Archive of ‘Paleo/Primal’ category

Apple Crisp Nostalgia

I’m interrupting the series on peanut butter to fulfill a sudden craving. Yesterday I was trying to figure out what to do with some chayotes I found at the farmer’s market which have been sitting in my fruit bowl for a month. Considering their use as an apple substitute in low-carb cooking, I went over the possibilities. Fried cinnamon “apples,” stuffed “apples,” “apple” muffins… nah. And then it hit me. I saw visions of steaming casserole dishes full of fragrant, crumbly apple crisp. The red box with the ready-made topping mixture stands out in my memory, as does the extensive peeling over the sink required to reap the rewards. Labor intensive, but so worth it. I had to recapture the magic of this childhood favorite sans the sugar so it wouldn’t leave me furtively cleaning out half the tupperware container at midnight, Redi-whip can in hand.

Instead of replacing all the apples to cut down the amount of fructose sugar, I let a couple of big, juicy organic apples work their magic with some thinly sliced chayotes. These ugly green squashes are pretty nondescript in flavor, and have the perfect texture after some heavy duty steaming to play well with the sweeter, softer apples. The chayotes will suck up all the apple-y goodess in the marinating and cooking process, leaving anyone who tastes this dish blissfully unaware of their presence. Flour and brown sugar are usually the main ingredients in the crunchy topping, but nuts and a touch of blackstrap molasses work just as well, with a ton more flavor. With this sugar- and gluten-free apple crisp, you get all of the health benefits of apples with none of the blood sugar spike and fat storing insulin response. The phytochemicals in apples may promote lung health, protect against cancer, and prevent cardiovascular disease. Okay, need any more reasons to eat apple crisp?

Nutty Apple Crisp

Makes 10-12 servings

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized apples, thinly sliced (1/4″ thick)
2 chayotes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup organic lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Sweeteners
For ALL NATURAL sweetening, use all three of the following:
-6 tablespoons erythritol
Pure stevia extract, to taste
-1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

1 cup nut meal (almond, pecan, hazelnut, etc.)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans and walnuts)
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 tablespoon oat flour (optional)
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (optional, firms up the filling)

Preparation:
Peel and slice apples and chayotes, tossing apples in a bowl with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and placing chayotes in a microwave safe dish. Add the other 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, water, and 3 tablespoons of the erythritol to the chayotes, stirring the squash around to coat. Microwave for 12-14 minutes on high or until fork tender, stirring half way through the cooking process. Remove from microwave and let cool. Taste and add additional sweeteners to the chayotes if necessary. You want them to be as sweet as the apples.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt butter in the microwave until liquified. Whisk in erythritol, blackstrap molasses, and vanilla extract. Mix with dry ingredients until crumbly. Taste and add additional sweetener to the topping if necessary. Add chayotes to bowl of apples and fold in xanthan gum thoroughly. Butter a baking dish, and fill it with layered chayote and apple slices. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until crisp is bubbly and browned. Crisp the top under the broiler setting for a few minutes if necessary. Let cool for 10 minutes. This is best eaten fresh, so make a small batch if you have to!

~5.5 grams net carbs per serving

Serve with fresh whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon sticks (50 cents in the Mexican aisle!) for a classy touch.

Grain-Free, Low Carb Fried “Rice” – Not an Oxymoron!

“Asians are skinny and we eat tons of rice!” A Chinese friend of mine voiced that opinion when I mentioned coming up with a diabetic-friendly, low carb substitute for his beloved white rice. 😉

My answer: Asians get diabetes, too! My Vietnamese friend’s father has had to scale back his consumption of refined carbs to keep his blood sugars under control.

Although I don’t have diabetes, I enjoy lower glycemic alternatives to starchy meals because of the carb hangover that sets in from too much Chinese takeout. The combination of starch and sweet n’ salty flavor creates a seratonin high that hits you hard, making it too easy to eat until you’re uncomfortably full. Then, the inevitable crash comes, leaving you listless and unfocused. My exam weeks in college were probably a lot more stressful than they should have been with all the Dragon Gate sesame chicken I would pack away under pressure. You can’t perform at your best when you’re riding the blood sugar roller coaster! 

Enjoy the salty, flavorful goodness of a beloved Americanized asian staple and your stable blood glucose levels with this Grain-Free, Shrimp Fried “Rice”. The rice component is replaced by–get this–grated cauliflower, prepared with the same familiar flavorings. It’ll smell funky in the pan for a moment, but then your kitchen will fill with the mouthwatering aroma of a Panda Express kitchen. Bonuses: It takes less time to cook and packs a nutritional punch (courtesy of the phytochemical-rich brassica family of veggies)!

This recipe is totally flexible. Use whatever veggies you like. Make it yours! I happened to have peas on hand, and was out of green onions. Carrots are pretty traditional in this, too. Be warned: this is just as tasty as the original, and possibly more flavorful because of how cauliflower absorbs flavor so well. Seriously, you might want to make this with a hungry friend to solve any portion control issues.

Fake out take out always taste better with chopsticks!
low-carb-cauliflower-fried-rice-grated-caulirice-atkins-substitute-diet-healthy-south-beach-low-glycemic

Shrimp Fried Cauli-Rice
Serves 3
Get your chopsticks out! This grain-free shrimp fried “rice” is a taste substitute for take out! You can find wheat-free tamari on grocery store shelves next to the soy sauce. For a soy-free version, use coconut aminos.


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Ingredients
  1. 2 heaping cups of grated fresh cauliflower
  2. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  3. 1/2 cup sugar snap pea pods
  4. 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  5. 4 tablespoons wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  8. Dash of garlic powder
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  10. 1/4 cup of green peas
  11. 2 eggs, beaten
  12. Protein of choice (I used 1-4 oz can of baby shrimp)
  13. Green onion, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Grate cauliflower using a fine cheese grater. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in heavy saucepan. Mix together sesame oil, tamari, and seasonings in a bowl. Sautee onions for 3 minutes over medium heat, or until translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Sautee sugar snap peas until tender. Add more oil if necessary and all of the cauliflower, stir frying for a couple of minutes. Pour in 1/2 of the soy sauce mixture and stir fry to coat the cauliflower evenly. When the cauliflower is tender, add cooked vegetables, shrimp, and peas along with the rest of the soy sauce mixture. Push “rice” to the side of the pan and scramble eggs on the other side, moving spatula quickly to incorporate eggs with the “rice” mixture. Serve in cute bowls with chopsticks and pig out with no regrets!
Notes
  1. ~7g net carbs per serving
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

Excuse me now…

Riced Cauliflower in a Stir Fry (Grain-Free, Low Glycemic)

~7g net carbs

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