this recipe.

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Edited after publication. 

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Monday, October 27, 2014


I found some cute little tarts at Whole Foods called, Hail Merry. They were egg-free, dairy-free, and raw but the first ingredient was agave nectar. I bought them anyway to see if I could make something similar minus the nasty fructose. Mine are tasty little treats that contain lots of good fats but no sugar. They can be dairy-free if made with coconut oil. 

1 cup almond, cashew, or other nut flour
3/4 cup finely grated, dried coconut
Sugar substitute with bulk to equal 2 tablespoons sugar*
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 and 1/2  tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted
Pinch of salt

½ cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup full fat coconut, almond, or other low-carb milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Sugar substitute with bulk* equal to ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon extract
Grated zest of 2 medium lemons
¼ teaspoon salt

Make the crust:
Grease 2 mini-muffin pans (twelve cup size).

In a medium bowl, combine the crust ingredients and mix well. Roll into a log on waxed paper. Cut into 24 slices. Roll each slice into a ball and press into tart pans. It will take about 2 teaspoons of dough per tart. Chill crusts until ready to fill.

Make the filling:
Place butter or coconut oil in a bowl and beat until fluffy or blend in a food processor. Add low-carb milk, lemon juice, sweetener, extracts, zest, and salt and beat or blend until mixture is smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice or sweetener as needed.

Assemble tarts: 
Spoon filling into each crust. Garnish with a sprinkle of lemon zest if desired. Refrigerate until set. If you have extra filling, serve it as a delicious Lemon Pudding or freeze it in mini-muffin pans or paper cupcake liners to make individual Lemon Fat Bombs.

Makes 24 tarts, each with: Calories: 101; Fat: 10.3g; Carbs: 2.18g; Fiber: 1.1g; Protein: 1.3g; Net Carbs: 1.08g

*Sugar substitutes with bulk include Swerve, erythritol, xylitol, Just Like Sugar, LC-Foods Sweet, and stevia or sucralose blends, among others.

Nutrition info does not include sweetener, which may differ depending on which one you choose, (Most are close to zero net carbs.)

My tarts would have made a prettier picture if I had toasted the nuts, but they are more healthful with raw nuts. (The Omega-6 oils in nuts are fragile and are easily damaged when heated.) You could use nut meal rather than nut flour if you want the raw crusts to look brown.

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


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.

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,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


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,

Saturday, September 27, 2014


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!

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

*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,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014



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, 

Saturday, September 20, 2014


"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.

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

Coarse sea salt
Country Dijon mustard

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.

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,

Friday, September 5, 2014


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

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 >  
“Nourished,” is also available in Nook format from Barnes and Noble >

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

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