Saturday, February 11, 2017

Zucchini Noodle Carbonara

The other day, my husband was reminiscing about our trip to Italy many years ago and dreaming about the excellent and authentic pasta carbonara he had there. Every time we talk about that trip, he brings up the carbonara! Tonight, I recreated this special dish for him. He had his over traditional pasta and I had mine over zucchini noodles. We were both delighted with the result! Carbonara is not particularly difficult to make, but can be tricky because, if you cook the egg-parmesan sauce at too high of a temperature, you get carbonara scramble instead of a creamy sauce, so be watchful. The thing I love most about this dish is that when served over zoodles and/or shiritaki noodles, it's an elegant and very low carb meal. I have provided the option to replace one of the zucchini with a package of shiritaki noodles. The shiritaki noodles absorb the sauce nicely and can provide a more noodle-like texture for those who may balk at the thought of an entire plate of vegetables! This low-carb carbonara is a great, quick meal when you want something spectacular that will impress, but don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It would make a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner!

Zucchini Noodle Carbonara
Makes 4 servings

4 spirialized zucchini (use spaghetti blade)
1 package Angel Hair shiritaki noodles (optional, but if using, reduce number of zucchini to 3)
4 ounces pancetta, cubed (or substitute bacon)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped (or 1 TB dried)

1. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, brown the pancetta or bacon until crispy. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, remove pancetta and garlic to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reduce heat to low. Remove all but about 2 TB of the grease in the skillet and add zucchini noodles. Sauté uncovered, stirring occasionally, to soften the zoodles and allow the zucchini to release some moisure.

2.  Place the drained and rinsed shiritaki noodles (if using) into another dry pan or skillet and stir frequently over high heat until the moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat; set aside and keep warm.

3. When the zoodles are suffiencently soften to your liking, remove skillet from heat and allow to sit while you prepare the sauce ingredients (this is important!). Add the shiritaki noodles and toss to mix. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup grated cheese and egg; add to the noodle mixture, stirring constantly, until noodles are well coated.  The residual heat from the skillet and noodles will cook the egg. Do not overcook! (If you see the egg beginning to seize up and scramble, immediately remove mixture from heated pan to prevent further cooking.) The sauce should be creamy and smooth. Season the carbonara with black pepper. Mound the carbonara into individual dishes, garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.  Pass extra shredded or grated cheese around the table.

Nutritional information per serving (1/4 recipe): 209 calories, 9 g carbohydrate (2.2 g dietary fiber, 5.2 g sugars), 13.7 g total fat (5.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 186 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 191.8 mg calcium, 597 mg potassium, 14.2 G protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.8 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do nit duplicate without author's permission.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sautéed Red Cabbage with Bacon and Onions

Part of my strategy for keeping my blood sugar and weight in check is intermittent fasting. Because the body and metabolism resets itself whenever you're on a calorie restricted diet for a period of time (which explains the weight loss plateaus most dieters hit), it's a good idea to keep the body guessing! Intermittent fasting at irregular intervals makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off. Over the holidays, I regained some weight and, as a result, my blood sugar started creeping up to prediabetic levels again. On January 2nd and continuing for 2 weeks, I began an intermittent fasting schedule of skipping breakfast (to allow for 16-18 hour fast between dinner the night before and my next meal) and eating only within a 6 hour window each day. That worked to bring my blood glucose (BG) down a bit and steadied my weight, but it didn't go far enough or act quickly enough for me. Then for the next two weeks, I only ate one meal a day. That brought greater success! I lost 4 pounds and my fasting BG came down 10 points, but still not low enough and, although progress was slow and steady, I wanted faster results. After reading the book The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung MD with Jimmy Moore, I was motivated to try an extended fast. Today I just completed a 3-day total fast that only allowed coffee, tea, broth and water and was completely surprised how easy it was to do! In 3 days, I lost 2 pounds, lost inches around my waist and hips and experienced perfectly normal blood glucose. This morning I woke up to a fasting BG of 78! Even tonight, as I was making dinner, I thought I could have gone on for another day or more! I didn't experience any hunger or discomfort and, as a matter-of-fact, I felt GREAT the whole time! If you're struggling with weight or getting your blood sugar under control, I highly recommend that you get Dr. Fung's book and learn about his successful therapy that includes intermittent fasting for reversing diabetes, sometimes as quickly as a couple of weeks.

I wanted to share my break-fast meal, which was really, really delicious after having not eaten for 3 days! In this sweet and sour red cabbage sauté, I replaced the sugar of a traditional recipe with my favorite erythritol sweetener, LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener, and the result was perfection. My non-diabetic husband loved it too. It paired beautifully with an award-winning white wine and herb sausage I bought at my local Whole Foods. This low carb side dish is quick and easy to make and will become favorite of your family, too!

Sautéed Red Cabbage with Bacon and Onions
Makes 4 servings

3 slices of organic bacon, sliced into narrow strips (reserve grease)
1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
4 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1/2 head)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
3-4 teaspoons LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener, or to taste (or another erythritol sweetener)

1. In a large enameled pot or pan (not cast iron because the vinegar may react with the pan), sauté the bacon until crispy. Remove to drain on a paper towel and reserve bacon grease in the pan. Sauté the onion in the fat. When it is transluscent, add the cabbage and cook, covered and stirring frequently, until the cabbage has begun to soften.

2. Add the vinegar, rosemary and salt. Allow the cabbage mixture to continue cooking until soft and can be pierced with a fork.

3.  Add the sweetener. Start with 3 teaspoons and add more if needed to reach your desired sweetness. Add a tablespoon or two of water if the mixture becomes too dry. Add the bacon back into the pan. Stir and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/4 recipe): 72 calories, 9 g carbohydrate (2.4 g dietary fiber, 4.3 g sugars, 4 g sugar alcohols), 2.9 g total fat (0.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 52.8 mg calcium, 461 mg sodium, 287 mg potassium, 1013 mg Vit A, 52 mg Vit C, 1 mg iron, 3.8 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.6 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

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.