Archive of ‘Nut-Free’ category

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! :D

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!

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-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…

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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. :D 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.

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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? :D

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!

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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

Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup (7.1 oz, 200g) nut butter* OR 1 1/2 cups + 1/8 cup (7.1 oz, 200g) blanched almond flour, gently packed into cup and leveled
  2. 3/4 cup sugar-free 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
Optional
  1. 3/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips or 8 squares Lindt 70% chocolate bar
Instructions
  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.
Notes
  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.
**I used the following combination of sweeteners
  1. 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Trader Joe’s Pure Stevia Powder
  2. 1/2 cup (3.5 oz, 100g) erythritol
  3. 1/4 cup (2.0 oz, 52g) xylitol
  4. Remember that combining sugar-free sweeteners always yields better results than using them individually! ;) You can read more about how to bake with sugar-free sweeteners in the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook.
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

Announcing an E-COOKBOOK (!!!) and Instant Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce for Sugar-Free Sundaes!

UPDATE: The giveaway winner for the Bento lunchbox is commenter #55, Suzie. Thanks for participating in the giveaway, everyone!

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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…

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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!

My recipe for a Sugar-free, Healthy “Coffee-cino” frozen coffee drink. Move over, Starbucks!

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!

 

Healthier Decadent Chocolate Mousse – Sugar-Free and Incredibly Easy!

This healthy chocolate dessert is rich, decadent, and ridiculously simple to prepare. You might just find yourself eating chocolate mousse for the next few weeks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Did I mention this mousse is sugar-free, low carb, and so easy a caveman [with a blender] could do it?
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Many thanks to the Pioneer Woman for developing the method for this fabulous recipe. She even has photos showing how to make this dessert, although there are no chocolate chips in my version since it’s sugar-free. She calls it Pots De Creme. I call it Chocolate Mousse. Whatever you call it, it’s a surefire hit with company, or any time you want to indulge.

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Secret Recipes Club: Sweet Chili Green Beans with Bacon (A Healthy Low Carb Side Dish!)

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!

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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!

Sugar-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + the Comprehensive Alternative Sweeteners Information Post!

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

Sugar-Free Baking Tips Chart

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.

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Spring Weather Means Coconut Cream Pie (take 2)!

I realize I’ve done a few pies in the past few posts, and I’m letting you know there are definitely other treats on the agenda coming up. I’m just really loving cold and creamy low carb pies for this warm weather we’re having here in NC!

There is another coconut cream pie recipe posted here, which I made back in December. This one is a little different since it is free of any starch thickeners. It’s better tasting and lower in carbohydrates, which is good news for diabetic and primal readers. Now, I realize dairy is in no way primal, but it is a food group that I consume quite frequently since my Northern European ancestors conferred upon me the ability to handle it pretty well! You might try making this pie with coconut cream, but whipping it to a fluffy and light consistency has proven difficult since it is more stiff than regular cream.

The multiple steps make this recipe sound complicated, but it’s really just a bit of a drawn out process. I recommend doing little tasks (blog surfing, laundry folding, etc.) during the intervals between the steps. I promise you that the labor will be well worth it. 

I’m not ashamed to admit this slice was gone within minutes of the photo being taken!
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This pie is one of my top three favorite desserts of all time. It was gobbled up within a couple of days by my family when I made it as a Christmas treat! It’s got just the right balance of sweetness and richness, with a delicate, light filling and a hint of coconut flavor to tantalize your tastebuds.
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Sugar-Free Premium Chocolate Ice Cream

chocolate ice cream1

Sugar-free chocolate ice cream.

This is the real deal.

I busted out my little Cuisinart and produced an ice cream worthy to share with you guys. With a little bit of inspiration from All Recipes (love this site!), we now have a viable alternative to storebought low carb ice cream that’s gluten-free and made with fresh ingredients. No sorbitol or maltitol, yuck.

The best part about this ice cream is that it’s scoopable right from the freezer. The secret ingredients that make this possible are the heavy cream (as opposed to using part milk or half and half) and the tiny bit of brandy that lowers the freezing point. Now you won’t have to wait around to dig into your healthy indulgence on a hot summer day!

Furthermore, this creamy custard ice cream doesn’t require any cooking time. Because the ice cream contains raw egg yolks, use only fresh organic eggs. I honestly use conventional storebought eggs every time I make desserts, and have never gotten sick, but you might want to take this precaution if you have a compromised immune system. Additionally, you can find pasteurized eggs in some supermarkets that have already been heat treated for safe culinary use.

If you haven’t tried using fresh vanilla beans in your cooking, you might want to give them a try. I ordered them off of ebay for a very reasonable price, and have been using them in low carb custards and pastries ever since. The aromatic floral nature of the tahitian beans and bean pods adds a layer of complexity and richness you can’t get from a bottle. Plus, the pod scrapings add those pretty dark flecks to the ice cream base. Order some today, and you won’t be disappointed.

Still working on a dairy-free ice cream. Stay tuned.

These photos reflect the heat in my sunny Florida kitchen. Hopefully my frustration with the shoot doesn’t come through… :)
Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream
Premium Low Carb Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:
2/3 cup erythritol or xylitol
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 fresh egg yolks, beaten
2 2/3 cups organic heavy cream
1/8-1/4 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR 2 vanilla beans, split
1 tablespoon brandy, or other hard alcohol (to keep it soft and scoopable)

Preparation:
Melt xylitol in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and add vanilla bean scrapings and bean pods (if using). Let the xylitol melt completely, and steep for a couple of minutes with the bean. Whisk in cocoa powder and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Stir until sweetener dissolves, with no grainy chunks visible. Remove saucepan from heat. In a large bowl, beat yolks with electric mixer until light in color. Add the rest of the heavy cream a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add cocoa mixture into yolk mixture, and beat well. Whisk in stevia, xanthan gum and vanilla extract, if using. Taste, and add more stevia, if necessary. Chill ice cream base in refrigerator for a minimum of four hours, covered in plastic wrap.

Turn on your ice cream maker and strain the base through a fine mesh sieve into your machine to remove the vanilla bean pieces. While the ice cream is freezing, make up the sugar-free chocolate chips. Freeze ice cream for a few hours to make it firm and scoopable.

Use these chocolate chips only for ice cream, since they will melt quickly at room temperature. For chocolate chips that can be used in baking, see this recipe.

~1,378 calories, 17.4g,  net carbs per batch (no chocolate chips, using erythritol)

Sugar-Free Chocolate Ice Cream Chips

Makes enough chips for one batch of ice cream

Ingredients:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I like Ghirardelli)
1/4 cup xylitol OR 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon erythritol, powdered
1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil OR nonhydrogenated shortening

Preparation:
Powder sweetener finely in a coffee grinder. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in microwave for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir again until smooth, and add xylitol and stevia. Fold mixture together with a spatula until a silky smooth consistency is reached. It may take you a minute to work the chocolate mixture around the bowl and smooth out all the chunks of xylitol. Scrape melted chocolate bit by bit into ice cream maker a few minutes before the ice cream stiffens completely. Alternatively, pour on to a sheet pan lined with foil. Freeze for 10 minutes, then peel chocolate slab off of foil. Chop into tiny chunks, working quickly before it melts. Fold chips into finished ice cream.

~12g net carbs for the whole batch of chips
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What is your favorite kind of ice cream? Any good storebought sugar-free or dairy-free brands? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream w/Hot Fudge Sauce–No Ice Cream Maker Required!

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.

blackberry semifreddo2

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!
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Sugar-Free Vanilla Ice Cream (Semifreddo style)

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split (optional)

Sweetening options:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons erythritol, powdered, or 1/2 cup xylitol, powdered plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
OR
3/4 cup Splenda

4 fresh, organic eggs (whites and yolks separated)
2 cups organic heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:
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

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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

Ingredients:
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

Preparation:
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!
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Sugar-Free Blackberry Ice Cream (Semifreddo Style)
Adapted from a recipe at epicurious.com

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:
12 ounces blackberries (2 heaping cups)

Sweetening options:
1/3 cup erythritol, powdered OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered plus 1/8 tsp NuNaturals pure stevia extract
OR
1/2 cup Splenda

1 cup organic heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
5 large egg yolks

Preparation:
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

blackberry semifreddo2


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

Easy Sugar-Free Strawberry Mousse–a Low Carb Summer Treat!

Thanks to the readers who entered the contest for the Organic Zero erythritol packets! Andrea is the randomly generated winner. Here is why she eats sugar-free:

“I live sugar-free because my life depends on it. Both of my parents died from diabetes complications and I do not want to go down the same path. We are so fortunate that there are now so many alternatives to sugar such as the product you are promoting. When I was growing up, there was just saccharin which did dnot taste very good. Thank you for your excellent information.”

And now for a surprise second winner! I ordered some vanilla beans on ebay, and have an extra bundle to give away. Rachel can have these vanilla beans if she would like them! The beans can be used as a sugar-free flavoring for baked goods, custard, ice cream, and to make vanilla extract. Here is why Rachel eats sugar-free:

“Lauren,

I eat sugar-free because it’s what my body wants. How do I know this? Sugar and carbs were ruining my life. I had no idea why I constantly craved sugar and processed carbs, and my obsession quickly turned into an eating disorder. I had no control over my cravings…my body wanted more and more and I became a slave to it. I’d binge on sugary, carb-loaded foods and then feel horrible about it and go to great lengths to undo my binges (which I will not describe in detail here). I also suffered from wild mood swings, irritability and fatigue, all of which everyone (including my doctors!) attributed to PMDD.

But I knew it was more than that. All of the treatments I tried for PMDD symptoms had failed. Eventually, completely exhausted, and my body ravaged from my bingeing cycles, I began to do desperate research into blood sugar and its effects on the body. I was shocked to find out that SO many of the symptoms I suffered from, especially the constant sugar and carb cravings, could be due to extremely unstable blood sugar levels!

I immediately stopped eating all sugar and carbs, and have never felt better. I almost never suffer from cravings anymore, I have stopped my destructive bingeing cycles, and am no longer controlled by food. My emotions and moods have leveled, and I have an energy I never knew existed…one that occurs naturally, not feuled by carbs!

I’m not really writing this for your contest, but mostly to tell you that your blog has been a godsend for new sugar- and carb-free eaters like me. I was beginning to accept that I would never be able to enjoy some of my favorite foods again, but your recipes have given me the ability to do that, while still staying within the confines of my diet and without hurting my body.

Thank you so much! I don’t know where you find the time to cook and blog like you do, but I pray that you never stop.

Rachel”

Check out of the rest of the comments from readers about why they eat sugar-free. I really enjoyed reading all of your stories, and seeing how this way of eating is helping people with so many health issues.

Healthy Strawberry Mousse

Do you crave fresh fruit in this summer heat?

I do, and tend to satisfy that desire with stevia-sweetened lemonade instead of “Nature’s Candy.” Some days though, you just gotta indulge in those natural sugars, so here’s how to on your low carb sugar-free lifestyle. Pair the fruit with fat! It dilutes the sugar carbs, making you satisfied with a smaller portion. It also stops your blood sugar from fluctuating wildly and making you hungry an hour after your fruit snack. Besides, fat makes everything tastes better, especially if it comes in the form of organic heavy cream. It’s a divine combination of flavors that inspired countless songs and many different types of desserts.

This strawberry mousse will be the first dessert in a series of easy, quick low carb desserts that require minimal effort, yet will still impress that surprise company coming over for dinner! Besides, who wants to make a big mess in a hot kitchen in this weather? This naturally gluten-free, egg-free mousse can also be made dairy-free with the use of full fat coconut milk! It can be made sugar-free using a combination of stevia and powdered erythritol, but any zero calorie sweetener would work well here. I tried this dessert with Splenda as well, because I have decided to include a measurement for it alongside my preferred natural sweeteners from now on. Although I don’t prefer the taste and chemical nature of Splenda for personal use, it is used by so many diabetics and other carb watchers who need to eat a low insulin producing diet to live. Most importantly, there little empirical evidence showing adverse side effects from its use. If by creating an option for sweetening with Splenda in my recipes, I can broaden the appeal of these healthful low carb treats, I am willing to do so. Keep in mind that combining sugar-free sweeteners yields the best taste, and allows you to use less of them overall. Use the sweetening option that works for your lifestyle, beliefs, budgetary constraints, and health concerns.

This mousse might work with honey as well, but I didn’t try making it like that since I am attempting to limit consumption of all forms of sugar. I’d start with a 2-3 tablespoons of honey, cooked with the strawberries, if you’d like to go this route.

Healthy Sugar-Free Strawberry Mousse

Strawberry Mousse
Adapted from this recipe at Sugar & Everything Nice

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

8 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled and sliced

Sweetener options:
1/4 cup erythritol, powdered, plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
OR
1/2 cup Splenda plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract (or 1/4 cup more Splenda)
OR
2-3 tablespoons honey plus 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon zest from an organic lemon
Pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup organic heavy cream

Preparation:
Sprinkle the gelatin over the tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and set aside to soften. Puree the strawberries with the zest, the juice, and the salt. Heat the puree in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring together the strawberries and sweetener just until hot. Add gelatin and stir until melted. Let mixture cool. Beat the cream to soft peaks, and beat in vanilla and stevia. Gently fold strawberry mixture into cream. Pour into serving cups and chill for two hours.

For a stiff, pipeable mousse (like you see in the photos), follow these directions after soaking the gelatin:
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat, and add the sweetener (erythritol, Splenda, or honey–don’t add the stevia yet) and water and cook, breaking up with your spatula. Stir around the pan gently until the sweetener has dissolved. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the strawberries have slightly thickened. Add the gelatin to the pan, and stir until it is completely melted. Puree in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) or food processor. Let cool to room temperature. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks with a hand mixer, and beat in vanilla and stevia. Once the strawberries are cooled, carefully fold the whipped cream into the fruit puree. Pipe mixture into serving bowls, and chill for at least an hour. I used an 8″ Wilton piping bag with the largest tip I could find at Michael’s craft store. The tip was $1.99 and the piping bag was $1.99.

~6.2g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe using ½ cup Splenda w/stevia
~4g net carbs per 1/5th of a recipe using erythritol/stevia

mousse bite

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