Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Losing Weight the Low Carb Way #1


As stated in my Confessions post, I've decided to cook low carb, healthy meals, using George Stella's cookbook, Eating Stella Style, until I lose 14 pounds. I promise not to give you a minute by minute detailed accounting of how the pounds are (hopefully) being shed. And I'm not going to make boring lists of what I eat each day. What I will do is post the recipes that I make from George's book and give you my commentary - good, bad, or indifferent, plus photos. AND here's the hardest part: I'll weigh myself every two days or so and show you what the scale says. That's calling my bluff bigtime. God, I hope this doesn't get boring.

Another thing I won't be doing is giving the calorie/fat/fiber/carb/protein counts of the recipes I prepare. If you want to know any of these numbers you'll have to buy George's book. Plus I will probably adapt some recipes to lower the fat and cholesterol content. For example, I may use ground turkey instead of ground beef, I may use Smart Balance instead of butter, and I may substitute fat free 1/2 & 1/2 for cream or regular 1/2 & 1/2.

So, all set? Here's the first recipe: adapted from George Stella's low carb cookbook, Eating Stella Style. These little gems could be prepared on a weekend morning when you have time to sit and enjoy them. But don't let that stop you from cooking them up any time of the week. They're a snap to make, heart-healthy, satisfying and delicious.

Low Carb Mini Pancakes
1/2 cup egg substitute, such as Eggbeaters (you can use 2 whole eggs if you're not concerned about fat and cholesterol content)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (check the bottle's label to make sure no sugar/corn syrup has been added)
1/2 cup ground almond meal from Trader Joe's . (Eating Stella Style will tell you how to make your own)
1/4 cup milled organic flax seed, such as that from Bob's Red Mill
1/4 cup or less (see note*) Splenda granular
1/2 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
pinch of salt

Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. As it warms up, rub the opened end of a stick of butter over the bottom of the pan, using just enough butter to make a thin film. Alternatively, swirl a small pat of non trans-fat butter spread, such as Smart Balance**, in the pan.

In a large bowl, place all ingredients together and whisk until fully blended.

Using a 1/8 cup measure, make 3 to 4 small rounds of batter in the skillet and allow to cook for about 3 minutes on one side then flip over and cook 1 minute more on the other side. They will bubble up like regular pancakes do so you will know when to flip them. Don't let them overcook.

Remove to a warm plate and sprinkle with a mixture of 1 tablespoon Splenda and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Or you can pour a low or no-sugar maple-flavored syrup. Or, because you've been so good for making these, you could treat yourself to 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup and then walk a few miles. See how I am? Always messin' with things.

For a more elegant presentation, add a dollop of creme fraiche, a few slices of fresh strawberries and a small handful of fresh blueberries.


Notes: *The use of Splenda in this recipe is probably meant to smooth out the taste of the flax meal which can be overpowering. Start with less Splenda and adjust accordingly to reach the taste balance you like. I used 1 tablespoon, which was plenty for me.
**You can look up the nutritional analysis of Smart Balance and other butter & oils substitutes here.

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