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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bulletproof Cinnamon Chai Kefir Frappe

Bulletproof Cinnamon Chai Kefir Frappe
In New England, a frappe (pronounced “frap” in Maine) is an iced milkshake, sometimes with a coffee or ice cream base. In this variation, I’ve used brewed tea instead. You can use either a chai or cinnamon tea bag, but brew it strong in 1 cup of hot water so the flavor is prominent after blending with the ice and other ingredients. It’s important to cool off the tea before adding the kefir so the gut-healing probiotics remain alive. To make this beverage “bulletproof,” and thus a great meal replacement, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. This is a delicious way to begin a happy and healthy New Year!

Bulletproof Cinnamon Chai Kefir Frappe
Makes 1 serving

1 cup of strongly brewed chai or cinnamon tea
1 cup of ice
1/2 cup of plain, unsweetened kefir
1 tablespoon heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder or to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)

1. Place the brewed tea and ice into a blender. Blend until the tea is cooled and the ice is melted.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until frothy. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: 249 calories, 3.3 g carbohydrate (0.6 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars), 23.2 g total fat (16.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 33 mg cholesterol, 121 mg sodium, 129 mg calcium, 149 mg potassium, 234 mg Vit A, 4.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.7 grams

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

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.