All posts by Jeff Fidler

low carb cheese recipes

Cheese Recipes: Low Carb and Keto-Approved

5 Sure-fire Low Carb and Keto-Approved Cheese Recipes

If you’re not lactose intolerant, cheese can be a many-splendored thing. But a unique problem faces low carb cheese lovers. We live in a world that seems obsessed with dishes that pair our beloved cheese with those dreaded carbohydrates.

But not to worry. Cheese can be yours to enjoy again. To prove it to you, we’ve put together a few recipes to get you started. Give them a whirl and see where they take you. We’ve engineered each one with a bit of wiggle room, so you can get creative and put your own cheesy spin on it. Bon appetit!

1.      Cheese and egg pizza dough

Pizza is one of those dishes that people miss when eating low carb. They often assume there is no room for all that bready pizza dough in the LC lifestyle.

But necessity is the mother of invention, and pizza is definitely a necessity.

We’ve talked about making pizza low carb before. But here’s a new twist—making the crust out of nothing but cheese and eggs.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 6 oz. shredded cheese (mozzarella, provolone)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Make your crust by cracking the eggs into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the shredded cheese. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cheese and egg mixture on with a spatula. Form the mix into a thin circle.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. The pizza crust should just be turning golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for two minutes.
  5. Turn the oven up to 450°F (225°C).
  6. While the oven preheats again and after the crust has had a moment to cool it’s time to top your pizza. Spread a low carb pizza sauce (see link above) on the crust. Add some herbs like dried oregano to kick it up a notch. Top with cheese, pepperoni and anything else you love to top pizza with (and is keto friendly).
  7. When the oven is ready again, bake another 5–10 minutes. It’s done when the cheese on top starts turning a golden-brown colour.

2.      Cheese chips

Instead of snacking on a bag of chips when you’ve got the munchies, try this cheese chip recipe—an adapted version of which follows below—with only 2 grams of carbs.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of hard cheese, sliced (cheddar, provolone, edam)
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika powder

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange your cheese slices on it.
  2. Sprinkle on the paprika. Bake for about 8–10 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the slices. Play it safe by setting a timer. If you forget about this dish, it won’t be long before it burns. Ideally, you want to get the chips out of the oven as they just start to brown.
  3. Let the chips cool before taking them off the tray.

These chips are great on their own, or as a dipping device. And you can eat them now or later. Put your leftovers in an air-tight container, refrigerate, and enjoy later at your leisure.

And this recipe is really nothing more than a simple guideline. You can use shredded cheese if you want. Blend your favourite cheeses together—especially if you’ve got some Parmigiana Reggiano lying around. And you can sprinkle any seasoning you want on top. Put some jalapeno slices on top to make it pop. Follow your heart—your gut will thank you later.

3.      Mozzarella wrapped in bacon (you’re welcome)

Nothing says ooey-gooey like hot mozzarella. But all that breading should mean there’s no place on a low carb menu for mozzarella sticks, right?

Actually, thanks to bacon, mozz is back on the menu!

Ingredients

  • Bacon
  • Mozzarella, cut into sticks

Do one stick of mozz for every slice of bacon.

Directions

  1. Cook your bacon, but don’t crisp it. Use your favourite bacon technique; in a frying pan, in the oven, however you like to cook the bacon.
  2. Drain the bacon and let it cool.
  3. Warm up a frying pan with a thin layer of oil in the bottom.
  4. Wrap mozzarella with bacon.
  5. Fry sticks until bacon crisps up but before the cheese melts all over the place.
  6. For an enhanced gooey-mess factor, finish off in the microwave.

For another take on mozzarella sticks, try breading mozz with the pork rind breading in this recipe and bake it to see how that goes.

4.      Bacon-wrapped cream cheese-stuffed chicken breast

This recipe—adapted from completerecipes.com—shows off the true versatility of low carb cooking. You could serve this chicken entrée to any guest and they’d have no idea they were getting a low carb meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 x 4-ounce portions of boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 tablespoons of soft cheese like cream cheese
  • ¼ cup of shredded hard cheese such as pepperjack
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped green onions
  • 4–8 slices of bacon

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Pound out the chicken until it’s about ¼” (6.35 mm) thick.
  3. In a bowl, mix the soft cheese, shredded cheese, and green onions together. Spoon this mixture onto the flattened chicken in quarters, keeping it in the middle.
  4. Roll up the chicken breasts, starting at the long side. Take care to still keep the cheese mixture to the middle.
  5. Wrap bacon around the chicken breast, one to two pieces per breast. Hold the works in place with a toothpick.
  6. Put the assembled chicken on a baking sheet; bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Broil for roughly 5 minutes to crisp up the bacon. Turn the chicken and broil the bottom sides for another 3 minutes.

Serve immediately.

The recipe allows for a fair bit of wiggle room, cheese-wise. Feel free to mix and match flavour profiles to your heart’s content.

5.      Taco soup

If you’re missing the taste of tacos and you’re tired of wrapping stuff up in lettuce leaves, we’ve got a slow cooker taco soup that might just do the trick. And it’s only got 5 grams of carbs per bowl.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground meat (pork, beef, sausage, turkey)
  • 2 x 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (a versatile thickening agent)
  • 2 x 10-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • 4 cups (960 mL) of chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese for garnish optional
  • Fresh chillies (to taste)

Optional garnishes

  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, pepperjack, queso fresco)
  • More chopped cilantro
  • Radishes, sliced thin
  • Green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. Brown meat in a frying pan.
  2. While it browns, throw the cream cheese, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning into the slow cooker.
  3. Drain excess grease from meat, then put the meat in the slow cooker. Mix to combine with the other ingredients.
  4. Pour in chicken broth to cover everything.
  5. Cook: 4 hours on low 2 hours on high.
  6. Stir in cilantro a few minutes before serving.
  7. At the table, let people garnish as they will.

Make cheese your dish again

You can eat low carb and still have cheese in your life. Hallelujah!

Sure, we still haven’t figured out a keto grilled cheese sandwich yet, but until we do these recipes will help show you just some of the cheesy possibilities open to you.

Need more inspiration in the kitchen?

If you’re ever stuck for what to eat and still keep low carb, visit our low carb recipe blog. With over thirty-five posts and counting, we’ve got low carb recipes for just about everything—from bison to sushi and all points in between.

how to smoke great meat

Smoke Amazing Meat: Low and Slow Barbecue

Low and Slow: How to Cook Amazing Meat in a Smoker

Life whips by at light speed these days, and somehow this need for haste has insinuated itself into the way we cook and eat. Even when we attempt to get back to our ancient roots and cook over a live fire, we resort too often to the blistering heat of the propane grill.

But meat tastes better when we slow down and cook it over low heat. The way they did it in the paleo days. While early man seared off small strips of meat for immediate gratification, they slow cooked the bigger chunks. This allowed the connective tissue in tougher cuts time to break down and release their savoury flavours. It also helped preserve the leftovers, the invention of the Frigidaire still a long time coming.

Primitive man honed and refined these techniques for centuries. Millennia, even. This cooking style can still be found in places like Mexico and Hawaii where it’s not uncommon to slow roast whole pigs in smoky underground fire pits. And this same spirit lives on today in backyards across North America as people eager for a deeper connection to the food they consume rediscover the joys of barbecuing the old way; low and slow.

If you want to join the ranks of backyard pit masters but don’t know where to begin, read on. We’ll have you up and running in no time. Because as far as barbecue’s concerned, it’s never too late to take up smoking.

A brief history of American barbecue

What we often think of as American barbecue predates the arrival of Europeans on these shores. Early explorers like de Soto and even Columbus recounted meals of barbacoa prepared by their indigenous hosts, the meat cooked slowly over indirect heat.

As settlements took root in the South, pigs ran wild in the forests, their meat becoming lean and tough. But people hunting these pigs soon figured out that low and slow cooking made the pork palatable.

Today, barbecue has evolved into a tradition with four major geographic styles; Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, and Carolina. KC is known for its sweet sauces that can easily burn if cooked too hot. Memphis sauces are thinner and tangier. In Texas, it’s primarily about the beef. But in the Carolinas, the meat of choice is pork—shoulder, ribs, or whole hog.

Wood—what to look for

Low and slow barbecue distinctively relies on cooking with wood. Real burning wood. A propane flame won’t cut it here. You may as well try to make pulled pork in a microwave.

Real barbecue cooks over the most primitive fire possible. Most smokers on the market work with a mix of lump charcoal—already burned up wood—and chunks of dried wood. Hard wood, too. Woods, like alder, apple, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, oak, and pecan.

It can’t be stressed enough. Hard wood makes a cleaner flame. The resins in softer woods can leave a bitter aftertaste—and sometimes, toxins. Resist the temptation to use deadfall from softwood trees on your property like pine and cedar.

If you don’t have a hardwood orchard on your property, you can buy prepackaged bundles of wood from barbecue stores. And since each tree imparts a unique flavour to the meat, using packaged wood lets you enjoy the taste of non-native species when you smoke at home.

Conversely, you could check around with local farmers to see if they sell wood from their orchards. It’s a great way to put a local spin on recipes adapted from other regions. Put a Canadian twist on Memphis barbecue by smoking with maple. You won’t regret it.

And if you get caught up in the whole-chips-versus-chunks debate and whether you should soak your wood, follow this advice: chips only go on the grill (more on this later) and chunks shouldn’t be soaked. Why not? Because hardwood doesn’t absorb water. That’s why they build boats out of it. Trying to soak it wastes valuable time.

The other kind of smoke rings

Another thing unique to smoking meat is the smoke ring, a pinky layer of flesh where the smoke literally changes the colour of the meat. Barbecue newbies sometimes panic when they notice their eating pink meat, especially if it’s chicken. But the meat’s not raw, it’s just smoked.

When meat is raw, it’s the meat on the inside you need to worry about. If your drumstick is pink around the bone, beware. But if the pink meat wraps around the outside, that’s a smoke ring.

As Steve Raichlen explains, burning wood creates nitrogen dioxide gas. This gas binds with the surface of the meat, penetrating in a few millimeters, too. And this bonding creates myoglobin, giving the meat that distinctive pink hue.

Some barbecue bosses pride themselves on the depth of their smoke rings, and even resort to cheating to enhance them. But if you don’t get rings on your first few cooks, don’t worry. You can make great tasting barbecue without them.

More art than science

Like many things these days, many people over-complicate smoking with gadgetry. But the guy who cooked for Columbus didn’t have any thingamajigs, gizmos, or doodads. The whole idea of smoking is to keep it primitive.

To do it right, you’ll need:

  • a cooker (see below)
  • a water pan to keep the cooking environment humid, and
  • maybe a drip pan

although sometimes the water pan serves double duty catching drips.

You’ll need a small, relatively cool fire, usually between 250–275°F (120–135°F). And that heat needs to be consistent. Don’t let the fire die!

Also, keep an eye on the smoke itself. Wood smoke basically falls into two categories; thin, blue smoke and thick, white smoke. You want thin and blue. Thick and white can have an acrid aftertaste. But the smoke will get thicker and whiter when you refuel the fire. There’s no winning, sometimes. Ideally, the smoke is almost invisible, showing itself only in a shimmer of heat distortion around your smoker’s vent.

And try to resist the temptation to check in on your meat too often. You loose heat every time you open the lid. If you absolutely must know the doneness of your meat, see if your barbecue store has a remote thermometer. The new ones even have phone apps, so your cook can be high tech and primitive at the same time!

Health concerns! What health concerns?

Some data suggest eating smoked food leads to intestinal cancer. But this was just one study involving a small sample group in Hungary. Why is that important? Because the laws regarding smoked food are very different there, and the concentration of contaminants is roughly eight times higher there than in North America.

Smoking has also been linked to promoting the growth of Listeria bacteria. And even though it rhymes, it can be serious, especially when passed from mother to unborn child. However, this primarily pertains to cold smoking, such as the curing of sausages and ham. Smoking over a live fire in a smoker will get the meat warm enough to neutralize all bacteria.

Types of smokers

You can make a smoker out of almost anything metal—from old oil drums to wood stoves—if you can weld. Barring that, there are also several commercial options.

  • Converting a propane grill: many propane grills get way too hot to consider as smokers. But if your grill can cook at low heat, try turning the gas off on one side. Put a drip pan under the grate on the cold side. Otherwise, you could have a nasty grease fire on your hands when you try using the grill in its standard configuration again. Over the heat, fill a smoker box with soaked wood chips (and don’t use them anywhere else). The meat goes on the cold side, over the drip pan. A foil lasagna pan works well for this. Keep the lid closed. This method isn’t great, but it beats adding liquid smoke to a slow cooker.
  • Converting a kettle grill: To smoke on a classic kettle grill, put a drip pan full of water to one side under the grate. On the other side, bank a small pile of burning charcoal and wood chunks. Again, the meat goes over the pan.
  • Bullet smokers: Units like the Weber Smokey Mountain put everything you need in a convenient vertical stack. The fire burns under the water/drip pan and two racks of meat cook above. A great entry level smoker for someone looking for a dedicated device.
  • Offset smokers: An offset resembles an oil drum laid sideways. With a fire box to one side, some of the heat naturally escapes, keeping things from getting too hot.
  • Cabinet smokers: These units look like old filing cabinets and can be powered by propane or electricity heating pellets of compressed sawdust. Many cabinets can also do cold smoking. These smokers tend to require less oversight as well.
  • Pellet smokers: The ultimate in set-it-and-forget-it smoker technology, auger-fed pellet smokers do a lot of the work for you. Sure, this limits your craftsmanship. But there’s a perfect brisket waiting for you at the end of the day, which helps reduce the sting.

Slow down and enjoy your food

Discovering the joys of low and slow live fire cooking makes life go at a more dignified pace. Smoking frowns upon speed demons. It demands concentration, mindfulness, and—above all—patience. Plus, a certain degree of humility.

If these facets have been lacking from your life lately, some time in the yard turning food into art could work wonders.

Need a hand keeping that barbecue low carb?

What’s the great thing about smoking meat? It’s pretty much no carb. Even if you’re doing pulled pork, there’s no law saying it has to be a sandwich. But when in doubt, we’ve also put together a convenient guide for keeping your barbecue low carb.

And if you’re smoking meats, you will need spice rubs. Some blends can have hidden carbs, though. But have no fear, we’ve got you covered.

easy beginner yoga

Get the Most out of Easy Yoga for Beginners

How to Get the Most out of Yoga for Beginners

Yoga is by far one of the best ways to get fit, look fantastic, and feel even better.

But if you’re just getting started with yoga, it can be hard knowing what to do. You have lots of choices just figuring out which class to take. There are several schools of thought about how to best approach yoga. And starting off on the wrong foot, or in the wrong class, could turn you off what would otherwise be an extremely rewarding exercise regimen.

So, let’s examine yoga closely to figure out:

  • what it is
  • what you need to get started, and
  • how to get the most out of it

What is Yoga?

Yoga was introduced to the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and since the 1980s has been one of the most popular forms of exercise in North America. But people have been practicing yoga in Asia for millennia.

As best we can tell, yoga was first practiced in India over 2,500 years ago. Yoga is a blend of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines designed to balance and unify your body, mind, and soul.

While we mostly focus on the physical side of yoga in the West, traditional Indian yoga is deeply spiritual and meditative. Indeed, philosophy itself plays a big part in everyday yoga practices with a strong emphasis placed on metaphysics and the theory of knowledge.

That said, many in the West who pride themselves on secular rationalism still find yoga a wonderful way to stretch and strengthen their muscles. And find some genuine inner peace as well.

All you need to get started

Getting started in a new athletic activity can sometimes involve a huge outlay of cash. Anyone who’s ever followed a whim to take up hockey, bobsleigh or regatta can attest to that. But fortunately, yoga sets the bar low financially. You only need three relatively inexpensive things to get started with yoga

1.      Clothes

Yoga apparel doesn’t have to be designer workout wear. In fact, when you show up for your first class, the instructor might appreciate it more if you’re not one of the nameless faces decked out in Lulu Lemon.

What’s the only requirement for yoga clothes? They should be comfortable and loose-fitting. Yoga requires a fair bit of movement and often has you posing in unorthodox positions. You need clothes that will bend with you, keeping you covered without bunching up or restricting your movement.

If you find an old tee shirt and a pair of sweatpants get the job done for you, more power to you.

And the best thing? You don’t need to buy shoes. Almost every sport requires unique and specialized footwear that can really set you back, but yoga is done barefoot. You may want to invest in pedicures more often, but that’s about it.

2.      Yoga mat

To help keep those bare feet connected to the ground, you’ll need a yoga mat. Prices for a decent mat start around ten bucks—and it may even come with carrying straps. You can pay more for something thicker, but in the end it’s a rubberized mat. After a certain point, there are only so many bells and whistles you can attach.

3.      An open mind

Getting maximum results from yoga begins with a willingness to explore new things with a sense of wonder and adventure. It’s about trying new things without judgement, something many people have hang-ups with. The important thing to remember is that yoga is richly rewarding—see below. It’s so much more than just working out, but you need to approach it with the right attitude to reap the most reward from it.

Why should you do yoga?

Yoga has a ton of benefits for your physical health and your overall sense of well-being. Since yoga postures isolate and strengthen specific muscle groups, yoga makes you stronger and more flexible while reducing your risk of injury in the future.

And doing the poses correctly requires sustained mental focus. Achieving this helps soothe the mind and lower your body’s stress levels. As a side benefit, you’ll have improved powers of concentration in your day-to-day activities.

Yoga also leads to mindfulness by sharpening your focus on energy, movement, and posture. And the longer you hold your poses, the better your stamina and endurance will be.

Regular yoga practice also leads to improved balance and stability. It also raises your body awareness, making you better attuned to your strengths and weaknesses, helping you play to the former and strengthen the latter.

Class or video?

With so much information available about yoga these days, you might be tempted to not take classes. With all the books, blogs and videos out there, why spend money on something you can get in the privacy of your own home much cheaper?

Well, for starters, an experienced yoga instructor—or yogi—has the benefit of third person perspective. They can better see what you might be doing wrong and give you tips to correct that. This can give you powerful insight into overcoming simple mistakes you might not have been aware of. It can also give you the mindfulness you need to perform better when you’re Chromecasting Youtube videos to your TV and doing yoga in your living room.

Even as you get more experienced, still take in a class with an insightful instructor occasionally. Their perspective and experience can help you progress further and quicker than you could ever hope for on your own.

Focus on breath

One thing that may seem odd about yoga is the practice of pranayama—consciously regulated breathing. As you follow your yoga instructor’s guidance, much of what they say is about guiding your breath, controlling when you exhale and inhale.

It’s a concept that might seem out of place for people with a competitive sports background. In most athletic pursuits, it’s all about physical exertion—and the breath just takes care of itself.

That’s where yoga is different. Breath control fosters mindfulness and a focus on the now. Why? Because your mind is easily bored, its internal running monologue hopping from subject to subject with little regard to your mental health.

Pranayama changes all that. By forcing you to think only of your breath, posture, and the movement of your body, there’s little room left for your brain to obsess about other things. Focused breathing sharpens your thought processes and gives you an effective tool for finding peace of mind, anytime.

Nine kinds of yoga explained

There are so many types of yoga available, it can be a little intimidating if you’re a novice. Especially when you could be getting in way over your head by making an ill-advised choice for your first class.

Here are some of the most common forms of yoga and what they’re generally about.

1.      Hatha yoga

With its emphasis on slow movements and held poses, hatha yoga is a gentle form of practice ideally suited for beginners.

2.      Vinyasa yoga

This form is quick paced and sometimes synced up to pumping music. Vinyasa is yoga for dancers, runners, and anyone else drawn toward continuous movement.

3.      Iyengar yoga

For the details-oriented individual, Iyengar is all about precision in form. This form of yoga incorporates props, too—from blocks and blankets to ropes and straps. Even if you’re an experienced yoga student, start Iyengar at the beginner level.

4.      Ashtanga yoga

If superheroes did tai chi, it would look like ashtanga yoga. The practice involves six series of flowing poses—and nothing else. Once you get the basics down, there’s nothing left but dedicating your life to mastering the precision of the movements. Seriously, it takes years to get it right. Ideal for type-A personalities.

5.      Bikram yoga

Bikram is done in a hot (105°F/40°C) and humid (40% humidity) room. The practice involves a set series of 26 poses as well as two breathing exercises. It’s the same routine everywhere you go. Hydrate well, you’re going to sweat.

6.      Hot yoga

Hot yoga is much like Bikram but with more variation in the poses and overall class structure.

7.      Kundalini yoga

This branch of yoga appeals to the spiritual side with an emphasis on breathwork and meditation. Get ready to mix repetitive motions with chanting and singing as well.

8.      Yin yoga

If ashtanga is one end of the yoga spectrum, yin yoga is its polar opposite. With postures held for several minutes, yin is all about restoring length and elasticity to your connective tissues and fascia. Not recommended if you have a connective tissue disorder.

9.      Restorative yoga

As the name suggests, restorative yoga is mellow and slow paced. It’s designed to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system—the “rest and digest” system—to help you relax better. It’s great for insomniacs and people living with anxiety.

The mystic art of yoga—demystified

While yoga is an effective proven method for strengthening the body and the mind, many people are intimidated by the layers of mystery that surround and enshroud it. Hopefully, this guide has helped clear up some of that confusion and got you pointed in the right direction to make yoga a vital part of your healthy lifestyle.

Just remember, yoga is as much about mind and spirit as it is about physical fitness. Focusing on your breathing while you execute your poses helps clear away the clutter in your mind and will help you think clearer in all aspects of your life.

If you’ve never done yoga before, find a class that appeals to you and give it a shot. And start at the bottom, even if you’re already athletic, and see where it goes from there. That’s the great thing about yoga. With its emphasis on form and precision, a beginner class can offer challenges to participants of all fitness levels. The longer you do a specific set of movements, and the more control you eventually get with them, the more you will benefit from it.

potato substitute the low carb way

Replacing Potatoes: Low Carb Solutions

How to Replace Potatoes: 7 Sensational Low Carb Solutions

For many North Americans, meat and potatoes is a way of life. A mantra of meal planning so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche it’s almost a religion. The stuff of legend. A menu planner of mythic proportions. After you figure out what’s for dinner, the next question is invariable: How would you like your potatoes?

To say the least, it throws a wrench in the works if you’re trying to go low carb.

Potatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colours. But they don’t come in low carb varieties. Potatoes are a great source of micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. But they’re also starchy and don’t offer a lot of dietary fibre or protein.

They also rank high on the glycemic index and can make your blood sugar spike worse than white bread. And for these reasons, potatoes are often the first thing struck from most low carb diets.

But the burning question remains: What else can we put on our plates alongside the meat?

Fortunately, there are lots of tasty ways to replace potatoes in a low carb diet. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite low carb potato alternatives. Each substitute can be prepared in many distinct ways. And some of these dishes are so delicious you’ll wonder why everyone else still makes such a fuss about potatoes. They’ll both fill and satisfy you, all without the starchy carbs.

1.      Cauliflower (2 g carbs/23 calories per 100 g)

Cauliflower is fast becoming the superstar of the low carb world. It may well be the gateway potato replacement, with many people singing the praises of cauliflower mash and even cauliflower rice. It’s caught on so well that big pizza chains are rolling out thin-crust pizzas with cauliflower crusts.

It’s dead easy to fry and roast cauliflower or throw into soups and stews. And it’s the one vegetable that’s most likely to pass as potatoes.

Try this out. Chunk a head of cauliflower then steam and mash it. Mix in 2 beaten eggs, half a cup of parmesan, and half a diced onion. Form into small balls and bake at 400°F until golden brown (about 20 minutes). Cauliflower tater tots—you’re welcome!

2.      Celery root (7 g carbs/42 calories per 100 g)

If there were prizes for pretty vegetables, celery root wouldn’t win any of them. Wouldn’t even be in the running. Also called celeriac, it’s a veg so baffling that most people don’t give it a second glance. Which is a shame, because they’ll never find out about the tasty, delicate flesh hiding just inside the celery root’s rough exterior.

To make chips out of celery root, peel off that ugly skin and slice it down into bite-sized pieces. Boil in salted water for a couple of minutes then drain. Toss in oil, salt and pepper and spread the pieces into a single layer on a baking sheet or two. Roast for 30–35 minutes at 460°F and enjoy.

3.      Daikon (2 g carbs/18 calories per 100 g)

The daikon is a plus-sized relative of the common radish that’s an important staple in some Asian cuisines. It’s good raw or pickled, but when it’s cooked it takes on very potato-like qualities. Try it boiled or fried and see how you like it.

To enjoy boiled daikon, peel two large daikons and slice into medallions. Boil in salted water for 30 minutes. When fork tender, drain and toss with butter or oil, salt and pepper.

4.      Kohlrabi (2 g carbs/27 calories per 100 g)

If you’ve never tried it before, it’s hard to look at kohlrabi and imagine it’ll taste good. You might imagine it looks more like a doorstop than food. But the truth is this odd-looking bulb has a delicate flavour that really comes into its own when you boil, steam or fry it.

To turn a kohlrabi or two into fritters, remove their leaves then peel and grate them. Squeeze out the extra moisture by wrapping the gratings in a tea towel and giving it a good twist. In a bowl, mix the grated kohlrabi with two eggs, salt and pepper then fry in a quarter inch of oil over medium high heat.

5.      Rutabaga (5 g carbs/35 calories per 100 g)

When a cabbage and a turnip fall in love, the result in their union is this funny looking thing called a rutabaga. It’s also known as a swede in Europe due to its popularity in Scandinavia. And yes, it’s a great low carb replacement for potatoes.

They’re great in soups and stews and all manner of side dishes. And they’re fantastic boiled, baked and roasted.

Try these roasted rutabaga fries to see for yourself. Peel a rutabaga and cut into fries. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in a roasting dish. Add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary if you have them. Roast 30–35 minutes at 400°F until crisp and golden brown.

6.      Turnips (4 g carbs/28 calories per 100 g)

If you’re Scottish, you know the turnip more as neeps, commonly served mixed with potatoes as neeps and tatties, the customary side dish to go with the haggis.

But turnips don’t need to be served with potatoes (or haggis, for that matter). They do very well all on their own, baked, boiled or steamed.

Try them out mashed. Peel three or four turnips then cut into chunks and simmer in boiling water for 20–30 minutes. When fork tender, drain and mash with butter, cream, salt and pepper.

7.      Zucchini (2 g carbs/20 calories per 100 g)

Last, but only because this list is alphabetical, comes zucchini. Or as they’re known in Europe, courgettes. Zucchini is well acquainted with the culinary limelight being featured in a lot of baking and even starring in its own dish—ratatouille.

Lauded by low carb chefs for its sinfully low carb count, zucchini can also be turned into pasta noodles, including lasagna. But today, let’s focus on turning the common zucchini into a bag of chips.

Slice your zukes nice and thin then press down with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Lay the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Don’t overlap. Brush with oil and bake at 225°F for at least two hours, if not more. Keep going until they start to brown and crisp up.

Goodbye, spuds. Hello, low carb goodness!

Being raised on a meat-and-potatoes mindset doesn’t mean you have to eat that way for the rest of your life. There are lots of hearty vegetables that pair just as well as, if not better than, our old lumpy friend the potato.

Try the recipes listed above and see what peaks your interest. But keep in mind that these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. All these vegetables are robust and versatile. If you find you like them prepared like this, deep dive into the online recipe rabbit hole and see what else you can do with them.

Also, remember these aren’t the only veggies in the produce aisle. See what else your grocer has to offer. Beets, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes . . . the list goes on and on.

Break out of the meat-and-potatoes routine and discover a whole new world of flavour—today.

Looking for more low carb food ideas?

If you’re looking for more inspiration for eating low carb, check out our blog. It’s full of tasty low carb and keto recipes to get you cooking up a storm in the kitchen. And don’t forget, we also have an online grocery store packed with everything you need to turn almost any dish into a low carb tour de force.

low carb tex mex cooking

Low Carb Tex-Mex Cooking & Recipes

Head South of the Border with these Delicious Low Carb Tex-Mex Recipes

If the time has come to add some new flavours in to your weekly low carb meal plans, then we have some great suggestions for you that are healthy, fun, and full of delicious seasonings and bold tastes. We’re talking about Tex-Mex cooking, and we guarantee that you’re going to love these recipes!

What is Tex-Mex Cooking?

It may come as a surprise to you that many of the dishes that are commonly referred to as Mexican food are actually not prepared in the traditional Mexican ways. Most of these kinds of foods that are popular in North America are actually a hybrid of Mexican cooking and Southwestern American cooking, specifically from the area in and around Texas. Hence the name, Tex-Mex.

Common Ingredients in Tex-Mex Recipes

Many of the common ingredients that you’ll see in Tex-Mex recipes are the same as traditional Mexican cooking ingredients, along with some that originate from contemporary American cuisine.

Tortilla shells and tortilla chips are very common in Tex-Mex recipes and are essential for making tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and more. These shells are usually made from either corn or wheat, and can be either hard and crunchy, or soft and pliable.

The typical store brands of tortilla shells and chips you’ll find at your average supermarket are likely not low carb. Be sure to look for healthy low carb versions of tortilla shells, like the ones from Mama Lupe’s. You can also find healthier types of tortilla-style chips that are lower in carbs, such as the tasty chips from Beanitos.

Other common ingredients in Tex-Mex cooking include popular meats like beef, chicken, pork, fish, and shrimp. These meats are usually heavily seasoned with a palette of spices such as hot peppers, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, coriander, and many others.

Shop all Low Carb Seasonings and Spices

Cheese is essential in the world of Tex-Mex cooking, with cheddar being the most popular, and Monterey Jack cheese being used in many recipes. Often, you’ll find a spicy cheesy sauce known as queso as a component of many dishes. Queso is great for dipping chips and can also be used as a topping for baked Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas.

Vegetables are also a big part of Tex-Mex cooking. Most common vegetables in this style of cuisine include bell peppers, onions, corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and avocado, to name a few. Vegetables are often served fried and seasoned alongside things like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, and are used as one of the fillings for fajitas.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what you can expect from Tex-Mex cuisine, let’s get right in to a handful of amazing low carb recipes that are easy to make and will definitely satisfy the whole family.

Keto Tex-Mex Casserole

Casseroles like this one are always a big hit with hungry families. This recipe for a zesty Tex-Mex ground beef casserole uses ingredients that are easy to find and has the added benefit of being keto-friendly as well as low carb. You can also ramp up the heat with extra jalapenos or cayenne pepper if you want to kick things up a notch or dial the quantities down for families who prefer a milder spice. No matter how you adjust this recipe, we’re sure it won’t last long once it hits the table.

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Skillet Dinner

We love one-pan recipes like this one! It’s fast and easy to prepare and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. The tender chicken, savoury seasonings and melty cheese are simply delicious. This dish has plenty of vegetables in it as well, including cauliflower, baby corn, and tomatoes, making it a great choice for any low carb meal plan. Plus, you can make this ahead of time and freeze it for an easy meal on those busy mid-week workdays where time is short but you still want a hearty and healthy dinner.

Low Carb Gluten Free Quesadilla Shells

Now here’s an interesting gluten-free twist on quesadillas, which are one of the most popular Tex-Mex foods you’ll find, especially with kids. While you can easily make any quesadilla recipe lower in carbs by simply swapping a regular tortilla shell for a low carb version, this recipe goes the extra mile by showing you how to make your own super-low-carb tortillas from coconut flour. Fill them with the ingredients you prefer, including shredded cheese, jalapenos, onions, and grilled chicken, and you’ve got an easy and healthy low carb meal that will suit any taste.

Keto Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Poblano

What could be better than a big poblano pepper stuffed full of cheese, chicken, and zesty Tex-Mex seasonings? This recipe delivers a brilliant combination of flavours and is amazingly simple to make. This recipe is very low in carbs and packed with protein to satisfy even the biggest appetites. This is another recipe that works incredibly well re-heated, so don’t be apprehensive about making a bigger batch and freezing some for easy dinners at a later time.

Low Carb Nachos

Well, of course you knew there had to be a low carb nacho recipe on this list, but this is no ordinary batch of nachos. These low carb chips are made entirely out of cheese and a seasoning blend, making them the perfect match for the low carb lifestyle. After you make your cheese chips, pile on your favourite nacho toppings like sour cream, chopped jalapenos, olives, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Nachos are one of those kinds of foods that are meant to be customized, so let your creativity run wild!

Experience the Flavours of Tex-Mex

One word you won’t find used to describe any Tex-Mex recipe is ‘bland’. This cuisine is all about big flavours, spicy heat, and rich, savoury tastes. For low carb dieters, Tex-Mex cooking is a fantastic way to change up your routine and explore some different types of foods that are easy to make and very healthy.

So, get ready to bring the taste of the Southwest to your next low carb meal plan and explore the world of Tex-Mex!

da vinci gourmet sugar-free syrups

Da Vinci Gourmet Sugar-free Syrups

Da Vinci Gourmet Syrups Bring A World of Sugar-Free Flavours to Your Kitchen

Low carb dieters need to be smart when adding flavours or sweeteners to foods and drinks. Making sure that you’re not piling on sugar and extra carbs in to your diet is critical to success with the low carb lifestyle, so having the right products on hand in your kitchen can help you get the taste you want and still stick to your plan to get results. This is where Da Vinci Gourmet Sugar-Free syrups really shine, and we’re going to tell you how.

Da Vinci syrups are some of our most popular products here at The Low Carb Grocery, and with good reason. The wide array of flavours that are available from Da Vinci means that there’s something for every taste preference, and the excellent quality of their syrups is second to none. Let’s take a closer look at Da Vinci Gourmet and explore their range of sugar-free syrups and flavours.

About Da Vinci Gourmet

Da Vinci Gourmet is all about the experience of flavours. Their goal is to deliver authentic taste and the highest quality products for you to enjoy. With a strong reputation in both the commercial food service industry and the world of consumer food products, Da Vinci Gourmet is committed to customer satisfaction and uncompromising quality standards.

Sugar-Free Syrups from Da Vinci

Da Vinci has made a name for themselves among low carb and low sugar dieters for their incredible selection of sugar-free syrups that are bursting with delicious flavours. By using Splenda as their sweetening ingredient, Da Vinci syrups have a wonderful natural sweetness to them and are completely sugar-free, without the lingering aftertaste that some artificial sweeteners have.

Popular Sugar-Free Syrup Flavours from Da Vinci

We’d be here all day if we listed every flavour of syrup that Da Vinci makes, so we’ve decided to showcase some of the most popular varieties that our customers keep coming back for time and time again.

Butter Rum – This rich tasting syrup combines the creamy flavour of butter with the light sweetness of classic rum. This syrup is a very popular ingredient in coffee-based beverages and also in many baking and dessert recipes.

English Toffee – Bringing the nostalgic taste of crunchy English toffee to your favourite drinks and desserts, this syrup is a delight! Try it in lattes or hot chocolates, or as a syrup drizzled on some vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Pineapple – The perfect balance between sweet and tangy, this syrup is absolutely perfect for mixing up the fanciest tropical drinks at your next summer-themed party. You can also use this as an ingredient in salad dressings and in smoothies or shakes. It’s a very refreshing flavour!

Dulce de Leche – Now this is what we call decadent! Da Vinci Dulce de Leche syrup brings the smooth, creamy flavour of this classic European caramel spread to all kinds of hot drinks and fancy desserts. Add a shot of this in your coffee and relax with the incredibly smooth taste.

Ways to Use Da Vinci Sugar-Free Syrups

Coffee and coffee-based drinks are perfect for adding an extra layer of flavour in to them. You can keep things as simple as you want, such as recreating the popular vanilla lattes found at many nationwide coffee shops or go a bit more exotic and add in your own preferred flavours from the wide array of Da Vinci syrups. Lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, and all other kinds of coffee drinks are ideal for flavouring with these tasty sugar-free syrups.

Smoothies and blended drinks are another great way to use Da Vinci syrups to experience even more unique and wonderful flavours. Try exploring Da Vinci’s frehs and fruity selection of syrups like banana, pineapple, coconut, watermelon, peach, and many others to discover your new secret smoothie ingredient.

Desserts & ice cream that are in need of a flavour boost are perfect for Da Vinci sugar-free syrups. For recipes that call for sugary syrups or flavours, you can easily just swap in a Da Vinci product and not miss a beat. You can also use them as a drizzle over top of a variety of desserts, including ice cream, cakes, brownies, and many other sweet treats.

Start Discovering New Flavours with Da Vinci Sugar-Free Syrups

Now that we’re sure your taste buds are craving some new flavour experiences, it’s time to check out the wide array of delicious sugar-free syrups from Da Vinci here at The Low Carb Grocery! Get your kitchen equipped with the finest in sugar-free syrups and let the creativity flow as you discover a wonderful world of flavours from Da Vinci.