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HFLC Fat Bombs! Zesty Lemon Cream and Chocolate Almond Butter {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Fat Bombs

Fat Bombs… Although they look and taste as decadent as something from a forbidden confectionery boutique, they play a crucial role in the HFLC diet, providing an important source of energy in the form of healthy fats. YAY!!

 

HFLC: translation, High Fat Low Carb Diet!

I never thought I would use the words “fat bomb” in a sentence that had to do with my daily food intake, but there it is! If you are an experienced low-carber, you may familiar with the concept… and if you have been hanging around the Wheat Belly Facebook page lately, you may have already seen amazing versions of these two recipes.

When restricting oneself to a very low carb diet for the purpose of burning body fat, it’s important to replace those carbs with fat as the primary energy source. Intellectually, I “know” this, but I have been struggling with getting enough fat in my diet. While the methods I started a couple of weeks ago to break my weight loss stall did work and I lost 2 new pounds, I still feel that I am too low in my intake of healthy fats.

Enter the FAT BOMB! They are concoctions of healthy fats (coconut oil, butter, cream cheese, nut butters) that taste great and help us to get enough fat in a day. These are just 2 variations on a theme, and I do not take credit for originating them at all… I merely tweaked them, photographed my outcome, and am passing on information to others who are likely going through the same learning process that I am. I already have other variations in my mind (maple extract and toasted pecans instead of lemon juice? cashew butter instead of almond? we’ll see!) Feel free to tinker with these yourself, but be aware, they are addictive!

Do you have any favorite combination of ingredients for Fat Bombs?

 

Lemon Fat Bomb with Walnuts and Lemon Zest

Lemon Fat Bomb with Walnuts and Lemon Zest

Lemon Bombs

  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4Tb butter, softened
  • 4Tb coconut oil (I used unrefined, virgin)
  • 2Tb sour cream
  • 1/2 lemon (@4tsp juice)
  • 4tsp Truvia or sweetener of choice to desired sweetness
  • nuts or zest, or any other mix-ins (optional)

Start by creaming together the cream cheese and butter, then add other ingredients one at a time and mix well in between. I like mine sweet/sour, so you may have to adjust your flavors to your taste. I have made them using the wells of a small muffin-top pan (pictured) but also have used mini muffin cups. Freeze until firm, pop out and refrigerate.
Note: The first time I made them plain but topped with almonds; this last time I added in some chopped walnuts into the mix and a little dried lemon zest on top. I really liked the crunch from the walnuts. I got 8 from this, and I figure it’s less than 1g carb per bomb!! (I think 5g for the batch.)

 

Nut Butter Bomb with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts

Nut Butter Bomb with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts

Nut Butter Bombs

  • 4Tb butter
  • 1/2C plain almond butter
  • 1/2C coconut oil (I used unrefined, virgin)
  • 3 tsp Truvia
  • couple pinches of kosher salt
  • Dark choclate melted if desired
  • Nuts or other toppings, mix-ins (optional)

I warmed it in the microwave for maybe 30 seconds and then whisked together. I used a muffin top pan and got 8 out of this recipe. (Plain, about 2.5g net carbs per… with a little melted dark chocolate, it was 4.25g)

 

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Super Moist Orange Cake (GF) Recipe Review

Super Moist Orange Cake (GF) Recipe Review

Life has been so busy now that S.U.M.M.E.R is officially here… along with yard and garden work, my son being off school, and the fun things to do as well! I haven’t taken the time to post as much as usual, and I do need to get to work on fixing that!

This orange cake is wonderfully moist, a definite must-try!

I am always on the look out for good almond flour recipes, as that has certainly become my favorite flour to work with on a gluten free diet. This recipe is basically a review of one posted by Elana on her gluten free baking blog. (Hers was a twist on a recipe that Nigella featured, and who knows where it came from before that!) Apparently Starbuck’s had a version of this cake in their shops as well, though not sure if it is still available. Once you try this, you will know why this recipe has made the rounds!!! It is delicious, orangey, and seriously moist! Like really, really, wonderfully moist. I may add a glaze when baking it for company or an event (dark chocolate? orange vanilla? cashew cream?) BUT, it absolutely doesn’t need a topping at all.

I normally tweak and adjust recipes depending on what mood strikes me and which ingredients I have on hand, however, I actually followed this one exactly! I know, I was shocked too, hehe. BUT, it was perfect as is! I am so glad that I didn’t alter it to begin with, because now I have a few ideas brewing as to how I can use this recipe as a base for other concoctions.

Boiling oranges for this recipe was a new idea to me, and the results were amazing!

I can’t say that I have ever boiled oranges before, so that was definitely something new to add to the cooking repertoire. My oranges were smallish, so I used 2 1/2 instead of the 2 that the recipe called for. Agave is new to me as well, and was terrific in this recipe. I imagine that honey would be a fine substitute, but the glycemic index of agave is much lower, so I chose to stick with Elana’s version. Also, I used a spring form pan, and greased it with coconut oil, then dusted it with rice flour in order to keep the cake from sticking. I did refrigerate the leftovers, and the cake is fabulous a day or two old, and delicious cold as well. I hope you try it and enjoy as much as we did!

And if you missed the link above, the recipe is HERE.

I baked the cake for 40 minutes instead of 45-50, and as you can see the outside is slightly dark, but not burned. It didn’t seem to affect the taste.

 

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FAST FISH! Tahini Lemon Salmon

Salmon is my go-to fish of choice! I love that it is insanely easy to cook (400 degrees, 15-20 minutes), and that you can flavor it in so many ways… PLUS it is healthy! We all know by now that it is a great course of healthy fats and omega 3’s, and to top it off, it’s strongly anti-inflammatory.

This is another one of my recipes that I will call more of a method, because it is so unstructured when I do it…

  • Take a fresh salmon filet, rinsed and patted dry… 
  • rub both sides with coconut oil and place skin side down in baking dish…
  • salt and pepper to your taste…
  • smear about a tablespoon of tahini over the flesh side…
  • top with the zest of one lemon and a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley…
  • bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • SIMPLE delicious!

As a side, we sauteed chopped baby broccoli (put in the pan first for 2+ minutes because it takes longer to cook), along with napa cabbage and spinach in coconut oil, finishing with a squeeze of fresh lemon and sesame seeds.

 

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Mojito Green Tea (Gluten Free Goodness)

One of the summer drinks that I really love, is a garden fresh mojito, mmmm! This concoction of mint, lime and rum is refreshing and crisp, perfect for summer weekends. Even without the alcohol, the flavors of lime and mint are wonderful together, and in this sun tea recipe, I also added a little Truvia for sweetness and green tea bags (gluten free) for a dose of anti-oxidants. On top of tasting delicious, the ingredients are good for you!

Lemon Balm is one of those fragrant herbs that I have had forever in my herb garden, probably because it’s one that mom always grows and uses herself. (She is to blame for my interest in herbs and healing!) According to the encyclopedia of spices, lemon balm has many medicinal uses such as helping relieving spasms in the digestive tract, relieving stress and tension (which can help with migraines), aiding in treatment of insomnia, as well as helping to fight cold and flu due to anti-viral properties. Nice benefits from a glass of iced tea!

Peppermint is also widely known to aid in relieving upset stomach, and can be beneficial for symptoms of IBS. Like lemon balm, the oil can help relieve stress (when used topically.)

While green tea is credited with aiding in a wide range of ailments from cancer and heart disease to dementia, it is unknown how much must be consumed to have these effects. WebMD states “Green tea’s antioxidants, called catechins, scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis. Grapes and berries, red wine, and dark chocolate also have potent antioxidants.”

Mojito Green Tea

I first gathered a handful of lemon balm leaves (on the left in the photo above) and mint leaves (on the right) from my herb garden. The smell is so fresh!

Next, using a mortar and pestle, I muddled the herbs along with the juice of 1/2 lime and 2 tsp of Truvia to release the oils and juices. Truvia has a granular texture like sugar (while being free of carbs), and the texture acts as an abrasive to help grind the herbs.

Next, pour the herbs and juice into a sun tea jug, and add the rest of the fresh lime juice (from 2 limes total), and 4 green tea bags (gluten free).

Fill the jug partway with water and set outside in the sun (where did my sun go for this pic??)… where the warmth will brew the tea over the course of a couple hours. The longer it steeps, the stronger it is likely to be.

When it’s reached the stage you like, remove and chill, serve over ice.

 

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Napa Boats with Crab (Gluten Free)

We LOVE napa cabbage, and use it almost every day at our house as a salad ingredient, but also as a substitute for bread, wraps and taco shells. It works wonders whether it’s raw or very slightly steamed (which gives it a little more pliability.) You will surely see more recipes featuring napa in future postings. Here, the medium-sized inside leaves were used to make a wonderful raw veggie based snack that was both refreshing and filling! It’s wonderful as it is, but as you can imagine, this is an easy recipe to tweak to your needs or ingredients on hand.

Napa Boats with Crab

Each napa leaf base was layered from the bottom up with:

  • fresh mozzarella
  • avocado
  • spinach
  • crab meat (from claws, refrigerated in a pouch)
  • cucumber slices
  • a squeeze of fresh lime
  • drizzle of coconut oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
 

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Love to Graham Kerr and a Rant on Personal Nutrition Choices


As a self-proclaimed “Foodie”, you can bet that I have watched more than my share of cooking shows, read countless cookbooks and blogs, and have generally soaked up everything that I find interesting about food for a VERY long time. It wasn’t as if I discovered that I did better without wheat and gluten, and then suddenly decided to start cooking… it is something that I (and my husband) have been enthralled with forever, it seems. Along the way we have seen some true talents showcased in the cooking world, along with some that we just scratch our heads and wonder about. I want to give cheers to Graham Kerr here, who is definitely the former!

He was originally known as The Galloping Gourmet, an energetic television chef and author who is full of fun and frolic, using loads of heavy cream, butter, wine, and other decadent ingredients with full abandon and incredibly delicious results. Later in his career, his beloved wife, Treena, experienced severe health issues, and as a response to her nutrition needs, Kerr changed his tune and his theme, moving away from indulgence, to “Minimax”. Minimizing risk and maximizing color, aroma, texture and taste.

While the current eating style my family has adopted embraces certain fats and cheeses (of which Kerr  would likely NOT approve), and instead minimizes the carbohydrates and sugars, Graham’s philosophy of Minimax is with me in the kitchen every single day. I am always seeking to get the most of my ingredients by using fresh herbs, spices, citrus, flavorful cheeses, nuts, radiant vegetables, fresh cuts of meat or seafood, along with flavor-enhancing cooking techniques. He is one of my true Foodie Heroes, and I have endless amounts of admiration for him for taking a health challenge, and translating that challenge into more wonderful, life-giving meals, instead of feeling that the changes were negative limitations.

As a long-time designer and artist, I have always found that working within guidelines or limitations imposed by a specific client or a defined project, actually can be a positive thing that helps to focus the mind and creativity in such a way that the endless possibilities and distracting thoughts do not interfere as much with achieving the end goal. (Have I mentioned that I am quite ADD, and am easily distracted by… “oooohhhh shinyyyy?”) When you take away the things that are not right for the project (or in this case, dish or lifestyle), you are left with freedom and mindfulness to capture the outcome you desire and need. I feel that cooking gluten free (or for any other food intolerance, allergy, health or weight loss goal) is much the same as designing within the parameters of a client’s needs… YOU and your health just happen to be your client!

I urge you to become familiar with the guidelines of your particular nutrition needs, and to embrace those limitations as a way to move freely inside those parameters. Yes, the results of the food are fantastic, but they are nothing compared to the results that manifest in your life! Did I enjoy the Seared Sea Scallops and sauteed greens on Mother’s Day? You bet I did! But not as much as I have enjoyed being free from recurring and debilitating headaches and body pains. It feels miraculous to me still. I literally could cry with relief at any given moment. I have even more joy in preparing foods now than I did before because I know, I mean really KNOW that I am feeding my body with what it needs to be healthy.

And on to a Rant….

I have had well-meaning friends ask me if I couldn’t just “cheat” once in awhile and have a killer pizza or something else when eating out (I know I bore them with my safe salads!) I laugh and say no, because the only person I would be cheating is ME! I am not eating this way to lose weight, although that is certainly welcome, I am eating this way because I finally heard the language of my body, and it has told me in no uncertain terms that some foods make me sick. Having pizza today is not worth waking up tomorrow with a migraine and feeling like I have arthritis throughout my body.

The irony to me is that most people I know also experience a myriad of health issues, aches and pains, along with excess bulk around the midsection, and it doesn’t even occur to them that there is a strong likelihood that it is being caused by their food. (It seems that we, as a culture, treat disease symptoms as a lack of the right pharmaceutical in our medicine cabinet instead of as an imbalance of our internal systems.) It’s not our fault, we have all been educated repeatedly to eat whole grains (even though they spike blood sugar and create an insulin reaction, in addition to being a very inflammatory food.) We live in a society where fast food is abundant and speed is touted over simplicity or healthfulness. Another problem is that food intolerance is not nearly as obvious as food allergy. Allergies cause a severe and usually immediate immune response, but intolerance is much sneakier and builds up over time, affecting many systems, causing inflammation and auto-immune disorders among other things.

When faced with a friend (me) saying “Hey, why don’t you go without wheat and gluten for a week and see how you feel? Just try it?” The reactions are rarely enthusiastic, smiles.

Darling, you CAN’T be serious!?

“You mean I couldn’t drink a beer or have pizza with my buddies? Well, that is un-American!”

“How do you eat sandwiches without bread? I survive on sandwiches!”

“Grains can’t be that bad, we’ve eaten them for thousands of years!”

“Well, that way of eating works for you, I am sure it’s something else wrong with me.”

“I’ve had cereal for breakfast every day of my life, it can’t be the problem.”

“The government tells us that this is the best way to eat, they couldn’t tell us that if it wasn’t true.”

Really? How do you know? I often suggest that one has nothing to lose by trying, but you see, that’s not quite true! I realize that what one loses is somewhat intangible and yet powerful. First there is the disruption of habit and the major introduction of change in an area of our lives that we “think” is settled and working fine. Then there is a heritage and connection to our roots that most people strongly associate with certain foods and habits. We were raised on breads, pastas and cereals, after all. For what I am saying to be true, it means that what their mom and dad, favorite teachers and doctors were saying was NOT true. I know it wasn’t intentional misinformation, but I urge people to use critical thinking and question these accepted norms!

I do have strong opinions when it comes to a governing body telling its population what foods to eat and how much, when it is clear that those same governing bodies are not being advised by scientists and doctors on the cutting edge of nutrition, but rather by corporations which have a vested interest in selling their goods (as much as possible, please!) to the consuming public.Those same groups seek to limit access to homeopathic remedies, vitamins and supplements, as well as clamp down on those who are seeking lesser-processed dairy and meats, saying that their safety can’t be assured. Come on! Let me decide what is safe for my family, while you go ahead and serve GMO’s at your own table! We the people deserve a say in this!

I don’t claim to have all the answers (or even most of them); I am not a doctor or a dietician. But because of that, I am free to explore without kowtowing to pharmaceutical companies or grain lobbyists. I can tinker with my diet and see what happens if I take out this, or add that, and so can you. I am not telling you or anyone one else to do one certain thing (though I personally think wheat is bad for many people), because if one thing is clear, nutrition and health is NOT a one-size-fits-all solution. What I am urging each of us to do is to explore the bountiful world of food-based nutrition and work at finding out what is right for you. It is definitely a journey rather than a concrete destination, and what works for me now, may very well change in the future.

You deserve to make up your own mind, after all it does still belong to you!

 

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Dilled Salmon with Zucchini and Mushrooms (GF)

Here’s another easy salmon (or any rich fish) recipe… if you’re waiting for something more complicated, sorry! I tend to favor quick, easy and nutritious when it comes to weekday meals. I almost consider this more of a Method, than I do a recipe, because there are endless variations that I throw together depending what I have on hand. One of the reasons I like the fish and veggie combination, is that they can both cook together in under 20 minutes!

Method: In this case I seasoned the salmon with extra virgin olive oil, dried dill and fresh lemon, along with sprinklings of other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, kosher salt and fresh black pepper. The veggies are 2 small chopped zucchinis, a cup or so of quartered crimini mushrooms (baby bellas) and 1/4 of a sweet orange bell pepper. The veggies received the same seasonings as the fish, with the addition of a splash of balsamic vinegar and then a few tablespoons of heavy cream in the last 5 minutes of cooking. The whole thing cooked at 400 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, with the cream added in at the 12 minute mark. It’s so quick and very tasty!

 

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