How To Make Your Own Apple Cider

When I was seven years old until I as ten, my foster parents lived on a farm, were actually share croppers and ran a small “fruit Stand” along hwy 101 between Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, California. They sold a lot of Apple Cider in that stand.

Apple Cider

Living there I learned how wonderful having a cider press was. I loved ice cold apple cider. In those days, I’m not sure if it was ice cold that often unless I was helping in the road side stand. What I do remember is going into the fields and gathering up the apples and coming back so we could press them and make fresh cider.

Is there anything better on a warm day in early fall than a glass of fresh pressed apple cider? This popular, all-American beverage is surprisingly easy to make at home when you’re blessed with an overabundance of fresh apples. Now days it can be made in the kitchen without the press. I still prefer cold pressed apple cider but if you do not have access to a press, you can still make some at home.

Here’s how to make fresh apple cider in your kitchen at home. Grab about ten to twelve apples, wash them, and cut them into quarters. Put them into a large stockpot and add enough water to cover them with several inches of water on top. Add a scant cup of sugar, one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, one tablespoon of ground allspice, and a pinch of salt. The sugar amount is an estimate. Use more if you’re using very tart apples, less for sweeter varieties. You can also adjust the amount of sugar as you cook your cider.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, uncovered for 45 minutes. Turn it to a simmer, cover, and allow your cider to cook for another two hours. Allow the mixture to cool slightly to make it safer to handle. Gently pour it through a strainer to remove the big apple chunks. Strain it again through a cheese cloth to remove the remaining solids. The end result is your apple cider.

From here you have a couple of different options. You can cool it in the fridge and serve it as fresh, cold apple cider. Be sure to use it up over the course of a few days, before potentially harmful bacteria can develop.

The other option, which is the one I prefer to make for my guests is as follows. While the cider is still warm, you can turn it into mulled cider. Pour the finished apple cider into a saucepan with additional cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves to taste and simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour it into mugs and add a slice of orange. This is the perfect hot drink on a cold fall or early winter day. It is a nice treat for those days between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the frost is in the air.

Last but not least, let’s talk about hard apple cider. This is a fermented version of the fresh apple cider that produces a mildly alcoholic beverage. The process is similar to making beer. It’s something you can do at home, but you should read up on the exact procedures before you give it a try. You want to make sure you end up with a fermented beverage that’s tasty and more importantly safe for human consumption.

Fresh or fermented, making apple cider at home is a lot of fun and something you should try this fall. If you’re really adventurous and patient, you can even make your very own apple cider vinegar, but that’s for another article. Note however, This is not a low carb drink and must be avoided if you are living a low carb lifestyle.

I don’t drink it any longer for that very reason but wanted to share with this with friends that don’t watch their carbs. I am able to offer apple cider to friends when they visit without being tempted because I keep other drinks available that I can enjoy such as kombucha, which I will write about next. Or you can try Switchel, which you can learn more about Here

Your are invited to take a moment and sigh up for our newsletter. You will get extra recipes and diet tips once you are signed up. And just for signing up you will receive a free copy of The Dark Side of Sugar and Wheat. The form is at the top right of this page. I’m looking forward to you joining us on our journey.

bon provecho

Maria and Bill

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Low Carb Apple Cider Vinegar

After writing about apples in the past couple of articles, and pointing out the fact that there are a fair amount of carbs in apples, you might wonder if Apple Cider Vinegar is Low Carb and if so what would you use it for.

Apple Cider Vinegar


I have it in my kitchen and use it often in cooking and in salad dressings because it has zero carbs and will not upset the flavor of what I am making. I am also a fan of switchel which I will tell you about later in this article.

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries  in cooking and various other home purposes. In recent years it’s become popular because of various health benefits. So let’s take a look at those benefits that come with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).

What Exactly Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

This is a vinegar made from apple cider. It has a pale amber color, a strong vinegar taste with just a hint of apple. In grocery stores today you can get filtered, pasteurized apple cider vinegar.

Look for raw, organic vinegar that contains mother of vinegar and helpful probiotics. Mother of vinegar is a living culture of bacteria and cellulose. You will notice it as a spider web like substance floating in raw apple cider vinegar. While it may not look very appetizing, it’s this floating “stuff” that makes ACV so beneficial for your health, along with the added minerals and of course the acid in the vinegar.

Click on the picture for more information about this vinegar.

Common Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV can be used like any other vinegar. You can mix up a quick salad dressing by combining the vinegar with oil, a little mustard, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and your favorite fresh or dried herbs.

Use it in any recipe that calls for vinegar. Incorporating raw vinegar, particularly in salads, other dishes, and things like green smoothies that aren’t cooked is a great way to add more of this beneficial vinegar into your diet. Of course you want raw, organic apple cider vinegar to get these healthy benefits.

You can also drink it as a health elixir daily. If you want to keep it simple, pour a little shot of it, drink it and wash it down with a bit of water. Some people find it easier to take a shot of ACV daily by diluting it half and half with water. Last but not least, you can make switchel, an old-fashioned drink similar to lemonade.

To make switchel get out a large glass. Fill it with ice, add a shot of the vinegar and fill with water. You can sweeten your switchel with stevia, or sweetener of your choice. As with lemonade and iced tea, it can be hard to get sugar to dissolve in this cold drink. Some people recommend Honey as a sweetener. Warning. 1 tbsp. of raw honey contains a whopping 17 carbs and no fiber…for best results in a cold drink like this, I recommend using liquid stevia. My secret is that I use mineral water instead of tap water….

Give raw organic apple cider vinegar a try in your favorite foods, use it as a condiment, turn it into a refreshing summer drink, or drink it straight. No matter how you use it, you will start to benefit from this special vinegar full of probiotics, live cultures, and important minerals. It’s somewhat like making your own kombucha without all the work. We use both in our house.

Your are invited to take a moment and sigh up for our newsletter. You will get extra recipes and diet tips once you are signed up. And just for signing up you will receive a free copy of The Dark Side of Sugar and Wheat. The form is at the top right of this page. I’m looking forward to you joining us on our journey.

bon provecho

Maria and Bill

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How Many Apple Varieties Have You Tasted?

There are so many apple varieties available that it can become a real challenge to taste more than just a few. And of course if you are on a very low carb diet it is impossible. That is the main reason that I have chosen to eat a “restricted carb diet’ instead of a low carb diet.

apple varieties

Of course eating a restricted carb Lifestyle means that I shed pounds at a slower rate but I do shed unwanted pounds, have no guilt feeling about the foods I enjoy and open up a much larger group of foods available without eating to many of the wrong types of carbs.

I have Cut the simple carbohydrates out of my diet and replaced them with complex carbs, choosing whole foods over processed foods and preparing as many meals in my own kitchen as possible.

This lifestyle allows me to include an apple here and there in my diet without “upsetting the apple cart”. I do wonder where that expression came from.

When you head to your local apple orchard, or even a well-stocked grocery store, you’ll find all sorts of different and interesting apple varieties. Some are perfect for eating as is, while others lend themselves to baking, cooking with, making apple sauce and the likes. Of course some varieties store better than others. Here’s a quick overview of some of the more common apple varieties available.

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Fun Fall Activity – Go Apple Picking

A Great Fall Fun Activity is to Go Apple Picking but I need to warn you that while fresh apples are a part of our Whole Foods Lifestyle, if you are on a strict Low Carb diet then these are not something you want. One medium apple has almost 15 net carbs. I was raised in Apple country in Northern California so I must allow myself an apple every few days during the “season” and adjust my carbs some other way.

Go Apple Picking

When we lived in Wisconsin we looked forward to enjoying the change in seasons at the end of summer. We liked fall for a few reasons such as the cooler temperatures and watching the leaves turn color. Of course it was also time for all of our favorite fall treats. It isn’t just about all things squash and pumpkins,although they are very important in our house. It’s also about apples.

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Low Carb Seared Sesame Tuna with Mixed Greens

Low Carb Seared Sesame Tuna With Mixed Greens is a salad that is an entree. If you enjoy fish as much as we do, this is sure to become a favorite that you will serve often. Living along the Pacific coast in an area lined with fishing villages is a plus for making Low carb seafood meals, but it can be done almost anywhere there are large markets that stock fresh and frozen fish.

Low Carb Seared Sesame TunaThis healthy salad makes a great meal or if you have a few extra carbs to spare, it can be paired with a low carb soup for a more substantial meal.

Low Carb Seared Sesame Tuna with Mixed Greens
Cuisine: International
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • Asian Dressing:
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • ¼ c. grapeseed oil
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 3 T. Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. fresh lime juice
  • 1½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced
  • 1 T. fresh ginger, very finely minced
  • Ground Himalayan salt and Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • .
  • Seared Tuna:
  • 2 8-oz. 2” thick tuna steaks, cut into 2” cubes
  • 2 T. black sesame seeds
  • 2 T. white sesame seeds
  • 2 T. ground ginger
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • Himalayan salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. To make dressing, add all ingredients to a glass bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Taste and add more lime juice to brighten the flavors, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Add sesame seeds and ground ginger to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add chunks of tuna to bowl and toss to coat. Press to make sure seeds adhere to tuna.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat. When hot, add coated tuna to pan and flash sear on all sides, approximately 30 seconds per side. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. To serve, add one cup mixed greens to each serving plate and top each plate with an equal portion of the seared tuna. Drizzle with dressing. (You can also toss mixed salad greens with dressing before plating, if desired). Serve with additional soy sauce and wasabi paste, if desired. Keep in mind that the extra soy sauce and wasabi paste will add to the overall carb count.


 The carb breakdown is as follows:

The total carbs for the dressing is 7.78 so if divided 4 ways that comes out to about 2 carbs per person.

Tuna has zero carbs but there are almost 4 carbs in the seasonings. That includes .34 carbs in 1/4 teaspoon of himalayan salt and another .34 carbs 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. 4 ounces of Tuna is only 147 calories

1 cup of the mixed salad greens has 1.76 carbs but it also has 1 carb of fiber so the net carbs is .76

Mixing all this together, this salad entree will have just 4 carbs unless you add more to it such as the wasabi paste or soy sauce.

So lets take a little closer look at that tuna. It contains vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 And those all important vitamins B-12 and Vitamin D. Now if that is not enough, it also contains over half of your daily protein needs plus selenium, magnesium, iodine and potassium…That tells me it is a star in my low carb lifestyle eating plan.

Oh, if you are wondering why I always use Himalayan Salt it is because it contains 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body while common table salt is composed of 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals like iodine, absorbents and sugar.

If you are working on dropping a couple of pounds, the calorie count is not to shabby. So give this recipe a try and you might just be adding it to your list of favorites as I have.

Your are invited to take a moment and sigh up for our newsletter. You will get extra recipes and diet tips once you are signed up. And just for signing up you will receive a free copy of The Dark Side of Sugar and Wheat. The form is at the top right of this page. I’m looking forward to you joining us on our journey.

bon provecho

Maria and Bill





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Tips To Help Stop Food Cravings

Tips to Stop Food Cravings, some of which I use to keep my hunger hormones in check can help with weight control. It can be hard at times. When you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the challenge to nibble without being aware of it can be great.

Stop Food Cravings

As human beings, we are all naturally driven by our hunger hormones to eat in order to survive. Unfortunately, some people have food cravings that go beyond what their hunger hormones dictate. This can lead to extra pounds in a hurry.

I have pretty good control while working in the kitchen for a couple of reasons. One, here in Mexico we do the bulk of our cooking very early in the morning.This morning I sauteed a pound of babe bella mushrooms, a pound of baby spinach and hard boiled a half doz. eggs we gathered from the hens. All this between 4 and 5 a.m before the heat of the day. By 1 p.m. it was 93 degrees outside..that’s no time to have the stove or oven on in the house.

The other reason is that while I am never hungry at that hour of the day, I will be using those tiny plastic spoons to taste test and adjust seasonings when I am cooking any sauces, soups or other items needing seasoning adjustments.

Using baby white plastic spoons for taste testing is something I had all my cooks do when I was working as an executive chef. Just taste it and throw the spoon away. No double dipping using the same spoon twice. Also if anyone walks into the kitchen and wants to know what your cooking, give them a mini taste using one of those spoons. It leaves them wanting more but knowing they need to wait. Click on the spoon for more information.

While some food cravings are good because they are telling your body what it needs, often people give in to their food cravings without any hesitation like grabbing a bag of chips at the check out counter and eating all that salt without a second thought. This can develop into an unhealthy and unfortunate habit.

If we want to stop Food Cravings we need to distinguish emotional eating from real hunger so that we are feeding our body what it needs, simply giving our taste buds what they want.

If you have difficulty distinguishing emotional eating from real hunger you are not alone.For overall health and if your on a diet and want to lose wight use these tips to Stop Food Cravings.

Add some vinegar to your recipes.

You can use either red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar as an appetite suppressor. Studies show that vinegar can help improve digestion by allowing the food to stay in the stomach longer. This way, the hunger hormone ghrelin will be suppressed, making you feel fuller for a longer period. Vinegar is also beneficial for preventing sugar spikes that usually occur after having a meal, thereby staving off signs of further hunger pangs.

Try acupressure on your earlobes.

Acupuncturists have used this technique for centuries to help people restore their energy balance. Research reveals that people who use acupressure as part of their weight loss program are able to maintain their ideal weight better, compared to those who do not use acupressure techniques.

All you have to do is gently massage your earlobes to stimulate the pressure points.

Make your dining room and kitchen color blue.

If you use a blue plate on a blue table, together with other table wares of the same color, you will be less likely to crave more food. Blue is not associated with food but it is more linked to objects that cannot be eaten. Therefore, if you put more of this color in your eating area you will have a better chance at stopping your food cravings. I will admit here, this is one step I have not taken. While it no doubt works, I like a gay festive feel to my work area and at the chefs kitchen table.

Just know that orange, yellow and red are colors that signify delicious foods so avoid using these colors in your kitchen or in your table settings if you can! Have you ever noticed what color McDonald’s is? The big yellow ‘M’ says, come in and eat as much as you can!

Brush your teeth before and soon after eating

The minty taste of your toothpaste will help curb your appetite. The taste of toothpaste will remain in your mouth for a while. Therefore, if you eat soon after you have brushed your teeth, you will not be able to fully appreciate the taste of your food. This suppressed appetite will help with mindful eating and reduce gorging behaviors.This is another tip that I found when researching ways to Stop Food Cravings that I will share but do not use. If I want the taste of mint it will be because I cooked something with mint. For some this might work, for me it would destroy all that I had worked for as a chef.

Light vanilla scented candles

At home or work, try lighting vanilla scented candles and expose yourself to the scent all day. Desensitizing your sense of smell will help reduce hunger triggers. This works the same as if you cook all day or smell food cooking all day and get so used to the smell you don’t feel like eating it when it is ready. This is because you feel full after smelling the food continuously.While that works, you will also be tasting all day and that might just be the reason you are not hungry. But watch the carbs, tasting can ruin a good diet.

Got a craving? Stop and wait fifteen minutes.

Once you feel the urge to grab any food you crave, take the time to pause and let fifteen minutes pass. Studies have shown that most cravings will be diminished if not eliminated after fifteen minutes.

Most eating behavior that is related to food cravings can be attributed to a lack of mindfulness. This is why to Stop Food Cravings, the fifteen-minute pause is so successful. Before thoughtlessly eating whatever has tempted your fancy, consider whether you are really hungry or if it is simply an appetite response.

Even if you feel you must eat something to quieten the demons within, again take the time to pause, make a better food choice, and determine your portion size before you start to eat. Make this a habit for the rest of, and the good of, your life.

Your are invited to take a moment and sigh up for our newsletter. You will get extra recipes and diet tips once you are signed up. And just for signing up you will receive a free copy of The Dark Side of Sugar and Wheat. The form is at the top right of this page. I’m looking forward to you joining us on our journey.

bon provecho

Maria and Bill

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Making Lettuce Tacos for Dinner

Tonight I am making Lettuce Tacos for Dinner. Well the outside is lettuce instead of a taco shell. That helps cut back on the bread but the chicken was “breaded” although it was only a whisper of breading, it was still breading non the less.

Lettuce Tacos

I am disappointed that I ate the chicken and though it was only a three ounce slice, cut into three strips, I should have scrapped off the breading. To tell you the truth, I had made the mistake of eating later than I should, so I was cutting corners. Never a good thing, but it happens.

I got three romaine lettuce leaves, placed a little mayo on them to hold the four kalamata olives. Then I added the chicken and topped it with tomato, avocado and onion.And that was dinner.

In the overall scheme of things I really did not do too badly today as far as the low carb lifestyle is concerned. I had 1786 calories for the day and 86 carbs.

I am sharing this because I want to share how I make “sandwiches’ without bread. I have really become fond of these. Bread is always so filling to me that I want to take a nap right after eating it. Using the romaine lettuce in place of the bread does not seem to sap my energy as bread did.

This post is just to share the idea with you. Making Lettuce tacos is easy, fast and healthy. I have found it to be a great way to use up left overs from earlier meals of the day.

Your are invited to take a moment and sigh up for our newsletter. You will get extra recipes and diet tips once you are signed up. And just for signing up you will receive a free copy of The Dark Side of Sugar and Wheat. The form is at the top right of this page. I’m looking forward to you joining us on our journey.

bon provecho

Maria and Bill

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Clean Eating Can be A Challenge

 Although I have lost a fair amount of weight, 46 pounds in the past year, I still find that Clean eating can be a Challenge. One that at times gets the best of me.

Clean Eating Can be A Challenge

The past couple of days have been a good example of what not to do in my case. I am really trying to avoid white starchy foods and wheat.

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Semi-Low Carb Grilled Peach Salad

 Semi-Low Carb Grilled Peach Salad? Really, Is there such a thing? Well, it depends. If you are following a ketogenic diet go ahead and skip over this Salad, But if you are allowing yourself about 100 carbs a day, then yes this is a low carb salad if it is the main course. (Anything below 150 carbs is considered “Low Carb” but for rapid weight loss, 20 carbs per day is the limit.) I have a limit of 100 carbs per day because I like to eat and,

When It Comes to Weight Loss - Slow Is Better Than No Click To Tweet

Semi-Low Carb Grilled Peach Salad

Semi-Low Carb Grilled Peach Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

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Low Carb Chicken Thighs with Portobello Mushrooms

Today we are making Low Carb Chicken Thighs with Portobello Mushrooms for dinner along with some garlic mashed cauliflower, We are still in the low carb area with the chicken, Portobello mushrooms and cauliflower. We want to make a sauce for this recipe and will need to check the carbs and tweak as we prepare it.

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