How the Anchor Carb Rating Works…
Every recipe falls under one of 5 categories depending on carb content. I do the math by adding up all the carbs from each ingredient, and then total it for the entire recipe. Each rating is for one component of the dish, so the protein and the sides are added up separately, unless it’s a dish where the protein and grain are hard to separate or just HAVE to be eaten together. This way, a meal can be either low carb or higher carb, depending on the chosen side.
Eventually, you’ll find that you know how to make a handful of protein mains (ex pork chops, chicken parmesan, miso salmon, filet mignon with blue cheese sauce) that can either be part of a low carb meal or a high carb feast, depending on your dietary goals. This versatility really comes in handy when cooking for a hungry crowd that might want starchy sides, while you want to stick to your regimen for an upcoming beach vacation. Then you just need will power at the dinner table!
1 Anchor — This is the certain weight loss zone. You’re being REALLY good! A week or more of these meals and your waist line will undoubtedly shrink. One anchor meals are pretty much completely carb-less, containing mostly protein and very low carb veggies. These are the meals I try to cook (along with occasional 2 and 3 anchor recipes) prior to a beach vacation or special occasion, when I want to look and feel my best.
Examples: Egg omelet with cheese and ham, chicken breast with a green salad, salmon filet with a pistachio pesto green beans.
Carb range: 0 to 20 per serving.
2 Anchors — Still being really good, no starches in these meals, but there is some added yumminess that makes them slightly higher in carbs. Subtle additions like a little maple syrup in the sauce, a fruit like apples or pears, or a couple of tablespoons of flour to make the chicken crispier when sautéeing. Combined with exercise, these still fall under the losing weight category.
Examples: Pork tenderloin with Sage and Maple sauce, shrimp with fresh citrus and butter, chicken thighs with a creamy Marsala sauce on a bed of spinach.
Carb range: 20 – 40 per serving.
3 Anchors — These are the meals I make most frequently. Healthy, hearty and fun to cook, they’re perfect for maintaining your weight. They involve some complex carbs such as beans, sweet potatoes or squash. You might even find some desserts here! Like poached pears with oat crumble, or a naturally sweetened low carb pudding. But still no simple carbs or straight up sugar, only natural sweetness.
Examples: Hearty chili (if had with my irresistible honey cornbread muffins, it sadly goes up to 4 anchors), Spinach salad with roasted honey glazed squash or sweet potatoes, pork schnitzel lightly breaded in whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs with glazed carrots, grilled mani mani tuna with mango and avocado salsa.
Carb range 40 – 60 per serving.
4 Anchors — This is a bit of a tricky category. These dishes involve some carbs, like whole grains or corn, so they will be higher in carbs and calories. It really comes down to quantity… too much is closer to 5 anchors and a smaller portion is closer to 3. But they are definitely not as sinful as the 5 anchor recipes. I usually make these if I’m craving something starchy but don’t want to fully use up my allotted 5 anchor day. I call this the “sneaky category”, where it’s all up to will power.
Examples: oatmeal raisin bran muffins, a melted brie turkey and apple panini on whole grain bread, mini honey cornbread muffins (not too many!), sweet potato puree with toasted marshmallows. Well, you get the picture, moderation in this category is key.
Carb range: 60 – 100
5 Anchors — The five anchor carb recipes are pure sin… and pure delight! I have a rule: if I decide to make a 5 anchor meal, there’s no guilt allowed in the kitchen or at the dining table. That’s why I do my best to earn these meals, so they can be truly enjoyed. I try to limit these to once a week, but on a some occasions (like the holidays) I’ll do twice a week.
Given that I allow myself these mouthwatering recipes rarely, you can be sure that any 5 anchor recipe you find on Blue Galley is the BEST of the best. No carbs to waste here. The creme de la creme (that just made me hungry) of deliciousness! Tested and perfected until they just don’t get better. Here you will find decadent chocolate brownies (with caramelized macademia nut topping, or slightly flavored with lavender or just plain!), rich Italian pasta dishes and lasagnas, cinnamon crumble apple pie, frangipane peach cobbler, the softest dinner rolls you’ll ever have, homemade salted caramel sauce, fall pumpkin bread – I could go on and on here. When is my allotted 5 anchor carb day again??
Carb range: there’s no range. You’re having lots of them. And loving every bite because you’ve earned it 🙂
How the Anchor Carb Rating started…
Hello, my name is Jenya and I’m a bake-aholic.
A mere whiff of a perfectly, sweet summer peach can have me reaching for flour, baking powder and butter within minutes. In that moment all self control is lost, and the only thoughts running through my head are “should I make peach pie or peach cobbler?”
My love of baking isn’t just restricted to sweets… I love cozy fall breads, pizza doughs, savory quiches and I even make my own fresh pasta on occasion.
Basically, I love cooking and eating carbohydrates. But, I also happen to enjoy basking in the sun wearing a cute bikini and feeling confident in it.
Yes, there are a lucky few who can do both on a regular basis, but from my experience, uncontrollable baking and a flat bikini belly, just don’t work together. Mainly because I end up eating what I cook, and usually straight out of the oven. I mean, is there anything better than freshly baked home made bread? Well…maybe freshly baked cookies. I guess warm apple pie on a snowy winter evening deserves a mention too. Ok, I’ll just stop now.
Most of my adult life, I bounced back and forth between these two extremes — baking or bikinis — and somehow could not strike the right balance to enjoy both. Back in my modeling days, it was salads, tuna tartars and egg white omelettes… I wouldn’t even allow myself to think about bread. Then, during my college years (when I baked everything I could think of to help me get through agonizing study sessions) my bikinis made their way to the back of the drawer and stayed there for a few years until I graduated.
Eventually, I decided that life was too short to not to be able to do the things you love AND not to feel good about yourself, especially if you can do something about it. I knew I had to strike a balance.
So, as an experiment and with the intent to drop the 20 pounds I gained during school, I decided to allow myself to bake and eat carbohydrates only once a week, while the rest of the time I shifted my cooking obsession towards low carb, nutrient rich foods. Not only did I start dropping the weight faster than I could imagine, but I discovered that eliminating bread, sugar and starch from a meal does not mean that it can’t taste amazing!
I learned how to make perfectly crispy skin salmon over a bed of french green lentils (a heavenly combination!), how to sear the perfect steak, roast a delicious lemon chicken oozing with mediterranean aromas and how to make seasonal creative salads that never get boring.
I discovered new spices, ingredients and cooking methods that turn healthy, low carb ingredients into restaurant worthy gourmet meals. And best of all, I am now able to enjoy baking the occasional and well deserved summer fruit tart… while wearing a bikini and with a tan.
I also found that my new eating regimen gave me more sustained energy throughout the day and that I generally just felt better…though shopping for cute summer clothes helped as well.
As I continued to discover and create delicious, lower carb recipes, I began to organize them according to their carbohydrate content. That way I could quickly find the right recipe for the right meal when I needed it.
And when i decided to create a nautical themed cooking blog, I though… how perfect! I’ll use anchors to label the categories. After all, more anchors means more weighted down 🙂
And so, the Anchor Carb Rating was born.
I hope the Anchor Carb Rating system helps other bake-aholics out there find balance in their kitchen by learning how to cook delicious, gourmet low anchor recipes and in turn, enjoy guilt-free and well deserved baking time even more.