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Erik's Garlic Knots

For Christmas, "Santa" brought Erik an awesome cookbook that is set up to make cooking with kids super easy for everyone. He is loving making all kinds of yummy new things, and for dinner tonight he chose to make Garlic Knots and Homemade Mac 'n' Cheese. It was a huge hit with everyone! If a seven year old can make these than you can too!
If you like cooking with your kids (*or aspire to like it*), you really ought to check out this book. So far every recipe we've tried has been a smashing success, and the pizza crust was easily the BEST home made pizza crust we've ever eaten.

What You Need:
1 (14 oz) container refrigerated pizza dough OR 1 ball (1 pizza's worth) of pizza dough
3 TBS melted butter
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp parsely

What To Do:
*I have rewritten these instructions to be more like a traditional recipe, but the directions in the book are designed for a child to be able to follow them with as little adult help as possible and they are amazing!

Preheat oven to 400*. Grease a large baking sheet.

Roll the dough out to about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 8 long strips, then cut each of those in half to make 16 pieces. Take each strip of dough and twist it a lengthwise, then tie it in a knot. Place on the greased baking sheet.

Mix the garlic salt and parsley together in a small bowl. Brush the knots with the melted butter, and sprinkle the garlic/parsley mix on top.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. (Ours in the picture above might have benefited from another minute or two, but we got impatient.)

Cheesy Tacos, Two Ways

I'm always on the look-out for great LC substitutes for our favorite foods. With our love of Mexican food (specifically NEW Mexican food, but we'll take what we can get) I've been searching for ways to replace the tortillas that are nearly indispensable for this style of cooking. We have discovered some alternatives for tacos that have us feeling pretty excited, so I thought I'd share them here.
Method #1
What you'll need:
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Taco meat (prepared however you normally make it) *The recipe says to use 1 cup, but I think I used about 3/4 of a pound.
Toppings of choice (avocado, tomato, green onion, etc)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 400*. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving enough on the sides that you will be able to lift the cheese from the pan.
Sprinkle cheese to cover the baking sheet with one layer (you may need more cheese). Bake for about 15 minutes, or until it bubbles and browns on top.
Remove from the oven and see if you can slide a spatula under all the edges. If you can you're ready to go on, if not put it back in the oven for another minute or two.
Spread taco meat and any other toppings over the cheese in a thin layer.
Remove from pan by lifting edges of parchment paper. Roll the cheese up like you would cinnamon roll dough. Slice into desired sized portions (the original recipe says to only make 3-4 slices, but we cut ours into small pinwheels and I think it would be easier to eat this way), top with sour cream, and serve.
Method #2
We discovered this method of making taco shells via Pinterest. The original site is here. These are more of your traditional taco shell.

What You Need:
Shredded Cheese
Your preferred taco fillings

What To Do:
Make a small circle of cheese on a glass plate (ceramic didn't work so well for us). Microwave for 40-60 seconds until the cheese is all melted and starting to brown.
Lift them carefully from the plate and hang them over the edge of a bowl or pan until they have cooled and hardened.
Fill with your favorite taco stuff and enjoy!

***For non-microwave directions check out this site.

Creamy Low-Carb Ham and Cauliflower Soup

After eating on our Christmas ham for a couple of days, I was in need of a way to use up the leftover meat. I turned to my Lazy Keto app and searched through their recipes and found this one that looked like it was worth a try. Ethan AND two of our three kids all liked it, which is close enough to perfection for me! This being the week after Christmas we were eating out of paper dishes and putting forth minimal effort in general, so I don't have a good picture for you. Sorry!
I tweaked the recipe a bit, so I thought I'd share our version of the recipe for anyone else who wants to give it a try. 

Low Carb Egg Latte

When I wrote about how our family does Low-Carb I promised to post follow-up recipes ASAP. Well, here we are four months later and I'm finally getting one of them up here! Yeah me! :) 
These Egg Lattes are my go-to breakfast, especially since I discovered Jordan's Skinny Syrups at Tuesday Morning here in Carson City. They are WAY cheaper than the Toriani ones you find in the other stores around town and come in so many fun flavors!
I adapted this recipe from this one at DietDoctor, which is dairy-free. Just in case anyone's interested in seeing the original.

Fat Bombs!

When it comes to staying on the wagon with eating Low-Carb/High-Fat, I find that having good snacks on hand is key. One easy way to beat sweet cravings and keep the munchies under control is to eat some Fat Bomb. I know, it's not exactly the most appetizing name, but these babies really do work. I often find that I'm not terribly hungry for breakfast and will wait to eat until lunch. If I get hungry before lunch time I'll grab a bite of fat bomb to tide me over.

What You Need:
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz butter
flavorings/seasonings of choice***

What You Do:
Let your butter and cream cheese come to room temperature. Put it in a mixing bowl with the flavorings of your choice and beat until fluffy like frosting.
At this point you have a couple of serving options. You can just put the whole mess in a pint jar in the fridge and scoop out a spoonful any time you feel like it. Another option is to scoop it into bite size piles on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and freeze. Store in an airtight container in the freezer and let soften for a moment before you eat it. You could also spread the mixture into an 8 in baking dish lined with wax paper, freeze until solid enough to cut, then cut into bite sized pieces and store in the freezer.

Flavor ideas:
Strawberry lemonade: lemon and strawberry extracts and sweetener of choice
Caramel Pecan: sugar-free Toriani syrup and chopped pecans (I like roasted salted ones the best!), for extra yumminess drizzle with melted dark chocolate

Living Low-Carb

Since several of us Mower ladies are trying to follow a more low-carb lifestyle, I thought I'd share some of our favorite recipes. I'd thought about typing up posts for each individual meal, but then I realized that most of them are already available online anyways so why do extra work?! So, without further ado, here are 45 of our favorite Low-Carb/High-Fat recipes.


Eggs are the easiest LC breakfast, but I have eaten so many of those that I can barely choke them down anymore. I often skip breakfast and just have a mid-morning snack to tide me over until lunch. When I do eat breakfast, here are some things that I eat:

*^LC Latte (No coffee. I have heavily adapted this recipe to fit what I typically have on hand, for the original see here)
Breakfast Balls
LC Waffles (with whipped cream and fruit or sugar-free Toriani syrup)
Devilled Eggs
LC Pancakes (with sugar-free Toriani syrup, usually vanilla flavor)
^Blueberry smoothie (you can sub whatever kind of berries you have on hand)

I find that as long as I have good snacks on hand I can do pretty well staying on the LC wagon. When I'm hungry I'm most likely to give in and grab something I shouldn't, so I use these snacks for a quick boost to keep me going until I can eat a healthy meal. 

Nuts (peanuts and roasted/salted pecans are my favorite, just don't eat too many!)

*Cookie Dough Fat Bombs (this is my favorite recipe, but you can make any flavor you want by mixing equal parts cream cheese and butter with whatever flavors/sweeteners you like)

Meat and Cheese Roll Ups (yes, roll a slice of cheese in a slice of lunch meat. Add a squirt of mustard for flavor and/or a smear of mayo for extra satiety.)

Pepperoni Slices
String Cheese

For lunch most days we eat a salad with lots of toppings. I typically buy a head each of iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as a bunch of spinach. Chop it all up and it will stay good in the fridge all week for lunches and sides for dinner. If I'm not eating a salad I'm probably eating leftovers or some tuna with mayo on some LC crackers.
To make our salads nice and filling we try to add as much fat as possible while keeping the carbs down to a minimum. Some salad toppings we like are:

Sunflower seeds
Sliced lunch meat
Leftover meat from dinner the night before
Cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, a pinch of feta, whatever we have and sometimes a bit of each)
Fried Spam (diced)
Bacon Bits
Roasted pecans
Sliced green onions
Slivers of bell pepper
Boiled Egg, diced
Cucumber Slices

While Breakfast and Lunch tend to be along the lines of the Standard American Diet for our kids, the whole family eats Low-Carb at Dinner. Instead of trying to make up for the bulk that we lose when we ditch the carbs, we focus on finding ways to get fats into our meals to fill us up instead. 
Here are 30 of our favorite dinner recipes:

*Savory Chicken Sandwiches on Oopsie/Cloud Bread
^LC Pizza (This crust tastes okay fresh and hot, but is most like a real pizza crust the day after. You can also use fat-head dough for the crust.)
^LC Tex-Mex Casserole (I sub diced green chili for the Jalapenos, but it's up to you)
Pesto Chicken Casserole (just go a little light on the Feta, maybe only use 3/4 and save the rest to go on salads)
^LC Burgers over a pile of lettuce
*SW Hassleback Chicken
Hamburger Gratin (we're not big fans of Brussels Sprouts around here so we sub in some cubed butternut squash)
Pulled Pork and *Coleslaw
Shredded Chicken Tacos 
Cheesy Taco Skillet
Stuffed Zucchini 
*^Cheesy Chicken Skillet Dinner
Oven Chicken Cordon Bleu
Tacos in LC Taco Shells or on Fat-Head Dough fry-breads (bake first, then fry)
*LC Pork Picatta
*Rosemary Balsamic Pork Cutlets
Parmesan Chicken (bread with Parmesan, almond flour, salt/pepper, and Italian seasoning)
^Pork Chops in Red Pesto
*Chicken in Creamy Parmesan Sauce with Sundried Tomatoes
Creamy Honey Mustard Chicken
Baked Eggs (could also be a breakfast option)
*^Keilbasa and Cabbage
Egg-Roll Stir-Fry
^*Chicken Stir-Fry Sheet Pan Meal
*Creamy Lemon Chicken Picatta (sub almond flour in the breading)
One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies
Chicken Lazone (skip the pasta, eat a salad or serve over veggies)
Creamy Cauliflower and Leftover Ham Soup
*Low-Carb Zuppa Toscana
Lasagna with Ham "noodles"

Side Dishes:
I will admit that the area that lacks the most variety in our Low-Carb life is our side dishes. We eat lots of broccoli and cauliflower, and I'm trying to branch out and find yummy new ways to cook different veggies. So far here are some that we've liked:

Roasted Summer Squash
Baked Parmesan Zucchini
Roasted Cabbage Steaks
^Cauliflower Mash
*LC Coleslaw
Roasted Butternut Squash (sprinkle with Parmesan after it's cooked)

Sweet Treats:
We don't make treats very often anymore, but sometimes you just can't shake the cravings and need a good way to satisfy them without falling off the wagon. Typically when this happens I grab a handful of salted peanuts and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips to munch on. If I want to put in a bit more effort here are some other yummy things we've made:
Low Carb Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate Brownie Mug Cake

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 We harvested about half a dozen butternut squashes out of our garden this year, and they are so yummy! My favorite way to eat them is cubed and roasted, they're SO good! I was looking for a way to mix things up an found this recipe for butternut soup. It looked easy and yummy, so I went for it, making a few little tweaks to the recipe here and there. The instructions seem long, but this is not a complicated dish and comes together in an hour or less, even if you have three kids hanging on you or otherwise demanding your attention while you make it (see bonus step).

 What you Need:

- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and diced into 1/2 in cubes
- oil (I used canola, but you could use olive oil, or vegetable oil, or whatever you have)
- herbs/spices of choice (I used Herbes De Provence, other possibilities are an Italian herb blend, or ginger and curry)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 in cubes
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/2 in slices
- 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 tsp celery seed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3-6 cups chicken stock or broth
- milk (optional)
- sour cream (for garnish, optional)

 What you Do:

Basically all you have to do is roast all the veggies, throw everything in the blender, warm it up, and serve. Just in case you want more detail than that, here you go...

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Prepare your garlic head for roasting by slicing the top of it off and drizzling some oil over it. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are some better instructions. Wrap in tinfoil and place in the oven. You want this to cook as long as possible, so get it in first and make sure it's the last things you pull out when they're all done. 
3. Put your squash cubes in a bowl, drizzle with a 1-2 TBS oil and sprinkle with herbs of choice and salt/pepper. Toss with a spoon so your cubes are evenly coated in oil. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. The goal is to use enough oil that all the surfaces on the squash cubes end up with a light coat of oil, but not so much that you have a puddle of oil in the bottom of the bowl after you toss the squash.
4. Working with one veggie type at a time, follow the same instructions as in step 3 for the potatoes,  onions (toss these gently so the layers don't fall apart), and carrots, EXCEPT don't put the herbs on them; just oil, salt, and pepper. I kept my veggie types separate in case the roasting times were different and I needed to pull something out of the oven before the rest were done.
5. Place sheet pan in oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Using a spatula turn all the veggies over and put back in to continue roasting. Check every ten minutes for doneness by stabbing with a fork. If the veggie is soft and easy to pierce then it's done. All of mine were done about the same time, but if yours aren't just take what's done off the pan and put the rest back in.

6. When all your veggies are tender and the smell is so amazing you're about to lose your mind, remove them all from the cookie sheet (Remember that bowl you used to oil them up? It works great to store them all in for a few minutes). While you want some yummy browning on your veggies, if you have any little bits that seem too burned (some of my onion layers got a bit overdone), make sure to discard those. Place the sheet pan over a stove burner turned on to low heat, and pour in a small amount of chicken broth (1/2 cup?). Cook and stir, scraping all the yummy caramelized brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Once you have gotten all the good stuff stirred in, take it off the heat, and pour the goodness into your blender.
7. Remove your garlic head from the oven and unwrap the foil so it can cool enough to work with. You can turn your oven off now.
***Bonus step: Extricate your 5 year old from the exersaucer:
 8. Dump your veggies in the blender, along with the celery seed and enough chicken broth/stock to cover everything. If you want a silky smooth soup add them all now, but if you want a bit of texture than reserve a handful of squash cubes. Pulse a few times to break up most of the big chunks, stirring and adding more broth (or milk for added richness) as necessary. Your garlic is probably cool enough to handle now, so squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and add those to the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if desired. If you saved some squash for texture, add those now and pulse until desired texture is reached.
9. If blending your soup has cooled it too much to serve, warm it up in a pot on the stove. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired (yum!).