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The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: Volume I / Number 3: November 17, 2000
Issue Date:
November 17, 2000

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In this issue:
  1. Welcome and Overview
  2. Richard's Corner
  3. Holiday Recipes!
  4. Stuart's "Rant"
  5. Holiday Party Tips
Each time we publish a newsletter issue, we receive an outpouring of
e-mail with questions, ideas for topics, and opinions. This past issue's feedback was no exception. But by far, the greatest volume of mail centered around "How do I handle the Holidays?"

With this in mind, I first want to mention that our Low Carb Luxury Thanksgiving Planning area is now available at the site. You can find it here. (If you're joining us late, we'll be having a Christmas Area as well.)

What you'll find there is a complete guide to Turkeys - from buying to roasting, to carving and serving, as well as a Recommended Thanksgiving Menu, and Planning & Countdown tips. I hope this can be of value to all of you in keeping your holidays both happy and low-carb!

Secondly, I am forgoing my usual Column so that I can include more recipes this time as we have received so many requests for this. Most recipes will be useful through both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
___________________________________


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richard's 
corner

"I'd like to buy the world a Coke?"

Some call it soda, some call it pop, still others call it soda-pop. And then, some just call it 'Coke' no matter what brand it is. I usually refer to it as soda. After a brief mention of my thoughts on diet sodas in our first issue of the newsletter, I got requests to follow up on that. People want recommendations, ingredient information, and availability.

So, in this article I'm going to run down the various kinds of soda that I've come to really enjoy and think you will too. And since this is a low carb lifestyle, obviously, they'll all be diet soda. But I'm also going to take a look at where Diet Soft Drinks stand in America and in the public conscious.

Unfortunately, the major soft drink companies (and even the public at large) consider diet soda to be of less importance than its high-fructose sweetened alternative. This is never more clearly apparent than on your local restaurant's menu. Whether at a "fast food" joint, or a fine restaurant, you're unlikely to find more than one variety of diet soda offered (usually a cola), even though they'll offer as many as 5-7 varieties of the sugared stuff. Why the inequity? I spoke to a couple of waiters one night to get their perspective:

It seems that most of the time, they sell an even split of diet soda and "regular". So, why only one choice in the diet column? Because it's all that's offered in the contract with their soft drink supplier. Diet sodas are considered the evil stepchild of the soft drink empire. You have to supply them, but you don't have to like it. The sugar industry is big: $100 billion per year. There's a lot invested in keeping the sugar monkey firmly planted on your back, so the push has to remain with the syrupy sugar mix.

Considering the only diet sodas offered in 99.9% of restaurants are aspartame-sweetened anyway, my wife and I stopped ordering them a long time ago. Our drinks of choice are always bottled water, or unsweetened iced tea (Lora brings her Splenda with her wherever we go!)

As for my soft drink passions at home and at work (I stay stocked up there), here are those I've come to rely on as favorites:

Diet RC:
My all time favorite cola drink. I rank this soft drink above all others I've had — even sugared cola drinks. However, it is difficult to locate in some areas of the country (I live in Southwestern Ohio and usually have to order mine.) I've managed to find it in South Carolina when we visit my son, as well as in the Chicagoland area (one of our favorite locales for business or vacation.) You can also order online at popsoda.com and from low-carb.com. It's sweetened with Splenda (sucralose) only.

Slim Jones Diet Lime Cola:
Even though the name would seem to indicate a lime flavor, you really can't discern any citrus flavor at all. In reality, the lime flavor serves simply to take the hard "cola bite" out of this drink, and offers up one of the smoothest colas I've ever had. This drink is even harder to get than Diet RC. Most places that *do* sell Jones, don't sell the 'Slim' line. This can also be ordered online from popsoda.com and low-carb.com. It, too, is sweetened with Splenda (sucralose) only.

Diet Rite Cola:
I've come to enjoy Diet Rite Cola mainly out of necessity. It's the only widely available Diet Cola that is sweetened with sucralose. Diet Rite Cola seems to be available in most grocery stores in the U.S. It's sweetened with a Splenda/Ace-K mix. I feel the Ace-K detracts somewhat from the cola taste, which makes Diet RC a better cola drink from this same company.

In addition to Diet Rite's Cola, there is also a whole range of Diet Rite flavors that vary from region to region. These include but are not limited to: Tangerine, Kiwi-Strawberry, White Grape, Red Raspberry, Pink Grapefruit, Black Cherry, Lemonade, Mango Melon, Iced Mocha, Fruit Punch, and Golden Peach.

My favorite among these is the White Grape. It has a refreshing almost champagne like taste. My wife is nuts about the Peach. She says she can almost taste the "fuzz".

A word about sweeteners:

I won't get into a protracted discussion here about aspartame but from what I've read and investigated about this sweetener, I've decided to err on the side of caution and avoid it as much as I can. In addition to being a known "stall-causer" in some people, Doctor Atkins as well as Drs. Eades of Protein Power fame strongly recommend we avoid it. This can sometimes be difficult as the "Big Boys" (Coke and Pepsi) appear to be very tied to NutraSweet. For these reasons, I have not included them in my soft drink reviews.

We don't "Do the Dew" —

After our mention that Mt. Dew was not acceptable on this plan, people wrote asking us to elaborate:

The fact is, Diet Mt. Dew contains not only aspartame, but highly glycemic concentrated orange juice, as well as brominated vegetable oil — a product best avoided. (Bromine accumulates in body tissues. In one Canadian study, lab rats fed Brominated Vegetable Oil-enriched rations for eighty days suffered heart, kidney, liver and thyroid damage.) Then there's the caffeine. There was a time when I was drinking a 2-liter bottle of this stuff each day. That's 1860 mg. of caffeine! To help you comprehend, it's like swallowing exactly 9 Vivarin in terms of caffeine content.

In closing, even if you are avoiding aspartame there is a good variety of diet sodas to choose from. There are more choices outlined at our site in the Beverage Reviews area. And as more products come to the market with sucralose sweetener, we'll be here to tell you about them.

       Richard
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Low Carb Connoisseur

Here at the Low Carb Connoisseur, you'll find an outstanding collection of low carb baking and cooking ingredients including: nuts and nuts flours, gourmet condiments, cooking oils, flavorings and extracts. If you are looking for an unusual ingredient that you've seen in a recipe at Low Carb Luxury, chances are you'll find it at the Low Carb Connoisseur. Come see us soon!



holiday recipes

One of the delights of traditional holiday fare is cookies. We all seem to love 'em, and of course, want them even more on the holidays. So here's a great collection of Holiday Cookies!

When I was a kid, I came to really love Pfeffernusse Cookies (Pepper Cookies.) Well, these sweet, crunchy treats did not seem to be something that I'd ever be able to enjoy again while low carbing, but as I've gotten more bold in my experimenting, I've been able to duplicate the old taste and texture extremely well. See if you agree!

Pfeffernusse Cookies
A spicy and crunchy traditional German holiday favorite.


Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup whey protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground white or black pepper (I often add half of each!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise or 1 1/2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Diabetisweet
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar Twin
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses [optional]
  • 4 teaspoons liquid sweetener
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered (Steel's) Nature Sweet [optional]

Sift together flours, salt, pepper, anise, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a second bowl, beat together the butter, Diabetisweet, Brown Sugar Twin, Splenda, molasses, and liquid sweetener until light and fluffy. Add the egg, mixing well, and then mix in the flour mixture. The dough will be stiff and will come together best if you knead it manually.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets *lightly*. Snip off bits of dough to make 1 inch balls. Place balls onto baking sheet 2 inches apart. If you prefer crisp cookies, press dough balls flat (about 1/4 inch thick); if you prefer them soft, leave them as balls.

Bake in center of oven until starting to brown at edges. Don't overbake. Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly. Optionally, dust with powdered Steel's Nature Sweet while warm, then cool on racks. (I ALWAYS take this extra step as I adore the powdered "sugar" on them and they look more festive this way.) See our Product Review area at the site for info on where to buy Steel's Nature Sweet.

Makes about 2 dozen. Approximately 1.5 grams per cookie.



Caramel Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter flavored extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ricci Caramel Flavored Taffy Candies *

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix almond flour with Splenda, sifting until well mixed. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg and then mix with extracts and softened butter. Add to dry ingredients and mix again.

Form dough into 24 small balls and space evenly on ungreased cookie sheets. Press moderately to flatten to a silver-dollar pancake size.

Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie, pressing hard enough to make a large 'dent', but not hard enough to go all the way through the cookie.

On parchment paper or waxed paper, lay out enough Ricci Caramel candies to fill your cookies (you can do this in multiple batches if it's easier.) Soften for just a few seconds in the microwave. Don't allow them to melt — only soften enough to be pliable.

Place a caramel into each of the thumbprints and bake for 6-8 minutes until cookie begins to brown at edges and gets slightly golden on top.

Makes 24 cookies - about 2.5 grams per cookie.

* NOTE:
See our Product Reviews for more information about the Ricci Taffy Candies.

* TIP:
You can use other flavors of the candies as well. Example, if you use Orange taffy candies, use a little lemon or orange extract in the cookies instead of vanilla. Using the Mango candies? Try flavoring with a little pineapple extract or even coconut flavor. If you're having a holiday party, these will be a hit with the kids.



Mexican Wedding Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup whey protein powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, ground (or toasted ground pecans)
  • 1 cup powdered (Steel's) Nature Sweet

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat butter, 1/3 cup Splenda, vanilla and orange rind in medium bowl until fluffy. Mix in combined flours (gluten, oat & whey), salt and cinnamon. Mix in pine nuts or pecans. Refrigerate dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours. Roll dough into crescent or round shapes, using about 2 rounded teaspoons of dough for each. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased (PAM) cookie sheets. Bake cookies until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Roll warm cookies in powdered Steel's Nature Sweet and cool on wire racks. Makes about 2 dozen.

Approximately 1 carb gram per cookie.



Maple Cream Puffs

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Slim Jones Cream Soda (or any diet cream soda)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2/3 cup dry Keto Milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons liquid sweetener (liquid Splenda, Sweet-N-Low, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract (imitation butter flavor)
  • 2 ounces crushed Keto Crisp Cereal [optional]

Maple Cream Squares Measure Cream Soda and heavy cream into a medium saucepan. Stir to mix. Sprinkle gelatin on top and stir gently, then let soften for 2-4 minutes. Place over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in Keto Milk. Mix until fully dissolved. Add liquid sweetener, maple extract, and butter flavoring. Beat with electric mixer until very thick. (It takes a lot of beating to keep it from separating when cool.) Pour into an 8-inch square pan and chill until set. Cut into squares and dust each with the crushed cereal if desired. Keep refrigerated.

Makes 9 squares - less than 1 gram per serving.

___________________________________






Low Carb Outfitters has a great selection of products to help you succeed on a low carb diet. We offer breads, baking mixes, pizza kits, candy, shakes, bars, beverages, books, starter kits, gift packs, and more. We are adding more products to our line all the time, and we make your shopping experience easy and pleasant. Come see us!



guest 
rant

Editor's Note: While Stuart will be a semi-regular contributor, we're still interested in guest articles, too! So if you'd like to submit an article for publication here, send it in plain text to: newsdesk@lowcarbluxury.com.

Grace Under Fire. . .

I bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream yesterday. "Chubby Hubby" was always my favorite (hmmmm... how appropriate.) They just happened to have had it. I’m not entirely sure what was going through my mind at the time. All I can tell you is that I have been under an amazing amount of stress, as I have worked for one of the Presidential Campaigns (I’m not saying which) and my emotions have been completely wrapped up in it. I am stressed beyond anything I had realized was possible...

I took my ice cream home, grabbed a spoon, and sat down on the couch (old habits die hard, don't they?) I opened the pint... I breathed in that familiar heady sweet-smell. I stared at it deeply. It stared right back. This surreal encounter seemed to go on for an eternity. I leaned forward and sat it on the coffee table. I couldn't for the life of me figure why each moment seemed as frozen as the concoction in that pint container. Minutes ticked by. I was vaguely aware that it was melting.

In a moment of grace, sanity came rushing at me. The haze cleared and rational thought took over. What the hell was I doing? What possible comfort could I derive from such sabotage?

Finally, I was moved to action. I snapped up the container, nearly ran into the kitchen and dumped it with an audible splat into the sink.

So now, as I sit and watch historical irony in the making on CNN and MSNBC, I find myself contemplating my own role in this world... what possible good  I  might do. Heck, I'm even considering running for an office of some sort... Would you vote for me?

Then again... if you’ve read my previous pieces, you know that I am somewhat jaded. You’ve patiently read as I fight the invisible foes of false and manipulative advertising, myths within the FDA’s recommended daily allowances and my unending railing against the drug companies making us sick only to minister to our symptoms.

My point — and I do have one — is that we are all challenged every day. In big ways; in small ways. Do we reinvent ourselves or do we go back to what's safe and comfortable? There is indeed comfort in hiding one's head in the sand, but at what price?

Now, we are faced with the holidays. A time of year when television, magazines and social encumbrances tell us are all wrapped up in food. And the "sweeter" the better. Close your eyes and hear the ethereal strains of Pillsbury's "My Heart to You". Surely the way to show your love is through the offering of sugar... After all, isn't that why we CALL each other "sweetie", "honey", "sugar-plum"...? Isn't that why when Gramma asks little Johnny for a kiss she tells him to "give her some sugar"? It's in our conscious. Everyone will be quite well meaning when they tell you, "it can't hurt - it's Christmas!"

Staring at that plate of Grandma's fudge it may be easy to give in. But look inside your heart. Look at what you've achieved and what you hope to become. You know better.

We all have times of weakness. Perhaps I can offer you a little strength.

Inside each one of you is a strength that many people lack. The endurance to fight addiction; to walk a path that leads to a healthy, longer life. You all have it. You are a special breed. I ask only that you remember that — if and when you find yourself faced with a decision, you make the right one, not the easy one.

Oh yeah, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

       Stuart
___________________________________


     SynergyDiet.com wishes you and yours Happy Low Carb Holidays!
Synergy Diet Holidays

To help you celebrate the holidays, use the coupon code eggnog to receive $5.00 off of your very next order!

Visit SynergyDiet's "This Week" section to try:
  • Keto Egg Nog – a Delicious, Low Carb, High Protein treat.
  • Try our Jok'n'Al Cranberry Sauce for your festive meal!
  • Try the Original Low Carb Pumpkin Roll it's a delicious cream cheese filled dessert, sweetened with Splenda.
Visit the all-new SynergyDiet.com
for all of your Low Carb needs!




holiday tips

We got more questions about what to serve at holiday parties and get togethers than anything else in the last two weeks, so I've put together a list of ideas that will hopefully inspire even more. If you've got a good suggestion or two, send them to us for our next issue! To provide some scrumptious holiday fare this season, you'll need to concentrate on two things - the big holiday meal(s) and the parties and gatherings (from small impromptu affairs to something elegant and showy.) We hope our online Thanksgiving Meal planning area will take care of the first, but for those get-togethers, here are some suggestions:
Holiday Party Ideas —
Cheese Trays with interesting and unusual varieties.

For an elegant party, try slicing a boneless pork or beef loin lengthwise, filling with cream cheese, onions, spinach or whatever your low carb imagination dreams up; then roll back up, secure with baker's string and roast. It makes an elegant presentation on a buffet table!

Fondue! An old classic is new again! Low carbers have some great choices here now. With the new low-carb breads, you can make up a dense loaf, cube and toast it, and dip in your favorite melted cheese! You can also melt the new Low Carb Chocolates and dip strawberry halves or sliced fresh pineapple. Even melon wedges!

Make a plate of chocolate-dipped pineapple or peach wedges. Both fruits are pretty low-carb. Just melt some low-carb dark chocolate (Pure DeLite Bars work well) and dip one edge of the fruit pieces (dry the fruit edge well with paper towels or they won't stick) into the chocolate and let 'set'. Lightly sweet and very festive!

Jello Molds! Remember those? They can be really beautiful when you get creative! (And if you don't want the aspartame in real Jello Brand, try the Cottee's Brand with Splenda from any of the low-carb merchants.)

Nuts... We all know they can be a part of our snack plans, but get creative! Coat some cashews or pecans with melted butter and your favorite spice blend for savory snacking in party nut dishes. Or make a sweet butter coating and add cinnamon or even a little cocoa (try sprinkling a packet of the Diet Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa!) The sweet coatings are great on macadamias, pecans, walnuts, almonds and even shelled pistachios!

And while you're at it — you know these would make a great gift for a low-carber! Buy a few fancy holiday tins and fill them with an assortment of these specially created nuts! Try stacking them and tying with a festive ribbon for a great presentation!

Speaking of snacks, try mixing a cup of the Darrel Lea chocolate chips with several kinds of nuts, some hulled sunflower or pumpkin seeds, even some unsweetened coconut to make your own sweet & salty "trail mix".

Relish Trays are popular with everyone. Make yours a treat for the eyes as well as the taste. Make thin celery sticks with lines of softened cheese (like brie), cream cheese, or peanut butter (unsweetened of course!) Also offer a mixture of pickles — dill and sweet (make the sweet ones yourself - see our site for recipe, or buy the Splenda sweetened "Always Fresh" brand (see product reviews.) Add some Cucumber rounds. Ripe and green olives make a nice display and thin jicama strips are tasty with a dip in the center of the tray.

Or expand the tray and make a Deli Spread - put the relish tray items on one side and then progress downward to slices of rare roast beef, ham, and chicken or turkey. Offer thin slices of swiss and cheddars and some thinly sliced tomatoes are nice.

Casseroles are great to serve if you're offering a hot dish. Remember, you can always make a pleasing casserole by mixing bacon, spinach, butter, heavy cream, and the meat and spices of your choice. The new low-carb bread crumbs from Synergy Diet make a great topper to sprinkle across the top just as it comes out of the oven. Or make your own bread crumbs.

A fan of lasagne? Remember, eggplant slices (pared and sliced to 1/2" thick) make great substitutes for traditional lasagne noodles. Some people prefer them and still others can't tell the difference.

Then there's the old stand-by of deviled eggs. But they don't have to be ordinary! Check the site's "Egg Dishes" area. You'll see we have recipes for all *sorts* of deviled eggs — anyone up for "Ham Stuffed Eggs"?
Remember, if you have more ideas, send 'em our way! Mail them to: newsdesk@lowcarbluxury.com.


___________________________________

And so ends another issue. We'll be concentrating on holiday related issues and recipes for the next two issues as well. Keep your suggestions and questions coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we can't address *every* request and query, but the ones we hear about the most or offer the greater potential to help others will surely make their way here.

       Lora

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