Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I had a request for a recipe for chocolate chips and I realized that I didn't have one on the blog. This one is adapted from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance. You can pour it out in a sheet and chop it up to make chips or you can make candy cups, bars, or fruit and nut clusters.

Adding liquid to melted chocolate is a big no-no. After years of making my chocolate chips with powdered, dry sweetener, I hit on a better solution. It lets me use one of the zero-carb liquids as the primary sweetener without causing the chocolate to seize and turn into a hard, dry lump.

1 teaspoon no-trans-fat shortening, such as Spectrum*
High-intensity liquid sweetener equal to ½ cup sugar**
A few grains of fine salt
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with parchment, waxed paper, or foil
and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Place liquid sweetener and salt in a small saucepan. Add shortening and place over very low heat until shortening melts. Cook and stir for 1 minute more to let the liquid evaporate. Stir in chocolate and continue to stir until almost smooth. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring frequently, until it is about 80° F. (The slow cooling tempers the chocolate so it is smooth and shiny.) Pour it out on the chilled sheet pan and tilt the pan to spread the chocolate to a thickness of about ⅜ inch. Return pan to refrigerator until chocolate is cold. Peel off the paper or foil and chop into chips. Store away from heat in a covered container.

Makes 1 cup or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate:
1.9 grams; Protein:1.9 grams; Fiber: 2.4 grams; Fat: 8.1 grams; 77 Calories:
Total weight: 4 ounces
Weight per serving: ½ ounce
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Pour melted chocolate into molds to make sugar-free chocolate candy cups or bars.

Mix in chopped nuts, coconut, or chopped, dried cranberries and drop by teaspoonfuls to make nut and/or fruit clusters.

*You can use coconut oil if you prefer, but the chocolate will be softer and melt more easily. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees.

**Any liquid sweetener will work for this recipe. You can use liquid stevia if you like the taste, monk fruit, sucralose, or a combination, however, the combination of sucralose and chocolate can be bitter. Adding a small amount of another sweetener gives a more natural sweet taste. (Commercial products often combine sucralose with Acesulfame K.)

Salty is the opposite of bitter. If your coffee is bitter, add a little salt. It also takes away some of the bitterness in chocolate. Use only fine salt so chocolate won’t be grainy.

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


“Home grown tomatoes, 
Home grown tomatoes,
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy,
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.”

~~from the song, Home Grown Tomatoes by Guy Clark.

Like it or not, life without tomatoes is a reality for many of us for a number of reasons. First, allergies to tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family are quite common. Second, Dr. Richard Bernstein says tomatoes are too high in glucose for those with diabetes and anyone following the protocol outlined in his book, "The Diabetes Solution," must eliminate them. And third, those who are on ketogenic diets may just want a replacement that is lower in carbs.
Think of all the foods we eat everyday that are based on tomatoes (spaghetti, lasagna, barbecue, ketchup, chili, pizza, salsa...) and you will appreciate the scope of the challenge. I'm tackling it one sauce at a time and this unconventional, tomato-free Barbecue Sauce is the first to get a makeover.

Use like regular barbecue sauce for basting ribs, chicken, or meatloaf, as a dipping sauce for meatballs, or stir into pulled pork.

½ onion, finely chopped (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons cooking fat, bacon fat preferred
2 garlic cloves (¼ ounce), peeled and chopped
2 cups Basic Rhubarb Sauce, recipe follows
½ cup cider vinegar
1 anchovy fillet, mashed, or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons liquid smoke, hickory or mesquite flavored
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or increase black pepper if avoiding nightshades
1 teaspoon coconut aminos or ½ teaspoon gravy flavoring (like Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master)
Sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons pomegranate molasses* or black strap molasses, optional
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, more if not using hot sauce

Sauté onion in bacon fat. Add the chopped garlic and sauté a little longer. Mix in other ingredients and simmer, uncovered, on low heat for 30 minutes. Purée in a food processor in batches if you prefer a smooth sauce. Refrigerate until needed.

Makes about 3 cups or 24 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
Per serving—Total Carbohydrate: 1.3g; Protein: 0.3g; Fiber: 0.4g; Fat: 11g; Calories: 17; Net Carbohydrate: 1g
Optional ingredients are not included in nutrition count. Pomegranate molasses will add 0.37g carbs per serving of 2 tablespoons. 

The rhubarb that grows best here in the Northwest is not red. It is pale green blushed with rosy pink--quite beautiful as it is, but it makes a greenish-gray sauce. I happened to be cooking red beets when I made the sauce shown in the picture above so I tossed in a few of the stems and peelings, about the amount from one small beet. Bingo! I fished out the pieces before blending the sauce, but the taste is quite nice so you could leave them in, but they would add a few carbs. If you use the iridescent, candy-apple-red rhubarb sold in most stores, you may not need to add anything for color.

This recipe makes more than you need for the Barbecue Sauce. You can also serve it as a condiment (it's especially nice with salmon), like applesauce, or as a dessert topping (with more sweetener).

3 pound fresh or frozen rhubarb stalks, sliced into ½ inch lengths
Sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons sugar (to taste or up to 1/2 cup for dessert sauce)
½ cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
A pinch of salt
Beet skins or stems for color if needed, optional

Place rhubarb in a large saucepan.Add water, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked down and very soft, stirring occasionally.

Puree in a food processor or blender or use a stick blender if you prefer a smooth sauce.

Use in place of tomato sauce in my recipe for Barbecue Sauce Reinvented. (More tomato-free recipes will be forthcoming for those who are allergic to nightshades and those who follow Dr. Richard Bernstein's protocol outlined in The Diabetes Solution.

Pomegranate molasses is a thick, zesty condiment used in Middle Eastern cuisines. It is not very sweet, but adds a lot of punch to the sauce. It can be found with the ethnic foods in some groceries, online, and in specialty stores. 1½ teaspoons will add a total of 9 grams of carbs to the whole recipe. You can omit it or use black strap molasses instead.

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


These chewy, fudgy bars are made with the same sweetener used in Quest bars, which can now be purchased for home use.  The basic recipe has only two ingredients and can be made in minutes. Endless variations are possible depending on what flavors and add-ins you use. For my first version I used cocoa and chopped nuts. So easy; so good!

2 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp vanilla whey protein powder (I used MRM brand)
Tiny pinch of salt
¼ cup IMO syrup* (See information and sources below.)
2 tbsp chopped almonds

Grease candy bar molds or a loaf pan, line with parchment paper, and grease paper also or use greased silicone molds or pans. You can also use muffin pans to make round "cookies" rather than bars or you can shape them by hand. Flexible containers made of silicone will facilitate removal. (I have molds for making bars on order, but I made the ones pictured at the top in a 3- x 5-inch loaf pan. If you double the recipe, it will make 4 bars when sliced horizontally.) 

Whisk cocoa powder, whey protein powder, and salt together until well blended. Set aside.

Grease a saucepan or microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add syrup to bowl or pan and heat in microwave for about a minute or until bubbly or heat on cooktop until bubbly. Stir in dry ingredients and mix with a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon to make a smooth dough. Mix in nuts.

Scrape mixture into molds and smooth top or let cool until it can be safely handled and shape into bars or “cookies.” Place in refrigerator for about an hour or until cold. Bars can be safely stored at room temperature but they will be soft. Refrigerate for firmer texture.

Makes 2 bars or disks. Recipe can be halved for one bar or multiplied for more.
Nutrition data per bar or disk: Cal: 128; Fat: 4.8g; Protein: 14g; Carbs: 15.4g; Net Carbs; 4.3g 

This is the bare bones recipe for making one bar. It can be customized to taste. 

2 tbsp IMO syrup
1/4 cup sugar-free sweetened whey protein powder or other protein powder
Optional add-ins and flavors: cocoa, chopped nuts, chopped dried cranberries, citrus zest, sugar-free chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, vanilla or other extract

Make as in above recipe.

Makes 1 bar. 
Nutrition data per bar: Cal: 142; Fat: 1.3g; Protein: 23.1g; Carbs: 28.9g; Net Carbs; 3.9g 

The Protein Cookies shown below were made with polydextrose (PDX) powder rather than IMO syrup and formed in a silicone muffin pan. (I used less cocoa in these, hence the lighter color.) 

To use PDX instead of IMO, add the dry PDX powder to an equal amount of water (1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup PDX for making 2 bars) and mix until dissolved. Heat until bubbly and continue as in either recipe above. 


*Isomalto-oligosaccharides IMO) is a new healthy sweetener that is very similar to one called polydextrose (PDX) that I used in a lot of recipes in my books. Both IMO and PDX are prebiotic, soluble dietary fiber made by breaking down starch into indigestible glucose. The starch can come from corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, tapioca, or other grains or roots. Polydextrose (PDX) is made by treating the starch with vitamin C and is considered to be synthetic. It contains a small amount of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. IMO is made by treating the starch with enzymes, which do not alter the product chemically and allows the manufacturer to say that it is “all natural.” 

Neither IMO nor PDX is as sweet as sugar, so you will need to add another sugar substitute to boost the sweetness. The recipes above call for sweetened protein powder, which provides the extra sweetness. 

IMO and PDX both contain a lot of fiber and you may need to start slowly and build up a tolerance to avoid gastric repercussions. (Don't test it just before an important event like a job interview or a first date for example!) Those who have SIBO, IBS or other condition that makes them sensitive to indigestible fibers will need to be especially careful of these products. There is a chart that shows how much of each kind of fiber it contains here: http://vitafiber.myshopify.com/pages/vitafiber-nutritional-information

IMO comes as a syrup or a powder. Vitafiber and Fiberyum are two brand names. The powder can be subbed one for one for sugar in recipes and the syrup can be used like corn syrup. There are lots of recipes on the Vitafiber website. 
RECIPES FROM VITAFIBER SITEhttp://vitafiber.myshopify.com/pages/recipes

 The brands of PDX that I have used don’t say what kind of starch it is made from, but they do say it contains none of the allergens that must be disclosed on labels, which are: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy. It could still be made of corn. Products made with Vitafiber that are advertised as being Paleo friendly are made from tapioca although other kinds are available for use in various products.

PDX is not quite as cheap as it used to be, but still less than IMO. (IMO is cheaper if purchased in larger quantities.) 

Below is a list of some sources for IMO and PDX. You may find others. Shop around for the best price: 

You can buy PDX from: Honeyville Farms, (http://shop.honeyville.com/products/bakery/baking-ingredients/sugars-and-sweeteners/polydextrose.html) Five pounds is $20.99 plus $4.99 flat rate shipping.
 LC-Foods also sells PDX in ¼ pound bags for $8.38 ($6.93 shipping) from their site or from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/LC-Foods-Polydextrose-Fiber/dp/B0096E56QY/ref=pd_sbs_325_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=164NM0VRMMZ0W4CQP5XF

Netritian has Vitafiber powder, 2.2 pounds for $21.99 with $5.99 for shipping. http://www4.netrition.com/vitafiber_prebiotic_fiber_powder.html

Amazon sells Vitafiber powder for $22. for 2.2 pounds with Prime shipping: http://www.amazon.com/Vitafiber-Basic-Powder-1-0-Kg/dp/B00TQ87DBQ/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1434521326&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=vitafiber+powder

The Fiberyum brand of IMO syrup comes in many sizes. It can be ordered from Amazon. A 1/2 gallon jug is $35.95 plus shipping.  http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=vitafiber+syrup&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=4966556179&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_3g7ka29se_e
I have not received samples for any of the products mentioned above and I do not get a commission on sales made from this site. 

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com 

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I have absolutely love this recipe. Sometimes I make a double batch of just the hot salad to serve as a side dish. 

For Dressing:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
2 tsp sesame oil
Sugar substitute to equal 1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

For Salad:
1 cup finely sliced fennel (save fronds for garnish)
1/2 cup finely sliced white onion
1/2 cup finely sliced celery root, also called celeriac
Additional salt and pepper to taste

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp bacon fat
1 lb large sea scallops, about 12, fresh or thawed frozen
2 tbsp chopped, fresh fennel fronds

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, 1 tbsp water, sesame oil, sugar substitute, salt, and pepper. Reserve.

Slice fennel horizontally into thin slivers. Slice onion, pole to pole, into thin slivers. Peel and trim celery root and cut into matchsticks about the same size as the onion and fennel strips. In a large bowl, combine fennel, onion, celery root, salt, and pepper.

Mince 2 tbsp fennel fronds for garnish. Reserve.

Put 2 tbsp bacon fat in a large skillet and heat on medium-high. Blot scallops dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt. Place scallops in hot skillet, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove scallops and place on a heated serving dish.

Add sliced fennel, onion, and celery root to hot skillet and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes until hot but still crisp. Add salad to serving platter with scallops, drizzle with reserved dressing, sprinkle with bacon bits, and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings
1 serving: 237 calories; 22g protein; 12.6g fat; 1.3g fiber; total carbs: 7.4g; 6.1g net carbs

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


You don't know how much you love something until you lose it! Those of you who follow my blog, probably know that I've been dealing with a lot of sudden-onset allergies. You can read about it here. I continue to make progress in reversing the allergies, but I have also found some work-around solutions that let me enjoy many things that I initially had to eliminate from my diet. By trial and error, I've discovered that I can eat Parmesan cheese, clarified butter, and butter and cheese made from water buffalo milk in spite of having a dairy allergy, for example. I've also found a possible source for camel milk that may or may not work out.

Of all the foods I had to give up, the hardest one by far, was eggs! It was a disaster for my low-carb/high-fat lifestyle and sent me back to the drawing board for most of my recipes. The commercial egg replacements are barely acceptable if you only need them for their binding and emulsifying properties, but they don't provide the valuable nutrients in eggs, they don't taste as good, and any recipe that is mostly egg-based won't work. I set out on an an egg quest to see if I could find a bird that was different enough from chickens that I could eat their eggs.

I have a local produce stand that has duck eggs briefly in the spring and there is a store in The Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle that sometimes has turkey eggs, but I've never been lucky enough  to get there when they had any. Quail eggs have turned out to be the best alternative. I seem to tolerate them well and most Asian stores sell them as do some regular groceries that have a section devoted to Asian foods. They taste exactly like chicken eggs. The only thing I don't do with them is separate the whites from the yolks because that is just too tedious! 

I took a picture to show you how goose, chicken, and quail eggs compare. Although there is some variation in size, generally, one goose egg equals three large chicken eggs, which equals five quail eggs. Quail eggs usually come in a carton of ten eggs so it takes a carton to replace two eggs. The price can be over $10 a carton or under $2, depending on where you find them. The ones I buy regularly are shipped in from California. They sell out quickly, so I've learned what day they are delivered and buy enough to last until the next delivery. 

I've included one of my favorite recipes made with quail eggs. Everyone will like these, even those who are not allergic to other eggs. See the TIPS at the end of this post for how to buy and use quail eggs.


Preheat oven to 425º F'

Clean fresh, large mushrooms (about 2½ inches across) and remove the stems. Sprinkle them with salt and brush with melted butter. Place the mushrooms, rounded side up, on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain on paper towels. Blot the mushrooms with additional paper towels, pressing down into the cap with dry towels to soak up excess moisture.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325º F. Arrange the mushroom caps, hollow side up, on the pan and break a quail egg into each one. (See below for TIPS.) Spray the eggs with no-stick spray or drizzle with more melted butter. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the whites are set and opaque.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated Swiss cheese or Parmesan. Return to the oven for a few minutes more until the cheese is melted and the yolks are cooked to your taste, creamy or firm. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with snipped chives or crumbled crisp bacon or top with Hollandaise Sauce. Serve hot as an appetizer or snack.

Serving size: 1 piece
PER SERVING: Calories: 57; Fat: 5.6g; Protein: 4g; Total Carb: 1.5g; Fiber: 0g Net Carb: 1.5g

Buying quail eggs:
Quail eggs are very popular in Japan so most Asian stores sell them and many other stores have them on the aisle with the Asian foods.

When I started looking for sources for quail eggs, I found stores that sold them for over $10 per carton of 10 and stores that sold them for less than $2. They can also be ordered online, but that is more expensive and the eggs are fragile, so finding them locally is better. The ones I have now say they are from the Golden State Bird Farms in Vista, CA. They don't seem to have a website, but the address is 676 Osborne St, Vista CA, and the phone number is (760) 941-1492.


Cracking quail eggs:
Quail eggs have tough shells that are difficult to break. I recommend an inexpensive tool that makes the job easy--quail-egg scissors have a ring that fits over the egg and a sharp pointed blade that cuts the end off so you can tip the egg out without breaking the yolk.

Inspect your eggs carefully before you use each one and discard any that are damaged. Sometimes the shells will dent without breaking completely, but they will dry out and mold or spoil and they can contaminate any eggs they touch.

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 23, 2015


These reminds me of the coating on one of my old junk food favorites, Hostess Snowballs, those marshmallow and coconut-coated chocolate cakes with a “cream” center (actually a trans fat and sugar center). 

2 ounces frozen or fresh raspberries or strawberries or ¼ ounce dried

2 packets (7 grams each) powdered gelatin

½ cup cold water

½ cup boiling water

High-intensity sugar substitute, such as stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose, equal to 1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons sugar substitute with bulk, such as erythritol, xylitol, Sweet Perfection, or a stevia blend

A few grains of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 egg whites, fresh or reconstituted from powdered egg whites

¼ to ½ cup of finely grated coconut (1 to 2 ounces or 30 to 60 grams)

Granular sugar substitute equal to 2 teaspoons of sugar, such as Swerve, Sweet Perfection, Just Like Sugar, LC Sweet, or Splenda*

Grease an 8- x 8-inch pan. Line with parchment paper and grease paper also. Chop berries into fairly large pieces. Reserve.

Soften gelatin in ½ cup cold water in a large bowl for a few minutes. Heat additional ½ cup water to boiling. Pour over gelatin and stir until dissolved. Stir in first 2 sugar substitutes, salt, and vanilla. Place in refrigerator to chill.

Stir every 5 minutes at first then as often as every 2 minutes until it becomes as thick as raw egg whites. This may take less than 10 minutes or up to an hour, depending on your refrigerator. If the gelatin accidentally sets up and becomes lumpy rather than syrupy, reheat it and start over.

Beat gelatin mixture with an electric mixer for 2 or 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add egg whites and beat for about 3 minutes more or until it forms soft peaks that droop over when the beater is lifted. Quickly stir in berries. Spoon into pan and spread with a flexible spatula. Cover with plastic film and press down to level the top. Refrigerate until firm.

Turn out of pan, peel off paper and cut into 16 squares. Mix coconut and remaining sweetener in a small bowl and roll each marshmallow until coated on all sides. Eat them out of hand or garnish with a berry and a dab of sugar-free Whipped cream and serve with a fork.

Makes 16 squares.
Per serving—Net carbs: 0.4g; Protein: 1.6g; Fiber: 0.4g; Fat: 1.g; Cal: 20
Total weight: 12¼ ounces or 348 grams
Weight per serving: ¾ ounce or 22 grams
Preparation time: 15 minutes active; 25 minutes total plus setting time.

You may use only high intensity sweetener to make marshmallows if you choose, but the small amount of bulk sweetener, such as erythritol, xylitol, Sweet Perfection, or a stevia blend will give a texture more like marshmallows made with regular sugar. Plain ones (without raspberries or coconut) melt beautifully in a cup of hot cocoa. Without the bulk sweetener, they melt more quickly.

To make Plain Marshmallows:
Leave out the raspberries and roll squares in bulk sweetener without coconut.

Don’t use pasteurized eggs in the shell for whipping. They have been heated too much to beat up properly. If you are concerned about safety, you can use reconstituted powdered egg whites.

*Granular Splenda is a high-intensity sweetener because it dissolves and has no bulk when it gets wet. It can be used for the coating in this recipe because it is not mixed with a liquid.

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


My book, Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance has again been included in a special one-day sale of low carb and keto books on Amazon. On May 20, 2015, the Kindle versions of all 9 books listed below will be just $2.99! (The regular price for Nourished on Kindle is $9.99.) New authors and new books have been added for this sale!

Click titles to see books on Amazon.

More information and sign up for future events here: bit.ly/3dollarbooks

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Grass-fed ground beef is available at some of my local stores now, but grass-fed roasts, chops, and steaks are harder to find. One butcher told me he quit ordering the more expensive cuts because they didn't sell fast enough and he always had to mark them down. I have to admit, the prices are a deterrent for me too. As a result, ground beef has become a staple in my diet and I'm always looking for new ways to cook it. Here are some of the best recipes I have found to keep it interesting. There is a whole world beyond hamburgers!

1. Brie and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Burgers from All Day I Dream about Food: http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2012/11/brie-and-caramelized-onion-stuffed-burgers.html

3. Beef-a-Roni from Maria’s Mind, Body, Health: http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/beef-a-roni/

4. Show Cooker Moroccan Beef from Maria’s Mind, Body, Health: http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/easy-slow-cooker-moroccan-beef/

5. Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers from Carb Wars: http://carbwars.blogspot.com/2011/09/sloppy-joe-stuffed-peppers.html

8. Magic Meat Muffins from The Nourished Caveman:  http://thenourishedcaveman.com/vivicas-magic-meat-muffins/

9. Paleo Greek Meatballs aka Soutzoukakia from Keto Diet App: http://ketodietapp.com/Blog/post/2014/05/28/Paleo-Greek-Meatballs-aka-Soutzoukakia

11. Tasty Feta Burgers from Low Carb So Simple: http://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/tasty-feta-burgers/

12. Meatloaf Pate’ from the Nourished Caveman: http://thenourishedcaveman.com/hello-world/

13. Meatloaf in a Mug from Low Carb So simple: http://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/meatloaf-in-a-mug-two-variations/

14. Salsa Chili from Carb Wars:  http://carbwars.blogspot.com/2014/08/salsa-chili.html  

15. Italian Skillet Helper from Fluffy Chix: http://fluffychixcook.com/italian-skillet-helper-low-carb-keto-gluten-free/   

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Friday, May 8, 2015


The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans committee is accepting public comments until the end of the day today, May 8th. I will put the link to the comment form at the end of this post. Here is what I'm sending:

    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 fruits, vegetables, and grains. A recent analysis of the government’s own data on food consumption reveals that we did just what we were told to do. Fat consumption is down by 25%; carbs are up by 30%, and saturated fat is down by 20%. The percentage of overweight adults has increased from 42% to 66% since 1971. (http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007%2815%2900077-5/fulltext). These dramatic shifts in the macronutrient composition of the American diet coincided with the rise in our multiple epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes, the predictable outcome of increased carbohydrate consumption and reduced intake of natural fats. (Carbs stimulate the release of insulin, the fat storage hormone; insulin increases hunger.)

    A low-carbohydrate/high fat diet resets the body’s metabolism to burn fat for energy instead of burning sugar and storing fat, a state called ketosis. Following such a plan for three weeks will allow 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 much less water would be needed and 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 obese bodies? If a 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.
You will have only 20 minutes to finish your comment, so have it written out and ready to paste. You also need a short summary. The link is here:  http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/writeComments.aspx

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(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


After I published the new recipe for Picadillo with a picture showing it with a side of Pumpkin Tamales, many of you asked me to share the tamale recipe too. Since this is Cinco de Mayo, I thought it would be appropriate to post it today. I realize that I may be generating requests for even more recipes by posting just the basic tamales. The recipe first appeared in Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat along with a lot of variations. (Related recipes from Carb Wars include: Tamale Pie, Sweet Tamales, Tamale Pancakes, and recipes for several different fillings, including Carnitas, Chicken, and Pork Fillings for savory versions and Mincemeat, Cranberry, and Jam fillings for dessert tamales.) Since including all that would make a very long post, I'm going to take the opportunity to get in a plug for the book, which contains these recipes plus many more of my favorites that have not appeared here or in any of my other books.

Masa harina (Mexican cornmeal made from hominy), the main ingredient in tortillas, is generally something to avoid or use sparingly at twenty-one net carbs in one-quarter cup. This recipe, a take-off on the traditional fruit tamales of Mexico, also includes pumpkin purée, butter, and cheese, which cuts down on the carbs. I’m including a recipe for a savory one, with some variations, and a few sweet ones. They are all delicious and very easy to make.

For wrapping:
Dried Cornhusks (or cooking parchment)

For the dough:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (one-half of a 4-ounce can) diced green chilies
1 cup canned pumpkin or cooked and puréed fresh pumpkin
3/4 cup masa harina (recipe was tested with Maseca Instant Corn Masa Mix)
1/4 cup (11/4 ounces) grated Cotija cheese
2 tablespoons cream

Optional Fillings: fill each tamale with 2 teaspoonfuls of meat from Carnitas recipe (see p. 199), or with chicken or pork filling for Tamale Pie (see p. 174), or with cooked and drained ground beef.

Use purchased cornhusks if possible, as they are larger than what we typically get from fresh corn on the cob. Cover the husks with hot water and let them sit for several hours or microwave for a few minutes to soften. Choose a few of the longest husks and tear into narrow strips to use as ties. Cut off the narrow ends of the remaining husks so that they are more square in shape. Blot the husks with
paper towels to dry thoroughly. Four- by eight-inch pieces of parchment paper can be used in place of the cornhusks, if desired.

Combine the butter, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a mixer and beat until fluffy. Add the chilies, pumpkin, masa harina, cheese, and cream and beat to incorporate.

Spread about ¼ cup of the dough on each husk. Make the layer in the shape of a rectangle about ¼ inch thick that comes all the way to the edge on one side. Leave at least 1 inch on the other side and 2 inches or more on each end of the husk uncovered. If using a filling, place 2 teaspoons of filling down the center of the masa-covered section.

Fold the masa-covered part of the husk in half so that the filling is enclosed, leaving the extra inch or more of husk to overlap the seam. Fold the two ends toward the center and tie in place with the husk strips, leaving it loose enough for the dough to expand. (For quicker preparation, fold up and tie one end only and stand the tamales to steam with the open end up. If your steamer is too large for them to stand upright, crumpled foil can fill in the open spaces to keep them stable.)

Put a few inches of water in a large pot or steamer with a rack and heat on low. The rack should not touch the water. Place the tamales upright on the rack or in a single layer. Cover the pot and steam for
about an hour. Check the pot every 15 minutes or so to be sure it doesn’t boil dry. When done, the dough should be firm and it should pull away from the husk cleanly. Unwrap one to check for doneness.

Serve the tamales with salsa verde or enchilada sauce. Unfilled tamales are a nice accompaniment for chops or steaks; the filled ones can serve as a main dish for lunch or dinner.

Servings: 14
Total Carb: 6.5g Fiber: 1.1g Net Carb: 5.4g

Masa harina is flour made from a kind of dried, fermented corn, similar to hominy. The hard corn is treated with a solution of lime and water, called slaked lime, to remove the hulls. The lime also softens the corn and makes its niacin content bio-available so that it can assimilated by the body.

Cotija cheese may be called queso añejo or añejo de Cotija. It is a dry, salty, crumbly, aged
cheese. Cotija was the name of the town in Mexico where it was originally made. Look for it in
the cheese display or with the Mexican foods at the grocery store. If you cannot find it, substitute Romano cheese.

Salsa is always a carb bargain, but the green kind is especially so. It is made with tomatillos, the little green “tomatoes” encased in a papery husk. Embassa brand Salsa Verde claims to have one gram of carbohydrate with one gram of fiber, which cancels it out, for a net carb count of zero. (See Sources.)

Tamale Pancakes
If you don’t have time for filling the cornhusks and steaming the tamales, here is a shortcut. Form the dough into balls about the size of a walnut. Flatten into small pancakes and fry in butter or oil until brown and crunchy. Turn and brown the other side. Serve as a side dish or top with shredded cooked meat, cheese, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and salsa as for tacos.

Servings: 28
Total Carb: 3.3g Fiber: 0.6g Net Carb: 2.7g

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(c) 2015. Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 30, 2015


A rich, moist, basic cake that can be varied by using different flavorings, frostings, and toppings. It is sugar-free, grain-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 or other bulk sweetener*
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, such as stevia. monk
   fruit, or sucralose (recipe was tested with 18 drops EZ-Sweetz**)
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut, almond, lemon, or other extract
¾ teaspoon xanthan or guar gum, for better texture, optional

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 or guar 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. Leave until completely cool. Frost with Chocolate Butter Cream, recipe below, or serve with sugar-free whipped cream or sugar-free ice cream.

Makes one nine-inch layer. For a two-layer cake, as shown above, double recipe or cut cake in half and stack layers with frosting between. (Double the nutrition counts per slice.)

Makes 10 servings. Per serving, cake only, with zero-carb sweeteners—
Total carbs: 11.1g; Net carbs: 3.3g; Protein: 7.8; Fiber: 4.2g; Fat: 21.6g; Calories: 249
Total weight: 1 pound 6 ounces or 715 grams
Weight per serving: 2½ ounces or 72 grams
Preparation time: 25 minutes active, 1 hour 5 minutes total

* Bulk sweeteners include xylitiol, Swerve, Sweet Perfection, LC-Sweet, Just Like Sugar, Truvia, and Natural Mate (use 1/2 the amount for the last one).

**EZ-Sweetz liquid sweetener comes in stevia, sucralose, or monk fruit versions. All have zero carbs.

Insulating wraps are available for cake pans so the layers will be level rather than uneven on top. Look for ones that fasten with velcro strips.

No need to feel guilty when you indulge in this rich, chocolaty frosting. Double the recipe to fill and frost two layers.

¼ cup (1¾ ounces or 48g) erythritol, Swerve, or other sweetener with bulk
½ cup (4 ounces or 1 stick) butter, softened
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cream or coconut milk, more if needed
1 teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
High-intensity sugar substitute to taste, such as liquid sucralose, stevia, or
    monk fruit (Recipe was tested 6 drops EZ-Sweetz)
1 raw egg yolk, preferably from a pasteurized egg, optional (but good!)

If using granular erythritol, whirl it in a coffee or spice grinder or a food processor for a minute or two, until fine—let it settle before opening the top. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer or by hand until fluffy.

Beat sweeteners into butter, then beat until smooth. Blend in the cocoa powder (slowly or it will escape). Beat in the vanilla, salt, and the cream or coconut milk and the egg yolk, if using. Add additional high-intensity sweetener to taste, starting with a small amount. Store frosting in the refrigerator, but let it warm up a bit before serving.

Makes frosting for 9-inch cake (10 servings) or about ¾ cup total.
Per serving with zero-carb sweeteners—
Net carbs: 0.6g; Protein: 0.9g; Fiber: 1g; Fat: 11.1g; Calories: 108
Total weight: 7 1/3 ounces or 206 grams
Weight per each of 10 servings: ¾ ounce or 21 grams
Preparation time: 10 minutes active and total

Recipes adapted from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

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(c) Judy Barnes Baker. www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 23, 2015


The secret to making crisp crab cakes that don't fall apart without flour or bread is to drain the crab mixture very well. It can be made a day ahead and the cakes can be formed and refrigerated for several hours before cooking. (Recipe adapted from one by David Hagedorn featured in the Washington Post.) 

1 pound of jumbo lump crabmeat
2 green onions, white and light-green parts, finely chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp seeded and minced jalapeno pepper. optional
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
1 large egg
1/2 cup real mayonnaise, home-made preferred
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp light olive oil (not extra-virgin), bacon fat, or other high heat fat (See Note.)

Go through crab meat and pick out any bits of shell or cartilage, leaving lumps intact as much as possible. Place picked crab in a large bowl.

Add green onions, parsley, cilantro, jalapeno, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay, and mustard to bowl. Carefully fold in without breaking up the lumps of crab meat.

Beat egg in a second bowl; add mayonnaise and mix well. Gently fold into crab mixture and place in a strainer. Set strainer over a large bowl. Cover strainer and bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Discard liquid and shape mixture into 6 cakes. They should be about 3 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Place a baking sheet in oven and preheat to 200°F.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers in the pan. Place half the crab cakes in the skillet and cook without moving for 3 minutes or until the bottoms are well browned. Turn them over with a wide spatula. Cook for another 3 minutes until second side is brown. Transfer to heated baking sheet and put in oven to keep warm until the remaining cakes are cooked.

Wipe out skillet and add the rest of the oil. Heat oil as before and repeat the cooking process. Serve warm.

Many stores sell fresh crab in 1-pound cans that can be stored in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I'm not sure I want to know how they do that, but it is very good, with large, meaty chunks of crab, and it is also relatively inexpensive compared to the fresh crab at the fish counter.

Be sure to get "real" mayonnaise. It will have real eggs and no sugar. Better yet, make your own fresh mayonnaise. (Dr. Mary Dan Eades's wonderful recipe is in Nourished.) The nutrition data shown is for purchased real mayonnaise, such as Hellman's, Best Food's, or Duke's.

Some of the fat used for frying will be left in the pan. The amount left in the crab cakes is estimated in the nutrition data.

Yield: 6 servings.
Per each crab cake: 257 calories; 19.4g protein; 18.5 g fat; 0.3g fiber; 0.6g net carbs

"Light" olive oil has the same number of calories as other olive oil but it is more refined, giving it a higher smoke point than extra-virgin  and making it a better choice for frying and high-temperature cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is best reserved for salad dressings and quick sautéing. Other oils that can take the heat without being damaged include natural lard, beef and poultry fat, bacon fat, and some nut oils.

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SPECIAL OFFER: If you buy a print copy of NOURISHED from Amazon or if you have already bought one in the past, you can get the Kindle e-book, a $9.99 value, for FREE! Go to the Kindle detail page here: http://www.amazon.com/Nourished-Cookbook-Health-Metabolic-Balance-ebook/dp/B007SZGD7Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

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