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UPDATE: The giveaway is closed now, and the winners have been picked. Check your email to see if you’ve been selected for one of the NuNaturals stevia prize packages!
Do you remember eating peanut butter n’ banana sandwiches as a kid?
My name is Lauren, and I’m a Reese’s peanut butter egg-a-holic.
Earlier this month, I received a request from a reader, Deb, to create a healthier version of the highly addictive, seasonal candy that is the Reese’s egg. Knowing there are many low carb eaters out there who face the temptation to hoard these candies every Easter, I was determined to create a healthier alternative. It would be dairy-free, soy-free, and paleo for my primal peeps and allergen-averse readers.
Boy oh boy, it’s good to be back in the kitchen! Back with a little something special for the holidays, of course. It’s sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate candy bark! Isn’t it purdy, lounging on a gold doily?
Doilies are works of art, aren’t they? I see them as small, papery miracles. They make any food visually appealing. They make you feel like you have some sort of “eye” for decorating. They come in classic white, or SHINY!!! I’m a firm believer in their ability to make everything better.
This festive candy is made with a smooth and sweet chocolate base that contains no milk, but all of the richness of traditional milk chocolate bark. This candy bark is one for your Christmas cookbook.
UPDATE: The giveaway winner for the Bento lunchbox is commenter #55, Suzie. Thanks for participating in the giveaway, everyone!
Pictured below is my instant strawberry ice cream with rich homemade hot fudge sauce that’s low carb and sugar-free. Both the ice cream and hot fudge can be made paleo, dairy-free, and vegan. You’ll be able to recreate allergen friendly sundaes that are every bit as yummy as those sundaes you’ve enjoyed at ice cream parlors. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the recipes…
With the end of summer comes the beginning-of-school-year scramble! New pens and pencils and binders are carefully arranged in book bags, and text books are purchased begrudgingly by students (hint: Amazon and half.com are your friends). Wardrobes and hairdos and parking permits are revitalized and renewed!
As for me, I’m still stuck in summer mode. Sure, I have my schedule for courses set, my books ordered, and the prospects of new faces and intellectual discovery (shout-out to all my nerds out there!) getting my mind a’buzzing with possibilities. It’s an exciting time, every semester, you know? It’s the thrilling feeling of anticipation that comes with new beginnings, with novelty, with plunging headlong into the unknown.
It all sounds a little dramatic, you say? Well, I have to keep myself excited during my extended undergraduate education, hah! To all you people who knew what you wanted to do with your lives when you were 18 – “congratulations and you suck,” in the immortal words of Marina Keegan, God rest her beautiful soul.
That same feeling—that sense of anticipation—is the one I’ve been getting for the past four years blogging, constantly revising recipes in my messy test kitchen, trying this plate, that camera angle for food photoshoots, and opening my email inbox to new questions that pose new challenges to navigate in the kitchen. The wonderful people (that means YOU) who have given me tips and left helpful comments on the site and Facebook page are the other, more important, reason I’ve kept blogging. Thanks to your encouraging words and donations this website lives on!
After receiving numerous questions from you about sugar-free baking and substitutions, I decided to work on tidying up all the information on this blog into one project. The culmination of this summer’s efforts is the Healthy Indulgences e-cookbook! It’s finally ready, and
will be posted for sale on the redesigned website on Monday, August 19th is posted for sale here!
The days of overspending on a sugary, fattening frozen coffee drink are over.
I’m currently sipping a homemade, sugar-free mocha “Coffee-cino”
that cost way less than $3.50 to make. It has all taste with half the calories and carbs of the real deal. Diabetic coffee lovers, carb watchers, and college students – this one’s for you guys. Come take a coffee break with me and make your own!
I have a new favorite healthy side dish. Not surprisingly, it involves bacon.Sweet chili greens beans, topped with sesame seeds, caramelized onion, and bacon crumbles. Mm-mm good!
Peggy over at My Fiance Likes It So It Must Be Good
(isn’t that a fun blog name?) came up with this gluten-free decadent veggie side dish
featuring bacon and onion with an Asian flavor twist. Crisp-tender cooked green beans get their mild heat and sweet flavor from a couple of fresh poblano peppers, minced ginger, and a dash of Thai chili sauce. It’s an addictive fusion of flavors that will have you coming back for more!
As promised, here’s my printable guide and Question and Answer post for baking with sugar-free sweeteners! Thank you for submitting your sugar-free baking questions through Facebook and email.
Download the printable chart at the following link:
Sugar-Free Baking Cheat Sheet
I created this sugar-free baking tips sheet with reminders of how you use sugar-free natural sweeteners and a couple of widely available low carb artificial sweeteners. Feel free to post this chart on your own website, or link back to the chart as a reference. The more people who have access to information explaining how to use these healthy sweeteners, the better! I’ll update the body of this post (not the comments) with answers as more questions come in. You are welcome to provide your own feedback and answers to questions in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experiences with sugar-free baking, and any information you might have to add! Hopefully we can all collaborate to make this a helpful post for both fledgling and veteran sugar-free bakers.
This healthy version of everyone’s favorite peanut buttery candy is quick and easy to make. Check ‘em out!
Yes, we can eat peanut butter cups following a healthy, whole foods eating plan. These delicious candies melt in your mouth, and give you a dose of antioxidant rich chocolate and immune system boosting coconut oil. This recipe is pretty nifty since you can shape and flavor your chocolates any way you’d like! The possibilities are endless…
This is going to be the first in a series of quick and easy desserts that can be made with primal (or paleolithic diet-friendly) ingredients. I’ll include a low carb (sometimes sugar-free) version for each of these recipes as well, of course.
School’s out for the summer, and I’m back in the kitchen. So happy to have a break from coursework, and time to create another low carb recipe! Here in Florida, the summer heat has me craving cool, creamy desserts and icy treats to enjoy. Enter a sugar-free version of the official dessert of the state of Florida: Key Lime Pie!
This is not your momma’s key lime pie…
…or at least if my mother made key lime pie (she grew up in North Dakota), it wouldn’t be like this! There are no egg yolks or sweetened condensed milk to be found in this version. With all of the tart, sweet flavor and none of the sugar, this low carb key lime pie will remind you of the slices you’ve enjoyed in Florida seafood restaurants. The pie has a slightly different texture than the original, though, with its airy, almost mousse-like filling. I can promise you that you won’t miss the sweetened condensed milk after tasting this pie.
Just a quick note about comments and emails–I have been traveling, and don’t always have a moment to respond to everything as of late. If you have an urgent question about a recipe, please shoot me an email (or two!). Keep in mind that I’m just a college student. Thanks so much for your feedback! I read all of it and take it to heart to improve the content here.
It’s ice cream season in Florida!
I’ve blogged about this frozen treat before, but couldn’t resist trying a couple of recipes that seemed pretty easy, with readily available ingredients. Best of all, they don’t require an ice cream maker, but still yield deliciously creamy, airy results. Furthermore, they’re company worthy, making summer entertaining easy on your low carb plan.
Coming up for you are more ice cream recipes, now that I’m back home with my little Cuisinart ice cream maker. Stay tuned for a scoopable dairy-free ice cream, coming up next post.
Do you know what a semifreddo is? I had never heard of it until stumbling upon this Italian frozen dessert at a food blog. Semifreddo is italian for “half cold,” which aptly describes the nature of this icy gluten-free dessert. You whip together cream, separated eggs, sweetener and flavoring, then spread it in a loaf pan or mold. Freeze, slice, and enjoy. It’s that simple! All you need is a hand mixer and a few mixing bowls, along with a bit of patience for the whipping and freezing time required.
I topped off the vanilla bean version with a homemade sugar-free hot fudge sauce. It’s lick-off-the-spoon worthy. You can make up a small batch if you feel it’ll be dangerous to have hanging around.
Seasonal blackberries were used in the making of the deep purple semifreddo. I blended ‘em up, strained them, and used them in the custard as well as the fresh sauce drizzled over the top. The sauce helps to cover the cracks I made from using plastic wrap to line the mold. Note to self–don’t line the mold next time. Just grease it with butter, and run the mold under hot water if you want your pretty pan design to show on the finished dessert. I used a jello mold for the blackberry flavor, which you can see created the rounded, fluted shape. How cool is the bright purple coloring from the blackberries? You just know something that naturally vibrant has to be healthy!
And to finish up, here are a few cool posts for your weekend low carb cooking:
How to Render Bacon Fat @ Mark’s Daily Apple
Flax Meal Bread @ Elana’s Pantry
Bacon Wrapped Steaks @ Flour Arrangements
Tastes just like a hot fudge sundae!
Sugar-Free Vanilla Ice Cream (Semifreddo style)
Makes 6 servings
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split (optional)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons erythritol, powdered, or 1/2 cup xylitol, powdered plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
3/4 cup Splenda
4 fresh, organic eggs (whites and yolks separated)
2 cups organic heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
In first bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until mixture is a light creamy yellow, then beat in vanilla extract and bean scrapings. In second bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. In third bowl, beat egg whites, add a pinch of salt, and then keep beating until you have stiff peaks. Fold together cream and egg yolk mixture gently. Then fold in egg whites thoroughly, but with as few strokes as possible to keep the airiness. Spread into loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, or a metal mold. Freeze, covered loosely in plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours. Scoop out with an ice cream scoop. Alternatively, run water over the bottom of the pan for a few seconds, unmold, and slice.
~15.5g net carbs for the whole recipe using erythritol and stevia
~31.5g net carbs for the whole recipe using Splenda
This hot fudge sauce will not work will Splenda as the primary sweetener. No matter how much you add, the unsweetened chocolate will still taste better. You must add erythritol or xylitol for the best flavor.
Sugar-Free Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted from a recipe at AllRecipes.com
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I like Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons unsalted organic butter
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
6 tablespoons xylitol, powdered, OR 7 tablespoons erythritol, powdered
Pinch NuNaturals pure stevia extract
4-6 teaspoons water
Powder xylitol or erythritol in coffee grinder with pinch of sea salt. Chop chocolate finely. Melt together unsweetened chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. I make my own double boiler by placing my steel bowl over simmering water in a small saucepan. Stir in cream and sweetener mixture, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla and water. Add more water to thin it out if necessary. Taste and adjust sweetness with a bit more stevia or powdered erythritol, as necessary. Keep in mind that the sauce will firm up over ice cream. Store in a jar in the refrigerator, and reheat and whisk well to use.
~10g net carbs for the whole batch
Those little white flecks are bits of cream not mixed in well. Still tastes fabulous!
Sugar-Free Blackberry Ice Cream (Semifreddo Style)
Adapted from a recipe at epicurious.com
Makes 5 servings
12 ounces blackberries (2 heaping cups)
1/3 cup erythritol, powdered OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered plus 1/8 tsp NuNaturals pure stevia extract
1/2 cup Splenda
1 cup organic heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
5 large egg yolks
Line loaf pan with plastic wrap, if using. Powder erythritol or xylitol in coffee grinder. Purée berries with 1/4 cup cream and salt in a blender until smooth. Pour through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, if desired. Add yolks to a metal bowl and stir in erythritol or xylitol (or Splenda). Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with mixer until pale, thick, and tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from saucepan and set in a large ice bath, stirring it around a few times as it cools. When yolks are cool to the touch, fold in berry puree.
Beat cold heavy cream (with 1/8 teaspoon stevia, if using), in other large bowl, using cleaned beaters. Whip until cream reaches soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into berry mixture gently but thoroughly. Don’t worry if you see a few streaks of white. Scrape mixture into pan or decorate metal mold and freeze, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until firm, at least 5 hours. Run warm water over the bottom of the pan for a few seconds, then invert semifreddo onto a plate. Alternatively, just use an ice cream scoop to serve from the loaf pan. Let semifreddo defrost for a few minutes for easier scooping.
~5.2g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe, using erythritol and stevia
~7.6g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe, using Splenda granular
Fresh Blackberry Sauce
5 ounces (1 cup) blackberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon xylitol, erythritol, or Splenda
Tiny pinch NuNaturals pure stevia extract (optional)
Blend blackberries, lemon juice, and sweetener until pureed. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds.
~6.5g net carbs for the whole batch