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Hollandaise Sauce…. Lemony, Buttery, Eggy Low-carb Goodness!

Hollandaise sauce is one of those treats that used to be a guilty indulgence, before embracing a lower-carb lifestyle that includes a healthy amount of fat. NOW however, there’s no reason to be afraid to serve it up to enhance even a weekday meal.

Haven’t had Hollandaise? It’s the sauce traditionally served with Eggs Benedict… you know, the fancy breakfast of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, Canadian bacon and that lovely lemony sauce? (To make it WB compliant, how about Instead of an English muffin, we use an All-in-one Bun?) We also love Hollandaise for dipping steamed artichoke leaves alongside a succulent grilled steak and a bottle of wine. Oh My!!

Parmesan-crusted pork medallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed mushrooms with a side of homemade Hollandaise sauce.

Parmesan-crusted pork medallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed mushrooms with a side of homemade Hollandaise sauce (with a few capers thrown in.)

It’s really fabulous with just about any vegetable, and last night it was a complement to roasted Brussels sprouts, Parmesan crusted pork medallions and sauteed mushrooms, MMMM! I wish I was having it again for lunch right NOW! Since the single batch of Hollandaise uses 2 egg yolks, I made use of the whites for dipping the pork medallions before dredging them in a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese (1/2C) plus a couple tablespoons of almond flour and seasonings, before pan frying them in coconut oil. (My son says that this is the perfect way to make pork chops, and that they should all be this way, haha.)

There are only 3 simple ingredients to Hollandaise sauce: egg yolks, fresh lemon juice, and butter! If you want to kick it up a bit you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or stir in some herbs, but the basic recipe is… well, basic!

And yet many people I know (and BEWARE, MOST restaurants) use the packets you can purchase at the grocery store instead. Why? Well, I’m not sure exactly. I think there is a misconception that it’s a very difficult sauce to make. It does take a little attention, but it’s actually quite easy, even if you’re not a seasoned home chef. Personally, I almost always have these simple ingredients on hand.

So, what are the ingredients in packaged Hollandaise? Let’s see…

hollandaise sauce mix.ashxMcCormick Hollandaise Sauce Mix:

WHEAT STARCH, CORN MALTODEXTRIN, WHOLE EGG SOLIDS, EGG YOLK SOLIDS, YEAST EXTRACT, SALT, ONION, SPICES (INCLUDING MUSTARD, PAPRIKA, TURMERIC), SOY LECITHIN, CITRIC ACID, AND NATURAL FLAVOR (INCLUDING LEMON EXTRACT).

Hmmmm…. looks like toxic sludge for those of us who are avoiding grains!

Here is the simple recipe that I always use for Hollandaise from Betty Crocker (I have added a few small edits in italics.), though there are many variations of the recipe, using different ratios of egg, lemon juice and butter, as well as some that first clarify the butter. This recipe is heavier on the lemon than many others, which is how we prefer it. I’ve made this many, many times and it’s always turned out perfectly and gets devoured πŸ˜‰

Classic Hollandaise Sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup firm butter (cut into small chunks)

In small saucepan, stir egg yolks and lemon juice briskly with wooden spoon (I use a whisk.) Add half the butter; stir over very low heat until butter is melted.
Add remaining butter, stirring briskly until butter is melted and sauce thickens. (Be sure butter melts slowly as this gives eggs time to cook and thicken the sauce without curdling.) Serve hot or at room temperature.

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{Easy!} Banana Walnut Bread… Gluten-free, Grain-free and Dairy-free!

{Easy!} Banana Walnut Bread… Gluten-free, Grain-free and Dairy-free!
Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, Warm from the oven!

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, Warm from the oven!

 

Banana bread is one of those traditional flour-based foods that offers a lot of homemade comfort; from the amazing smell of it baking to the wonderful banana nut flavor, it’s a favorite of many. Unfortunately, when it’s made with wheat flour, it has all the appetite stimulating and inflammatory effects of grains that we work to avoid. Lucky for us grain-free peeps, using a combination of almond flour and coconut flour, this was a pretty easy recipe to tweak πŸ˜‰ (If you are avoiding dairy, make this with the coconut oil, and obviously don’t spread with butter.) My son couldn’t get enough of this, and I’ve made it twice this past week! Everyone who’s tried it here thus far has given it a thumbs up, so it’s definitely a new staple in our house.

Bananas are one of those borderline forbidden fruits that are relatively high in carbs, and yet have a texture, flavor, aroma and nutrient profile that makes it appealing in small quantities. If you are watching your carb count, this banana bread can still fit into most diets… 16 slices in a loaf ends up being about 5g net carbs per slice. Not too shabby, as it’s pretty filling! We follow Wheat Belly, and though fruit is eaten in moderation, we find that this works for our personal limits. Note: in the pictures you may notice that I added a few chopped dried cranberries (1/4C). This raises the carb content by about 1-2g per piece, but since it was mainly my son eating this loaf, I wasn’t concerned about it.

I usually use dry sweeteners such as Swerve or Truvia, but in this case, I used Torani sugar-free caramel flavored syrup. I found it in the aisle with the coffee πŸ™‚ Caramel was a great flavor addition, but I’m sure that maple or hazelnut would be wonderful as well… I just used what I already had on hand. I will be honest, in that I don’t really care for the flavor of this syrup on its own or as a topping due to the sweetener, but mixed into the batter, it was wonderful! If you don’t have the syrup, you could use a dry sweetener and increase the water in the recipe.

Mashing bananas with my vintage dough blade. Love this tool!

Mashing bananas with my vintage dough blade. Love this tool!

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread

  • 1 C almond flour
  • 1/3 C coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 TB coconut oil, melted (or butter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 C sugar-free syrup (I used Torani caramel flavored)
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 2 TB water
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bread pan with butter or coconut oil. (I used a silicone bread pan, and rubbed it with butter.) Combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine completely. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, coconut oil, syrup, vanilla, and water. Add to dry ingredients and mix until combined, mix in walnuts.

Batter, mixed and ready to go in the pan

Batter, mixed and ready to go in the pan

 

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out on top. Bake at 350 for a total of 40-45 minutes (or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out cleanly), rotating once halfway through baketime. Remove to wire rack to cool, removing from pan after cooling slightly. Serve with butter, whipped cream or cream cheese. (Total carbs about 80 for the loaf, 5g net carbs each for 16 slices.)

 

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, fresh from the oven, Mmmmm!

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, fresh from the oven, Mmmmm!

 

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Grain-free Belgian Waffles {with dairy-free option}

Grain-free Belgian Waffles {with dairy-free option}
Grain-free Belgian waffles

Grain-free Belgian waffles with a little butter and frozen raspberries!

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, it’s a wonderful switch from eggs for breakfast, especially if you need to feed children or teens. Also great as a base for desserts, Belgian waffles are classic! But they are also usually full of wheat and high carb… We purchased a Belgian waffle maker for Christmas this year, and I have been experimenting with all sorts of alternative grain-free batters that will cook up into those wonderful waffley shapes!

I have used the MIM batters with mixed results, they tend to be a little softer overall and slightly dry, so need a little more tweaking before I can give you a very low-carb recipe that I am truly pleased with. That being said, this recipe is more moderate carb, and is a definite winner for taste and texture.

Freezing Belgian Waffles to reheat later!

Freezing Belgian Waffles to reheat later!

Many of us, as adults, are very conscious about eating grain-free and not eating sugar, but we still have children or teens who can tolerate a higher carbohydrate exposure without any ill effects. This recipe still has 40% fewer carbs than Eggo waffles, (27g in two Eggo waffles vs. 16g in 2 sections of this recipe), so I believe it does have a place in the healthy kitchen. My son isn’t crazy about the texture of flaxmeal, which makes some of the other lower carb waffle recipes unappealing to him, and we weren’t thrilled with the texture of the coconut flour waffles either, so in the meantime, this is a good solution! If you are abiding by Wheat Belly, and prefer to keep your carb exposure to 15g or less per meal, you may want to give this one a pass.

I have hesitated to post this recipe, not because it isn’t easy and delicious (it is!) but because it’s not quite as low carb as what we normally eat. It also uses some potato starch, which is an ingredient I generally steer away from because it’s more or less a junk carbohydrate…. If you are offended by using starches, don’t make it πŸ˜‰ I just happen to have a teenage son who is also a very picky eater, and this recipe strikes a balance for him as far as I am concerned. The convenience of making these ahead of time and being able to pop them in the microwave or toaster is a nice change too!

Grain-free Belgian Waffles

Combining Ingredients

Combining Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C almond flour
  • 1/2 C potato starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TB sweetener (I used Truvia)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C sour cream (or canned coconut milk for non-dairy)
  • 1/4-1/3 C milk (or almond milk for non-dairy)
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
Into the pre-heated waffle maker

Into the pre-heated waffle maker

Directions:

Preheat waffle maker. Combine dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix completely. Spoon batter into waffle maker and cook to desired doneness. (How much batter you use will depend on the size and shape of your waffle maker. Mine is a round shape with 4 sections, and this recipe fills the waffle maker 3 times, giving me 12 waffle sections total.) Top as desired with sugar-free syrup, fruit, whipped cream, or whatever you prefer!

One full waffle has 4 sections, 8 carbs per piece.

One full waffle has 4 sections, 8g carbs per section.

 

 

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All-In-One Buns! {Grain-free, Nut-free}

Burger Bun, Pizza Crust & Breakfast Muffin?

All-In-One Buns

All-In-One Buns

This is a savory bun-style base recipe that is grain-free and also nut-free, which is a benefit for those who have a difficult time tolerating the nut flours. It started out as a recipe for pizza crust, but has evolved into one of the most versatile recipes I’ve been using as of late. Top as mini pizzas… ham and cheese melt… use as small sandwich buns, open-faced or sliced in half… burger buns… top with bruscetta mixture…Β  breakfast muffins with either ham or bacon added in… what about a little onion and broccoli? feta cheese? chili peppers? sausage?

I’ve had an ongoing health evolution since I changed to a grain-free, lower-carb diet in March of 2012, and I am still tweaking and figuring out which foods make my body feel the best, and which are causing some discomfort. I find that I can have nut flours in small amounts, but that I feel best when exposure is limited, so I love that this is based on eggs and cheese instead. Low-carb, Wheat Belly friendly.

All-In-One buns!

All-In-One buns… Cooling on a wire rack, these will be baby pizzas pretty soon!

These are sturdy, delicious and filling. This recipe makes 24 at a time (to keep on hand for a hungry teen),Β  but it can easily be halved or even cut to 1/3 if you don’t need as many. I will apologize in advance for not having pictures of everything we’ve made with this recipe so far, but they disappeared too quickly! I’ll try to add some in the future πŸ˜‰

All-In-One Buns

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 3C mozzarella cheese, grated (I process it in my ninja to get a small crumble texture)
  • 3/4 C Parmesan cheese, also grated
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or preferred seasonings)
  • 1 TB oregano

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350′.
  • Blend cream cheese until smooth, either by hand or in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Blend in eggs, one at a time and mix until fairly smooth.
  • Mix in cheeses and seasonings, combine well.
  • If using add-ins such as ham, bacon, veggies etc, stir in last.
  • Spoon mixture into 2 muffin-top of bun pans (or bake one pan at a time, as I did!) making sure that the pans are oiled/sprayed well.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time.
  • Cool slightly and remove from pans.
  • Store in bags or containers in fridge for up to a week, if they last that long!

IMG-20121226-03305

 

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Chocolate Cake for Breakfast?! Low-carb, Easy Variations on the MIM (muffin in a minute/microwave)

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast?! Low-carb, Easy Variations on the MIM (muffin in a minute/microwave)

 

Hot Chocolate MIM!

Hot Chocolate MIM!

It’s been FAR too long (again) since I’ve written, I KNOW! Life is busy, which is a huge part of it… and I’m sure that’s not surprising to anyone πŸ˜‰ What might be more surprising is that I just haven’t been cooking or baking very much at all! I have been off wheat since March, which is 9 months now, and I have to say that never in my life has my interest in food and appetite been lower! I still enjoy and focus on HEALTHY foods, but the urgency of meals has just sort of faded away… if it wasn’t for feeding a teenager, I doubt I would be in the kitchen at all these days. We eat plenty of salads, grab quick snacks of cheese, nuts or veggies and call it good quite often.

(Now you are wondering, WHO IS THIS WOMAN??)

I want to reassure you though, that I am still as enthusiastic as EVER about being free from wheat and its terrible inflammatory effects, weight issues and health consequences. My husband and I meet new people all the time who are interested in this way of eating (maybe some of our new friends are reading right NOW!), and we are more than happy to fill them in on our transformation! I kind of look at this blog as my pet charity, because it’s not something I do to create an income (unfortunately), but I do it because I am passionate about educating people and providing them with the resources to try this lifestyle on for size and see if it helps them with those stubborn weight issues as well as other chronic long term problems.

Today I am posting a favorite recipe for a MIM… muffin in a minute, or muffin in a microwave. If you google the term, you will likely find all sorts of variations on this theme. I didn’t invent this by any means, and it’s been around for awhile… it is one of the staples around here for hot breakfast, especially for my son, he LOVES these.

The great thing is that this breakfast sticks with him and fills him up because he is getting a whole egg, a handful of almonds and some healthy fat, all in one DELICIOUS piece of cake! WIN/WIN baby!!! Oh, and I have no problem whipping it up at 6:30 am when my eyes are still half-closed, before I’ve even had coffee πŸ˜‰ Pretty key for a staple weekday breakfast recipe!!Β 

You can fool around with the recipe and get all sorts of wonderful variety, it really is a very forgiving concoction. This particular version is a result of going back and forth with a friend of mine to tweak a chocolate MIM. I used some flax in mine, and she omitted it… and my son preferred it like this, all almond flour. She wins!

This one happens to be chocolate (oh believe me, it’s YUMMY!) I will give you the recipe that I am using right now, but after I will also give you some suggestions for tweaking this to your liking and mood!

 

HOT CHOCOLATE CAKE (MIM)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 TB mayonnaise
  • 4 TB almond flour
  • 2 tsp sweetener (or to taste, I used Truvia)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TB dark cocoa
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • optional add-ins: 1TB dark choc chips, 1TB chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix all ingredients together in a flat-bottomed cereal-sized bowl until well combined. (The ones I use are about 5-5.5″ in diameter) Microwave for 2-2.5 minutes (depending on your microwave.) Remove, loosen the edges with a knife, and flip out onto a plate. (Be sure to scroll down to the bottom, past the pictures, for some alternative ingredients!)

I usually top with a pat of butter and a little Truvia, and presto! You have warm, delicious (low carb) chocolate cake. If we are having this as a desert, I top with a little whipped heavy cream. For us, one is enough to split as a desert serving, but for breakfast my son easily polishes off a whole one.

MIM batter, ready for the microwave.

MIM batter, ready for the microwave.

After nuking for 2.5 minutes.

After nuking for 2.5 minutes.

Flipped onto a plate, with a pat of butter and a little sweetener... YUMMY!

Flipped onto a plate, with a pat of butter and a little sweetener… YUMMY!

NOW, if you want to change things up, here are some suggestions:

  • Use coconut oil in place of mayonnaise. I usually do this for mine.
  • Use half almond flour and half ground flax. It will be a bit softer, more like a baked pudding. I prefer golden flax over the brown flax, but you can experiment and use whichever you have or like.
  • Add a TB of heavy cream and/or softened cream cheese for a different consistency.
  • Omit cocoa and add a few blueberries and a dash of cinnamon, or sliced strawberries.
  • Add 1-2TB of pumpkin puree and a tsp of pumpkin pie spice! This is delicious. I’ve done it by omitting the cocoa, and with keeping the cocoa. Both are great. When adding pumpkin, I sometimes have to increase the cook time.
  • Add 1/4 mashed banana, a little vanilla and walnuts, omit cocoa or not.
  • Omit sweetener and cocoa, sub 1TB of the almond flour for flax or buckwheat flour, add any seasonings of your choice (such as a little garlic powder, salt, pepper, herbs) and once cooled, slice in half and use as sandwich bread.

You can see by now that this is an extremely versatile recipe, and I am sure than you can think of all sorts of ways to make this recipe your own by adding, omitting and tweaking! I hope you enjoy and that this addition to your recipe arsenal makes this way of eating a little easier for you, and gives you some more ideas for breakfast and dessert!

 

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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 350Β°. 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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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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