Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What is Samhain?

Samhain (pronounced Sow' en) is one of the eight Sabbats on the Pagan Wheel of the Year. It is also known as All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos, and All Souls Day. It is the Sabbat when the veil between the living and the dead is very thin, connoted by the many skeletons we see in celebrations.

This is a time when we may try to get in touch with someone who has gone before us. How do we do this? At our Unitarian Church, we celebrate the Sabbat with a silent supper, during which no one speaks. The tables are set with one place setting unused by the living, but hopefully visited by those who have passed before us. Those wishing to remember a loved one may bring a picture or some small amulet as a reminder of him or her. Some bring favorite foods that are put on the plate in the place of honor.

Our great room is lit with candles only. Once we invoke the spirits of the four directions and cast the circle, then there is silence throughout the meal. It is a solemn time, with the only noise the clink of silver on plates.

This Sunday evening, we will celebrate Samhain at 4:00 pm with a potluck dinner, empty places at each table, and a myriad of candles throughout the hall. Who will join us?

It is a sacred time. If you are interested in attending, send a comment to this post.

Pictures from the past . . .


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 www.atkins.com 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