Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Aspen Cooking

I'm back in Aspen this week, cooking for a family that's rented a beautiful vacation home here for the week. I really lucked out, they're wonderful people and the kids are great. They've been so generous with me, very warm and thoughtful, I love taking care of people like this...it's the best part of my job as a personal chef - meeting new people and having the privilege of feeling like I'm cooking for my own family! Things are going really well with the Low Carb Lifestyle Meetup group, we've got 4 new members so far! I'm really looking forward to our next meeting...the food's going to be amazing and hopefully we'll get to meet a few new members...and Sharyn from Low Carb Cravings will be there too to offer some products for sale...should be great. Anyway, it's a beautiful day here, snowed 5 inches last nite and now the sun is shining, I'm going to hike to get a little fresh air...cooking breakfast every day is killing me - I am not a morning person!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Busy Week! (and a recipe)

So it's been a really busy week, trying to get the Low Carb Lifestyle Meetup up and running. I'm really excited to have worked out a partnership with the Low Carb Cravings market in Centennial CO http://www.lowcarbcravings.com to invite their customers to join our support group. So...a trip to office depot and 200 postcards later, we're getting off some snail mail invites as well as the emails owner Sharyn will be sending. Hopefully this will boost membership so we can do more events! I'd like to get to the point where we're offering something, a meeting, mixer, cooking lesson, etc., once a week. Right now we've got a base of members, but not everyone's active...I've tried everything to get some of these folks to respond...geez, just email me back to be removed from the group or remove yourself if you don't want to play...but knowing that you're causing an effort and not having the courtesy to respond one way or another is just disrespectful to the rest of us...okay, done with rant. Anyway, I was supposed to leave for Aspen today, got another good cooking gig for a vacation rental...$16.5 mil house, so the kitchen's REALLY nice...but I-70's been closed all day...very non-productive. I'll have to high-tail it there in the morning hoping it's clear. Gave me a chance to post some more good articles on the Meetup site http://atkinsdiet.meetup.com/173/ in the files section...and a low, low carb pancake recipe. Check it out, just go to the meetup site and hit the files section...Laura Dolson from http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/ is one of my favorite authorities and source for great info, so there's lots of goodies there from her site and others. Speaking of Laura, she actually saw a post of mine on a community board and wrote to me...i was so flattered and thrilled. Okay, enough rambling, here's a good recipe as a thank you for reading this far!

Bridget's Exotic Moroccan Chicken Salad

-30 oz chicken (canned, leftover or pickup roasted)
-1.5 tsp curry powder (or your choice of curry paste, check carb count,adjust to taste)
-3 T unsweetened coconut milk
-2 T splenda (or equiv. alt. sweetener)
-1/3 cup low carb ranch dressing (Ken’s Steakhouse Ranch = 1 carb per 2 T)
-1/3 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
-1/3 cup chopped green beans
-1/8 cup chopped blanched almonds (or sliced)
-1 T no-sugar/low carb apricot preserves (optional)

Roughly chop chicken. In a separate bowl, mix curry with coconut milk, splenda, ranch dressing and preserves. Add dressing mix to chicken and toss with vegetables. Refrigerate before serving over greens. Recipe yields 17.5 grams carbohydrate in the whole batch, ind. serving count varies with number of servings (Tip: leave out the apricot preserves for a total savings of 5 grams carb.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Butter Cookie Recipe

So today was our first Meetup...a luncheon for members of our Low Carb Lifestyle Meetup. I met two great people...Mary (who's lost 150 lbs in 2 years) and Tony (who eats low carb so he can enjoy the foods he loves without gaining weight). The lunch was really fun...it's so great to be able to connect with people who are passionate and love food as much as I do. We shared a lot of hints, tips, and coping strategies, as well as re-affirmed our beliefs in the lifestyle. Such interesting people with so much to offer...I think we're all looking forward to getting together more often in the future! See here http://atkinsdiet.meetup.com/173/ for info on our Denver area Meetup. I also gave attendees a little Valentine's Day prezzie...some of my famous butter cookies, some spiced snack chips made from low carb wraps and my favorite Dove low carb chocolates. I'm including my butter cookie recipe here for anyone to try, I'm constantly trying new things in the kitchen, and perfecting the perfect low carb cookie is a lifetime pursuit...these ones are good!

Bridget's Budda Cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
4 oz. full fat cream cheese or ricotta
1/4 c. splenda or liquid sweetener equivilent
1/2 c. vanilla soy protein powder (available at Whole foods or GNC, check label for sugar additives, should have 0 carbs)
1 egg
1/2 c. almond meal/flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthum gum (binder/thickener available at whole foods or on line)

Chocolate topping:Melt your favorite low-carb chocolate bar (i like Dove individual meltaways in regular, mint or raspberry chocolate flavor) and drizzle on top of cookies, or dip tops of cookies in melted mixture. Melt chocolate bars in the microwave on half power for 1 minute at a time until soft and "stir-able". Add appropriate carb counts for the type and quantity of chocolate you use...a little goes a long way flavor-wise.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and cream cheese or ricotta with splenda. Add beaten egg to butter mixture and combine well until light. Sift together protein powder, almond meal baking powder and xanthum gum...sift well to distribute/combine evenly, then mix into butter/egg batter. Roll small portions of dough into balls, then "squish" flat onto baking sheet with your thumb (you can press in a whole almond, pecan or walnut now to decorate/flavor). Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag and large tip to pipe out shapes, or a cookie press with this dough. Cookies do not rise or spread, so they can be placed close, and the shape will remain the same once baked. Bake until lightly browning (start checking after 12 minutes) cookies will remain firm, but soft. Storage in an airtight container will make cookies soft, open air storage keeps them crispier. Yields approx. 2.5 doz. cookies 1.5 inches in diameter or so. Recipe without additions yields a total of 20.5 grams of carb, calculate individual servings according to portion size.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Low Carb Lifestyle Meetup Denver

So we've got our first meeting set for Monday, February 12...check it out here: http://atkinsdiet.meetup.com/173/ it should be a lot of fun, always good to meet new people who have such an amazing thing in common. It's a lunch, and everyone in the Denver area is welcome (just make sure you join our meetup and rsvp). I'll be making my killer Moroccan chicken salad and a few choice appetizers (gorganzola and hot italian sausage stuffed olives anyone?) then wrapping up with a lesson on low carb cheesecake varieties (oh, you know, some drizzled with chocolate, some with strawberry coulis, mint chocolate...the usual) so no one will go home hungry! Everyone will, however, go home with recipes...and I'll post a few here too...