Pepperoni Pizza Pockets, plus a peek at Father's Day!
Today's first section focuses on the process for a Pepperoni Pizza Pocket, from BeautyandtheFoodie.com! I met Stacey because I kinda/sorta stole a recipe from her, felt guilty and then fessed up to her. Her response was as kind as gracious and generous as could be. She said, and I quote, "All is good in the hood." I saw that and just smiled ... ear to ear. Smitten ... like a kitten playing badminton. Stacey was cool! We got to chatting and the topic of guest posting came up. It seemed like a fun way to play!
What follows is Stacey's recipe. I confess to having not tried them, just yet. Busy, busy, busy, but will try them soon! Having tried one of her other recipes, and having seen many others, quickly scattered around the internet, I have it on good authority ... Stacey's recipes are quality. Look for my guest post on her site, shortly!
Take it away, Stacey!
Hello, I'm Stacey from www.beautyandthefoodie.com. A few years ago I found out that I had Celiac Disease. Before that discovery, staying slim was easy because almost every time I ate I would get sick. So I learned how to eat gluten free and bake gluten free. It was awesome at first, because I could eat and not have pain or get sick. However, I started gaining weight rapidly. I decided to go on a low fat, low calorie, gluten free diet. I was a nutrition major in the 80's, and this type of diet was the standard back then. Well, as you can imagine, this did not give me the results I was hoping for. I believe I gained more weight. Naturally, I tried exercising more often, and for longer increments. I was constantly sore, tired, super hungry, and not losing weight! People told me that this weight gain was because I was in my 40's. I was informed that it was from hormone changes and a slowing down metabolism. Still, I did not find any of these reasons acceptable, just ageist. I did know that what worked for me in the past was not working anymore. I had to try something different. Then I found the low carb diet, and I was skeptical, but decided to give it a go. It really worked, and the weight came off rapidly. I could not believe that it worked so well without any hunger. I thought that with all the proteins and healthy fats I was enjoying that I would gain more weight. Now that I'm at my goal weight, I have switched to a Primal diet (a grain free diet). It is a naturally low carb diet, and has helped me feel very healthy. An added bonus for me is that now I exercise less and get better results. I work out 15 to 30 minutes every other day. Before, I was putting in a lot of time every day, and not seeing many results. So maybe it is 80 % diet and 20 % exercise. My body fat percentage is at the lowest it has ever been in my life. I'm 46 years old, and I have two kids. It is never too late to be who you want to be. A few months ago I started a healthy food and beauty website with low carb, primal recipes, and natural beauty information (I'm a cosmetologist at my real job). Hope you will come and check out my website for healthier low carb recipes. I had to make a really yummy recipe for DJ because he is an amazing person and talented creator of fabulous food. Enjoy the Low Carb Pizza Pocket recipe!
Low-Carb Pepperoni Pizza Pockets
Process zucchini and garlic in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Then place zucchini in, at least, two layers of paper towels or a cheesecloth. I tried to use one paper towel once, and the towel tore and ground zucchini went everywhere.
Wrap ground zucchini and garlic in paper towels or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
After combining the crust ingredients, divide dough into two mounds and spread each into a circular formation on the parchment paper with the back of a spoon. Try not to get it too thin. You should not see any paper through the dough. Then use the back of the spoon to slide around the circle and smooth out the edges.
After baking, place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the zucchini crusts. Then flip both sheets, with crust between them, over onto baking sheet and slowly peel off the parchment paper on top of crust.
After baking, spread pizza sauce over entire crust, and put toppings and cheese over half of each circle.
Fold half of crust over bottom half with the toppings (like folding an omelet). Press open part of pocket closed with a spoon or fingers. Do not worry if it does not seal well, it will when the cheese melts. If any of the closed part cracks open, just push it closed with fingers. Brush the tops of crust with melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan. Put back in oven to bake again until browned.
Note from DJ: Click the image above to see the full recipe, with nutrition information. I have to say that entering her information, nutrition facts, images, etc and seeing her serving size set at "2" ... well ... this really gave me a big chuckle. There are two keys points from this observation.
- I still eat large portions of food, even though I've lost a lot of weight. I STILL need to learn to cut down my amounts. Bad habits die hard.
- My recipes are generally geared towards me, which tends to mean they're large portion sizes, with the carbs and nutrition that goes along with that. This means that most of you probably eat less than I do and can actually really benefit from my numbers! A recipe that says it's 8 carbs per serving, is actually probably closer to "5" for most of you! I see little notes all the time that reinforce my belief that my portion sizes and calculated on the "XXLarge" side. I OFTEN see people comment that they can't eat a whole "One Minute Muffin". This just makes me laugh. I could eat a baker's dozen!
Speaking of bakers ... here's a totally unrelated segue!
This Sunday is Father's Day. You can expect to see things like this, this week. Like my Facebook page, so you can get them, as I add them to my site. Or, just check back every day!
Sweet Corned Beef Hash
Double Cut Sausage Stuffed Pork Chops
Grilled Ribeye with Bacon-Chipotle Jus
Slightly Dangerous Braised Lamb Shank
... and more!
Most of today's recipes revolve around sweets, specifically sweet beverages. This collection of recipes is actually a bit funny, in that there are things within it that show, and even somewhat HIGHLIGHT areas where I lack skills, but still give it the ol' college try. In very large part, I like to put myself through exercises for which I have no skill, in an attempt to get better at it. The results are often unpredictable, but I like to put it out there for people to peruse. Perhaps it's a good starting place for your future ideas! Who knows?!
I can say that I was particularly happy with the funnel cakes. Those were incredible and near impossible to believe that they're low-carb. Also of note were the Sweet Lassi and the Chocolate-Macadamia Smoothie. A few savory dishes snuck in there, simply because I get a little overwhelmed with too many sweets ... hence the meatloaf and lasagna, both dishes I was very proud of! Give them all a read, take a look, pick a favorite or two and cook it up!
More from me this Sunday!
Meat Lovers' Lasagna
After a really long stretch (3 weeks, which is super long in "DJ Years") of super clean eating, including zero grains, no dairy and no Frankenfoods, I celebrated with a gigantic bowl of Pasta à la Stuff in DJ's Fridge. This divine bowl of yum was FILLED with cream and pasta. It was everything I could ever want in an overflowing bowl of chow and more!
Then ... the next day ... the "more" part of that equation hit me. WOAH!
Having been eating so clean, I think my body simply didn't know how to handle all the wheat, whether it be shrouded in a fiber matrix, or not! I don't want to put grotesque images in your mind. Nothing like that occurred, but what I experienced was nothing short of a brief bout of lunacy and befuddling indecision. The next morning, I awoke with a splitting headache, not unlike that of a horrendous hangover. Added to that was a sense of deep fog, a little sadness, enormous confusion and overwhelming hunger. This was the kind of hunger that had no end. Oh ... I was in trouble!
This isn't a "Dreamfield's Pasta will make you crazy" recipe. That stuff is absolutely delicious and filled a necessary void in my life, at one time. I believe it has its place in the world. However, years later, as I lose weight, gain health and learn more ... I continue experimenting; trying to clean and refine the foods I eat.
This recipe still has a lot of dairy, but it is also completely wheat free. Sheets of lasagna would definitely work within this recipe, but ... so did my crepes! In fact, as I was eating this, and sharing it with friends, I asked them if they felt like they were eating something OTHER than lasagna. NONE of them batted a lash. It was lasagna, in every way they know.
I agreed. It was SOOOO GOOD, TOO!
Chicken Note: It's my understanding that you can buy scaloppini style chicken breasts in many supermarkets. I'm in the habit of slicing and pounding my own. If you can't find it at the store, you can ask the butcher, or pound your own. To do this, cut a chicken breast in half, as if you're butterflying it. Cut it all of the way through. Then place each half between two pieces of saran wrap and whack at it with a meat mallet, the back of your knife, or the bottom of a pan. You want to pound it thinner and wider, until it's about 1/4-inch thick.
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
Bacon Wrapped Turkey Meatloaf
I've already got another meatloaf on my website, but ... a few things prompted this recipe.
In all sincerity, this recipe really is here because I wanted to play with bacon. I've seen countless photos of this cool "lattice" bacon formation, all over the inter-web. I've seen it wrapped around whole turkeys (called "Turbacon!"), I've seen it formed into thin sheets, which were used to top brownies, I've even seen taco shells made from it. This all makes perfect sense, in some small way ... it all looks delicious and tastes even better!
- I wanted to play with a whole sheet of bacon.
- Turkey, as I understand it, is pound-for-pound, the least expensive meat which can be purchased.
- I like turkey and don't feel it needs to be relegated to November.
- Who says I need to put a cap on meatloaf recipes?!
So, this is just me playing. I'm having fun, doing silly things with food. As a kid, my Mom always told me not to play with my food.
In your face, Mom! (just kidding!)
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
I have a text file on my computer called "MintChocolateChip.txt". It's been bopping around my machine for several years. When I very very first began low-carbing, it was always open on my desktop. As I'd scour the web looking for interesting ideas and new ways to be low-carb, I'd jot down recipes, ideas and ratios. I did this for probably 6 months and then, one day, inexplicably ... I just stopped. I assume I'd found a groove, or decided I no longer needed to add anything to it. For the most part it's where my personal sugar mix recipe lived, in and amongst the other ice creams and pie dough recipes.
One of those recipes was for "fried dough". Like most of the other recipes, I don't know where I got it, or if I just made it up, on the spot. Whenever I don't know where something came from, I like to give a plug to LowCarbFriends.com, as they were the source of almost all my early discoveries. In any event, because I don't own a fryer, I'd never made it! Recently I had wanted to try some fried foods. So, one day, a few weeks ago, I set up a fryer in a big pot with a candy thermometer. I tried a few different recipes. Some were great and some weren't. My fried chicken, for example, was the debacle of debacles. Oh, what a disaster! This recipe, on the other hand, was EXCELLENT! Hot and fresh from the fryer, topped with some powdered Swerve, cinnamon and nutmeg ...
This recipe was the cat's meow!
Note: I couldn't even begin to guess how to handle the nutrition facts on this one. I've completely omitted the nutritional information on the coconut oil, even though I'm certain some portion of it is eaten. I feel confident the carb count is accurate, but it's likely to be much higher in fat.
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
This tasty beverage falls somewhere between a snack, a drink, a dessert and a fat bomb. What's a fat bomb? Well ... it's a recipe containing a high quantity of fat!
This dairy-free treat is loaded with quality fats, from the cocoa powder to the coconut milk to the macadamia nuts. These fats will help you feel satisfied and "full" far longer than any non-fat, sugary shake you'll find. This cool and flavorful flurry of tastiness will quench, delight and satisfy!
This, I realize, is contrary to what most of us have been told for the majority of our lives, but ... fat is awesome! Not all fats, mind you, but ... GOOD fats are GOOD!
Good fats come in the form of: olive, flaxseed, palm, avocado, coconut and other nut oils. Animal fats are also quite healthy: butter, ghee, lard, tallow, poultry fats, etc.
Bad fats come in the form of: margarine, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, manmade trans-fats often found in things like butter flavored "spreads". Other highly processed oils like canola, corn, vegetable and soybean should be avoided.
Here's a list of 10 reasons why fat rocks:
- Your brain is made of primarily fat and cholesterol. Starving your brain of fat removes its ability to function properly. Fat can remove "brain fog" and increase clarity.
- Improves cardiovascular system. Reduces lipoprotein (a) and increases HDL cholesterol and the HDL:TC ratio, while leaving LDL mostly unchanged.
- Contributes to weight loss.
- No storing of excess fat in the liver. Will also help protect the liver from booze and some medications.
- Healthy fats provide quality energy. Fat is the densest form of energy, at 9 calories per gram (more than double carbohydrates or protein)
- Increases sense of satiety, especially within a diet comprised of few simple sugars. A small fat bomb can satisfy for several hours. Because of this satiety, overeating "fat" becomes uncomfortable and unlikely.
- Builds stronger bones. Saturated animal fats help calcium more effectively be incorporated into bone. No osteoporosis fears!
- Quality nerve signaling. Many fats function as signaling messengers which influence metabolism, including the release of insulin.
- Boost immune system health. Fight against cancerous cells and infectious invaders!
- Fat helps the absorption of the nutrients in other foods, such as leafy greens.
- One more: fat is flavor!
Toppings Note: I cheated when I made this. It's a dairy free beverage, but in the heat of the moment, I grabbed some cream, whipped it and topped the glass with sweetened whipped cream and some toasted coconut and macadamia. That's just the wrong topping, in my opinion. Whoops! Haste makes waste! In any event, you can make a lovely whipped topping with coconut milk. Here's how!
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
I have a tendency to undersell things. I've been told this my whole life. I tend to present things that I feel could be better, as if they are "less than", even though they're actually still pretty awesome, in some way. I think that what happens is, I form these fantasies of what something COULD BE, in my mind. Then, when the reality isn't as good as the fantasy, I'm always little dejected. Other people don't share my looney fantasies. They are just presented with something generally pretty great, but with a healthy slice of my lackluster delivery. They usually respond something like, "Hey, whaddyamean!?! This is FANTASTIC!"
It is with this in mind, that I say ... this was not what I'd hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong ... it was delicious. It was sweet, a little salty and full of flavor. It was also stunning to look at! It was beautiful, but ... it ... just ... wasn't ... brittle.
It just wasn't! I'm sorry!
The texture had that very subtle grainy quality that stems for an over concentration of erythritol. It also had the "cooling" sensation. I tried to bulk it out with some tagatose, but I was afraid to use too much (it's rumored to give the pooties if eaten in excess, but I did not experience this). I wanted to play with the tagatose, but do it without any of the negative qualities or nasty side effects. This recipe is likely to serve more as a novelty or source of interest, as opposed to coming from me as a highly recommended recipe. I do think it's an incredibly interesting idea and perhaps there is something to it. Maybe with more tagatose, it will take on a greater sense of "brittle", but the caramel was so thin when I made it. tagatose colors more quickly than sugar does. As a result, it's my fear and belief that it would burn before it reaches the same level of "hard ball stage" needed for a true brittle. Erythritol, as awesome as it is, did crystallize. This is somewhat to be expected. I mean, it's almost all pure "sugar"! It's not like a baked goodie or an ice cream, where the erythritol is more evenly distributed in and amongst other stuff. This is just pure concentrated sugary-like stuff! When it cools, it crystallizes because it's not been sufficiently diluted in other stuff.
So ... in the end, I leave you with some beautiful photos of a sweet, slightly salty, and action packed toasted coconut and macadamia nut brittle. It was awesome, but ... just ... not what I was hoping it would be.
On that note, I realize I now have a few recipes posted to the site that I personally feel were failures. I don't do it often (I have MANY more failures than this site lets on), but I tend to think there's a lesson in here, somewhere. Please post in the comments if you think there's merit to posting a recipe like this, or if it's just kind of a big bait and switch and a bit of a downer. I'm curious. Let me know!
Tagatose Note: I couldn't find very good information related to calculating the "net" carbs for the tagatose. However, the manufacturer states that "Only 15-20 percent of tagatose is absorbed in the small intestine." As a result, I'm going to to suggest that 25% is, just to play it safe. The net carb count will be calculated, thusly.
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
Growing up, one of my all-time favorite restaurants was an Indian establishment at the top of Ghirardelli Square, in San Francisco. The name of the place is "Gaylord India Restaurant". The last time I ate there is roughly 25 years ago, but it is still there! It's apparently not very highly rated, but it stands out in my mind as the absolute pinnacle of Indian food in the mid-80's.
One of my absolute favorite treats was the "Sweet Lassi". There were 3 kinds to choose from, "Sweet, salty or mango". It was always "Sweet" for me! I knew it was a sweetened yoghurt drink, but it had an unusual flavor, which was completely foreign to me. As a child, I never placed the bizarre flavor, either!
Many many years later, I learned that the exotic flavor coming from the drink was "rose water"! This, in itself, was an amazing discovery. Rose water? Interesting! I remember purchasing it at an Asian market, when I was much younger. In my mind's eye, I was envisioning something like a very mellow floral "note", but with the overall sensation being that of just plain ol' water. Oh, how wrong I was!
This may be a bit of an aggressive description, but it's precisely how I felt about my first big shwig of rose water, straight from the bottle. Imagine taking a dozen beautifully grown red roses; grown in the best soil, with love, care and all the glorious organic treatments that a growing plant can take. Remove the thorns, package it all up in a beautiful gold ribbons ... and then punch me right in the tongue with it. It was glorious anguish. I immediately hated it, but ... found the aftertaste to me nothing short of magnificent.
Oh, what a weird ingredient. A "Sweet Lassi" would be absolutely nothing without it.
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
At the core of my thinking is the idea that I should present a seemingly infinite variety of options for people. I'm always pushing to offer new things, while also offering old favorites, updated for a low-carb lifestyle. As of this recipe, I've been doing this for about 9 1/2 months and have right around 300 recipes. Interestingly, I have VERY few beverage options! Perhaps that's because I'm a water person. Coffee in the morning ... water for the rest of the day. I've just never felt strongly drawn to other beverages. A little pick-me-up in the morning, then ... stay hydrated.
That's no excuse not to push the beverage section of my website!
Additionally, if you give me a chocolate shake ... I'magunna drink it! I'm sort of a puzzle. I won't outright say I have a sweet tooth. My teeth are more of the salty variety, but ... I do love a good sweet taste! I also love chocolate, I love cold foods and I love whipped cream. I suspect I'm not alone on this one, either! It seemed silly to not offer a chocolate shake on my website, especially seeing as it's so easy!
A Few Thoughts: A really good shake is usually made with ice cream. If you have access to a good sugar-free ice cream ... go for it! It's ice cream, cream, sweetener, cocoa powder and/or sugar-free chocolate syrup, in a blender. Just be sure to read the label. Sugar-free doesn't always equal "low-carb". For the most part, processed foods, even the sugar-free/low-carb products, are often full of "sugar under another name", stabilizing ingredients and fillers that may cause a stall for some. As an example, here's vanilla ice cream from a brand called "Clemmy's". It's an "all natural" ice cream, with all kinds of branding touting how ridiculously awesome, healthy and special it is. If I didn't know any better, I'd buy it! However, reading the label shows the first ingredient to be maltitol, which is basically sugar (as far as the blood is concerned) under another name, plus it'll give you intestinal distress, something fierce! Maltodextrin is also another sugar (they list it as a fiber, but it's got an impact on blood sugars). There's also Xylitol, which many diabetics claim has no effect on their blood sugars, but many others say it does. I remain skeptical of it, plus it's poisonous to dogs. Anywhoo ... this "at a glance" awesome ice cream product is ... SHENANIGANS!
On the flip side is one I pick up at Whole Foods, from time to time. SO Delicious makes a KILLER (non-dairy) ice cream product, just as good as any full sugar-full cream ice cream I've ever had. Here's a link to their vanilla ice cream nutrition facts. Here they're using chicory root (inulin, probably), erythritol and monk fruit extract as their bulking and sweetening synergy blend. HUZZAH!! We have a winner!
In this case of this particular shake recipe, I've kept it simple, so it's within reach of anything that's got a quality sugar equivalent sitting around.
Another Note: The chocolate dribble was actually a sugar-free Hershey's Chocolate syrup, which my mother gave me. She was really happy that she'd found an erythritol based syrup. As was I! I've seen it in grocery stores, so I think it's easily found. I tried it and it was delicious, too! (if you REALLY focus on it, yes ... you can tell it's not the real thing, but it's still pretty yum) It's not a PERFECT product, in that they use some Sucralose and Ace K in their sweetening synergy blend, but it's mostly erythritol and probably totally fine to enjoy every once in a while. Quick, easy and tasty!
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
So ... I'm not much of a low-carb baker. My strengths lie more in a world of bacon and broccoli and less in the world of stevia and coconut flour. Even in the time before time I was skilled in pasta and pizza, but far less so in cake and cookies. There are a wide variety of culinary disciplines and ... "baking" was just never really one of them. (that said, I was a professional baker for a year and AM quite good with yeast leavened flour based doughs, but ... that's ancient history)
Ahem! In one of my many attempts to gain an understanding of coconut flour, I decided to try for a standard white cake. My hope was that I could come up with a light cakey-like pastry, with which I could do many things. The end result was light and tasty, but not quite as stable as I'd hoped. It rose, but just as quickly fell, when taken from the heat. Re-dubbed "Sponge Cake".
I am absolutely certain that this would be absolutely yum with something like 4 of these baked, and then stacked with jam and berries between them, or a spiced cream cheese spread, or a wicked yum cinnamon butter and an orange cream cheese frosting!
I think this is a stellar starting point for something wonderful. Expect me to grow this into something over time. For now, because I wasn't sure what to do, I chopped it up and put it into a bowl with strawberries and vanilla pudding. A great way to go, but ... there's always room for improvement (and Jell-O) apparently!).
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
This is a kind of strange recipe. I'm not really sure what to call it, or what it is, or why I'd want one. HOWEVER! It WAS tasty, whatever it was! I also liked how it was individual servings, which made it nice to pop open a new one and eat it. I'm a big fan of portion control. Give me a bowl of food, I'm going to eat the whole bowl. If it's a large bowl ... GONE! If it's a small bowl ... GONE! So, it's best to give me a small bowl.
In any event, my goal was to create a vanilla pudding, but I think what I made was closer to a "custard" in terms of taste and texture. Interestingly, I think this last statement is confusing to people in Europe, as I believe they define those terms differently than in the U.S. To me, a "pudding" is creamy and can be swirled around and coat the back of a spoon. Normally this is thickened with corn starch and is VERY commonly store bought in a little colorful box. A "custard" is an egg thickened "pudding" ... which gives a different texture. One is starch based thickener and the other is protein. My aim was to get something resembling a creamy and thick American style "pudding", by creating a stirred pudding base, thickened with gelatin (another protein). I suspected that I wouldn't get what I was after, and I was correct. The end result was perhaps more like a Custard Panna Cotta, which ... is awesome, wonderful and totally delicious. It's thick, sweet and full of tasty flavor, but ... it's just not what I was after!
The search, for me, for a non-slimey (xanthan gum based), smooth and creamy, not overly eggy and not "firm and jiggly" (gelatin style) ... American Style pudding continues. Stay tuned! In the meantime ... this little recipe really ain't so bad!
[ VIEW RECIPE ]
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Thingy
I remember when I very first discovered the Atkins' '92 book in my pile of unread diet books. It was really the second book I read, near the beginning of this change in my life. The first was "Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution", which was a great book and a philosophy I still am aiming to achieve (although it's a tough and fairly strict philosophy. Let's just say it's a longer term goal of mine). Atkins' was great because it broke things into clearer phases, with numbers I could follow. Philosophies are wonderful, but I needed something a little more concrete, early on. The two actually really complemented one another. Most of my current thinking and recipes are derived from these two books.
Anywhoo ... the Atkin's Book has a really mediocre flan recipe at the end of it. It's more like sweet eggs, which aren't all that great on their own. A bit too eggy for my tastes. HOWEVER! I remember that I used to make it quite a bit when I very VERY first started this way of life, long before I really get deep into studying ingredients and understanding how they all work together. My big trick was taking the flan, scooping it into my crepes, then topping it with strawberries and whipped cream. It was just a big mess of a pile, but it was DELICIOUS! TOTALLY low-carb, and fully yum.
This particular recipe really reminds me of that dish. I actually never really sought this recipe. It's not in my notes. It came about because I happened to have sponge cake, strawberries, pudding and whipped cream lying around my kitchen, all at the same time. I had zero doubt that they would taste amazing together, so ... I plopped it all in a bowl, got a picture taken, tilted my head back, slid the fruity sweet dessert down my gullet and moved on!
This is the kind of thing that really just illustrates how limitless this way of eating can be. This could just as easily have been chocolate OMM crumbled on top of some pudding, with a few toasted almonds or a mixture of orange zest, fresh blueberries and hazelnuts!
I love this way of eating. It's SO delicious!
[ VIEW RECIPE ]