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The Low Carb 
Luxury Newsletter: Volume II / Number 23: December 7, 2001
Issue Date:
December 7, 2001

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In this issue:
  1. Welcome – and New Features!
  2. Lora's Column"Label Games – Play to Win"
  3. Cooking TLC with Karen Rysavy
  4. Recipes!"Smart Cookies!"
  5. Richard's Corner"A Holiday Puzzle"
  6. Letters"A Homemade Christmas"
Well, Thanksgiving's come and gone for another year and we hope
everyone found a way to really enjoy their day and remain true to whatever dietary goals they set forth for that day. My family had a lovely day — and in the tradition of the season, ate too much but totally enjoyed it. Our goal was to have a lowER carb meal with no sugar, and no white flour. Our meal was about 30 carbs and while I could have pushed to make it lower, we allowed ourselves some taste treats. We had both roast AND fried turkey — what a kick!

NEW FEATURES:

With this issue, we are very, very pleased to announce that low-carb wonder-cook, Karen Rysavy (author of "Truly Low Carb Cooking") will now be writing a regular column in our newsletter. We are confident that in the months to come, Karen will enrich us all with her witt, her talent, and her creativity.

And in our Next issue, we'll be introducing another new feature! A well-known low-carber in the community will be answering your questions about everything from nutrition to family issues, stress, and heck — even your love life. She's been the "go to gal" for awhile now when people need a little advice. And who is she? Well, we're not telling. She's going to remain anonymous so that she can better give very frank advice. She won't be pulling any punches. (And NO, it's NOT me!) [grin] You can remain anonymous too if you want — Just think "Dear Abby" — you know, signing off like "Harried in the Workplace" or "Desperate for Carbs in Detroit". So, start sending in your letters now.

You can reach her at: advicelady@lowcarbluxury.com

We can't promise every letter will be answered, but she'll be answering several in each issue. We recognize that those following a low carb lifestyle are not one dimensional with issues about diet only, but rather whole people with real lives and real issues they need help with every day.

In the months to come, we hope to continue to bring fresh new features and ideas to our newsletter and to our site at Low Carb Luxury. We're always willing to hear YOUR ideas as well, so don't be shy about writing: ideas@lowcarbluxury.com.

On with the newsletter!

___________________________________


Low Carb Connoisseur

The Low Carb Bakery is Now Open!      


Low Carb Connoisseur Announces the Grand Opening of The Low Carb Bakery! Now you can purchase all your favorite low carb & sugar free bakery items and have them delivered right to your door! Bagels, breads, hot dog & hamburger buns, Robbins Nest Cake Rolls and more. Ground shipping rates available to many zip codes on the East Coast.

We are proud to introduce Dairy Wise Gourmet Flavored Butters! These fresh, perfectly seasoned butters were created by a professional chef for use in his commercial kitchen - choose Blue Cheese & Cracked Peppercorn, Scampi Butter, or Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil.

          Low Carb Connoisseur – we put the Dash in Low–Carb.com!



lora's 
column

     "Label Games - Play to Win"

In the last year (especially the last six months) our site has seen a huge jump in people — usually women — who are learning about low carb for the first time. Naturally, the first thing on their minds is finding products whose nutrition labels show few or no carbs. Then when they get to my site, they wonder why we don't recommend (and even warn against) some products that seem to fit that category. Things like Tic-Tacs. Now there's one I hear about constantly. People are always asking me if I've "discovered" Tic Tacs. They tell me the label says they have no carbs! So they eat them (usually plenty and often.) Of course the truth is that they are almost pure sugar and therefore are pure carbs. But because the serving size is so small to be less than 1 gram, they can say they are zero carb. I can't stress enough that you need to read the label — the whole label including the ingredient list — not just the final carb count.

This goes for products whose labels declare "Wheat Flour" or "Enriched Wheat Flour". They think it's a healthy flour like whole wheat rather than the white flour that acts like sugar in the body and that they've been told to avoid. But guess what? White Flour is "wheat flour", and yes, it's "enriched". Meaning that after they've stripped and bleached all the numerous high quality vitamins and minerals out of the wheat when they process it, they then spray a cheap useless coating of a few worthless vitamins back over the finished flour product. Please understand that when a label says "wheat flour", it's garden variety over-processed white flour and will derail your low carb diet quickly. It must say it's "Whole Wheat" flour (preferably unbleached, unbromated) to be healthful. And it still packs a high carb wallop!

While I implore you to be a label reader, keep two things firmly in your mind:

1) It's not enough to read the "Nutrition Facts". While they are certainly a help, remember that they are geared primarily to help identify foods best served by a low fat diet. This is doubly true for label "claims": "Light", "Less", "Reduced", "Lean", etc. Things can be — and often are — labeled "heart healthy" and be nearly pure sugar.

2) The information you can most benefit from is in the INGREDIENT panel. If things like "sugar", "cornstarch", "wheat starch", "dextrose", "wheat flour", etc are high on the list (in the first 4–6 ingredients), you probably need to avoid that product. It might seem sort of low-carb only because they show a tiny, unrealistic serving size. And if it shows "high fructose corn syrup", or "partially hydrogenated" oils, you should always avoid the item.

High fructose corn syrup will derail you more quickly than sugar, and hydrogenated oils — while containing no carbs, can keep you from burning fat, can cause stalls, and are a cancer threat. They raise bad cholesterol and lower good. They are "trans fats".

Now because I am asked so often "what's wrong with margarine and shortening when they are zero carb?", let me take a few minutes to further explain that these are the very trans fats of which I speak, and to offer a little more information on what they are, and why my family avoids them.

This is from Dr. Mary G. Enig, an internationally recognized trans fatty acid expert, Director of the Nutritional Sciences Division of Enig Associates, Inc., and former Faculty Research Associate with the Lipid Research Group of the University of Maryland.

"Trans Fatty acids are formed during the process of partial hydrogenation in which liquid vegetable oils are converted to margarine and vegetable shortening. Concern has existed that this process may have adverse consequences because natural essential fatty acids are destroyed and the new artificial isomers are structurally similar to saturated fats, lack the essential metabolic activity of the parent compounds, and inhibit the enzymatic desaturation of linoleic and linolenic acid. In the past 5 years, a series of metabolic studies has provided unequivocal evidence that trans fatty acids increase plasma concentrations of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and reduce concentrations of high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol relative to the parent natural fat. In these same studies, trans fatty acids increased the plasma ratio of total to HDL cholesterol nearly twofold compared with saturated fats. On the basis of these metabolic effects and the known relation of blood lipid concentrations to risk of coronary artery disease, we estimate conservatively that 30,000 premature deaths each year in the United States are attributable to consumption of trans fatty acids. Epidemiologic studies, although not conclusive on their own, are consistent with adverse effects of this magnitude or even larger. Because there are no known nutritional benefits of trans fatty acids and clear adverse metabolic consequences exist, prudent public policy would dictate that their consumption be minimized and that information on the trans fatty acid content of foods be available to consumers."

So why do they continue to be prevalent? Well, there are a host of reasons, most economical. So you have to personally guard against them in your and your family's diet should you choose to.

I hope this has been of some help to those new to our low carb community. It's about being healthy and living a longer, better life. That's the bottom line we shoot for each and every day.

       Lora
___________________________________


For Your Low Carb Holiday Pleasure...
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  • Our chocolatey coating is unlike any other low carb sugar, free chocolate or low carb candy because only Keto Chocolatey coating contains no stomach bloating, laxative effect sugar-alcohols (maltitol, lactitol and xylitol), which are really hidden carbs!
  • Fellow low carbers, this means you can enjoy as many guilt-free Keto Nuts as you like, without worrying about upsetting your stomach and without causing your fat loss program to stall out!
  • Plus, Keto Nuts are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated oil!
  • Keto Nuts are all-natural, contain no cholesterol and no artificial colors!
Enjoy Keto Nuts as the perfect between meal treat or dessert!

    • Keto Macadamia Nuts - One Low Price: $6.99 | 4 oz. - 4 servings
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Buy direct online or call 1-800-542-3230.   Or for a store near you visit ketofoods.com.

Free Monthly KETO E-zine emailed to you monthly...new product articles, latest low carb research, low carb weight loss tips, recipes, book reviews and much, much more... Call 1-800-542-3230 or visit online.



Cooking 
TLC with Karen Rysavy

First, I would like to thank Lora for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the best Low Carb Newsletter on the net. "Thanks, Lora!"

I hope you all enjoy my rather unique style of cooking. I tend to break "the rules" regularly, while formulating recipes that are both easy and quick to prepare, that are easy to vary (so as to incorporate whatever ingredients you have on hand), and that call for the same basic ingredients time after time. When I want to cook, I do not want to have to go searching for some strange new ingredient every time. I want the recipe to go together easily, I want to dirty as few things as possible, and most of all, above all else, I want it to taste great. And I want it to be "truly" low in carbs. Most of my sweet recipes and snacks average less than 5 carbs per serving, with savory dishes coming in even lower. If you like the recipes you see here, you'll love my cookbook!

The following recipe makes two delicious loaves of quick breads, or five quart jars. Bread in a jar, you ask? WHAT? Yes, you heard that right! This is a delightful way to present any kind of quick bread for gift giving. This method requires no actual canning, but it will extend the shelf life of the bread for weeks. This is particularly handy when you wish to send a baked good by mail, and it also allows any recipient to not feel obligated to eat your offering right away, at a time when their house may already be overflowing with goodies. You can dress the jars up with a circle of cloth around the lid and some batting or cotton balls for padding, gathered with an elastic band, but I prefer to keep it simple and just affix a colorful, custom label to each jar. If you can get your kids to color you some labels, all the better! The label can be as simple as scratch paper you've written on and attached with tape, or you can buy full sized sheets of adhesive-backed stickers to customize and use with an ink-jet printer.

To bake a quick bread in a jar, use clean quart size wide-mouth "tapered" jars. Tapered jars are slightly wider at the mouth than at the bottom, and they will allow the bread to slide out easily for serving. They will be labeled as suitable "for Canning or Freezing". You should use new sealing flats, and you will need a ring closure for each jar. Oil the jars well. I like to drizzle a little oil in the bottom of each jar and then spread it around evenly using a pastry or barbecue brush. Fill jars with care, and use a wet, clean paper towel to remove any batter that may drip onto the rims or tops of the jars while you are filling them. You will need to adjust the cooking times and fill levels for each individual recipe, since results will vary depending on the density of each batter. (It can be helpful to bake off done test jar first.) Immediately after removing the jars from the oven, put the sealing flats in place on the top and hand-tighten the ring closure snugly (do not over-tighten). The steam that builds up inside the jar will seal the jar for you like magic!

This recipe is from "Cooking TLC: Truly Low Carb Cooking, Volume 2" which I am in the process of writing now, in hopes of a Fall 2002 publication date.

Volume 1 is available for immediate purchase at my site and makes a great gift for yourself, or others! (Special gift card inserts, custom autograph inscriptions, and direct mail-to-recipient options available at no added charge.)

ONE-BOWL CRANBERRY QUICK BREAD
(Click photo below to zoom)
CRANBERRY QUICK BREAD For best results, when baking my recipes in loaf pans, grease the pans well and line the bottom with a piece of oiled parchment paper as well. Use paper liners in muffin tins and oil glass jars well. Allow loaf pans and muffins to cool in the pans for ten minutes, then run a knife around all the edges, remove from pans, and cool on racks. For longest shelf life, refrigerate this bread after cooling.

VERSION #1 (Using fresh or frozen cranberries):
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened, canned - could substitute 3/4 cup heavy cream + 1/4 cup oil)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1-1/2 cups granular Splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoon baking powder (reduce to 4 teaspoons in high altitudes)
  • 1 cup vanilla flavor protein powder
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten or gluten flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (or other nut flour/meal)
  • 2 cups unsweetened dried coconut (could substitute additional nut flour - ups carbs by approx. 2 per serving)
  • 2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare desired baking pans as needed. In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add coconut milk, oil, cream, water, extract, and Splenda and blend well. Add salt, baking powder, protein powder, and nut flour; blend again. Fold in cranberries and coconut, divide between pans and bake: approximately 35-40 minutes for standard loaves, 20-25 minutes for jars, and 12-14 minutes for muffins.

Yield: 30 - two standard loaves with 15 slices per loaf, five quart jars with 6 slices per jar, or 30 muffins

125 calories, 9 grams fat (3 grams saturated) 4 grams carb, 1 gram fiber, and 5 grams protein, each.



VERSION #2 (Using dried cranberries):
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 1 cup orange flavor sugar free syrup (may substitute one cup of water mixed with 1/2 cup granular Splenda, and 2 teaspoons orange extract.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened, canned - could sub 3/4 cup heavy cream + 1/4 cup oil)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. orange extract
  • 1 cup granular Splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons baking powder (reduce to 4 teaspoons in high altitudes)
  • 1 cup vanilla flavor protein powder
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten or gluten flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (or other nut flour/meal)
  • 2 cups unsweetened dried coconut (could substitute additional nut flour - ups carbs by approx. 2 per serving)
Bring orange syrup to a boil, add dried chopped cranberries, and set aside to soften for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare desired baking pans as needed.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add coconut milk, oil, cream, water, extract, and Splenda and blend well. Add salt, baking powder, protein powder, nut flour, and softened cranberries. Fold in the coconut, divide between pans, and bake: approximately 35-40 minutes for standard loaves, 20-25 minutes for jars, and 12-14 minutes for muffins.

Yield: 30 - two standard loaves with 15 slices per loaf, five quart jars with 6 slices per jar, or 30 muffins.

125 calories, 9 grams fat (3 grams saturated) 4 grams carb, 1 gram fiber, and 5 grams protein, each.

       Karen
___________________________________


CarbSmart New This Week at CarbSmart.com      
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CarbSmart is happy to introduce the entire line of Walden Farms low carb/calorie free products. Choose from:
  • 16 Salad Dressings
  • 7 BBQ Sauces
  • 6 Dips
  • 2 Bruschettas
  • Ketchup
  • Cocktail Sauce
  • Chocolate Sauce
All Walden Farms products are $3.75 or less everyday!



Sugar Free Chocolate Chips 8 oz. and 16 oz. bags
They're here - just in time for your holiday baking - low carb, sugar free chocolate chips. Perfect for cookies, pies, cheesecakes, and all other desserts.

8 oz. bags: $5.49
16 oz. bags: $10.99



Carbolite Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Less than 1 gram carbohydrates per serving. A great chocolate peanut butter snack.

List Price: $2.99
Our Price: $2.29 each or box of 24 for $49.20



• 10 Updated Low Carb Gift Baskets Including 2 New Beginners Low Carb Baskets •

There's still time to send the perfect low carb gift!

You have friends and family who would love a great low carbohydrate gift but you don't know what to buy. Make it easy on yourself and buy your low carbing friends and family members CarbSmart gift baskets. When you order CarbSmart gift baskets there's no traffic to fight, no trampling crowds, no wrapping, and no mailing. Simply place your order and we will mail your decorated gift basket to you or your loved ones!

Please visit us at: http://www.carbsmart.com/lcl



recipes

Holiday Cookies!

Cookies are ALWAYS are most asked for recipes at Christmas, so here are some very, very good ones. Remember, depending on the sort of cookies, because these are made without sugar, they don't always "spread" the same in the oven. (Cookies with sugar spread as the sugar melts into the fat/butter of the cookies.) So for those varieties you want to be flat, make balls and flatten with the palm of your hand.

Now, a few "Cookie Tips"
  • Use a shiny, flat cookie sheet at least two inches narrower and shorter than your oven rack. The cookie sheet may be open on one, two or three sides. Cookies may not brown evenly if a cookie sheet is warped.


  • Follow manufacturer's instructions if using a cookie sheet with a nonstick coating; the oven temperature may need to be reduced by 25 degrees F.


  • Follow manufacturer's instructions if using an "insulated" cookie sheet; cookies may take slightly longer to bake or may brown differently.


  • Make cookies the same size and thickness to ensure uniform baking.


  • Clean and cool cookie sheets before reusing or cookies may stick to sheet.


  • Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time in the center of the oven.


  • Check cookies at minimum baking time.


  • Remove baked cookies immediately from the cookie sheet with a wide spatula, unless the recipe states other cooling directions. Place cookies in a single layer on a wire rack to cool completely before storing.


  • If a recipe calls for more than one kind of sweetener, there's a reason. Different sweeteners have different properties. If you substitute sweeteners, you may get different results.



First up, I am reprinting my single favorite recipe for holiday cookies that I make EVERY year and which is the first one gobbled up by the crowd.

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.
  • 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 over bake. 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.



Santa's Village Cookies

  • 1 cup non-transfat shortening or lard
  • 1 1/2 cups Splenda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 low-carb white chocolate bars (Ross, Carbolite, etc.) frozen and broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Blend shortening or lard with Splenda in a large bowl. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Set aside.

Sift remaining dry ingredients together.

Add dry mixture to wet mixture, blending well.

Stir in walnuts, and most of white chocolate pieces (reserve a few pieces for decorating tops if you like.)

Drop from teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten a bit with palm. Decorate tops with white chocolate pieces if you like. Bake in moderate oven 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookies with spatula to wire racks; cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen. 1.4 carbs per cookie.



Rudolph's Pecan Sandies

My son used to like these with a half candied cherry baked into the center of each one. He thought they looked like Rudolph's nose. As a low carber, we sadly have left off the cherry.
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground pecans
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey powder
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Beat butter in a large bowl until it's fluffy and light. Add Splenda, blending well. Add egg, and beat again. Add salt, baking powder, spices, ground pecans and almonds. Beat until completely incorporated.

Add whey powder and gluten and finish mixing. Dough will be sticky and a little gooey but should hold together.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay dough onto paper. Use a spatula to smooth dough into even layer, (about 1/4" thick.)

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Score with a sharp knife while cookies are still hot.

Makes 5 dozen cookies - Slightly less than 1 gram of carbs each.



Winter Snowflake Cookies

  • 1/2 cup DaVinci Sugarfree Vanilla Syrup
  • 6 packets Splenda
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring a bit more than 1/2 cup DaVinci Sugarfree Vanilla Syrup to a boil and measure out 1/2 cup. Pour boiling syrup over oats. Mix, cover, and set aside to soak. Meanwhile, beat the butter, Splenda, eggs and vanilla together until fluffy and smooth. Add coconut, baking powder and salt to the oats; then pour the oats into the creamed mixture and combine well.

Drop by teaspoonful 2-3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes and cool completely on rack. Store in an airtight container - layers separated by waxed paper or paper towels.

Makes 24 cookies. 3 carbs per cookie.


___________________________________



Greenbeanz

Greenbeanz Low Carb Superstores has been around for over 2 years now, but this is our first Low Carb Luxury Newsletter. In case you haven't been to our website before, I invite you to stop in! All our staff are on a low carb program, so we're always happy to give advice and let you know our opinions of the products we carry. (None of the products we sell contain Aspartame.)

If you like chewy caramels, peanut brittle, or coconut nut brittles, you can now get Judy's Sugar-Free Candies from Greenbeanz Low Carb Superstores. Judy's Candies makes some of the best tasting candy (they make both high carb and low carb versions, but of course we sell only the low carb versions) and we think that the low carb version tastes just as good as the real thing!

                                  They're on sale right now for $5.99!
                       

                                          Our specials this week:                                                  Greenbeanz
                                                 925-244-1000

                                   18080 San Ramon Valley Blvd #104
                                             San Ramon, Ca 94583
                                        http://www.greenbeanz.com



richard's 

corner

A Holiday Puzzle!

Are you exhausted from shopping, and baking, and decorating, and wrapping, and ... well, all those little tasks that are fun but stressful this time of year? Need a break?

For this issue of the newsletter I decided to do something a little different. I've put together something to have a little fun with. I have come up with a low carb "Kriss Kross" for our readers solving pleasure. The puzzle is composed of words familiar to those on a low carb regime, and a few holiday words thrown in for the sake and fun of the season.

You can solve the puzzle online or print it out for offline solving. Please let me know if you have problems with the puzzle. (You need to have Java enabled in your browser in order to view the puzzle.) Based on feedback, I may do a crossword puzzle for you with clues to the words to be solved.

I just love puzzles!

You can reach the puzzle by Clicking Here.

Again, remember, you need to have Java enabled in your browser in order to view the puzzle.

Have a Joyous Holiday, Keep Warm, and Shop Smart!

       Richard
___________________________________





For the times that you just can't decide which of The Low Carb Chef's chocolates to pick for your treat, The Low Carb Chef now has two ASSORTMENTS of his low effective carbohydrate CHOCOLATES! Available in both 1/2 and 1 pound boxes, treat yourself to the finest gourmet chocolate available ANYWHERE! Chocolate Cherry Cordials are now up on the site and going fast and are included in the assortment boxes.

If you have been waiting for a NEW and DIFFERENT chocolate bar rather than the same old bars everyone else has, The Low Carb Chef has the bar for you - actually THREE of them! Milk Chocolate with crisps, Dark Chocolate with crisps and a new Milk Praline Chocolate with crisp bar! Available exclusively from The Low Carb Chef!

Just in time for the holiday cooking, The Chef has delivered low effective carbohydrate CHOCOLATE CHIPS! These great chips come in both a one half pound and one pound bag and are VERY reasonably priced!

Visit us at www.LowCarbDieters.com!



letters

        A Homemade Christmas

Dear Lora,
I need some help with Christmas gift ideas. I know it's kinda late, but it snuck up on me this year. I think because of the September 11th attack, I have been slow to get into the holiday mood.

For years I made sugary treats and candies for my friends and coworkers at Christmas. I have even done so for our Church group and for both our mailman and my stylist.

This year, I find that since a number of them are now low carbers (yes, because of me), I can no longer give them sugar. And while others are still eating as usual, I realized it seems wrong to give sugary gifts when they know I believe it's dangerous. (My husband made a joke of it, me handing a friend a batch of Tollhouse cookies and saying "This might kill you, but Merry Christmas!") Arggghhhhhhh!!!!! I don't even keep sugar in the house anymore, so I need ideas! Things I can make and give that others will enjoy. I just know you must have some good ideas. Can you help?

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Madison Northwood

Dear Madison —

We always have ideas for gift giving... some our own, and plenty that others send us. So let's see what we can do.

First, for those recipients not low carbing, you can always give them thoughtful handmade gifts that are not edible... (By the way, low-carbers will love these too!) [grin]

For example:

Candy Cane Bath Salts
  • 2 cups Epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 4-6 drops peppermint oil
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring
Place one cup of Epsom and 1/4 cup sea salt in a bowl or resealable plastic bag. Add 2-3 drops peppermint oil.

Place the remaining ingredients in a second bowl. Mix all ingredients well. Layer the red and white salts in a clear bottle or Jar. Half litre Naya water bottles work well because they have the stripes. tie with a ribbon and some small candy canes. This makes a great holiday gift for friends.




Cinnamon Spice Ornaments
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup cinnamon*
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
Mix until the dough has the consistency of Playdough, adding more apple sauce or cinnamon as needed. Roll flat, dusting countertop and rolling pin with cinnamon if dough sticks. Cut out shapes with knife or cookie cutter. Use a toothpick to make a hole for hanging. Dry at room temperature for 5-7 days, turning over at the end of the third day to ensure even drying.

They dry even quicker in a food dryer, and give your house a wonderful smell!

* The quality of this cinnamon doesn't have to be gourmet, as it won't be eaten. Stores like Dollar Stores, Odd Lots (or Big Lots) etc. often sell cheap cinnamon for as little as 40 to 50 cents for a large bottle.



Potpourri Pies :
(This is a great way to use up any old white flour you won't be needing in your low carb lifestyle!)

Make a batch of salt dough using:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • (about) 1/2 cup water
Mix well and roll out to about 1/8" thick. Cut into long thin strips. Turn a small pin tin (like one from a frozen pot pie) upside down on the table. Lay the strips over the bottom of the pie tin and weave into a lattice pattern, (like on the top of a traditional cherry pie.) Take the remaining dough and roll into a long rope. Place the rope along the bottom edge of the "crust" and crimp together. Brush the entire thing with a lightly beaten egg white. Bake at 225 until the dough is hard and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Carefully remove the crust from the pie tin. Turn the tin back over and fill with potpourri. Using a glue gun, glue the crust on to the top of the pie tin. It looks like a real pie and smells great when you place it on top of your stove (not on the burners)!

If you like, you can also spray it with a lacquer spray before you remove it from the bottom of the tin. It will prolong the life of your "pie".



For the low carbers on your list, you can always make them holiday treats that fit our sugar free lifestyle.

Breads in Cans:

Choose one of our low carb festive bread recipes at the site:

Such as 'Banana Sour Cream Bread', 'Pumpkin Bread', or 'Eggnog Quick Bread' and bake them in clean empty cans (canned good cans). Spray the inside of the can with Pam and flour generously. Remove bread from can, wrap in plastic wrap. Place it in center of large square of colored cellophane. Draw up edges of cellophane and tie with curling ribbons.



Or fill festive tins or decorated mason jars with the following Holiday Nuts recipes:

Swedish Nuts

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup walnut halves

Spread almonds on a cookie sheet and roast at 325°F until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally; cool. Melt butter in oven in a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Beat egg whites until foamy; add Splenda and salt, and continue beating until stiff. Fold in all of nuts; spread mixture in baking pan over melted butter. Bake at 325°F for about 30 minutes or until mixture is browned and all the butter is absorbed, stirring and turning every 10 minutes to cook evenly.

Makes about 4 cups.



Cinnamon Nut Mix

  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar Twin (Canadian variety works best)
  • 1 cup Diabetisweet
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 300°F.

In a large saucepan, cover almonds and pecans with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 minute. Drain well.

In a large bowl combine the next 7 items. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add nuts and stir until nuts are well coated. Pour nuts into Splenda mixture stirring until well coated. Spread evenly on a greased baking sheet. Stir occasionally, baking 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool on baking sheet. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 cups.



Holiday Peanuts

My son used to like these with a half candied cherry baked into the center of each one. He thought they looked like Rudolph's nose. As a low carber, we sadly have left off the cherry.
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 cup Diabetisweet
  • 4 1/2 cups shelled raw peanuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Coarse Salt
In a large heavy pan place peanuts, salt, Splenda, Diabetisweet, and water. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Watch carefully.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Spread nuts on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and bake 20 minutes longer. Cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

Note: Raw nuts usually are found in the produce section this time of year.



Carolina Spiced Pecans

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In large bowl, combine the egg white and water. Beat until well blended. Add the pecans and toss with the egg white mixture until the pecans are well-coated. Combine spices in a small bowl and blend well. Toss the spices with the nuts. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Bake the nuts in the oven until lightly toasted, about 5-10 minutes.

Cool completely before packaging.



Lastly, make a baskets of cookies. Use wicker type baskets, line with brightly colored napkins (you can get great REAL napkins in Pier 1 for this if you want to go all out) and fill with batches of pre-made low-carb cookies. Use the recipes in our cookie article above, or make the recipe below. Print out the recipes on pretty cards and include them with the gifts. They'll not only know the ingredients and carb counts, but if they love them, they can then make them themselves from then on!

Kalikimaka Cookies
(Hawaiian Christmas Cookies)


  • 1/2 cup shredded, dried, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup whole unsalted Brazil nuts
  • 1/2 cup Atkins Bake Mix
  • 10 packets Splenda
  • 1 stick butter (1/4 pound), cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 Tablespoons sugarless pineapple preserves (Keto Fruit Spread)
Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a food processor, process the coconut and nuts until the nuts are finely ground. Add Bake Mix and Splenda; pulse to combine.

Add butter; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg, egg yolk, and extract. Pulse just until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into half-inch balls. Arrange the balls an inch apart on a baking sheet. Dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the bake mix; make a depression in the center of each dough ball to form a tiny doughnut shape. Bake 8 minutes, until golden and set. Cool on sheet for 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Place 1/4 teaspoon preserves in the center of each cookie.

Makes 36 cookies — 1.8 grams of carbohydrates per cookie.

Hope these ideas fit the bill this year!

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Thanks for all your letters, everyone! I get hundreds of letters each week and try to answer as many as I can.

And Have a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

___________________________________

Thanks for reading! 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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