Monday, October 24, 2016

NEW RECIPE - spicy deviled eggs

These are low carb deviled eggs. But then, they all are, unless you add sugar to them, or maple syrup.

I was cleaning the fridge and thought these "extras" from my fridge would enhance deviled eggs, which can get a bit boring when you are on a ketogenic diet. These are definitely NOT boring.

Spicy Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs
Put eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in one layer. Cover completely with cold water and throw in a half teaspoon of salt to help them peel easier. Set over high heat, no lid on pan. Bring to full rolling boil (should take six to ten minutes, depending on your stove).

When the water boils, turn off heat and put lid on. Set a timer for 10 minutes. If eggs are extra large, then set the timer for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, immediately pour off the water and pack ice cubes around eggs, then put cold water over all until the eggs are covered. They are ready to peel and use within about 10 minutes, or can be stored in the fridge for several days.

If you are using right away, chop three pieces of bacon into fine dice and cook over low heat while you are doing the eggs. Drain the bacon well.

Peel the eggs, cut in half and turn yolks (which should be beautiful with no green around the edges) into a bowl. Mash with a fork. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 C. mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, which has sugar in it), 1 tsp. white wine vinegar (one with zero carbs), and a piece of chipotle in adobo sauce (about 1" x 1") which has been finely chopped. Split a scallion long ways into quarters, remove all but an inch or two of green top, and chop finely. Add to the bowl along with the drained bacon bits. Stir to combine and stuff the egg halves.

Garnish each deviled egg with a cilantro leaf.


Deviled eggs  with a kick

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

LOW CARB LIVING - Getting started!

12 points of light to help you get started. . .
1 Be mentally prepared. This isn't easy, but YOU CAN DO IT!
2 Go to and start tracking what you eat. Put your meal into the Atkins site BEFORE you eat, and check where you are on your daily intake. It's easier to make adjustments earlier in the day.
3 If you are able (if you live alone), get rid of the bad stuff, throw it away, take it to a soup kitchen, feed it to the dogs, give it away to your friends who are not into low carb eating.
4 Make things ahead.
5 Shop and read labels.
6 For a treat, save up your carbs (eat stuffed celery, eggs and cauliflower all day) so you can splurge on a dinner. You can eat really well if you still have 15 carbs left to consume for dinner.
7 You WILL get full faster! Better not to put too much food on your plate, but if you are full and there is still stuff on the plate, leave it for a snack (or throw it away, or give it to the dog)..
8 This is a program to enhance your overall health. Losing weight is a side-effect of low carb living, Take it from me, it will be harder to do if your only goal is weight loss.
9 What about exercise? If you don't already exercise, now is not the time to start. Give it a few weeks to get used to the new way of eating. Exercise will make you hungrier so be prepared. No carb loading! It just doesn't work.
10 Focus on what you CAN have, not on what you CAN'T have. How about a thick hamburger topped with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese? Or six fat shrimp poached in half a stick of butter? Or steamed broccoli dripping with homemade cheese sauce?
11 Journal daily. One sentence is enough. Record your mood, any new aches & pains, and note the ones that have gone away. 
12 Weighing: Save it for one day a week. If you weigh daily and you lose, you will have a tendency to eat an extra treat or two. If you gain, you could feel cheated – you were good and you still gained, so why try? Once a week will even out the daily fluctuations.

Monday, October 10, 2016

NEW RECIPE - Amy's Pork Carnitas

Amy and I met at my booth at the market. I think it was when I was selling lamb. She LOVES lamb, so that's a good guess! Anyway, we both enjoy food and cooking. We've exchanged several recipes.

Amy loves to garden. She invited me over one Sunday afternoon and I got to see her lovely city garden. I was impressed by all she grew in a small space. She had loads of tomatoes and tomatillos. So what do you make at season's end? Salsa verde, of course. And she blessed me with a pint jar of it, as well as her recipe for pork carnitas.

Ready to eat

If you use wraps and rice, this is NOT low carb. However, there are some low carb options for wraps, or just make up a big plate of cauliflower rice and top it with the spicy pulled pork.

Here's Amy's recipe.

Mix a dry rub:
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin

  1. Rub on pork butt or shoulder, about 4 pounds.
  2. Coarsely chop one yellow onion and place in bottom of a crock pot.
  3. Place pork on onion,
  4. Pour jar of Amy's salsa verde over the top (or store bought if you don't know Amy!)
  5. Cover and set on high for 5 to 6 hours,
  6. Break pork apart and mix. Taste and add salt if needed.
  7. Serve with hominy or rice (cauliflower rice for us low carbers), roll in burrito (or a coconut wrap for us low carbers), or just pour over chopped lettuce.
  8. Crumble or chop Mexican cheese on top, such as Oaxaca or caso blanco, and add some avocado slices or cilantro. 
Nutritional values are for the meat and cauliflower rice only. Be sure to add in your carb count for other accompaniments if you are using them.

Per serving:

Carbs Fat Protein Calories

TOTALS 4.23 35.04 42.66 515.69

% of total calories 5.2% 42.8% 52.1%

Cauliflower rice:
Per serving: grate 3/4 C. cauliflower and brown lightly in 2 tsp. olive oil for 2 minutes. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Put on plate and top with pulled pork from crock pot.

Carbs  Fat  Protein  Calories

TOTALS 1.70  2.96 1.10 38.40

% of total 17.7%  69.4%   11.5%

This is a great fall treat. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

NEW RECIPE - Susan's Low Carb Chili

With the hint of fall in the air, it seemed time to update my chili recipe. Getting the nutritional values right is very time consuming. I built a model so that I can do it my way. It allows me to play with the recipe, adding or minimizing to get a healthy number of carbs per serving in the finished product without compromising flavor.

All that being said, here is my chili recipe. A few things about it. First, those darned tomatoes! They are a fruit, you know, and so they contribute nearly half of the net carbs in the recipe.  If you want to trim 1.5 carbs per serving, cut them in half. That's the big hitter. Even the onions don't amount to much, and they add a spike of flavor. It's the tomatoes. Sigh . . .

Second, I have written about my views on black soybeans, so you might want to leave them out if you are going to make this often, but I will repeat what I said in my earlier post - a few soybeans are not as bad as a piece of pie. So make it an every now and then treat.

Last but not least, I watch Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell for inspiration frequently, which has made me cognizant of texture and flavor when I am developing a new recipe. So you will see a couple of ingredients in here that are a bit unusual - finely chopped celery for a little bite (and almost NO carbs!), and white wine vinegar, the zero carb kind, to brighten the flavor.  Thanks, Anne and Bobby.

Susan's Low Carb Chili

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 C. finely chopped celery
1/4 C. finely diced onions
1 tsp. toasted ground cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 poblano pepper, seeded
1 lb. ground beef
15 oz. can black soy beans, well      rinsed, not turtle beans
Diced tomatoes,14 oz.
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
       (no carb kind)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. roughly chopped cilantro
1-1/2 C. water

Finely chop the celery, onion and seeded pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over medium high heat, then add the vegetables. Put in your chili powder and ground cumin. It improves the flavor of the spices if they are cooked prior to adding the crumbled ground beef to the pan. Once the spices have released their wonderful aroma and the onions are soft but not brown, add the ground beef. Keep the heat on medium high and stand over the burner until the hamburger is cooked almost through. Don't burn the vegetables while you are cooking the meat! Watch over the process. This is no time to check email.

Now add the rinsed soy beans (if using), tomatoes, tomato paste, cilantro, vinegar and salt. Stir to combine well. Add a cup and a half of water. Taste for seasoning. Now is the time to add salt if necessary. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan and cook for a half hour to an hour, stirring occasionally. NOW you can check your email!

In the picture, there are a couple of garlic croutons on the edge of the bowl. They are very low carb, but that recipe is for later. You can top the chili with butter (which smooths out the tartness of the tomatoes) and sour cream or shredded cheese. Just remember to add in the carbs for the additions. All three are very low carb, but they need to be accounted for.

Revision to original nutritional data! (I'm still working on my model, found major error this morning!)

Nutritional info (with soy beans):

Carbs Fat Protein Calories
TOTALS 3.32 10.29 1.70 112.00
% of total calories 11.8% 82.2% 6.0% 100.0%
Calories from: 13.3 92.6 6.8 112.6

Bon Appetit!

Susan Siemers
From Devonshire House Low Carb Delights

Susan's Low Carb Chili

Monday, September 26, 2016

Greeting fall with mixed emotions

Fall is undeniably here.  The mosquitoes have already calmed down a bit, and soon they will be gone. This year was really miserable for those of us who don't like heat mixed with high, high humidity. I am one of them, and feeling cooler air today is welcome, even with the humidity. However . . .

There hasn't been a frost yet, nothing even close, but the plants are looking pretty sad. No amount of water or tender loving care will make up for the fact that summer annuals have a genetic life span, and it is nearing the end for many of them.

I love the zinnias at the front of my house. So cheerful! They are multi-colored, some tall, some medium, some short. They shaded the delicate shade-loving impatiens well enough that they are still looking quite nice. However, the zinnias, not so much.

Sad zinnias

Sadder zinnias

As for my tomato garden on the deck, they are done. I am just letting the last crop of tomatoes hang on the sad, brown plants in the hope that they will ripen before they rot. They are almost all Moldovan Green, my favorite tomato, so even though they look very un-ripe, they are not. I brought in two last night, one for supper with my wild salmon, the other one sitting on the counter for today's lunch with some cottage cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Sad tomatoes

Sadder tomatoes

A few of my mums made it through the winter, and I notice one is just full of buds. One of these days I will have to tell the ragged looking zinnias that they have served their purpose. I will blow them a kiss and then pull them out to make room for the mums to show off.

Mum budded out - it's having its day.

I planted several lavender plants against the foundation, bought from the booth that sells everything lavender at the market. The owners, Mike and Doreen King of Lakeside Lavender & Herbs, tell me that I need to trim them back this fall. They will be healthier next year if I do so. The smaller ones on the right are best for culinary uses, so they will get extra tender loving care.

Lavender against wall

Culinary lavender, smaller

Even the basil is sad - but this was a GOOD GOOD YEAR FOR BASIL.

There are several perennial herbs hidden among the zinnias that will be useful well into the winter - tarragon, oregano and thyme.

Oh, and I planted potatoes last spring. It's time to go on my potato search. Two organic potatoes yielded eight potato plants. Now if I can just find where to start digging!

Isn't it wonderful what one can do with foundation plantings?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Wheel turns to Mabon - the Second Harvest!

On Friday, September 23, we will be celebrating Mabon – the Autumnal Equinox and Second Harvest on the St. Joe river in my yard in Mishawaka. I know it is a work day for many of you, so 5 pm might be a little early. Come when you can, and we will partake of a potluck supper whenever we reach critical mass.

Our ritual will include putting your veggie offering in the middle of the cast circle, then telling about your garden. Leave a cuke, pick up a potato, leave a melon, pick up a squash! If you don’t have garden produce to bring, recipes for using that garden bounty will be a wonderful addition to the giving table.

I have great mosquito repellent (no Deet, all essential oils and witch hazel), so plan on going down to the river to light a Mabon fire to top off the evening.  

We need new pictures! I don't have anything in my files beyond 2004. Wasn't that a great altar? Thanks to Leann Lawson for that. And we did have some magnificent fires out there!!!

Blessed Be.

Mabon altar at farm - 2004

Mabon fire at farm - 2004

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fred has taught himself a trick . . .

Fred, a.k.a. Figgy Pudding, doesn't do tricks. Ayn Chee would play fetch with anything, and keep it up for hours! Couldn't get enough. She could also catch treats in mid-air. So can Tashi, although with her cataracts getting worse, she misses about as often as she catches them.

Fred doesn't do fetch. He doesn't catch food, much as he loves it, even when you toss it in the air towards his nose. When I leave the house, I always tell them it's time for their meatball doggy treats, because mom is leaving now. I hold Fred's right up to his mouth and he grabs it. Don't bother to toss it - he won't get it. Tashi's gets tossed to her even though I have to retrieve it from under a table or chair sometimes, and then hand it to her as well.

A couple of days ago, I gave Fred his treat, then tossed Tashi's to her - and then saw Fred throw his from his mouth several feet across the floor. I picked it up, got very close to him and tossed it. He got it.

Surely he didn't throw it across the floor so I would toss it to him the way I toss Tashi's to her. I forgot about it until this moning, when exactly the same thing happened! Fred wants me to toss him his treat, and lest I forget, he tosses it at my feet so that I will pick it up and throw it towards his nose.

Fred has learned a trick. Lo and behold, I think I am falling in love with that little guy.

Tashi and Fred