Monday, November 20, 2017

Low Carb Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

Low Carb Cranberry Orange Pound Cake
If you haven’t made some sugar free dried cranberries for the upcoming holiday season of baking, it’s time! (Click here for the recipe.) They’re easy to make and so versatile. This delicious pound cake is just one recipe in which these sweet-tart berries can be the star of the show. 

Low Carb Cranberry Orange Pound Cake
Makes 12 servings

1-3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used SweetLeaf brand)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated erythritol (I used LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon almond or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup sugar free dried cranberries, chopped (see separate recipe here)
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, stevia, baking powder and salt. Whisk until no lumps remain; set aside.

3. Using a handheld or standing mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese and erythritol in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the almond or coconut milk, orange and lemon extracts and beat until incorporated and batter is smooth.

4. Add the dry ingredients and orange zest to the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed until well combined. Fold in chopped cranberries and pecans. The batter will be thick.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake should be deep golden brown and when you stick a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean. Cool the cake in the loaf pan for about 20 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/12th of recipe): 183 calories, 9.6 g carbohydrate (3.2 g dietary fiber, 1.1 g sugars, 5.3 g sugar alcohols), 16 g total fat (5.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 84 mg cholesterol, 228 mg sodium, 102.4 mg calcium, 110 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 302 mg Vit A, 5.8 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.4 grams

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Low Carb Eggnog

My Low Carb Eggnog

It’s that time of year when I start seeing eggnog in the stores...and wishing I could have some. Store-bought eggnog is loaded with sugar, but not my recipe! You will be amazed and delighted by the real, eggnog flavor of this low carb holiday specialty. It’s thick and creamy, just like I remember from my pre-Keto days, and satisfies my desire for good, old-fashioned eggnog. The addition of alcohol is completely optional (I didn’t add any, since I don’t care for boozy nog). Raise your glass this holiday and enjoy! Cheers!

My Low Carb Eggnog
Makes 6 servings (1/2 cup)

4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons granulated erythritol, divided (I used LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Thick-It-Up (or xanthan gum)
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A pinch of allspice
1/2 teaspoon mace
Bourbon or rum to taste (optional)

1. Add 1 tablespoon of the sweetener to the egg yolks in a small bowl. Beat until the egg yolks are light in color.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, whisk together the cream, coconut or almond milk, water, salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sweetener. Heat over medium-low heat until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stirring occasionally. With a ladle, pour about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks while whisking. Repeat with another 1/4 cup hot mixture, then pour the tempered eggs into the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Heat over low heat for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring constantly (do not boil).

3. Sprinkle the Thick-It-Up (or xanthan gum) a little at a time, whisking constantly. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

4. Remove from heat and pour into a blender. Add the vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, mace and alcohol (if using). Blend to combine. Cool before serving. (Mixture will thicken a bit more as it cools.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup (no alcohol): 193 calories, 5.3 g carbohydrate (0.5 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g sugars, 6 g sugar alcohols), 18.6 g total fat (10.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 194 mg cholesterol, 99 mg sodium, 153.7 mg calcium, 46 mg potassium, 146 mg Vit A, 2.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.8 grams

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All Rights Reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chocolate Peppermint Kefir Smoothie

Chocolate Peppermint Kefir Smoothie
Chocolate and peppermint are one of my favorite flavor combinations, especially around the holidays. Creamy and delicious, this smoothie is loaded with antioxidants, electrolytes, probiotics and is packed with immune and brain boosting nutrition. But it’s the cool mint taste that wins me over! I find that it’s the perfect way to start my day. Because of the “slow carbs” and healthy fat ingredients, this smoothie keeps me feeling satiated and my blood sugar stable all morning and long into the afternoon.

Chocolate Peppermint Kefir Smoothie
Makes 2 servings (or 1 large, meal replacement serving)

1 cup plain kefir
1 cup coconut or almond milk
2/3 cup organic spinach leaves (or Swiss chard)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
1/4 avocado (see Tip*)
1 tablespoon coconut or flax oil
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I used SweetLeaf brand)
1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (or about 15 fresh mint leaves), to taste
5 ice cubes
Enough water to reach desired consistency (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

*Tip: I buy avocados when they’re on sale and, when they’re ripe, I cut them into quarters, put the slices in a freezer bag and freeze them. They remain fresh and are great for adding to smoothies. Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than a banana? Plus they’re low in sugar and high in fiber!)

Nutritional Information per serving (1/2 recipe): 243 calories, 9.8 g carbohydrate (5.3 g dietary fiber, 3.2 g sugars), 17.8 g total fat (7.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 177 mg sodium, 378.3 mg calcium, 223 mg potassium, 477 mg Vit A, 4 mg Vit C, 5 mg iron, 8.1 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.5 grams.

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cranberry Nut Donuts with Orange Glaze

Cranberry Nut Donuts with Orange Glaze
For me, tart cranberries with nuts and sweet orange are an autumn or holiday flavor combination. For many years, I’ve avoided using dried cranberries due to their extremely high sugar and carb content. (You’d think that someone would have figured out to make dried cranberries without sugar, but I guess not. I’ve searched and they are not available in stores or online.) The other day, I discovered a very easy recipe for making my own sugar-free dried cranberries at home (click here for the recipe) and they turned out perfectly! I’m so delighted once again to have this pantry staple on hand to use in muffins, salads, cookies and my husband’s famous Thanksgiving dressing. Also, because they are so delicious, I was inspired to use them this morning to create these marvelous low carb donuts. I’m ready now! Bring on the holidays!!

Cranberry Nut Donuts with Orange Glaze
Makes 6 donuts (more or less, depending on your pan)

1/2 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon unflavored whey protein powder
1 tbsp + 1 tsp granulated erythritol (I used LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener)
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used SweetLeaf brand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons sugar free dried cranberries, chopped (see recipe here)

Orange Glaze:

1/4 cup powdered erythritol (I used Swerve Confectioner’s)
1 tablespoon orange juice (or water)
1/8 teaspoon orange extract (if using water, increase to 1/4 teaspoon)

1. For the donuts, lightly grease a donut baking pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein powder, erythritol, stevia, baking powder and salt until no lumps remain and the ingredients are well combined.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, water, orange extract and orange zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk thoroughly to combine. Fold in the chopped pecans and cranberries until well distributed.

3. Fill the donut holes approximately 2/3 to 3/4 full (do not overfill). Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the donuts are browned on the edges and spring back when touched. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

4. To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered erythritol, orange juice and extract in a shallow bowl until smooth. If too thin, add more erythritol. If too thick, add more liquid, a few drops at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

5. Dip the tops of the cooled donuts into the glaze. (Be sure to hold the donuts carefully because they may be delicate. The distribution of the cranberries and pecans might have created some weak spots and you don’t want them to fall apart.) Place the glazed donuts on a wire rack for a few minutes until the glaze is set. Leftover donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Cranberry Nut Donuts with Orange Glaze
Nutritional Information per donut (based on six per recipe): 127 calories, 6.8 g carbohydrate (2.1 g dietary fiber, 1.1 g sugars, 8 g sugar alcohols), 11.2 g total fat (3.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 107 mg sodium, 31.6 mg calcium, 104 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 175 mg Vit A, 3 mg Vit C, 3.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.7 grams

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Low Carb Macaroni and Cheese (Gluten Free)

Macaroni and Cheese
I must admit that I created a masterpiece tonight! I made a low carb “macaroni” and cheese casserole that only has 4 carbs (2 net carbs) per serving. It was spectacular! The sauce was so creamy and the “noodles” absorbed the cheezy deliciousness perfectly. The ingredient used to replace regular wheat pasta in my recipe was Palmini Linguine Noodles (made from hearts of palm), which I purchased on Amazon (see photos below). These “noodles” have been an excellent low carb replacement for pasta in many of my favorite dishes, but this one may win the prize! They’re a bit pricey, but worth it in my opinion because their texture and mild taste work so well in pasta recipes. Give them a try. I think you’ll be pleased, too.

Low Carb “Macaroni” and Cheese (Gluten Free)
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon organic butter
A pinch of salt
White or black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup organic heavy cream
1/4 cup water
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Thick-It-Up (or organic xanthan gum), enough to thicken
1/4 pound organic sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (4 oz.)
One 16 oz. can Palmini Linguine Noodles (hearts of palm), cut into 1” pieces
1/4 cup additional organic cheddar cheese, shredded
Paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the salt, pepper, dry mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, cream and water. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Slowly sprinkle in the Thick-It-Up or xanthan gum while whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Stir in the 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese and whisk until the cheese has melted and sauce is smooth.

2. Drain and rinse the Palmini noodles in a colander and pat with paper towels until most of the excess moisure is removed. Use scissors to cut the noodles into 1-inch pieces. Add noodles to the cheese sauce and stir until well coated.

   

3. Pour the noodle-cheese mixture into a 2-quart baking dish or into four individual ramekins. Sprinkle the additional shredded cheese over the top and dust with paprika. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until piping hot, bubbly and the top is browned. Serve immediately. 

Note: You can prepare the casserole several hours to a day ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. It’s best served immediately after baking.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/4 recipe): 230 calories, 4.5 g carbohydrate (2.1 g dietary fiber, 0.2 g sugars), 22.1 g total fat (12.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 339 mg sodium, 189.2 mg calcium, 43 mg potassium, 722 mg Vit A, 8.5 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.4 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Low Carb Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
I was browsing through some broccoli soup recipes and landed on a good one asserting to be a Panera copycat recipe but it was too high in carbs and called for flour, which are both no-nos for me. So I adapted this recipe to be low carb and ketogenic with a few minor adjustments. This is the creamiest and, by far, the BEST Broccoli Cheddar soup I’ve ever made and will definitely be my go-to recipe from now on! Perfect for a cool fall evening or anytime.

Low Carb Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Makes about 6 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup organic heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
A small pinch of cayenne
3 cups broccoli florets and stems, diced into small pieces
1 small carrot, sliced into thin rounds
8 ounces high-quality cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon Thick-It-Up low carb thickener (or xanthan gum), if needed

1. In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to turn golden in color. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or so until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and whisk to combine. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard powder and cayenne and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and add the broccoli and carrots and allow the mixture to gently simmer on low heat uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and the broth has thickened slightly.

2. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and set aside a portion to use as a garnish later. After the soup has simmered and the vegetables have softened, add the cheese and stir continuously until it has melted and is fully incorporated into the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. If needed, sprinkle the Thick-It-Up (or xanthan gum) into the soup while whisking continuously until the desired thickness is reached.

3. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, garnish with the reserved grated cheese and serve immediately. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is best reheated in the microwave or heated very gently in a heavy saucepan over low heat while stirring often. Do not freeze.

Nutritional Information per cup: 305 calories, 7.3 g carbohydrate (1.8 g dietary fiber, 1.9 g sugars), 30.9 g total fat (19.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 105 mg cholesterol, 651 mg sodium, 323.9 mg calcium, 217 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 2888 mg Vit A, 41 mg Vit C, 13.1 g protein. Net carbs per cup: 5.5 grams

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
Adapted from a recipe on averiecooks.com
All Rights Reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mini Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

Mini Spice Cake
I have a set of adorable 4-inch springform pans, which are the perfect size for making mini desserts. When I want a little something sweet, but don't want an entire cake calling my name every time I walk through the kitchen, I reach for my mini pans. Four small servings, just enough for my small family, and the craving is satisfied and the temptation is gone. This particular cake was inspired by my husband's Aunt Margie. She made a spice cake with penuche frosting that he remembers fondly. Penuche is a brown sugar fudge similar in taste to pralines and is a southern favorite. Of course, brown sugar was not an option for me, so I recreated the flavor of her beloved frosting using low carb ingredients that passes the husband taste test! The addition of caramel flavoring gives the frosting a richer, more authentic flavor and tones down the peanut butter a bit, but it's just as delicious without it. I think you'll agree that this flavor combination of warm spices and caramel is a perfect fall treat.

Mini Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting (Low Carb, Gluten Free)
Makes 1 mini cake (4 servings)

Cake Ingredients:

5 tablespoons almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon unflavored whey protein powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons Golden LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream or almond milk

Frosting Ingredients:

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons peanut butter, no sugar added
2 tablespoons powdered erythritol (I used Swerve Confectioners)
4 drops English Toffee stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops caramel flavoring or extract, optional (I used Capella brand, see photo below)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 4-inch springform pans or ramekins well; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, spices and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and erythritol. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on high until well combined. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and beat well. Add 1 tablespoon of cream (or almond milk) and beat again. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and cream, beating well between each addition until a smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and level out.

3. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the center is set. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges and remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

4. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, peanut butter and butter. Add the powdered sweetener, stevia drops, vanilla extract and caramel flavoring (if using) and beat until well combined. Add the whipping cream one tablespoon at a time, whipping after each addition, until fluffy and a spreadable consistency is reached.

5. Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a serving plate and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes to set the frosting before serving. 

Caramel Flavoring
Nutritional Information per serving (1/4 cake): 311 calories, 7.9 g carbohydrates (2.1 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g sugars, 6.8 g sugar alcohols), 28.5 g total fat (14 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 107 mg cholesterol, 167 mg sodium, 103.5 mg calcium, 42 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 711 mg Vit A, 7.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.8 grams

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