Christmas Dinner Ideas, Seeking Input, Julian Bakery Nutrition Facts and More!

A day late and a dollar short …

Yep … I’m late, again! Tardy. My teachers from back in the way back would shake their heads, but they also wouldn’t be surprised. I haven’t learned a thing!

Actually, I’m back in the kitchen and cooking up a storm. This time … for New Year’s Eve Low-Carb Treats, Appetizers, Tidbits, Hors D’oeuvres, Finger Foods, Snacks … what-have-you (see “Coming Attractions”). Last week, I just did a single day of cooking … those recipes are at the base of this email. This week, I’m cooking both yesterday and today! I’m planning 14 dishes in this 2 day span, which … puts me a little ahead of the game. Whew. Finally!

Without further adieu … here are the coming attractions for New Year’s Eve!

Coming Attractions

Crab Cakes (I’m super proud of these crab cakes. There are no breadcrumbs at all, yet … they’re still full crab cakes with a shape … and a crust! These are … WOW! I was so excited about these things … I tweeted!)

Hazelnut-Parmesan Crackers (this is another one that just blew my mind. The texture is unbelievable, and delicious.)

Artichoke Pesto Dip

Crab Cocktail-ish Thing (pretty, huh?)

Ok … one more … Blackberries and Mascarpone Cheese in a Parmesan Cup

Recipes are still in development, but … I’ll have ’em to you next week. 7 fresh recipes, in fact, EVERY WEEK!

Help Me … Help You!

I’ve been at this for about 4 months, now. I think it’s fair to say … a good solid foundation has been laid. What I do … how it works … has more or less been established. I’ve been talking to people, receiving emails, listening and learning and want to give the best recipes and the absolute bestest low-carb blog I can! Now that you’ve seen what I do … what would you like me to do more of? What should I do less of? Help me … help you!

This is me … checking in. Once every few months or so, I’ll seek feedback, ideas, compliments, criticisms, etc. Speak up! Don’t be bashful. Hurt my feelings if it’ll make for a better blog. I’ll live. However … if I’m doing it right … let me know that, too!

Ultimately, my goal is to help people eat well, increase their health and lose or maintain a suitable weight. Actually, if I really had to distill my mission down to a single statement, it would be, “I want to help people live longer.” Health, happiness, proper weight, energy, quality sleep, etc. … are all wonderful byproducts of seeking a longer life.

Seek to live longer, and the rest slides into place.

In any event, the more I do or say that is convincing to you or helps your life, the more successful we will all be!

Consider me something like your humble low-carb servant. Put me to work! Give me tall and impossible errands. Make me read and research or break down complicated cooking techniques. Describe some culinary mystery that you’d like me to solve. Tell me a problem you have in your life and let me work towards a solution. Honestly … I want to help! If I’m working to resolve actual issues that any one of you may be experiencing … we’ll all benefit from the answers! I know “my” issues, but … I don’t know other common issues that many people face. Without your input, I’m just shooting in the dark. Show me the light!

What would you like to know? I will exercise complete and total discretion and simply work the material into future blogs, without … naming names (unless you want credit, of course). I don’t just mean in the kitchen, but with other issues, as well (keeping in mind, I’m not a financial analyst, doctor, personal trainer, mind reader or a nutritionist. I’ll do my best, but there are limits to what I’m able to pull off. That said … I do like a good challenge!) Put me to work!

Also, if there are any recipes you’d like help with, or would like me to explore … to reduce the carbs, let me know that, too! I may not be able to jump on it overnight, but at least we will slowly start steering this particular ship towards a destination that we ALL agree on (you know … mostly. šŸ˜‰ )

Let me know!

Share the LCve

This might be an inappropriately named section, as … this one is not necessarily about LCving … anything.

There’s a bakery based out of San Diego, CA named “Julian Bakery”. They purport to have a zero “net” carb bread, plus a range of other products … all are incredibly seemingly … impossibly very very low carb. I’ve personally known about Julian Bakery for a very long time and seem to recall that their flagship loaf had a single net carb, at the time (about 3 years ago). However, in researching … how such a thing could be possible, I found all sorts of complaints from people stating that it boosted their blood sugars and that the numbers must be wrong. I read that Netrition.com (a company I personally hold in very high regard) stopped carrying their products, because they felt that the Nutrition Facts for their products were inaccurate. Because of these things … I never ordered it and never tried it.

When I moved to Seattle, I wanted to make a stuffing for my Turkey, but didn’t have everything I needed for Frankenloaf. However, I knew I could pick up a loaf of Julian’s Smart Carb bread at Whole Foods. Knowing the label was probably wrong … bothered me, but I assumed it may be a carb or two over what was printed on the label. The loaf I bought claimed to be 3 net carbs, per delicious slice. So, I assumed … 5 or 6 per slice … it’s Thanksgiving … it should be fine. Never assume anything, right?

Enter Diane Krueger, a woman who has decided that Julian Bakery is wrong, dangerous and setting a bad precedent for other products. I’m inclined to agree with her! She recently had the same 3 “net” carb loaf tested that I have in my freezer. The tests showed … 17 net carbs per slice! That’s near 6 times what’s listed on the label. My personal daily allotment runs around 20 to 30 … per day. Just one sandwich knocks me out of the park. It’s no wonder this stuff is spiking people’s blood sugars!

If you’re really interested in what Diane is up to, you can read the results of her tests, her communications with the Bakery, with Whole Foods, etc. Her site makes for some interesting … although occasionally uncomfortable … reading. Check it out!

Visit her site to learn more: http://JulianBakeryInfo.com

I do agree the woman has a point, and I would very probably still buy their bread … if I knew the real “higher” numbers, but … at the moment, I’m feeling mislead and unsure. I do want to go on record as saying … it was excellent bread. If 17 net carbs a slice is within your budget … check it out! It was very delicious, but I personally won’t buy their bread, as it stands.

I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

This Week’s recipes …

This week’s recipes are for a full Christmas Dinner. Each of them is very low in carbs, with the exception of the Underground Hash, with 23 grams per serving. It’s still probably fine for most “lower” carb and certainly Paleo+, but … it’s definitely not an induction dish.

There are some simple sides, such as brussel sprouts cooked in a simple “restaurant” style. There’s also the Rootin’ Tootin’ Underground Hash, which is a super tasty blend of Sweet Potatoes, Golden Beets, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Cinnamon, Spice … and everything nice! There’s also a Mashed Cauliflower and Celeriac dish, with a nice creamy and garlicky vibe. I included a delightful blackberry and goats cheese salad, too!

The big centerpiece, however … oh … and this one … this one I’m really proud of. It’s a beast of a dish! It’s a maple brined pork loin roulade stuffed with cranberries and spinach. It’s also got orange zest, sage and cloves to seal the Christmas deal. One bite and … you know it’s the holidays. I really encourage you to try this thing. It’s impressive, phenomenally tasty and … pretty inexpensive, too! Pork loin isn’t likely to break the bank. Give it a shot! Really. I mean it. Try it. I double dog dare ya!

Then … follow it all up with a cheesecake, and … mini-pumpkin muffins! Oh … those little muffins were amazing. They were one of the dishes I’d made that was surprisingly delicious. I mean … I knew they’d be good, but … they were soft, moist, little pumpkin candies. Unbelievable!

Ok, the main message here is … I want next year to be filled with recipes and topics that YOU care about. Let me know what you’d like to know … and we’ll all learn together!

Happy Holidays!

~ DJ

ALL NEW Weekly Recipes!

Mixed Greens with Blackberries, Bacon and Goats Cheese
I like a good salad. I like bacon. I like free time. I like berries. When I have a salad that has bacon, berries and is quick and easy to make … it zooms right to the top of my favorite salads list!

There’s no deep mystery to this salad. There’s no salad dressing that needs made, separate from the salad. There’s only the basic natural magic emanating from the right ingredients, pulled together at the right time and tossed in a bowl. This sweet, salty and crunchy salad is fantastic and can go on just about any table in the land. Yum.

Simple Buttery Brussel Sprouts
This dish is about as basic and simple as can be, but with what may be an unclear twist. I’m unsure. It’s a very technical approach to cooking these things, and probably only ever really done like this in restaurants. However, it’s a fantastic way to do it. You’ll get a sweet and properly cooked brussel sprout, but it’ll also be buttery and bright vibrant green.

So often, “roasted” brussel sprouts are these soft, brown mushy balls of mini-cabbage. These are boiled in a salty boiling water, until JUST cooked (still slightly crunchy). …

Rootin’ Tootin’ Underground Hash
This dish is higher in carbs than most on my site. However, it was designed for the holidays, where a modicum of splurging is likely to happen. This, in my mind’s eye, is the replacement for the traditional “Candied Yams”, which are usually drenched in brown sugar and often topped with marshmallows. This … isn’t that … but it’s far from a poor replacement! The flavors are from the same planet, but it’s not going to release an army of insulin into your blood.

Create this, or bring it to any holiday meal and … people will love it! …

Mashed Cauliflower and Celery Root
All over the low carb world you’ll see “Mashed Cauliflower” as the primary replacement for “Mashed Potatoes”. That’s fine … and good … and it totally works. Often times, people will toss a potato into the mix to add a little potato-y texture. Again, this is fine, but it will definitely boost the carbs.

I wanted to do something that would give it a little textural variety, but without using potatoes. Instead, I used “celery root” … also known as “celeriac”. …

Maple Brined Cranberry-Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin
This is probably my most time consuming and complicated dish on this website, to date. It’s not fast or easy, but … what it lacks in ease, it makes up for in taste and pure specialness. It’s something I designed for the holiday dinner table to delight and impress, without costing an arm and a leg. It’s time consuming and a bit tricky, but … COMPLETELY doable and everyone will be floored with the taste and presentation.

This beautiful pork loin is moist, because it’s been brined. It’s a bit sweet, because of the dried cranberries and maple. It’s also got a sincere “Christmas Ham” quality to it, due to the cloves and orange. It’s got that holiday taste. I made a similar pork loin many years ago, but I used chestnuts, in place of the pecans. I didn’t use them here, because I wanted to ensure people could find the ingredients in their town. If you can find chestnuts … by all means … throw them in the pork roll. They fit right in! …

The Best Cheesecake I’ve Ever Had
I loved this cheesecake. I LOVED this cheesecake!

I’ve never been a big fan of cheesecake. I’m not sure why, but … I just never have. Perhaps it’s the fat bombs that have acclimatized me to the taste of cream cheese. Maybe it’s the fact that this cheesecake isn’t as sweet as many I’ve tried. Maybe I’ve matured. Maybe it’s the fact that it was room temperature, in a hot kitchen, and it was soft and warm and silky smooth when I ate it. Maybe it’s really just that good. Whatever the case, this cheesecake had almost ethereal qualities to it. Needless to say … it was yum.

White Chocolate Dipped Mini Hazelnut-Pumpkin Muffins
Anyone that knows me, follows my blog or likes my Facebook page likely knows that I have a soft spot for all things “Pumpkin”. Spiced pumpkin flavored treats, soups and desserts are always admired and appreciated by this here Foodie.

This dessert came about by thinking of a festive holiday dessert, which could be brought to just about any occasion. The white chocolate, in my mind, was to suggest that these miniature muffins had been snowed upon. I was going to call them “Blustery Mini-Muffins”, but when I added the toasted hazelnuts to the tops, in the photos, it somewhat diminished the “Blustery” look. I leave this in your hands. …

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