Foodie Friday: Your Lighter SidePosted March 14, 2013
The "genre" of blog we reviewed for this week has been a type that people have been asking for since we started Foodie Friday. I figured it was time to get it on the schedule! That's right folks, your low carb blog is here!
I found "Your Lighter Side" when I was searching to see if a soy-free, sugar-free chocolate existed. Frankly, I was looking to buy such a product but instead I found a recipe for making it myself! Win!
The blog has over 400 low carb recipes from potatoless chowder to Girl Scout cookies. It also has a lot of make-your-own type recipes for things like sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, and chocolate syrup. All sugar-free of course!
One of the really helpful aspects of the blog is that the recipes are all labeled with a handy key for those looking for certain types of low carb recipes. There are Atkins Induction friendly, gluten free, sugar free, vegetarian, and the under 5 net carbs per serving flags for each recipe. That means you can quickly see at a glance if that recipe is going to fit your dietary needs.
Jamie, the owner of the blog, interacts with people who comment on the recipes so if you have a question about something she seems more than happy to answer. That's especially helpful when running a diet-specific blog since most people starting those diets have tons of questions and you really need guidance from someone who has a strong history with it.
But wait, didn't someone mention chocolate chips? Oh yes, I did.
I was looking for some chocolate chips that were not only soy free, but also sugar free, for a recipe I was going to try later this month. I currently buy some wonderful soy-free chips from Enjoy Life, but they aren't sugar free. Hershey's makes sugar-free chips, but they aren't soy free. That's how I found the recipe for making them myself.
They contain only a mere three ingredients: unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, melted unsalted butter, and liquid sugar substitute. The ingredients are combined and piped onto wax paper to harden as cute little chocolate chips.
The sweetener: Now I've tried various liquid sugar substitutes and honestly, I've hated them all. I find them bitter and well, gross. I know there are people who swear by them but I just haven't had good luck. I did, however, follow the recipe and used some for the first batch (yes, there were multiple batches). The chocolate chips didn't turn out that bad. But, they were definitely more of a bittersweet chocolate. Which of course in cooking definitely has a place!
The second batch I did I used granular Splenda. I mixed it with the melted butter to try to get it to dissolve a little before adding the cocoa. The flavor was wonderful! The texture was a little grainy so I think next time I'll heat the Splenda with the butter to further dissolve it. I preferred these chips, however. I found they tasted like "real" chocolate. We won't discuss how much of these I consumed. Ahem.
The chips: The recipe doesn't specify this but if you've worked with chocolate you know that you need to make sure the mixture is cool before trying to pipe the chocolate into their chip-like shapes. If you want chocolate chunks, however, you can spread the warm mixture out on wax paper and then break it into chunks when it has hardened. There are lots of possibilities for this recipe!
Now, the chocolate chip recipe was actually contributed to the blog by another author. For this reason I also wanted to try a second recipe - just to make sure that the regular recipes on the site were just as good.
The next recipe I tried was one for fried cheese. For those on low-carb diets, you know that snacky foods are one thing that are hard to replace. It's hard to find things that have a carby-texture without resorting to eating actual carbs. Most cheese is on the allowed foods list and with the right kinds you can actually make some interesting things out of it. Like, fried cheese sticks.
There are a few kinds of cheese that don't melt when you heat them. You can find these labeled as queso blanco, queso fresco, or halloumi. For the photos below, I used halloumi (I also bought queso fresco but haven't tried that one yet). What is great about frying cheese is that it is ready in just a few minutes. You simply slice the cheese into whatever shape you wish (slabs, fingers, or even shapes) and brown it in a little butter or simply in a good non-stick skillet. It quickly browns without melting the cheese. They get a wonderful crust on them that is a pretty darn close substitute to the popular mozzarella sticks you get at restaurants. Jamie even suggests that they can be cut into cubes and used like croutons on a salad! Great idea!
Check out Your Lighter Side: http://yourlighterside.com/
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Thank you so much for the really generous shout out, Valerie. I am verklempt!
Comment posted by Jamie VanEaton