Category Archives: Tips

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candies are OK!

First batch of candies. You can easily see where the butter pooled on the bottom. My second try didn’t have that issue.

This recipe comes from Atkins and it is pretty much as they printed it with a few changes from me. They call it a “fat bomb” but it is a little lower in fat per serving than many of the other fat bombs. This type of snack is intended to give you a quick burst of energy without adding much to your daily carbs. The body will burn the fat for energy, leaving little to go to becoming excess weight.

They are very tasty and a great quick treat when you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon. The only problem I have with it is that the unsweetened coconut flakes don’t get crispy the way regular ones do when they are toasted and they are very chewy. They also don’t bring a lot of coconut flavor. I plan to try it again with shredded unsweetened coconut to see if that works better. I’ll add a note later about that result. I also cut the butter from 2 tablespoons, whcih left a puddle of butter at the bottom when the candies set up, to 1 tablespoon. I added 1/2 tablespoon of Coconut Oil. The oil sets up quickly, so it doesn’t leave a puddle.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Haystacks

1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 tablespoon Coconut Oil
3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4 tablespoons Xylitol or other granulated sugar substitute
1/4 cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (check carbs for lowest)
2 cups Unsweetened Flaked Coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F.) and place coconut flakes on a baking tin. Toast for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Prepare a cookie sheet with a sheet of waxed paper or place a silicon mat on it.

In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan, combine the cream, butter, coconut oil, sugar substitute, and cocoa. Cook over medium high heat stirring often. When it comes to a boil, remove from the heat.

Add in the peanut butter and stir until it is mixed into the chocolate well. Fold in the coconut flakes until they are completely coated.

Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the wax paper to form mounds. The recipe should make about 18 mounds. Place into the refrigerator to harden to a candy consistency. Once they are firm, you can store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks, if they last that long. They may also be frozen.

Makes 18 haystacks.

Nutrition information per haystack:
Calories: 110.6 Fat: 10.5 g Net Carbs: 1.8 g Protein: 1.7 g

This recipe is good for all phases of Atkins and other low carb diets except for the first two of Induction when nuts are not allowed.

Notes: When using other sugar substitutes, use the granulated versions and keep in mind that they do have a small amount of carbs per teaspoon due to the medium for storing the sweetener.

If you don’t like coconut, you can omit it and make a peanut butter chocolate candy that is also delicious.

Got any questions or comments? Please send them.

What is that …?

…and what do you do with it?

That’s a question I’ve been asked many times at the grocery store check out stand from either customers or the clerk when I’ve bought a couple of unusual vegetables. While not uncommon or even unknown in the United States, they are odd-looking and often overlooked by shoppers. I am speaking of kohlrabi and celery root, two very delicious vegetables that can add a different flair to your dinner while coming in at a lower calorie and carbohydrate count than a potato, pasta, or rice.

So, I’m on a mission to introduce more people to these tasty but lesser known edibles.

To be honest, I didn’t discover them until the past few years when I started changing over to a low carb lifestyle to manage my weight. A friend in Europe told me about kohlrabi and while picking one up at the store, I was curious about celery root. Both vegetables are peculiar-looking, but the flavor they hide is wonderful.

Both the leaves and the vegetable on a kohlrabi plant are edible. These are a winter crop and can be found in the markets around February until the middle of summer, depending on where you are.

Kohlrabi is a cousin of broccoli and if you like the taste of that vegetable’s stem, then imagine it in a milder version and you have the taste of kohlrabi. It looks like an alien plant when you see it with the leaves attached as the stems come out from all over the round vegetable. The leaves are also good to cook and eat along with other greens.

Most often, it seems people who use kohlrabi grate or chop it to add to salads. However, it is wonderful when cooked. I make kohlrabi fries just as I would potato ones. You can also boil it into a mash with other vegetables, steam it, roast it, or turn it into a scalloped dish. It works best for these dishes when precooked a little to speed up the cooking time. You can also par-boil and freeze it.

Celery root is usually sold by the root. Look for the larger ones to get more value.

Now, celery root looks like a big, ugly lump when you see it in the store. It’s a gnarly-looking root. This is not your usual garden celery, but the celeriac root. The taste of it has a hint of celery, but it isn’t very strong. Once you peel off the exterior and clean it up, the meat is versatile. You can use it almost any way you use a potato. In fact, if you wash it up well, cut it in half and bake it, it makes a great substitute for a baked potato. Just don’t eat the skin.Texture-wise, it’s the only substitute vegetable I’ve found, apart from other potato family ones, that is like a potato when baked. It makes fabulous plank fries and goes well in soups.

I’ve also added turnips to my meal plans, finding that turnips and cauliflower mashed together with butter and cream made a great-tasting substitute for mashed potatoes. Cauliflower flowerets along with diced turnips, kohlrabi, or celery root can make a great-tasting macaroni-free cheese dish.

Apart from changing up the usual starches at dinner, these options are also lower in calories and carbs. If you’re wanting to cut back a little, try one of these vegetables for a change.

Take a look at the differences in nutrition:

Kohlrabi – per 1/2 cup:
18 calories 4.2 grams carbohydrates 2.5 g fiber 1.2 g protein

Celery root – per 1/2 cup
33 calories 7.2 g carbohydrates 1.3 fiber 1.2 protein

Turnips – per 1/2 cup
18.2 calories 4.2 g carbohydrates 1.2 g fiber 0.6 gr protein

Potatoes – per 1/2 cup:
51.8 calories, 11.8 g carbohydrates 1.8 g fiber 1.3 g protein

Have you tried kohlrabi or celery root?  If so, how did you use them and what did you think?

Pictured at the top is a Broccoli, kohlrabi and ham bake.  All photos are copyright by the author.

5 Tips for Eating Out…

…To Maintain Your Diet

At this time of year especially, when there are holiday parties, dinner invitations, and family get-togethers, it becomes a challenge to maintain your low carb plan, or any diet plan for that matter. Temptation is everywhere. It’s not easy to avoid eating food that looks so delicious and tastes so wonderful, but you can exert some self-control and minimize the damage.

Believe me, I know about this. For the past six years, I have fought this battle over and over.  I lost 142 lbs (for about the fifth time in my life) on a low carbohydrate life-style change.  Anytime you go out to eat, there is a challenge to not exceed your effective carb count and mine is a ridiculously low one at 22 net carbs per day.  Restaurant food can be filled with hidden carbs in the form of sauces, sugar, and other unknown factors. Most spices are either zero carbs or fractional.  But dining is also a social occasion so you can’t always avoid it.

Here’s five things you can do to stick to the plan when eating out.

Bread Rolls – By Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work, GFDL 1.2,

1. Say No to bread

If you’re like me, this is not an easy one when the temptation of wonderful breads like the brown bread at Outback or the cheddar cheese biscuits at Red Lobster tease you from right on your table. Do what I do when I first walk into Texas Roadhouse and say, “No rolls, please,” as soon as your server reaches for that basket of tempting yeast rolls. Say none when asked what kind of bread you’d like when it’s included with the meal.

If you’re dining with others, this is not as easy to accomplish and that’s where your will power has to come in to keep the bread basket away form your reach. Don’t hesitate to tell your dining companions that you don’t want to eat the bread and ask them to keep it away.

If you just can’t help yourself, limit the damage. Eat a half a roll or just take a small slice. Sometimes that is more difficult than saying no, but if you take the time to savor the bread and eat it slowly, it can be satisfying.

2. Swap the vegetables

Most places are willing to substitute a different vegetable for the one listed on the menu.

Potatoes, rice, and pasta are high in carbohydrates, which adds a lot to the meal when you are counting carbs. They are also high in calories. As for a different vegetable that they offer, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower or mixed squash. This makes a big difference and keeps you on track.

I’ve only run into a couple of places where the chefs are so fussy that they refuse to change out their selected choice. In that case, choose a different dish.

Often when ordering breakfast, I say “no bread, no potatoes” and the restaurant usually offers a substitution such as sliced tomatoes or fresh fruit. When going for the fruit, ask if it is berries and/or melons as they are the lowest options in carbs.

Broccoli is a great substitution for potatoes or rice. Photo by By Quadell – Self-published work by Quadell, CC BY-SA 3.0,

3. Choose simple protein dishes

Dinners that are primarily meat, poultry, or fish are your best bet for a dinner that doesn’t have hidden carbs or calories. Grilled meat is one of the best way to avoid many additions and the meat is usually just seasoned without any extras. BBQ sauce adds carbs and calories, so you want to avoid the sauces. Low carb has an advantage when it comes to a butter sauce since most don’t add any carbs to the count unless it has a little lemon or other flavoring in it. Don’t hesitate to ask your server what the ingredients are in the sauces.

4. Buffets can be your friend

While they can be very tempting and this requires quite a bit of will power, a buffet offers many choices in salads, vegetables, and protein dishes to give you a quite a bit of freedom to create a variety of dishes. Once again, stay away from the starches and dishes with sauces that might include flour or sugar. Select ones that have a butter sauce. Pick some pieces of cheese from the cheese tray to add to the broccoli, if you wish, rather than going for a casserole-type dish that includes flour and possibly bread crumbs in the sauce. In most cases, stay away from the desserts.

A few buffets in my town (Reno, Nevada) do offer a a small selection of sugar-free desserts, but that doesn’t always equal low carb. Cheesecake is usually a safe bet so long as you don’t eat the cookie base, which is usually made with flour. I know one place that makes it with almond flour. Top the cheesecake with fresh, unsweetened berries and you have a great low carb dessert.

5. Eat half of what you’re served

Be honest, now. When you go out to dinner at most places, doesn’t that plate arrive with more than double the food you normally eat at home for a meal?

Most restaurants are generous with their proportions and for many of us, it’s easy to keep right on eating after we are full. I did this for many years before I decided that being overfilled was not good. Ask for a to-go box when you order and put half of your meal in the box before you even begin. Or, cut your portions in half and slide them over a little on the plate to remind yourself to save that to take home. Not only do you cut back on your food intake, but you gain an extra meal for the same price.

Sometimes, no matter what your best intentions are, you just can’t pass up that absolutely amazing-looking dessert or that incredible chicken dish with a thick,rich sauce. It happens and you can’t beat yourself up for giving in to the temptation. The key then is to get right back on track with your diet plan the next day and continue to wage the battle to keep the extra pounds from coming on-board.

Happy Holidays  to everyone and make good food choices.


Banner photo by Mark Miller (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons



Texas Style in Deviled Eggs

Texas Deviled Eggs - Skinny Girl Bistro

My grandmother, a third-generation Texan, and my mother made the best deviled eggs I’ve ever had. When I moved away from home, I discovered not everyone made their deviled eggs the same way. Then I found that PK’s mother was from East Texas and made her eggs almost the same way, but didn’t include bacon. For this reason, I’ve dubbed these Texas Deviled Eggs since the sweet deviled egg seems to come from that part of the country. When I take them to parties, people usually want the recipe.

Eggs are great on a low carb lifestyle because they are so low in carbs and it takes your body a long time to digest them, which keeps you satisfied for a while. These deviled eggs are wonderful to take on picnics or to 4th of July parties or other summer occasions. Just be sure to keep them in the cooler (with ice) until you’re ready to eat.

I’ve adapted these ever so slightly for low carb, mainly using sugar-free sweet pickle relish or sugar-free sweet pickles in them. If you can’t find the relish, look for the sugar-free sweet pickles and chop them finely in a chopper or food processor.

Texas Deviled Eggs

7 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (See Tip)
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (sugar-free)
3 pieces of bacon, fried and broken into pieces or use Hormel bacon pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Paprika to sprinkle on the tops

Cut 6 eggs in half and scoop the yolk into a bowl. Set the whites on a plate to be filled later.  Cut up the last egg and add to the bowl. This will be the filling and the extra egg ensures a mound of filling on each half. Mash the filling with a fork until it is completely crushed and mixed together. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and pickle relish. Be sure to get the juice in it. Mix together, then stir in the bacon bits.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise.  Add salt and pepper and mix it in.

Put a mound of filling in the center of each egg white half so that it completely fills it and spreads over the top. It may help to use your spoon to make four even sections of the filling, then use 1/3 of each section to fill the egg whites. Sprinkle paprika over the top for a light dusting of red, then place on serving plate, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Makes 1 dozen egg halves. Serves six – 2 egg halves per serving

Nutrition Info per serving
     Calories: 133.5 Fat:10.5 g Net Carbs: 0.5 g Protein: 8.2 g

Tip:  Getting decent-looking eggs after boiling is sometimes a challenge.  There is some truth to not using really fresh eggs for this.  I try to plan ahead to allow at least a week for the eggs to sit in the refrigerator.  This makes it easier for the membrane to separate from the egg.  I put cold eggs in a pan of cold water to cover, then put on the heat and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Turn down and cook another 5 minutes, then turn the water off.  Let the eggs sit another 5 to 10 minutes, then run cold water over the eggs.  You can add ice to help chill them quicker.  Break the egg shells in several places and carefully peel part of the shell away and lift the membrane away from the egg if it doesn’t come free with the shell.  Put the egg back in the cold water, then peel the rest of the egg while trying to pull the membrane away from the egg gently.  If this is too much work for you, purchase pre-peeled eggs at the grocery store. They cost almost double but are worth it if you’re in a hurry.

E-Z Bake Bacon Tip

In case you’ve never heard of doing this, baking bacon is a great way to cook it.  I just wish I’d learned this trick earlier in my life.  You don’t need one of the fancy bacon stands either.  Here’s how I do it.

I use an old jelly roll pan (look at thrift stores for one of these) and a metal cookie rack.   (I use one from the dollar store).  The rack fits in the jelly roll pan easily.

Preheat the oven to 385 degrees F.

Arrange the slices of bacon across the cookie rack as shown.  Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven.

The bacon comes out crisp, flat and not greasy.

The bacon grease is on the bottom of the pan.  Remove the bacon when it cools, then let the pan cool down.  Put a coffee filter or a strainer over a can or jar and strain the grease through to save your bacon grease for cooking.  Easy.

Originally POSTED BY RENE AVERETT AT 9/25/2013 6:52 PM