Daily Archives: August 17, 2017

My Great Aunt’s Low Carb Squash Casserole Recipe


Aunt Mabel's Squash Casserole

Here is my low carb version of one my favorite squash recipes of my great aunt Mabel.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 70 kcal


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lb. Zucchini Squash sliced
  • 1 lb. Yellow Squash sliced
  • 1 TBS Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper ground
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Truvia
  • 1/2 cup Bacon chopped
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup Pork Rinds crushed


  1. In a pot, add water and squash and cook until soft.  Drain water.  

  2. Add butter, salt, pepper, onion powder, Truvia and bacon to squash. 

  3. Place mixture into 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover mixture with cheese.  

  4. Cover cheese with crushed pork rinds.

  5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

Recipe Notes

My great aunt Mabel t made the BEST squash casseroles ever!  She had at least a dozen different ways that she made squash.  However, it did involve breadcrumbs, onions and sugar and thereby raising the carb level.  I adjusted it so that I could still enjoy it!

Dedicated to an amazing country cook!

Nutrition Facts
Aunt Mabel's Squash Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 294mg13%
Potassium 206mg6%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Iron 0.3mg2%
Calcium 80mg8%
Vitamin C 13.2mg16%
Vitamin A 275IU6%
Net Carbs 2g4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

8 Servings  About 3.1 Net Carbs per serving
6 Servings  About 4.2 Net Carbs per serving

Low Carb Meatloaf Recipe

When my sisters and I were growing up, we never had meatloaf with gravy or ketchup or even tomato or pasta sauce.  My mother always used chili sauce.  Which is nothing like chili, but more like ketchup that had chili powder in it.  It came in a bottle that looked suspiciously like cocktail sauce. (In fact, I accidentally used cocktail sauce by accident one day.  The meatloaf was not the better for it!)

Since meatloaf is loaded with breadcrumb carbs and the chili sauce is loaded with sugar, I wanted to find an alternative that suited my taste buds.  So, love it or hate it.  It came out as close as I can get to what I remember.  At least I know my sisters will like it!


  • 1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef (85% lean)
  • 1 cup Pork Rinds, crushed
  • 1 Shallot, minced 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 TBL Worcestershire Sauce
Loosely mix all ingredients together and put into a loaf baking dish.  I emphasize loosely as I end up with a very dense loaf when I forget to do this.
Chili Sauce
1/2 cup Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
1 TBL Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/8 tsp Allspice, ground
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Truvia (you can add or subtract 1/2 tsp depending on how sweet you want this to taste)
Mix ingredients together and spoon over the top of the meatloaf, evenly distributing.  You can double the sauce recipe if you like more on your meatloaf.
Bake for 1 hour at 350°
6 servings. About 3.2 Net Carbs
4 servings. About 4.7 Net Carbs

So What is This Low Carb Way of Eating?

change-2930404_960_720Now these are MY goals!
These are also my sisters goals.  We have diabetic specialists watching over us. You might require more Net Carbs per day and so please check with your doctor!  Also, those of you NOT having Metabolic Syndrome could have different Net Carb goals.  So make sure you check, but in short, Dr. Atkins recommends 20 Net Carbs for  greater weight loss and diabetes control and 40 Net Carbs for moderate weight loss.

WARNING: make sure that if you are diabetic or think you are diabetic that the lowering of carbs or raising of fats doesn’t interfere with medications you are taking.  Especially insulin!  This needs to be carefully managed if you are on insulin! Always, always check with your doctor!

But maybe seeing what I am doing will help you!

My diabetic eating goals
  • 20 Carbs if I need to lose weight. Preferably evenly spaced throughout the day. (20 Carbs for weight loss; 30 Carbs for diabetic maintenance for forever.)
  • MOST carbs should come from vegetables, at least at first!
  • 3 to 4 ounces of protein for three main meals each day.
  • A serving of healthy fat for three main meals each day.
If you are like me, I am not going to weigh out meat and cheese.  But in realistic terms here are visual size equivalents that I found helpful:
  • 1 teaspoon is the size of the tip of your thumb from the knuckle up
  • 1 ounce of cheese is about the size of your thumb
  • 1 to 2 ounces is a handful (nuts, etc. spread out on your palm)
  • 1 cup is about the size of your fist
  • 3 ounces of protein is about the size of the palm of your hand
What I know I have to do
  • Avoid sugar, refined flour, trans fats and starches.  Basically, anything white… avoid.  Sadly, this includes most grains and root vegetables.
  • Eat high fiber vegetables, protein (fish/seafood, poultry, beef, pork, eggs, soybean), healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts, butter), dairy (cheese, yogurt) and later when I can add more Net Carbs, berries and melons.
  • Some legumes, higher starch vegetables and whole grains could be allowed, but go sparingly.  You just have to watch your Net Carb count.
It’s that simple.  I also discovered:
  • Erythritol: Glycemic index 0, insulin index 2 is a diabetics best sugar substitute.  Brand name: Swerve.  Of course, Stevia is always a good choice.  Truvia is a mix of erythritol, stevia and a little sugar.
  • This Way of Eating or WOE is higher in fat.  Be careful of the sugars you are eating!  If you cheat, you may actually gain weight!
Does this mean you are going to starve?  On the contrary, I’ve been stuffed full on some days within a 20 Net Carb quota!  It is all in how you work your meals and snacks!
You can check out the Atkins’ plans at this link:
You can also read more about going Low Carb at:





What are NET CARBS?

plus-161829_960_720Actually, first, what are carbohydrates or “carbs”?  In short, they are the sugar, starches and fiber found in foods, both natural and created.

Some foods, mostly sugar, potatoes and rices have a lot of carbs. Some foods don’t even have carbs, like meats, cheeses and pork rinds.

Carbs are a pretty important source of energy for your body.  It is important to balance these carbs out for your body to function optimally.  I know that I had such an imbalance of carbs for so long that I am now suffering from it in the form of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Don’t let that happen to you!  Or if it already has, come along on the ride with me here!

NET CARBS are the Total Carbohydrates MINUS the Dietary Fiber and the Sugar alcohols.

The Nutrition Facts will usually list Total Carbohydrates with subcategories of Dietary Fiber (sometimes dividing them into soluble and insoluble fiber), Sugars and sometimes Sugar Alcohols or Sugar Alc.

For example:

  • A cup of fresh broccoli florets contains 5.0 grams of total carbs and 2.0 grams of fiber.  5.0 grams of total carbs – 2.0 grams of fiber = 3.0 NET CARBS.
  • Olé’s Extreme Wellness Spinach and Herbs Tortilla Wraps contains 16.0 grams of total carbs and 11.0 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble). 16.0 grams of total carbs – 11.0 grams of fiber = 5.0 grams of NET CARBS.
Not everything has sugar alcohols, but when they do, you get to count them.  You DO NOT get to count “sugars”… only “sugar alcohols” or “sugar alc”!  So be careful about that!
  • Atkins Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch Bar contains 17.0 grams of total carbs, 8.0 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble), 2.0 grams of sugar and 6.0 grams of sugar alcohols. 17.0 grams of total carbs – 8.0 grams of fiber – 6.0 grams of sugar alcohols = 3.0 grams of NET CARBS.  Notice the sugars were not counted.  (And by the way, these bars are delicious.  I thought they were going to taste terrible like the old diet bars in the 1990’s… the last time I tried a commercial “diet” concoction… but it didn’t!  It is now my go to dessert bar/sweet/movie candy.)
Some will say you only get to count half the sugar alcohols over 5 grams, but I am following Atkin’s lead on counting all sugar alcohols.
Carb Apps are helpful when you are mathematically challenged, you find all this confusing or you are just being lazy.  (We all have our moments.)  Try out some of these apps for your phone:

  • Atkins Carb Tracker
  • Atkins Dine Out
  • Carb Calculator
  • Carb Manager

I found that I use one or all of these carb apps EVERY day!


Or the ultimate app for those without a phone, a smart phone or who hate using their phones… a carb counter book would come in handy. You can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other book sellers and get books like:

There are more.
So hopefully this gets you on your way to checking Nutrition Fact labels and getting your true Net Carb counts!
I never thought I’d be one of those women or men that looks at the label of everything they pick up in the grocery, but I now do it and am an advocate.  DO IT!  Then you will get used to it and feel more comfortable with your Net Carb counts.


Out with the Bad Food; in with the Good!


It was liberating and a little depressing clearing my pantry and refrigerator of high carbohydrate items and replacing them with low carbohydrate items.  It was mostly liberating.  It was only depressing because I saw $ going out the window and I had to spend more $ to buy the healthier stuff.  It did, however, make me feel better that I could give my items to family members (or those in need) that could utilize them.  I made little boxes and gifted them to several people.

What did I get rid of?

  • Flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Pancake mixes
  • Cake mixes
  • Sugar
  • Syrups
  • Icings
  • Jellies
  • Ketchup
  • Fruits (fresh and canned)
  • Popcorn
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Pasta sauces
  • Pasta
  • Rice (That hurt!)
  • Sugar drinks & mixes
  • Juices
People were really appreciative of the “gifts”.  I also ate up all that I could on my “goodbye food tour”!
What did I quit buying?
  • Potatoes
  • Rices
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pasta
  • Rice  (Groan!)
  • ANYTHING that has a higher per serving NET carb count of over 5 and really a count of 3 is best. (I realized, you have to start reading labels and doing some simple addition and subtraction.)

What did I go buy?

I added suggested purchase sites. It is by no means a comprehensive list.

For snacks:
  • Cheese – Anywhere (you can have 3 sticks or 3 oz. per day)
  • Dill pickles, Hearts of Palm, Artichoke Hearts – Anywhere
  • Pork rinds – Sam’s Club, Anywhere
  • Parmesan cheese crackers – Costco or Sam’s Club
  • Moon Cheese – Amazon, Cracker Barrel
  • Bacon Jerky – Cracker Barrel, different groceries
  • Turkey sausage snacks – Anywhere (Old Wisconsin, Butterball)
  • Sausage stick snacks – Anywhere
  • Toasted Seaweed – Costco
  • 90% Cocoa dark chocolate – Anywhere
  • Atkins Bars & Snacks – Anywhere
Let’s face it.  I started here because I knew I was going to need these snacks between meals to succeed.
When you can move from 20 Net carbs to a higher level you can get pecans, walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts.
Not all jerky is created equal.  There are so many hidden carbs that all but bacon jerky and some turkey jerky had low enough carbs!
For baking:
  • Almond flour – Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, anywhere
  • Coconut flour – Walmart, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, anywhere
  • Soy flour – Amazon
  • Flax seed meal – Amazon
  • Atkins low carb baking mix – Amazon
  • Vital Wheat Gluten – Walmart, Earth Fare, Whole Foods, anywhere
  • Psyllium husk – Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Walmart
  • Coconut Oil – Anywhere
  • Hemp hearts, chia seeds, flaxseed – Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Walmart, Costco
  • Stober Farms ground golden flax seed – Amazon
  • Cream Cheese – Sam’s Club, anywhere
  • Eggs – Anywhere
  • Butter – Anywhere
  • Heavy Cream – Anywhere
  • Whole Milk – Anywhere
  • Almond Milk – Anywhere
  • Sweet Leaf brand powdered stevia – Publix, Walmart, Earth Fare, Whole Foods (in shaker jar)
  • Swerve brand erythritol – Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Publix
  • Truvia baking blend – Anywhere
  • Coconut milk – Anywhere
  • Coconut cream – Anywhere
  • Cocoa Powder – Anywhere
  • Condensed milk – Anywhere
I started out with non almond and coconut flour recipes until I could have a few more carbs than 20.
  • Stock your fridge or freezerwith prosciutto, summer sausage, sausage, hot dogs, smoked sausage… chicken, beef, pork, lamb and other meat products… zucchini, yellow squash, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, lettuce and celery.
  • Get Heinz Low Sugar Ketchup
  • Try to do chicken sausage, turkey bacon or turkey sausage to lower cholesterol and fat.
  • Try to make sure you have riced cauliflower (or broccoli) in both frozen and fresh form as much as possible as its possibilities are endless.
  • When you can move from 20 Net carbs to a higher level you can add strawberries, blueberries, rasberries, blackberries and canteloupe.  These along with a tablespoon or two of Cool Whip or Reddi Wip make an awesome dessert.
  • Also, you can add bacon, bacon bits and deli meats but beware of hidden carbs.  Check that there are no nitrates or nitrites.
  • Stock your shelveswith canned tuna, canned chicken and other canned meats but check the carbs.  Also, Mario Batelli’s or Rao’s Tomato Basil sauce. They have least amount of sugars. Heinz-1 low carb catsup or low-sugar catsup.  Almond butter.  Peanut butter.  Mrs. Butterworth’s  (or other’s) Sugar Free syrup.  Sugar free jams or jellies.  
  • You can add low carb tortillas (Mission & Olé) as long as you stay within your daily Net carb counts. That discovery was a game changer for me! (I just can’t wrap everything in lettuce or put into avacado cups.)  These should be NO MORE than 5 Net carbs!  Take the Carbohydrates minus the fiber… that is the Net carb count.

Once I had done this… said goodbye to old foods… it was time to take on the exciting challenge of new foods… FOREVER!

If you are wanting an example of acceptable foods, a good source is the Atkins website.  To learn more about acceptable foods, follow this link:
Atkins Acceptable Food List

One of the best one page infographics I have seen for a low carb list can be found on my Dee Smith Pinterest site.  Low Carb Foods Infographic. You will definitely want to print that off and hang on your refrigerator or put in your binder!