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::Low Carb Recipes:: Eggs in Bacon Cups and Cauli Tots

Thankfully for me, that even when my weekends are over-booked, I have time to experiment with recipes I’ve found, on Thursday evenings.

Both recipes below I found online, but the egg and bacon recipe was just listed on pinterest without a link (if you can help me give the person credit, I’d appreciate it).  The cauli tots I found on pinterest too, but it linked to this great blog, I Breathe… I’m Hungry.  From what I can tell, she just started “low carbing” this year, and I’m really impressed with her recipes so far.

Eggs in Bacon Cups

1 package of Bacon (I only used 12 strips)

9 Eggs

1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream *optional

Cheese *optional

Salt and Pepper to taste *optional

:: Preheat the oven to 375

:: Using a muffin pan, line with bacon strips.

::  Pour in Eggs or Egg mixture (Eggs with Cream and/or Cheese)

:: Bake for 30-35 mins.

{I cut the bacon strips in half, making it easier to line the muffin pan}

{finished product!}

I’d like to have shown you the finished product on my plate, but I scarfed it down.  Not ALL of the “muffins”, mind you, but it was getting late and I needed to move onto my next recipe.

While I have a very strict rule about not eating at least three hours before bedtime (even though I have an evening pt job 5 days a week that uses up a lot of energy, it’s not hard to do), it just didn’t work last night.  One of my roommates unexpectedly needed the oven, so I had to wait, and was so starving by the time I came home.  I had also made spinach to go with these to maybe make it more quiche-like, but I ate the cooked spinach (yum!!) while these were in the oven.  Something to try next time!

Oh, and no fancy ingredients!!

:: So… would I make this recipe again?  Damn skippy! (that’s a “yes!”)

———————————————————————————————————-

Onto the last recipe from last night, Cauli Tots, from this blog post.

This one took a lot more time, but if you’re in the mood for Tots, and you have to have an low carb approach to it, this is the way to go.

In my hungry haste and tired state, I made several mistakes with these, but they still came out ok.  I’ll tell you the changes I made to the recipe, and what I would do differently next time.  First, here’s the recipe:

Makes: at least 50 ???

Recipe Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower
2 Tbl heavy cream
2 Tbl butter
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
4 egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying

Clean and trim the cauliflower, adding the florets to a microwave safe bowl.  Add the cream and butter to the bowl.  Microwave for 5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and cheese to a magic bullet or food processor  and blend until still chunky – kind of like a cooked oatmeal consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill for at least half an hour.  Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak.  Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture to lighten it up.  Then fold the cauliflower mixture into the rest of the egg whites and gently mix until combined.  For best results, chill for another half hour or they won’t hold their shape as well.  Fit a pastry bag with a round or star tube with about a 3/4 inch opening.  Spray the inside of the bag with nonstick spray.  Gently squeeze out 1 inch sections onto a greased cookie sheet, cutting with a butter knife as you go.  When finished, bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or longer if you’re skipping the frying) until puffed and slightly browned.  Remove from the oven and serve – or heat 1/4 inch of oil in a saute pan and when it’s very hot add the tots.  It doesn’t need long, a minute per side to turn them golden brown and crispy.  Serve immediately.  These are still tasty after they cool but they start to lose their crunch only minutes after they come out of the oil so if crunch is what you’re after, eat them right away!  So good!  Can’t wait to hear what you thought of this recipe!

Regarding nutrition info on these, I will give you the info per batch of tot mix but depending on how large you make them, etc, I have no idea what the breakdown would be per tot.  Also, I don’t know how many calories would be added by frying them after baking since it’s hard to quantify how much oil would be absorbed.  To lower the calories, use half and half instead of heavy cream, and substitute a lowfat cheddar.  

Approximate nutrition info per batch:  864 calories, 63g fat, 18g net carbs, 47g protein

Our microwave is broken and as I try to never use the thing, I opted for stove top, which threw me off a bit.

What I did:  added the cream and butter to a pan, along with cauliflower, and then heated it all up together.

What else I did:  added more cream and butter (doubled it) as it was taking a while for the cauliflower to heat up, and I didn’t want to burn it all up.

What I will do next time:  steam the cauliflower separately and be sure to drain thoroughly.  While that’s draining, heat up butter and cream.  Add all three ingredients to food processor.

Since I do stupid things when I rush, I missed the part about chilling the mixture.  Please note, you’ll need to do this two times, but if you’re good at reading through recipes, you already know that.

While I didn’t add the heated cauliflower mixture to the egg whites, I had already beat the egg whites when I realized adding a hot mixture to it was not a good idea, and then re-read the recipe.  So the whites sat for about 20 mins, and I put the mixture in the freezer to hurry up the process.  I whipped the whites for a few seconds when ready, and all seemed well, thankfully.

Other than what’s listed above, the only other thing I should have done was use parchment paper, or at least spray the pan.

{instead of piping them out of a bag, I just used a smaller spoon}

Since my tots were a little too wet to start with, and as I wasn’t planning on frying them, I broiled them for about 3-4 mins to help make the tops a little more crispy.  As I’m the girl that searches out the crispest fries from a batch, you know, the ones that are on the verge of burnt destruction, it’s my opinion that frying is really the way to go.

I ended up only making one batch and froze the rest of the mixture.  Since these are more potato-like I think I’ll make a sour cream and chive dip, instead of using reduced sugar ketchup (1g/serving).

:: Would I make this recipe again?  Yes!

This sweet fellow stayed up with me most of the time, occasionally begging me to drop everything because it was past his bedtime.

::Happy sleeping::

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::Low Carb Recipe:: Maria’s Protein Bread

A low carb lifestyle could seem very hopeless and bland if not for certain recipe-pioneers like Maria Emmerich, who do the work of converting previously decadent recipes into low carb friendly recipes, and hopefully without anyone noticing any taste changes.

I’ll admit I was overwhelmed looking at some of her’s, as well as other’s recipes, with these new ingredients (almond flour was the only “new” ingredient that had seen the inside of my pantry up to now).  It’s challenging to know where to start.

Well, let me help!

Maria’s protein bread has a simple enough ingredient list for low carb baking starters, like me.  The only new purchase for me was Jay Robb’s unflavored whey protein, and most of his protein products are carried at my local Whole Foods.

You can find her posting of this recipe on her blog, here, as well as below.

PROTEIN BREAD:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup Jay Robb unflavored egg white or whey protein
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Separate the eggs (save the yolks for a different recipe…creme brule???), and whip the whites for a few minutes until VERY stiff (I use a stand mixer on high for a few minutes). Slowly fold in the whey protein and onion powder if using. Then slowly fold in the cream cheese into the whites (making sure the whites don’t fall). Grease a bread pan and fill with “dough.” Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let completely cool before cutting or the bread will fall. Cut into 12 slices. I keep this bread in the freezer at all times to make sandwiches. OPTION: Make bread into 12 buns on a greased cookie sheet.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per slice)
White Bread = 80 calories, 15 carbs, 1 fiber, 3 g protein
“Healthified” Bread = 60 calories, trace carbs, 6 g protein
And here’s my progress through the recipe via pictures.

{“dough”}

{ready to bake}

{fresh out of the oven}

{sliced after completely cooled}

My only problem in executing this recipe to perfection was my lack of total cream cheese incorporation into the “dough” – and this is quite a challenge as they’re close to the same color. Next time, I think I’ll let it set out a bit longer so it’s softer, and maybe I’ll even mix it up a bit ahead of time before incorporating it into the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

{you can see the chunks of cream cheese that didn’t mix well. also left the top with a very meringue feel to it.}

Had everything mixed together, this would have been great bread, but for a first time, good bread isn’t bad.

I made a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, that was ok, as I accidentally skimped on the amount of cheese as compared to the slices of bread (it was a little dry).  Can’t wait to try it again with moister bread and more cheese.

{grilled cheese}

So, for now, I’m toasting the bread, and topping each slice with my very bland tuna fish salad (tuna, mayo, dill pickles, and a little pepper – I’m used to sweet relish, hence the “bland” remark) and a few slices of tomato.  Yummy!  The tuna really pairs nicely with the onion powder in the bread.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes!

::Happy Trying New Recipes::

Lion King cake, Gracie’s 4th birthday

We celebrated Gracie’s 4th birthday this weekend, and one of my favorite things about these celebrations is having the honor of making her (and Mason’s) themed birthday cakes.  This year she choose Disney’s Lion King.  Below are picture of the cake-in-making, and some from her party.  She got a trampoline and I got to “pop” her like popcorn.  Good times!!

cake progress

tried something I saw on pinterest to keep the cake moist. not sure it worked; maybe should have looked it up and not simply read the caption.

Scraps from evening out the cake and saved for Pride Rock.

I felt like Bob Ross (sans fro) whilst decorating - "happy little tree" and all.

 

yep, my brother is a dork! 😉

Mom and Mason-Doo snuggling.

trampoline water and picture break. we had so much fun!

 

It was a lovely day with lovely weather!

Easter 2012

Easter was a much-needed break to reflect on God’s love and spend time with family.  I made the same strawberry cinnamon cake for my friend’s bridal shower, except I decorated the top with a Spring-theme.  I found the inspiration on pinterest.com.

I took the cake to my aunt’s for dessert for after dinner, but I spent lunch with my Poppy; brought elk burgers – first time for both of us trying said meat – and hung out for a bit.

Hope you all were able to spend Easter with people you hold dear!

Here are a couple of cute quotes from Gracie, when she was outside with the big kids while they were playing lacrosse:

“Elliot!  Elliot!!  Look, I’m under a tree!  I’m safe!!”

(I had told her to stay back so she would be safe from the ball – she did this under multiple tall bushes in the yard.)

“Guys, I keep trying to play with you but I don’t have a cross!”

(She was exhausted of trying to get their attention; it’s hard being little.)

She’s a keeper!

I keep my cilantro in the freezer

Is it weird that my leftover cilantro is in the freezer?

I really love to freeze everything.  I confess.

It was purchased in a fresh bunch as a soup garnish, and found this great idea on pinterest.com.  Success!

But… it took forever.  Separating the leaves from the stems can take quite a bit of time, so be prepared.  That’s the only downside I could find, and it really isn’t so bad.  Waste is worse.

Just chop up said leaves (I used scissors), fill the tray, add a little water to it, and pop them in the freezer.  Tada!  Once frozen, I popped the cubes out of the tray and put them in a labeled Ziploc freezer bag.

I’m curious to hear if you try this and how it works for you – please respond and let me know!

best.cake.ever!

A friend of mine had her bridal shower this weekend.  Another friend organized and hosted it, so I offered to make the cake.

Of course.

Cake baking is in my genes, it seems.

Being as this was a grown-up party and an all girls party, I wanted to make a special fancy schmancy cake.  I whipped out my copy of “Death by Chocolate Cakes” by a genius Frenchman, Marcel Desaulniers (oui! oui!).

The perfect cake and I locked eyes and I knew.  Love at first bite.

The Strawberry Teardrop Cake took me two days to make (I’m a bit over-scheduled) and actually called for true buttercream frosting.  I have never known of such a delicate, smooth, not over-powering taste of chocolate goodiness in my whole life!  Instead of the confectioners sugar, and milk, etc. for the typical buttercream I make for my niece’s and nephew’s birthday cakes, this called for (you guessed it!) butter and cream, and a little sugar, and chocolate. 

It’s heaven, I tell you. 

Hands down, this is my favorite cake to make… and devour (don’t I wish!).

prep work – the different shades of white in the dry mix always amuse me.

batter!

someone was *really* ready for bed, but stayed up with me the whole time.

slicing and making the frosting – we were “oo”-ing and “ah”-ing over the butter color.

(l) clumsy cook

(r) Lion’s face hidden in butter

tada!

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