Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mini Banana Pie Chia Pudding Parfait

You usually don't think of a banana as being low carb because it's such a high-sugar fruit. But you can enjoy them in a very small amount, such as in this parfait, without overdoing your carb limit for the day. Chia pudding resembles tapioca in texture, but it's easier to prepare and has more nutrition, plus it's an excellent source of healthy Omega 3 fat and fiber. I love banana pudding and pie, so I set out to recreate the flavors in this recipe! It requires a couple of steps, but each is very simple and can be made ahead, if needed. The "pie crust" crumbles really give this parfait it's banana pie texture and flavor, so don't skip this step. You have the choice of topping with plain, unsweetened yogurt laced with vanilla or whipped cream, depending on the total amount of carbs in your eating plan. I like the yogurt version for breakfast! So, whether you start your day with this mini parfait or enjoy it for dessert, you can feel good about giving your family this special treat!

Mini Banana Pie Chia Pudding Parfait
Makes 8 small servings

Chia Pudding Layer:

1/4 cup whole chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon banana extract
1 cup full-fat coconut milk (I used A-Roy D brand)
6-8 drops liquid Stevia, or to taste (I used Sweetleaf brand)

Pie Crust Layer:

1/3 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon erythritol sweetener or 1/4 tsp stevia powder
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil, melted

1/2 of a very small banana, cut into eight slices (a 3-inch length)

Yogurt or Cream Layer:

1-1/2 cups plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt or 3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped (or whipped coconut cream for dairy free)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 drops liquid Stevia, or to taste

1. Make the chia seed pudding: In a small bowl, mix the chia seeds and cinnamon. In a measuring cup or separate bowl, mix together the coconut milk, extracts and stevia drops. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the chia seed mixture and stir vigorously with a fork, making sure all the chia seeds are incorporated and submerged in the coconut milk. Set aside to allow the pudding to absorb the liquid and thicken, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the pie crust layer: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener and salt. Stir in the melted butter until the dough comes together and resembles coarse crumbs. Turn out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Press down with your fingers to flatten into a 1/8-inch thick circle or oval (the shape doesn't matter). Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Watch carefully because the edges can burn quickly! Allow crust to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove parchment paper or silicone mat to a wire rack to cool completely (keep crust on the paper or mat to prevent crumbling). When cooled, break the crust into small, bite-size pieces; set aside.

Pie Crust Layer
3. Make the yogurt or whipped cream layer: Mix together the plain, unsweetened yogurt with the vanilla extract and stevia drops to taste; set aside. (Or whip the heavy cream until semi-stiff. Add the vanilla and stevia and gently fold until well combined; set aside.)

4. Assemble the parfaits: Use a spoon to divide the chia pudding mixture between eight small jars or dessert shot glasses (about 2 TB each). Place one slice of banana on top of the chia layer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the pie crust crumbles on top of the banana (reserve some crumbs for garnish). Divide the yogurt (or whipped cream) evenly among the dessert cups. Sprinkle with the remaining pie crust crumbs. Eat immediately or cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Place banana on chia layer
Nutritional Information per serving (made with yogurt): 128 calories, 7.3 g carbohydrate (2.1 g dietary fiber, 3.7 g sugars, 0.5 g sugar alcohols), 9.6 g total fat (4.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 39 mg sodium, 90.2 mg calcium, 106 mg potassium, 79 mg Vit A, 1 mg Vit C, 3.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.1 grams

Nutritional Information per serving (made with whipped cream): 201 calories, 5.7 g carbohydrate (2.1 g dietary fiber, 1.5 g sugars, 0.5 g sugar alcohols), 19 g total fat (10.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 44 mg cholesterol, 27 mg sodium, 53.4 mg calcium, 52 mg potassium, 444 mg Vit A, 1 mg Vit C, 2.6 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 3.6 grams

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chocolate-Covered Blueberries Smoothie

Right now the wild Maine blueberries are in season and abundant in the local stores and Farmer's Markets. On my low carb/high healthy fat/moderate protein diet (LCHF) I don't eat a lot of fruit, but these tiny sapphire jewels are carb-worthy in my opinion, so I indulge in a couple of pints every summer while they're fresh. I am picky about my berries though and only buy organic. This morning I made a smoothie with one of my favorite flavor combinations. This smoothie is packed with antioxidants from both the raw cacao and the berries, not to mention the fiber and other goodness from the freshly-picked kale from my garden! The deep, dark purple color is both pleasing to the eye and lets me know that this is a nutrient-dense, healthy way to start my day. Cheers!

Chocolate-Covered Blueberries Smoothie
Makes 1 adult-size serving (or 2 child-size servings)

1/2 cup plain unsweetened kefir or yogurt
1/4 cup organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional, but adds an additional depth of chocolate flavor)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon stevia powder to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
2-3 kale leaves, roughly chopped (or substitute 1/2 cup any leafy green)
1/2 tablespoon collagen hydrolysate (or your favorite protein powder)
1 pinch of sea or pink Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon coconut or flax oil (healthy fat keeps you fuller for longer)
4-5 ice cubes
Water, if needed, to achieve desired consistency

Place all of the ingredients in your blender and blend on high speed until smooth.

Nutritional Information per entire recipe: 282 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 12 g dietary fiber, 13 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 8 grams

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Low Carb Creamy Coleslaw

Sometimes I forget about coleslaw, but it's really the perfect side dish for a cookout, family gathering, picnic or potluck. It's so quick and easy to throw together, it's a shame that I don't make it often. With the help of a food processor, I can shred my own cabbage and carrot in minutes, but you can use a bag of prepackaged coleslaw mix, if you prefer. This recipe is super creamy with just the right amount of tang from the apple cider vinegar. Replace the sugar in a traditional recipe with erythritol or stevia and you have a delicious, low carb coleslaw the whole family will love.

Low Carb Creamy Coleslaw
Makes about 8 servings

1 small head green cabbage, shredded
1 small carrot, finely shredded

Dressing Ingredients:

2/3 cup mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons minced onion
1-2 tablespoons powdered erythritol, to taste (I used Swerve Confectioners)
1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add to the cabbage mixture and stir to coat the cabbage. (Use only the amount of dressing needed to coat the slaw mix. You may have some leftover dressing, which can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.) Mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or sweetener if desired. Refrigerate for 45 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend.

Nutritional Information per serving (about 1/2 cup): 155 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate (2 g dietary fiber, 3.5 g sugars, 1.9 g sugar alcohols), 14.5 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 8 mg cholesterol, 236 mg sodium, 48 mg calcium, 246 mg potassium, 1230 mg Vit A, 1 mg iron, 1.5 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.4 grams

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