Archive of ‘By Cravings’ category

 Real Food Rainbow Popsicles (No Sugar Added!) Made with Natural Sugar-Free Sweeteners (Stevia, Erythritol)

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It’s officially summer! The MS-1s are out enjoying our last “summer of freedom” (doesn’t that sound ominous?), so I’ve been grateful for some down time. (To follow along with my medical school journey and get a glimpse of life in rural North Carolina, head on over to my instagram!).


Here in North Carolina, the fruit bins are overflowing with seasonal produce.  To celebrate the colorful array and the start of summer, I made cool, creamy, drip-down-your-arm frozen fruit bars. These cheerful treats have no added sugar, made from real whole fruits and a splash of coconut milk for creaminess.


After working with patients this year on mission trips and at the free clinic, I’ve been more inspired to talk about healthy food than ever before. Many of them have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. The ones I’ve spoken with have been open to making dietary changes, but aren’t sure where to start. Through such conversations, I’ve learned that small tweaks and substitutions are the most manageable for people trying to change their way of life. In my next chapter of blogging, I hope to share more simple recipes with common ingredients that can nudge people towards healthier habits. I’d also like to solicit your feedback, dear readers. What’s one change you made to your diet that kick started your healthy eating? Leave it in the comments, and maybe it’ll inspire others to take a step in the right direction. 



Happy Easter! Healthier Carrot Cake Recipe Update (Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free)


Happy Easter, y’all! Here in the Healthy Indulgences household, we’re serving up my Sugar-Free Carrot Cake with our holiday dinner.

Here’s my updated version of the old Sugar-Free Healthy Indulgences Carrot Cake (check out the photos! Pretty big difference between now and 4 years ago, huh? :D), with a couple of tweaks to make it even more delicious. It’s still gluten-free, sugar-free, and diabetic-friendly, at just 8 carbs per piece! It can also be made nut-free and dairy-free with a couple of modifications (see below!). 

The measurements listed work well with the wonderful non bitter pure stevia powder found at TJ’s. Have you hopped on the Trader Joe’s stevia train yet? I’m hooked! Hoping to see a larger bottle for sale in the future, ’cause $9.99 per oz is a bit steep for prolific bakers like yours truly. If you, too, are burning through stevia and would like to write to TJ’s about selling their pure, lactose-free in bulk, you can email them here. Once you’ve sounded off, don’t forget to come back for this fabulous cake recipe! 😀




Exclusive Recipe: Healthy Chocolate Mousse made in a Blender (Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free)

This recipe is exclusive to mailing list subscribers. Go to the sidebar on the right to sign up! I only mail once once per week. 

Chocolate Mousse is like the little black dress (or suit jacket) of desserts. It can be gussied up with chocolate curls, or poured into glasses and enjoyed unpretentiously. 

Because of the richness of this timeless, elegant dessert, it can easily be made low carb and diabetic-friendly without sacrificing the luxurious texture and piquant cocoa flavoring of traditional mousse. The lack of sugar and the health benefits of chocolate and coconut oil make this dessert a nourishing treat.


Did you know that you can use expeller-pressed (refined) coconut oil and still reap similar health benefits to what you would get with the extra virgin, coconut-flavored kind? Most of the studies done on coconut oil were actually performed with refined coconut oil, not with extra virgin. I recommend using expeller-pressed coconut oil in this mousse so its essence doesn’t overwhelm the rich chocolate flavor. After trying 2 brands of expeller-pressed CO, my vote goes to Jarrow Formulas, which is extracted with no harsh chemical solvents. The Spectrum brand which is widely available in grocery stores has an off taste. Of course, you can use unrefined Extra Virgin CO if you prefer. It’ll taste a bit like a Mounds bar, which definitely isn’t a bad thing!

You can almost always find a glass or two of this mousse in my fridge. Just like with my Fluffy, Grain-Free Waffles, I make a big batch on Sunday and nosh on it all week. You can grab a glass of wine mousse, sink down into the sofa, and feel extra classy eating gourmet dessert while watching Netflix in your PJ’s. Alternatively, the mousse can be dressed up with fancy curls for unexpected company. Be forewarned: Serve this mousse to unsuspecting guests, and they might want to hang around for awhile!  

Recipe Notes

This updated version of my Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse is egg-free, dairy-free, and hassle-free. You melt the chocolate, soften the gelatin, and blend everything into a luscious vortex of molten bliss. Pour the mix into glasses, and chill in the fridge. Wait (impatiently). Whip some heavy cream (ideal) or remove your can of Reddi-wip (reality) from the fridge. Garnish mousse. Eat!


Gelatin is the secret ingredient. Its thickening power takes the place of eggs used in a traditional mousse, giving it a velvety, dense texture and creamy mouthfeel. Because I make this recipe so often, I purchased grassfed beef gelatin since the food source of the cattle influences the nutrient quality of the collagen used to make gelatin. However, Knox gelatin from the grocery store works equally well. You could probably easily make this mousse vegan with agar agar powder, as this blogger did with a fruit-flavored mousse. If you play around with it, please leave a comment below sharing your results.

This recipe contains no added sugar and as it is written. Most of the people who provide me with feedback concerning the recipes you see on the blog seem to tolerate erythritol and stevia just fine, but what works for others might not work for you. Feel free to use other sweeteners they’re more agreeable to you. Raw honey is a delicious paleo substitute for the erythritol, although it substantially increases the grams of sugar per serving (see recipe notes). This recipe is incredibly flexible – you really can’t mess this up! 

Well, that’s not entirely true. You can mess it up if you don’t treat the gelatin with the respect that this venerable yet slightly finicky natural thickener deserves. A few months ago, I endeavored to make a batch of this mousse while talking on the phone (mistake number 1). During what I thought was an automated muscle memory sort of progression through the recipe steps, I dumped the gelatin powder into the warmed mixture of chocolate and coconut cream (second mistake). The translucent mass immediately formed an unappetizing clump, but I soldiered on, not wanting to waste precious ingredients. Ever the optimist, I threw the mixture into a blender and let it run at maximum speed for a minute or two. Sadly, that spark of creativity went unrewarded, as I distinctly remember later that day, tasting the chewy, hard lumps between mouthfuls of creamy chocolate. The silver lining is that by sharing this story I’ve brought you one step closer to achieving flawless results!

Unlike my old mousse recipe, there are no raw eggs in the mix. That means you can serve it to your elderly and pregnant friends with gusto! The sugar-free movement will spread quietly and deliciously, one dinner party at a time. Vive la revolution!

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Healthy Mint “Shamrock” Milkshake Recipe! (Sugar-Free)

Every March as St. Patty’s Day approaches, the Shamrock Shake attracts throngs of hungry diners to the Golden Arches. In all its corn-syrup filled glory, a small McDonald’s Shamrock Shake packs a whopping 86 grams of carbohydrates (73g of sugar) and 530 calories!

Fortunately, I was able to come up with a Healthy Indulgences version that clocks in at 8 grams of carbohydrates, no sugar, and 420 calories worth of protein and nourishing fats. It’s basically a meal in the form of a thick, creamy, sweet milkshake. What could be better than that?




Sugar-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake for a Sweet Thanksgiving!

There’s less than week until Thanksgiving!

You know what that means… it’s baking season! Holiday indulgences will be everywhere, tempting you to gobble sugary treats until you’re more stuffed than the turkey (or turducken) on the table.

This recipe might just be your sweet salvation.


This No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake has the familiar flavors of fall for those pumpkin pie lovers at the Thanksgiving table,  but is blissfully sugar-free! And it’s so good that I actually prefer it to pumpkin pie (but not to Sugar-Free Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cakenothing tops that glorious creation!). The fluffy, mousse-like texture of the No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake filling rests atop a sweet and cinnamon-y, “cookie” crumb crust, making for an irresistible flavor combination.


Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread and Lily’s No Sugar Added Chocolate Chips Review

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m sneaking in another pumpkin recipe. Speaking of which, if you haven’t fired up your crock pot to make the Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Creamer, you’re missing out! I took the post down temporarily while working out the kinks (see how much I care about getting these tasty treats just right for you?) and dialed down the heat settings for the crock pot. The recipe is good-to-go. Thanks so much for the feedback, intrepid recipe testers!

Now, what would a cinnamon-spiked, creamy latte taste good with? Hmm… healthy-indulgences-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-bread-atkins-low-carb-diabetic-sugar-free-paleo-trim-healthy-mama-almond-flour-stevia-xylitol-gluten-free-7

^There’s an idea! 😀

This moist, sweet, and slightly spicy pumpkin bread recipe will get you in the mood for pumpkin patches and hay rides! I strongly suspect that it would make a great gift baked in a pretty paper tray with a festive bow tied around it. Share the love with the sugar-free eaters in your life! 

I got the inspiration for this recipe from Danielle Walker over at Against All Grain. She adopts a grain-free, paleo approach due to her struggles with an autoimmune disease. Some of her main meals are lower in carbs, so I encourage you to browse her beautiful blog! 

To make this recipe sugar-free and diabetic-friendly, I replaced the maple syrup with a blend of erythritol, xylitol, and stevia. These are plant-derived sweeteners that have a minimal impact on blood sugar. If you’re unfamiliar with these ingredients, just click on their names to be taken to info pages that tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ’em. 

Because xylitol has grown in popularity as a suitable sweetener for diabetics, I wanted to discuss it further. You can use 100% xylitol to make this pumpkin bread, although I still recommend adding stevia to round out the sweetness. If you’re concerned about GMOs, this brand is made from GMO-free birch tree wood. 

If you’re just getting started with sugar-free baking, here’s a helpful hint for working with xylitol and erythritol. You can convert any recipes to suit your needs by substituting xylitol for erythritol and vice versa using the following conversion factor:

3/4 cup xylitol = 1 cup erythritol

Here’s a pinnable banner for your personal stash of baking tips!


-Original work by Chasity H

Hope you are feeling a little less intimidated about taking the plunge with sugar-free sweeteners! 😉

One factor to consider in choosing between the xylitol and erythritol is that some people (like myself) are a bit sensitive to xylitol, so you might want to hold off on serving treats made with a lot of xylitol to unsuspecting guests! I tend to stick with erythritol while making desserts for company. Because erythritol is digested using a different pathway in the body (only 10% is fermented in the large intestine, with 90% passing quickly out of the body in the urine), it is the only sugar alcohol that is well tolerated by most people.

If you have pets, be sure to check out the warning I posted on the xylitol info page!

The batter is just as yummy as the finished product! Must resist temptation to dip a finger in while photographing…


To keep the carbohydrates in the Sugar-Free Pumpkin Bread low, I used almond flour and gluten-free oat flour in place of the arrowroot called for in the original recipe. Oat flour shouldn’t impact your blood sugar levels to the same extent as arrowroot since it contains fewer carbohydrates, gram per gram, than refined starches. I prefer to use oat flour over pure starches like arrowroot and tapioca because of how it improves the taste and texture of sugar-free baked goods. Problems usually arise (cardboard-y cookies and dry-as-dirt brownies, anyone?) when you remove both the grains and the sugar from baked treats, which normally consist of plenty of white sugar and white flour. Makes sense, right? That’s why most grain-free recipes require sugar in the form of honey, maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar.

If you can tolerate grains (my tummy is happy with the gluten-free ones), I highly recommend you pick up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill oat flour and experiment with it in some of your baked goods. Even just adding 1/4 cup of oat flour to an almond flour dough will noticeably improve the texture. Play around with it and see for yourself! Then drop a comment over at the Facebook page or share your results on Instagram. My favorite part of blogging has been connecting with you and seeing what you’re cooking up! Be sure to #indulgehealthy and tag your food photos so I can take a peek. 😀 Both baking successes and failures are welcome! 

If you’d prefer not to use almond flour in this recipe, you can use 3/4 cup cashew butter in place of it. It’s pretty pricy (I make my own in the Vitamix using these nuts!), and will increase the carb count of your pumpkin bread, but cashew butter creates a lovely fine crumb. The texture of the bread from the silky smooth nut butter is glorious! 

 The ingredients in this bread make it suitable for Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly Plan and the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) diet, both of which allow oat flour and sugar-free sweeteners. I’m including this tidbit of information after hearing from followers of both diet plans ask about these recipes.


If you look at the different photos I took of this bread, you’ll see that there are chocolate chips in one, and chocolate chunks in the others. What’s the deal with that?

It’s funny you ask. I gotta be real with y’all and explain a bit about the Lily’s No Sugar Added Chocolate Chips you see in the top photo. The company sent them to me–free of charge–in a chocolate sampler package. Unlike most sugar-free packaged chocolate products, which are sweetened with maltitol, Lily’s chocolate chips are sweetened with erythritol and stevia. They’re also dairy-free. The company definitely get a thumbs up for using natural sweeteners that don’t cause a spike in blood sugar! 

To be perfectly honest, the taste of the chocolate chips doesn’t wow me, but you might appreciate it more if you’re completely avoiding sugar. 

The third ingredient on the the label, after “Unsweetened Chocolate” and “Erythritol”, is “Inulin.”

*classic horror movie scream*

TMI Alert: Every product I’ve tried containing this soluble fiber derived from the chicory root plant has made my intestines… er, protest. Loudly. It ain’t pretty! Inulin is a prebiotic, which means that it feeds bacteria in the lower intestine that produce, you guessed it, gas. I was in denial about it at first, but I noticed the trend after trying coconut nectar and coconut sugar, which are both chock full of inulin. Since a quick Google search for “coconut sugar and gas” doesn’t yield any relevant results, I’m wondering if it’s just me having this issue, or what?  Both of these coconut-derived sweetness give me tummy disturbances. Perhaps your gut won’t be as unhappy with the inulin fiber in Lily’s chocolate products, but I wanted to give you a heads up. This post is sure shaping up to involve some lovely frank talk, eh? 😀

In the second batch of pumpkin bread, I used a chopped up Lindt 70% bar. It doesn’t look quite so pretty baked on top of the loaf, but the yum factor (and the happy tummy factor) makes up for it!


The Lindt bar does contain real sugar (12 grams per 4 squares, or 30 grams per bar), so keep that in mind if you’re on a diabetic eating plan. If you can’t have any sugar at all, this Pumpkin Bread is still delish without the added chocolate! I plan on pouring it the batter into a spiral bundt mold to make a holiday pumpkin spice cake that looks as good as it tastes!

Finally, one last bit of important news: The metric measurements some of you asked for are here! Both the standard and the metric weights for ingredients are posted below. For best results, weigh your ingredients using a handy dandy kitchen scale. The rest of the conversions are coming to the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook first, and the blog second, post by post. Bon appetit! 

Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Serves 16
This sugar-free pumpkin bread tastes so much like the real deal that it’ll blow your mind! It’s moist and lightly sweetened with a hint of spiciness from the cinnamon and cloves. Add chocolate chips for extra decadence, or fill muffin cups and dollop with a cream cheese filling for a breakfast fit for any pumpkin lovers in the house!

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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
50 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
50 min

  1. 3/4 cup (7.1 oz, 200g) nut butter*
  2. 3/4 cup natural sweetener blend**
  3. 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) sea salt
  4. 2 Tablespoons (1.0 oz, 28g) unsalted butter OR organic shortening, room temperature
  5. 3 large eggs, room temperature
  6. 1 teaspoon (5mL) vanilla extract
  7. 1/3 cup (1.2 oz, 34g) sifted coconut flour
  8. 3/4 cup (2.0 oz, 56g) sifted oat flour
  9. 4 teaspoons (20 mL) cinnamon
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) nutmeg
  11. 1 teaspoon (5.0 mL) ground cloves
  12. 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) baking soda
  13. 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) baking powder
  14. 1/2 cup (3.8 oz,110g) canned pumpkin
  15. 1 teaspoon (5 mL) apple cider vinegar
  1. 3/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips or 8 squares Lindt 70% chocolate bar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease two 3″ by 6″ loaf pans with shortening or coconut oil cooking spray.
  3. Place cut squares of parchment in bottoms of pans, and sift oat flour over bottom and sides of pans to prevent sticking.
  4. Grind erythritol and xylitol (if using) in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet until they are the texture of powdered sugar.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter or shortening, cashew butter, xylitol, erythritol, stevia, and sea salt. With a hand mixer, beat ingredients together starting at low speed, then move to high speed setting, for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in vanilla, then add the eggs, 1 at a time until a smooth batter forms.
  7. Add dry ingredients, mixing until a smooth dough forms.
  8. Beat in pumpkin and vinegar until thoroughly incorporated.
  9. Stir in chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, reserving two tablespoons for sprinkling.
  10. To prevent batter from overflowing, remove two muffin’s worth of it and bake separately. I like to pour extra batter into two silicone muffin cups. If you are not using chocolate chips, you can bake all the batter in the two pans.
  11. Pour batter into loaf pans, smooth it out, then sprinkle the loaves with chocolate.
  12. Set loaves and muffin cups on a cookie sheet and slide into oven. Bake for 40 minutes, checking for browning at the 40 minute mark. Tent loaves with tin foil if they are browning too much, and bake for 10 more minutes.
  13. Remove pans to a wire rack and cool loaves for one hour. To cleanly remove loaf from pan, cut around edges before inverting on to a plate.
  1. *I prefer to use cashew butter, but other nut butters should work just as well. Using nut butter in place of almond flour will give your pumpkin bread a lovely, fine crumb.
  2. **You can also use the following blend of natural sweeteners, which I prefer for this recipe. This blend contains some xylitol to boost the sweetness–
  3. 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Trader Joe’s Pure Stevia Powder
  4. 1/2 cup (3.5 oz, 100g) erythritol
  5. 1/4 cup (2.0 oz, 52g) xylitol
  6. You can read more about how to combine sweeteners to create the best tasting sugar-free treats in the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook.
Healthy Indulgences

Healthy Chocolate Cake with a Secret, revisited

On the advent of Easter, it’s the perfect time for a new beginning. I’ve been baking on and off since January, sharing my Chocolate Cake with a Secret with friends at the local hospital and doctor’s offices. In the midst of pursuing a career in the health professions, I’ve encountered many diabetic patients who are looking to manage their blood sugar while still enjoying tasty treats. These personal encounters, in additional to emails from readers, have been the best inspiration for me to get back to making sugar-free treats!
Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Wanna know what I’ve learned from making the the beloved black bean chocolate cake hundreds of times over the course of five years? Here are some tips and tricks to make it even more scrumptious!


Secret Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (Sugar-Free and Better Than Starbucks!)

What’s the secret to making a healthy, diabetic-friendly version of Starbucks’ infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte at home? 

It involves real pumpkin, fresh spices, and a crock pot! You’re gonna brew up a batch of your own PSL flavored coffee creamer, so that you can have this nourishing and delicious treat every morning on the go! A few glugs of this sweet nectar of the gods (it’s that good!) will transform your coffee into something magical…

Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

DId you know that the Starbucks version doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin?! 

The best part about making PSL lattes at home is that you can control the sugar and type of milk used. The recipe below is sugar-free and dairy-free! It’s made from a blend of creamy cashew milk and coconut milk, which creates an amazingly rich, silky smooth “cream” that lightens coffee just like dairy cream!

To keep this treat diabetic-friendly, I sweeten it with natural, calorie-free sweeteners called stevia and erythritol. You could use xylitol as well (3/4 cup xylitol = 1 cup erythritol), or mix erythritol and xylitol together for an even better sugar-free sweetening option. Keep in mind that xylitol will cause your blood sugar to rise, whereas erythritol and stevia will not. I like adding 2 Tablespoons of xylitol to the recipe below for an extra boost of sweetness. (*whispers* Find out why you need to combine sugar-free sweeteners in the Healthy Indulgences E-Cookbook!)

To make this paleo, simply swap out the sugar-free sweeteners for maple syrup or coconut sugar. 3/4 cup of maple syrup should sufficiently sweeten the creamer.You’ll want the Pumpkin Spice Creamer to be quite sweet since it’s a concentrated mix that gets diluted by coffee, so keep that in mind if you’re adding your own sweeteners. 

So, how can we make a PSL coffee creamer that tastes like pumpkin without any chunkiness from the pumpkin puree? I’ll show you how!


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