Dips are perfect additions to holiday get togethers! They are great to have out while you are finishing dinner and everyone is gathered around the kitchen looking for food! They are great for potlucks (especially when people anxiously await your dip!). And they are great for appetizer nights.
I have made Mexican dips forever —with seven kids, you can imagine the chips and crackers we have gone through over the past years! You can try my favorite cheese spread here, my favorite cheeseball here, and my low carb crackers and chips here!
While I prefer my fruits fresh for the most part, I do love apple-anything desserts! (Okay, I also love this low carb/sugar-free cherry delight too!) Apples are a perfect snack (if you’re not keto). They are delicious, not messy, portable, and readily-available. But how I really love my apples is with a yummy, caramely apple dip. The one that I have made for thirty years is still a family favorite (1 package cream cheese, 1/2 cup (or more!) brown sugar, and 1 TBSP vanilla). However, for daily fare and for me and Hubby, I prefer to make a low carb/sugar-free one that is seriously just as tasty!
You know how you have those recipes that you go to over and over again? Every graduation party. Every baby or wedding shower. Every Christmas Eve appetizer party. Yep? Well, this is one of those. I have two cheese spreads/cheese balls that get rave reviews from everyone and that I have made for over twenty years. They’re that good. The first is my Creamy Delicious Cheese Ball that has one of those little glass jars of “processed cheese” (along with cream cheese, cheddar, and other ingredients). It really is wonderful. And the second is a cheese spread recipe from a friend many years ago (not sure where it originated). One of these has literally been on the serving table at every one of my kids’ seven graduation parties and every Christmas Eve. (Why reinvent the wheel, right?)
I have tried to make low carb crackers in the past. And even with my Very Low Carb Flour Mix, I really didn’t like any that I tried. When you think about the Power of Dilution that I have discussed here on the blog (along with my ten year old palate!), it makes sense that I wouldn’t like almond flour or my VLCF mix crackers. There is no diluting the flour flavors in crackers! After all, crackers are mostly whatever flour they are made of. Since I am not “keto,” I don’t really want to make all-cheese crackers or crackers made with mozzarella, eggs, and almond flour. Way too calorie/fat dense for the non-keto person. But I NEED crispy. I NEED salty. I NEED savory crisps to have cheese, meats, cheese ball, cheese spread, savory cream cheese dips, etc., with. (And a little lower in the blog post, I have SWEET crackers–substitutions for graham crackers and such–to have with sweet cream cheese dips, peanut butter cream cheese spread, chocolate chip cheeseballs, low carb frostings, and more. And I discovered how to make both of these quickly out of low carb tortillas, lavish, and pitas. So here you go…
At our house, we are all about veggies every night–for two reasons. First of all, we are trying to eat more healthfully in general as we lose weight and seek to eat more nutrient-dense foods and feel great. Secondly, since Ray Baby and I both practice Daily Intermittent Fasting, we only eat in a three to five hour eating window each day. We simply have to be sure that vegetables are a part of that eating window as much as possible.
I’ve raved about some of my favorite ways to make green beans in my 3 Favorite Green Bean Recipes post. We do a lot of oven roasting, air frying, and stir frying. My favorite way to prepare veggies for ease of cooking is oven roasting. You simply prep the veggies, put them on a cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan for a bunch!), and pop them in the oven. I love those easy preps!
Breading meats (and even vegetables) does not have to a taboo for the low carb cook or the low fat cook or the low calorie cook or the family-friendly cook. We have options! With healthy fats to brush over things, we can pop them in the oven with a healthy breading mix and have chicken nuggets the kids will enjoy. With air fryers, we can bread and fry fish or chicken to our heart’s content—and if we use a lower carb breading mix, we have the best of all worlds: low carb, low fat, low calorie!
I don’t remember my mom making a lot of salads when I was growing up. I remember some iceberg lettuce here and there on our plates and potatoes cooling in the fridge for potato salad, but that is about it. I do, however, remember the apple salad. Not because I ate it–it has mayo in it! (Yucky! ha ha) But because it was unusual to have anything other than potato salad and cole slaw in terms of “salads.” I quickly discovered that my high school sweetheart (Ray Baby–now my husband of almost 37 years!) loved salads of any kind, and he really loved my mom’s apple salad. So being the dutiful wife, I learned how to make it.
It isn’t hard, but it is unique. Every time I take it anywhere, people are always surprised by the combination of peanut butter and mayo–but in a good way. People really like this salad!
I don’t like dressed salads of any kind. I am a super boring salad eater–if I have the right cheese and my homemade croutons (made in the air fryer with low carb bread), I’m happy! So when I find a salad that is dressed and laid out in detail for me (not “toss with your favorite vinaigrette!”), I am glad to make it over and over. I have made this salad for thirty years.
You know how many people buy ingredients just to make a special salad? Well, I am just the opposite. I keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer at all times–and I make this salad when I am running out of ideas of other things to make! It is so versatile (can have five layers, six, eight, nine…whatever), and I almost always have lettuce, cheese, and eggs on hand. So there you have the start of it!
My hubby is doing so great three weeks into Intermittent Fasting*! I am excited to be doing this lifestyle with him, getting healthy together and losing weight. (We have been on our Plexus journey together for nearly two years, but now he is also losing weight with Plexus and IF!) We have big ballroom dance goals for the coming new year–and our weight loss efforts will go a long way in helping his knees and heels feel strong enough to dance more. (And I have secret plans for some amazing dips and twelve-consecutive-twirls!)
I am not a fan of many vegetables….but fresh green beans are another story altogether. I adore them–and I have been known to make them every single week in my Parmesan Roasted Green Beans, Crock Pot Green Beans and “Potatoes,” or this homestyle recipe. I don’t like snapping green beans by myself. Ever since I have been married, snapping beans has been a family affair. My husband and I would put in a movie and snap buckets of green beans from our garden when we were first married. And later I would read aloud to my kids for hours as they snapped beans, peeled potatoes, cleaned fruits, etc. As a matter of fact, just recently, my twenty-year old son came in when I was cleaning veggies and said, “Do you remember when we would all gather around the table with fruits and vegetables and clean and cut all morning long while you read The Chronicles of Narnia series aloud to us? And how we never wanted to stop even when we were done with the produce? I miss those days!” Be still my heart….
It’s only been a little over a month since I got my amazing, large, wonderful air fry! And I love almost everything I have made it in so far (recipes are in the works!). And I love these Parmesan Green Beans in it if I only want to make a small amount for two.
One of my more intense-yet-least-productive recipe testing days has to be the day I compared the taste and texture of radishes, parsnips, and turnips. It took forever. Some things really didn’t taste that great. I couldn’t get my kids to eat most of the tested food. And I didn’t have a bar, cookie, cupcake, or candy to show for my efforts! However, I did gather some great data and narrow down my “potato substitute” options pretty well. I ended up with three potato substitutes, two of which are very low carb. And I discovered which ones mash the best—and which one really doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes!
I was combing through old blog posts from my old parenting blog and found this simple stir fry recipe post…and even though we no longer have four kids living at home with the hectic-ness that this post demonstrates, I thought I would run it here for those who…
As we head into fall, I am saddened that I won’t be able to just walk out the back door and get Ray Baby’s veggies everyday! I am still heading out there often and getting a tomato here and a green pepper there–I haven’t given up completely. However, very soon that obscure tomato or tiny pepper will not even be there to pick. Sadness…
On the other hand, it is time to turn my attention to buying (and even harvesting in my “fall garden”) and preparing fall vegetables.
I recently froze spaghetti sauce with tomatoes from our garden. The recipe I used was fairly simple. (I will share that another time!) However, in an effort to get more flavor out of our tomatoes–and into some of Ray Baby’s low carb fare–I began the sauce with roasted tomatoes rather than just chopped tomatoes.
I like to categorize my recipes just like I have done with all of my mega-cooking/freezer cooking recipes for the past twenty-five years…according to type of meat/main ingredients. For freezer cooking, this is ideal because I can cook up twenty, thirty, or forty pounds of that type of meat and put a lot of entrees together quickly.
A KFC Cole Slaw Knock Off
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Low Carb Cole Slaw—just in time for grilling season. We had this last night with grilled pork chops and strawberries and dip. My hubby loved it!
Cabbage is one of those foods that I never dreamed I would be buying almost weekly! I use it chopped and sprinkled in layers that would potentially have had pasta. I use it for Egg Roll Skillet (recipe coming soon), also known as egg roll in a bowl in many circles, and I use it without the meat at all in stir fried cabbage (sort of Egg Roll Skillet with no sausage). Gone are the days of smelly boiled cabbage that nobody would eat. Cabbage is now cool!
”Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
CHEESEBALL ON CRACKERS—they want me to bring,
These are a few of my favorite things”
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Yep……everybody’s favorite cheeseball. Always asked to bring it. Simple to make. Loved by everybody.
Win. Win. Win.
Can cheese balls really fit in with a healthy eating plan? How about a low carb one? Well, the answer is yes and no.
Where would you like me to send your free Sugar-Free Solutions guide and recipe book?