Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies!

Ahhhhhh... Cookies and milk!!! In this case, a delicious, nutritious glass of organic raw milk from a pastured cow... plenty of CLA goodness. And Peanut Butter cookies!! I know, I know.. you gave up peanut butter, right? The cancer causing mold? The hideous use of pesticides? The hydrogenated ickiness? No worries! I used organic natural peanut butter made from Valencia peanuts, which are grown in arid climate where there isn't any of that nasty aflatoxin mold. (Don't know what I am talking about? Click here.)
I made these cookies, then decided they just weren't good enough. Then I tasted them again later when they were cool (when I could pry them from my husband's hands - he, an avid gluten and sugar lover, devoured them with gusto) and promptly changed my mind.
So here they are! Gluten and sugar free, of course. I used one tablespoon of honey- just for the taste.. but you could change that to agave nectar, or a sugar alcohol like xylitol if you like. I think it's worth it if you can handle a little honey.
For the record, I of course used organic ingredients, and I used salted butter, and salted peanut butter.. but still felt they needed that extra salt.
Make them ahead of time... they aren't really good until they sit for a few hours. If you bite into one and the inside still looks really wet... they aren't ready yet.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies

¾ cup organic natural peanut butter
3 TBLS Agave nectar
1 TBLS organic raw honey
¼ teaspoon stevia
2 TBLS butter, soft
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp sea salt

1. Grease cookie sheet (I like to use butter), or they will be impossible to remove.
2. Combine all ingredients and beat well with a mixer to ensure the even distribution of stevia. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Spoon dough by heaping teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. As soon as you take cookie sheet out of the freezer, place in oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. Watch carefully- the edges will start to brown first but if you watch for a minute or two and wait until the cookies turn a little darker in color, they will taste even better. As soon as you see the color change, remove from oven and take them off the cookie sheet to cool on a wire rack or cool plate for several hours, or overnight. (note: these cookies aren't the golden colored ones- they were the first batch but the only ones left for a picture when I decided these cookies were good enough to post! LOL).
Enjoy!! Sign up to follow my blog on the right there ---> if you are enjoying my new blog!! Thanks!!

The whole dough is 82 net carbs, so if you make about 20 cookies, each cookie is 4 grams of carbs. Be careful of how many you eat if you are watching your carbs! These are pretty good!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eric's Spicy Grilled Pears

Today for Memorial Day, my hubby Eric grilled some yummy organic sausage and peppers, then a dessert of grilled pears with pepper jack cheese. They were soooo good... juicy, smoky, slightly spicy...delicious!! The recipe is for 4 pears, which feeds 4- 8 people.

Eric's Spicy Grilled Pears:
for 4 - 8 people

4 organic pears
~ 25 walnut halves
4 slices of pepper-jack cheese, each torn in half

Slice pears in half, remove stems and seeds. Place 3 - 4 walnut halves and one half slice of cheese on each pear half.

First of all, we use old school coals for BBQing. No lighter fluid on these babies! Once your coals are ready, make sure your grill grates are clean, then place pears cheese side up on grill, close top, and grill until pears are starting to brown and the cheese melts - about 10 minutes on a hot grill. That's it!! Maybe these are good when they cool, we don't know because we couldn't wait!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

This was one of my very first posts!  I am reposting it with stevia replacements.  I have made this for a Christmas Party, yum!

UPDATED: Stevia replaces xylitol. :)

LC/GF Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

¼ c cocoa powder
½ tsp stevia powder, or 1/4 tsp NuNaturals stevia powder
2/3 c. ground nuts (almonds)
¾ c. almond flour (does not need to be blanched)
¼ c. butter, slightly softened and cut into small pieces

Put all ingredients in food processor and process on low until well mixed and making a ball. Press into bottom of springform pan, or a deep pie pan. This is messy. You will probably have to use your hands. But make sure it’s not too thick. In this picture I used a (too shallow) tart pan... if you use a tart pan, come up the sides, but you will just want a bottom crust (no sides) in a springform pan.
You want your crust to be thin, so take some out if you have to. Poke a few small holes with a toothpick or fork around the bottom. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, and cool on wire rack.

1 tsp coconut or nut flour
1 ½ (3.5 ounce bars) of 85% chocolate (Lindt is low carb)
24 oz cream cheese
1 c. heavy cream
4 eggs
1 teaspoon NuNaturals stevia powder
2 tsps vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop the chocolate bars with a sharp knife to make chips; first vertically, then horizontally (see below pics). Careful not to touch the chocolate or it will melt on your hands. Then mix with the 1 tsp of flour to coat and put aside. With a mixer, blend cream cheese, stevia, eggs, cream, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Stir in half of chocolate chips. Pour into cooled crusted pan. Top with second half of chips. Bake for one hour. Then turn off oven and bake another hour with the door closed. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate covered for 2 hours.

About 5.2 net carbs a slice

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Healthy Chocolate Pudding!

We have a lot of fresh raw milk in the house, so I thought I'd try and make a homemade chocolate pudding. Now let's be clear - I hate the pudding mix stuff, ew. Always have. But my favorite chef, Carole Olkoski makes the BEST homemade chocolate pudding pie, and has left me with a new love and a craving. So, to make it lower carb and low G.I., I am relying on my favorite substitutes... stevia, xylitol, and a touch of agave nectar. If you are a Celiac, just make sure your cornstarch and vanilla extract, and all of your ingredients, are gluten free.
For six servings, it's about 14 carbs per serving... so you know... maybe this isn't the best example of my low carb finesse with desserts. Apparently, Whole Milk has a lot more carbs than I thought! (Yes, Carole, now I remember you telling me that!) So I guess this isn't the lowest low carb recipe.. But since most of the carbs come from my grass fed organic non-homogenized milk, I feel pretty good about it. (Follow the links to learn more about CLA and other good reasons to buy raw milk from grass fed cows!)
I use Lindt 85% chocolate because it is delicious and actually has LESS carbs than the Ghiradelli sugar free chocolate (Lindt: 8 carbs per ounce, Ghiradelli: 8.75 carbs per ounce). So I suppose it doesn't have much sugar in it. Or it's worth it anyway. I got this tip from Lauren!
Perhaps I can re-work this recipe and use cream, or half and half... that would reduce the carbs. But, would it still be pudding? Hmmm.
This is a very chocolate-y pudding that is not that sweet. Just perfect, I think. Even Hubby finished his in record time.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

1 3.5 oz bar of Lindt 85% Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon stevia
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 TBLS (Tablespoons) of Xylitol
2 cups organic whole milk
3 TBLS cornstarch
1 TBLS + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks, stevia, vanilla, and agave nectar together in a small bowl until well mixed. Be careful that the stevia is well mixed and not clumpy.

Stir ½ cup of the milk together with the cornstarch and set aside. Pour the remaining 1 ½ cups of the milk into a saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Pour the cornstarch-milk mixture into the pan, and simmer over medium heat, stirring until the mixture thickens... will happen fast! Remove from heat, and add the egg yolk mixture, quickly mixing well. Pour into 6 small cups, cover and chill in refrigerator for a few hours.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Desserts coming soon!

I know you are all waiting for the low carb desserts I am always making... well don't worry, they are coming in the next week. I am experimenting with chocolate puddings... and cheesecake!

Spring Salad

It's Spring! Well, in most of the country. In NY, it's just been raining. And I am still using the heat! But today I see a little sun peeking through the clouds, so I am celebrating with a beautiful salad.
I think I have cracked the code when it comes to making the perfect salad, and my friends always ask me to bring one when there's a potluck. The secret? Something crunchy, something creamy, and something sweet. Crunchy: nuts. Creamy: avocado or a creamy cheese. Sweet? Could be tomatoes, or sliced berries. I don't eat much fruit, but even when I was just starting the low-carb diet, I always ate a small amount of raspberries or blueberries, and I still lost a lot of weight. Now that I am just maintaining my weight, I eat a little bit of fruit here or there, as long as it's with protein.

So here is my salad today: Organic mix greens, organic baby tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, chopped almonds, and... okay I admit it... about 4 of those little tiny rice crackers from Trader Joe's crushed up like croutons (can't be many carbs in that!!).
Here is one of my many salad dressing versions. I use a little sweetness to balance out the vinegar. And, yes, raw apple cider is both good for you, and gluten free!

Rachel’s Salad Dressing
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp honey, or sugar substitute equal to 1 tsp sugar
1 fat clove of garlic

Smash garlic into salt with a pestle and mortar until it makes a paste (you may use a tablespoon and cup if you don’t have a mortar & pestle). Add mustard and mix well. Add rest of ingredients in a glass jar, replace lid, and shake vigorously. Store in glass jar in refrigerator.

And, no I didn't compute the carbs in this dish. Why not? Well there are just a few in the 4 rice crackers and 1 1/2 strawberry... maybe the tomato.. but you don't have to live your life counting carbs if you know exactly what went into your food. And what went into this salad was all whole foods... (except maybe the rice crackers, but I can live with myself there!). No reason to make yourself obsessed counting everything if you use all ingredients you can live with! Have a happy salad day!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Almond Crusted Salmon Fillets

This recipe has low carbs, and is very yummy. I used dry roasted almonds for my dinner tonight.. but you could use any kind of almonds. I also used frozen parsley- gathered from my organic garden last year. It's all about making it simple... I like this recipe because it takes almost no time at all. I baked the fish and also some broccolini as well to go along with it at the same time.
Just a note...I do use organic ingredients, and wild caught fish as well.

Almond Crusted Salmon

2 TBLS (tablespoons) Dijon-style mustard
1 TBLS butter or EV Olive Oil
2 teaspoons agave or honey
½ cup finely chopped almonds
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
4 (4 ounce) wild caught salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste

Combine nuts and parsley and set aside. Mix mustard, melted butter (or oil), and honey in a small bowl and set aside. Season each salmon filet with salt and pepper. Place fillets on an oiled baking dish. Brush each fillet with mustard mixture. Sprinkle top of each fillet with nut mixture and press lightly into fillet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish flakes easily with fork.
4 servings, 5.4 carbs per serving, 4.9 net carbs per serving (I don't know how to figure out the effective carbs of the agave).

A note on the pictured broccolini, which is my husband Eric's recipe- I just put it in a small bread pan in the oven with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (oh the horrors! It's one of those nights- of course real garlic is better!) and baked it at the same time. I shook it often to distribute the oil. Then at the end, I put it under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp it.

Working with Stevia

I often use stevia in my recipes. Why? Because it has no carbs or glycemic index (GI), you use so little to get a sweet taste, and it's actually good for your teeth and stomach. Perhaps you've used it before and your experience was bad- bitter, or terrible licorice aftertaste. I had that problem for a while, but now I have figured it out. First of all, the BRAND is so important. I use Sweetleaf Stevia Extract Powder, and I use it very sparingly. One problem I had before when I first tried it was that I was using too much. 1/4 of a teaspoon of stevia extract powder is equal to 1/2 cup of sugar. It's important to not use too much, or you will definitely get that aftertaste problem. I've had a great deal of success since I have gotten used to using it in just the right amounts.

***2010 UPDATE: I now use NuNaturals Brand which I think is even better! NuNaturals NuStevia Pure White Stevia Extract, 1 Ounce (Pack of 2)

Another great help is using these tiny measuring spoons... with 1/8, 1/16, etc of a teaspoon. This makes my life easier. If you plan on using stevia in your recipes, I highly recommend finding some.

Monday, May 4, 2009

First Post

Ok it's my first post... so many recipes... don't know where to start! Hang in a few days and I'll start posting!