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
2 teaspoons golden flaxseed meal or coconut flour
1 tablespoon Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or almond milk)
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 monkfruit extract or liquid stevia
1 teaspoon melted butter (or ghee for dairy free)

1. In a small bowl, combine the first five dry ingredients with a fork until thoroughly mixed.  Add the egg, lemon juice or almond milk, lemon zest (or essential oil), vanilla extract, monkfruit extract or 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 cream or 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)

Perfect 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