Archive of ‘Paleo/Primal’ category

Homemade, Healthier Pop Tarts! A sugar-free and scrumptious low carb version of the breakfast treat.

If you haven’t heard yet, the E-Cookbook is up for sale! It’s $5.99 and stuffed full of printable recipes and sugar-free baking tips n’ tricks. To everyone who’s already gotten a copy: Thank you SO much for supporting my experiments in the kitchen! The Kindle and Ipad versions are in the works. You asked, and I shall deliver! Like my Facebook page and follow my Pinterest board for updates.

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Healthier Pop Tarts! Say what?!

It’s the breakfast I used to fantasize about as a little kid, walking hand-in-hand with my mom in the grocery store. She would always lovingly shoo me away from the sugary cereals and snacks, so these pre-packaged frosted hand pies were a rare treat for me.

Until college. Then, anything was game! Ever heard of the freshman 15 30? Yeah, that totally happened to me. Pop Tarts helped make it happen. That’s why I decided to give a Healthy Indulgences make over to Kellogg’s best selling junk food-for-breakfast product. My low carb version of the iconic pastry is gluten-free, no sugar added, and equally yummy!

Sugar-Free Homemade Pop Tarts
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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!

Healthy Instant Chocolate Cake (aka 1 Minute Microwave Cake) and a GIVEAWAY!

UPDATE: The giveaway winner has been contacted. Thanks for participating, all!

This healthy yet decadent spin on the beloved One Minute Muffin is sure to hit the spot when you’re crunched for time and craving the sweet stuff.

Microwave Chocolate Cake In A Mug

 
Picture this: It’s lunch time, and you’re utterly fatigued after a grueling Monday morning full of meetings with clients/problem sets and paper writing/chasing after the little ones/[choose your own adventure] and your stomach is grumbling. 

Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies for a Healthy Christmas Treat (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

UPDATE: The giveaway is closed, and the winner has been contacted. Thanks for playing, everyone!

At the request of a reader, I wanted to share with you my sugar-free, gluten-free Healthier Sugar Cookies. That sounds like an oxymoron, right? Stay with me here. These cookies smell and taste just as good as the cut out cookies I’ve made every year since I was little using grandma’s recipe. The aroma of sweet cookie dough (i.e. buttery vanilla-y goodness!) filled the kitchen as I gingerly rolled out the dough.

Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free, Low Carb) for the holidays

I used my grandmother’s antique cookie cutters to cut the familiar shapes that remind me of so many past Christmases. The dough I worked with was sugar-free, but the steps for making the cookies, and the accompanying feelings of nostalgia were the same.

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!

Bread, made healthy! Tasty Grain-Free and Low Carb Rolls, perfect for sandwiches.

A reader request led to the experiments that produced these paleo bread rolls, made without grains, tree nuts, or dairy.

 

It’s bread, made without grains! I jumped for joy a bit when these turned out so well.

 

The sweet aroma of yeast-y dough filled up my kitchen while I was shaping and baking these promising mounds into the perfectly browned, crusty n’ soft rolls you see below. 

Healthy Low Carb, Gluten-Free Bread

 

To my readers, who’ve wrapped their burgers in lettuce, their sammies in gluten-free wraps, and have grown accustomed to using a knife and fork for formerly handheld entrees – this one is for you guys. You who have dutifully forgone high carb, refined foods to avoid allergens, take charge of your health, and eat like Grok (Mark Sisson’s paleolithic alter ego) can eat bread again without fear. Go ahead… take a bite!

Bread Rolls (Primal + Gluten- and Dairy-free!)

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups – Homemade Treats that are Low Carb, Primal, and Nearly Sugar-Free!

This healthy version of everyone’s favorite peanut buttery candy is quick and easy to make. Check ’em out!


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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…

Healthy Peanut Clusters

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.

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Sugar-Free Coconut Cake Bites

Since y’all enjoyed the chocolate cake (made with beans!) so much, I’m going to create more desserts that don’t rely heavily on almond flour a.k.a. powdered gold for low carb bakers! Does this sound like a good plan? Leave some feedback and let me know what you think.

Healthy Grain-Free Coconut Cupcakes

These moist little cake bites contain all of the decadence of a classic Southern coconut cake, with none of the highly refined ingredients that make the original only an occasional treat. These flavorful coconut cakes are  sugar-free, gluten-free, and low carb (dairy-free!), so you get the nutrients from coconut, almonds, and eggs without the grains and sugar to spike your blood sugar.

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Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (Dairy-Free)

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter, a match made in Heaven. As good little Weston Price followin’ sugar hatin’ unprocessed foodies, we have to get our peanut butter cup flavor fixes the homespun route. We must conjure up low carb alternatives with nut flours, healthful saturated fats, sugar substitutes, and pure unadulterated cacao. Our desserts don’t come easy and don’t come cheap. There’s no vending machine button for this stuff.

But the payoff for some serious kitchen time is so worth it.

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So sorry to keep y’all in suspense about this low carb, sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free (whew!) Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart recipe. The photo for my initial test run is apparently the most popular image at my flickr album. I was just tweaking the recipe to provide a couple of options for ingredients. After some tinkering, I hit upon two different fillings with slightly different consistencies, only one of which requires xanthan gum. Xanthan gum acts as a no carb replacement for the cornstarch used in typical pudding recipes. It is a specialty ingredient that I’ve blogged about before. Xanthan gum costs around $13 for a small bag that will last you for years if you’re a low carber (not a high starch gluten-free baker!). There are many applications of this natural gum thickener, some of which include thickening your low carb smoothies to a luxurious “milkshake” consistency, and making cranberry sauce. It’s an innocuous ingredient with a strange name. Just a tiny pinch goes a long way!

Now let’s talk dessert! The recipe I made the first time yields a more loose “pudding” tart, with a light tasting lower fat filling. It makes a dainty pudding pie, with a creamy texture and crunchy crust (which could be doubled for more peanut buttery goodness). The Chocolate Pudding Tart is what you see in the following photograph.

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To make either of the recipes completely sugar-free, use xylitol in place of honey if you can tolerate it. I can handle xylitol in normal portions (one cookie, one piece of pie, etc.), but had to ingest it regularly for a few days to “adjust” to it. Xylitol works much better than erythritol in cookie-type recipes that do not contain much moisture. How you count the carbs in xylitol is up to you. Some people count half, because it does not have a glycemic index of zero like erythritol. I buy xylitol locally at Whole Foods (instead of ordering it) for convenience. It retails for a better price than erythritol, so per pound it is the same price as ordering online (unless you buy in bulk). Xylitol is a great stand in for erythritol in a pinch if you need your sweet “fix”!

Chocolate Pudding Tart with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust (Dairy-Free)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
Peanut Butter Cookie Crust:
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated shortening (or unsalted butter)
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract

Chocolate Pudding Filling:
1 can coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup erythritol OR 3 tablespoons honey
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil or nonhydrogenated shortening (or butter)
1/4 (scant) teaspoon pure stevia extract

Preparation:

Instructions for crust:
Melt shortening or butter in a microwaveable bowl. Whisk in honey and stevia extract. Grind peanuts in a food processor or Magic Bullet, until you get as fine a meal as possible. The peanuts should be the consistency of a crumbly paste. Add peanut paste, baking powder, and vanilla, stirring it together with a spatula until you have a smooth dough. Press into a greased 9 inch pie plate lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 275 degrees, or until browned around the edges. Leave crust in oven and turn off the heat while you prepare the chocolate and start heating the coconut milk.

Instructions for filling:
Chop the unsweetened chocolate bar finely. In a sauce pan over medium low heat, whisk coconut milk, erythritol or honey, and sea salt until mixture bubbles around the edges. Remove tart crust from oven and place in freezer to cool. In a separate bowl, stream 1/3 cup reserved coconut milk into cocoa powder, whisking to form a paste. Continue whisking while adding egg yolks to cocoa paste mixture. Measure out 1/2 cup of hot coconut milk from saucepan and stream into cocoa paste yolk mixture, whisking. Turn down heat to low and slowly pour the cocoa paste yolk mixture into saucepan, continuing to whisk. Cook for about three minutes, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (to see what this looks like click HERE). Your finger should leave a trail if you drag it across the coated spoon. Remove immediately from heat and add shortening (or butter), vanilla extract, xanthan gum, and stevia. Pour through a fine mesh sieve (I use a regular wire strainer) on to chopped chocolate, and whisk just until the filling is smooth and glossy. Blend in a blender for an ultra smooth consistency. Pour into baked tart crust. Transfer to refrigerator and cover with a paper towel covered with aluminum foil, careful not to let the paper towel touch the top (I pull it tightly over top and secure the covering with more plastic wrap). Chill overnight.

~9g net carbs per 1/8th of a recipe (using honey in the crust)

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Below is the more decadent Chocolate “Silk” Pie filling, topped with a layer of sugar-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache! It makes a larger, more impressive tart. The crust is less sweet and a bit cakey, which balances out the intensity of the rich chocolate. I’ll be making this version from now on, just because of how utterly satisfying it is. A tiny slice is all you need to feel like you’re being naughty! With desserts like these, who needs sugar?

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For an extra smooth silk pie filling, blend the filling in a food processor or blender after you stir in the chocolate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Silk Pie (Dairy-Free)

Serves 8-10

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Crust:
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR nonhydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum Organic)
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup blanched almond flour, packed
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup xylitol, powdered, OR 2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract

Chocolate Silk Filling:
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup erythritol or 4 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (like Ghirardelli)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons coconut oil, nonhydrogenated shortening, OR organic unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon (scant) pure stevia extract

Preparation:

Instructions for peanut butter crust:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt peanut butter together with butter in a heat proof bowl. Stir in vanilla, egg, and honey or xylitol, if using. Add dry ingredients and stir to form a dough. It may be sticky, but will come together. Press up the sides of a 9 inch tart pan or pie plate, greased and lined with a circle of parchment paper. If you’re making the crust with honey, turn down oven to 275 degrees, and place tart on middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and do not open the door. Chop the chocolate and set your coconut milk heating. If you’re making the crust with xylitol, bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges.

Instructions for chocolate silk filling:

Heat 1 1/4 cup coconut milk, erythritol or honey, and salt, and simmer on low. Whisk together rest of coconut milk, and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg until foamy. Stream 1/2 cup of the warmed coconut milk mixture from the saucepan to the eggs, whisking constantly, and then add egg mixture into saucepan. Keep whisking! Cook for 3-5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring until mixture coats the back of a spoon (see above instructions for visual). Immediately remove pan from heat, and stir in vanilla, shortening (or butter), and stevia extract. Once butter has melted, strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve on to chopped chocolate. Stir until filling is a smooth, glossy consistency. Blend in a blender, briefly, for an ultra smooth consistency. Pour filling into tart shell, almost to the brim. You might have some filling left over, which you can pour into muffin cups and freeze for snacks. Cool tart uncovered in the freezer until the top becomes firm, then transfer to refrigerator and cover with parchment paper and plastic wrap. Store pie slices in an airtight container to keep the filling moist.

~8g net carbs per 1/10th of a recipe (using honey in the crust)

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Before serving, top filling with this smooth, candy inspired dairy-free topper if you’d like an alternative to real whipped cream. Make this. It’s the BEST part of the pie!

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cup Ganache Topping

1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (no-stir or extra smooth ground)
1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated shortening or butter
2 tablespoons erythritol OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered
1/8 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract (if using erythritol)

Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or Magic Bullet for about a minute until finely ground. Lettle settle in container for a minute or two. Melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in microwave on HIGH for 35 seconds, stirring until completely melted. Melt for 10 more seconds if necessary. Stir in erythritol and stevia with a spatula, smoothing out the chocolate until it is glossy and lump-free. Spread on to tart. Let topping set in the refrigerator, and cover tart again for storage.

~1.3g net carbs per 1/10th of a recipe

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