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: http://www.skinnytaste.com/navy-bean-bacon-and-spinach-soup-pressure-cooker-slow-cooker-or-stove-top/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Apple Pie Kefir Smoothie



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

Apple Pie Kefir Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Snickerdoodle Smoothie



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

Snickerdoodle Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brownie Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream



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

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

Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Base:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Carrots and Apples



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

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

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

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

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

Top vegetables with browned pork chops.

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

Scatter apple slices over all before cooking.

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

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Blueberry Mug Muffin with Easy Cultured Butter



I was lying in bed this morning, thinking about what I might want for breakfast, when an idea flashed into my mind: Blueberry Muffin. This is a twist on my favorite Mug Cake recipes but, instead, it's a Mug Muffin! And to make it even extra healthy, I mixed together kefir cheese and butter to create a simple and quick cultured butter as a spread. YUM...so delicious! I highly recommend using the smaller wild Maine blueberries for this recipe so they won't sink to the bottom (like mine did in this picture) but, even if the bigger variety of berry is all you have, it will still taste amazing, especially topped with creamy butter. (It would also be great made with raspberries.) This delightful breakfast was a great way to start a beautiful summer day in Maine!

Blueberry Mug Muffin
Makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons almond flour/meal
2 teaspoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract or 1 teaspoon lemon zest (or 2 drops dietary-grade lemon essential oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 drops Lemon Drop stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted (use ghee for dairy-free)
1 tablespoon small wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a mug by microwaving on high for about 15 seconds; set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, sweeteners, salt and baking powder. Stir with a fork until well combined and no lumps are visible.

3.  Add the melted butter, extracts, lemon stevia drops, and egg. Whisk with a fork until a smooth batter forms. Take a paper towel and coat the bottom and sides of the mug with any butter remaining in the mug. Add 1/2 of the blueberries to the batter and gently fold to incorporate and pour into the prepared mug. Top batter with remaining berries.

4. Microwave on high for about 45 seconds.* Remove and test by touching the muffin near the center. It is done when the batter on top of the muffin looks set and springs back when touched lightly. If additional cooking time is needed, microwave at 10 second intervals and retest. Do not overcook. Allow the muffin to cool in the mug for 1 minute.

5. Invert the muffin onto a serving plate and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately with butter or store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day. This recipe makes 2 servings.

*To bake in the oven, divide batter into two greased muffin tins or ramekins and bake at 325-degree Fahrenheit for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when tested or muffins spring back when touched near the center. 

These muffins can be microwaved or baked in the oven. Both methods are equally delicious!
Nutritional Information per 1/2 recipe: 143 calories, 6 g carbohydrate (1.7 g dietary fiber, 0.9 g sugars, 4 g sugar alcohols), 11.7 g total fat (4.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 113 mg cholesterol, 173 mg sodium, 114.5 mg calcium, 88 mg potassium, 5 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4.3 grams

Easy and Quick Cultured Butter: Mix together 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon kefir cheese (to make kefir cheese, click here) and 1/4 teaspoon honey.  This probiotic-rich buttery spread is excellent on muffins, pancakes and waffles.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Coco-Mocha Mug Cake



I just returned from vacation and I'm not quite ready to stop being on vacation! This afternoon, to extend the fun experience, I made this marvelous Keto Mug Cake and ate the whole thing for my lunch. It's grain-free, sugar free and easily can be made dairy free (by substituting ghee for the butter), but it's far from flavor free! The combination of coconut, coffee and chocolate is so delicious. Since Mug Cakes are "baked" in the microwave and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, I can be spontaneous and carefree about having one. This tender cake is similar to a sweet indulgence I was tempted to have while on vacation, but without all the gluten, sugar, carbs or guilt! Mmmm...this was a great way reward myself for having made healthy choices on my trip and to welcome myself back home.

Coco-Mocha Mug Cake
Makes 2 servings

1-1/2 tablespoons butter, melted (or ghee for dairy free)
2 tablespoons almond flour/meal
2 teaspoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (or substitute 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee and omit the coconut milk)
2 teaspoons LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
5 drops dark chocolate stevia or regular (I used NOW Better Stevia brand)
1 tablespoon coconut milk

Optional toppings (pictured): shaved or chopped dark chocolate (70% or higher), toasted unsweetened shredded coconut or flakes. (Optional toppings are not included in nutritional information.)

1. Prepare your mug by melting the butter or ghee in it (microwave for 15 seconds or so); set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the batter.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, coconut flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee (if using), sweeteners, salt, shredded coconut, and baking powder until well mixed.  Add the melted butter, egg, stevia drops and coconut milk.  With a fork or whisk, stir until well combined.

3. With a paper towel, coat the inside of your mug with any melted butter still remaining in the mug. Pour in batter and microwave for about 45 seconds until cake is done and springs back when touched near the center. (The time needed for cooking may vary, depending on the mug you use and the wattage of your microwave. It's best to begin with 45 seconds and, if more cooking is needed, microwave in 10 second intervals until done.)

4. Allow to cool in the mug for at least 1 minute, then invert cake onto a serving dish and cool for an additional few minutes until warm, but not too hot.  Sprinkle with optional toppings, if desired. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature and eat within 1 day. This recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/2 recipe without optional toppings): 191 calories, 7.4 g carbohydrate (2.6 g dietary fiber, 0.8 g sugars, 4 g sugar alcohol), 17.5 g total fat (8.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 116 mg cholesterol, 172 mg sodium, 120 mg calcium, 137 mg potassium, 5.8 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.8 grams

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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Cherry Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream with Macadamia



Summer just isn't summer without ice cream! For a long time, I only would allow myself a single dip of ice cream once a year as a treat. (How sad and un-American is that?) I felt deprived and certainly left out of the whole social experience of eating ice cream with family and friends. I wanted more freedom to enjoy the short, warm season in Maine like everyone else...and that means having plenty of ice cream. The only difference now is that I make it myself. For my birthday last year, I received an ice cream maker and have been having a grand time creating healthy, sugar free ice cream in every season. My imagination has been the only limit to the variety of flavors I've enjoyed! The one ingredient I add to all my recipes is plain milk kefir because it's a delicious way to consume more probiotics. My ice cream is similar to frozen yogurt, but it contains many more beneficial microorganisms to boost digestive health, which is very important for a person with diabetes. This recipe highlights fresh cherries that are in season and at the lowest price right now. Combined with chocolate chips, cacao nibs and chopped macadamia nuts, it is bursting with real summertime flavor! If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can make this mixture into ice pops instead, but I highly recommend you consider getting one for all the ice cream you'll want to make in the future after you taste this!  To browse my other low carb, delicious and healthy ice cream recipes, click here.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream with Macadamia
Makes eight (1/2 cup) servings

Ice cream base:

1 cup plain milk kefir (to learn how to make your own, click here) or use plain yogurt
2 cups full-fat coconut milk (I used A-Roy D brand)
1 tablespoon Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythirtol sweetener)
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
5-8 drops of Cherry flavored liquid stevia (or regular)
1 tablespoon macadamia nut butter (or cashew butter)
12 fresh red sweet cherries, pitted (divided)

Stir-Ins:

2 tablespoons 70% or higher dark chocolate, chopped (I used 5 squares of Green and Black's 85% Organic Chocolate bar)
1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1. In a blender, blend together the kefir, coconut milk, sweeteners, cacao powder, macadamia nut butter and 8 of the pitted cherries. Blend until well combined and smooth. Taste and adjust sweetening, if desired. Lastly, add the remaining 4 cherries and pulse blender only until cherries are roughly chopped (you want some chopped cherry pieces visible in the mixture). Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, prepare stir-in ingredients and put them in a small bowl; set aside. (I like using cacao nibs with the chopped dark chocolate because it adds a nice crunchy texture to the finished ice cream but, if you don't have them, you can leave them out and add another 1 tablespoon of chopped chocolate instead.)

3. According to the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker, churn the ice cream base until beginning to solidify.  Add the stir-ins and continue churning until a soft serve consistency is reached. At this point, you can serve immediately or, if you wish to scoop the ice cream, pour into a container and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes, but do not allow it to freeze completely (see note below). 

NOTE: This ice cream is best served right away because, if it is completely frozen, it will be too hard to scoop. Fill ice pop molds with any leftover ice cream and freeze to be eaten as popsicles later.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup: 202 calories, 6.8 g carbohydrate (1.3 g dietary fiber, 3.7 g sugars, 1.5 g sugar alcohol), 19 g total fat (10.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat) 0 mg cholesterol, 13 mg sodium, 21.7 mg calcium, 51 mg potassium, 1.8 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.5 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Healing Golden Milk Kefir with Cacao



If you read my blog regularly, you know I recommend consuming probiotic-rich foods or beverages on a daily basis for health. Another resource of healing is my spice cabinet! In particular, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger are potent anti-inflammatory spices that are especially beneficial for improving chronic diseases, including T2 diabetes. This recipe is my twist on the classic Golden Turmeric Milk or Tea, which has been proven to reduce pain and systemic inflammation. The addition of raw cacao powder provides antioxidants and, more importantly, a delicious flavor that completely masks the warm, peppery and sometimes bitter turmeric compounds (which are what makes turmeric so healthful). Because I include kefir, this beverage should not be heated to retain the quality of the probiotic microorganisms. If you're worried that this won't taste good, you are wrong...because it is AMAZING! It is slightly spicy, but so sweet and delicious too. It's a great flavor combination and I love it! Enjoy this for breakfast or as a meal replacement, in the afternoon as a pick-me-up or, leave out the cacao powder, and have a cup before bed to help you relax and fall asleep.

Healing Golden Milk Kefir with Cacao
Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup plain milk or coconut milk kefir (click here to make your own)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I use full-fat A-roy D brand)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
A pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined. (You may also use a whisk, but I find a blender mixes the ingredients more thoroughly.) Do not heat. Pour into a mug and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving (made with full-fat coconut milk): 230 calories, 7.9 g carbohydrate (0.9 g dietary fiber, 5.7 g sugars), 19.7 g total fat (13.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 53 mg sodium, 100 mg calcium, 61 mg potassium, 4.4 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 7 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Shortcake in a Mug



It's strawberry season again and there's nothing that says summer like Strawberry Shortcake! I normally don't eat a lot of fruit but, when it's fresh, in season and local, I usually indulge in a pint or two. This is my favorite way to eat strawberries. The best part about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to make the shortcakes. Taking only 45 seconds in the microwave, this mug cake will be ready in minutes to split and share with a friend, topped with sweet berries and a dollop of whipped coconut cream laced with vanilla. (If you can't find a friend to share it with, save half of the shortcake for later.) The cake itself isn't overly sweet, so the flavor of the berries will shine forth. The slight hint of lemon gives it a nice touch and will go well with any fruit. Enjoy the summer!

Shortcake in a Mug
Makes 2 servings

1/4 cup almond flour/meal
2 teaspoons golden flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythirtol sweetener)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (or 1-2 drops dietary grade lemon essential oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or unsweetened vanilla powder
5 drops Lemon Drop liquid stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1 teaspoon melted butter (or ghee for dairy free)

1. In a small bowl, combine the first six dry ingredients with a fork until thoroughly mixed.  Add the egg, lemon zest (or essential oil), vanilla extract and Lemon Drop liquid stevia.

2. Melt the butter in an eight-ounce mug or ramekin and add to the batter mixture. With a paper towel, wipe any butter remaining in the mug around the sides and on the bottom of the mug; set aside.

3. With a fork, beat the cake batter until all ingredients are combined and pour into the greased mug or ramekin. Microwave on high for about 45 seconds or until the cake has risen, looks dry and the top springs back when touched lightly in the center. (Note: Cooking may take a bit less or more time, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the mug you are using. You may need to experiment to discover the best amount of time needed to cook your cake. When you have done this, make a note of the mug used and the proper cooking time so, the next time you make a mug cake, you'll know what works best for you.)

4. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes before running a sharp knife around the edge and inverting your mug to release the shortcake.  Split the cake into two servings, top one half of the shortcake with your favorite berries and whipped coconut cream (recipe below).  Repeat with the other half of the shortcake or cool and store in an airtight container for later. Serve and enjoy.

To make whipped coconut cream: Place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Do NOT shake the can!! Open and spoon out the thickened coconut cream at the top and discard the liquid (or use for another purpose). Add stevia powder and vanilla to taste and whip with a whisk or fork until well combined and it has the consistency of whipped cream. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 shortcake (not including berries or topping): 144 calories, 5.3 g carbohydrate (2.2 g dietary fiber, 0.7 g sugars), 11.7 g total fat (2.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 99 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 132 mg calcium, 152 mg potassium, 6.6 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 3.1 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Faux-tato" Pancakes!



Growing up in the mid-West, potato pancakes were a leftover side dish we often were served after having had mashed potatoes the previous night. I loved them! Crispy on the outside, but still obviously soft and creamy mashed potatoes on the inside. My husband, who is not diabetic, often makes potato pancakes for himself from his leftover (and famous) mashed potatoes. He's really quite an expert at making them. Since I choose to no longer eat white potatoes because they spike my blood sugar, I have not indulged in this delicacy for many years, but look on from afar with just a touch of envy. One day, he wondered aloud if I might be able to make "faux-tato" pancakes from the wonderful mashed cauliflower that I eat in place of potatoes. Using some leftover mashed cauliflower I just happened to have in the refrigerator, we were able to put his idea to the test...and the result was spectacular!! The taste and consistency closely matches my memory of this favorite childhood dish. The mid-Western girl in me is very happy and satisfied by this new discovery!

"Faux-tato" Pancakes!
Makes 3 large pancakes

1 cup mashed cauliflower, seasoned to your liking (see my recipe here)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil

Extra add-ins or toppings (optional): chopped chives, crumbled bacon, cooked crumbled sausage, finely chopped spinach, frozen petite peas (thawed), chopped herbs, finely chopped onions, shredded cheese, sour cream or gluten-free gravy (use these as toppings only).

1. Mix the mashed cauliflower and egg until thoroughly combined. Heat a skillet to medium heat, add ghee or oil and spoon out large dollops of the mashed cauliflower and egg mixture, and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon to form the pancakes.


2. Allow the pancakes to fry in the pan until brown and crispy. (Don't be in a hurry or try to flip the pancakes too soon or they will fall apart. This step may take several minutes. Just watch carefully and turn down the heat if the pancakes are browning too quickly.) 


3. When the first side has browned nicely and the cauliflower mixture has begun to solidify a bit, carefully turn the pancakes with a spatula and continue cooking the second side until brown and crispy.  Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per pancake (not including any optional add-in or topping): 79 calories, 4.2 g carbohydrate (1.9 g dietary fiber, 1.8 g sugars), 5.5 g total fat (2.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 73 mg cholesterol, 76 mg sodium, 26.6 mg calcium, 247 mg potassium, 4.3 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.3 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

Perfect Mashed "Faux-tatoes" (Mashed Cauliflower)



Mashed potatoes have always been one of my favorite side dishes but, because I want to keep my blood sugar normal without diabetic medication, I made the choice to stop eating white potatoes a few years ago. It was an easy choice and the benefit to my health has been worth it! A few weeks ago, my husband was making his famous mashed potatoes and it motivated me to perfect my mashed cauliflower recipe. Too often, mashed cauliflower can end up more like a cauliflower smoothie than the consistency of mashed potatoes! Here is my secret for making PERFECT mashed "faux-tatoes" every time.

Cut florets from a large head of cauliflower.

Perfect Mashed "Faux-tatoes" (Mashed Cauliflower)
Makes about 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

1 large head cauliflower
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sharp cheddar, shredded or cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cut the florets off a large head of cauliflower and discard the leaves and core.

2.  Place the florets in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam covered for about 12-15 minutes, or just until the cauliflower is tender and can be pierced with a fork.  (This is the trick to perfect mashed cauliflower: DO NOT overcook the cauliflower! The longer you steam it, the more water is absorbed and the wetter the finished product will be. So be watchful and remove the cauliflower from the heat as soon as it can be pierced with a fork, but is not too soft.)

Steam florets for 12-15 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

3.  Using a food processor* with the chopping blade, process the cauliflower WITHOUT adding any liquid until it begins to have the consistency of mashed potatoes. (You may need to do this in batches.) Stop the food processor occasionally and break up and incorporate any larger pieces before continuing to process.

4.  When the mashed cauliflower has begun to reach the proper consistency, add 2-3 tablespoons of salted butter, 1/3 cup shredded or cubed sharp cheddar, salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to process until butter, cheese and seasonings are incorporated and the mixture is smooth or has reached the consistency you desire.  Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*This could be done in a blender in very small batches with frequent stopping and scraping down, although it may be difficult to get the mixture completely smooth.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup: 83 calories, 6 g carbohydrate (3 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars), 5.8 g total fat (3.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 78 mg sodium, 25.8 mg calcium, 336 mg potassium, 3.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 3 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cacao Almond Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream



Eating low carb, high fat doesn't have to be boring! Also, if you know a few good low carb substitutions, you can enjoy a healthy, delicious, creamy dessert like this one. The ingredient that makes this ice cream especially beneficial for health is the kefir. Kefir is a cultured dairy beverage, with a taste similar to yogurt, that is filled with probiotic microorganisms that promote healing in all parts of the body, including it's ability to stabilize blood sugar. Research shows that the microbiome of a person with diabetes is different from a healthy person without diabetes. The National Institute of Health is conducting a study to show the benefits of probiotic therapy for T2 diabetics (1). This and other studies from around the world have already demonstrated that rebuilding and maintaining a healthy microbiome by consuming kefir and other fermented foods help to improve or reverse the condition of T2 diabetes (2). That's why I eat probiotic-rich foods daily and include cultured dairy or fermented vegetables with every meal. For me, this kefir ice cream is not only an amazing, guilt-free treat, it's medicine! I follow Hippocrates advice, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Now, this is REAL FOOD medicine that is easy to swallow!

Cacao Almond Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream
Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

Ice Cream Base:
1 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (can be purchased or to make at home, click here)
1/2 cup kefir cheese (kefir with the whey separated out, see here for directions) or Greek yogurt
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup almond butter (no sugar added)
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (omit or reduce if almond butter contains salt)
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules or espresso powder (I used decaf)
1 tablespoon Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
2 tablespoons unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir-in Ingredients:
2-1/2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate (85% or higher, I used 5 squares of a Green and Black bar)
1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
1/4 cup roasted chopped almonds

1. Place all of the Ice Cream Base ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding.  Meanwhile, prepare the Stir-in ingredients and set aside.

2. Following the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker, churn the ice cream and, when the mixture begins to solidify, add the Stir-in ingredients and continue to churn until desired consistency is reached.

3.  Serve immediately as a soft-serve ice cream or transfer to a container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up a bit before scooping. Spoon any leftovers into ice pop molds and freeze until solid. This ice cream makes wonderful fudgesicles!  (Because this ice cream is sugar free, once the ice cream is completely frozen, it will be too firm to scoop. I recommend making ice pops out of any ice cream not eaten immediately.)

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 249 calories, 8.1 g carbohydrate (3.1 g dietary fiber, 2.8 g sugars, 1.5 g sugar alcohol), 21.4 g total fat (8.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 51 mg sodium, 69.6 mg calcium, 51 mg potassium, 5.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 5 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016

References: