Mexican "Rice"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Short post, and a super simple recipe, but it totally killed my craving for Mexican Rice today:

1/4 cup of grated steamed cauliflower
1 tbs of real bacon bits
1 tbs cream cheese
1 tbs salsa

Place in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir. Try not to burn your mouth as you devour this.

Eggy Muffins!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm horrible about updating this blog, but I have an excuse. My health took a significant turn for the worse just as I started grad school. Since I had very limited mental resources, I decided that writing copious amounts of papers and reports on rocks was more important than writing blog posts, or even cooking. I do apologize for the absence, and my health has recovered a bit now that we discovered one of the biggest problems: Gluten! Did you know gluten is in almost everything? It's been a challenge to relearn to eat, and try to figure out what I can and can not have. I still have moments of depression when I wonder if things will ever get better, but for the most part, I am getting better about it.

I do admit, I fell off the low carb wagon once I got sick. I wasn't cooking for myself, and it was much easier to eat whatever was given to me. Also, we got a Mexican restaurant in town, and I am a sucker for homemade chips and salsa, and it was so much easier to order from them than cook when I was too sick to really stand for long. However, after talking to the owners, and expressing my health issues (and since they know we eat there at least once a week) they have actually come up with some low carb, gluten free options for me! They make fajitas now with seasonings and marinades that contain zero gluten and zero sugar. They also confirmed with their masa supplier that the corn tortillas have zero wheat products. (Yes, I know they aren't low carb, but one or two in the grand scheme of things is me learning moderation!)

So, one thing I've learned? Ask! If you are a regular customer somewhere, don't be afraid to ask what they use, what they can do, and how you can have a healthier meal.

Now, onto my new recipe. This is a variation on Cleochatra's famous Oopsie Rolls. I had read the recipe a few months ago, and filed it into the back of my mind. I had even tried to make it once, but didn't get my egg whites beaten sufficiently, so it ended up being a goopy mess. I ended up salvaging them by toasting them, but it still wasn't that great.

However, I was watching Cooking Channel yesterday, and one of the hosts was making a souffle. It dawned on me that Rev Rolls and Oopsie Rolls were, in essence, a souffle. So after a bit of research and thought, I decided to try to make muffin style Oopsie Rolls. I tweaked the recipe, and in the future, I plan on tweaking it a bit more with spices. I have dubbed these Eggy Muffins. I used more egg yolks than whites because I found it gave a more substantial roll.

4 egg yolks
3 egg whites
3 ounces of neufatel cheese (often sold as reduced fat cream cheese, is lower carb than cream cheese), very cold
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt (next time I am going to use more)
1 package of stevia

A muffin pan that will hold at least 7 muffins
mixer with an egg beater attachment and and a mixer attachment
two bowls
an oven
1/4 cup measuring cup

Beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks. My good rule of thumb is to beat them and once you think you have stiff peaks, beat them for another 60 seconds. You want them as absolutely as stiff as possible. This will form the body of your muffin.

After your eggs are beaten, mix the remaining ingredients and mix until WELL blended. Once again, mix about 60 seconds longer than you think you need to mix.

Gently fold the yolk mixture into the eggs about a half at a time. This is a HUGE thing. I tried it the other way (whites into yolks) and it absolutely messed it all up. So trust me on this. Don't over mix it. If you still see some white and some yellow, it's okay!

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour the batter into greased muffin tins. I didn't use papers, but I likely will next time. This made 7 muffins for me, but depending on your muffin tin size, you might have more. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, turn the muffin pan and then bake for another 15 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Now, this is the most important step of the whole process - Take the muffins pans and place them on a rack and leave them for at least an hour. After that hour, remove from the pans and put them back on the rack for another 12 hours. Make it 24 if you can stand it. The muffins need a chance to dry. After this, store them in an OPEN plastic bag on the counter.

These are a bit bland, I agree, but this morning I split one in half, added a tiny bit of cheese and some bacon, microwaved it for 30 seconds, and it was as close as I've ever come to an egg mcmuffin in a LONG time. I think next time I am going to add some more salt, and some spices. I think that cheese could be added reasonably well, maybe garlic and cheese and make some faux Red Lobster rolls? The possibilities are endless, really.

Each Eggy Muffin has .8 carbs (I count them as 1) and 59 calories.

Sushi Revisited

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Today for lunch I had a hankering for sushi. I already had some sushi rice made, so it was just a matter of debating what to put in it. I was out of shrimp, and I don't trust frozen fish for the raw treatment. It was too hot to go out to the garden, so I decided to scavenge the freezer/fridge for something to fill my sushi.

I had some leftover cooked salmon fillets, so after doing a bit of googling (Google? What can't it solve?) I decided to do what I call "Spicy Salmon Rolls." I have changed my sushi rice recipe a bit. I've discovered that American Neufchâtel cheese has a lower carb count than cream cheese for the same flavor and texture (it's also lower fat, but I care about the carbs here)

2 ounces cooked salmon, sliced in half so you have two long strips.
1 pickle spear, sliced into long, thin slivers
1 tbs mayo
2 drops of hot sauce

For the rice:
1/2 cup calui-rice
2 drops basalmic vinegar
1/2 tsp of granular splenda
1 tbs of American Neufchâtel cheese.

Assemble like sushi. Nom.

Makes 8 rolls.

Each roll has:
Carbs: .7
Fiber: .3
Net Carbs: .4
Protien: 2.3

Yes, I ate all 8 pieces. I have no shame.

Sushi for Under 3 Carbs?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I must admit, of all the things one must give up for a low carb lifestyle, I miss the sushi the most. It's just the best thing in the world. However, being creative and hungry, I began to deconstruct sushi to its barest elements, and then reconstruct it using low carb ingredients.

The three elements of sushi:
1. Nori wrapper
2. Rice
3. Filling

The first was easy to rectify after a trip to the store, after I discovered that the small hand roll (4 pieces) wrappers are .5 carbs with .3 fiber. So, a grand total of .2 net carbs. On the grand scale of things, considering the amount of taste and beauty you get for that nori wrapper, it's a bargain! So, whatever I did, nori wrappers fit with a low carb product.

The second part is the rice. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you know I love to talk about riced cauliflower or “cauli-rice.” I make a killer origini using my tried and true recipe with cream cheese. After trial and error, I have found a few other methods that work as well to make the rice “sticky.” A tablespoon of mayo works well, and with a few drops of vinegar and a pinch of splenda, it makes for a very close aproximation. If you want to mimic wasabi, but don't want to spend the calories, a dash of horseradish in the mayo will give it that kick, though not the color. (And since most US wasabi is nothing more than colored horseradish paste anyway, with a few additives, it will taste similar!)

There is a VERY important step you must take, however, before you turn your cauliflower into rice if you are using it for sushi. After you have steamed it, put the cauliflower in a large colander lined with paper towels and let it sit and let as much moisture as possible soak off while it cools. It will make the rice stick together more and also keep your rolls from being soggy.

The third was easy, because there are so many low carb options for a filling. You can always go traditional, and have salmon or tuna, but getting sushi grade fish isn't always easy, and I wanted something I could pack in a lunch with some confidence. However, any of the following would be great filling and have a low carb punch:

Crab meat
Sushi grade tuna or salmon
cooked shrimp
strips of scrambled egg
smoked salmon
You can even make a more “western” roll if you so desire and add a bit of chicken or tuna salad.

For contrast, I usually like to have some sort of crunchy veggie in my rolls. Juliened snow peas, cucumber, scallions, sprouts, asparagus, or really any Atkins friendly veggie cut into thin slices works well. While I sometimes make meat only regular rolls, I have found that with the cauli-rice, that extra crunch just brings something to the roll that I can't describe.

For my bento today (featured in my blog Low Carb Bento) I made four pieces of shrimp and snow pea sushi.

.5 cup cauliflower rice
.5 tsp Horseradish sauce
1 tbs mayo
2 drops vinegar
1 pinch of granulated splenda or stevia

combined all of the above ingredients together and use as you would traditional sushi rice

2 large shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined
1 snow pea, cut into long, thin strips.

If you don't know how to make sushi rolls, this video will explain it better than I could.


Carbs: 4.5
Fiber: 2.3
Net carbs 2.2
Calories 45

Green Goddess Tuna

Friday, July 9, 2010

I admit, I've not been blogging much, either here or at Low Carb Bento. That has mostly been because I've been very sick the past few weeks. I live in the country, and in order to see my specialist or have extensive tests run, I have to drive about two hours into the city. The long day of waiting, scans, blood work and doctors tends to wear me out, and topped with my many other real life obligations, it's taken me a bit to get myself back on track, especially when it's easier for me to just grab fast food (which I did) or indulge in sweets (which I did.)

However, I did get the new Atkins book, and read it, and I noticed how much better I feel on my diet. It makes a significant difference in my health, so I am back on track starting today. I am still run down and tired, so making food that is easy and tasty has been the goal. I am a huge fan of bento style lunches (as is evident with my other blog), so I wanted something that would work well in my lunch as well.

This version of tuna isn't really that different from normal tuna, which we all made with a blob of mayo and a can of tuna. It's amazing how different using a few herbs and spices can make a humble food.

I named this Green Goddess Tuna because it reminds me a bit of homemade Green Goddess dressing. It is best made the night before and left in the fridge so all the flavors can mellow, or made in the morning for lunchtime.

Green Goddess Tuna

1 can of tuna, drained
1 tsp cilantro, dried /1 tbs fresh chopped
1 tsp basil, dried /1 tbs fresh chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbs mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ranch dressing mix

Mix all of the ingredients together and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

Calories 236
Total Fat 14.0g
Cholesterol 30mg
Sodium 154mg
Total Carbohydrates 3.6g
Protein 22.7g

Cauli-Rice Onigiri

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First, I will freely admit a good deal of my technique is inspired by Just Bento/Just Hungry's onigiri tutorial. Feel free to head over there for some great recipes, ideas and another angle on how to make this treat. Her's are decidedly NOT low carb! I took pictures of my process and explained how I did it because there are some differences, but the basics are the same.

You will need:
Bowl to hold your cauliflower
Grater or food processor
Plastic wrap
A cup or small container that holds aproximately 1 cup

1 bag of frozen cauliflower, or one head of cauliflower, cut up (will produce about 2.5 cups of cauli-rice)
2-3 tbs of cream cheese
Sea Salt
Bacon bits, or some other filling.

Before we begin: cook your cauliflower. I have discovered it is easier to process cooked. I normally take my cauliflower and microwave it for 5 minutes for fresh or 7 minutes for frozen. For this process I did it the night before.

Grate your cauliflower on the largest holes of your grater, or process in a food processor until slightly larger than rice grains.

When you are done, it will look like this. If you are using leftover/cold cauliflower, I usually microwave it for 2-3 minutes to warm it up. If it's freshly cooked, you can skip this step and move to the next one.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese and stir a bit, then microwave for another 30 seconds to soften the cream cheese. Once it comes out of the microwave, stir until combined. You might need to add a bit more cream cheese depending on how much cauli-rice you have.

Once your cauli-rice sticks together well, and can be squished into the spoon and stay, you are ready to make onigiri!

First, place a piece of plastic wrap in your container. Make sure it's large enough to go over the sides. You will need to be able to wrap your balls completely in the wrap.

Second, lightly fill the cup 3/4 of the way full, making sure not to pack it heavily.

Third, using your finger, chopstick or small spoon, make an indentation in the middle of the cauli-rice and fill with your filling. I used bacon bits, YUM!

Next, place another spoonful of cauli-rice on top, and pat down.

Finally, gather up the plastic over the ball, and twist.

After this step, if you want to shape it, I strongly recommend putting it in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to let the cream cheese resolidify. You can then shape it into the traditional triangle, or square, or even some other cute shape.

I keep these wrapped in plastic in the fridge for 3-4 days, but they rarely last that long.

Here is the finished product, with some fresh cracked pepper on top in today's bento.

If you want to see more low carb bento boxes, feel free to visit my other blog Low Carb Bento.

Faux Sushi Rice

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've been playing around with riced cauliflower a lot this week. I am a huge fan of bento meals, and prior to eating LC, I loved onigiri, which is a savory rice ball, usually with a filling. It's a staple of "bento style" lunches, so I set out to make up a recipe for rice that would work that was:

1. Low carb
2. Not a lot of dairy/cheese
3. Yummy

This can be used for onigiri, and also sushi, as long as you use it while hot.

This recipe will make 2 rice balls or 3-4 sushi rolls.

1 cup frozen cauliflower
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbs cream cheese (I use one that is 1 carb per ounce)

Place the cauliflower and salt in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 5 minutes.

Let it cool, take out of the bowl and either grate using a hand grater, or pulse in the food processor until the cauliflower is rice sized

Add the riced cauliflower back to the bowl and add cream cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir until the cheese is completely integrated into the cauliflower.

You can use this to make sushi rolls or my favorite bacon filled rice balls. I'll have a tutorial about how to make them this week!

Flax Pancakes

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So, you want to get your flax in, but you're like me and not fond of the flax bowl muffins or bread recipes out there. To me, they can be a bit too dense and a bit too... flaxy. There are many recipes for flax pancakes, and I've used them all, but this is my own personal tweak on making a dairy free, low carb flax pancake that is as low carb as possible and dairy free. This is not induction friendly unless you cheat like I do and use almond milk in small amounts.

*note* The topping does have real cream cheese. I use this sparingly as the only dairy I use. My dairy restriction is due to a problem with a high level of blood calcium, so I can use small amounts on rare occasions. I've tried soy cream cheese, but it tastes like sweat socks and has a ton of carbs.

Alecto's Pan-Flax-Cakes with Cream Cheese Topping

2 tbs Sugar Free, Zero Carb Vanilla Syrup (Davinci is the usual brand)
2 tbs Flax Meal
2 eggs
1/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 tsp baking powder

1. Mix flax meal and baking powder in a small cup until completely combined.

2. Mix all of your wet ingredients in a measuring cup with a spout.

3. Combine the two and let sit for five minutes. This is very important to allow the flax meal to hydrate.

4. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle on medium heat, and melt butter or heat oil to cook the pancakes in.

5. Pour small amounts of batter into your heated surface. It works best if they are no bigger than 4 inches across.

6. Cook until the middles are almost firm, flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until brown.

7. Nosh.

Makes 4 Pan-Flax-Cakes

Cream Cheese Topping
2 tbs cream cheese
1 tbs Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup

Put the cream cheese in a small container and microwave for 10 seconds. Mix in syrup and stir. Spread thinly on the pancakes.

Calories - 341
Total Fat - 29.2g
Total Carbohydrates -8.6g
Dietary Fiber - 5.3g
Sugars - 2.8g
Protein - 16.9g

Calories - 70
Total Fat - 7.0g
Total Carbohydrates - 0.5g
Fiber - 0

Recipe Total Net Carbs - 3.8

Quick Breakfast

It's been drilled into our heads that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I used to not be a big breakfast eater. I was lucky to maybe grab a bagel or some sort of microwaved, processed piece of junk. Most of the time I'd just skip breakfast all together. But since I started having hypoglycemic episodes, I have found breakfast helps keep my blood sugar stable.

The problem with breakfast is most people complain they have a lack of time. Well, with a few key investments, and an investment in yourself, I have found I can make and eat breakfast in the morning in less than 15 minutes with a bit of planning ahead. You are worth a 15 minute investment in yourself! Eggs, by far, are the cheapest and easiest way to get a good boost in the morning.

1. Buy a small non-stick skillet just for eggs and never let metal touch it. A non-stick skillet is simply the best thing for making egg dishes of all kinds. Scrambled, fried, or omelette, it will make cooking and clean up a breeze. I still use butter or oil with my non-stick.

2. Cook some things ahead of time. I tend to buy bacon in bulk and I love to make my own lower carb turkey sausage. I will cook large batches in the oven or on the grill, and then freeze in individual portions. You can just pop it in the microwave while cooking your eggs or getting dressed and you are good to go. If you enjoy hard boiled eggs, these are also excellent to make ahead on those "I hit my snooze button six times" mornings.

3. Include fat! It's tempting to grab the non-stick spray, but that pat of butter you cook your eggs in will not only make them taste divine, but will also add some fat and some staying power to the calories you eat. My completely non-scientific research on using butter versus spray on the same meal seems to indicate butter made me feel fuller longer.

Here is one of my go to breakfast options. It takes me less than 10 minutes from start to finish.

Bacon and Cream Cheese Omelette
3 eggs
2 tbs of water
1 tbs cream cheese, cut into tiny bits
1 tbs butter
2 tbs real bacon bits
1-2 shakes of Cavender's Greek Seasoning

1. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat, once the pan is hot add your butter and melt.

2. While the butter is melting, combine eggs and water, stir until combined completely. Add seasoning, stir even more until it's all well mixed.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, cook until the bottom is set. Using a rubber or silicone spatula, lift the edges of the egg up and allow the uncooked egg to flow under the cooked egg

4. When it is almost set, add the cut up cream cheese and bacon bits to just to one side of the middle. Fold the eggs over the bacon and cream cheese and let cook for about 30 seconds.

5. Slide onto a plate. Eat. Savor. Mmmm..

Nutrition, Per Lose It!
Fat 35.5g 74%
Carbs 2.1g 2%
Protein 26.1g 24%

Cauliflower Rice

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let me tell you about the greatest discovery I've made since I started Atkins - Cauliflower Rice. If you aren't a low carb enthusiast, or if you're new to low carb living, you might be looking at your screen like I've lost my mind. "But Allie, you can't make low carb rice! It's 20 carbs per half cup! I have to give it up to do low carb!" Well my dear friends, let me show you an excellent low carb rice substitute that takes very little work for some very tasty rewards, and is green to boot!

I've seen this recipe all over the web, and there are many variations, but this is mine. I am a huge fan of cauliflower florets on my salads and stir fries, but not a fan of the stems. This is an excellent use of the stems, though I usually include a few florets for a nice texture variance.

I have a few ideas of what to do with this discovery. I am a sucker for rice in general. It's one of my trigger foods. I am hoping to develop this a bit more so hopefully I can make some sushi and rice balls for my bento lunches. I need to figure out how to make them more sticky.

Cauliflower Rice a la Allie
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 tbs of good sea salt

1 fairly large bowl with a good lid or plastic wrap to cover it
Box grater
knife to trim the cauliflower

1. Trim and wash your cauliflower, cutting the florets off the stem. Dry it all very well
2. Grate the stem on the largest grater side. Put your bowl in the sink and do this in the sink because it's messy.
3. Grate a few of the florets as well, and once you get to where they are too small, you can always crumble them with your fingers.
4. Add salt, toss
5. Cover the bowl with either your lid or plastic wrap.
6. Microwave for 5-7 minutes.
7. Fluff like you fluff rice
8. Eat. Optionally with butter. Mmmmmmm.....

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