Wednesday, December 31, 2014

English Toffee Fudge Fat Bombs

Since I started a very low carb, high fat and moderate protein (keto) diet this past year, that has been so successful normalizing my blood sugar, I try to include a fat bomb treat in my food plan nearly every day.  I always have a batch available in the fridge for a quick snack.  They are creamy, delicious and a great way to incorporate more healthy fat into my diet!  The base for fat bombs is usually coconut oil with other added ingredients for flavor.  In this recipe, I've combined coconut oil and unsalted ghee (clarified butter).  The result is an extra creamy texture, similar to fudge, even when eaten directly from the refrigerator.  I use ghee because I'm sensitive to dairy, which has the milk solids removed and can most often be eaten by those with a dairy intolerance, but you can substitute unsalted, grass-fed dairy butter in its place, if you prefer.  You certainly can use all coconut oil, but it's the butter that helps give these candies their toffee flavor.  Feel free to choose any nut butter that agrees with your body in place of the sunflower seed butter.  I think almond, cashew or even peanut butter would be lovely!  If you want to start the new year with a smile on your face, this is the recipe to make that happen :)  Have a happy day!

English Toffee Fudge Fat Bombs
Makes 12 servings

1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 unsalted ghee or unsalted grass-fed butter, melted
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons sunflower seed butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
teeny, tiny pinch of finely ground salt (omit if your nut butter contains salt)*
15-20 drops of English Toffee liquid stevia (or a combination of chocolate and English Toffee drops to taste)

Melt the coconut oil and unsalted ghee or butter in a 1-cup glass measuring cup by microwaving on high in 15 second intervals until melted.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined.  Divide mixture equally among 12 paper-lined mini muffin or silicone cups, stirring often to distribute the salt as you pour.  Place in the refrigerator on a level surface until chilled and solid, about 30 minutes.  (You can hasten this process in the freezer.)  Store fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.  (These candies need to be kept chilled because they melt quickly at room temperature.  Enjoy them directly from the fridge.)

* IMPORTANT NOTE: Salt is soluble in water, not oil, so the salt granules will not dissolve all the way and will eventually sink to the bottom of each fat bomb as it chills.  It's important to stir the chocolate mixture often as you pour into the mini muffin cups so all the salt doesn't end up in only the last few bombs.  The tiny taste of salt is pleasant on the tongue and combines well with the chocolate, but too much can be overwhelming!  If you're concerned, omit the added salt and enjoy.

Nutritional Information per serving: 140 calories, 2.1 g carbohydrate (1.1 g dietary fiber, 0.1 g sugar), 14.3 g total fat (9.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 17 mg sodium, 1.7 mg calcium, 21 mg potassium, 1.8 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 1 gram

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bacon Party Cheese Log

The holiday season is drawing to a close, but there's still one more occasion for celebration.  A New Year's Eve party calls for a spectacular appetizer and there's nothing that will please a crowd as much as bacon!  This cheese log can be made with soft goat cheese or cream cheese, whichever is more to your liking.  The outside is rolled in a mixture of crushed pistachios, crispy crumbled bacon and spices. (For a vegetarian option, see below.)  It is delicious served with gluten free crackers (I like Mary's Gone Crackers), English cucumber slices, celery, assorted vegetables or, if shaped into small bite-size balls, even eaten by themselves.  Crumble any leftovers and sprinkle it on salads or steamed vegetables; it's a creamy and delicious addition to an otherwise boring salad.  I made this for my Christmas Eve family dinner and it was a huge hit with everyone!  It's quick and easy to prepare and can be made a day or two ahead of the party.  Enjoy a happy and healthy New Year!

Bacon Party Cheese Log
Makes about 10 servings (2 TB each)

8 oz. soft goat cheese or cream cheese (room temperature)*
1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked, whichever you prefer), divided
1 teaspoon dried, chopped basil
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and then measured
5 slices of bacon, chopped and fried until crispy and drained*

1.  Using a handheld mixer, whip the cheese until fluffy.  Add 1/4 teaspoon paprika, basil and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.  Form into a log and wrap in plastic wrap or form into a ball.  (You can also form small balls using 1 tablespoon cheese mixture for each.)  Chill in the refrigerator until firm.

2.  Fry the chopped bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels.  Place the bacon, pistachios, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon paprika into a food processor and pulse until the pistachios are chopped into small pieces.  (If you don't have a food processor, chop the pistachios and bacon with a sharp knife until the right consistency, then add the spices.)  

3.  Place the bacon mixture into a shallow plate.  Roll the cheese log in the mixture until completely covered.  Refrigerate until party time.  Allow the log to soften for about 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving (2 TB), not including crackers or vegetables: 106 calories, 1.9 g carbohydrate (0.4 g dietary fiber, 1.1 g sugar), 8 g total fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 21 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 39.8 mg calcium, 64 mg potassium, 6.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 1.5 grams

* To create a dairy-free log, use dairy-free, vegan cream cheese in place of the goat or cream cheese.  For a vegetarian option, you can double the amount of pistachios and omit the bacon.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014