Archive of ‘Nut-Free’ category

Turn Up The Heat: Low Carb Chicken Curry

After experimenting with various flavors of Protein Packed Ice Cream, I had a lot of low fat cottage cheese leftover. I’ve been obsessed with pureeing cottage cheese lately. It can sub for anything creamy, sneaking in extra protein to keep you satisfied. It also makes this typical “diet food” more sexy to eat. It’s not that I don’t absolutely love heavy cream and FAGE total and all of the lovely wholesome saturated fat those contain. If you haven’t read Good Calories, Bad Calories yet, pick up it up and prepare to be blown away by what the scientific evidence really shows regarding the relationship between heart health, disease risk, and saturated fats. Hint: It’s not what the processed food-pushing establishment tells you! There are many ways to incorporate healthful natural fats into your diets: Eat grass-fed 85/15 beef and chicken thighs, use cream in your coffee, sauté with butter or coconut oil, and my favorite way–pop a square of extra dark chocolate! There can, however, be too much of a good thing, especially when you’re watching your waistline. Your body won’t tap into your stored fat if there is too much dietary fat coming in. And no, a high-protein diet won’t wear out your kidneys!

Regardless of whether you use full-fat yogurt or pureed cottage cheese, this curry is packed full of flavor and will leave you wanting more. No need to slave over a hot stove since it takes less than a half hour (he-ey, Rachel Ray!) to whip up. If your cabinet isn’t already stocked will all of these lovely spices, don’t hesitate to make the investment. You will want to make this dish over and over. The only ingredients I had to run out for were the ginger root and the garam marsala. Garam marsala, an aromatic blend of spices, is ideal for adding an Indian flair to omelets, stir fries, and other quick n’ dirty meals. The downside of making curry is that the whole house still smells like all of those wonderful spices, reminding me that my dad ate the leftovers. Guess that means I’ll have to make more…

Indian Chicken Curry
Adapted from an AllRecipes recipe

Makes 4 small servings

Ingredients:
1-3 tablespoons of oil, butter, or ghee
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of garam marsala
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/16 teaspoon pure stevia extract
1/8-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 boneless chicken thighs or 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup plain yogurt or pureed cottage cheese (I used Friendship 1%)
3/4 cup coconut milk (lite, if you prefer)
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional–omit if you don’t like spicy foods)

Preparation:

Prep vegetables. Heat fat in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until browned and fragrant. Add garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sweetener, and sea salt, stirring around the pan for 2 minutes. Use a food processor or magic bullet to puree cottage cheese or yogurt with coconut milk and tomato paste. Add chicken and coconut milk mixture to pan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, squeeze in the lime juice, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and stir in the cayenne pepper if you’re using it. Finish with more lime juice to taste, and serve over riced cauliflower.

~6 grams net carbs per serving, using lite coconut milk and pureed cottage cheese

Riced Cauliflower

Makes four small servings

4 cups of fresh grated cauliflower
1 tablespoon organic unsalted butter
1/2 crumbled organic boullion cube (watch out for MSG!)

Grate cauliflower with a cheese grater. Add butter to a pan over medium heat. Stir fry cauliflower for 2 minutes, crumbling the boullion cube over it during the cooking process. Cook until just tender, and remove from pan.

~3g net carbs per serving

Garnished with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, mm-mmmm!

Low Carb Low Fat Ice Cream (with a secret ingredient, shh!)

Every once in awhile I think I have an original, particularly ground-breaking idea. 99% of the time, that isn’t the case. This is one of those ideas that gave me false hope. Oh well, it was fun feeling creative until some googling showed me this link to Jessica Su’s cottage cheese ice cream at her Su Good Sweets blog (WARNING: NOT low carb). Do I get points for making it sugar-free and all natural?

This one goes out to the body builders, PSMFers, and those with gall bladder issues (love you, Mom!). Fool your friends with this creamy, delicious frozen treat that’s low cal, low sugar, and guilt-free. It doesn’t taste like cottage cheese, honest! My faithful testers weren’t able to detect anything except lemony goodness, although one of them made a face after I revealed the secret ingredient. You don’t have to portion control here, since a 1/2 cup serving has 90 tiny calories and 5 grams of carbs! It’s basically the most delicious way ever to get in a whopping 18 grams of protein and 15% of your RDA of calcium (I’m looking at you, vegetarians!) Yes, you can have ice cream while losing weight and eating for optimal health.

Be sure to look for a cottage cheese without scary additives. Gum thickeners are pretty natural, but the phrase “artificial flavors” is probably a bad sign. Use full-fat or low fat cottage cheese if you’re not watching your calories. I like Organic Valley products–no hormones! If organic cottage cheese doesn’t fit into your budget, Friendship 1% blends up nice and creamy with no strange additives. If all else fails, compare labels and pick the one with the lowest sodium content–the saltiness is noticeable, especially with the lemon flavor. You don’t have to fear dietary salt, but some people are more sensitive to the taste than I am. Did you know it’s actually more dangerous to eat a low sodium diet than it is to just eat how your tastebuds tell you to?

Bust out your old ice cream maker (or find a nifty automatic model on Craig’s List like I did) and get ready to be amazed. Even if you are enjoying your low carb cream n’ egg yolk based ice cream, give cottage cheese ice cream a fair chance. The protein is very satisfying, so it’s a wee bit easier to portion control than the best ice cream recipe in the world by my man, Alton Brown (low carb tweaks coming soon!).

Protein Packed Low Carb Ice Cream

Makes two servings

Ingredients:

Lemon Variation:
1 cup of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (recommended: Friendship No-Salt Cottage Cheese)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
4 tablespoons sugar-free sweetener–
For ALL NATURAL sugar-free sweetening, use both of the following:
-3 tablespoons erythritol
-1/4 teaspoon Trader Joe’s pure stevia extract


Chocolate Almond Variation:

1 cup of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (recommended: Friendship No-Salt Cottage Cheese)
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup liquid egg whites or lite coconut milk
4 tablespoons of sweetener–
For ALL NATURAL sugar-free sweetening, use both of the following:
-3 tablespoons erythritol
-1/4 teaspoon Trader Joe’s pure stevia extract

Optional:
1 Tablespoon glycerin (to keep ice cream soft)

Preparation:
Combine ingredients in a blender or magic bullet. Puree until smooth and free of lumps, scraping down the food processor a few times. Freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer’s directions. Store in a tupperware container in your freezer and consume immediately, or within two hours of making your ice cream. It turns into an icy rock beyond that point (unless you add a tablespoon of vodka to the mix). You can always pop the container in the microwave for a few seconds to defrost.

This is all that was left of the chocolate almond!

(Almost) Instant Low Carb Ice Cream

After making many batches of my ice cream bars, I got sick of the peanut butter flavor and wanted something more creamy and spoonable for my fix. More traditional. Ice cream is still my first love in terms of treats. Nothing can replace the milky cold sweetness of it, and during summer time the feelings of longing are the strongest. Fortunately, I can’t remember the last time I caved to the craving and stopped at a DQ for a blizzard. And if you have this quick and dirty ice cream sitting in your freezer, you won’t have to think twice about it. It’s thick and creamy, just like you remember. And the best part? No fancy machinery required!

This sugar-free, all natural ice cream made with luxuriously thick ricotta cheese will give you 50% of your RDA of calcium per half cup serving, and contains 4 measly carbs. Use your favorite minimally processed cocoa powder for an antioxidant boost. I’ll admit to using Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for that Wendy’s frosty chocolate flavoring, but the non-Dutched stuff is best for the preservation of nutrients.

Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes two servings


Ingredients:

1 cup ricotta cheese (part skim or whole milk)
1 fresh organic egg yolk (Egg Beaters if you’re afraid of salmonella)
Tiny splash of pure vanilla extract
Sweeteners, to taste
For ALL NATURAL sugar-free sweetening:
-2-3 tablespoons erythritol (get it here and here) or xylitol
Pure stevia extract
Pinch of xanthan/guar gum (optional, for a creamier texture)

Jamocha Almond Flavoring:
2-3 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
sliced almonds
85% cacao chocolate, grated

Mint Chocolate Chip Variation:

a few drops of pure peppermint extract
85% cacao chocolate, grated

Preparation:
Blend ricotta, egg yolk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sweeteners, xanthan gum, and other flavorings together in a blender or food processor until totally smooth. Stir in nuts and chocolate shavings if desired. Pour into plastic tub with a lid and freeze for an hour, stirring well every 20 minutes to break up the ice so it freezes properly. Serve as soon as it’s frozen enough to be scoopable. If you decide not to eat it immediately, let it sit out for 10 minutes when you remove it from the freezer before serving.

~5g net carbs per serving!

Topped with hard shell topping, fresh whipped cream, and slivered almonds. Best lunch EVER.


Hard Shell Topping


Makes two servings

Ingredients:
1 square Lindt 85% cacao bar (I’m loving Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie lately)
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or non-hydrogenated palm shortening
1/2 teaspoon heavy cream or coconut milk
sweeteners, to taste (I use NuNaturals stevia)

Preparation:
Nuke chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring at 20 seconds intervals until smooth. Stir in cream and sweeteners, tasting and adjusting if necessary.

Digging in…

Give it a try! If you have a flavor idea, let me know about it and we can work on re-creating it.

Low Carb Pizza and Ranch– the Dynamic Duo

UPDATE on 7.23.08: I made this recipe again here, using coconut flour in place of the protein powder.

Quick update. I just had a blog-worthy lunch, and felt the recipe needed to be shared. It’s a healthy take on everyone’s favorite–PIZZA! What’s make a pizza a pizza? The crust, of course! I modified this recipe for an easy and delicious gluten-free low carb (almost no carb) crust. Many thanks to NancyElle at the low carb friends forum who came up with the amazing original recipe.

Simple Low-Carb Pizza Crust

Makes two to four servings

Ingredients:
2 cups whole or part-skim organic mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 large organic eggs
2 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal (optional)
2 tablespoons unflavored whey protein powder or coconut flour (optional)
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

Preparation:
Mix cheese, eggs, flax meal (if using), protein powder or coconut flour (if using), and baking powder. Spread with a spatula to 1/4″ thickness on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees, flipping halfway through the baking process. Remove from oven, slide off of parchment paper, and flip over again onto the pan so the crust cools with the pretty side up. Once crust is cooled, top with sauce, pre-cooked veggies or meats, and cheese. Broil on high for 2 minutes, or until cheese topping is melted and bubbly.

~8g net carbs, 974 calories per crust (made with coconut flour)

Now comes the fun part… toppings! Ranch makes everything better (try it on eggs, I kid you not), and it’s the star ingredient in this Bacon Chicken Ranch pizza. I had some homemade ranch sitting in the fridge (recipe coming soon!), and it really made a difference in the flavor. This half of the pizza pie is definitely my favorite. For you less adventurous types, I tossed sauteed red pepper and onions on the other half. It’ll make for some good cold pizza come breakfast time tomorrow!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

Makes two to four servings

Ingredients:
10 slices nitrate-free bacon, fried and crumbled
1 lb cooked organic chicken breast or thighs, chopped into chunks
organic cheddar, shredded
ranch dressing (check for carb count and additives)

Preparation:
Spread ranch over crust in a thin layer. Top with chunks of chicken and crumbled bacon. Sprinkle shredded cheese over everything. Broil until cheese melts, and drizzle ranch dressing over slices before serving. Leave the dressing off of leftovers.

Tips:
~Use chicken thighs for better flavor and value. If you’re buying organic, the cost savings can be huge.
~Cut up the chicken thighs and sautee them in the bacon grease conserved from frying, and season with a ranch seasoning packet or herbs to add another layer of flavor. It’s quick and easy!
~Look for nitrate-free bacon for a healthier option. Niman Ranch makes a delicious all natural product.


~1g net carbs per slice (plus toppings)

Healthy Ice Cream Bars, Take Two!

After much tweaking and experimentation, here’s a vanilla version of my Easy Ice Cream Bars. The texture isn’t as smooth as it is with the peanut butter, so you should let ’em sit out for a moment before taking a bite. The yogurt brings a pleasant tang to the party.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the miraculous calorie-free naturally occurring sweetener: Erythritol! Erythritol is totally safe and has no aftertaste or unpleasant side effects like the other sugar alcohols. It has 70% of the sweetening power of sugar, with many of the properties that sugar imparts in baking (structure, mouthfeel, etc.) The one caveat: the “cooling” effect you can taste when erythritol re-crystallizes. It’s the weirdest sensation. You have to figure out a way to make the majority of erythritol present in the recipe stay dissolved so you can avoid that effect. I’m still tinkering around with it in recipes, but it’s slow-going because erythritol is precious stuff and I’m on a student budget. Z-sweet is the brand available locally. You pay a premium for buying it in stores, but it is worth the cost if you’re looking for a product not produced with genetically modified corn. I’ve been ordering 5 lb bags of erythritol online lately because I go through it so quickly. The best price I’ve found for it is at iherb.com, and online supplement retailer. No, erythritol is not something that cavemen would’ve consumed while foraging for food, but it does not wreak havoc on your body like sugar does. My justification for using it is that it was impossible to consume concentrated amounts of any form of sugar while living off the land, making erythritol the more “natural” way of eating than using, say, honey or maple syrup. We were not able to eat any refined sweeteners or copious amounts of fruit on a regular basis before the advent of agriculture, so it makes sense that our bodies are not designed to handle the 300+ carb per day diet that is standard now. Did you know that bears are the only animal in the wild showing signs of tooth decay?

The one I chomped into (shown on the left, obviously) is filled with a layer of mooshed up Sugar-Free Brownies. Yum! 

Easy Ice Cream Bars (Vanilla version)

Makes 6 small rounds

Ingredients:

Filling:
2 oz heavy cream, preferably organic
2 oz cream cheese
3 Tablespoons of ricotta cheese or strained greek-style yogurt
2 Tablespoons of erythritol (or 1.5 Tablespoons xylitol)
A pinch of pure stevia extract

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating:
1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
2 squares Lindt extra dark 85% chocolate bar (or Ghirardelli 86% chocolate bar)
A pinch of pure stevia extract
Chopped nuts (optional)

Peanut Butter Coating:

4 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil or non-hydrogenated shortening
A pinch of pure stevia extract

Preparation:

Beat heavy cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Do not over beat or it will get clumpy, and turn to butter! Set whipped cream aside. Measure out granular erythritol or xylitol and powder in a coffee grinder or blender. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, erythritol, sweetener, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and clump free. Test for sweetness. It should be a bit sweeter than you want the finished product. Using a spatula, fold cream cheese into the whipped cream until well combined. Shape ice cream rounds on a pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Freeze for 1 hour or until firm.

Melt coating ingredients in the microwave in 10 second intervals, until liquified. Stir until smooth and add sweetener, to taste. Remove rounds from freezer and dip into coatings, or top with a layer of mushed up brownie/cookie dough/etc before dipping. You may need to set the round on the paper and spoon the coating over bare spots. Sprinkle bars with nuts immediately after dipping in the coating, if desired. Chill for another few minutes until the coating hardens.

So stuffed from all of this experimenting in the kitchen! Goodness, healthy eating is so trying. I’ve gotta go dump these off on my friends asap. For some reason, I don’t think they’ll mind.

Homemade Low(er) Carb Wendy’s Chili

Wendy’s has always had a special place in my heart. It was my preferred stop after soccer practice, with the same request every time: “Chicken nuggets with sweet and sour and chili aaand-an-a small frosty!!” I’ve conquered the nuggets and frosty (to be addressed in the near future), but the chili has always been on my proverbial back burner. It’s just not something I missed while low carbing initially, because you can have all the ground beef and tomatoes you want, not to mention sour cream and cheese and all those indulgent scene-stealers. The humble chili never called my name… until yesterday morning at oh-ninehundred hours. I sifted through recipes that were inherently low carb, i.e. Texas and Skyline chili, but those didn’t look like they would satisfy my nostalgic craving. I needed something simple. And something tried-and-true so I wouldn’t waste my expensive grass-fed beef. Gotta be pragmatic here. So I turned to AllRecipes.com, a virtual treasure trove of culinary inspiration (with user ratings!). With my tweaks to knock down the carbs and punch up the flavor, you have no reason to let me catch you shoveling it down from the yellow cup.

Waaaaay better than fast food, it’s homemade chili! You can leave out the beans for a lower carb count, but they’re worth it for a more “authentic” taste. I would make this every night if it didn’t take so dang long to cook! This dish is seriously nutrient rich. It’s chock full of lycophene from the tomatoes, which is absorbed better with the addition of the healthful fat from the grass-fed beef.

Check out this excerpt from a study on lycophene absorption:
“Tomato products consumed in oil, such as pizza (7.5 g fat per serving), spaghetti/tomato sauce (14.6 g), and lasagna (23.8 g), are particularly bioavailable lycopene sources, due to greater intestinal absorption in association with fat.”

Grass-fed beef also brings high levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids to the game. The capsaicin in chili is purported to have myriad healing properties. Did I mention it’s super easy? Insanely easy. All you need is a knife, a big pot, and opposable thumbs.

Easy Better-Than-Wendy’s Chili

Makes 8 small servings

Ingredients:
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon oil (olive or coconut)
2-14.5 oz cans organic tomatoes (I like Muir Glen fire-roasted)
1-8 oz can organic tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped organic celery
3/4 cup chopped organic green bell pepper
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (optional, for flavor)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup pinto beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
hot sauce, to taste

Preparation:
Chop vegetables and set aside. In a large kettle with a lid, brown ground beef in a little coconut oil over medium heat, stirring around and breaking up the chunks. DO NOT DRAIN THE FAT. I repeat, do NOT drain off the beef fat. S’good for you, and for your flavor-hungry chili! Add vegetables and sweat for a few minutes until softened. Stir in canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and spices. Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Do not touch until the end of that period. You want the veggies to be tender and the flavors to meld.

Top with sour cream, Frank’s RedHot, cheese, whatever chili topping you like since it’s probably low carb. Except fritos. No corn chips should ever touch this bowl of manna!

~11g net carbs (with the beans)

Homemade Low Carb Ice Cream Bars– Worth screaming for

There is only one treat that my new health-concious palate still craves. You know how biting your nails isn’t nearly as satisfying after you’ve given up the habit for Lent? Foods are the same way with me. My former undercover lover, the pop-tart, tastes sickly sweet and cardboard-y to me now. So for you who are still struggling with sugar addiction: There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Your tastebuds change and things like bell peppers become candy-sweet. Well, this phenomenon did not happen with one demonic sugar-laden substance–ice cream! It tastes just as good as I remember, and seriously does things to my brain so I just can’t get enough. This poses a problem since my favorite vice consists of a wholesome blend of the following:

Milkfat and Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Whey, Mono and Diglycerides, Artificial Flavor, Guar Gum, Polysorbate 80, Carrageenan, and Vitamin A Palmitate.

There’s some calcium in there with the nonfat milk, but that’s about it in terms of nourishment. None of those other ingredients look too promising. Wonder what 19 years worth of this stuff does to you…

Fortunately, I have found a way to satisfy my ice-cream tooth (teeth?). The best part is that it takes minutes to whip up, with no strange ingredients or tools. Minimal effort for the pay-off, baby! With my low-carb ice cream bars, you have no excuse for caving to cravings and blowing $4.00 on toxic sludge for your body. You get the calcium from the cream and cream cheese (go organic if you can, at least on the cream!), the antioxidants from the chocolate, and the medium chain triglycerides from the coconut oil. Consume the Dilly bar‘s healthy cousin with gusto!

Easy Ice Cream Bars

Makes 4 bars

Ingredients:

Filling:
2 oz heavy cream (Organic Valley is deliciously thick!)
2 oz cream cheese
3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
2-4 tablespoons of sweetener
For ALL NATURAL sugar-free sweetening, use both of the following:
-1-2 tablespoons erythritol or xylitol
-1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract

Chocolate Coating (for two bars):
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 squares Lindt extra dark 85% chocolate bar
Pinch of good-tasting pure stevia extract
chopped nuts (optional)

Peanut Butter Coating:
4 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons coconut oil
sweetener, to taste

Preparation:
Beat heavy cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Do not over-beat or it will get clumpy and turn to butter! Set whipped cream aside. Beat cream cheese, sweetener, and peanut butter until the mixture is smooth and clump free. Test for sweetness. It should be a bit sweeter than you want the finished product. Using a spatula, fold cream cheese into the whipped cream until there are only a few white streaks. Shape ice cream rounds on a pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Freeze for 1/2 hour.

Melt coating ingredients in the microwave in 10 second intervals, until liquified. Stir until smooth and add sweetener, to taste. Remove rounds from freezer and dip into coatings. You may need to set the round on the paper and spoon the coating over bare spots. Sprinkle bars with nuts immediately after dipping in the coating, if desired. Chill for another few minutes until the coating hardens.

~3g net carbs per treat!

Mall Food Court Bourbon Chicken, Made Healthy

I always felt sorry for those ladies in the mall food court, standing around heckling innocent mall goers to try their chicken on a toothpick. Every time I walk through the entrance by Panda Express I take a sample nodding and smiling, guilted into heading over to the counter to ask about the $4.99 special. Although it tastes exactly the same everywhere I tried it, this Chinese restaurant staple of questionable cultural authenticity is totally addictive, and it’s not just the MSG. It’s sweet with hint of caramel flavor from the bourbon.

I googled many combinations of “mall bourbon chicken” to find an ingredients list for the commercial dish, to no avail. A few recipes purporting to taste like the food court fare popped up, so I took the plunge and pieced together a test recipe. After tasting the results, I proceeded to eat way too much chicken and toyed with the idea of keeping this magical formula for chicken nirvana to myself. Good thing for you, I never was good at keeping secrets. This recipe really does taste like the stuff you get in the mall. Just keep it on the dl, please. Those ladies with the samples have to make a living, too!

This meal is pretty budget friendly considering a lot of the ingredients are components of a well stocked pantry. Target has the best deal for organic chicken in my area (Coleman brand), which you definitely want to spring for. Macadamia nut oil is a wonderful investment because of its health benefits and delicious nutty flavoring that’s not overpowering in most applications. It has a high smoke point for high heat cooking, and beats olive oil in the amount of monounsaturated fats. Coconut oil would also work nicely. Peanut oil would taste fine, but is not the healthiest option since it’s highly polyunsaturated. Extra light virgin olive oil would be a last resort, as it wouldn’t complement the other flavor components. If you don’t have a lot of the key items, you can stock up with this recipe and make fake Chinese take out to your heart’s content.

The recipe makes three large servings, but you’d best divide it up in advance because it’s hard to stop with this stuff. You don’t have to feel guilty if you overindulge a bit, though. No sugar, no gluten, no transfats or polyunsaturated oils, nothing artificial. The best part is you would never know that if I hadn’t told you.

Made-over Mall Food Court Bourbon Chicken

Makes 3 large servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of organic chicken thigh meat, cubed
2 tablespoons of oil (see note above)
1/4 cup soy or wheat-free tamari sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
2-4 tablespoons sweetener
1/4 cup Truvia OR erythritol OR xylitol
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia powder
 (if not using Truvia)
1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1T diced yellow onion, or 1 green onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon ginger
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
sea salt, to taste

Preparation:
Combine all of the marinade ingredients and whisk together. Taste and add more sea salt or sweetener if necessary. Toss chicken thigh chunks in marinade, then place chicken and marinade into a zip top bag and leave in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight, turning occasionally to expose all of the chicken evenly.

Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, turning pieces over and moving them around in the marinade during the baking process. Serve hot from the oven and refrigerate leftovers immediately.

~2g net carbs per serving!

I’m lovin’ it– The Healthy Egg McMuffin made with Coconut Flour (Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Diabetic-Friendly)!

I really like breakfast food, and in my previous unhealthy life, didn’t always make time for a delicious and healthful breakfast. Me and Mickey D’s, we go way back. During my crazy mornings senior year of high school, a quick stop at McDonald’s took 5 minutes on a good day. You could chow down in your crappy space in the parking lot until the first bell rang, or just sneak the McMuffin in between your books if you had the cool teacher. They are unbelievably sturdy little buggers, and you ever notice how they don’t even mold… but I digress. Ah, fond memories… until the GERD set in before 2nd period.

Fast forward to now, where I still get a hankering for a fast food-style breakfast sandwich every once in awhile. With my gluten-free low carb english muffin recipe, you can enjoy the McMuffin and the period after consumption! The only hard part of this operation is the bun. Make up a batch and keep ’em in the fridge for food emergencies. I like organic or imported cheddar (no rBGH!), free-range organic eggs, and uncured pork sausage. I cheated this time and bought the round little patties from a box (they photograph better, nyah nyah!), but you could snag a tube of organic pork and make ’em yourself! Finances permitting, I ususally go that route and cook up a giant batch at once. They keep in the freezer and reheat just the pre-cooked kind for breakfast in a pinch.

Now don’t give me that look. Quit making excuses for running out the door with a donut clutched in your teeth. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get out of bed 10 minutes earlier to assemble this made over breakfast classic that will satisfy the convenience food junkie inside you.

Made-over Breakfast Sandwich

English Muffins
adapted from a recipe by Bruce Fife, N.D.

Makes five muffins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut flour (Bob’s Red Mill preferred)
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2-3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat together eggs, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add coconut flour and baking powder, whisking into the batter until there are no lumps. Stir in the cheese. Spoon batter into 5 buttered ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm. Let cool completely before cutting into. For best results, make these the night before you plan on eating them. Store in the fridge.

~4g net carbs per muffin

Sandwich Assembly Instructions:

Slice muffin in half and toast until heated through. Top one half with slice of cheddar cheese. Reheat sausage per package directions and place on top of cheese. Cook egg in a buttered ramekin or other circular muffin-sized microwaveable dish, covered in plastic wrap, on 50% power for 1 minutes 15 seconds, or until yolk is firm (remember to poke a hole in the yolk before cooking!). Slide egg out carefully. Sprinkle on sea salt and pepper to taste. Place the egg on top of the sausage and top with other muffin half. Consume immediately, or wrap in a napkin and get going!

~5g net carbs

Don’t have the time or the will to press buttons and get multiple items out of the fridge? Make a sweet variation of the muffins for spreads that don’t play well with garlic!

Sweet Variation of Breakfast Muffins:

1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, finely grated

Throw some peanut butter on your sweet buns, or better yet, bust out PB’s healthier twin sister– almond butter! AB is packed full of monounsaturated fats and flavor, with a distinct natural sweetness. For these reasons, no jar of almond butter lasts long enough to actually put it on something in my house.

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