Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bulletproof Pumpkin Misto

You've heard of a café latte or café au lait but, when it's made with tea, it's called a tea latte or misto. This Pumpkin Misto is a delicious way to celebrate the warm, spicy tastes of autumn and Halloween. The addition of coconut oil makes it bulletproof and will give your brain a boost! I like to finish off my bulletproof drinks in the blender to emulsify the oil into the liquid. (It's not necessary but, without blending, the oil will float to the top.) So, brew yourself some pumpkin or cinnamon spice tea (Tazo is a good brand) and enjoy a cup of comfort as you watch the autumn leaves fall from the trees and cover your path with gold!

Bulletproof Pumpkin Misto
Makes 1 serving

12 ounces of hot, brewed pumpkin spice or cinnamon spice tea
2 tablespoons plain pumpkin purée (canned is fine, but check the ingredients for sugar)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for topping
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk

1. To a blender, add pumpkin purée, coconut oil, stevia powder, pumpkin pie spice and coconut milk.
2. Brew the tea and allow to steep for about 5 minutes. Remove tea bag and pour into the blender.
3. Blend until the oil is emulsified and the mixture is frothy. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice. Serve immediately. (If needed, you may reheat the tea in the microwave for a few seconds.)

Nutritional Information (made with full-fat coconut milk): 218 calories, 4.8 g carbohydrate (1 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars), 22.2 g total fat (17.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 10.9 mg calcium, 197 mg potassium, 0.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 3.8 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rainbow Chili

 A cool, autumn day calls for a comforting meal that is warming, all the way to my toes! This spicy meat chili has the added health benefit of assorted vegetables to nourish the body, but don't overlook the fact that their bright colors are appealing to the eye, as well. The purple of red cabbage, the bright orange of carrots, the bold red of tomatoes, the white of onion, the spring green of celery and the summer yellow of squash all come together in a rainbow of flavor! Mix them up and use whatever vegetables you have on hand or choose your family's favorites. I enjoy this hearty chili with a sprinkling of shredded cheese or topped with guacamole and sour cream.

I'm often asked how I fulfill the various tastes and dietary requirements of different family members at mealtime, since not everyone chooses to eat low carb. This meal is a great example! My carb-loving husband (who is not diabetic) loves his chili over boiled potatoes. We usually keep some starchy side dish in the fridge to add to his meals, such as boiled potatoes, pasta or rice.  This arrangement works well for us. It's easy for me to stay on my low-carb diet, while still satisfying his desire for a starch...that way we're both happy!

Rainbow Chili
Makes about 10 cups

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 pound grass-fed, organic ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 cup chopped yellow summer squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
1 can organic black soy beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon beef concentrate (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, or to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to more if you like it hot
1-1/2 cups to 2 cups beef broth (until desired consistency is reached)

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy Dutch oven. Brown the ground beef. Add the onions, celery and carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the remaining chopped vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, beans, beef concentrate (if using), salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Stir to combine and sauté briefly. Add enough beef broth to reach the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.  (I'm a wimp and like my chili mild, but if you like yours hot, you may need to add more chili powder, cumin and cayenne.) Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, before serving.

Nutritional Information per cup: 166 calories, 7.3 g carbohydrate (3.5 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars), 9.6 g total fat (3.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 28 mg cholesterol, 478 mg sodium, 48.6 mg calcium, 273 mg potassium, 13.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 3.8 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Butternut Squash Noodles Topped with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

Today was cloudy, dark and other words, a perfect Maine autumn day to stay in and nap! It was so hard to get motivated to make a healthy meal tonight. My almost bare refrigerator didn't help matters either. So, I forced myself to go down to the local Farm Stand with the challenge of making dinner from whatever they had available. I hit the jackpot! Beautiful winter squashes, fresh brussel sprouts, apples, last-of-the-season green beans and zucchini, locally made marinaded beets, broccoli, a sweet potato and a bunch of romaine--all locally grown, even some organic Sweet Italian Sausage! I'm set for a few days. Tonight's dinner was spontaneous and quick to throw together, but so delicious! The addition of fresh, slivered sage from my herb garden really made the dish POP! This meal is a wonderful combination of fall flavors.

Butternut Squash Noodles Topped with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts
Makes 2 servings

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 organic Sweet Italian sausage link, casing removed
1-1/2 cups of chopped or slivered brussel sprouts
3 cups of spiralized butternut squash noodles
2 tablespoons butter
4 fresh sage leaves, rolled and then cut into slivers (chiffonade)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spiralize the butternut squash into spaghetti-length noodles and chop the brussel sprouts; set aside.

2. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, add the coconut oil and sausage. Break up and cook the sausage, add the brussel sprouts and sauté until the brussel sprouts are tender-crisp and beginning to turn golden.  Remove this mixture to a plate and set aside while you cook the noodles.

3. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the skillet. Allow the butter to brown slightly before adding the butternut squash noodles to the pan. Sauté until the squash begins to soften and add the sage, salt and pepper.  Stir frequently, allowing the sage to crisp up a bit by "frying" in the hot butter. When the noodles are sufficiently softened, but not limp, divide the noodle mixture between two serving plates.

4.  Turn up the heat to medium and add the sausage mixture to the skillet for a minute or two to heat through. Spoon over the butternut squash noodles and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 338 calories, 23.7 g carbohydrate (5.5 g dietary fiber, 4.6 g sugars), 24.3 g total fat (11.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 125.8 mg calcium, 764 mg potassium, 10.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 18.2 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Apple Pie Kefir Smoothie

It's apple season in Maine! This is the time of year I get a serious craving for apples, maybe because they're everywhere--in the Farmer's Markets and grocery stores. When my daughter was young, apple picking was a yearly activity that was followed up with a lot of cooking with apples in every conceivable way. This delicious smoothie has that apple-cinnamon flavor that is reminiscent of the all-American favorite, apple pie.  To keep the carbs down, I only use 1/4 of a tart apple but, combined with the warm spices, it's enough to give it the apple flavor I desire.  This smoothie is a great way to get a crisp, cool autumn morning off to a good and healthy start!

Apple Pie Kefir Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (or yogurt)
1/4 organic Granny Smith apple with skin, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon coconut or flaxseed oil
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk (I used full-fat coconut milk)
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 tablespoon chia seed
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
A pinch of salt
2 kale leaves or a handful of spinach (if you want it green)
1 teaspoon collagen hydrolysate (or your favorite protein powder)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 ice cubes
Enough water to reach desired consistency

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 421 calories, 13.4 g carbohydrate (3.5 g dietary fiber, 9.6 g sugars), 35.3 g total fat (24.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 77 mg sodium, 161.4 mg calcium, 286 mg potassium, 8.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 9.9 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Snickerdoodle Smoothie

If I could choose only one food item that has had the biggest impact on my improved health, it would be my morning smoothie. For the past eight years, most of my days start with a smoothie. Some are green with a little low-glycemic fruit and others are made from a base of nut butter, but the thing they all have in common is that they're nutritious, delicious and keep me feeling satisfied for many hours, sometimes all the way to dinner! The trick about making smoothies for a diabetic is that they need to be very low carb, plus contain enough healthy fat and protein to keep the blood glucose steady. It's the blood sugar spike of a high carb breakfast and then rapid crash a couple of hours later that causes hunger and cravings by mid-morning, requiring an "elevenzees" snack just to make it to lunch! When you start your morning on a blood sugar roller coaster ride, it will effect your eating pattern for the rest of the day and may lead to the over-consumption of carbs. This delicious and creamy smoothie has the sweet vanilla and cinnamon flavor of the popular Snickerdoodle cookie. Cinnamon is well-known and documented as a blood sugar stabilizing spice and this is a great way to get more of it into my diet.

Snickerdoodle Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (or yogurt)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
1 tablespoon macadamia nut butter (or 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
A pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/2 tablespoon collagen hydrolysate powder (or your favorite protein powder)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, ghee or flax oil
4 drops of Vanilla Creme stevia
1/2 cup water (or enough to create desired consistency)
4-5 ice cubes
1 scoop of prebiotic powder, optional (I used Prebio Plus)

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust sweetening, if desired. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

Nutritional Information: 304 calories, 8 g carbohydrate (7.4 g dietary fiber, 4.4 g sugars), 24.7 g total fat (9 g saturated fat, o g trans fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 132 mg sodium, 379.9 mg calcium, 150 mg potassium, 9.4 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 0.6 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brownie Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream

Wowza!! That's the only word to describe this rich and creamy frozen treat. Prior to my diagnosis of Celiacs disease, one of my favorite flavors of ice cream was Cookies and Cream. I was sad thinking I might never have it again. But instead of feeling sorry for myself or living without, I took it as a personal challenge and went to work in my kitchen. The result of my creative effort has me smiling again! The base for this ice cream is a rich vanilla egg custard, which is delicious by itself. But when I added chunks of my Chocolate Fudge Brownies and chopped dark chocolate bits to the custard, the vanilla deliciousness reached to near perfection! Of course, as I always do, I added probiotic-rich kefir to the mix to make it even more healthy. You will never believe this ice cream is low carb, sugar free and grain free. It tastes like the real thing to me!

Brownie Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream
Makes eight (1/2 cup) servings

Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Base:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or use all coconut milk**)
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener), divided
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
The seeds scraped from one vanilla bean (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder)
A pinch of salt
1 cup plain, unsweetened kefir or plain yogurt** (to make your own kefir, click here)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon stevia powder, to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
8-10 drops Vanilla Creme stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)

Stir Ins:
1 serving of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cups (recipe here), cut into small squares and frozen
4 squares of dark chocolate 70% or higher bar (I used 85% Green and Black bar), chopped

1. In a medium heavy saucepan, stir together the coconut milk, heavy cream, 2 tablespoons LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds (or powder) and salt. Heat on medium-low heat until steam begins to rise from the mixture and small bubbles form on the edges of the pan, stirring occasionally to dissolve sweetener.

2. Meanwhile, in a 2-cup glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of remaining LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener vigorously until light and pale yellow in color, about 2 minutes.

3.  When the milk mixture is heated, use a ladle to slowly add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to the egg yolks while whisking continuously, until incorporated. Slowly add another 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking. Then pour the tempered egg yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the milk mixture, stirring continuously until the mixture has thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour the custard through a strainer to remove any lumps. Cool completely, eventually moving to the refrigerator to chill.

4. While the custard is chilling, bake the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cups until firmly set, about 20 minutes baking time (click here for the recipe). Once cooled to room temperature, cut one serving (1/3 of recipe) into small squares and freeze. Chop dark chocolate and set aside.

5. Once the custard is cold, pour it into a blender with the kefir, stevia powder and stevia drops. Blend briefly until combined. Taste and adjust sweetening, if desired. Cool mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before proceeding.

6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker to churn the ice cream base. When it has thickened sufficiently, add the stir in ingredients (add the frozen brownie squares toward the end of the churning process to prevent them from pulverizing). Serve immediately as a soft-serve ice cream or pour into a container and freeze for about 40 minutes before scooping. (See Notes* regarding leftovers.)

*Notes: Sugar free ice cream is best served at the soft-serve stage or soon after freezing briefly. Once it has frozen completely, it will be too hard to scoop. Spoon any leftovers into ice pop molds and freeze to be enjoyed later.

**This ice cream can be made dairy free by using all coconut milk and substituting either coconut milk kefir or a dairy-free yogurt.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 175 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate (0.6 g dietary fiber, 1.7 g sugars, 6.5 g sugar alcohols), 15.9 g total fat (8.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 140 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium, 74.6 mg calcium, 78 mg potassium, 3.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 5.8 grams

Recipes by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate without author's permission.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Carrots and Apples

I love my Crock Pot and use it often. Even if I'm at home for the day, I love the aroma wafting though the house and knowing that all I have to do is lift the lid from the slow cooker and dinner is ready. This recipe in particular smells wonderful while it's cooking and it's so easy to throw together. The combination of pork and apples is a classic and by cooking them in a crock pot, the pork chops turn out moist and tender. To reduce some carbs, I recommend using a green Granny Smith apple, instead of a higher sugar variety. With a side of probiotic-rich homemade sauerkraut, this is a comforting and healing meal.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Carrots and Apples
Makes 2-4 servings, depending on the size of your pork chops

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 large, thick, center cut, boneless pork chops (organic or antibiotic free)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups carrots, thickly sliced (I use multi-colored carrots)
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into slices and sprinkled with lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teas dried)
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 teas dried)
Salt and pepper

1. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil on medium-high. Season the chops with salt and pepper and brown on both sides.

2. In the crock pot, add the sliced onion and carrots and season with a little salt and pepper. Place the pork chops on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.

Top vegetables with browned pork chops.

3.  Spread the sliced apples on top of the pork and put the lid on the Crock Pot. Set the slow cooker to high (or 350-degrees Fahrenheit) and cook for 3 hours. Test meat and, if it's tender and the internal temperature is at least 165-degrees, turn off slow cooker.  If additional cooking is needed, continue cooking covered for another 30 minutes.  Serve pork with vegetables and spoon any sauce over the chops for added flavor.

Scatter apple slices over all before cooking.

Nutritional Information per serving (with 1/2 cup vegetables): 341 calories, 24 g carbohydrate (4 g dietary fiber, 16.2 g sugars), 16.2 g total fat (6.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 174 mg sodium, 31.7 mg calcium, 228 mg potassium, 24.2 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 20 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016
All rights reserved. Do not replicate without written permission.