Saturday, December 22, 2018

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Lately I’ve discovered how easy it is to make biscotti, a twice baked cookie that is excellent dipped in coffee, low carb hot chocolate or tea. The first biscotti I made was from the All Day I Dream About Food website (click for recipe here: Cranberry Pecan Biscotti). They were easy and so delicious! That encouraged me to make more using ingredients I already had in my pantry. Although I must give credit to Carolyn Ketchum, author and blogger, for the idea, I’m extremely pleased with how my cookies turned out. If you get hooked the way I have, be sure to search Carolyn’s website for more biscotti recipes. I’m certain that these Chocolate Almond Biscotti will be a favorite of low carbers (or anyone) who visit my Christmas breakfast buffet.

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Makes 15 biscotti

Biscotti Dough:
1-3/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated erythritol sweetener
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped into smaller pieces

Chocolate Dip:
2-1/2 ounces sugar free chocolate chips, such as Lily’s
1-1/2 teaspoons refined coconut oil (or unrefined, but it will impart a slight coconut flavor)

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl until well combined and no lumps remain. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg and almond extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms. Fold in the chopped almonds until well distributed.

2. Turn dough out onto parchment paper and form with your hands and/or a rolling pin into a rectangle that is 10 inches long by 4 inches wide (the dough loaf will be about 1 inch tall). Bake for 28 minutes until just firm to the touch. Do not overbake or the cookies will be more difficult to cut later.) Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. 

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 250F. Carefully and with a very sharp knife, cut the loaf into 15 equal pieces. It’s best to cut straight down instead of using a sawing motion to prevent crumbling. Place the biscotti, cut side down, and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the biscotti remain in the oven until cool.

4. To make the Chocolate Dip, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler over gently simmering water (be sure to prevent any water getting into the chocolate to prevent seizing). Whisk until well combined and completely smooth. Dip each cookie into the melted chocolate on one cut side, allowing the excess to drip back into the pan. Place the dipped cookie, chocolate side up, on parchment paper to set up. (To hasten this process, you can place the dipped cookies in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.) Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Nutritional Information per biscotti: 133 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate (2.5 g dietary fiber, 0.8 g sugars, 2.5 g sugar alcohols), 11.7 g total fat (2.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 49 mg sodium, 46.5 mg calcium, 100 mg potassium, 18 mg Vit A, 2 mg iron, 4.1 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 3.9 grams.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

What’s on my Low Carb Thanksgiving dinner plate?

My Thanksgiving Dinner PlateFor me, being diabetic means I never get a free-for-all food holiday. Just because it’s soon to be Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore my dietary restrictions and “blow it” for the day. I might eat more food than I usually do on an ordinary day, but all of it will be low carb/keto, so my blood glucose doesn’t fly out of control. I’ve planned ahead, have gathered the ingredients and already know exactly what will be on my Thanksgiving dinner plate. Below is a list of my favorite holiday recipes I’d like to share with you. This entire meal, including dessert, is only 17.3 total carbs, not subtracting fiber, so net carbs would be even less!! The best part about this menu is that the mashed cauliflower, cranberry sauce, creamy gravy and herb cauliflower stuffing can be made ahead, so there’s less chaos in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. Now, this is how you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, keto-style!

1. Roasted Turkey (3 oz.) = 0 g carbs, 25 g protein
Note: Use any favorite method of cooking your turkey. The nutritional count provided is for 3 ounces of roasted meat only.

2. Perfect Mashed Cauliflower (1/2 cup) = 1 g carb, 2 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: http://diabeticsrejoice.blogspot.com/2016/06/perfect-mashed-mashed-cauliflower.html

Mashed Cauliflower
3. Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Soufflé (1/2 cup) = 3 g carb, 5 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://www.atkins.com/recipes/creamy-spinach-and-parmesan-puff/2180

Creamy Spinach Parmesan Puff
4. Homemade Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce (1/4 cup) = 4 g carb, 0 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://www.ketoconnect.net/healthy-cranberry-sauce/

Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce
5. Low Carb Cauliflower Stuffing (1/2 cup) = 5 g carb, 2 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a50127/cauliflower-stuffing-recipe/

6. Keto Giblet Gravy (about 3 tablespoons) = 0.3 g carb, 2 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: http://cavemanketo.com/keto-giblet-gravy/
Note: In this recipe, I sauté a mixture of vegetables (carrot, onion and celery) until golden in color, add the liquid and simmer until thickened. Then I strain out the vegetables to make a smooth, creamy gravy before adding the cooked giblets.

Keto Giblet Gravy
7. And for dessert: Low Carb Pumpkin Custard baked in a crock pot while the dinner is cooking, topped with whipped cream! (1/2 cup with 2 tablespoons of whipped cream) = 4 g carb, 5 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://simplysohealthy.com/low-carb-slow-cooker-pumpkin-custard/
Note: I love this slow cooker recipe because it frees up the stove for the turkey and other dishes!



Post by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
Links to recipes provided and are subject to copyright. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dark Chocolate with Cool Peppermint Fat Bombs

Cool Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs
It’s almost Halloween and I saw a commercial on the television for one of my favorite childhood candies, the Peppermint Patty. It made me start wondering whether I could recreate a sugar-free, low carb candy with the same dark chocolate and strong peppermint flavor. These fat bombs definitely fit the bill! Coconut oil comes either unrefined or refined. I used refined because I didn’t want the taste of coconut to interfere with the other flavors. Also, you can adjust the peppermint extract to your taste, but I like the intense, mouth-cooling experience that only a strong peppermint flavor can give. These are excellent as an after dinner mint, late afternoon snack to give you a boost of energy and, when stirred into a hot cup of coffee, they turn it into a wonderful mocha mint bullet proof coffee! I usually keep fat bombs in my refrigerator at all times and these have become my new favorite.

Dark Chocolate with Cool Peppermint Fat Bombs
Makes 12 candies

5 ounces (about 3/4 cup) no sugar added chocolate chips (such as Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips sweetened with stevia and erythritol)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract, or to taste
3 drops food-grade peppermint essential oil (optional)
3-4 drops monkfruit extract or stevia, or to taste

Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until the chips are melted. Add the heavy cream, peppermint extract and monkfruit or stevia drops. Stir with a whisk until well combined and the mixture is smooth.

Divide the chocolate mixture equally between 12 silicone mini muffin cups, approximately 1 tablespoon per muffin cup. (If you have candy molds, you can make some fun shapes. See photo below.) Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. (You can put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes to speed up the firming process.) Store the candies in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs

Nutritional Information per fat bomb: 84 calories, 7.5 g total carbohydrate (3.3 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars, 2.5 g sugar alcohols), 8.6 g total fat (4.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0.8 g protein. Net impact carbs: 1.5 grams

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding
Autumn is here!! As soon as the weather cools down in Maine, I start craving pumpkin spice goodies. I’ve made these Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding Cups several times already. The warm spices in this dessert are so welcome at this time of year. The method of baking your puddings at 350 degrees, then reducing the temperature negates the need of using a water bath. The final result is creamy cheesecake deliciousness!

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding
Makes 6 servings

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup puréed pumpkin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon almond flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated erythritol (I used Golden LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 6 custard cups or ramekins on a baking sheet; set aside.

2. Allow all of the ingredients to come to room temperature and place them into a large mixing bowl. Use a handheld or standing mixer to thoroughly beat the ingredients until a smooth batter forms. It may take a few minutes for the cream cheese to become smooth and well incorporated. Evenly divide the batter between the 6 custard cups or ramekins.

3. Bake the pudding at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 250 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the door open slightly. Allow the pudding to cool for about 15-20 minutes before removing them from the oven and placing the cups on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled to room temperature, chill the pudding cups in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Nutritional Information per serving: 195 calories, 7.2 g carbohydrate (0.8 g dietary fiber, 1.3 g sugars, 4 g sugar alcohols), 16.4 g total fat (9.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 113 mg cholesterol, 171 mg sodium, 59.6 mg calcium, 53 mg potassium, 2142 mg Vit A, 1 mg iron, 5.5 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.4 grams.

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Extra Creamy Homemade Almond Coconut Milk (or Cashew)

Extra Creamy Homemade Almond Coconut Milk
Sometimes having the right tools in your kitchen make all the difference between whether you buy premade, processed food or make it yourself at home. A fine example is today’s recipe of homemade almond coconut milk (or cashew). I find that store bought nut milks are fine to use in cooking, but are otherwise undrinkable. Using a high-speed blender or a nut milk maker machine (such as the SoyaPower G4 pictured above) allows me to create my own organic, additive and preservative-free nut milks in a few minutes! Last Christmas I received this nut milk maker machine, which I love and have been using consistently every week. The resulting almond coconut milk (or cashew) is naturally creamy, extremely low carb and more delicious than any store bought I’ve ever tried. Although my recipe contains heavy cream, it is virtually lactose and casein free. (Of course, you could leave out the cream if you wish, but it adds a richness to the milk that I highly recommend without adding any carbs.) The only thing that takes prior planning and time is soaking the nuts beforehand, but that’s easily done overnight while I sleep. Take it from me, homemade almond milk is worth the effort!  

Extra Creamy Homemade Almond Coconut Milk (or Cashew)
Makes about 5 cups

1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for 12 hours
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
4-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream (can omit, if desired)
1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan or sea salt
5 drops stevia or LaKanto Monkfruit extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Presoak your almonds for 12 hours prior to making your nut milk (if using cashews, soak for 4-8 hours). Drain and rinse the soaked almonds. Place them into your high-speed blender or nut milk maker machine. Add the unsweetened shredded coconut and water. If using a blender, blend on high for 4 minutes. If using a nut milk maker machine, add enough water to reach the specified line in your pitcher. Turn the machine on and select raw/juice and press start (see your instruction manual for the correct procedure for making nut milk). The machine will turn off automatically when the milk is done.

2. Using a very fine mesh strainer or a nut milk bag, strain the solids out of the blended milk and discard. Add the whipping cream, salt, sweetener and vanilla to the strained milk and stir. Pour into a glass container and place in the refrigerator to cool completely before drinking or it can be used right away for cooking. The milk can be stored in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Nutritional Information per 1 cup almond coconut milk: 117 calories, 1.3 g carbohydrate (0.7 g dietary fiber, 0.3 g sugars), 12.8 g total fat (7.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 32 mg cholesterol, 37 mg sodium, 8.5 mg calcium, 25 mg potassium, 316 mg Vit A, 0.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 0.6 grams.

Nutritional Information per 1 cup cashew coconut milk: 169 calories, 4.4 g carbohydrate (1.8 g dietary fiber, 1.1 g sugars), 16 g total fat (10.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 32 mg cholesterol, 137 mg sodium, 6.2 mg calcium, 46 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 316 mg Vit A, 1.6 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.6 grams

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sugar Free Gelatin Cups

Sugar Free Gelatin Cups
When I was a kid, Jello was a staple at our house, often served with fruit cocktail mixed in. I loved the variety of flavors but, believe me, my siblings and I didn’t need the sugar or dyes because we were active enough! The company came out out with sugar free Jello long ago, but the powdered mix contains aspartame artificial sweetener known to be problematic for many people and maltodextrin, which will raise blood sugar and insulin considerably. (Sadly, many diabetics don’t know that maltodextrin, which is a type of sugar derived from corn, will raise blood sugar as high or higher than regular sugar!) I have recently discovered Bai, a beverage that is sweetened with only stevia and erythritol. It comes in a wide variety of delicious flavors. I like to put a splash into my drinking water to flavor it, but it also makes the best sugar free gelatin that doesn’t raise blood sugar and has a minimal effect on insulin (studies show that stevia does cause a small rise in insulin when consumed). I always have a variety of this sugar free gelatin in my fridge when I want a little something between meals or as a dessert. A serving of my gelatin has only 1g carb and 1.5g protein, so consider it a FREE FOOD to be enjoyed anytime! I serve mine topped with whipped cream to make it an extra special treat.

Ingredients for Sugar Free Gelatin Cups
Sugar Free Gelatin Cups
Makes 4 servings (1/2 cup each)

1-1/2 cup Bai sugar free beverage, in any flavor of choice
1/2 cup cold water
4 drops of LaKanto Monkfruit extract or stevia drops
1 tablespoon dry gelatin powder

1. Place the Bai beverage into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, measure the cold water into a 2-cup glass measuring cup (or small mixing bowl). Sprinkle the dry gelatin powder over the top of the cold water and allow it to “bloom” (be absorbed) while the Bai is coming to a boil.

3. Pour the boiling Bai beverage into the cold water/gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved (this may take a minute or two). Add the monkfruit or stevia drops to taste.

4. Divide the mixture evenly between 4 small jars, ramekins or custard cups. Place into the refrigerator for at least several hours until set. If desired, top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Nutritional Information per serving (1/2 cup): 7 calories, 1 g carbohydrate (0 g dietary fiber, 0.2 g sugars, 1.2 g sugar alcohols), 0 g total fat, 5 mg sodium, 1.5 g protein.

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All Rights Reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Low Carb Banana Milk (and other Flavored Milks)

Low Carb Banana Milk
When I was a little girl, it was always a treat when my Mom made me Vanilla Milk, which was basically milk with vanilla extract added. Where I live in Maine, flavored milks are all the rage. The dairy shelf is lined with them: Banana, Coffee, Strawberry and, of course, Chocolate. There are so many flavors available, it makes my head spin! This low carb version actually starts with unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milk, which is then flavored with extracts. To make it richer, I add a splash of heavy cream and give it a spin in my blender until it’s frothy. It’s a fat bomb you can sip through a straw and tastes like melted ice cream! It’s delicious for breakfast (especially the Coffee Milk), as a snack or dessert. The carb count is so low, you can enjoy this treat anytime.

Low Carb Banana Milk
Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milk
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon banana extract, or to taste
5 drops of LaKanto Monkfruit or stevia sweetener, to taste
1/2 cup ice cubes

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Enjoy cold.

Nutritional Information per serving: 128 calories, 0.8 g carbohydrate (0.5 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars), 13.8 g total fat (7.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 40 mg cholesterol, 73 mg sodium, 3 mg potassium, 225 mg Vit A, 0.5 g protein. 

Other Milk Flavor Variations:

Coffee Milk: In place of the cold water, substitute 1 cup of brewed strong coffee and omit the banana extract.

Chocolate Peppermint Milk: Substitute chocolate and peppermint extracts (I like to add a few leaves from my Chocolate Mint plant!). This would be great made with coffee as a base, too.

Orange Cream Milk: Substitute orange oil or extract for the banana extract.

Salted Caramel Milk: Substitute caramel extract (or flavoring) for the banana and add a pinch of salt to taste.

Maple Milk: Substitute maple extract to taste.

Bullet Proof Milk: To any flavor, add 1 tablespoon MCT or coconut oil. This adds about 100 calories and 12 g of fat to the nutritional information; the carbs and protein stays the same. A Bullet Proof Milk makes a quick and easy meal replacement.

Probiotic Milk: To any flavor, add 2 tablespoons unsweetened, plain yogurt or kefir. This adds about 18 calories, 0.5 g carbohydrate, 1 g of fat and 1 g of protein.

??? Make up your own! Use whatever extracts you have on hand. Kids especially enjoy coming up with their favorite milk flavors.

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Low Carb Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Low Carb Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookies...who doesn’t love them? On a sugar free, low carb diet, sometimes we may feel deprived because we can’t just go into a bakery or store and buy what’s in the display case or on the shelf. When it comes to cookies, they’re so easy to make and take such minimal effort, you can enjoy them whenever you have the desire! These flavorful cookies can be baked and eaten right away or made into a tube of “slice-and-bake” dough, which can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer so you can bake the cookies one or two at a time. These are just as delicious and much more nutritious than any store-bought cookie, so enjoy!

Low Carb Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 22 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated erythritol*
1 large egg
1-3/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (optional, see notes)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 drops caramel flavoring, or to taste (I used Capella brand)
1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1/3 cup sugar free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s brand)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Whisk with a fork until no lumps remain; set aside.

2. Place the softened butter into a mixing bowl and beat with the erythritol until well combined and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract and caramel flavoring and beat for about 15 seconds.

3. Add the almond flour mixture in three additions, beating briefly between each addition. Beat well on medium speed until the ingredients are well combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

4. With a cookie scoop or with rounded tablespoonfuls, make about 22 balls and place them on a parchment paper or silicone lined cookie sheet. With your fingers or the back of a spatula, flatten each ball to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. (To make “slice-and-bake” cookies, form the dough into a tube shape wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.To hasten the firming process, place dough into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Slice into disks of even 1/4-inch thickness and place on a prepared cookie sheet.)

5. Bake cookies for about 13-15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will crisp up as they cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Notes: *You can use classic white granulated erythritol or, even better, use Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener for more of a brown sugar, caramel flavor. The arrowroot starch is optional, but helps to keep the cookies crispy after baking. It adds a very small amount of carb (0.35 g) per cookie.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 118 calories, 6.1 g carbohydrate (2.3 g dietary fiber, 0.5 g sugars, 6.2 g sugar alcohols), 10.9 g total fat (3.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 93 mg sodium, 29 mg calcium, 74 mg potassium, 14 mg Vit A, 2.7 g protein. Net carbs per cookie: 3.8 grams

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Low Carb Taco Salad in a Grilled Cheese Bowl

Taco Salad in a Grilled Cheese Bowl
There are many variations of similar recipes online, but this salad is so much fun to make and eat, I had to share my own experience. I’ve seen other intriguing posts describing how to make taco shells with cheese, so I had to try it for myself. I prefer a taco salad in a bowl because it’s less messy to eat. This is an easy, foolproof, stovetop method that takes less than 10 minutes start to finish! Fill it with whatever taco salad fixings you like and, I think you’ll discover as I did, that the delicious, crispy grilled cheese bowl adds a lot of flavor to this festive salad!

Grilled Cheese Bowl
Makes 1 edible bowl

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or a blend (I used a Mexican blend)

1. Evenly spread 1/2 cup of shredded cheese into an 8-inch non-stick skillet.
2. Heat over medium heat until the cheese is bubbly and turns a dark golden brown. (Do not stir or disturb the cheese during the cooking process.) Watch carefully so the cheese doesn’t burn, but you’re looking for a dark golden color that indicates it’s well done and will be crispy when cooled.
3. Meanwhile, place an inverted 8 ounce bowl onto a plate.
4. Remove skillet from the heat and allow the bubbling cheese to cool slightly, but not harden. Drape the still warm and flexible cheese disk over the inverted bowl and gently press down the sides to create a bowl shape.
5. Allow to cool for a few minutes until the cheese hardens. Remove the cheese bowl from your mold, fill and enjoy!

        

Low Carb Taco Salad in a Grilled Cheese Bowl
Makes 1 serving

1 Grilled Cheese Bowl (see above)
1 cup of chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
3 ounces of cooked ground beef seasoned with 3/4 teaspoon of taco seasoning
1/4 avocado, cut into cubes
4 grape tomatoes, chopped
1-2 teaspoons of chopped red onion
1-2 teaspoons of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 teaspoon shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoonfuls of sour cream

Place all of the salad ingredients into the Grilled Cheese Bowl and enjoy!

Nutritional Information per salad in cheese bowl: 534 calories, 12.9 g carbohydrate (4.7 g dietary fiber, 3.8 g sugars), 41.2 g total fat (20.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 128 mg cholesterol, 588 mg sodium, 473.4 mg calcium, 661 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 3345 mg Vit A, 20 mg Vit C, 30.3 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 8.2 grams

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Chocolate Turtle Pecans

Chocolate Turtle Pecans
These toasted buttered pecans have just a hint of caramel and are lightly glazed with sugar free chocolate to give them the taste of old-fashioned Chocolate Turtle Candies. The nice part is that they’re quick and easy! No messy or tricky caramel to make, just toast the pecans in a skillet, bake in the oven to crisp up and stir in chocolate chips...that’s it! You’ll want to have this low carb treat on hand for snacking or as a simple dessert anytime.

Chocolate Turtle Pecans
Makes 12 servings (1/4 cup each)

3 cups pecan halves (or you can use 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 pecans)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon granulated erythritol (I used Golden LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
3-4 drops caramel flavoring, or to taste (I used Capella, see photo below)
1/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s)

Capella Caramel Flavoring
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In an oven-proof or cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the nuts. Stir to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, erythritol sweetener and caramel flavoring. Stir to coat the nuts evenly. Taste and adjust sweetness and flavorings, if desired. Toast the nuts, stirring frequently, until fragrant.

2. Place the skillet with the nuts into the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. Cook until lightly toasted, but not burned.

3. Remove from the oven and spoon the hot nuts into a large bowl. Immediately add the chocolate chips and stir. When the nuts are nicely coated with the melted chocolate, spread the nuts in a single layer onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool completely. To hasten the process, you can refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes. 

4. Once cooled and the chocolate has set, store the nuts in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. The nuts are most flavorful when served at room temperature. 

Nutritional Information per 1/4 cup serving: 213 calories, 5.5 g carbohydrate (3 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g sugar alcohols), 22 g total fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 7.5 mg cholesterol, 122 mg sodium, 111 mg potassium, 35.2 mg magnesium, 3.1 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.5 grams

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Low Carb Ham Loaf

Low Carb Ham Loaf
My grandmother, Gaga was famous for her delicious Ham Loaf and it continues to be one of my fondest memories of visiting her apartment and family gatherings. The problem with her recipe is that it contained 1-1/2 cups of bread crumbs, 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of brown sugar! Ouch! My low carb remake has all the same flavors but just 1/4th the carbs of the original recipe! I had to experiment a bit to discover the perfect substitute for the breadcrumbs, which lightens up the loaf and gives it the proper texture. Some low carb meatloaf recipes call for almond flour to replace the crumbs, but the result is too heavy and dense. I discovered that plain riced cauliflower is the key! It absorbs flavor from the other ingredients so you won’t even know it’s there, but the end result is perfection. My family is so delighted to have this cherished heirloom favorite on our table again!

Low Carb Ham Loaf
Makes 16 servings

2 pounds fully cooked ham, ground (I used Kentucky Legend)
1 pound ground pork
1 cup cauliflower rice, thawed
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons granulated erythritol (I used Golden LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
3/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses 
2 eggs, beaten

Grinding Ham
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the cooked ham through a grinder. An alternative is to pulse in a food processor in multiple small batches until the ham is minced into tiny pieces, but not so fine that it turns to paste.

2. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Shape into a loaf (or 2 smaller loaves). Place the loaf into a covered roaster or place the loaf on a cookie sheet and tent with foil. (If you formed two loaves, you can freeze one for later, just thaw before cooking.)

Shaping the loaf
3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until nicely browned.

4. Remove from oven and rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (Leftovers are excellent for breakfast or dinner when sliced and grilled in a skillet.)

Nutritional Information per slice: 157 calories, 2.7 g carbohydrate (0.2 dietary fiber, 1.3 g sugars, 2.2 g sugar alcohols), 9.6 g total fat (3.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 74 mg cholesterol, 683 mg sodium, 10.7 mg calcium, 94 mg potassium, 36 mg Vit A, 15.8 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.5 grams.

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Raspberry Yogurt Fluff

Raspberry Yogurt Fluff
This is a very quick and easy dessert or it makes a delicious breakfast, too. It’s best made with fresh raspberries (not frozen) so it sets up nicely. The pale pink color and hint of sweet raspberries are delightful, making this a perfect spring dessert!

Raspberry Yogurt Fluff
Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder, divided and to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
3 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt
10 fresh raspberries, mashed with a fork
4 fresh raspberries for garnish

1. Whip the heavy cream with a handheld or standing mixture on high until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon stevia powder. Continue whipping until fully whipped. Remove 3/4 of the whipped cream to a separate bowl and set aside.

2. Into the remaining 1/4 whipped cream in the mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese and yogurt. Whip on high until completely smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon stevia powder and the 10 mashed raspberries. Whip until well combined.

3. Gently fold in the reserved whipped cream until well combined and no streaks remain. Spoon into 4 individual serving dishes and garnish each with one fresh raspberry. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Nutritional Information per serving: 214 calories, 4.7 g carbohydrate (0.4 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars), 19.3 g total fat (11.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 73 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 36 mg calcium, 131 mg potassium, 654 mg Vit A, 4 mg Vit C, 4.6 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.2 grams

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Slow Cooker Beef (or Lamb) with Onions and Gravy

Slow Cooker Beef (or Lamb) with Onions and Gravy
There are some days I just need some comfort food. This easy slow cooker recipe definitely fits that description. It fills my kitchen with a savory aroma that just enhances my anticipation of enjoying this hearty and healthy meal at the end of a long day. The meat is so tender, it just falls apart! I recently learned the trick of sprinkling meat with a little baking soda to ensure perfect browning. It is optional, but it really works. I serve this meat and gravy dish over cooked riced cauliflower or, for even more nutrition, I choose a riced cauliflower-broccoli blend (as pictured). When covered with silky gravy, I never miss the starchy rice and, even more important, my post-meal blood sugar doesn’t spike. I’ve listed two options, using beef or lamb, and you will use either red wine and beef broth (for beef) or white wine and chicken broth (for lamb). There is a distinct difference in flavor, but both are equally delicious, so choose your favorite combination and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Beef (or Lamb) with Onions and Gravy
Makes 6 servings

2 pounds beef or lamb chunks (stew meat)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, sliced into 1/2 rounds or chunks
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 cup red or white wine
2-3 cups beef or chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Thick-It-Up (or xanthan gum)
6 cups cooked cauliflower rice (or cauliflower-broccoli rice blend)
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

1. Toss together the meat, salt and baking soda. Allow to sit for a few minutes while you slice the onions and put them into the crock pot to cover the bottom. Heat up a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Add beef or lamb to the heated skillet and brown all sides. Add the browned meat to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with thyme and black pepper.

2. Add 1 cup of wine to the hot skillet and deglaze the pan (red wine for beef or white wine for lamb). Add 2 cups of broth (beef broth for beef or chicken broth for lamb) and stir. Pour the liquid over the meat and onions in the crock pot. Add just enough additional broth to the crock pot until it almost covers the meat. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or on high heat for 4 hours.

3. About 10-15 minutes before serving, transfer the liquid from the crock pot to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. While whisking, sprinkle the Thick-It-Up or xanthan gum over the liquid and whisk constantly until thickened into a nice sauce (use a tiny bit more or less Thick-It-Up or xanthan gum as needed to reach a gravy consistency). Add the sauce to the cooked meat and remaining ingredients in the crock pot and stir to coat the meat. Serve over the cooked cauliflower rice. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

Nutritional Information per serving (including 1 cup of cooked cauliflower rice): 323 calories, 8.4 g carbohydrates (2.5 g dietary fiber, 3.5 g sugars), 11 g total fat (5.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 82 mg cholesterol, 825 mg sodium, 54.8 mg calcium, 365 mg potassium, 4 mg iron, 7 mg Vit A, 43 mg Vit C, 40 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.9 grams

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Frosted Vanilla Custard Donuts (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

Frosted Vanilla Custard Donuts
Vanilla custard is traditionally made with plenty of egg yolks, which are what make these donuts so rich and delicious. The batter rises up light and airy, so they have a tender crumb. If desired, this recipe would make wonderful cupcakes, but I like using my donut pan and filling each cavity high enough with batter that the hole of the donut disappears as it bakes, creating the perfect little platform for holding the dab of frosting. I just happen to have some decorating icing tips in my kitchen collection, so I had fun making them fancy and appropriate for Valentine’s Day, but that’s not necessary. Anyway you decorate them, these donuts will be both beautiful and delicious!

Frosted Vanilla Custard Donuts
Makes 8 donuts (more or less depending on your donut pan)

1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup erythritol sweetener, granulated
2 tablespoons unflavored whey protein powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (or seeds scraped from a vanilla bean)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon butter, softened
4 ounces plain mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered erythritol (Confectioners), or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray each cavity of your donut tin with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the almond flour, erythritol, whey protein powder, baking powder, vanilla powder and salt. Whisk to combine and until no lumps remain.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, cream, almond milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine. 

4. Fill each donut cavity to almost full. Be sure to fill each cavity until almost to the top because you want the donuts to puff up and fill in the hole as they bake, so there’s a place in the center of the donut to hold the frosting later. (see photo below) Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the tops are just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let the donuts cool 10 minutes in the pan, then flip them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Baked donut with center depression
5. To make the frosting: Whip together the room temperature cream cheese, butter and mascarpone cheese until fluffy using a handheld or standing electric mixer. Add the powdered erythritol and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired spreading consistency is reached. Taste and adjust sweetness to your taste. If desired, put the frosting into a piping bag with a decorator tip and pipe (or spoon) a tablespoon or so of the frosting into the center of each donut. (Note: This recipe for frosting will yield more than you need for eight donuts, which allows for dividing the frosting into batches and coloring each differently, if desired. Save any leftover frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator to use for another recipe.)

Frosted Vanilla Custard Donuts
Nutritional Information per donut with 1 tablespoon of frosting (based on eight per recipe): 230 calories, 8.6 g carbohydrate (1.5 g dietary fiber, 0.8 g sugars, 13.5 g sugar alcohols), 21.7 g total fat (9.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 114 mg cholesterol, 139 mg sodium, 102 mg calcium, 130 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 431 mg Vit A, 6.1 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 7.1 grams.

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved.  Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Low Carb Chocolate Mint Snaps (Spritz Cookie)

Low Carb Chocolate Mint Snaps
I hate to do this to the industrious Girl Scouts peddling their wares right now but, if you like their Thin Mint Cookies, then you’ll love my amazing gluten free, low carb, sugar free version just as much! I mean, really...chocolate and peppermint, what’s not to love? The addition of a small amount of arrowroot starch is the secret ingredient that gives these cookies their crispy crunch. (Right out of the oven, they’ll be soft, but will crisp up upon cooling.) To make these beautifully shaped cookies, I used a cookie press (spritz cookie press), but that’s completely optional. If you don’t have one, just roll the dough into balls and then flatten with your hand. That works just as well. Refreshing and bursting with cool mint flavor, these cookies are one of my new favorites!

Low Carb Chocolate Mint Snaps (Spritz Cookies)
Makes about 32 cookies

1-1/2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (4 oz or 1 stick)
1/2 cup granulated erythritol sweetener
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used SweetLeaf brand)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, or to taste
About 1/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips, enough for 5 chips per cookie (I used Lily’s brand)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with silicone pan liners or parchment paper. (Note: If you plan to use a cookie press and don’t have silicone liners, omit the parchment paper and leave the cookie sheets ungreased for easier dough release from the press.) Set pans aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot starch, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to combine and remove any lumps. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl and using a handheld or standing electric mixer, beat the softened butter until fluffy. Add the erythritol and stevia and beat until creamed together and well combined. Add egg and peppermint extract and beat again until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat until well incorporated.

4. Fill your cookie press and, with the desired disks, press cookies onto the cookie sheets. If you don’t have a cookie press, roll dough into 1-inch balls and flatten with your hand until the dough is about 1/4-inch thick. Top each cookie with 5 sugar free chocolate chips in any pattern you desire.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. They will crisp up as they cool. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Low Carb Chocolate Mint Snaps
Nutritional Information per cookie: 69 calories, 4.5 g carbohydrate (1.4 g dietary fiber, 0.2 g sugars, 3.4 g sugar alcohols), 6.3 g total fat (2.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 13 mg cholesterol, 49 mg sodium, 18.4 mg calcium, 41 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 97 mg Vit A, 1.7 g protein. Net carbs per cookie: 3.2 grams

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.