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Smoothie Sailing into the Weekend!

Strawberries, Kefir, celery, apple and blackberries make a delicious light smoothie.

Just a quick breakfast post to start a weekend of light and healthy eating! We have always been fans of the smoothie at our house, with varying degrees of healthfulness (ice cream can be in a smoothie, right??), and since changing our eating style, I am going to be exploring raw food smoothies as a way to boost energy and health.

This particular mixture was based on making my son a strawberry smoothie for breakfast, but I wanted to add a few other things in there to help with nutrients and energy. This is not low carb with the fruits that are included, but strawberries and blackberries are among the healthiest fruits to eat on a low carb diet, so I’m not feeling too guilty! 

Saturday Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 C fresh strawberries
  • 1 golden delicious apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 stalk celery, ribs removed
  • handful of frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 C Kefir
  • 1/4 C low sugar cranberry pomegranate juice
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 Tb honey

I started by blending the strawberries, apple and celery in my Ninja with the kefir until fairly smooth, then added all other ingredients except the honey. I blended this a good bit longer than usual to make sure that it was indeed, very smooth. I poured my glass without any honey or sweetener, but then added the honey into the remainder for my son, to help him ease a sore throat. 2 servings.

I know this is probably a lightweight in the smoothie category, and I do plan to explore the “green smoothies” in the future. It wasn’t until his drink was half gone that I told my son that there was celery in it, he had NO idea. He thought it was pretty cool, yay! Just wait til he starts drinking spinach, hehe.

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Strawberry Quick! Ice Cream Naughtiness…

Ice Cream without gluten or added sugars…..

It wouldn’t be hard to guess that my favorite desserts are sweet and creamy, and cold, and melty… yes, ice cream is a treat I don’t even like to think of going without! The problem is that the low carb versions still have ingredients in them that I would rather steer clear of, so this is my first attempt at a sugar-free ice cream. It is extremely simple and sweetened only with strawberries and Stevia powder. I will admit that the Stevia is an acquired taste, but I know that eating sugar is something I want to avoid for a number of reasons, so I am acclimating myself to using Stevia as a sweetener. My son likes it, but my husband can’t quite get used to the taste, and will add other things on top of his ice cream or cheesecake, to help mask the flavor.

The original recipe is here. If you like using Stevia as a sweetener, this should be right up your alley! This recipe also uses raw organic eggs, which doesn’t bother us in the least, but you could try a substitute if you are squeamish about using them raw, or heat the eggs into a custard first…. but what appealed to me about this treat, is that it is super-duper FAST! No cooling of custard to fool with. I did change the recipe to 3 C of heavy cream instead of the mix of light cream and milk, in order to avoid the milk sugars as much as possible. I am not sure as I would go so far as to say this would be considered “healthy” ice cream, but it is Gluten Free and free from added sugars. I think next time I will jazz up the pale color with a little beet juice!

   Stevia Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 2 Organic eggs, raw and beaten
  • 2 C Heavy Cream plus 1 C more to puree berries
  • 1/2 tsp Stevia powder (this may vary depending on what form of Stevia you use, definitely start with less and add to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C frozen Strawberries

Combine eggs, cream, Stevia and vanilla in a bowl. Use a blender (I like my Ninja) to chop the frozen strawberries, using a little extra cream to loosen them a bit. When the berries seem incorporated into the cream and are the consistency that you would like in your ice cream, add the egg mixture and blend thoroughly. The mixture will be a bit stiff because of the frozen berries. If you don’t have an ice cream freezer, you could probably dish this up now as a soft serve, but I chilled it for about 20 minutes in my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. (I LOVE that gadget!) Keep in freezer and use within a few days for freshness. If your ice cream freezes too hard, just thaw for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave to loosen it up.

 

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Cheesecake and Energy Bars, Salvaged from Bitter Brownies

Serendipity?

So most cheesecakes probably start with a yummy craving or perhaps a special occasion in mind…  this one started because of a flopped batch of brownies! I am admittedly new to gluten-free (wheat-free) baking, and I have to readjust what I have learned about how ingredients work together, because the dynamics are different. Several days ago I made a batch of brownies that turned out, well… let’s say much more bitter than sweet! I am a major fan of dark chocolate, but this recipe had WAY too much unsweetened chocolate and not enough of everything else to counter-balance it. I almost think the recipe may have been printed incorrectly. They looked great and smelled great, but even with a dollop of whipped cream, we could not enjoy them. Grrrrrr!

Energy Bites: As anyone of you that bakes with the gluten-free flours (almond and coconut) knows, these and other ingredients are relatively expensive, and I was just not willing to toss the whole of it into the garbage, so I set about finding creative uses for the brownies as a base for other things. The first thing I did was use about half of the brownies to make energy bites. I zipped the brownies in the food processor (one of my new best friends these days) along with dates, shredded coconut, dried cherries, walnut butter, and a drizzle of  honey to help bind it together. I pressed it into a pan lined with parchment and froze it for a little while and then cut it into chunks. My son has been eating these energy bites all week! I realize that this really isn’t a recipe, but maybe it can serve as inspiration to others who find themselves with a batch of something-or-other that just didn’t turn out as well as you hoped, to transform it into something else that is edible 🙂 This concoction is not as low-carb as most I post, but my son can definitely handle more healthy carbs in his diet.

Cheesecake: As I was wandering through food blog postings yesterday, I saw Nicole’s post at La Petite Baker. She made a pretty simple and delicious-looking cheesecake, covered in hot fudge, and that sprouted an idea in my head! I decided to use the other half of my failed brownies as a crust by adding a little more sweetener (I use erythritol) and a little butter, blending it in the food processor again, and then pressing it into my springform pan. I altered her filling recipe only slightly, by replacing the sugar with erythritol and using 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, and 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and replaced the sugar in the topping with sweetener as well. Since the crust was chocolate, I decided to use fresh strawberries as a topping instead of the fudge. It turned out lovely! I admit that we should have waited overnight to dig into the cheesecake as recommended, but the guys would have none of that, so it was definitely softer than intended. It has set up very firmly by this morning though.

I had my reservations about altering a baking recipe because baking is much more of a chemistry project than cooking is, and I am also new and hesitant with sweeteners. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, and is not as sweet as sugar, but it is “natural” and doesn’t spike blood sugars the way the real thing does, so it is ideal for low-carb and diabetic diets. I don’t know if I will ever get used to using sweeteners in place of sugar, so it means that sweetened treats will simply be fewer and further between. The cost is also a factor, as erythritol is quite pricey, no matter how you justify it.

Now I am wondering, since I de-glutenized and un-sugared the cheesecake recipe, can I have it for breakfast?? 😉  Muahahaha…..

 

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