NATIONAL BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE WITH ALMONDS DAY

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Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor to which sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla have been added.  It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate.  Recent studies have revealed health benefits from eating small quantities of bittersweet chocolate. Almonds have health benefits as well.
 So of course for this day I have a low-carb recipe for you! sacher-cake-1194524
LOW-CARB SUGAR-FREE CHOCOLATE HEAVEN CAKE
Ingredients:
10.5 oz. dark 70-75% chocolate
6 oz. butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 Tbs. heavy cream
4 tsp. granulated Splenda
Instructions:
Melt chocolate & butter together over low heat in saucepan.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding vanilla extract.  In another bowl, beat eggs, cream and Splenda together for 3-4 minutes with a stick blender or hand whisk.  It will be frothy and remain runny.  Slowly add egg mix to chocolate mix in the saucepan, stirring constantly.  As you add more egg mix, the chocolate and butter will thicken to the consistency of custard.
Grease an 8″ round spring form pan with butter and line the loose bottom with parchment paper.  Push paper through the outer ring to seal and stop the cake batter from leaking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Garnish with slivered almonds, if desired.
The greater percentage of cocoa you use, the less sugar there is – but if you try to use anything higher than 75% it gets very bitter.  Most of the time I use 70% because it seems to be easier to find.  I get it at my local Walmart. 3b00db48ffe0a619
Feel free to put as much whipped topping on your cake as you want.  There are no carbs in Reddi Whip (my favorite).  Of course, I put it on my cake and immediately shoot a little in my mouth when nobody’s watching!  Just because I’m adult doesn’t mean I have to act like one.
I don’t know of any businesses with freebies today.  It’d sure be nice if our local nut shop would give some bittersweet chocolate and / or almonds away today.  Eating low-carb can get a little expensive.  That’s why I got so excited when I found 70% cacao bars at Walmart.  Score!!! 
Have a blessed day – and enjoy your cake!  🙂
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SPINACH LOVERS MONTH

tl-october-is-spinach-lovers-monthpopeye-37117_1280Who remembers this fella???  Yep, it’s Popeye!!!  Remember what his super-food was???  Absolutely…  it was SPINACH!

Spinach is part of a healthy diet.  I’m finding new and different ways to use spinach, but my favorite recipe is creamed spinach.  I was tickled to find a copycat recipe for Boston Market’s creamed spinach.  It’s low-carb and delicious!

Low-Carb Creamed Spinach

Makes 8 servings

4g. carbs per serving

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. butter

1/2 c. chopped shallots

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 1/2 c. half & half

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

8 oz. Havarti cheese

16 oz. fresh spinach

Instructions:

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Cook until tender.  Pour half & half in and reduce to low heat.  Stir in salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg.  Add in Havarti cheese and cook on low heat until it’s melted and combined throughout.  Once melted, add in the spinach and toss together until coated with cheese.

Serve warm.

This is a great side dish for steak or fish.  Some days I don’t want a great big meal and just fix this.  Spinach is packed with nutrients that keep us strong – just like Popeye!popeyeolive_bizarropanel-248x300spinach-dd-02enjoyspinach

Here are some other ways to enjoy spinach:

  • Spinach Smoothie.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  There’s not much flavor to spinach so you can add in the nutrition boost without changing the taste.  Add a handful of spinach next time and see for yourself.  Making smoothies and juicing is not the best way to consume any fruit or vegetable for diabetics because when you make the food liquid, it increases the sugar content and decreases the amount of fiber you get.  Diabetics need less sugar and more fiber, so keep that in mind.
  • Spinach Wrap.  Place grilled chicken in a spinach leaf and dip it into ranch dressing.  It’s pretty good!
  • Omelets.  Add spinach, mushrooms, onion, and cheese to make a nutritious and delicious filling for omelets.  Sometimes I add some applewood smoked bacon…  it’s delish!
  • Spinach Salad.  Toss in some strawberries or mandarin oranges.  A few apple chunks would even work.
  • Stir-Fry Dishes.  Spinach, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and broccoli stir-fried in a little olive oil makes a good lunch or dinner.images-205Keep in mind that spinach is:
  • Low in calories
  • High in Vitamin A
  • High in magnesium
  • High in fiber
  • Good source of calcium
  • Good source of antioxidants
  • Helps with cancer prevention
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Is high in folate
  • Increases brain function
  • Is an anti-inflammatory
  • Promotes healthy vision
  • Increases circulation
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Helps fight infection
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Is high in flavonoids
  • Good source in vitamin E
  • Good source of beta carotene
  • Good source of zinc
  • Increases bone density

If you’re a diabetic with neuropathy like me, spinach can help your neuropathy because it increases circulation.  I eat a lot of spinach and have not gone beyond the needles and pins sensation in my feet.  Good nutrition really does matter.  🙂popeye-spinach-shirt

 

APPLE MONTH

tl-10-4-apple-monthSo what do you think of when you see apples???  You’ll never believe what I think of – go ahead, guess.  Nope…  guess again.  Oh, you’ll never guess right.  Well, don’t laugh, but here it is:

I told you you’d never guess!  I think the dead-pan comedy of Bob Newhart is the best!

Speaking of the best…  how do ya like dem apples???

golden-delicious-applesI don’t eat apples often, since I’ve cut carbohydrates from my diet, but when I do get a chance to eat one, it has to be a golden delicious!  Last Summer’s crop looked so nice and juicy.  🙂

I’d probably use a red delicious if I were to make caramel apples for Halloween.  It might be weird to bite into one and discover a green apple.i-have-an-apple-basket

my-first-appleprayers-and-apple-piefresh-apples-from-the-orchardww-chunky-applesaucepicking-apples

apple-cider

Apples, Apples, Apples!!!

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. – Proverbs 25:11

It’s not only true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it’s also true that the tongue of the wise is health.  May we let our speech be filled with grace.

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.  – George Bernard Shaw

Do you have ideas about apples???

It’s been a challenge to find apple recipes that are low carb, but here’s one of my favorites:

LOW CARB GRAIN FREE APPLE DUMP CAKE

Serves 12, 11 carbs per serving

INGREDIENTS:

1 c. coconut flour

1 c. Splenda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

6 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. butter, melted & cooled

1 tsp. cinnamon liquid stevia

4 c. Gala or Fiji apples, peeled, cored, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk the flour, Splenda, cinnamon and baking soda together.  Whisk in eggs, butter and Stevia until combined.  Stir in apple slices until covered.  Spread mix into a greased 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Enjoy with Reddi-Whip.

Happy Apple Month!  🙂

 

 

 

VEGAN BAKING DAY

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The awesome foods that do not raise blood glucose include:

☆ Eggs,
☆ avocado,
☆ Fatty nuts (walnuts pecans sunflower seeds almonds etc.),
☆ Dark green leafy veggies, i.e., “greens” ( mustard, kale, spinach, turnip greens), also lettuces
☆ Low carb crunchy veggies e.g., cucumber, celery, cabbage, bok choy, celery cabbage, green bell pepper,
☆ Any lean meat or
☆ fish,
☆ cheese (depending on the type this will give you protein & a smidge of fat or a whole bunch)
Greek yogurt, plain (be careful one cup will give you about 15 grams of carbohydrate and at least two to three servings in that 1 cup ),

and of course,
☆ herbs, spices etc… lots of flavor to our foods without adding tons and tons of carbohydrates or salts, provided you use straight season and not the seasoning salts {those are really just plain old table salt that’s been introduced do a minimum of herbs… you can make your own for far less money and far less salt}.

dessert-haiku

Just because you say VEGAN, it does not necessarily mean that you’re home free as far as baking goes.  Vegan can be low-carb, but it is not necessarily, so be careful.  This recipe does use a cup of all-purpose flour and a cup of non-dairy yogurt, but everything else looks “legal” for low-carbers.  Notice that is LOW CARB and not NO CARB.

Vegan Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

Makes 1, 9×13″ sheet cake

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup sugar-free cherry jam
1 ¼ cup slivered almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup non-dairy yogurt
1 cup Splenda
4 ½ Tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions:

1) Grease your baking dish

Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with vegetable oil or cooking spray.

2) Prepare the cherry almond topping

In a medium bowl, mix together sugar-free cherry jam, almonds and set aside.

3) Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder and set aside.

4) Build the batter

In a large bowl, cream the soft Vegan Butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the non-dairy yogurt, then beat in the Splenda, followed by beating in the arrowroot or tapioca flour. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread half of the batter into the baking dish then top with half of the cherry almond topping. Spread the other half of the batter into the baking dish, followed by the other half of the cherry almond topping.

5) Bake the vegan coffee cake to perfection

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Wait until cake is completely cooled if you’re going to remove it from the baking dish.

dieters-prayer

So…  maybe we can have our cake and eat it too.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (20)If I’m going to maintain this low-carb weight losing lifestyle…  I’ve GOT to get creative!  I thought about all the foods that used to call to me and cause me to go find them.  I say USED TO because I’m talking about FAST FOOD!!!  Cover the kids’ ears, because this could be shocking!

Got ’em covered?  Good.  Okay…  here’s what I want you to do.  Think about your favorite fast food.  Mine is the Market Fresh Turkey & Swiss Sandwich at Arby’s.  Now – what ingredients do I need to say NO to?  The bread…  I have to say NO to the bread.

As far as I can tell, the rest of that sandwich is amazing and legal.  Sliced turkey, sliced Swiss cheese, tomato, red onion and romaine lettuce.  Instead of a traditional salad dressing, I mix mayo and Dijon mustard together and put it in the salad bowl.

And here’s what it looks like:IMG_1502It’s a happy little low-carb lunch!  I didn’t use romaine lettuce because I already had iceberg.  I made this salad for a fraction of the price they charge for the sandwich at Arby’s – and I’ll have enough stuff to make this a few more times!  Yay me!  Success!

There are sub shops that will make any of their sandwiches into salads for you – but you have to ask because some of them don’t have that information posted.  Most restaurants will bend over backwards to make substitutions for you, but ask if the change will cost you extra.  Different places have different policies and it’s best to be on the safe side.  You don’t want to get a big surprise on your check at the end of the meal.emergency-309727_1280

In the KEEP MOVING department…  so far, so good.  I’m going to Planet Fitness 3 days a week and working on the treadmill for 15 minutes, the bike for 15 minutes, leg machines at 20-50 pounds, arm machines at 20-30 pounds and ab machines at 20 pounds – and those things kill me – just being honest.

I’ll never be a skinny person, but I’m doing the best I can.  There are some pretty awesome rewards for being consistent with diet and exercise.  I don’t know why I doubted that it applied to me, but…  surprise – it does!  I’m pretty happy and very pleased that my blood glucose levels and A1c are in normal range.  🙂

 

 

 

WHEAT MONTH

TL 7-21 JULY IS WHEAT MONTH

July’s Grain of the Month is Wheat. Worldwide, wheat is the third most-produced grain, trailing only corn (maize) and rice. In the United States, wheat accounts for about two-thirds of all grains consumed. However, much of the wheat we eat is refined (missing its nutritious bran and germ) or enriched (refined grain with just five of the dozens of missing or reduced nutrients added back in). If you eat wheat products, make sure they are whole wheat.WHEAT

Wheat fields are so graceful and agile just before harvest.  They wave in the Kansas wind and are probably the most friendly welcoming committee our state has!  Our crops were good this year – yay!  Most of the state got to harvest before all the really heavy rains hit, so that translates into profits.CHILDHOOD PLAYGROUND

I think it’s funny that I live in Kansas – the bread basket of America – and don’t eat wheat products.  Weird, huh?  Well, I’d support the wheat farmers if I could.  I have a disease that won’t let me eat products made with wheat – so I have to make adjustments.  Even though I can’t eat wheat myself, I can still celebrate wheat month!

Here is a low carb bread recipe.  I say low carb, but it’s more than I usually have.  I suppose on a day when I’m just craving bread so much I would make this, but I’d really have to be desperate.

LOW CARB WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

Makes 16 slices

19g carbs per slice / 9g protein per slice

INGREDIENTS:

1 C. water

1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 C. medium rye flour

1 Tbs. honey

1 Tbs. molasses

2 Tbs. Vital Wheat Gluten

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. yeast

1 Tbs. olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put all ingredients in bread machine on dough cycle.  When that’s complete, shape dough into a log and let rise for one hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

It is my goal to have single digit carb count per serving of any food, so 19g carbs for one slice of bread is a bit much for me.  Besides, I haven’t owned a bread maker since 1999.  😉

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (18)Would you think that most Asian food would be “legal” on a low carb diet?  Well, some of course is – the obvious choices are broccoli and beef or broccoli and chicken.  Pass on the rice, opting for more broccoli instead.  Once in a while it would be nice to indulge in some sweet and sour, wouldn’t it?  Oh – but that would give you a blood glucose spike like no other!  We’ve been so good so far – and we don’t want to blow it now.

Take heart – thanks to substitutions and some smart people who know how to create healthy alternative recipes, here is a recipe that will let you enjoy sweet and sour once again.sweet-and-sour-pork-1264563_1920

LOW CARB SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN OR PORK

Makes 4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Meat:

5-6 small boneless chicken breasts or equivalent amount of boneless pork loin, cut into bite-size pieces

2 large eggs, beaten

1 C. crushed pork rinds

1/2 C. almond flour

1/3 C. parmesan cheese

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. coconut oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:

1/2 C. Erythritol (I usually use Splenda – but it doesn’t work well in this recipe)

1/2 C. rice vinegar

4 Tbs. reduced sugar ketchup

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put pork rinds, parmesan cheese ad almond flour in food processor.  Grind until it’s a meal like consistency.  Dip chicken or pork in egg then coat in the pork rind mixture.  Set on a plate.

Heat the oils in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add meat in small batches and cook.

Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan.  Whisk while it boils down.  If you want to add extra veggies like bell pepper, green beans, celery or a bit of pineapple, now’s the time to let it marinate with the sauce.

Once the meat is cooked, remove from skillet and continue cooking the rest of the batches.

Mix meat with sauce to coat.

I’m big on adding vegetables – so I add a bit of sliced red and green bell pepper and a few fresh green beans.  I’m not opposed to putting a chunk or two of pineapple with the sweet and sour pork.  I’m already living without the rice, I don’t want to do without just a bit of pineapple too.  😉

Enjoy!