Recipe- Chocolate Ricotta Dessert

Jeez – this is so simple, I hesitate to call it a recipe. It’s also good, low carb, and the cocoa not only satisfies the chocolate craving, but is even good for you. Ricotta cheese, though you might want to avoid it in induction (Atkins recommended avoiding soft cheeses), is very low in carbs and has no real flavor to speak of. Though used in Italian cooking, if you are not familiar with it, think of it as tofu-like in that it takes on the flavor of the dish it is part of.

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 packets Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa – you can find this in the baking section of your supermarket. Check the label and try for the one not ‘processed with alkaloids’ – there are more of the beneficial nutrients when not processed this way.

Mix it in a cup and eat it. You will probably be surprised as to how darn good this can taste. Adjust sweet and cocoa to your personal preference.

You can even leave out the cocoa and it’s still a great low carb sweet treat.

Atkins and Alcohol

Whenever alcohol is mentioned a certain moralistic mindset kicks in . I’d like to avoid that debate because I’m not your parent, spouse, priest, or confessor. If you drink alcohol and would like to lose weight, you don’t need moralizers telling you that you have to stop eating and drinking at the same time. What you drink might need to change, and moderation is required, but if you feel trapped because giving up the things that make you fat – and giving up alcohol at the same time seems too high a mountain to climb – there might be a way.

Moderation IS Required

There is no way that you can lose weight and drink to excess, but it is possible to have alcohol and lose weight if you moderate your intake. You are going to have to try and drink as little as possible with the understanding that the more you drink on Atkins, the slower the weight loss – it might stall you completely. You might want to set goals for yourself by saying that every 5 lbs lost gives you the opportunity to have alcohol. If you drink a lot, you might be able to use the goal of weight loss to reduce your drinking.

Atkins can reduce the craving for alcohol, which again, helps reduce the amount you consume and the number of calories which leads to weight loss – one thing leads to another.

There are physical and psychological reasons for drinking. Atkins – by reducing cravings and helping you to lose weight and feel more in control and better about yourself – can help with both. Losing weight after years of failing gives you a sense of control over your life. This success can cascade through other areas of your life. The triggers that made you drink in the past might lessen and you find you just drink less naturally.

You might have to change what you drink. Before Atkins I drank beer – liquid bread. The stuff is self-perpetuating as the carbs make you hungry and make you want more. Now I have about 1 beer a year. Sweet alcohol drinks are also out. Wine coolers are out (see my recipe for a substitute).

Ideally, if you drink alcohol for the buzz (don’t lie) you want to maximize the alcohol and minimize the carbs. For this, your best bet is vodka. Personally, my drink is now a martini with 3 olives.

There is an important problem to be addressed for beer and wine cooler drinkers changing to spirits. Beer and wine coolers are somewhat self-limiting – the liquid content will slow you down. Spirits, on the other hand make it easy to KILL YOURSELF because they are so concentrated. So – if you are not familiar with spirits remember that a little goes a long, long way.

There’s also the problem of impaired judgment. You have one drink , then have a few more before the first one kicks in, and you are in way over your head. Beer is 4% alcohol and 100 proof vodka is 50% alcohol. Alcohol is the last legal drug, and a rather dangerous one, and it can kill you or lead to a real physical addiction worse than heroin addiction.

Give yourself a cold hard look and ask yourself if you can handle spirits. If not, stick to the fake wine coolers.

If you are fat and drink too much, Atkins might be one of the better diets for drinking less and weighing less. I’m not saying it will be easy – you can’t drink in induction – the first stage of Atkins at all. Maybe a little abstaining from alcohol isn’t a bad idea – go on Atkins for 2 weeks, lay off the booze, take  off maybe 10 lbs and maybe you’ll feel so much better that the desire for a drink (or 4) might lessen?

It’s only 2 weeks – worth a try?

Recipe – Carol’s Crustless Crab Quiche

Another recipe stolen from Kudos for Low Carb (no longer there, unfortunately). Only minor variations here:

8 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cans pink crab meat
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¾ cup yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh dill weed, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

I made this with my daughter and we had a great time putting it together. I baked it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered. Came out fine and was enjoyed by all. Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 467, Fat 36 grams, Carbs 4 grams, Protein 20 grams.

A great induction meal. Reheats nicely.

UPDATE: the quiche is just about gone. It ended up being the choice for breakfast – and the lead member of the Low Carb Confidential Taste Panel, who was in no mood to bestow upon me any complements, told me I should make it again.

A Nutrition Mesage from the American Dietetic Association

As not everyone in the house is low carb, there was a box of pasta that caught my eye. It was because of a label on the back. This is what it said:

A Nutrition Mesage from the American Dietetic Association

The key to healthy eating and weight control is to consume a variety of complex carbohydrates along with moderate amounts of protein and unsaturated fats.

Carbohydrates are the brain’s and body’s preferred fuel and should make up about half of total daily calories. complex carbohydrates like pasta and other grain products, vegetables and beans also provide additional nutrients including vitamins, minerals and protein.

Weight loss diets that eliminate whole categories of foods can be detrimental to your health over the long term.

Now the ingredient label showed that after they put in the starch, they threw in niacin, iron, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid because if they didn’t, the part of the label that gave the vitamin info would have read zero for everything.

The total carbs for 2 oz. of the stuff was 42 grams. It had a whopping 2 grams of dietary fiber. So the net carbs for 2 ounces? 40.

Now, I’m just a schmuck, and the ADA is a respected organization of registered dietitians. But if they are right, then why does the US rank 42 in life expectancy? Not eating enough pasta?

Granted, they do mention that whole grains are important – but the pasta in front of me had the ‘whole’ part of it’s grain removed before it got in the box.

I remember a friend of mine who had a heart attack after eating vegetarian for years. The dietitian who met with her after the heart attack told her that she didn’t need counseling on eating since she already ate what the dietitian thought to be a healthy diet. Why she had a heart attack remained a mystery to these medical professionals.

Hmmmm…don’t know what to make of all this.

Recipe – Carol’s Edgy Quiche (Crustless)

Stolen directly from Kudos for Low Carb, I really liked this one – the idea of a crustless quiche is so simple and it lends itself to experimenting. I’m going to make this again today. Other than using some hot peppers I had lying around, and I didn’t bother to cover it, I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter – unusual for me. You will notice the nutrition info below, which proves I didn’t write this.

8 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup shredded cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup red onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
2 Serrano peppers, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Combine ingredients in a deep 9 inch round baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until eggs are set. Remove cover and let the top brown slightly. Serves 6. Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 445, Fat 36 grams, Carbs 4 grams, Protein 15.6 grams.

Recipe – Tuna Salad with Sweet Red Peppers

Yeah, there’s a million tuna salad recipes. Now there’s a million and one. I whipped this up the other day and thought it pretty good – a little out of the ordinary. As part of my use of this blog is to keep my own recipes, here it is:

  • 2 large cans of light tuna (I stay away from the Albacore because it supposedly has more mercury)
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped up
  • giant tablespoon of sweet pickle relish with Splenda (the brand escapes me at present)
  • A large squirt of spicy brown mustard (maybe 2 tablespoons)
  • 2-3 large tablespoons of mayonnaise

Mix well and eat. As with all tuna salad, the flavors meld nicely overnight and it’s better the next day. One member of the Low Carb Confidential Taste Panel refused to try it, and the other would not comment. I liked it, though, and will make it again.

Fast and easy and good on induction – just don’t get into the habit of eating tuna more than a few times a week (the mercury again) – and stay away from the stuff if you’re pregnant.

Recipe – Crock Pot Pork Shoulder

This is from a recipe lifted from As simple as their recipe was, it wasn’t simple enough for me – and they are certainly fat phobic – which I am not.

Important to note: make sure the pork shoulder you buy fits in the crock pot! I have the larger, oval version and it barely fit with the top not quite touching the rim. My suggestion is to go for the smaller sizes.

The modified recipe was as follows:

1 pork shoulder
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons thyme
6 tablespoons brown mustard
6 shakes of Tabasco sauce

I put the shoulder in, poured the ingredients mixed in a separate bowl over the top, and put the crock pot on high at about 11am, figuring 8 hours will give me our evening meal.

After about 2 hours, the top began to bulge – I suppose the meat expanded? As a crock pot doesn’t do it’s magic with the top off, I had to jerk around with the loin to make it fit. After dealing with the top issue, it was ok for a few more hours until the juices began to overflow. I took out 8 ladles of the stuff and the rest of the cooking was uneventful.

I let it cook for 9 hours. The pork came out fall-off-the-bone tender and with a mild flavor – not what I’d expected with the ingredients, which mellowed considerably in the long cook time.

The ‘soup’ left by this cooking, with the pork fat, the vinegar, and the hot pepper,  makes a fine hot and sour soup.

OK for induction.

Kitchen Experiment #6 – Scalloped Jicama Au Gratin

If you’ve never had a jicama, imagine a giant turnip with a brown skin, white inside like a potato, with a crunch like a water chestnut – sort of. As it is low in carbs, it can be eaten on Atkins. One cup has 5 grams of net carbs, so it’s an option on induction, though you need to determine if it works for you.

They can be found only at the larger food stores in the area – the ones that stock the odd items.

I bought one on a whim and didn’t know what to do with it. I thought it potato-like and left it on the counter, but it began to look sad after a week (note to self: refrigerate jicama) so I was prompted into action.

I don’t know where these ideas spring from, but a glance through the fridge made me think about baking a pan of the stuff with cheese.

THE EXPERIMENT: I took the Jicama and peeled it – bit of a pain – and then cut it in quarters and scalloped those. I then laid them in a baking pan with olive oil and butter, salt and pepper, then added a layer of american cheese – about 8 slices. I added another layer, then more cheese. I added parm cheese to the top of this and placed it in a 400 degree oven until the chesse on top was browned in places – I think this took about an hour.

THE VERDICT: Unlike potatoes, jicamas don’t lose their crunch, so the scallop shape doesn’t yield to a fork like scalloped potatoes might. When I took it out of the oven, I found this out, and used a knife to make the pieces smaller.

One of the Low Carb Confidential Taste Panel tried it and asked: “Is this cooked?”

One hour at 400 degrees should cook anything – it’s the comparison to potatoes – what it most looks like – that would lead one to this conclusion.

The taste was pretty good, in my estimation. We sometimes are misled by what we already know and since it looked like potatoes au gratin, you expect it to be potatoes au gratin. It isn’t, but if you allow your mind to accept it as jicama au gratin, I thought it stood the taste test.

I was going to try some later in the week with some low carb ketchup (Heinz reduced-sugar ketchup tastes good and is readily available in my area), but found that the jicama I cooked up was gone – apparently someone in the household found it good enough to eat.