Earlier in the week, I focused most of my efforts on a fantastic resource for the diabetic community. I repeated the website throughout my text, and in each and every instance, the link I provided had a typo. How embarrassing!
To check out "Eat To Your Meter", click this link: EatToYourMeter.org
Share the LCve!
I want to try a bit of an experiment. Actually, just about everything I do or try is an experiment, at this point. Truth-be-told, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I'm just some dude with magnificent set of mismatched knifes and old computer. It's pretty much all just a big experiment, really.
I should go back and erase that last paragraph. It doesn't really say anything.
Let's start over ...
This week, I'm going to focus on things outside what I do. At my core, I'm a cook. I don't really consider myself a "Chef", exactly. I'm too young, too nice and I'm not French. I am, however, a pretty decent cook. That's about it! I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not a farmer, I'm not a parent, I'm not a basketball player, either. However, there are people out there that are more educated than I am in these areas and they explain themselves better than I ever could. Their ideas are also largely from a similar place as my own. Sharing some of their information allows me to broaden the topics I cover and add a stronger sense of dialogue and communication to my tasty little world.
There are also things that I'll just never cover, but do definitely fall within a low-carb way of life. Things like organ meats, for example. I personally think they're oogy, but ... they're nutrient rich and quite edible! Just because I personally snub them doesn't make the information bad.
Finally, there's stuff I like to share, simply because it's quality stuff! There are some really amazing thinkers, communicators and cooks out there, sharing information as good or better than my own!
I'd never used Facebook prior to starting my Facebook page. I was VERY green, when I started (still am, really!). One of the first pages I "liked" was Karen Sorenson's "Living Low Carb, One Day at a Time". I just really love Karen's style and approach. Her food is outstanding and her persona welcoming. Several months later, it continues to be! I've learned a lot from her. I just hobbled over to her Facebook page (legs are sore from too many lunges) and noticed she's just put out a book. I just had to have it!
Having now gobbled through it ... all I can say is, "WOW!" Karen has REALLY put a lot of thought, care and heart into this project. It's a fantastic read and stunning to look at. I tend to view these kinds of things through a "hunger factor" and ... Karen's book made me HUNGRY! Scale of 1 to 10? ELEVEN!
Her photography and imagery is colorful, warm and beautiful. And, while that's all fine and good, the information it contains is also clear, well written and fresh! I even learned a thing or two. (First time I'd ever heard of a Chia Egg!) Looking forward to spending more time with it!
I'm sharing this because ... it's a great book, totally applicable to my readers. I also think it's worth it! Karen has clearly put a lot of time and effort into this. It's one of the highest quality eBooks I've seen.
Finally, she's also got a special running. Use the coupon code AWAKEN40, and receive 40% off (until March 11th, 2013).
Do you ever get tired of eggs for breakfast? Here are 30 very well formed breakfast alternatives. Check them out!
And then some ...
Caroline from over at Gutsy, has put together a beef cut guide. She's done a really good job! She also supplies lots of recipes to match the different cuts. It's a great article (and I'm in it ... YAY!).
Get to know your meat: Beef cut guide
I purchased a crock pot about 2 months ago. It's the first time I've ever used one. The first thing I made was a chili. It was an EXCELLENT chili, but ... it didn't really look like any chili I'd ever had. That recipe is at the bottom of this blog post. However, here's a great list of crock pot recipes! These all far surpass anything I could ever do. I get A LOT of request for slow cooker recipes. Well ... here ya go!
Grain Free Crockpot Recipe Roundup
Living in Mexico for near 10 years, I got used to the idea of brains, eyes and tongue tacos. You'd see little vendors along the streets with tripe and liver, too! The US is one of the pickiest countries, in terms of what we'll eat. Historically, the organs were some of the most cherished parts of the animal! They are full of vitamins and minerals which may not be found in the muscles. Alas, I am a picky American and, I find things like "hearts" to be ... in a word ... grody.
However, I DO think people should eat them! (just not me)
Preparing Beef Heart and Heart Kebobs Recipe
I've had several requests for kid friendly recipes. I have already done a photo shoot with many items. My recipes will be out in a few weeks, but because I know that a MASSIVE percentage of my readers have children, I want to share this type of information from time to time. Many of these aren't low-carb, but many are. I don't know that kids need to be on as strict a way of eating as I tend to be. So, this one is a little more open. Plus, I just really think the world of Lindsey, over at HomemadeMommy.net.
Healthy School Lunch and Snack Ideas
"Real" Food seems to be the new thing, I think after "Whole" foods went and adopted that name for themselves. There still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding over what "real" foods are, where they come from, how to achieve them and how to incorporate them into your lives, but in a realistic way. Life is complicated and stressful. How do I nourish myself with the best stuff, without making myself crazy in the process?
Real food simplified for the busy, stressed or overwhelmed
About a month ago, I asked my readers for topics and recipes they'd like me to cover in the upcoming months. I was SHOCKED to have received an email from Jennifer Eloff, a bestselling low-carb cookbook author. My jaw hit the floor. She said incredibly kind and generous things and then went on to suggest I remove "gluten" from future recipes.
This started a dialogue between us, where I was incredibly honest on my stance about gluten. I don't have one! Jennifer appreciated my candor. I promised to study up on the topic and make an informed decision. True to my word, I have gone to great lengths to try and wrap my head around gluten, wheat, grains, gluten replacements, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, etc. I will write about all of this very soon; likely within the next week.
in the meantime, gluten is DEFINITELY an issue for the millions of people afflicted with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder of the intestines). It's a real and life threatening issue for celiac and shouldn't be treated lightly.
I do agree with Jennifer's take on gluten-free being somewhat of a fad and having some negative consequences (while also shining a positive light on some of the issues). Check it out. It's an interesting take!
Why gluten-free popularity can be dangerous for celiacs and gluten-sensitive folks
There are things I really like in the world. Bacon. I LOVE bacon. Pumpkins. It's true. I love pumpkins. I'm also a massive fan of coconut oil. In my case, it's a healthy food and ingredient. However, it doesn't need to be limited to cooking!
Coconut Oil Deodorant, Homemade DIY
I eat a lot of Greek Yogurt. I've never made it and have been meaning to. Chances are, I will at some point. In the meantime ...
Easy Homemade Raw Greek Yogurt
Finally, "Clarified Butter" or ... it's more fashionable Hindi name ... "Ghee". Ghee is the stuff that comes with your lobster tail. It's that yummy yellow butter that you almost want to drink. Ghee is tremendous! It's full of buttery flavor and is a great fat for cooking with. Check out how to make your own!
Ghee Made Easy (How To)
Please let me know what you thought of this post. I really enjoyed finding these little slices of related information. If you see anything you think I should throw out there ... let me know. I love to spread good quality information!
This Week's Recipes
For now, I've got 3 more recipes. 2 are "rice" based. The miracle rice is one I make OFTEN. At least once a month, likely more often than that. The "risotto" was a new one, but turned out really well. It's obviously not a true risotto, but it is a wonderful replacement ... whatever you want to call it. Finally, the big recipe this week ... Chili ... IN A SLOW COOKER!
This one was a strange experience for me. I'm a pretty good judge of foods, when it comes to techniques I understand. However, this is a whole new kettle of fish! Let me know your thoughts on this chili recipe. It was absolutely tasty, maybe even one of the best chilis I've ever had, but ... it "reads" slightly different than any other chili I've ever had. I'm curious to hear the thoughts of a more seasoned slow cooker expert.
Until the next post!
Slow Cooker All-Beef "South of Texas" Chili
In my near 40 years of life, I have cooked a million different things in a billion different ways. However, I have managed to somehow avoid mastering the art of the crock pot. In fact, I have never used one … ever. This recipe is my first stab at using this near ubiquitous pieces of equipment.
Crock pots are essentially a cooking technique known as "braising". Braising is essentially "cooking stuff in liquid". In restaurants, usually a meat product will be seasoned, then seared in a hot pan so that it is nicely caramelized. From there, it will be submerged in a variety of different ingredients, where it is slowly and gently held at a hot and stable temperature. In many cases, this is done in a pot, with a lid, placed in a very low temperature oven for hours at a time, often being left to sit overnight.
Slow cookers or "crock pots" do essentially the same thing. It's a very low and slow, but consistent level of heat. As foods sit at this temperature, liquids are drawn out, connective tissues and fats in meats break down and melt, vitamins are leached into the liquids that develop, the flavors are all distributes and intermingle, etc. In short, a variety of ingredients are tossed into a slow cooker, where the stuff slowly cooks, breaks down and becomes a soft, tasty dinner!
For my first foray in the land of the crock pot, I wanted to go with a full and heavy meaty chili. It seemed like a good way to break in my new crock pot!
Most recipes I found for chili seemed to suggest the meat be cut into cubes, seasoned, seared, then thrown into a crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Being me, I needed to "mix it up". One common theme seemed to be "Texas Chili". I decided to add some elements that take it "South of Texas", while also leaving elements like the chili powder and tomatoes, so it will stay "familiar". Also, having braised lots of meats in my life, I've found that braising whole pieces of meat tends to result in a more "moist" end product. It's just more "juicy" and supple than the cubed meats. It may not have the same attractive little cubes of beefy goodness you may be accustomed to, but the meat is tender, juicy and soft, in the best possible way.
I've also got a bit of a question for you Crock Pot enthusiasts. In reading crock pot recipes, most all of them seem to request the addition of water, or broth. I did not add any extra liquid to this recipe, even though it seemed commonplace. Rather, I trusted the method to pull all the liquids from the meats and vegetables. I was correct! In fact, even without adding additional liquid, it still felt a bit soupy to me. Next time, I'd likely add a bit of xanthan and guar gums to it, just to tighten it up, a bit.
Is this loose liquid a desirable trait? Should I see slow cooker recipes as having a more soupy/sloshy consistency? Please place your thoughts in the comment box, below. Thanks! ?
Closing Thoughts: While it was a bit soupy and not much to look at, this was as tasty a chili as I've ever had.
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
No low-carb website is completely without a rice-like substance called "cauli-rice" or "cauliflower rice". I've got it, right here.
However, even made with pure cauliflower, it's still got about 4 grams of net carbs, per serving. It's also "all cauliflower", which means it's got the taste and texture of cauliflower (doing an amazing impersonation of rice, but still).
Miracle Rice or "Shirataki" Rice is a very low carbohydrate Japanese rice substitute made from the Devil's Tongue Yam (also known as the Elephant Yam or Konjac Yam). The end result is a product which is all but carb and calorie free. It's also gluten free, soy free and sugar free. It's made primarily of fiber, which the body doesn't absorb. In the end, they are very small little "pearls", more along the lines of an Israeli Couscous, in terms of shape and texture, than "rice", but ... it definitely does a fine job of being "rice", too!
Probably my personal favorite way to make "rice" is to combine cauli-rice with miracle rice. In my mind, I get some of the nutrient benefits of the cauliflower. I also get the flavor (which I DO like), in addition to some textural contrasts. The miracle rice "stretches" the carbs, allowing me to have a slightly larger portion with my fried rice, curry, jambalaya, what-have-you.
Miracle Rice can be found online fairly easily. You can also find it in many grocery stores, as well as Asian supermarkets.
The end result isn't "rice". You can't make sushi with it, but ... it's about as much like rice as anything I've tried ... short of rice! I've fooled MANY people with it. It's ... rice!
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
Portobello Mushroom "Risotto"
Risotto is an Italian rice dish, made with thick, short grain and starchy grains of rice. It takes forever to cook properly and requires near constant attention, in order to develop the starches within the dish. These will thicken the "sauce", resulting in an al dente rice suspended in a luscious creamy sauce.
This is not that.
HOWEVER, this is VERY good, whatever it is. It's a really fantastic "mush", serving as a bed for something else. When I originally made this particular recipe, I used it as a bed for my Valentine's Day Centerpiece, Rosemary Skewered Lamb Loin.
The key, really, is using raw grated cauliflower and serving it while it's still got a little "toothsomeness". The "creamy" texture/consistency comes from the melted cheese, butter and mushroom duxelles. This dish may look like it's a little on the complicated side, but ... it really isn't. Even if it was ... it was TOTALLY worth it!
Note: I suspect that people will ask if this can be made without the miracle rice. Sure can! The miracle rice helps to "stretch" it, but isn't required. If you omit it, reduce the rest of the ingredients by about 25%. Everything else still applies.
[ VIEW RECIPE ]