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Daily Archives: August 8, 2012

Cinnamon Almond Snack Cookies {Grain Free, Vegan, Low Carb}

You know those roasted cinnamon almonds you find at festivals? The ones that make your mouth water just smelling them… but you know they are loaded with sugar and carbs, so you just pretend that smelling them is enough?

Well, you don’t have to fake it anymore! When these cookies were baking, my kitchen smelled just like cinnamon almonds, mmmm. They are made with almond butter and almond flour, as well as sugar substitutes to keep the carbs low. In fact, the carbs are SO low, that I added 70% dark chocolate, and they are still only 2.6g net carbs per cookie. No guilt or grain here!

I found that the dough was a bit sticky feeling, and slightly oily as I shaped the balls, but it turned out nicely. I tested a few different types in the batch I just made… one plain, cross-hatched like peanut butter cookies, one with chocolate pressed into the center, and one with chocolate and toasted almonds. No surprise that I liked that last version the most! I also sprinkled just a little large-flake kosher salt on them at the very end to set the chocolate off. If you like a mildly sweet cookie, I would start with the lower amounts of sweeteners, if you like it sweeter, adjust to your taste. I like mine a little less-sweet, as my tastes have changed over the past months. This is a slightly chewy, medium-dense cookie, pretty filling.

I’d also like to note that this is the first recipe that I have made with the blanched almond flour that I just bought at our local bulk store (Countryview for those in my area!) and so far I like it! The grind seems similar to the flour from Nuts.com, and the price is $4.79 per pound.

Cinnamon Almond Snack Cookies

  • 1/2 C almond butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tb coconut oil (or butter if you prefer)
  • 2-3 Tb Truvia (I used 2)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C almond flour
  • 2-3 Tb powdered erythritol (I used 2)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 Dark chocolate squares (optional) or vegan chocolate
  • toasted almonds (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients and mix well.
  2. Sift together almond flour, erythritol, baking soda and salt, and add to almond butter mixture.
  3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with baking parchment.
  4. Flatten balls into discs with your fingers. Wet fingers slightly if the dough is too sticky.
  5. If using chocolate squares, chop each square into 4 quarters, and press one piece into each cookie.
  6. Bake for 3 minutes, and then remove from oven if using toasted almonds.
  7. Place nuts on top of the chocolate, rotate pan, and return to oven for 5-8 minutes for a total cooking time of 8-11 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
    Makes about 20 cookies. 1.6g net carbs per cookie plain, 2.6 per cookie with chocolate pieces.

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Pretty in Purple! {Grain Free Bacony Breakfast}

Vegetables are so beautiful… Purple cabbage is quite stunning even when whole, but when sliced open, it looks like a party! Rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, cabbage is also low in carbs, with about 2g per shredded cup.

In my last post, I outlined my plan for breaking my weight loss plateau. Number 4 is to increase my fat intake (while reducing fruit intake) to be sure I am in ketosis. While some people on the Wheat Belly plan eat bacon, and some do not, I have joyously decided to be in the camp of bacon-eaters πŸ˜‰ It’s a great source of saturated animal fat, it’s tasty and filling! Sure it has nitrates, but we get a lot more nitrates from veggies than bacon. So this morning I knew I wanted to make some bacon, but instead of pairing it with eggs and fresh tomato as I did yesterday, I decided to get a little PURPLE! This is my breakfast, but it would be great for lunch or a side dish for dinner as well.

I cook my bacon in the oven and have been doing it that way for years. I like that it’s less messy, and the pieces also lay flat (if that happens to be a concern for your recipe.) Plus, it frees up the top of my stove for other pans and prep area as well. I didn’t take pictures of the bacon process, but I basically just use a baking sheet with sides of course, and lay the bacon out, leaving a little space between each piece. I find that with thin bacon I can get about half the package on one sheet (8-9 slices.) I set the temp at 400, and probably cook it between 10-15 minutes, though to be honest, I just keep an eye on it and pull it when it’s done.

The cabbage was easy as well. I heated a few tablespoons of bacon grease in a heavy pan, and slowly cooked the cabbage over medium/low heat for 20-30 minutes. I did add some gomasio (sesame salt) and a little kosher salt and fresh pepper to enhance the flavor.

Served it up with bacon pieces, feta cheese, tomato quarters and gomasio!

 

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Jumping Plateaus and Updating the Blog

It has been a rather busy week, and I am a bit behind on posting here, although it’s certainly been on my mind! In fact, yesterday, I gave the About Me/Contact page a serious update as it was definitely overdue. When I first started blogging, I wasn’t sure quite where it would go, or how the grain free lifestyle would suit us, never mind would I enjoy doing it enough to continue! Well, the good news is that you aren’t rid of me yet, it seems I am still finding things to say and cook πŸ˜‰

This past weekend was wonderful, spent up north in Michigan with friends, enjoying campfires and lazy tubing down the Au Sable River. We had a great time, shared lots of laughs and good food. But… I also gained 5lbs! I know it was too many fruity drinks and being off my game for food choices, indulging in a few too many carbs (though no gluten or grain.) The good news though, is that it’s just 3 days later, I got serious about my plan again, and the weight is gone already… YAY me!! This is especially exciting because I have been on a weight-loss stall. I think I need to talk about that with you.

What about those pesky PLATEAUS??

The thing that I always stress to people when talking about this style of eating, is that weight loss is a side effect of cutting the carbs, but that getting rid of the wheat and grain toxins is what has had the most profound effect on my health. While that is absolutely true, and I feel like a new person especially without the severe chronic headaches and joint pain, I am like any other girl (or boy!), and would love to reach a more ideal weight!

So while I don’t eat grains now, and very little sugar, I realize that I also need to tweak my food in order to keep losing. The first 3 months I dropped 25lbs, rather easily. The past month or so, however, I have only been maintaining. Easily maintaining, but a plateau none the less.

I have at least 25lbs left to lose (halfway there, maybe!) So…Β  I have been examining my diet more closely and looking for causes for the weight loss stall, and possible solutions. The following list is what I have come up with:

  • I am eating more fruit than I should (it’s so good in season!)… so I am going to severely cut my fruit intake for the next week to see if that will help. I can add some of this back for weight maintenance or after my fat-burning is jump-started again.
  • I have been indulging in too much wine and hard cider drinks. Not constantly, but I have a feeling that even a glass or 2 of those carbs a couple times a week is undoing potential progress… so no booze this coming week! Not so easy when there are fun summer gatherings with friends, cookouts and hot days, but I think it’s probably key. So instead…
  • I am going to drink more water, as I have read about how much dehydration can slow weight loss as well as inhibit other important bodily functions. I will also drink more lemon water for vitamin C and aiding in digestion and detox.
  • I *try* to eat enough fat, but I think that I am still not getting as much as I need to have in order to really be in ketosis. I am upping the coconut oil, bacon and butter to see if intentionally eating more will have an effect. I have a feeling it will. It is so contrary to the low-fat mentality we have been brain-washed with, but to burn fat as fuel, the body needs fat!
  • I am working on getting better sleep.I have a tendency to wake after just half a nights’ sleep, and then toss or lay there the rest of the night. I know that proper sleep is important in weight loss, so this is something that has to be addressed. I broke down and took something to help me sleep twice this week, and it really helped me feel better. Last night, instead, I decided it was time to add the

    After a walk with my son today at the woodland park. What a beautiful day!

    Magnesium Malate to my supplement regimen, as it is supposed to help with rest as well as a number of other issues. I found that I slept well last night with the Magnesium, so will continue and see if it improves my rest overall.

  • I am also going to monitor my dairy intake because I know that it has an insulin-stimulating effect in some people (insulin is the fat storage hormone.) Going to try going a little lighter on the cheeses while adding veggies and other fats.
  • I am active, and yet I know I don’t exercise enough. I’m not talking about anything strenuous, but getting out to walk or ride my bike more often will help… if not the weight loss, I know it will help my attitude and stress levels! Today, my son went with me to a local woodland park along the river, and we walked for a good 45 minutes on trails where we could enjoy nature. It was great and we both agreed we need to go a few times a week.

OK, so after making my list, I have a game plan!

  1. Nix the fruit (for now)
  2. Nix the booze πŸ˜‰
  3. Drink more water and lemon water.
  4. Increase fats for ketosis.
  5. Take Magnesium for improved sleep.
  6. Decrease dairy.
  7. Get moving, walk.

That all sounds rather do-able! I think that once I break the stall and get back fully to burning fats again, I should be able to lighten up on the fruit and wine restrictions. I’ve got to have something to hope for anyway!

 

It’s your turn to share:

What have you done to successfully break a plateau when losing weight? I have heard lots of abstract suggestions (such as switch it up, shock the system, etc), but I am interested in which ones specifically have worked for you now or in the past? If you are on a plateau now, and want to get back to losing weight, what are some of the things you will try? I am hoping to see some interesting ideas from you all!

 

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