Thursday, December 31, 2015

Orange and Cranberry Nut Waffles



I am so happy to announce that my first cookbook is now available, both in print and as an e-book! I've been working on this project for many months, struggling to master the technology and learning so much along the way.  The book is entitled CREATIVE GRAIN-FREE, LOW CARB WAFFLES: Healthy Culinary Magic With Your Waffle Iron and is filled with many excellent recipes for low-carb living and includes a color photo of each recipe.  Each recipe is less than 10 carbs per serving, including desserts like pie and cake!  Many people think that waffles are only good for breakfast, but waffles are delicious at anytime of the day.  I use these grain-free waffles as a substitute for bread in sandwiches and have even made amazing low-carb desserts with them!  I hope that you'll hop over to the iBooks store or the Books-A-Million website to check out the new book. Thank you! I appreciate your support and please tell your friends!



To celebrate the release of the book, I'm sharing a new waffle recipe below.  This Cranberry Nut Waffle was created after the completion of the book, so think of it as a bonus!  It's just as delicious as my other waffles and has been a favorite lately since fresh cranberries are abundant right now.  When you want to keep a breakfast of waffles low carb, it's important to find an alternative to maple syrup, which is over 50 grams of carb per 1/4 cup!  For this waffle, I created a creamy cranberry spread to use as a topping.  It's a great way to start your morning...and the new year.  Have a happy and healthy 2016!


Grain-Free, Low Carb Orange and Cranberry Nut Waffle (or Pancakes)
Makes 2 waffles (6.5-inch round) or 8 small pancakes
Serving size: 1/2 waffle or two small pancakes

1/4 cup nut butter of choice (almond, cashew, but not peanut butter)
3 tablespoons of finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup fresh cranberries (measure first, then chopped fine)
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
5 drops liquid stevia drops (Valencia Orange or regular), or to taste
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon melted butter or ghee (use coconut oil for dairy-free)
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk or fresh squeezed orange juice
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Cook on your preheated waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instruction for your waffle iron or cook on a hot griddle for pancakes. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  To reheat, toast the waffles on the lightest setting of your toaster and watch carefully to prevent burning.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 waffle or 2 small pancakes (no topping): 188 calories, 4.9 g carbohydrate (1.7 g dietary fiber, 0.6 sugars), 17.6 g total fat (4.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 54 mg cholesterol, 92 mg sodium, 30.6 mg calcium, 99 mg potassium, 4.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 3.2 grams

Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 2 Tablespoons

1/2 cup cream cheese (choose non-dairy, if needed)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries (measure first, then chopped fine)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information per serving (2 TB): 73 calories, 2.6 g carbohydrate (0.2 g dietary fiber, 0.2 g sugars), 8 g total fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 20.4 mg calcium, 5 mg potassium, 2 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.4 grams

Recipes by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream or Pops



This creamy low carb dessert is such a treat and another great way to incorporate more natural, probiotic-rich food into your diet. It's made with frozen organic raspberries (or fresh) that are both low on the glycemic scale and high in antioxidants. To make it extra creamy, I drained the whey out of my homemade kefir, or you can use store bought, to create kefir cheese. (Recipe for making kefir at home can be found here.) To make kefir or yogurt cheese, simply line a strainer with two unbleached coffee filters, set it over a bowl, fill the strainer with plain kefir (or plain unsweetened yogurt, but not Greek) and allow to drain in the refrigerator overnight.  When the thickened, cream cheese-like kefir cheese is added to the kefir with the full-fat coconut milk, the result is a super luscious and decadent frozen treat.  If you want to have a festive ice cream for the holidays, simply add some peppermint extract or a few drops of dietary-grade peppermint essential oil to the mix.  I've had it both ways and it is delightful!

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream
Makes 6 servings (1/2 cup each)

3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup kefir cheese (or yogurt cheese)
1/2 cup plain unsweetened kefir
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or erythritol sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweetleaf brand) or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate (85% cacao or higher)
For optional peppermint flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or 2-3 drops dietary grade peppermint essential oil, or to taste

1. In a blender, blend together the raspberries, kefir cheese, kefir, coconut milk, vanilla, sweeteners and peppermint extract or oil, if using, until smooth.  Taste mixture and add more sweetener, if desired. If you used fresh raspberries, refrigerate mixture for at least one hour before proceeding. Chop the dark chocolate and set aside.

2. Churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker, adding the chopped chocolate at the appropriate time.  Serve immediately or freeze for a few minutes until it reaches a soft-serve consistency. Put any leftovers into ice pop molds and freeze to serve later. (This is best served as soft-serve ice cream.  If allowed to freeze completely, it will be too firm to scoop, so making ice pops is the best way to use leftover ice cream.)

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 193 calories, 7.6 g carbohydrate (1.3 g dietary fiber, 4.8 g sugars, 2 g sugar alcohols), 18.1 g total fat (11.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 36 mg sodium, 71.1 mg calcium, 24 mg potassium, 2.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 6.3 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Berry Blue Kefir Smoothie



More and more research is coming out that having dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut) is associated with obesity and most chronic illness, such as diabetes, neurological disorders, depression, anxiety, IBS, Crohn's disease and even cancer. It is important to include probiotic rich, cultured and fermented foods (such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and fermented vegetables) in the diet and I have personally experienced fewer food sensitivities, more stable blood glucose levels and lower blood pressure since consuming these foods daily.  Making kefir at home is easy! (see my previous post here)  I include it as an ingredient in every morning smoothie I make.  It's creamy and delicious.  Another ingredient in this smoothie is Camu powder, made from a tropical berry.  Because it has one of the highest vitamin C content of any fruit, much more than an orange, I like to add it my smoothies especially at this time of year when colds and the flu are going around.  This smoothie is bright and refreshing and will give you a power boost of energy in the morning.  I like to add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil to this smoothie for added brain boosting and gut healing benefit.  When I have this kefir smoothie for breakfast, I'm not hungry again for many hours!

Berry Blue Kefir Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup plain, unsweetened coconut milk kefir (or dairy kefir, if you can tolerate dairy)
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used flax milk, but almond would work well)
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon camu powder
1/8 teaspoon stevia powder or to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract or 2 drops dietary-grade lemon essential oil (optional)
3 ice cubes
1/4 cup water

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving (made with coconut milk kefir): 311 calories, 11.4 g carbohydrate (0.9 g dietary fiber, 6.7 g sugar), 28.1 g total fat (18 g saturated fat from the coconut, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 103 mg sodium, 302.2 mg calcium, 50 mg potassium, 1.8 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 10.6 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Carrot and Pumpkin Spice Beta-Carotene Shots




Carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are the best sources of beta-carotene.  The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek beta and Latin carota (carrot). It is the deep orange-yellow pigment that gives these fall vegetables their beautiful color. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol), which means it is a precurser of vitamin A. One cup of fresh carrot juice provides an astounding 2, 256 micrograms of beta-carotene! This amount is 2-3 times more than the RDA daily requirement, but don't worry. It is nearly impossible to eat too much beta-carotene because any excess of dietary beta-carotene is simply eliminated from the body (although you need to be careful with over-the-counter supplements because they are often synthetic and metabolized differently, especially if you are a smoker). We've all heard that vitamin A is good for eye health, but did you know it is a powerful antioxidant and can help prevent cancer and lower your risk of heart disease? The downside is that carrots are sweet and 1 cup of carrot juice contains about 2 teaspoons of natural sugar and about 15 carbohydrates. Even so, I love my fresh carrot juice and I wanted to find a way to include it in my diet. This recipe comes to the rescue!  I've added a bit of puréed pumpkin, plain kefir, coconut oil and the warm spices that we associate with this season. This juice blend has a lot going for it: probiotics from the kefir or yogurt, coconut oil to slow the absorption of the sugars and assist in the uptake of fat-soluble vitamin A, plus it includes other important vitamins and minerals. A shot or two of this delicious elixir each day is all I need to provide a healthy, healing dose of beta-carotene that my body craves.

Carrot and Pumpkin Spice Beta-Carotene Shots
Makes 12 servings (of 2 TB each)

1 cup fresh carrot juice (if purchased, look for unpasteurized juice for the healthiest option)
2 tablespoons puréed pumpkin
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened kefir or yogurt (substitute non-dairy, if desired)
1 teaspoon orange zest (or 2 drops of dietary-grade orange or tangerine essential oil)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
10 drops of liquid stevia (orange flavored is nice), or to taste
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
A tiny pinch of sea salt

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined. Store in a glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator. Shake before serving. Plan to drink it within a week.

Nutritional Information per 2 TB serving: 19 calories, 1.7 g carbohydrate (0.1 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g sugars), 1.3 g total fat (1.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 16 mg sodium, 11.4 mg calcium, 3 mg potassium, 0.4 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 1.6 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Two Grain-free, Low-Carb Granola Flavors for Fall



I've been experimenting with new flavors for my reduced-carb baked granola recipe and here are two winners perfect for the season: Pumpkin Spice and Cranberry Nut! Both incorporate ingredients that are local and in season right now, namely pumpkin and fresh cranberries. I recently baked my Halloween "decorations" to make a creamy batch of puréed pumpkin and used it to make this delicious granola. It was so good, I was inspired to chop some fresh cranberries and create another fall favorite. Both are great as breakfast cereals, toppings for yogurt or applesauce or for snacking. This granola is quickly becoming a staple in my pantry. It's so easy! Because I make so much, usually a batch every week, I want to share a tip for making it even easier: When you're measuring out the ingredients for one batch, go ahead and measure out the dry ingredients for a second batch and place it in the refrigerator in a sealed container. When it's time to make more (and you will want to), just add the wet ingredients, stir to combine and bake. These granola flavors make great holiday gifts, too.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup each)

1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup hazelnut or almond meal/flour
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds (ground in a nut grinder) or flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythirtol sweetener)
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup butter or ghee (clarified butter), melted (substitute non-dairy, if desired)
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
10 drops English Toffee stevia drops, or to taste
1/4 cup pumpkin purée (canned or homemade)
1 tablespoon water (only if needed)

1. Preheat oven to 250-degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick coconut oil spray; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix very well. Spread the granola mixture on the parchment paper-lined pan. Compress it into a firm, even sheet of granola by pressing mixture flat with your hand that is protected by parchment or a plastic sandwich bag or rubber spatula. The granola should be about 1/4-inch thick.

3. Bake for 75-80 minutes or until golden throughout (the longer it bakes, the crunchier it gets). If you notice that the edges are well browned, but the center is not, use a spatula to remove the outer edge of the granola and place on a plate to cool. Return the cookie sheet to the oven, reduce heat to 200-degrees and continue baking until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces and enjoy! Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 262 calories, 8.8 g carbohydrate (4.6 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars), 23.8 g total fat (5.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 131 mg sodium, 74.1 mg calcium, 258 mg potassium, 7.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4.2 grams
Cranberry Nut Baked Granola
Makes 15 servings (1/2 cup each)

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup chia seed (ground in a nut grinder) or flaxseed meal
1/4 cup hazelnut flour
1/4 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
3 tablespoons Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener (or any monkfruit/erythritol blend)
3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon raw honey, melted
1/4 cup butter or ghee (clarified butter), melted (substitute non-dairy, if desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
15-20 liquid stevia drops, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 250-degrees and follow the directions above to make the granola.  Makes about 7-1/2 cups of bite-size pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 246 calories, 9.7 g carbohydrate (4.6 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars, 1.6 g sugar alcohol), 22.6 g total fat (4.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 8 mg cholesterol, 81 mg sodium, 66.7 mg calcium, 191 mg potassium, 5.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 5.1 grams

Recipes by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Kefir Ice Cream with Candied Peanuts and Chocolate Chips



Since I received an ice cream maker for my birthday, I've been having a wonderful time making lower carb frozen desserts.  This kefir ice cream is creamy, delicious and a real hit with my family.  The "candied" chopped peanuts are first sautéed in a little butter, then sprinkled with a monkfruit sweetener that hardens into a crackle when cooled.  The "chocolate chips" are several small squares of an 85% cacao chocolate bar (I like Organic Green & Black's 85% bar) that have been finely chopped so the tiny bits of chocolate are distributed evenly throughout.  When chopped fine, a little goes a long way without adding too many carbs.  When most "low carb" ice creams available commercially have about 18 carbs per serving, this infinitely-more-delicious homemade ice cream has only about 9 total carbs (6.7 net carbs), plus it has the additional health benefit of probiotics from the kefir. Your taste buds and your gut will be happier.  This is a win-win combination in my book!

Peanut Butter Kefir Ice Cream with Candied Peanuts and Chocolate Chips
Makes eight (1/2 cup) servings

1 tablespoon butter, ghee or non-dairy butter substitute
1/3 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
2-1/2 teaspoons Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener, divided
3 cups plain, unsweetened coconut milk kefir (to see directions, click here)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used flax, but your favorite will do)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, no sugar added
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I use Sweet Leaf brand), or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
6 small squares of 85% dark chocolate, finely chopped (about 3 TB)

1.  A day or two ahead, make a batch of homemade, plain, unsweetened coconut milk kefir using full-fat coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage).  Refrigerate until ready to use.  (You can use purchased plain, unsweetened kefir but the nutritional information with be different and the resulting ice cream will not be non-dairy.)

2.  In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the chopped peanuts.  Sauté briefly until warm throughout (do not overcook because the peanuts can burn easily).  Sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons of the Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener over the peanuts and stir to coat.  When the monkfruit sweetener has melted, remove from heat and transfer the peanuts and any remaining liquid to a bowl.  Set aside to cool completely.

3.  Place 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, plain kefir, peanut butter, remaining 1 teaspoon of Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener, liquid stevia drops, stevia powder, vanilla extract and salt into a blender.  Blend until smooth and all ingredients are well combined.  Taste and add additional stevia drops or powder, if desired.  Place in a jar or other container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before making the ice cream.  Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and set aside.

4. Follow the directions for your ice cream maker.  Pour the peanut butter-kefir mixture into the ice cream maker and churn until thickened and beginning to set.  Add the peanuts, reserved liquid and chopped chocolate and continue churning until desired consistency is reached.  Serve immediately as soft-set or transfer to a container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.*

*Important Note:  This ice cream needs to be eaten while in a soft-set stage.  If allowed to freeze completely, it will be too firm to scoop.  Any leftover ice cream can be frozen in individual ice pop molds and served later as a creamy ice pop.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 315 calories, 8.9 g carbohydrate (2.2 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars, 1 g sugar alcohols), 27.6 g total fat (10.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 98 mg sodium, 34.2 mg calcium, 37 mg potassium, 7.4 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 6.7 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Pecan Kefir Ice Cream



Fall is here!  Leaves are turning, the temperature is cooler and pumpkins are decorating the front porches all along my neighborhood.  This is the time of year that I begin to crave the flavors of autumn and pumpkin is one of my favorites.  This creamy frozen dessert is a real treat!  The best part is that it's low carb, dairy-free, full of beneficial live probiotic cultures, provides healthy fats and is unbelievably DELICIOUS!  Start by making a batch of coconut milk kefir (see my earlier post), then flavor the plain kefir before putting it into your ice cream maker.  The result is a healthy dessert worthy of any occasion that the whole family will enjoy.

Pumpkin Pecan Kefir Ice Cream
Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

3 cups plain, unsweetened, coconut milk kefir (click here for directions)
1 tablespoon butter, ghee or non-dairy butter substitute
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tiny pinches of salt, divided
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée 
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used flax milk, but substitute with your favorite)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
10 drops liquid English Toffee Stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
5 drops liquid Vanilla Creme Stevia
1/4 teaspoon 100% Stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  A day or two ahead, make a batch of homemade, plain, coconut milk kefir using full-fat coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage).  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.  (If desired, you may use purchased plain, unsweetened kefir, but the nutritional information will be different and the resulting ice cream will not be non-dairy.)

2.  In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter, ghee or non-dairy butter substitute.  Add 1/3 cup chopped pecans and cook over low heat until pecans are fragrant and lightly toasted.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of LaKanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, a tiny pinch of salt and stir to coat.  Remove from heat, transfer pecans and any liquid into a bowl and set aside at room temperature to cool.

3.  Place 3 cups of plain, unsweetened kefir into a blender. Add 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, 1 teaspoon Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, 1 teaspoon molasses, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, liquid Stevia drops, 1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, a tiny pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Blend to combine and taste. Add more Stevia drops or powder, if desired, until desired sweetness is achieved.  Refrigerate mixture for about an hour before proceeding.

4.  Follow the directions from your ice cream maker.  Pour the pumpkin-kefir mixture into the ice cream maker and churn until thickened and beginning to set.  Add the pecans and reserved liquid from the bowl into the ice cream and continue churning until desired consistency is reached.  Serve immediately soft-set or pour into a container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.*

* Important Note: This kefir ice cream needs to be eaten while in a soft-set stage.  If allowed to freeze completely, the ice cream will be too firm to scoop.  Any extra ice cream can be frozen in individual ice pop molds and served later as a creamy ice pop.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 179 calories, 4.9 g carbohydrate (0.9 g dietary fiber, 2.7 g sugars, 1.2 g sugar alcohols), 17.4 g total fat (10.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 34 mg sodium, 35.4 mg calcium, 70 mg potassium, 1.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Baked Cinnamon Spice Grain-Free, Low-Carb Granola


It's granola...so it must be healthy, right?  No, not necessarily.  Granola is one of those foods that is touted as healthy but can often be so full of sugar and carbohydrate that it's no better than eating right out of the sugar bowl!  If you check out the nutritional label on a store-bought granola cereal, you'd be shocked to see that there are about 45 carbs per serving, which translates into 8-1/2 teaspoons of sugar.  You can just imagine the spike in your blood glucose that is anything but healthy for your body.  In this grain-free recipe, there are only 4 net carbs per serving and I think the taste is better than a processed, boxed variety.  I used a combination of honey and no-carb sweeteners to achieve the right touch of sweetness without overpowering the warm spices and crunchy nuts.  It makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast topped with your favorite cold, non-dairy milk or sprinkle it on yogurt, applesauce or eat it plain as a snack.  Recently I stirred some into homemade vanilla kefir ice cream and it tasted like Cookies and Cream!  I always have some of this granola around because it's simple to make ahead of time and convenient when I need a quick and easy breakfast.

Baked Cinnamon Spice Grain-Free, Low-Carb Granola
Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup each)

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup hazelnut or almond meal/flour
1/4 cup chia seeds, ground in a nut grinder (or 1/4 cup ground flaxseed)
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup melted butter (or 1/2 butter & 1/2 coconut oil)
2 tablespoons LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythirtol sweetener)
3/4 teaspoon Stevia powder (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
1 tablespoon raw honey, melted
10 drops of Vanilla Creme liquid Stevia, or to taste (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 250-degrees F.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick coconut oil spray; set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix very well.  Spread the granola on the parchment paper-lined pan.  Compress it into a firm, even sheet of granola by pressing mixture flat with a rubber spatula or your hand that is protected by parchment or a plastic sandwich bag.  The granola should be about 1/4-inch thick.*

3. Bake for about 70-90 minutes, or until golden throughout (the longer you bake it, the crunchier it gets).  Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.  Break into pieces and enjoy!  Makes about 6 cups of bite-size pieces.  Store in an air-tight container.

*If you want to make this mixture into bars, shape into 12 equal-size bars or rounds, flatten and bake as directed.  Cool bars completely before removing from pan.  Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap, then store bars in a zip-lock bag.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup pieces: 260 calories, 8.7 g carbohydrate (4.6 g dietary fiber, 2.5 g sugars), 23.8 g total fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 124 mg sodium, 61.2 mg calcium, 184 mg potassium, 7.1 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4.1 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Prosciutto Wrapped Zucchini with Pesto and Mozzarella



I've seen many recipes for prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears, but never zucchini.  In this recipe, I created a small hollow down the center of the zucchini and filled it with pesto and firm mozzarella before wrapping it with the prosciutto and sauteing it in a skillet.  The prosciutto becomes crispy and encases the filling nicely.  This makes a wonderful side dish or, if cut into squares, a perfectly delightful appetizer or snack!  If you're looking for another creative way to enjoy your vegetables, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try.

Prosciutto Wrapped Zucchini with Pesto and Mozzarella
Makes 4 side dish servings or about 12 appetizers

1 medium zucchini (about 8" long and not too fat)
2 tablespoons pesto (homemade or store bought)
firm mozzarella, cut into 1/4" x 1/2" sticks
prosciutto slices (about 3-4)
coconut oil (or oil saved from frying bacon)
Optional garnishes for appetizers: basil leaves, grape tomato halves, small mozzarella balls

1.  Wash and dry the zucchini.  Cut a thin portion off one side to create a flat surface (so the zucchini will not roll when placed on that side).  Repeat on the opposite side.  Cut the zucchini lengthwise down the center, between the two flat surfaces.  Set the zucchini halves with the seed sides up and, using a spoon, scrape down the center of each zucchini to remove the seeds and create a hollowed out space.

2.  Spread 1 TB of pesto down the center of each zucchini half in the hollow space.  Top pesto with mozzarella sticks just the length of the hollow space (do not let cheese extend beyond this space).  Wrap each zucchini half with the sliced prosciutto, being careful to overlap and encase the filling completely.

Saute prosciutto wrapped zucchini in skillet
3.  Heat the oil in a skillet to medium-high.  Place the zucchini with seam side down into the pan and saute until the prosciutto is browned and crispy.  Turn over and repeat with second side.  You may also wish to brown edges, as well.  Remove from pan and drain briefly on a paper towel.  Cut each zucchini into serving size pieces.  To serve as a side dish, cut each zucchini half into 2 pieces.  If creating appetizers, cut each zucchini into small squares and top with suggested garnish (as pictured) and secure with a toothpick.

Nutritional Information per side dish serving (1/4 recipe): 106 calories, 2.5 g carbohydrate (0.6 g dietary fiber, 1.5 g sugar), 8.4 g total fat (3.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 14 mg cholesterol, 381 mg sodium, 115.3 mg calcium, 128 mg potassium, 6.7 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 1.9 grams

Recipe by Kathryn Sheehan, copyright 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Milk and Non-Dairy Kefir



Kefir is a fermented milk beverage often described as a drinkable yogurt.  It is similar to yogurt, although kefir has more of the beneficial live organisms that many people hope to receive from yogurt to improve their health.  By consuming fermented and cultured foods, it helps to reduce inflammation which is a hallmark of T2 diabetes, and balance your gut microbiome.  It's extremely easy to make, requiring only milk or non-dairy milk (I use 100% coconut milk) and a culture starter known as kefir grains (not really a grain like wheat, but that's what they're called).  Kefir grains are a colony of the beneficial bacteria that will turn ordinary milk into kefir.  Lately. I've been having a wonderful time making batch after batch of delicious coconut milk kefir and flavoring it with chocolate, strawberries and, as pictured here, fresh cherries!  I am feeding my microbiome and seeing the positive results on my blood glucose monitor!  I highly encourage you to start making your own kefir and experimenting with different flavorings.  Below is the basic plain recipe, which can be made with any dairy milk from cow to goat, or full-fat coconut milk for non-dairy kefir.  Enjoy!

Milk or Non-Dairy Plain Milk Kefir
Makes 6-8 servings (1/2 cup)

3-4 cups milk of choice (If using coconut milk, choose full-fat and not coconut milk beverage)
2 tablespoons kefir grains (or use one packet of powdered starter)*

Place the milk and kefir grains (or powdered starter) into a clean, glass quart-size Mason jar.  Cover with cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band or cover loosely with the jar lid.  As the milk ferments the organisms will release gas, so it needs a way to escape.  Place at room temperature on your kitchen counter for 8-24 hours until it is slightly sour and tangy to your liking.  It's difficult to tell you an exact amount of time because fermentation happens at different rates depending on the vitality of the kefir grains, the temperature in your kitchen and your personal taste.  Check after 8 hours by tasting and continue checking at regular intervals until it reaches the level of tang that you like.  The longer it ferments, the more sour and tangy it will become.  It should taste similar to yogurt.

Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lumpy kefir grains and store the strained kefir in the refrigerator.  (Do not refrigerate with grains still in the kefir; you must strain them out and save them to start your next batch.  If using powdered starter, strain and keep any small lumpy grains for your next batch.  If using powdered starter, you'll also need to hold back about 1/4-1/2 cup of the plain cultured kefir to add to your next batch.)  Kefir will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, although it may continue to thicken and ferment, becoming more tangy with time.  If it becomes too thick, either eat it with a spoon or add more milk and blend to reach desired consistency.

You can immediately start a new batch with your kefir grains or add them to 1-2 cups of milk and store them in the refrigerator for a few days before making more kefir.  When making non-dairy kefir, it's advisable to store your kefir grains between batches in dairy milk to keep them alive and in good condition.  The preferred food for kefir grains is lactose (milk sugar), so you'll need to revitalize them every few batches by storing them in milk.  Before making another batch of non-dairy kefir, strain and rinse the kefir grains in cool water, which will remove nearly all of the dairy residue.  If you are extremely sensitive to dairy, your best choice would be to use the powdered starter (instead of grains).  Body Ecology brand powdered kefir starter will make about 7 batches before you need to begin again with a new packet of powdered starter.

*Resources: The website Cultures for Health (www.culturesforhealth.com) sells both kefir grains and Body Ecology brand powdered kefir starter.  Also, the website offers many step-by-step, how-to videos for making a wide variety of cultured foods.  I highly recommend you check them out!

How to flavor your kefir:

Strawberry or Cherry Kefir:  Take 3/4 to 1 cup of fresh, sliced strawberries or cherries and gently heat them in a saucepan to release their juices.  Allow the heated fruit to come to room temperature.  Add the cooled fruit and 3 cups strained, plain kefir to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add 5-10 drops of liquid stevia to taste.  You might also wish to add vanilla extract.  If kefir becomes too thick after refrigeration, simply add additional milk and blend until desired consistency.  Try this variation with other berries!

Chocolate Kefir:  Heat 1/2 cup milk, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon stevia powder in a saucepan.  Stir constantly until cocoa powder dissolves and no lumps remain.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Stir again and add this mixture and 3 cups plain kefir to a blender.  Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and blend until smooth.  Taste and add additional sweetening as desired.  Store in the refrigerator.

Other uses for kefir:  Create your own flavored kefir by trying different fruits!  Use kefir in your smoothies or to make kefir ice cream (see my Pumpkin Pecan Kefir Ice Cream recipe here).  You can make kefir cheese (similar to cream cheese) from thick, dairy kefir by allowing the whey to drain from the kefir overnight through a fine-mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth.  Note: Non-dairy kefir usually isn't as thick as dairy kefir and may not work for making kefir cheese.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream
 Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving will vary depending on type of milk used and other flavor additions.  Plain kefir will have approximately the same nutritional information as the milk used to make it.  Check the packaging label on the milk carton.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Grain Free Plain and Pizza Waffle



I've gone hog wild using my old, 33-year old waffle maker!  I discovered how to make grain-free waffles using nut butter as a base, so no flour is needed.  I've created plain and pizza flavored!  (Pizza variation on the basic plain recipe is listed below.)  I'll be creating other flavors, so be on the lookout in future posts.  For someone that hasn't eaten a piece of bread, or a waffle, in over 1-1/2 years, this recipe is like performing a magic trick!  The plain version makes a wonderful bread substitute.  Just top with your favorite sandwich filling, such as chicken salad, and eat as an open-face sandwich.  The pizza waffle is a favorite, especially for a quick lunch or dinner.  As pictured here, I topped mine with uncured, nitrate-free pepperoni cut into slivers that were heated in a skillet, shredded Parmesan and chopped tomatoes seasoned with Italian herbs.  It is to die for!  The waffles can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container.  To crisp them back up, just toast or place them briefly on your heated waffle iron so that it fits on the squares like a puzzle.  Also, if you don't have a waffle maker, either of these recipes can be made into pancakes and cooked in a skillet.  Have fun with these!  I know I have!

Grain Free Basic Plain Waffle
Makes about 3 or 4 waffles (6-8 servings)

1/2 cup almond or cashew butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk, such as almond, coconut or flax
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon (two drops) molasses
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
non-stick vegetable spray or melted ghee (clarified butter), if needed

1.  Mix all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a fork until a smooth batter forms.  The batter should have the consistency of pancake batter, thickened but pourable.  If additional liquid is needed, add 1 TB of non-dairy milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.  (If the batter is too thick, it will work fine but might not make a total of 4 waffles.)

2.  Heat waffle iron to a medium setting.  If needed to prevent sticking, spray both sides of the waffle iron with non-stick vegetable spray or brush lightly with melted ghee.  Ladle the batter onto the waffle iron and close the lid.  Cook until waffle is golden brown.  Carefully remove from waffle iron and serve immediately or place on a wire rack to cool completely, then store in a airtight container.  Repeat with remaining batter.

3.  To reheat a cooled waffle, either toast lightly or carefully fit the waffle back onto a heated waffle iron (make it fit like a puzzle) and close the lid.  Only reheat the waffle for about 20 seconds or until crispy.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/2 waffle, no topping):  129 calories, 5.2 g carbohydrate (0.3 g dietary fiber, 0.6 sugars), 10.4 g total fat (2.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 155 mg cholesterol, 121 mg sodium, 33.5 mg calcium, 145 mg potassium, 5.1 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4.9 grams

Pizza Waffle Variation:  Omit the molasses and add 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons tomato paste, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon onion powder and freshly ground black pepper.  The batter should have the consistency of pancake batter.  If additional liquid is needed, add 1 TB of non-dairy milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Proceed with step 2 to make waffles.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sugar and Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache Sauce



This rich, dark chocolate sauce is so easy to make and is delicious!  When chilled, it thickens into a spoonable and spreadable chocolate, similar to a soft truffle.  It can be used as frosting, glaze or a spread.  When heated, it becomes a pourable sauce, perfect for drizzling over fruit, yogurt or other dessert.  Also, you can use it as a base for chocolate milk or hot chocolate.  Sometimes when I want something sweet, I'll eat it by the spoonful straight from the refrigerator!  When you add stevia to the melted chocolate-coconut milk mixture and whisk, it becomes a bit lumpy, so the final blending in a food processor (or blender) is necessary to bring all the ingredients together into a smooth sauce.  Don't be put off by this additional step because this decadent sauce is definitely worth the effort!

Sugar and Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache Sauce
Makes about 14 servings of 1 TB each

1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
2 oz. unsweetened baker's chocolate, chopped (I use Dagoba brand)
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)*
1 teaspoon 100% stevia powder (I used SweetLeaf brand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
tiny pinch of salt
1/3 cup almond, flax, hazelnut or other non-dairy milk
5-10 drops 100% liquid stevia or to taste (optional: substitute 1 teas. raw honey)

1.  In a double boiler over simmering water, heat the coconut milk, chopped chocolate and ghee until chocolate is melted.  Remove from heat and whisk in the salt, stevia powder and vanilla extract.  The mixture will be lumpy and may separate, but don't worry.

2.  Using a rubber spatula, place chocolate mixture into a food processor or blender.  Add the 1/3 cup non-dairy milk and blend until mixture is combined and smooth.  Add 5 drops of liquid stevia, blend briefly and taste.  If additional sweetening is needed, add a few more drops, blend and taste.  (If substituting the optional honey, omit liquid stevia drops.)

3.  When satisfied, pour the chocolate sauce into a glass container and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.  This chocolate sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks but, honestly, mine has never lasted that long!

Nutritional Information per 1 TB serving: 49 calories, 1.2 g carbohydrate (0.7 g dietary fiber, 0.1 g sugars), 5.2 g total fat (3.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 13 mg sodium, 6.5 mg calcium, 0 mg potassium, 0.6 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 0.5 grams

* Ghee is clarified butter with the milk solids removed.  It is lactose and casein free.  Most people with an allergy to dairy can tolerate ghee.  Feel free to substitute coconut oil or your favorite non-dairy butter substitute in place of the ghee, if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No-Bake, Dairy-Free Egg Custard Flan



I dedicate this recipe to my sister, who recently learned that she's sensitive to dairy, egg whites (but not the yolks, strangely) and that consuming gelatin would be healing to her digestive system.  She has been suffering from GERD for months and, by reducing the carbs and sugar in her diet, it has given some relief from her uncomfortable symptoms.  Like all gelatin desserts, this recipe is so easy to make!  It tastes like a traditional flan, without the need for large amounts of sugar or milk.  The topping is made from a 50:50 combination of real maple syrup and water; a serving is only 3/4 teaspoon and contains 1 extra carb.  You have the option to omit it, but I think it's worth it and necessary if you want the true flavor of a flan.  I've set my gelatin in regular-size "flower petal" silicone muffin cups to create individual desserts, but I think this would work equally well set in a small pie tin then unmolded and cut into wedges.  Dear sister, I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It will go a long way to satisfy your sweet tooth!

No-Bake, Dairy-Free Egg Custard Flan
Makes 8 servings

Custard Ingredients:
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened flax, almond or other type of non-dairy milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 teaspoon molasses (about 2-3 drops)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/16 teaspoon mace (pinch, optional)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon 100% stevia powder (I use SweetLeaf brand)

Topping Ingredients:
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1 tablespoon warm water

1.  Mix together the milks and water.  Pour 1 cup into a small saucepan, add the molasses and heat over medium-low heat until beginning to boil.  Meanwhile, pour the remaining milk mixture into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  When the milk in the saucepan is starts boiling, turn the heat to low and add the gelatin-milk mixture.  Whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved.

2.  Separate the egg white from the yolk and put the yolk into the same small bowl used for the gelatin-milk mixture (discard the white or save for another purpose).  Whisk the yolk.  When the gelatin mixture in the saucepan is hot and steamy, but not boiling, carefully ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the yolk while whisking constantly.  Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly.  Continue stirring for about 30 seconds to cook the egg yolk, but do not allow to boil (or you'll end up with scrambled egg).  Remove from heat and add the nutmeg, mace, vanilla extract and stevia powder.  Whisk to combine.  Taste the custard mixture and adjust sweetness, if desired.  Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  The spices will have settled to the bottom, so before pouring into the molds, whisk to redistribute the spices and whisk occasionally as your divide the mixture equally between 8 silicone muffin cups or pour entire contents into a small pie tin.  Place in the refrigerator until completely set (several hours, but set time depends on the mold).

4.  Make the maple topping by stirring together the maple syrup and water.  Set aside until ready to serve.

5.  To unmold, dip the muffin cups, one at a time, into a bowl filled with warm water to a depth of about 1 inch for about 15 seconds (you might have to gently pull the top of the custard away from the sides of the mold, as well).  If you used a pie tin, place it into a sink that has been filled with warm water to a depth of about 1 inch for 20 seconds and run a sharp knife around the top edge of the custard before unmolding on a serving plate.  Spoon 3/4 teaspoon of the maple topping over the top of each dessert before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving (includes 3/4 teas. topping): 42 calories, 2.5 g total carbohydrate (0.1 g dietary fiber, 2.1 g sugars), 2.9 g total fat (1.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 26 mg cholesterol. 10 mg sodium, 26.8 mg calcium, 18 mg potassium, 1.2 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 2.5 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake with Cream Gelatin Dessert



I love gelatin desserts!  They're simple to make, are light and delicious, and have many health benefits. This beautiful dessert looks spectacular in a tapered glass to show off the layers.  The bottom layer is a silky, vanilla cream made with cashew butter.  The top layer is sweet and fruity from pureed strawberries mixed with coconut milk.  The combination is reminiscent of strawberry shortcake.  It makes a very special Valentine's Day treat!

Strawberry Shortcake with Cream Gelatin Dessert
Makes 6 servings

Shortcake Layer:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond milk (or your favorite milk)*
2 tablespoons creamy cashew butter
1-1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon 100% stevia powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Layer:
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond milk (or your favorite milk)*
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, thawed (about 6-8 berries)
1-1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
2-3 drops lemon juice
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon 100% stevia powder (or to taste)

fresh, whole berries and a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish, optional

1.  Begin by making the shortcake layer.  Put 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat.  Heat to boiling and add the 2 TB of cashew butter, whisk until nut butter has melted.  While the water is coming to a boil, measure 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup almond milk in a small bowl and stir.  Sprinkle 1-1/2 teas. unflavored gelatin powder over the milks and allow to sit for a few minutes.  When the water-cashew butter mixture is boiling, reduce heat to low and whisk in the milk-gelatin mixture and continue whisking until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and add 1/4 + 1/8 teas. stevia powder and 1 teas. vanilla extract.  Whisk until blended.  Taste and, if necessary, adjust sweetness.  Divide equally between serving dishes and put into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until just set.

2.  After the shortcake layer has been in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, you can begin the strawberry layer.  Place the strawberries into a blender and add 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup almond milk.  Blend until strawberries are pureed and mixture is smooth.  Pour into a small bowl, sprinkle 1-1/2 teas. gelatin powder over top; set aside.  Without rinsing the blender, add 1/2 cup water and blend on high until any remaining strawberry mixture blends with the water.  Pour "pink" water and 2-3 drops of lemon juice into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to low and whisk in strawberry milk-gelatin mixture and whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add 1/4 + 1/8 teas. stevia powder.  Taste and, if necessary, adjust sweetness.  Allow to remain at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until shortcake layer is just set.  Divide strawberry mixture equally between serving dishes, pouring gently so not to disturb the shortcake layer.  Return to refrigerator and allow desserts to chill until completely set.

*For those with food allergies: To create a dairy-free dessert, choose a non-dairy milk.

Nutritional Information per serving (not including garnish): 78 calories, 3.3 g carbohydrate (0.3 g dietary fiber, 0.9 g sugar), 6.2 g total fat (3.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 22 mg sodium, 29.1 mg calcium, 46 mg potassium, 2.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 3 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Layered Gelatin Dessert



This isn't your ordinary boxed jello!  It's sugar free and made from high-quality, healthy ingredients, not chemicals, dyes and artificial flavors.  Gelatin is largely composed of the amino acids glycine and proline.  It is pure protein and very healing for the body.  Many healthcare practitioners even recommend consuming gelatin to vegans because the health benefits are so numerous!  The benefits to skin, nails, hair, joints and the digestive system are well known...not to mention that gelatin is so easy to make and fun to eat!  You can set these desserts in any small container, but glass will show off the layers.  Another idea is to use regular-sized silicone muffin cups (as pictured) which, when unmolded, has the look of a big peanut butter cup candy!  The presentation of this simple dessert will impress your guests or family.  Kids love them!  They appear so sinful but, in reality, they're a light and healthy treat.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Layered Gelatin Dessert
Makes 8 servings

Peanut Butter Layer:
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond or flax milk (or your favorite milk)*
1/2 cup water
2-1/2 Tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1/4 teaspoon 100% stevia powder (or liquid stevia drops to taste)

Chocolate Layer:
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond or flax milk (or your favorite milk)*
1/2 cup water
1/2 Tablespoon natural creamy peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1/2 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate bar (I use Dagoba brand)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 teaspoon 100% stevia powder (or liquid stevia drops to taste)

1.  Make the peanut butter layer first.  Place 1/2 cup water into a small saucepan.  Measure 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup almond or flax milk into a small bowl and sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin over it and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the water over a medium heat until boiling.  Lower the heat to low and add the milk-gelatin mixture, 2-1/2 TB peanut butter, 1 teas. cocoa powder and whisk until peanut butter has melted and gelatin is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and add 1/4 teas. vanilla and 1/4 teas. stevia powder.  Stir until well blended and smooth.  Taste and adjust sweetening, if necessary.  Divide equally among 8 small serving dishes (glass custard cups work well) or 8 silicone muffin cups.  Place in the refrigerator for about 35 minutes, or until the top has set.

2.  After the peanut butter layer has been in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes, you can begin making the chocolate layer.  The procedure is similar as before and you can use the same saucepan (no need to rinse).  Place 1/2 cup water into the saucepan.  Measure 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup almond or flax milk into a small bowl and sprinkle 1-1/2 teas. unflavored gelatin powder over milks and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the water over a medium heat until boiling.  Lower the heat to low and add the milk-gelatin mixture, 1/2 TB peanut butter, 2 TB. cocoa powder and whisk until peanut butter has melted and gelatin is completely dissolved.  Remove saucepan from heat and drop in 1/2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate and allow to sit until chocolate has completely melted.  Whisk mixture until ingredients are blended.  Add 1/2 teas. vanilla and 1/2 teas. stevia powder.  Whisk until well blended and smooth.  Taste and adjust sweetening by adding an additional 1/8 teas stevia powder, if desired.  Allow to sit, stirring occasionally, until the peanut butter layer is just set.  Divide chocolate mixture equally among the serving dishes or silicone muffin cups.  Place in the refrigerator until completely set before serving.

* For those with food sensitivities: To make a dairy-free dessert, choose non-dairy milk.

Nutritional Information per serving: 86 calories, 3.5 g carbohydrate (1.5 g dietary fiber, 0.5 g sugars), 6.9 g total fat (3.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 25 mg sodium, 20.8 mg calcium, 24 mg potassium, 2.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 2 grams

Recipe by Kathryn Sheehan, copyright 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lemon-Blueberry Dream Green Smoothie



This green smoothie is a delicious combination of lemon and blueberries. I can't even taste the greens, but knowing they are there makes me feel good!  This is alkalizing from the lemon and packed with healthy antioxidants and phytonutrients from the greens and blueberries and is one of my favorite breakfast smoothies.  I'm eating a very low carb, high fat diet, which is very successfully controlling my diabetes.  If I put too much fruit in my smoothie, it can upset my blood sugars and ruin my whole day!  This recipe easily fits into my daily allotment.  The addition of both healthy coconut and flax seed oil suppresses my hunger and prevents cravings by keeping my blood sugar steady throughout the morning.  (If desired, you can use half the amount of these oils, but both are healthy sources.  Healthy sources of fat play many important roles in the body and should not be feared or avoided.  Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids and is fuel for the brain.  Flax seed oil is an excellent source of Omega 3's.)  If you're looking for a refreshing and energizing way to start your morning, look no further.  This smoothie will satisfy!

Lemon-Blueberry Dream Green Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

3/4 cup unsweetened flax or almond milk (or your favorite milk)*
1/4 cup full-fat plain coconut yogurt (or your favorite plain yogurt or kefir)*
2 tablespoons frozen wild blueberries
1-1/2 cups baby kale, spinach or swiss chard (I use an organic blend)
2 slices of lemon with peel, each slice 1/4" wide (organic is preferred)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
10-15 drops of Lemon Drop flavored liquid stevia (I use Sweetleaf brand)
1/2 cup water
4-5 ice cubes

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

Nutritional Information per serving: 412 calories, 10 g carbohydrate (4 g dietary fiber, 3.1 g sugars), 40 g total fat (19.3 g healthy source of saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 141 mg sodium, 356 mg calcium, 26 mg potassium, 4.2 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 6 grams

* For those with food allergies: To make a dairy free smoothie, use a non-dairy milk, yogurt or kefir.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Easy Cream of Spinach Soup


This is my favorite time of year for soup!  I usually have some type of soup in the refrigerator so I don't have to think or worry about what's for lunch.  Another reason I love soup is because it's a great way to sneak more vegetables into my day.  If you're someone who doesn't find crunching on vegetables a delightful past time, try cream soups!  They're packed with nutrition and will disguise the fact that they're mainly vegetable.  This delicious soup is quite similar in texture and taste to a creamy pea soup, but with many fewer carbs.  You can get creative with toppings, if you like.  Pictured is dry roasted pine nuts that have been crushed, but also crumbled bacon or finely chopped ham would be nice, or try a sprinkling of lemon zest and a drizzle of lemon flavored olive oil.  The ease of using frozen chopped spinach makes this a quick and simple meal that you can enjoy tonight.

Easy Cream of Spinach Soup
Makes about 6 servings (about 1-1/4 cups each)

2 TB light olive oil or refined coconut oil
1 cup chopped celery or celeriac (celery root)
1 large leek, sliced
7 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or full-fat coconut milk, if avoiding dairy)

1.  Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add chopped celery or celeriac and leek.  Sauté for a few minutes until leek begins to soften.  Add wine and spinach and sauté for another minute.  Add broth and simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes or until celeriac is softened.  Salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Place soup mixture into a blender (in batches, if necessary) and puree until smooth.  Add heavy cream or coconut milk and stir until well blended.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Serve hot.

Nutritional Information per serving (not including toppings): 127 calories, 6.3 g carbohydrate (1.4 g dietary fiber, 1.6 g sugar), 8.6 g total fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 14 mg cholesterol, 586 mg sodium, 57 mg calcium, 279 mg potassium, 4.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4.9 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015