Lardy Lardy – Rendering Lard, the best fat

When I was growing up there was always either bacon fat or lard being used in some form or fashion. We also used “crisco”, but there was always a container of lard in the refrigerator. I have very strong memories of visiting my grandmother, seeing her grab the lard container, and with a deft hand, toss it into a cast iron skillet, and prepare the best pork chops I ever had. I have never achieved the greatness of her pork chops, but I persist in trying.  Good lard is the key.

Lard is pork fat that has been rendered (melted) down into a liquid, then strained and cooled.  It imparts an amazing flavor to foods it’s cooked with. The best type of pork fat to get and render down is “leaf” fat, however, any pork fat will do and make a good tasting lard.  Lard has a good smoke point (370°F/185°C), so you can do quite a lot with it.

I now live in Estonia, where pork fat is .05€ (about .05cents) a kilo – less than 2.5 Cents a pound!! We just bought 3.6 kilos for .18€.!!!!! It simply makes zero sense to me to buy lard, when I can render it in the oven on a slow Saturday.

Finding pork fat in the USA may be hard, depending upon the area you live in. When I was living in New York, I had a very hard time finding it.  Check with your butcher to see if you can get it.  Here in Estonia, it’s available at the farmer’s market in various shops.

Rendering lard is really simple:

3.5 Kilos of Pork fat, chopped

The smaller the pieces of lard, the faster it’ll render.  I have done it as whole pieces (see the first picture below), but that is messy and takes much longer.  Chop it into pieces, or, alternatively, chill it in the freezer for about 30 minutes until almost frozen, and put it into a food processor to break it down even more.

You can render the fat on the stovetop or in the oven. I find the oven is the easiest method, as it doesn’t need to be continually watched.


Place chopped lard into a large high sided baking pan, and then into the oven set at 300F/150C.  As the fat renders out, carefully remove the pan and tip the rendered fat into a heat-safe bowl. Continue to do this until no more fat is rendering out.  Allow to cool to the touch, strain with cheesecloth, if needed, and pour into your containers for storage. I have used mason jars, or food safe bpa free containers.

Store lard in your refrigerator for 6 months to a year, making sure it is covered at all times. Lard will absorb other flavors if left uncovered. You can also freeze lard for use later. The 3.5 kilos we rendered will last us 6-8 months.

This process is the same if you are doing Tallow (rendered beef fat).

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More fish needed…

A steak in the shape of a fish, with pickles as dorsal fin, pelvic fin and tail fin

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Jalapeno or Pepper Poppers – Low Carb

When you do low-carb, you miss regular old junk food snacks.  Sander and I decided last spring to and remake our “triple dipped poppers” by using crushed pork rinds, making these low carb.  We’ve experimented with them a few times and this is the final recipe.   These are double dipped in egg and crushed pork rinds, allowed to dry a bit, and then deep fried.  They are completely over-filled with the cheese mixture, which gives you a great bite of pepper, cheese, and crunch.



Jalapeno or Pepper Poppers – Low Carb

8 Ounces (226g) Cream Cheese, room temp
2-3 cups shredded cheese
Spices, to your taste *See note below
4-6 eggs
15 mini sweet peppers or jalapenos, split lengthwise, cleaned and seeded
2-3 bags (3 ounce bags) pork rinds
Lard, enough to deep fry in your favorite fryer.

Crush the pork rinds in a blender.  If you don’t have a blender, use a rolling-pin to crush.  The finer the crush, the better.

Mix the soft cream cheese with the shredded cheese and any spices you choose.  I use almost type of cheese – mix and match!  Mozzarella, cheddar, muenster..your choice.   Set aside and clean and prep the peppers.  Slice peppers lengthwise and, using a spoon, remove all the seeds.

In a bowl, mix the eggs well.  You may need more eggs, so have at least 2 more ready to go. Pork rinds soak up a lot of egg, but the egg helps give this a crispness that makes these so yummy.

Fill each pepper — and really over fill them.  Much more than you think they should be filled.  You almost cannot put too much in — they should be heaping.  Round the mix to fit the pepper.

Once all the peppers have been filled, dip each into egg and then directly into the crushed pork rinds.  Set aside and continue to dip the rest of the peppers.   Allow to sit for 10 minutes to dry.  Now repeat – dip each pepper into egg and then into the crushed pork rinds for a second time.   Allow to sit for another ten minutes.

Heat oil to 385F (195C)  in your favorite fryer – could be a Fry Daddy or a small pot of oil (on the back burner!!).  Add in peppers.  I do 2 or 3 at a time, as I have the small Fry Daddy.  Allow to fry for 1 minute or so.  Pull one out and check it – outside should be crispy, and when you cut into it (don’t BITE into it), the cheese should be melted well.  I find that as I go through the batch, they take between 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes, depending on how large the poppers are and how hot the oil is.  I let the oil re-heat after each batch for about 30 seconds.

Remove the poppers from the oil and allow to drain, preferably on a rack, which will help to keep the poppers crispy and crunchy.  Serve as soon as the last popper comes out of the oil.

Serve as is, or with a favorite sauce.


  1. Using pork rinds works really well for a breading.  However, when you deep fry anything with pork rinds, you’ll find that some of the crumbs just slough off.  You may need to remove these as you go along deep frying.
  2. *Add in spices – maybe a little Chili powder or cayenne powder or a dash of red pepper flakes – enough to taste good to you.
  3. You can freeze these after frying.  To reheat, 400F (205c), for 8-12 minutes, depending on how small/large your poppers are.

Nutrition Information is for 1 popper.

Low Carb Popper Nutrition Info

Posted in Appetizers, Appetizers, Cheese, Diabetic Type 2, Low Carb | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Deep Fried Pork Chops – Low Carb

Low Carb/Keto Deep Fried Pork Chops.  I pan fried a few pork chops this afternoon for dinner.  I had one pork chop left over and decided to try deep frying it.

My life has forever changed!!  WOW!  So amazing and good.  And probably the simplest recipe ever!

As you can see, the pan fried pork chops, cooked perfectly to temp, are rather anemic looking compared to the deep fried pork chops.  The pan fried were  great.. but the deep fried were out of this world.

Deep Fried Pork Chops – Low Carb

Pork Chops, about 1/2 inch thick (boneless), patted dry.
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Oil, heated in your “Fry Daddy” or a high sided pot, to 375F or 190C

Depending on the size of your pot or fryer, place your pork chops in to the heated oil.  I have a Fry Daddy, and 2 would probably fit perfectly.  Allow to cook 2-3 minutes.  Drain on a rack.  Cool down so you don’t burn your mouth!! Eat.  Try to share….If possible.


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Creamy Rutabaga & Cheese Puree (Low Carb)

Eating low carb for the past year or so, I’ve really not felt like writing here on my food blog.  I think I have had to come to terms with the fact that most of the yummy recipes I have here I will no longer be able to make.  I’m learning now, though, to re-make them in a low carb version.  It’s a slow process, with trial and (a lot) of errors).  But I’m making my way there, slowly but surely.

My taste buds have certainly had a shock — and boy have they changed.  I haven’t eaten sugar (in any of it’s forms), in over a year, nor have I had any bread, rice, pasta, crackers, or potatoes (or any other grain).  Not a carb in sight, with the exception of what is found in eggs, cheeses or the good low carb veggies I eat.   Foods now taste differently.  Almonds are so sweet.  Bacon is freaking awesome.  Cheesecake has become almost boring, and dried zucchini chips are a staple.  And then there is the entire cabbage family.  Turnips and rutabaga are like .. well.. they are freaking awesome –  crunchy, tangy, sweet darlings that I have come to really adore.   It’s thanks to Sander that I’ve become acquainted with them at all, and his idea for the following recipe.  He’s gone low carb right along with me (for the most part), and is always coming up with ideas for new foods and recipes that work with this way of eating.

We started out a few weeks ago making a stuffed rutabaga recipe — the stuffing of which was pure yum, but the rutabaga was so over cooked it didn’t work out as planned.  We then mashed it up and decided to try again.  This recipe is our 3rd rutabaga recipe, but the 4th time we’ve played with the ingredient at all.

Michelle’s Pics

Sander’s Pics

Creamy Rutabaga & Cheese Puree (Low Carb)

1 Rutabaga, peeled and chopped into even 1 inch cubes (about 3 1/3 pounds or 1.5 kilos)
8.5 cups of chicken stock (2 liters)
2 to 6 ounces of cream (60 to 200 ml)
1 small onion, minced
2-3 ounces of bacon, chopped and cooked with the onion.
1 cup cheese, shredded (4 ounces or 113 grams)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Rutabagas are usually covered in wax, so peel and wash well.  Slice the rutabaga in 1 inch slices, and then cube into one in squares.  In a good sized pot, pour the chicken stock and add the cubed rutabaga.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 30-50 minutes.  Depending on the rutabaga, it could take longer.  Check with a fork to see if the rutabaga is soft.  It won’t ever be as soft as a boiled potato, but every so slightly al dente.

In a saute pan, saute the bacon until it’s about 1/2 cooked.  Add in the minced onion and cook until golden.  Set aside, saving 1/4 cup for later.

Once the rutabaga’s are done, DO NO DRAIN the stock away.  Add in the onion/bacon mixture directly to the pot of chicken stock and rutabagas.  Using your stick blender ( I do NOT recommend a blender for this), begin blending the bacon, onion, rutabaga and chicken stock.  Do this until it’s pretty well pureed.  Add in the cream, in small amounts, to taste.  I liked less cream than Sander did – he added 6 ounces, I added about 2.5.  Once you add in the cream, the puree will become even creamier.  At this point, add in the cheese.  I used Monterey Jack and a bit of havarti.  Sander used a smoked gouda.  Your favorite cheddar or edam would work just as well.  Now puree until you can puree no longer!!  Or, until it is silky smooth.   Serve the puree with a bit of the onion/bacon mixture you set aside earlier.  Makes 12 Cups.

Nutrition information is based on using 3 ounces cream, cheddar cheese and 2.6 ounces bacon.

12 Servings.  1 Cup (240ml) per serving

96 Calories, 5.2g Fat, 756mg Sodium
6.8g Carbs, 1.5g Fiber (5.3g Net Carbs), 5.9g Protein

Nutrition Facts for Rutabaga Puree

Nutrition Facts for Rutabaga Puree

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Low Carb Pancakes, with Cream Cheese & Flax Meal

Made pancakes this morning. There are lots of recipes for low carb cream cheese/egg pancakes. They are great, but more like a crepe. I wanted a thicker pancake, so I experimented with using some flax meal. They came out great!  I mean to take pictures, but my excitement meant I ate them before I took the pictures!! haha

Low Carb Pancakes, with Cream Cheese & Flax Meal

2 eggs
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (to activate the baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon erythritol (or sweetener to taste)
Pinch of salt

Add everything to a blender, and blend well for about 30 to 60 seconds, making sure the cream cheese has blended in and has no lumps. Let sit for a minute and then cook as you would regular pancakes. Preheat a pan on medium heat. Butter the pan before each pancake. Cook until bubbles form and solidify. Flip over and cook another 20-30 seconds. This makes 3 pancakes. Serve with sugar free syrup.

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Things I’ve Learned – Nutrition Information

These days, I need to know what the nutritional values of foods are.  I’ve found a ton of places online that show you the values – some with uber fancy graphical images, some with just the calories and fat amounts,  and some with  information that no one can decipher.

What I want in a database:

  • I want standardized measurement selections (50 grams, 100 grams, 1 ounce, 2 ounces), etc.
  • I want to compare food items (example: skim vs regular milk)
  • I want a breakdown of where the calories are coming from (fat, carbs, protein?)
  • I want a breakdown of the types of carbohydrates (sugars)
  • I want the glycemic index and glycemic load calculation

I found a few ways that worked for me.

1.  Google

pear nutrition info from google

I’ve found one of the easiest ways to get nutritional info directly from Google is using one or the other terms:  “Nutrition” or “Carbs”  For example, searching for pear nutrition or pear carbs will bring up the relevant nutritional values associated with a pear.  Any pear, not specific pears.  It does have weird (and seemingly arbitrary) serving size amounts.  For the most part, it does allow for at least 100 grams on most items.  If you run the values of a lot of items, always use the same amounts, if possible, to give yourself an understanding of the real value.  I mean, you might want to know the values on oatmeal, but you don’t need to know what 1 cup of dry, uncooked oatmeal want to know what a serving 1/4 cups or 125 grams is.  Try to select the amount closest to what you know you are going to eat, and what you have seen.

Google’s data does not have some of my requirements – no breakdowns, no glycemic index or load – very sad, since this is the fastest way to search.  But just knowing carbs/fiber on an ingredient is helpful.


United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Researchusda_nutrition_information Service has an online database, “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference“, which is an excellent resource for most foods.  The database allows you to input your own weights and measures for items, which is really great.  It also seems to have a lot of items, including many fresh and raw items, plus some prepared items.  I like the breakdowns, though the sugars are not broken down as well as I would like.  In addition, you can download an excel file with all the information included.  There is also an ability to use the API and create your own app, if you are so inclined.  Anyone??!

Again, my own requirements aren’t met here, though the database does allow for input of my own measurements — 1/2 cup or 3 ounces, or 100 grams.  No glycemic load or index.

3. Self Nutrition Dataself

The last link is probably my favorite.  Not only does it show you the nutritional values, carbs breakdownhave ease of selecting weight/measurement, have tools to compare various items (!!)  etc., but it shows you the glycemic load for the selected food and serving size.  This site also has useless (to me) graphs & graphics.  But because I want the carb/sugars broken down, and I want to see the glycemic load, this site is incredibly useful and the one I use the most.




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