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Stuffing/Dressing without Bread

I love Thanksgiving! I’ve always enjoyed the foods I associate with this American holiday that every other country celebrates in its own way as a harvest festival. My family had the turkey, stuffing & dressing, brown sugar glazed sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes, gravy, and my mother’s potato bread rolls, cranberry sauce, dish of some green stuff (mostly ignored!) like brussel-sprouts, to be followed by pumpkin, apple, cherry or mince pies. When more than one of our extended families joined, which was usual, the quantity and variety doubled. Every aunt had a dish for which she was renowned in the family; one made a fruit salad that all the kids loved for it was full of maraschino cherries, a rare treat back then.

I have very fond memories of those Thanksgiving Days of my childhood, but I wouldn’t want to eat those old high carb foods now. The carb count must have been in the hundreds! However, I do have some good substitutes, which you can find here. So we can enjoy the turkey and many of our old favorites, while maintaining our healthy lchf way of eating. Plus, I don’t leave the dinner table feeling one step from comatose.

This recipe is one that doesn’t need much thought. The base is celery, and please use organic celery if you can find it, for it doesn’t have the bitter taste of the regularly grown stuff.

You can add or subtract to this simple recipe to suit your taste. Avoid too many higher carb root vegetables to keep the carbs low.

Also, while you could, I don’t use this to stuff the turkey, but make as dressing. Less mess is my reasoning.

I don’t miss the bread in this dressing one little bit!


4-6 cups Celery

2-3 average carrots (I found some red, white, orange carrots this year.)

1 medium onion, diced (I use red)

4 oz crimini, button, or other firm mushrooms

1-2 medium-sized sweet potato

1-2 small turnip or rutabaga

2-3 Tablespoons melted butter, coconut oil, or dripping

1/2 cup broth

1-2 Tablespoons ground or fresh sage to taste (I like lots!)

1/2 teaspoon each black pepper and white pepper

Salt to taste

Rough chop or dice the vegetables, toss with butter and broth and seasoning, and place in a covered casserole dish. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

Opt: 4-6 roasted chestnuts, chopped (These are rather high carb.)

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Easy Cabbage Soup

Cabbage soup is delicious and great for those of us who need to watch our calories even on LCHF or paleo ways of eating. This is kept lower by using napa cabbage instead of regular green/white cabbage. If you don’t care about calories then use regular cabbage for more flavor.

Like most of my recipes, this one is very flexible, and can be made more or less flavorful and spicy by changing up ingredients. The basics are broth, cabbage, tomato is some form, and seasonings.

4 servings

Chop half an average to large napa cabbage– chunk or shred.

1/2 c chopped onion

1 tsp minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1-2 tablespoons bacon dripping or good olive oil

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 cups canned diced organic tomato

1 quart of chicken broth (add more broth or water if you like soupier soup)

1/4 tsp cayenne or 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes

S & P to taste

Sauté the onion in bacon fat, add cabbage and cover to steam 3-4 minutes,  add broth and remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes or more. Or put everything in a slow cooker.

Opt: Add a cup of diced chicken,  ground meat, or best of all some spicy sausage. I put in some leftover pastrami I wanted to use up, and it was good. A good kitchen-sink recipe.

Using the lower amounts of fat and no meat, the recipe will come out to about 150 calories and a couple carbs per serving with added fat and meat only about 25o calories and same carbs.

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Fish Tacos sans Tortilla

Okay, I know this seems illogical, but the title Fish Dish just doesn’t cut it, and the fact is my new favorite way to eat fish comes from a fish taco recipe. I used to think fish tacos sounded terrible; fish-plus-tortilla did not compute. But I tried one for the reason it was the least bad option I had at the moment, and to my surprise it was delicious. The regular recipe was battered deep fried fish (firm white fish of some kind) wrapped in a flour tortilla with the condiments I will mention shortly. They had a gluten free option which was broiled fish on a whole corn tortilla, so I went with that, and enjoyed it so much that I had to make my own good version. You could use a thinned version of the soul bread recipe I posted to make a faux tortilla, but frankly that’s more calories than my aging body can handle. You could also use lettuce leaves to mimic the tortilla.

Fish Mocko-Taco Recipe

Grill, broil, or sauté your favorite fish; I use cod or halibut. I use about 4oz per person.

Place on a bed of shredded/chopped napa cabbage or similar, 1-2 cups.

Top with a bit of sugar-free pickled onions (see my recipe), scallions, chopped tomato,  and drizzle with a liberal amount of my chipotle sauce (or similar). It is the chipotle sauce that makes it both spicy and delicious.

LCHF Chipotle Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise or good olive oil

1-2 Tablespoons canned chipotle sauce or chipotle powder– or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

Opt: dash of cumin

Blender works best to get the right consistency. Sauce will keep for weeks in the fridge.




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New Soul Bread & Pizza Crust

This is the best HFLC bread substitute, bar none.  I have tried several, but this is the first that really works for toast, sandwiches, even pizza crust (my spouse’s favorite!).  Makes incredible grilled cheese sandwiches, fried bread, french toast, etc.

A very simple and easy recipe. Make sure to line your bread pan with parchment, which prevents any sticking. I may have to invest one day in a silicone loaf pan; I have a silicone bun pan which works great.

The original recipe for Soul Bread is here. I’m glad to have found this bread. I changed it up to my own tastes, as I found the original a little too dry. There are many flavor variations to be found at that site.

New Soul Bread

4 eggs (room temperature)

8-12 oz cream cheese, softened (slightly denser with more cream cheese)

1/3 cup coconut or other good oil

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup unflavored whey protein powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Opt: 1/2 teaspoon guar gum or glucommanan powder

Opt: 1 teaspoon of yeast pre-disolved in a tablespoon of warm water. Some people think it makes the bread smell like regular bread.


Beat the eggs well (I use a hand mixer), then add cream cheese, oil, butter, salt, and blend until very smooth and fluffy. Fold in the whey protein powder and baking powder (stir them together first).

Pour mixture into a standard loaf pan, lined with parchment paper. Run a knife through the batter or tap the pan on the counter to get out air bubbles. My first loaf had a hole about half way through from trapped air.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then lift out the bread on the parchment paper to finish cooling. If you don’t use parchment, just leave it in the pan to cool completely to help prevent sticking (mine always stuck!). Once the bread is completely cooled, slice per usual. Store wrapped in paper towel or napkin in a plastic ziplock or other air-tight container. Don’t cut while the bread is hot or it will fall.

Buns: divide into muffin top or other bun pans. Cook at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until browned. Finally a bun that stands up to a juicy burger.

For pizza, take the batter and spread in a circle on parchment, any size you like. Bake at 350F for around 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Remove, add toppings and put in the oven to melt the cheese. Best faux-pizza crust I’ve tried.

Now you can enjoy those lovely runny poached eggs on a slice of toast!



Hard Boiled Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce

I like to keep hard boiled eggs on hand for a quick breakfast or packed lunches. I had more than usual leftover after making a big batch of deviled eggs for a party. I decided that boiled eggs with my go-to blender hollandaise sauce would be a nice accompaniment to steak. Steak and eggs is classic! Plus, hollandaise sauce keeps very well for several days if in an air-tight container. To reheat, place in a glass Pyrex type measuring cup or dish over hot water. If you try to reheat in a microwave or straight heat, the sauce is likely to curdle. I usually get at least three uses from this batch, since you only need a couple tablespoons per serving. Hollandaise sauce is great on broccoli, asparagus, and fish as well as most meats.

Hard Boiled Eggs: Anyone who thinks it is easy to boil an egg hasn’t boiled many. Size, temperature, freshness, all can make a big difference. My favorite method for hard boiled eggs: Place eggs in roomy pan, never crowd the eggs, cover with water–an inch above the eggs; bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, plunge the eggs into ice cold water, tap the eggs to crack the shells a bit, especially top and bottom which will help loosen the shell for peeling; leave for 3-5 minutes, then peel. I find starting at the wider end helps with the peeling. Also, I’ve found that farm fresh eggs are far harder to peel that store-bought eggs. I keep boiled eggs in an air-tight container with a layer of paper towel in the bottom; boiled eggs give off quite a lot of moisture.

Blender Hollandaise: Kitchen chemistry at its best!  You need the butter melted, and the egg yolks room temperature. I found this recipe decades ago in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook which along with the Joy of Cooking and Julia Child’s two volumes have been my primary cook books.

3 medium or large egg yolks

1/2  cup (one stick) butter, melted

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (apple cider vinegar works, too, but it does affect the taste–lemon tastes better)

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

dash of cayenne pepper or paprika

1 teaspoon water

1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the egg yolks with lemon juice, dijon mustard, cayenne, and salt in the blender, turn on, then slowly dribble the melted butter into the spinning yolks–can’t rush this. As the mixture thickens, add the teaspoon of water, which helps set the thickening.

If the sauce does not thicken, you can start over with some fresh egg yolks, and add the mixture back in slowly (may need to heat over water, the heat is part of the magic). I have saved a couple batches of hollandaise this way when I got into too big of a hurry at the beginning.

Halve or quarter the eggs, top with hollandaise and a sprinkle of parsley.

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My daughter sent me a palella (pi-a-yah) pan along with the saffron and preferred rice from Spain many years ago, and if you want to make splash of company dinner, few things look more dramatic in the dinner realm than a huge pan of paella.  But you don’t need the paella pan, or rice, to enjoy this simple, easy-to-make, and gosh-darn-it healthy meal.

Here is a link to to authentic paella: http://www.food.com/recipe/authentic-spanish-paella-148172

My quick and easy version is less a recipe and more casual:

Ingredients: Shrimp, scallops, mussels, firm white fish like cod, boneless chicken, saffron, salt & pepper.

I begin by sautéing boneless chicken thighs or breast meat, cut into chunks; simmer until done (in a skillet or other shallow pan). If there is not enough liquid, add some chicken broth, but you don’t want it soupy. Then add the seafood you like, and cook until done. Add a pinch of saffron, salt, pepper to taste. Amounts depend on numbers eating. I use roughly 1 lb assorted seafood, 2 chicken thighs for two big servings. The saffron imparts the beautiful golden color, and subtle flavor.

You can serve with cauluflower saffron rice, or true wild rice.


Banana Nut Bread (small loaf)

I’ve tried a few different gluten free bread recipes, mostly with less than sterling results, but I really like this banana nut bread. Flavors are as good or better than any I ever had, and nicely moist. I don’t do too many recipes with almond meal since it is calorically dense, and can be hard on the lower tract, but this recipe is a keeper, and one to have for guests. My grandkids, always my best judges of taste, liked it, so that gives the recipe two thumbs up in my rating system. Even better with a little smear of good butter.

1 med banana, mashed (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup) very ripe is best
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup almond meal flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed meal
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Blend wet ingredients, add to dry; pour into a well-oiled small 4×6 inch ( mine is from Fat Daddio) loaf pan. You could make into muffins, just bake for about 20 minutes.
350F for 35 minutes, or until center done.
Let cool before removing from pan. Makes 8-10 slices. Refrigerate; keeps well for a few days. Should freeze well.

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Balsamic Strawberry Salad

I was an adult for a long time before I had a salad with anything besides tomato, celery, cuke, etc., but modern creative cooking has really enhanced what used to be a fairly ordinary dish. Be creative with salad, and you can whip up an attractive meal or side dish with very little effort.

This is really a light and lovely salad, and truly delicious! Easy to make, and raspberries, blueberries, blackberries are good additions as well, though I like the texture of strawberries not yet at peak ripeness best in salads.

Assemble from mixed salad greens, leaf or butter lettuce, rocket, baby spinach as the best choices.

Toss salad greens in a large bowl with your favorite balsamic vinegar & oil dressing (just enough to coat), Salt & pepper to taste. Plate the dressed greens: add quartered strawberries, some crumbled feta or blue cheese, and top with sliced or blanched almonds, or walnuts.

Non-cooks can impress with this colorful, tasty, and healthy, salad. Grilled chicken or salmon along side makes the meal.

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My Top 5 Recipe Cheats

I love to cook, but I’m not always going to have all the fresh and most desirable of ingredients on hand, so I rely on a few cheats you might find worthwhile. These are heresy to the Culinary Institute grads, but I’m not one. Home cooking is still best, so we might as well find ways to make it good and easy.

#1- I rarely use fresh garlic. I can’t stand the smell on my hands or the mess of chopping it; and I may not have any on hand. I usually only buy fresh garlic for making roasted garlic appetizers or soup. My cheat is to keep jars of minced garlic on hand. I find there is very little difference in flavor, and a lot less effort. I also use garlic powder in lots of soups, and stews, just because I like the milder flavor.

#2- I keep dried/dehydrated minced onion on hand for quick use when I don’t feel like chopping up an onion. or don’t have one in the pantry. Very good in soups, stews, casseroles. Sometimes I use dried with fresh, just for the flavor depth.

#3- Canned tomatoes are best in most cooked dishes in my opinion. Fresh is nice, but a lot of work to get to the same point.

#4-Egg whites in a carton. I buy local pastured eggs, but for a few things where you need a lot of egg white, I just buy a carton of them. They keep a long time in the refrigerator.

#5-Dried herbs are good to have on hand. I grow herbs in the summer, but half the year I don’t tend to have fresh herbs at the ready. Some things, like dill and cilantro are good only when fresh, but most herbs are fine dried, and a little rehydration works wonders.

I’ll add to the list as I think of others. If you have any good cheats, let us know.

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Moussaka My Way

I hadn’t made moussaka for years, but a pound of ground lamb and a cold snowy day was enough to make it happen.

You can find many versions of this classic Greek dish, and mine borrowed from several. You can make it spicy or not, and a bit more of one spice or another makes the dish have greater or lesser depth of flavor. So don’t hesitate to make your own tweeks to this recipe. The photo is of Bobby Flay’s version. Mine looked just like it!

Serves 6

1 pound of ground lamb ( or beef, turkey, pork)

1 small onion

2 Tbs coconut oil &/or bacon fat

salt & pepper

1-2 cloves garlic (or 1-2 tsp minced)

1/2 tsp dried chili pepper flakes

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice or nutmeg or mace

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp oregano

4 Tbs tomato paste

15 oz can chopped tomatoes

Optional: 1 T raisins or dried currants (they add a lot of flavor)

1 medium eggplant, sliced or diced. I soaked the 1/4 inch slices in salt water for a couple hours. Then dried and oiled the slices and roasted at 375F for 25 minutes.)You could just toss the eggplant in with the meat mixture for a quicker version.

Saute the meat in the oil/fat, add diced onions and after they have softened, add the remaining ingredients. Layer eggplant and meat in a 9×9 inch or similar casserole dish.

Make the Béchamel Sauce: (This makes a nice 1/2 inch thick topping on the meat that is both attractive, and delicious.)

4 T butter (I used salted)

1 cup of 1/2 &1/2, or my choice: half cream, half coconut milk (or use water with cream)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled feta works well)

1/2 cup grated parmesan chees

Opt: 1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp Thickener of choice like guar gum or glucomannan or Thickitup

Melt the butter and add the cream mixture (medium high heat), then add in the beaten egg yolk, whisking well; add in the remaining ingredients, and continue to whisk well until begins to thicken a bit. Allow the mixture to cool a few minutes, remove bay leaf, then pour over the meat-eggplant mixture. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.  Cool a bit before serving.

Just writing this recipe makes me want to go to the kitchen and make it again!

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