Lowcarbezine! 21 November 2003

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Hey, Gang -

Wow! I've been on the road since Friday. I've been in New York - first Westchester County and then Long Island, where I did book signings, and met some terrific folks. In particular, Vicki Cash, who donated a bunch of recipes from her Low Carb Success Calendar for 500 Low Carb Recipes (including the hugely popular Pumpkin Cheesecake) came with her charming husband Keith to see me in Scarsdale. We had dinner together, and a fine (low carb) time was had by all.

I then spent a day in New York City. I would like to state, here and now, that the most pernicious and unfair regional myth in the country is the near-universal notion that New Yorkers are rude, unfriendly, and generally unpleasant. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every time I go to New York, I am struck once again by the helpfulness, friendliness, and humor of New Yorkers. It's a wonderful place, and you should all visit at least once, at the very least.

Anyway, now I'm in Pennsylvania, where I'll do a full-day guest training for QVC tomorrow (I will, of course, let you know when I'm going to be on QVC!), but I wanted to give you the article I promised on how to decarb Thanksgiving dinner. I'm afraid that's all you're getting this issue, but heck, this ezine's still worth what you pay for it, right?

Read on!


Reader Review of 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes

Best book for busy working moms

(From a reader from Lynchburg, VA USA)
I love the fact that I can put a few items together in a short time and call it a meal. I am bombarded as soon as I walk in the door about what is for supper. I take this book with me to work to figure out what's for supper. So far everything I have fixed has tasted good. I definitely recommend this book to any busy person.

To see this and other reader reviews of 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes, visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/159233041X/lowcarbohysoluti

Please know, however, that you can get 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes at any bookstore!

DeCarbing Thanksgiving Dinner

Last issue we talked about having an Indulgence Day on Thanksgiving, and eating the traditional high carb foods of the holiday, without completely blowing our low carb way of life. However, many of us have reached a point where we don't care to eat a lot of concentrated carbs, even for a holiday. So this issue, let's talk about how to have a fabulous Thanksgiving feast, while keeping the carbs to a minimum.

Notice the phrase, "keeping the carbs to a minimum." I'm not going to pretend that even a decarbed Thanksgiving feast is going to be a strictly low carb meal. Nor should it be, to my way of thinking - it is, after all, a celebratory feast. But we can keep the carbs as low as is consistent with a satisfyingly traditional Thanksgiving dinner - and this is a fine thing to do.

Here, then, in no particular order, are some ideas for decarbing your Thanksgiving feast.

* All but the newest of low carb dieters are aware, I am sure, of the trick of using pureed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes. This is very simple to do: You simply steam or microwave cauliflower until it's tender, drain it well, and then put it through a blender or food processor. Add butter, salt, pepper, and - if you want to make it really top-drawer - a little cream cheese - and you'll have what we call "fauxtatoes."

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have had dinner guests try fauxtatoes with gravy, and not realize until the third or fourth mouthful that they were not eating potatoes. If, for the holiday dinner, you'd like to make your fauxtatoes even more convincing, you might try cooking and pureeing just one potato along with your cauliflower, to add that potato flavor.

* Stuffing, also known as dressing, is a major part of the Thanksgiving experience, and I, for one, adore the stuff. How can we decarb our stuffing?

First of all, you can use reduced carb bread. This is more and more available; my local grocery stores in Bloomington, Indiana have now started carrying Atkins bread, and a reduced carb bread from Brownberry. "Lite" breads are also worth looking at - if I recall correctly, Pepperidge Farm light bread has no more than 6 grams of usable carb per slice. If you really want to show that your heart is in it, you could make your own low carb bread, either from one of the recipes in 500 Low Carb Recipes, or in Diana Lee's Baking Low Carb.

Once you've got low carb bread, the next thing to do is to look at the bread-to-vegetable ratio of your stuffing. Will you be happy with more celery and onions, and a bit less bread? How about adding some sauteed mushrooms - a very low carb vegetable - to your stuffing? I've done this, and the results were excellent.

For that matter, my mother has always put cooked and crumbled pork sausage in her turkey stuffing. Accordingly, my sister, Kim - who is also a low carber - has sometimes made stuffing with quite a lot of celery, onions, and sausage, and just a little bread. Not only did Kim find this meaty, reduced-carb stuffing acceptable, but so did our father, who is not only not a low carber, but a picky eater of the first water.

Of course, Southerners eat corn bread stuffing, instead of stuffing made from loaf bread. I know it sounds nuts, but there's a recipe at the Katiedid's Pork Rinds website for a stuffing made from crushed pork rinds that is remarkably like cornbread stuffing. Do take a look!

If you're interested in a recipe that has no grain whatsoever, but is still very tasty (not to mention quick to make,) there's a recipe for Apple-Walnut Dressing in my new book, 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes. I think it's quite good (of course!,) but I can also tell you that the nice people at Fox and Friends also pronounce my grain-less dressing delicious.

* Sweet potatoes are another traditional Thanksgiving carb food. It's nice to know that sweet potatoes, while high carb, have a lower blood sugar impact than "regular" potatoes, and contain far more vitamins. Still, we are talking roughly 30 grams of carbohydrate per sweet potato - and that's without the brown sugar, corn syrup, and/or marshmallows people tend to heap on them! What can we do?

Here's a neat trick: Combine one sweet potato, cooked and mashed, with canned, pureed pumpkin. Now, add Splenda to taste, with maybe 1/2 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses for a brown sugar flavor (you could use Brown Sugar Twin instead; I don't like the stuff,) and a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Put it in a casserole, dot it with butter, and bake it till it's hot clear through. Using one average sweet potato and a pound of pumpkin puree, and assuming you serve 6 people, each serving will have about 10 grams of carbohydrate, with 1 gram of fiber, or 9 grams of usable carb - just a third of eating a plain sweet potato.

* Cranberry sauce is the easiest thing to decarb! Buy a bag of fresh cranberries. On the bag you will find a recipe for Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce. (Or at least, I've never found a bag of cranberries that didn't have this recipe on it...) This is exceedingly simple to make - you combine cranberries, water, and sugar in a saucepan, and boil them together for about 5 minutes, or until the cranberry skins pop. Do this exactly the way it says on the bag, only use Splenda in place of the sugar! If you've only ever had canned cranberry jelly, I think you'll be excited at how wonderful fresh, homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce is.

If you're fond of cranberry sauce all year long, here's a useful tip: Cranberries are one of the few foods that are still strictly seasonal. They're only available for a few months in the autumn. However, cranberries freeze beautifully! So if you want cranberry sauce all year long, pick up a few extra bags of cranberries and stash them in the freezer. They'll live there happily, and be ready to gladden your heart with tart-sweet cranberry goodness till next autumn rolls around.

* Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without turkey gravy, and gravy is, of course, usually thickened with flour or cornstarch. If you'd like to really go all the way with de-carbing your feast, consider thickening your gravy with guar or xanthan gum, instead. You can put the de-fatted drippings and some broth through your blender with a little guar or xanthan, then pour it back into the pan to heat it through and season it. Alternately, you can combine the de-fatted drippings and the broth in the turkey roasting pan (the turkey will, we trust, be on a platter by this point!,) and, using an odd salt shaker, sprinkle guar or xanthan over the surface while stirring frantically with a whisk. Either way, stop adding guar or xanthan when the gravy is a little less thick than you'd like - both of these thickeners tend to thicken a bit more on standing. Again, once your gravy is thickened you can add salt, pepper, some poultry seasoning, and whatever other seasonings you like, to taste.

* Then we come to dessert. I'm pleased to say that low carb pumpkin pie is no more difficult, and is perhaps even tastier, than the traditional kind - after all, we make the crust with ground pecans! This recipe appears in 500 Low-Carb Recipes, but I've repeated it below. If you prefer, you'll also find Vicki Cash's wonderful Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe in 500 Low-Carb Recipes - the decision is up to you.

I'm afraid I have not yet managed to de-carb apple pie, for a very simple reason: Apples are a relatively high-carb fruit. I have a few ideas to try yet; if I come up with a winning recipe, I'll let you know!

* The rest of the advice for a de-carbed Thanksgiving appeared last issue: Have plenty of great low carbohydrate vegetables, and of course lots of turkey. Add a dry white wine - perhaps a Chardonnay - and you've got a traditional Thanksgiving feast that - while not being strictly low carb - will have far, far fewer carbs than is usual.

Have a very happy Thankgiving! (And to all my readers outside the US, I hope at least some of these ideas are applicable to your lives. I promise to go back to being less US-centric next issue!)

Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes

An EXCELLENT low-carb cookbook

(Susan Cusack, from Burlington Twp., NJ USA)
I love this cookbook. There is a huge variety of recipes in all categories. I haven't made a recipe that I don't like. It has made leading a low-carb life style infinitely easier.

I love breads and cereals and that is for me the most difficult part of avoiding carbs. The low carb breads that I have tried are great and fill that void extremely well. The hot almond cereal is divine. I was very tired of eggs for breakfast and really missed oatmeal. I love this cereal more than oatmeal and so do my children.

That is really the greatest part of this cookbook. The recipes are truly suitable for the entire family. No double dinners with me feeling deprived anymore.

To see this and other reviews of 500 Low-Carb Recipes, visit Amazon.com:


However, be aware that you can get 500 Low-Carb Recipes virtually anywhere - it's started showing up at Sam's Club and Costco! Surely it's at your local book store.

Yet Another Personal Appearance, This One On the Left Coast

Hey, West Coasters, don't feel left out! I'm going to be doing a book signing at Carb Smart's bricks-and-mortar store in Huntington Beach, California, on Saturday, November 29th - the Saturday after Thanksgiving. You know you'll be out shopping anyway, so stop in and meet me! I'll be there at least from 1 pm till 3 pm, and it wouldn't surprise me if I hung around longer than that.

If you're in Southern California, you simply have to check out Carb Smart anyway - it's just fabulous. And Andrew says he'll be putting some cool low carb treats on sale, so you can start your low carb stocking stuffing. He does great gift baskets, too.

I hope to see you all there! Here's Carb Smart's URL - you can get directions to the store there: http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html .

And all the rest of you who live nowhere near Southern California, check out the website anyway. It has an astonishing variety of great stuff, and Andrew discounts everything!

Send In Your Holiday Recipes!!

Last year Lowcarbezine! went to a weekly publishing schedule over the holidays, to help support our readers through the biggest carb-gorging season of the year. It was so well received, we're going to do it again - we'll be going weekly as soon as I get the latest cookbook turned in, which should be sometime in the second week of November, to help you to get through to New Years Day with your resolve - and your waistline! - intact.

But we need your help! Send us your best holiday recipes - cookies, candies, desserts and other treats, festive holiday main dishes or side dishes, party beverages (alcoholic or non), and hors d'oeurves and other party foods! We'll publish just as many as we can fit.

And maybe, just maybe, I can talk my publisher into a "Best of Lowcarbezine! Low Carb Holiday Cookbook!"

One very, very important rule: Do NOT send recipes from already existing cookbooks! That's a copyright violation. If you've changed a recipe, even a little, to make it your own - for instance, substituted Splenda for the sugar - then it's a new recipe, and it's fine. But if you just copy a recipe out of your favorite cookbook and send it in, and we publish it here, we could get in trouble, and might even end up having to close down Lowcarbezine!, which would break my heart, and hurt a lot of folks. So no copyright violations!!

Send your favorite holiday recipes to recipes@holdthetoast.com

Reader Review of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds!

Easier to Undersand than Atkins

(Traci, from Loxahatchee, FL)
I bought some books on low carb living and I found this book to be the most interesting and "layman" friendly. The author is funny and seems to have done alot of research. If you're thinking about a good low carb book, put this one in your shopping cart.

To see this and other reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds!, visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1592330401/lowcarbohysoluti

Cooking Low Carb!

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Crust

I'm very proud of this recipe. Serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner, and no one will guess it's made without sugar.


2 cups shelled raw pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons Splenda
1 1/2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Put the pecans and salt in a food processor with the S blade in place. Pulse until the pecans are chopped to a medium consistency.

3. Add the Splenda, molasses, and butter, and pulse again until well blended. Add the water and pulse again, until well combined. At this point, you'll have a soft, sticky mass.

4. Spray a 10-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray, or butter it well. Turn the pecan mixture into it, and press firmly in place, all over the bottom, and up the sides by 1 1/2 inches or so. Try to get it an even thickness, with no holes, and if you wish, run a finger or a knife around the top edge, to get an even, nice-looking line.

5. Bake for about 18 minutes. Cool.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 425F.

7. Combine the pumpkin, heavy cream, eggs, Splenda, salt, molasses, and spice in a bowl, and whisk together well. Pour into the prebaked and cooled pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Cool, and serve with whipped cream.

Yield: 8 servings, each with 14 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber, for a total of 10 grams of usable carbs, and 6 grams of protein.

Wondering how many carbs you're really saving by making your pumpkin pie from scratch? A lot -- especially when you consider that a slice of Mrs. Smith's frozen pumpkin pie has 37 grams of usable carbs, or well over three times as much!

That's it for this issue! See you next issue!


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To request a full-text version of this issue by e-mail, just send a message to: htt031121@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)