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.