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,

Monday, September 1, 2014


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. 

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

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.

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. 

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

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,

Friday, August 22, 2014


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.

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"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 > (Click on the Kindle version to see the Bookmatch offer.)

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

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

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 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 and Zephyr Adventures,

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,, #IFBC2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014


I guarantee that you will have no left-overs. No matter how many I make, it is never enough! 

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

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 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


~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:

“Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance” is available in print or Kindle with a $2.99 Matchbook offer >

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

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” >  

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, 

Sunday, August 3, 2014


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.

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

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,

Tuesday, July 29, 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.

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

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

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

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

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(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Friday, July 18, 2014


Cauliflower is a staple in the low-carb/high-fat community, where it is used to fill the void where the potatoes, rice, or pasta used to be. Here's proof that it can outshine its starchy counterparts. It doesn't have to imitate anything and it certainly doesn't need to be boring.

Move over, ho-hum sides. Meet my new love!

1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds) cut into florets
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse salt (use sparingly as other ingredients are salty)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter
4 slices bacon, chopped, or 4 slices prosciutto, cut into fine strips
1 Preserved Lemon, skin only, well rinsed to remove salt, and cut into fine strips*
3 oil-cured Calabrian chilies, seeded and cut into thin strips, or ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes.
¼ cup quartered, pitted green olives
¼ cup quartered, pitted oil-cured, Kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare topping.

Place remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium  saute pan. Add bacon or prosciutto and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until crisp. Drain and set aside.

Put butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. When butter begins to brown, add the preserved lemon skin. Cook and stir until lemon begins to crisp.

Stir in the chili strips or flakes and olives. Allow to cook for about 20 seconds. Add bacon or prosciutto and heat through.

Transfer roasted cauliflower to a heated serving platter and top with bacon, lemon, chili, and olive mixture. Serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6
Nutrition data for each of 6 servings:
Cal: 255; Protein: 2.7g; Fat: 25.5g; Fiber: 2.5g; Carbs: 5.8g; Net Carbs: 3.3g

*NOTE: Preserved lemons can be purchased or made by my recipe. Another option is to use this shortcut from my friend and fellow IACP member, Carol Dearth. Carol is the owner of the Sizzle Works Cooking School in Bellevue, WA. See her directions, below, for a quick version of preserved lemons. It is part of a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Preserved Lemons on her blog.

Sizzle Work's Quick Preserved Lemons:
1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt

Cut lemon in half, lengthwise, then slice crosswise paper thin, discarding seeds and ends. Cut slices in half again. In a bowl, mix lemon with salt. Let stand 15 to 45 minutes. Rinse, drain, and store in refrigerator.

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“Nourished” in Print or Kindle (with a Bookmatch discount) >

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Saturday, July 12, 2014


My recipe for Kale Chips got mixed reviews. Even the ones I made myself varied from batch to batch; usually they were so good I couldn't stop eating them, but sometimes they were bitter. This is a sweeter version and much quicker and easier to make.

You can now buy baby kale leaves, which eliminates the need to strip out the tough veins and stems and chop the leaves into pieces. With baby kale, you just spread them out in a single layer and bake or dry them.

Enjoy a great tasting, crispy, salty snack and then tell your mama that you ate your greens!

6 ounces baby kale leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese or to taste
Smoked finishing salt, optional

Rinse leaves and drain. Place in a salad spinner, if you have one, and spin until completely dry. You will need to drain the spinner and do it more than once. Alternately, place the leaves in a large kitchen towel, roll up the towel and sling it around while holding the ends tightly. (Or do it the boring way and just blot with paper towels until dry.)

Place the olive oil in a large bowl and mash the garlic into the oil. Add the kale and toss until well coated and glistening on both sides.

To bake: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread out in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh pepper. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until chips are dry and crisp. Don't overcook or they will become bitter.

To dry: 
Use a dehydrator according to the directions that come with the appliance.

To finish:
Remove kale from oven or dehydrator and sprinkle with additional coarse salt or flavored finishing salt and grind more pepper over the chips. Grate Parmesan over the top and let cool. For a final touch, I sprinkled my chips with mango-smoked sea salt that my daughter brought me from Hawaii, but there are lots of specialty salts that you might try. Store in an air-tight container and they'll stay crisp for a few days. You can reheat them in the oven for a few minutes if necessary.

One ounce of fresh kale makes one serving of chips.
Calories: 35; Fat: 3.1g; Protein: 0.9g; Fiber: 0.4 g; Net Carbs: 0.9g

To buy Nourished on Amazon >

Disclaimer: I will receive a commission from the sales of the books above.

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I have always used the plain water button that is on most soft drink dispensers, but I never noticed the one marked "soda" until Dr. Eades mentioned on his blog ( that he and his wife use it to get a sugar-free, carbonated beverage at restaurants. I took it a step further. Many restaurants provide lemon slices on the counter along with the straws and napkins, especially if tea is one of the choices, so now that I know the trick, I make my own "real" pop (similar to Sprite or Seven Up)  without aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup. I just squeeze a couple of lemon slices in a glass, muddle them a bit with a spoon, add a packet of sugar-free sweetener, which I always carry in my purse, and fill the glass with carbonated water. (You may still have to pay for a beverage, but it wouldn't hurt to ask if there is a charge for soda water.)

The picture above was featured in Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat, which came out in 2007 (the picture is from 2005). The cute little kids (still cute but not so little now) are my grandsons making "Silly Drinks." I still keep the ingredients on hand for making custom sugar-free pop and they occasionally want to make one of their old favorite combinations from their hand-written recipe cards still stashed behind the bottles on the counter or to whip up some totally new variation. Like typical teens they drink a lot of regular soft drinks, but at least they have a better option when they visit our house. 

Below is the original recipe from Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat. There are more brands of sugar-free, flavored syrups available today, made with a variety of different sweeteners, so you can choose the one you like. 

Have you ever had watermelon pop? DaVinci® makes dozens of interesting and exotic flavored syrups. Just use the proportions below and turn them all into no calorie, no-carb, and no-caffeine soft drinks.

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) sugar-free flavored syrup
8 ounces (1 cup) carbonated water

Stir together and serve over ice.
Makes 1 serving with zero calories and zero carbs.

Silly Drinks:
When my grandchildren come over they love to make “silly drinks.” I let them choose from my assortment of DaVinci® sugar-free syrups to concoct soft drinks using any combination of flavors and carbonated water. 

The grown-ups have to sample their creations such as banana-green apple-root beer or peanut butter-lemon-gingerbread pop. Of course, we always respond “Mmmm, good!—JBB, page 338 from Carb Wars

Note: To use sugar substitute and water instead of sugar-free syrups in recipes: For each tablespoon of syrup called for, use one tablespoon of water plus sugar substitute to equal 1 tablespoon of sugar. You may also add a few drops of flavor extract.

Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat >     

Nourished and Carb Wars from LC-Foods >

Disclaimer: I have not received free samples of the product mentioned above. I will receive a commission on the sale of the books.

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Thursday, July 3, 2014


One of my local stores had a fantastic Fourth of July special on Niman Ranch premium, pastured, baby back ribs ($4.00 off per pound!). I am (temporarily, I hope) allergic to tomatoes and peppers and a lot of other foods, so I was seeking a way to make a good barbecue sauce with lots of flavor and kick when I came up with this one. My husband loves this even better than my old version. I may never go back, even if I can.

There is no tomato in this tangy, sweet/hot, South Carolina-style barbecue sauce. Vinegar based sauces are thinner and should be applied more frequently. The sauce recipe makes enough for several batches, but it will keep for a month or two in the fridge. Try it for chicken and fish as well as ribs. 

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup melted butter or olive, avocado, or other high heat oil
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon Coutry Dijon has no carbs)
2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup or sugar substitute of choice to equal 2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or shake together in a large jar. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Sauce will keep for about 2 months.

Makes about 12 servings.
Per serving of 1/4 cup sauce: 
Calories: 74; Fat: 7.7g; Carbohydrate: 0.6g; Fiber: 0g, Protein: 0.1g; Net Carbohydrate: 0.6g

Allow 1 pound of baby back pork ribs as purchased per person. Cut the racks into two-rib portions before roasting, if desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Place in a roasting pan, concave side up; cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 325º F for 2 to 2 and ½ hours or until tender.

Remove the foil. Drain off the pan drippings. Brush the ribs with Mustard Vinegar Barbecue Sauce and continue to bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, turning and basting with more sauce every 10 minutes or so. Brush with sauce again and serve hot. (1 cup of sauce should be enough for 4 pounds of ribs.)

Per Serving for pork only (yield from 1 pound uncooked weight including bones):
Calories: 890; Fat: 75.7g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 50g; Carbohydrate: 0g

You may find several different names for pork ribs. Usually the ones labeled as “baby back ribs” come from the loin, and the name doesn’t refer to the age of the pig. This cut may, more accurately be labeled as “back loin ribs.”

Why doesn't pork taste as good as it used to? Modern pigs from factory farms, “the other white meat,” are much leaner than old fashioned porkers. Some producers, like Niman Ranch, raise hogs in open pastures without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. Because the hogs live outdoors in the Midwest, they develop more fat for insulation from summer heat and winter cold, which promotes superior marbling, flavor, and tenderness.

Buy "Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance" on Amazon >

Buy Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat on Amazon > 

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

Sunday, June 22, 2014


If you had to eat just one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? That's not a hard choice for me. This is it. 

1 (1 and 1/2 pound) pork belly, about half lean, with a thick layer of fat on top

Dry Rub:
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Braising Liquid:
1 medium onion (7 oz), chopped
1 large carrot (3 ½ oz), chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon good quality lard or tallow or high heat oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup dry white wine
1 (2-inch) piece of cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
2 whole juniper berries
1 whole cardamom pod
1 whole clove
1 quart chicken or turkey stock

To Finish:
1 additional tablespoon of fat or oil for crisping pork


Make Dry Rub: 
Mix seasoning ingredients thoroughly. Rub onto all sides of the pork belly and place in a nonreactive dish or pan. Sprinkle any remaining dry rub on top of the meat (use all of rub). Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove pork from refrigerator and place in a roasting pan.

Make Braising Liquid: 
In a large saucepan, saute onion, carrot, and celery in fat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until wine is evaporated. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, clove, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.

Cook and Finish:
Pour hot braising liquid over pork belly. Cover and place in oven. Cook 3 ½ hours or until completely tender when pierced with a fork. Note: The pork belly can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated in the cooking liquid until ready to proceed.

Remove the belly from the braising liquid and cool. Discard liquid or reserve for cooking vegetables to accompany pork belly (Brussels sprouts are nice). Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut belly into 4 portions. Place, fat-side-side-down, in a hot skillet with a a tablespoon of fat or oil and saute for 2 minutes. Return to oven to heat through, about 5 minutes. Finish warming in oven for 5 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition data: Calories: 881; Fat: 90.2g (42% monounsaturated. 32.9 saturated, 9.6 polyunsaturated); Protein: 15.9g; Carbs: 0; Fiber: 0
(Data includes only pork belly as other ingredients are not included in final dish.)

Recipe based on one by chef Donald Link of Cochon Restaurant in New Orleans, LA.

Note: If even after all the recent news stories, anyone is still nervous about eating fat, do yourself a favor and read The Big Fat Surprise; Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by Nina Teicholz and Rejoice!

For more low-carb, gluten-free recipes >

Low-Carbing Among Friends cookbooks >

“Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance” > 

“Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat” >

(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

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