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Category Archives: Snacks

Coconut Flour Double-Chocolate Brownies, Gluten Free

Coconut Flour Double-Chocolate Brownies, Gluten Free

 

Coconut Flour Double Chocolate Brownies. Gluten Free, Low Carb Decadence!

Coconut Flour Double Chocolate Brownies. Gluten Free, Low Carb Decadence!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted… and there are several reasons for that.. but instead of going into details with this initial return post, I figured I’d just give you all some chocolate first!

Photo May 02, 7 09 01 AMIsn’t that the best way to kiss and make up??
A little chocolate brownie action to ease re-entry to the blogosphere 🙂

The reason for this recipe, is that after a long while following Wheat Belly, I realized that my system doesn’t do all that well with the straight almond flour recipes. I can have a little here and there, but with digestive issues, I’ve been working on alternatives. Coconut flour is great for this, as its density works well with the texture of a brownie. Instead of going for light like I do in my muffin recipes, this is a more dense texture, and depending how long you choose to bake it, even a bit on the gooey side!

I realize that 6TB doesn’t seem like much flour, but remember that coconut flour is much more absorbent than other grain and nut flours. It cannot be substituted, recipes need to be crafted specifically for coconut flour. If you wish to make this recipe dairy free, substitute coconut oil for the butter, perhaps adding a pinch of salt.

Coconut Flour Double-Chocolate Brownies
(about 72g net carbs for entire recipe; 16 servings 4.5g each,
32 servings 2.25 each. Add more for additional ingredients)

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

    Ready to bake!

    Ready to bake!

  • 6 TB butter
  • 1/4 C cashew butter
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1/2-3/4C sweetener such as Swerve or Truvia
    if you prefer more or less sweet, adjust to your taste
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 TB maple syrup or sugar free syrup if you prefer
  • 6 TB coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 2 TB cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts, pecans, or nut of choice
  • 1/2 xanthan gum (optional!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan by lining with buttered baking parchment, or use a non-stick pan such as the silicone loaf pan I show here.

Combine first 3 ingredients and either melt together in the microwave, or heat over low in a pan on the stovetop, stirring until all ingredients are softened and combined. Remove from heat, transfer to medium mixing bowl and cool slightly. Stir in vanilla, sweetener, eggs and syrup.

Sift together coconut flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and xanthan gum (if using.) Stir dry ingredients into wet mixture. Add chopped nuts. (I sometimes add dark chocolate chips or dried berries, but realize this will raise carb count.)

Spoon mixture into loaf pan, patting top to even it out. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes depending on your oven and level of doneness you prefer. I use a convection oven, and 18 minutes gives me a gooey center, 20 is firm, 22 is a bit stiff and crumbly. Allow to cool slightly and eat, or refrigerate. If desired, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Photo May 04, 1 36 12 PM

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Spinach Balls for St. Patty’s Day {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Spinach Balls for St. Patty’s Day {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Gluten-free Spinach Balls

Gluten-free Spinach Balls, a great appetizer for St. Patrick’s Day or any time!

I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary of being totally wheat-free, but it was last year at a dear friend’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party that I first heard a story from a mutual friend about how how her health and life had been transformed by getting rid of “gluten.”

Gluten??? I didn’t even know what it was… except that I had seen it sold in the baking sections of grocery stores, and I knew it was sometimes added into flours to make better bread. Hmmmm.

She told me how her headaches were gone, her general wellness had improved, she dropped weight, had less hunger, and basically just felt fantastic! I was intrigued to say the least. I had been fighting chronic headaches since my teens, so if there was ANY chance that getting rid of this mysterious GLUTEN could make me feel better, I was 100% open to it. This year, I was able to give her a big hug and tell her that our conversation last year had changed my LIFE, the lives of my guys, and that I had even started a food and health blog which was helping to spread the word to even MORE people! She was touched and happy to have made a real difference. I know just how she feels because I have that warm feeling with every comment I get from readers who let me know that they appreciate this blog!

At last year’s shindig, she browsed the fantastic spread of food, looking for options that were gluten-free. I had brought my traditional spinach balls (made with stuffing mix), and she obviously couldn’t eat those. She settled on some cheese, veggies and dip, and some of the corned beef and vegetables, but the vast majority of foods that people had brought to share were off-limits.

This year I was deciding what to take, and decided to MODIFY my spinach balls to make them gluten-free and low-carb! (I adapted this base recipe.) I replaced the stuffing mix with some extra cheese, smashed pork rinds and a little coconut flour… Success!! They disappeared just as quickly as the original version, and satisfied the growing number of people who were gluten-free! Last year there were a couple people who did not eat gluten… this year there were probably 6 of us, and on top of that, our friends who still eat wheat had taken our needs into consideration and had made some things that were safe as well. What progress!! In addition to the corned beef and cabbage provided by our most fabulous hosts and dear friends, there were the spinach balls, a chocolate cake mint trifle (that I will be posting next 🙂 ), peanut butter cookies, bacon-wrapped BBQ water chestnuts, a variety of cheeses including an amazing Irish goat cheese with herbs, spinach artichoke dip, shrimp cocktail, and a variety of crackers. While not everything was low-carb, it was still fair game for a party in my opinion, and I enjoyed a bit of everything!

Gluten-free Spinach Balls

  • Ready to steam in mircowave

    Ready to steam in microwave

    20oz frozen spinach

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2Tb coconut flour, sifted
  • 1C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1C mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2C plain pork rinds, well-chopped
  • 3/4C butter, melted
  • 1/4C fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Draining excess water

    Draining excess water

    1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb Cooked crumbled bacon

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place spinach, onion and garlic in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cook at full power for about 6 minutes or until the spinach is cooked and onions and garlic is steamed. (Carefully remove plastic wrap to prevent steam burns.)

Spinach mixture

Spinach mixture

Remove excess water from spinach by pressing through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon or with your hands if cool enough. Alternately, you could wrap spinach mixture in good quality paper towels and “wring out”  the excess juice. After spinach is drained, combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, making sure to thoroughly mix together. Make balls 3/4″ to 1″ in size, placing on cookie sheet to bake. Bake approximately 10-12 minutes or until firm and lightly browned at bottom edges.

Ready to cook

Ready to cook on silicone cooking mat

All done!

All done! My son is already asking for me to make these again, when I WON’T be taking them to a party 🙂

 

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Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Silky, rich, creamy and nostalgic! Chocolate pudding has been enjoyed by many since childhood, but the varieties that we can purchase at the store in single-serving containers or powdered box form pretty much all contain ingredients that we either don’t want in our healthy diet, or worse yet, don’t even recognize!

The following is a recipe that I lifted from my Facebook friend, Carol (with her permission, of course!) and that she adapted from this one that is surely delicious, but is higher in carbs. Thank you, Carol! She has shared it freely on the Wheat Belly Facebook page, and it has gotten rave reviews from just about everyone who has tried it, including ME! It’s so simple, low-carb and borderline genius, that I had to share it with my readers here, because I believe everyone should know how to make it!

By now most of us know how many benefits there are to including avocados in our diets, and this is yet another way to use them, albeit somewhat anonymously 😉 . The upside is also that I used a VERY ripe avocado (ummm questionably ripe), and it still turned out amazingly good! This can be vegetarian, sugar-free and dairy-free, though I made it with organic vitamin D milk.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Easy Healthy Chocolate Pudding made with Avocado!

I think that there is a lesson to be learned with this recipe and others like it…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX when it comes to including healthy ingredients in our diet.
Some foods that we may not be crazy about in their original form, can be incredible when used in unexpected ways. Avocado and cauliflower are two that come to mind right away. My recipe for cauliflower cream (soup base) is similar, in that it takes a mild food (that many don’t care for), that also has many nutritional benefits and changes it into something neutral that capitalizes on texture more than anything else.

Carol’s Chocolate Avocado Pudding/Frosting

  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (like xylitol)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T. unsweetened almond milk (or any type milk you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Better if made an hour or so ahead. Stores well for several days. If large avocado, increase other ingredients accordingly. A few drops of peppermint extract can be added if desired.

To use as frosting, omit milk.

(Notes: I made a double batch, used dark cocoa, regular milk and slightly less sweetener, as the Truvia I used is on the sweeter side.) I’m wondering how this might be in a wheat-free low-carb pie crust, chilled with cream on top?!

 

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Coconut Shrimp {Grain-free and Low Carb}

Coconut Shrimp, Gluten and Grain Free!

Coconut Shrimp, Gluten and Grain Free!

 

This is a super simple recipe that is great for coconut shrimp, but it’s also wonderful for chicken strips or anything else that you may want to pan fry without traditional grain flours. The main ingredients in the “breading” are almond flour, shredded coconut and grated Parmesan cheese, and while I will give you the proportions that I used, feel free to tinker with the ratios to your own liking! I added a little Old Bay seasoning to compliment the seafood flavor I was after, but many times I will use my own seasonings such as garlic powder, fresh cracked pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, or whatever you prefer. This is less sweet than many versions of coconut shrimp I’ve had in the past, but my palate prefers it that way. If you’d like it sweeter, just add a little sweetener (such as Swerve or Truvia)  to the dry ingredients.

I splurged a little on carbs when it comes to the marmalade dip, but it’s much lower than a traditional dip. Using the low sugar marmalade, and mixing in some butter and sriracha (hot sauce) will give you the flavor without the usual high carb content. If you want to stay Wheat Belly compliant, skip the sauce!

We love shrimp, and I much prefer to buy it raw than pre-cooked. We don’t have easy access to fresh seafood where we live, but frozen is great as well. When I peel the shrimp (after thawing), I like to leave the last tail section in place, but remove everything else. To devein, run a sharp knife along the backside of the shrimp, removing the dark vein. To butterfly, as I do for this recipe, remove the vein and then slide the knife a little deeper to open up the shrimp, but be careful not to cut all the way through. Here is a 25 second video demo in case you need a little visual to help!

Coconut Shrimp

Egg mixture and breading

Egg mixture and breading

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied and patted dry
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 C almond flour
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or seasonings of your choice if altering)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • coconut oil for pan frying

Directions:
Combine the Parmesan cheese, almond flour, shredded coconut and seasonings; set aside.

Frying shrimp in batches

Frying shrimp in batches

Beat together eggs and mayonnaise. Heat coconut oil in a skillet (I used our new ceramic coated non-stick, which rocked!) over medium-high heat. Dredge each shrimp in the egg mixture, removing excess against the side of the dish, and then press into the almond flour mixture to coat. Place each shrimp into the hot oil, cooking about 3 minutes per side, turning once. Cook in batches, moving shrimp as needed to ensure even browning. Remove to plate to cool. Serve with marmalade dip if desired.

A plate of shrimpy goodness!!

A plate FULL of shrimpy goodness!!

 

Low-Carb Marmalade Dip

  • 1/4 C reduced sugar marmalade, melted
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • dash of sriracha or other hot sauce

Combine all ingredients and serve with coconut shrimp.

Healthy fried food is possible!

We don’t have fried foods very often, but late on a Saturday night, using healthy coconut oil, this was perfect!!

 

 

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Cashew Sandies {Grain-free, Sugar-free, Egg and Dairy-free}

Grain-free Cashew Sandies

Grain-free Cashew Sandies

 

These Cashew Sandies are my take on a traditional Pecan Sandie that I often baked at the holidays. The cashews do a wonderful job of standing in for the sweetness of pecans in this recipe, and it’s a good thing I made them small, as they are quite rich! It’s a lightly sweet cookie, much like a shortbread.

There are times when recipes take lots of tweaking and fussing, and other times where they are the result of happy experimentation… this is the latter  😉  I was using lovely raw cashews to make cashew butter for a brownie recipe (that I will be posting soon), and after processing about a cup of raw cashews to the point of being finely ground, I added 1Tb of Nutiva coconut oil and continued to process until the mixture came together as a “nut butter”. One thing that I noticed right away, was that the texture of the cashew butter was smooth and very similar to the finished dough for pecan sandies… so I added a few more ingredients to add bulk, lift and flavor, and the following recipe is the result. I’ll be adding them to my holiday baking this year, and I hope you do too!

Note: I would normally sift powdered sugar over the top of a pecan sandie, but I didn’t have any powdered Swerve or erythritol on hand, so I just sprinkled a little granulated Swerve on top. Next time I make them, they will definitely look more festive!

Cashew Sandies

  • 1C raw cashews finely ground into nut butter
    with 1Tb coconut oil added for smoothness
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3Tb Swerve sweetener (or your choice to taste) plus more for sprinkling
  • 4Tb almond flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1Tb Nutiva virgin coconut oil (can use refined or butter in its place)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a food processor, combine all ingredients until a soft dough forms. (I made the cashew butter in the food processor and then added the remaining ingredients.) Form into 1” balls, and flatten slightly on baking parchment. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to brown delicately at the edges (I turn pan once during baking.) Remove to a rack to cool. Sprinkle sweetener over the top or sift with powdered sweetener. Do not try to lift cookies from parchment until they have cooled and become more sturdy. Makes about 24 cookies.

Cashew butter made from raw cashews and coconut oil

Cashew butter made from raw cashews and coconut oil.

Slightly flattened 1" balls on baking parchment

Slightly flattened 1″ balls on baking parchment

Cooled and delicious Cashew Sandies

Cooled and delicious Cashew Sandies

Cashew Sandies: Perfect after-school treat for my hungry teen!

Cashew Sandies: Perfect after-school treat for my hungry teen!

 

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Homemade Ketchup… Flavorful, Easy and Low Carb!

2 cups of Spicy Homemade Low-carb Ketchup!

2 cups of Spicy Homemade Low-carb Ketchup… We’re looking forward to sampling this on bacon, avocado cheeseburgers served on Oopsie rolls tonight!

Ketchup is one of those condiments that many people who have never counted carbs or worried about sugar content, may never have given a second thought. However, if you are among the growing number of people who are avoiding blood sugar spikes and keeping your daily carbs low, you know just how hazardous that red bottle in your fridge can be!

The Heinz Tomato Ketchup that I had in my fridge prior to following the Wheat Belly plan contains the following ingredients:

Tomato Concentrate, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring.

The carb content is 5g per tablespoon. That may not seem huge, but when you are keeping your carbs between 20 and 50g a day, 2Tb would take up a whopping percentage of your daily allowance!

So, after looking (unsuccessfully) for a healthier option at the local grocery stores, I decided to make a ketchup that would be flavorful without all the sugar. The following is what I came up with… feel free to adjust your seasonings to suit your personal tastes, but everyone in my family was quite happy with the results of this recipe!

Spicy Homemade Low-Carb Ketchup

  • 12 oz can tomato paste (I used Hunt’s for 50g net carb)
  • 1/2C cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s with the Mother)
  • 1/2C water
  • 1Tb prepared poupon mustard
  • 1Tb Swerve (or sweetener of choice to taste)
  • 20 drops Stevia liquid (or additional Tb Swerve or alt. sweetener)
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of ground allspice and clove
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
Blending homemade low-carb ketchup in my Ninja

Blending homemade low-carb ketchup in my Ninja!

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until the garlic and onion are liquified into the tomato mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Optional: heat in saucepan on stove and cook for several minutes to help “marry” flavors together.  Makes about 2 cups. (1Tb contains about 1.8g net carbs compared to 5g in Heinz)

 

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Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins {Grain free!}

Grain-Free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin with Cream Cheese Frosting

Grain-Free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

These are moist, tender and full of flavor…
and best of all, no grain or gluten in sight!!!

Fall has officially begun, and the yearning for pumpkin flavored warm yummy goodness isn’t going to be derailed by our grain-free lifestyle! These pumpkin muffins are a cinch to make, and are a treat with a nice hot cup of coffee after spending the afternoon in the autumn sun, or on cool fall evenings. The maple extract is completely optional, but it added a nice depth of flavor to complement the pumpkin. The topping is also optional, but the slight crunch from the pecans was delicious.

Grain free pumpkin muffins fresh from the oven. A nice rise and crunchy topping make these hard to resist.

Grain free pumpkin muffins fresh from the oven. A nice rise and crunchy topping make these hard to resist.

 

After searching the net for grain-free pumpkin muffin recipes, I decided to take a bit from several and just give my own version a try. As luck would have it, these turned our great the first time around (AND the second!) My son can’t believe how delicious these taste, and at 4-5g net carbs per muffin, they are low-carb and Wheat Belly compliant!

Simply mix all ingredients together at once.

Simply mix all ingredients together at once.

Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins

  • 2C almond flour
  • 2Tb coconut flour
  • 2/3C canned pumpkin (unsweetened)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4C cashew butter (or almond butter)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (or 1Tb pumpkin pie spice;
    omit cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg)
  • 3/4tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp maple extract (optional)
  • 4Tb Swerve (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 20 drops liquid Stevia
  • 3Tb coconut oil (melted) or butter
  • 1Tb vanilla extract
  • 4-6Tb heavy cream
Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins, au naturel!

Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins, au naturel! So tender and moist.

Pecan Topping (optional):

  • 1/3C chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1-2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1Tb Swerve sweetener
  • pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional):

  • 4oz softened cream cheese
  • 1Tb Swerve
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3C heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 6 drops liquid Stevia

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Mix together all ingredients and fill muffin liners.
  3. If desired, top with nut topping (mix all ingredients together.)
  4. Bake 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake another 10 minutes for a total of 25 minutes.
  5. Remove and allow to cool. If desired, top with butter, cream cheese frosting (fold together all ingredients) or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Grain-free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin

Grain-free Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffin; Simply delicious!

 

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