Low Carb, Gluten Free Infinity Muffins

Long time no see, foodie bloggers and foodie browsers!
It’s been a very extended break (unintentional) from this blog. I don’t really mind– it’s mostly been spent working, studying in school, and reading other food blogs.

We have to get inspiration from somewhere, right?

Black bean as a brownie, cake batter as a milkshake (don’t forget it’s vegan!), and low carb cookies made out of coconuts?! The world, seriously, is evolving into a bakery and I’m kind of liking what I see.
So long as the ingredients are thoughtfully sourced, ethically made, and organically treated though.

Which brings us to today:
I’ll be honest; eating out and eating pre-made foods has pretty much been a staple in my diet since said break from blog. Kind of depressing. My stevia didn’t even see the light in the kitchen, only to be used when I felt like making a muffin in the microwave. Or a single-person batch of fiber cookies.

Baking became my necessary — in order to get fiber in for the day. Not because I wanted to.
WHAT?! But I was still concocting fun and exciting flavors in my head. Raspberry pistachio mousse, basil orange scones, chocolate ancho chile cookies! For crying out loud!

But let’s cut to the chase here. As appetizing as these recipes sound, I don’t quite have the time yet (or the money) to make them.
Also, a rather big note, pretty much all recipes from here on out will be LOW-CARB and maybe even sometimes KETOGENIC.
This means low in carbohydrate (but not fiber), and high in fat (but not artery-clogging).

Since the start of 2013, I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegetarian (and -gasp- even VEGAN) because most of the time, being low-carb means your only option at restaurants is a bun-less turkey burger (I don’t eat much beef), or some other meat-laden dish. No problem, but the source of the meat is what spooks me. Who knows what factory farm their piggies and chicks came from?!

All considerations aside, we can now properly introduce today’s sparkling, illuminated, brand-new all original RECIPE!

It’s a BASIC recipe but can be modified hundreds of ways.
Especially if you aren’t low-carb, adding fruit (dried or fresh) would seriously up the wow factor on these slam-dunk snacks.

I stuck with a basic vanilla-cinnamon theme. These tasty morsels work great for mid-day munches, teamed up with some ice cream or yogurt for a healthy dessert, and even as a savory dinner item (minus the vanilla of course).

This recipe makes 4 muffins. I usually only need 4 at a time. Double it for friends or family. They’ll be asking for it.

InfiniteMuffin1

Infinity Muffins (Low carb, sugar free, dairy-free options)

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 scoops Trader Joe’s Organic Stevia (or about 1/3 cup erythritol, xylitol, Splenda)
  • 3 T Just Like Sugar (Most Whole Foods carry it)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 T egg whites (alternately, another egg)
  • 2 T greek yogurt (or pumpkin for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Double Vanilla (or 1 tsp any vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Here is where it gets fun: Add in another extract, such as lemon, maple, or almond for a kick.

Combine the wet into the dry ingredients, whisking as you hear the sweet, sweet sound of baking soda and apple cider vinegar combining. This is what will give your muffins RISE!
Pour into muffin tin and bake for 15-17 minutes. Mine took about 18 minutes for a nice crunchy, slightly toasted top (how I like it).

For a savory muffin, leave out the stevia and vanilla. Opt for spices like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or basil. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes or crushed walnuts. Enjoy spicy muffins by adding cayenne and your favorite shredded cheese to the batter.
Let me know if you try another variation and how you liked it!

InfiniteMuffins

A good muffin is always a fantastic recipe to keep on hand for parties, celebrations (add a few extra ingredients and you’ve got a cake/cupcakes), and breakfast champions.

Here’s to a new year full of life, fun, and MORE RECIPES!

I missed you.

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Low Carb, Gluten Free Infinity Muffins

Paleo Sugar Free Little Christmas Scones

Today’s post is beginning with an homage to low-carb.

Never before have I seen weekend transformations such as these:

 

And today’s recorded weight?
120.6, baby!

Didn’t even know that was possible! No exercising or training during this past week, and I’ve pulled some great numbers! My pants are sagging and clothing isn’t fitting. Our inflammatory response to carbohydrates is ridiculous.

Moving on.

Today’s post is a result from the carb-starved cravings kicking in. I wanted snickerdoodles, peanut butter Kisses cookies, chai cookies, peppermint hot chocolate, shortbread, and (oddly enough) Christmas treats.
Christmas is my hands-down favorite time of year. Don’t get me started. You’ll regret it.
You’ll be introduced to Christmas Kayleigh in October.

There is, apparently, a huge issue with said cravings. I really don’t wish to indulge in them.
That’s not true; my health doesn’t. So, I scrambled into the kitchen and laid out ingredients that seemed promising, yet I honestly had no clue if it would work.
(I really shouldn’t reveal how many times I stood at the front door, justifying a grocery store trip to pick up peanut butter chips, just in case.)

So, I was set out to make something that resembled cinnamon-y, moist, and sinfully decadent. BUT was also grain-free, sugar free, and low calorie.
A girl’s gotta stay fit, you know.

 

What emerged from the oven was so much more than I had expected. Let me tell you. Introducing…. Little Christmas. In July.

little christmas scones
makes 10 drop scones

  • 3/4 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2T white stevia powder
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of cayenne (optional, didn’t taste it in the finished product.)
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup water *note for paleo substitution below
  • 1/2 cup + 2T egg whites (alternately, 6 large eggs)
  • 1 capful vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T water *note
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl, whisk until mixed. In another bowl, combine greek yogurt and milk into a liquid, then add vanilla. Add egg whites or eggs slowly, mixing it into the yogurt water mixture until well incorporated.
Pour your liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and begin to whisk. The coconut flour will soak up the liquid really quickly. Keep whisking until it sticks to your whisk and add 2T of water at a time until the batter is looking moist but not wet or liquid-y. (I ended up adding 4 whole tablespoons!)

Prepare a Silpat mat for your drop scones. About 2 inch balls should be rolled and dropped onto your baking mat/sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. For an added crunch, I broiled mine for 2 minutes before removing from the oven (totally not necessary, though).
*For paleo, not primal, substitute the yogurt and water mixture for 1/2 cup coconut oil.

Well “hello,” Christmas scone! I do believe I love you. The rich spice flavor definitely hits your tastebuds, while the coconut flour retains a moisture within the scone and it’s not super dense. The whole experience is a lot like eating a warm, toasty biscuit that’s been soaked in eggnog (no joke)!
Success!

Are you craving Christmastime yet? Is Summer your favorite season?
Paleo Sugar Free Little Christmas Scones

The Only Grain-free, Vegan and Sugar-free Nutella Cookie on the Planet

Oh yeah. We hate to love Nutella’s creamy, fudgey, nutty flavors all combined in a spreadable form.

I hate Nutella. I hate that I can’t have it because it contains skim milk, which contributes to my gastrointestinal complaints.
TMI? I’m sorry.

But while you get to enjoy your jar of chocolatey lactose-ignorant bliss, I’m stuck pacing in the kitchen, trying to find a suitable match for my kitchen’s (and LIFE’S) lack of Nutella on World Nutella Day. Then, it hit me.
You can make something better. Oh yeah. Let’s love to hate Nutella, and fight back.

So for all you who cannot have Nutella, who refuse to eat Nutella, or who just want a different option.. here you go:

the only grain-free, vegan and sugar-free nutella cookie on the planet

makes 13 cookies (Hey, we’re being quirky here.)

  • About 30 hazelnuts
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • capful vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 8 drops of stevia (10 if you like very sweet cookies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

Roast your hazelnuts if they are raw. I had them in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes and it was perfect. Roll them around in your hands to remove the skins, and drop in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pit and cut your dates in halves or thirds. Add them to the hazelnuts and process until crumbly. Add in your vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder. Process until combined. Next, drop in the coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and scant 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process until well combined, you may have a dough ball swirling around in the food processor and you may not. It’s ok either way.

Drop by the tablespoon full onto a cookie sheet or silicon baking mat and bake for about 10 minutes. Let these cookies cool!

I repeat do not eat these while warm out of the oven. They will crumble and be a pain to eat; you will end up losing your cookie if you’re not careful! I know, it sucks. But the trade off is one of the healthiest Nutella cookies ever that practically any picky eater can eat! Plus, all the healthy oils in your cookie need time to harden up a bit and stabilize your cookie eating experience.

Did I mention they come out to about 55 calories a cookie?

Oh yeah.

Do you like Nutella? When was the first time you tried it?

The Only Grain-free, Vegan and Sugar-free Nutella Cookie on the Planet

Not your Mom’s Soft Sugar Cookie

It’s a big day for my blog.

Why? Because today is the first day that I have created an entirely original recipe! My blog adventure started with inspiring folks like Katie and Mama Pea who have mastered the art of creative baking and satisfying the world’s undying sweet tooth! Each and every post planted a seed that has culminated into this blog. All my posted recipes so far have been adaptations. This is how I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work. A huge thank you to all you food bloggers out there; you’re inspiring people like me each and every day!

This one’s for you. 😉

How many of you recognize these puppies?

The all too familiar soft sugar cookie that sneaks up on us with every holiday imaginable. Grocery stores carry them for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, ect. There’s nothing quite like biting into a light white colored cookie with that sweet and creamy frosted topping. They also have a special place in my heart for a very different reason.

That’s my Mom. She’s as cool than she looks (which is very cool)! And she’s a soft sugar cookie baking queen! It’s a recipe that’s been handed down since my great-great-great grandmother started making them. I’ve looked forward to those cookies every year (Mom only makes them for Christmas) until my health complications got in the way about 6 years ago.

So here I am, making a cookie that takes me back to childhood: kneeling in front of the oven, waiting to munch on a too-hot cookie with melted icing because they taste that good. Today’s recipe encapsulates that moment without dairy, eggs (vegan option), grain and gluten, as well as any refined or liquid sugars.

not your mom’s soft sugar cookie

serves 8 mom size (large) cookies

  • 1/2 cup almonds, ground to a meal (almond flour creates similar results)
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 3 tablespoons PB2 (added for a peanut butter flavor, omit if you like.)
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 capful vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg (or for vegans: 1 tablespoon flax meal and 2 tablespoons water)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grind your almonds in the food processor. I made a “chocolatey-chip” kind of cookie and added a tablespoon of cacao nibs along with the almonds to grind. Once ground to a bread crumb size consistency, add in your arrowroot powder, PB2 (optional), and medjool dates. Run the food processor to mix together well. Then, add in the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, egg (or flax egg). Run that processor again until the dough starts to ball up and spread out along the sides of the container.
Prepare your baking sheet with Pam, parchment paper, or silicon baking mat (my favorite).  Get your hands wet with water; this dough is sticky and believe me, it will be a cinch to lay the cookies out this way. Ball up the dough and flatten onto the baking sheet.
Baking time varies: it took my first batch 13 minutes, and my second batch 10 minutes. Set the timer for 11 minutes and check. Cookies should be lightly golden brown along the edges.
Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

These cookies are so moist and soft. What inspired the title for this recipe was that they taste exactly like my mother’s sour cream cookies! Otherwise, this post would have just been “An Amazing Soft Cookie recipe.”
Beginner’s luck? I hope it’s not going anywhere! 😉  

Frost them however you’d like! I found these cookies way too delicious to not eat right away. The flavor combinations are endless:
peanut butter (substitute the coconut oil for fresh ground peanut butter), double chocolate (3 tablespoons cocoa powder with 1/4 cup chocolate chips), snickerdoodle (add ground ginger, nutmeg, and extra tsp of cinnamon)…

What flavor would you try? How would you frost a sugar cookie? What’s your favorite childhood dessert?

Not your Mom’s Soft Sugar Cookie

6 Rules for LIFE

Whole Living, a magazine I’ve grown fondly for, introduced their January issue with a Detox plan that will get your body in shape for the new year.

There is a list of 6 things you should cut during this period, and I’d like to share them with you.
I’d also like to tell you why it would be beneficial to cut these for life, not just for detoxing.

processed food & drink

This one is a tough one, yet it is vital for health and longevity. Almost anything in a bag or package is processed. Use your common sense: if it needs a food label with ingredients, it’s probably best to avoid it.

added sugars

Sugar is everywhere. Our bodies are relatively new acquaintances with this food, and most likely still learning how to properly digest and utilize it. Not to mention the dozens of health issues linked to consumption of sugars; refined or not.

dairy

About 75% of adults have lowered lactase levels, and this means that our ability to digest lactose lessens as we age. Your digestive system deserves a break!

gluten

It’s been surfacing in the news and mainstream media this year for a reason. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance may be a result of evolutionary changes in our digestive tracts, or a reaction to the mass production of gluten grains (GMOs, ect.). Either way, replace bread with rice and chips with popping corn. There are many foods that are carbohydrates and free of this troublesome protein.

caffeine

Whole Living states, “It’s a false energy booster that can mask lack of sleep[…]coffee is also highly acidic, which makes it tough for the digestive system.” If you’re like me, and have suffered enough switching from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee, try chai tea or earl grey tea. They are both rich, earthy teas that will give a little caffeine and big flavor. (They both go great with a little almond or coconut milk!)

alcohol

This is a processed food whether you’d like to admit it or not. For this reason alone, I have cut my consumption of it to a half glass of wine once monthly (even bi-monthly). Your liver does not need more stress from having to refine and digest this stuff, as well as your waistline. It is the most calorically dense food per gram!

It can be very easy to talk about how each of these things is bad for you and why you should avoid or completely eliminate them from your life. There’s a completely different feeling associated with living each of these truths. Even if just one or two really stand out to you, every step toward wellness is a step toward a longer life and happiness!

What are your healthy living “pitfalls?” Do you have any health goals?

I feel like my pitfall is eating too much of the “healthy junk food.” I will make a batch of no sugar, no filler and low calorie chocolate but end up eating more of it than I should. I suppose my health goal is to get a handle on portions and make sure I am compensating when I overdo it.

6 Rules for LIFE

Confused Cinna-Rolls (Dairy-Free, Paleo)

I thought my days of cinnamon roll goodness were over.
Cinnabon was a name that I needed to learn to forget. Like it was in an ancient language no one could translate for me.

Ever.

This love for cinnamon rolls was not normal. And I grieved for my losses.
UNTIL TODAY. Ladies and gentlemen, I am introducing to you the next best thing (because, honestly, nothing satisfies quite like the real cinnamon roll): A Paleo-friendly, dairy-free, grain-free cinnamon roll! Don’t let the appearance fool you. It’s pretty spankin’ good.

Enough to spank my oven for being so good to me.

Moving right along:

a confused cinnamon roll

(See what I did there?) Serves 5

  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine these ingredients in a big bowl with a whisk. Gather 3 medjool dates, pitted, and chop into little chunks. Set these aside.

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon (I used a capful) vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg

Combine these ingredients with your whisk in a separate bowl. Pour into the dry ingredients and lightly mix until combined. Here’s the fun part: I wish I had taken pictures of this process. Lay parchment paper on a cookie or baking sheet. Use a spatula to drop the sticky batter onto the paper, and flatten to about 1/4 inch thick in a rectangular shape. I couldn’t get it perfect, so I wet my fingers and used them to uniformly shape the batter.

Lay your chopped dates through the center of the batter longways. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of them.

Lift the parchment paper and fold the batter over itself, but only about an inch in. I had to use a pastry cutter (rather, my boyfriend had to!) to coerce the dough to roll into a cylinder shape. (Note: I grind my own flours, and they tend to be much coarser and denser than store-bought. Keep this in mind if you use pre-ground flours; this could be easier for you!) Once it looks like a log, place it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Pull the dough out of the oven. It should be crispy all around the edges and easy to cut into 5 rolls. Lay them on their sides so one side is exposed. Bake for 3-4 more minutes.
P.S. I ate these straight from the oven. And it was good.

P.P.S. There is an optional glaze for these bad boys: 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup. I haven’t tried it, but if you do let me know how it goes!

Today, many sites have “blacked out” in reponse to SOPA and PIPA. What are your thoughts and concerns with this? How do you think the responses will be over the next few days?

Confused Cinna-Rolls (Dairy-Free, Paleo)

A Sugar-Free Sweet Tooth

What a contradiction. Oxymoron!
Call it what you will, I’ve started to rethink our relationships with food. So many stories of people losing control of their appetites, portioning, and falling victim to emotional eating.
It’s a very real issue, and it’s vital we eradicate it as soon as possible. Food is for appreciating: the Earth has gifted us with ways to sustain ourselves. May it be animal, plant or mineral. Regardless of our dietary choices, this obstacle remains present. Even in my own life, I’ve struggled with portion sizes, eating the right foods, and feeling confused about when I was full or not. After many years of trial and error, my knowledge has greatly improved my daily habits and taught me how to make better choices.

Actually making those choices, however, is another story.

The lovely Alex over at Spoonful of Sugar Free has launched another one of her Sugar-Free Challenges for 2012! Been thinking about dropping sugar too? She kicks it up a notch: no artificial sweeteners, unrefined sugars, or even stevia – my saving grace half the time. She does allow fruits in moderation. One thing I appreciate about this challenge is the support system being set in place– she has made a “checklist” available for you to use when monitoring yourself on the challenge.
Check out the main page to get the details. It begins January 1, 2012.

YUM!

Plus, with options like these I’m pretty excited to make this decision. A challenge friendly peanut butter chocolate cake – click for recipe.

Are you going to join in on the fun? Comment, share, and tweet about this challenge. Don’t forget to comment below, and let me know you’re going sugar free for a month!

What’s one thing you would miss most about going sugar free?

A Sugar-Free Sweet Tooth