Thursday, December 29, 2016

Black Forest Cherry Cobbler

You're going to thank me for this recipe. It was the featured dessert at my Christmas Eve family gathering this year and it was spectacular! Plump, dark sweet cherries, fudgy cake and topped with vanilla-laced whipped cream...what's not to love? Even the members of my family that are not gluten free or low carb enjoyed it immensely. (I gave them the option of real vanilla ice cream as a topping, which was a good compromise and worked out perfectly for everyone.) If you're partial to Black Forest Cake, like I am, this cobbler has all those delicious flavors without the carbs or guilt. Happy New Year!

Black Forest Cherry Cobbler
Makes 9 servings

3 cups fresh, organic dark cherries, pitted (or frozen, thawed for 30 minutes)
3/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Organic Sweet Leaf brand)
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x8 inch glass baking dish with coconut oil, butter or ghee. Pour the cherries into the dish and distribute evenly, reserving a few cherries for the top, if desired. Set aside.

2. Whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, cacao powder, salt, LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener, stevia powder and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl until no lumps remain. Add the cold butter cubes and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (the butter should be smaller than pea size).

3. Separately, in a small bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and cream. Whisk wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Drop by spoonfuls over the cherries and spread to the edges. Top with reserved cherries, if desired.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until batter is set on top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with vanilla whipped cream sweetened with stevia (optional).

Nutritional Information per serving (1/9 or recipe, no whipped cream): 169 calories, 13.7 g carbohydrate (3.4 g dietary fiber, 7.2 g sugars, 5.2 g sugar alcohols), 12 g total fat (4.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 96 mg sodium, 42.5 mg calcium, 121 mg potassium, 3.3 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 10.3 grams

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

Friday, December 23, 2016

Kefir Orange Julius Smoothie

I've always enjoyed the flavor combination of orange and vanilla. When I was a kid, I would always choose a creamcicle push-up when the ice cream truck came through our neighborhood. And when I was a teenager spending my own money at the mall, an Orange Julius was worth the expense, even on my limited budget! Right now, there's a very juicy and sweet seedless tangerine available at my local Whole Foods called Satsuma Mandarins (see photo below). They're only around for a short time and, although I normally don't eat a lot of fruit, this is one fruit I look forward to every year and enjoy in moderation only during this season. This kefir smoothie has the taste of an authentic Orange Julius! It's frothy and sweet with the perfect blend of orange and vanilla, just as I remember. The orange oil or extract is important to give this recipe the orange punch of the original drink. I used a few drops of culinary orange oil, which is available through specialty cooking stores or on the internet, but regular orange extract that you can find at any grocery store will work too, just make sure it's pure orange extract, not imitation flavoring. This recipe makes about 3 servings, so you can share it or save some for later. It makes a delicious breakfast smoothie, afternoon snack or healthy dessert.

Kefir Orange Julius Smoothie
Makes 3 servings (about 1 cup each)

1-3/4 cup plain milk kefir, unsweetened
1 peeled seedless mandarin orange (or small navel orange)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
6 drops of Valencia Orange stevia
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 drops of orange oil (or 1/8 teaspoon orange extract), to taste
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
4-5 ice cubes
1 tablespoon coconut or flax oil (optional)
1 scoop prebiotic powder (optional)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavorings and sweetness, if desired. Serve immediately or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutritional Information per 1 cup serving (no optional ingredients): 146 calories, 6.8 g carbohydrate (0.5 g dietary fiber, 6.8 g sugars), 8.5 g total fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 28 mg cholesterol, 56 mg sodium, 140.1 mg calcium, 213 mg potassium, 346 mg Vit A, 8 mg Vit C, 5.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.3 grams

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Old Fashioned Gluten Free, Low Carb Cornbread

Before I found out I had celiac disease (an intolerance to gluten), I often would bake lower carb goodies by substituting almond flour for most of the wheat flour in a recipe and that worked out well. For the most part, I now avoid all grains (GF or not) to keep my blood glucose steady. Tonight though, I wanted to serve cornbread with a Navy Bean and Bacon Soup because the flavor combination is so perfect together. This amazing, low carb recipe is the result of my kitchen experimentation and it turned out great!  I couldn't be more pleased; it tastes like the real thing to me! Traditionally prepared cornbread is about 29 grams of carbohydrate per serving, which is far beyond my limit.  My recipe clocks in at a low 7.3 net carbs per slice and has all the flavor and texture of the original. I know you'll be as pleased as I am when you taste my delicious bread.  Try it with this creamy Navy Bean Soup and stay happy and warm this winter, no matter the weather outside:

Old Fashioned Gluten Free, Low Carb Cornbread
Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup coarsely ground certified gluten free cornmeal (non-GMO or organic is best)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour, finely ground
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon LaKanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1 egg at room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup plain milk kefir, at room temperature (can substitute sour cream, plain yogurt or buttermilk)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch cast iron skillet (preferred) or an 8-inch round pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, almond flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener and whisk to combine and break up any lumps. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix the egg, melted butter and kefir (or sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk) and whisk vigorously to combine.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. With a whisk or fork, combine ingredients until just combined. Pour batter into the greased pan.  Bake for 20-30 minutes (about 20-25 minutes if using a cast iron skillet) or until lightly browned, the edges are brown and crispy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

3. This bread is best when sliced and served warm.  (If allowed to cool, I suggest reheating in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to crisp up the top.)

Nutritional Information per serving (1/8 of recipe): 120 calories, 8.7 g carbohydrate (1.4 g dietary fiber, 0.9 g sugars, 1.5 g sugar alcohols), 7.7 g total fat (2.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 36 mg cholesterol, 211 mg sodium, 59.8 mg calcium, 98 mg potassium, 3.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 7.3 grams

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and many of us are already dreaming about the feast we'll soon enjoy with our family and friends. What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? Years ago, I posted my favorite Pumpkin Pie In a Cup recipe (baked pumpkin pie filling, served without a crust). It certainly is an excellent way to enjoy the best part of the pumpkin pie with fewer carbs. In this recipe, the cheesecake is baked in a springform pan and served by the slice. It has a wonderful pumpkin and spice flavor with substantially fewer carbs than traditional pumpkin pie, only 8 net grams per serving. (One slice of traditional pie with crust has 41 carbs that will send anyone's blood sugar soaring, especially after a full meal!!!) You CAN join in and have your Thanksgiving pie without guilt by making a few adjustments. Try my recipe and enjoy the celebration!

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 12 servings

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted if desired
2 (8 ounce) packages of organic cream cheese, softened just to room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons Golden LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups plain pumpkin purée (canned is fine)
1/2 cup organic sour cream
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack set in the center of the oven.

2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.* Place a piece of parchment paper cut to size into the pan, then butter the paper. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the bottom of the prepared springform pan, spreading them evenly to completely cover the bottom. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener, stevia and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin purée and sour cream and beat on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin pie spice and salt. Beat until combined.

4. Immediately ladle the batter over the nuts, trying not to disturb the nuts. Tap the pan gently on your kitchen counter to release any bubbles and settle the batter in an even layer.

5.  Bake for 70 minutes (or more), until a knife placed in the center of the cheesecake comes out clean. (If using small pans, reduce the baking time to 50-55 minutes, see note below.)  Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack. Allow the cheesecake to cool for at least 20-25 minutes. If needed, run a sharp knife around the edge before attempting to release it from the springform pan. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before slicing.

6. To serve, cut into 12 equal wedges and top with a dollop of vanilla and stevia-sweetened whipped cream, if desired.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutritional Information per serving (no whipped topping): 249 calories, 9.9 g carbohydrate (1.9 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars, 4 g sugar alcohols), 22.6 g total fat (9.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 108 mg cholesterol, 168 mg sodium, 70 mg calcium, 132 mg potassium, 6.2 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 8 grams.

*Note: You can bake this recipe in six small (4-inch) springform pans. Reduce baking time to 50-55 minutes.  Serving size would be 1/2 of a small cheesecake, if prepared this way.

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

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

10 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.