Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spicy Cabbage, Chickpea, and Sausage Stew

Who doesn't love a big bowl of warming, hearty, healthy, and flavorful stew?  Extra points for cabbage, and double points for spicy.  I'm not sure why exactly, but I used Chinese Cabbage in this stew.  No matter, it turned out great, but use whatever cabbage you like.  This was an eyeballed recipe, so measurements are approx.

Spicy Cabbage, Chickpea, and Sausage Stew
2 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cabbage, ribs removed, torn into smaller pieces
4 cans of reduced sodium stock, can be 1/2 chicken 1/2 veg, homemade whatever you have, all veg, all chicken, whatever.
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes (this is optional- but i had leftovers from the chicken dip, so i used it)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp (or more) red pepper flakes
sprinkle of thyme and sage
1/2 tsp minced garlic
one package of your favorite spicy sausage, cut into bite sized pieces

Brown your onion in a bit of EVOO in your stockpot.  Then add your celery and carrot and some kosher salt and cook for about five minutes.  Throw in your cabbage, garlic, seasonings, and bay leaf, and stir well.  Add in your fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, and chickpeas.  Bring to a high simmer and then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.  Yum!!!  This is a great way to get in your cruciferous veg, which we could all use more of, women especially.  Enjoy all you gfg'ers out there!  Let me know what you think!  This is a super easy, and super cheap meal.  Try it in the crockpot too!  Eeezy peezy. XoXoGFG

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mexican Chicken Dip

I'm calling this Mexican Chicken Dip- but I use "mexican" loosely because I don't know how else to describe it.  It's really good.  How about that?

My mom was in town for 8 days and brought some food from home, including a few cans of canned chicken breast from costco.  Canned chicken breast has never been on my list of items to buy.  I don't think I had ever had it before.  Canned tuna and salmon, for sure, but chicken?  No.  A quick google search revealed ten billion recipes for chicken dip using canned chicken- so I figured, what the hell?

This dip took two minutes to make, plus another two minutes in the microwave.  S ate most of it, no joke.  The girl loves meat and cheese.  It's hilarious.  Anyways- this would make a great superbowl app served with some celery.

Mexican Chicken Dip
1 can canned chicken breast, drained
4 tbsp cream cheese (i use neufchatel)
1/3 cup shredded taco cheese
1/2 can of fire roasted tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder

Stir everything, then stick it in the microwave to melt the cheese for a minute.  Stir, and put back for another minute.  Dunzo.  Makes a ton of dip- certainly enough for a party.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

I was a little wary of trying a whole chicken in the crockpot- would it taste bland and boring like a boiled chicken?  Would the skin get all oozy and gross?  Would it dry out and be totally flavorless? 

No, no, and no!!!  Another win for team crockpot!  I don't know why I was so chicken in the first place, har har.  Stupid, sorry.  Ok anyways- I know it seems a little strange to cook a whole chicken when you can probably get a rotisserie chicken for pretty cheap- costco has 'em for $4.99.  But rotisserie chicken and homemade whole chicken that hasn't been sitting out for hours and hours under a heat lamp, and made with god knows what ingredients, are really not comparable.  This is a different situation altogether.  The meat falls off the bone, you really don't even need a knife to cut it- and you get the bonus of tons of chicken broth too.  Does it get crispy?  No.  Duh- a crockpot needs moisture to work.  But its great.  So if you see whole chicken on sale- jump on it.  Buy two and freeze them, whatever. 

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot
1 whole chicken- mine was roughly 3lbs
3 carrots, halved
2 celery stalks, halved
1 lemon
1/2 an onion
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried herb poultry seasoning (rosemary, oregano, sage)
1/4 tsp cayenne

In the bottom of your crockpot, position your carrots and celery, then throw in half of your chopped onion.  Place your raw chicken on top of the veg.  In a small bowl, mix the juice of half a lemon with your EVOO and mix in your seasonings.  Stuff the cavity with most of the other half of your onion and your lemon.  Pour EVOO mixture over chicken and rub it all over.  I seasoned mine a bit more afterwards because I have a major salt-tooth, but you don't need to.  Cover with lid and cook on low for 7 hours.  You will have tons of food and also some great broth.  The carrots are almost the best part!  This is a great base recipe that you can get creative with. 

M is at a bach party in New Orleans this weekend, so grammy GFG is here for awhile.  The three of us enjoyed this super yummy and almost no prep dinner together.  I think it took me about 7 minutes to get this ready this morning, and I did it while S was having breakfast.  If you haven't tried this cooking method yet, give it a shot!  XoXoGFG

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18th, 2012 is the largest online protest in history, to stop the internet censorship bills, SOPA & PIPA. Join in by blacking out your site and urging everyone you can reach to contact Congress now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grain-Free Sugar-Free Coconut "Rice" Pudding

O.  M.  G.  Who knew that simmering coconut milk and shredded unsweetened coconut (I actually prefer coconut powder from the indian market, cheaper and smaller flakes) for an hour could make such a yummy, filling, and satisfying dessert?  Last week's coconut porridge recipe was the inspiration for this treat.  I know I said I'm trying to detox a little bit right now and get away from treats, but this is just so simple and chock-full of magical coconut, I couldn't help it.

I used to love love love rice pudding.  In college one year instead of a birthday cake one of my roommates actually made me rice pudding, that's how much I loved it!  Knowing how thick and decadent canned full-fat coconut milk is, I thought it really shouldn't be too difficult to make some kind of coconut pudding.  I couldn't decide, eggs, or no eggs?  Custardy, or puddingy?  In the end I decided not to use eggs, and I'm so glad!  Besides being a little time-consuming, this is an awesome dessert/snack, and a great way to help you get more coconut in your diet.

Coconut "Rice" Pudding (makes 6-8 servings)
2 cans full fat coconut milk
2 cups coconut powder or unsweetened shredded coconut
1 empty can-full of water
1 1/2 tsp (or more) cinnamon
35 drops vanilla creme stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions are really not necessary!  Combine everything in your pot and simmer until thickened, about an hour, stirring regularly.  It will get even thicker in the fridge.  YUMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Carrot Fries

See previous post for a pic!  Nope, those weren't sweet potato fries, they were carrot fries!  Ok ok, maybe calling them fries is a bit of a stretch.  But so is calling oven-baked sweet potato fries a french fry.  And these carrot fries are a similar texture to sweet potato fries.  I made mine pretty salty, to mute the overly sweet taste oven baked carrots can get.  They were really yummy, and a nice lower-starch alternative to sweet potato fries, which I can't really eat anyways. 

Carrot Fries
6-8 med/large carrots (you could use your veg peeler to get the skins off first, but I didn't) sliced lengthwise and then halved again, and then cut into very thin sticks.  The thinner they're cut the crisper they'll turn out.
1 tbsp kosher/sea salt
2 tbsp EVOO
optional:  1/2 tsp cayenne, or black pepper

Preheat your oven to 450.  On a large baking sheet toss your carrots together with your EVOO and seasonings, make sure they are all coated well and spread out evenly so they crisp up rather than steam.  I baked mine for 30 minutes, but start checking at 25.  I wanted mine as crisp as possible rather than soggy, and I ended up burning a few in the process, which is fine because this makes quite a lot! 

Once again, we ate these with my homemade ketchup, but some homemade/organic ranch would be awesome too!  Have fun guys! XoXoGFG

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Fingers!

After my huge brownie accomplishment, I think I indulged a bit too much.  Which made me think about some of my other questionable choices- too many nuts, too many dried cherries.  Everyone is doing Sugar-Free Challenges, Whole30, etc, and while I don't think I can detox quite to that extent, I do think a little abstaining is in order.  No dried fruit, no treats, and less nuts (but not none, that would be almost impossible!)  I've also recently started a new job, and my schedule has changed pretty dramatically, and I'm still trying to figure out how to fit in my daily exercise.  Part of me is ok with taking a little break, things have been pretty rough lately and I just need a break.  I'm not hardcore about my workouts, but 7 days a week of anything will burn you out eventually.

Wow I got off-topic there!  Basically, what I was trying to say was that when you decide to do a little detoxing, reduce your carbs/sugar or even grain/sugar-free treats, you need to be sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein and healthy fat to curb those cravings!  I have been craving chicken fingers and french fries for awhile now, and after seeing some interesting recipes on Pinterest, I thought, I can definitely GFGify something!  And I did!  So once again folks, when sh*t gets tough, you can still get in the kitchen and make a healthy meal your whole family will love, and that always manages to put a smile on my face!

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Chicken Fingers
1 package chicken tenders, mine was about 1.5 lbs
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, or coconut powder
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tbsp kosher salt (I wanted mine salty, so use less if you don't have a salt-tooth like me)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
EVOO for the pan

Whisk your eggs in a small bowl.  In a large dish (I used a glass pie-dish which worked great) combine your coconut, almond flour, S&P and mix well.  You want to create a little assembly line so that you can get your chicken tenders in the egg, then dredge them in your coconut/flour mixture, and then lay them out somewhere easily accessible to the stovetop.  I laid all my chicken fingers on a large strip of wax paper.  Coat all chicken fingers well, and then heat up some oil in a large pan.  You could of course also bake these puppies but I wanted them super crisp, and also didn't have the time to wait for them to cook in the oven.  Cook about 3 minutes per side, or longer depending on how browned you want them.  I tend to like mine pretty brown and crunchy.  These chicken fingers were AWESOME!  You do not need to miss out on one of the world's best bar foods anymore.  Chicken fingers are back!  I served mine with some homemade ketchup.  Yummmm!  We also had these with some carrot fries, which I'll post about soon.

Hope everyone's new year is off to a great start, and that you are happy, healthy, and grateful!  XoXoGFG

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paleo Porridge

I like to make a big batch of oatmeal, buckwheat, quinoa, etc, for the week on Sundays so that S can have it every morning for breakfast.  Even though S is gluten, and not grain-free, I still get this twinge of guilt every morning when I give her oats or whatever.  It just bothers me.  She looooooves her oatmeal, I mix it with unsweetened applesauce and plain yogurt and she slurps it up, but am always thinking to myself, there's got to be something better.

So this Sunday, as I was pondering this question once again, I thought, there must be a way to make a coconut porridge/cream of wheat.  This recipe is incredibly easy, and really tastes just like cream of wheat, or what I remember it tasting like anyways.  I'm excited to try different versions of it.  I hope you try it too!

Paleo Porridge 
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1 cup liquid (water, nutmilk, or a combo, which is what I used)
1/4 tsp kosher salt (do not omit!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
another 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut, to add at the end

Add everything to a pot and bring to a simmer.  Stir continuously.  If you like, add more liquid to make it puff up even more, it will just take longer to cook down.  I know I've mentioned I don't like flax.  But you really do need it in this recipe, to bind everything together.  Don't worry, you don't taste it.  Once it's thickened up to your liking, turn off the heat, and dump in the rest of your coconut.  This will make it super thick and give it some good texture. 

Because I mix this with applesauce and yogurt, this amount yields enough for about 4 baby-sized servings.  If you were eating it yourself and not mixing in all that stuff, this would be plenty for at least 2 servings.  So yummy with a bit of melted butter, coconut butter, apple butter, or nothing!  This would even be great for those nights when there is nothing in the house to eat and it's 8 o'clock and and I'm spent from the day.  Try it out and let me know if you like it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Grain-Free Sugar-Free Brownies That Don't Suck And Are Actually Pretty Good

Please excuse the ridiculously long title.  But how else could I accurately describe these brownies?  If you remember, I've lamented before the sad truth that grain-free, sugar-free baking really cannot produce a yummy, fudgey, dense, chocolatey brownie.  Even if you can make a delicious flourless brownie, that doesn't solve the issue of needing sugar.  Stevia, date paste, banana mush, uh uh.  Not going to cut it.  I've seen people use honey, maple syrup, coconut/palm sugar, agave, you name it.  And maybe those work out, but I don't use those ingredients. But, I think I'm finally on to something.  I will keep tinkering with the recipe, but this is an AH-HAH moment as Oprah would say.  This is the start of a new day for the gluten/grain/sugar free brownie-starved people of the world!  Ok...........  So here's what I did.

Grain-Free Sugar-Free Brownies That Don't Suck And Are Actually Pretty Good!
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup oil or melted butter, or vegan butter
3/4 cup granulated sweetener (I used a combination of erythritol and xylitol)
2 eggs
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp sugar free liquid sweetener
3-6 tbsp (nut)milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts, I used walnuts
1/4 cup sugar-free choc. chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 320 and line an 8x8 with parchment.  Over low heat, melt your unsweetened chocolate with your oil or butter.  Stir constantly so it doesn't burn.  Then, pour in your granulated sweetener.  You might be able to use palm/coconut sugar here, so try it out.  Stir well.  The chocolate is going to look grainy, so don't be alarmed.  Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.  While it cools, mix your coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Make sure there are no lumps.  Mix your two eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate, and add your vanilla, and liquid sweetener.  Stir into dry ingredients and incorporate well.  You can see that I put 3-6 tbsp of milk in the ingredients.  This depends on a few things, how big your eggs were, how dry your coconut flour, etc.  Start with a couple tablespoons and go from there.  You want the batter to be pourable and wet, not spongy or dry.  So add your milk little by little until it's become a pourable consistency.  You could also bake this in cupcake form.  You'll notice if you taste it that it's no longer grainy (but if it bothers you, you can put your granulated sweetener in your vitamix, or cuisi first to make the grains finer) and it has absolutely no discernible coconut taste to it.  I baked mine for 30 minutes and removed it when it was still a teensy bit underdone, and then put it in the fridge for a few hours. 

If you don't have sugar-free choc. chips then don't use 'em, or go ahead and use what you have.  Walnuts in brownies I think are divine but you really don't need them either!  Some yummy frosting on these would be even better, but I can't help you with that, not today anyways.  After at least a half dozen attempts at some kind of SF/GF brownie, not only are these the only ones that are even remotely edible, they are seriously awesomely amazing!  No shit!  **Edit:  These get even better after a day or two.  They become much more fudge-like after a day or so.  So good!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew

I'm calling this Mexican Chicken Stew because really, I couldn't figure out a better descriptor.  I'm kind of lazy, and don't feel like getting cutesy with the name.  But it was good.  And easy.  And about as healthy as you can get.  There are plenty of leftovers, this probably makes enough to serve 6-8.  I made it in the crockpot but you cold make it on the stovetop too, no problem.  It would be great served with sliced avocado, sour cream, or shredded cheese.  We had none of the above and it was still great.  I had planned on making this because, hey, it's January, and it's cold and wintery outside!  Except it's not!  It's 60 degrees!  So we had some hot filling stew on a 60 degree day... oops!  Oh well.  Beats shoveling snow and digging icicles out of your dog's paws right?

Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew
2 chicken breasts, skinless/boneless, bone in skin on, whatever you got
1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
8 ounces of green tomatillo sauce
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, reduced sodium, or homemade
2 cups of chopped carrots
3 or 4 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup salsa
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp minced garlic
squeeze of lime, or lime juice, if you have it

Throw all your chopped veg into the crockpot, then pour in your tomatillo sauce, salsa, fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, beans, seasonings, garlic, lime juice, and stir well.  Then put your chicken in, and try to submerse it under the liquid but not so it's touching the bottom.  Cook on low for 7 hours or so.  When it's finished, shred the chicken with a fork and give it a big stir, and serve with whatever accoutrements you want!  I actually served this with some flax quesadillas based on this recipe which I actually hated but I'll admit, having something resembling a tortilla was kind of cool.  But still, I hated it.  Then again, the taste of flax is very overpowering to me and I think it tastes like snot, or what I think snot would taste like.  Ugh yuck, I hate flax.  But if you like it, or don't mind it (then I apologize for saying it tastes like snot) then try out the recipe!  Lots of fiber and all those ALA's!

So now the house smells like spicy stew and I have lots of leftovers for S to eat over the next couple days which makes me inexplicably happy.  Yayy!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!  XoXoGFG

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Mug Cake

Hmmm.  What do you get when you combine chocolate, a mug, and a microwave?  The ubiquitous chocolate mug cake that has been making the interweb rounds of course!  (CCK is probably the most popular example)

I am not the first person to try making one of these bad boys.  In fact, I've tried my hand at it a few times already, without much success.  I blame prior failures to the wrong ratio of flour : liquid. 

This time was very, very different.  My only disappointment is how puny the serving size was, well, in comparison to my enormous coffee mug I guess.    This super fast and super yummy treat is the answer to my chocolate-covered prayers.  Make this NOW! 

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Chocolate Mug Microwave Cake
2 tsp coconut flour (yes teaspoons)
1 tbsp, plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar-free vanilla liquid sweetener, or plain sugar-free liquid sweetener plus a drop of vanilla extract
2 tbsp (nut)milk
a few sugar-free chocolate chips if you have 'em, or some chopped nuts

Into a mug goes your coconut flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Mix very well.  Then add your oil, liquid sweetener, and 1 tbsp of your milk.  Mix well and see how wet the mixture is.  You want it pretty soupy since it's coconut flour, so add the next tbsp of milk if it looks a little spongy still.  Throw in your choc. chips or nuts and then microwave for one minute.  Mine was still pretty undercooked at one minute, but your microwave may be stronger than mine, so check after a minute.  Since there's no egg, it won't hurt if it's a little underdone!  If you wanted to try it out using vanilla creme stevia, that's a great idea as well, you'd just need to experiment with the amount of nutmilk you use.  The best part is, if you ruin a couple batches, it's no big deal, you've hardly used any ingredients!

Have fun with this one!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zucchini Noodles and an awesome new kitchen gadget

Today's post involved both of the above pictured items.  I am quickly beginning to realize what a wonder-veg (is a zuc a veg?  I know it's a squash, hmmm) zucchini is.  Fabulous in pancakes, breads, and noodle-less lasagna, it really is the multi-tasker of the produce world.  It's even more amazing in noodle-form, and I don't mean long wide slices, I mean spaghetti looking noodles.  I thought I needed a fancy spiralizer, but nope!  One of these handy julienne peelers does the trick just fine and costs less than $10!  This peeler would be great for yellow squash, eggplant, carrots, cucumbers, you name it. 

I was never much of a pasta girl (although I do really miss Pad See Ew, the thai-noodle dish) so missing out on linguine or angel hair or spaghetti doesn't bother me much.  But what I do miss are the great sauces.  Meatball, marinara, spicy seafood sauce, clam, whatever.  It doesn't make much sense to eat plain sauce with nothing to accompany it.  Boring.  Julienne Peeler- check.  Zucchini- check.  Problem solved.  The one and only draw back is that you do need quite a few zucchinis to feed 3 or 4 people.  As with all veg, they shrink up a ton when you cook them. 

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Pasta
3 medium sized zucchinis, julienne sliced into long thin noodles
1 tsp minced garli
2 tsp Meyer Lemon EVOO (or regular EVOO is just fine)
1/3 cup shredded parm
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Heat up your oil in a large skillet, then throw in your garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add your zuc noodles and season liberally.  The noodles will release a ton of water.  I cooked my noodles until they had become soft and most of the water was cooked off, then I sprinkled the parm over it and stirred it together so the cheese melted.  This was enough for 3 good sized servings.  If this is your main dish however, I'd probably double it.  This doesn't taste like zucchini, nor does it taste quite like pasta.  But texture-wise and mouth-feel wise you do kinda think you're eating noodles.  Without the god-awful bloat and blood sugar meltdown.  Best of all, this can be the base recipe to a zillion noodle/pasta dishes.  You could even use them as your noodles in soup.  So give it a try if you've not already!  Also, the perfect consistency for your little ones!  XoXoGFG

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Lemon Bars

I'm not quite sure why, but lately I've really had a craving for lemon bars.  I used to love them but for the life of me don't think I've had one in many many years.  I guess when chocolates around that's usually my go to.  But I kept thinking, it really shouldn't be too difficult to come up with a sugar free lemon bar recipe.  And it wasn't!  I still want to tinker with the recipe more, because it was incredibly tart, but it was much easier than I expected.  It was also an opportunity to play with two new sugar-alternatives.  I was nervous about them and not sure how our tummies would handle it, but no problems whatsoever.  I used a mixture of Zsweet (from WF) and Xylitol, or birch sugar, which I picked up at Vitamin Shoppe.  A lot of the online references I found regarding these sugar alcohols recommend that you pulse them in the cuisi first.  This not only helps stop them from recrystallizing once your baked good has cooled, but I guess it also breaks them down further so you don't have that strange "cooling" mouth feel.  For instance, when you are chewing sugar free gum and your whole mouth feels cold and it hurts to drink cold water?  That is the "cooling" mouth feel, because incidentally most sugar free gums now are made with Xylitol.  Erythritol (the main ingredient in Zsweet), on the other hand, supposedly doesn't cause much tummy upset but is better used in wet applications, making it perfect for a lemon bar/custard, I thought.

Are these lemon bars exactly like the lemon bars you are picturing?  No.  I could have made them a little bit more like traditional lemon bars by grinding some xylitol in the cuisinart to make faux powdered sugar to sprinkle on top, but I was lazy.  But they are really good, and have no weird fake sugar aftertastes or anything like that- no weird consistency issues or strange textures.  They are a great alternative! 

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Lemon Bars
2 cups almond flour
5 tbsp butter, melted
1 or 2 packets of stevia or your preferred sweetener
4 eggs
juice of 3 lemons
zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp coconut flour
3/4 cup sweetener (or more if you aren't a fan of tart desserts.  I used just a 1/2 cup total of a combination of half Zsweet and half xylitol and it was super super tart.)

Line an 8x8 with parchment and preheat your oven to 350.  In a medium mixing bowl combine your almond flour, softened butter, and sweetener.  You want the mixture to be crumbly, kind of like a graham cracker crust.  Press the crust into your 8x8 so that it's evenly distributed and reaches all sides.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until it's just starting to turn golden.  While it's baking you'll make the filling, which couldn't be easier.  Throw your lemon juice, baking powder, zest, eggs, coconut flour, and sweeteners into a blender and blend until it starts to thicken and the yolks lighten.  Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for another 25 minutes or so or until the center is just beginning to firm up.  You'll want to let it cool for at least an hour before serving. 

Everyone has their own opinions on sugar alternatives, which ones are best and which ones should be avoided.  I'm not really sure how I feel about any of them to be honest, except my feelings on which ones are superior taste-wise.  The best option would certainly be to live your life without desserts and treats like a true paleo.  Get used to tasting things in their natural state and appreciate the natural flavors without adding a bunch of enhancers.  Appreciate the inherent sweetness in things and don't use a bunch of junk to make it sweeter.  I sort of look at all these sweeteners the same as I'd look at a smoker who's trying to quit and using nicotine gum.  It's better than a cigarette, but you still haven't kicked the addiction.  You're just using a modified version of the drug.  Hopefully someday I'll have the motivation and willpower to say no to sweet stuff, but even if I do, I can't expect the rest of the world to do the same, and it would be nice to know how to make a few things that both myself, and others can enjoy without quite as much guilt.  Right now there are a thousand sugar-free challenges going on- and I have almost zero inclination to try any of them, although I would be wise to!  Have you had success with any sugar-free challenges?  Did giving up all sweeteners, even the low-carb low-cal ones have any appreciable effects?  And most of all, did it lessen your cravings for sweet treats?  Let me know!  Maybe your experiences will inspire me!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sugar-Free Snickerdoodles

Kind of an oxymoron huh?  Well, it is totally possible to make an SF snickerdoodle.  I chickened out and did not use either of my new baking products, xylitol or erythritol.  I still think I'm going to give some SF lemon bars a shot today though using one or both.  A couple different websites provided the inspiration for these snickerdoodles, but in the end I really had to create this on the fly.  They turned out great and are actually quite crisp which is what I was going for!

Sugar-Free Snickerdoodles (or Cinnamon Sugar Cookies)
2 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
1 egg
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup sugar free vanilla flavored sweetener
2 packets of stevia, like purevia or nunaturals
2 tbsp stevia in the raw or other sweetener, for rolling

Preheat your oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl, mix your almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cream of tartar if using.  I believe using cream of tartar is the difference between a cinnamon sugar cookie, and a snickerdoodle.  In a separate bowl, mix your softened butter, egg, and sugar free syrup, and packets of stevia.  You could also use plain sugar free syrup and add a tsp of vanilla.  Pour wet into dry and mix thoroughly.  On a small plate, dump some cinnamon and stevia and mix together for rolling.  Use a teaspoon to scoop out balls of dough and then roll them in the cinnamon/sugar to coat.  I pressed down the cookies with a fork as they don't spread much.  Bake for 10 minutes or so or until they start to brown on the sides.  Many websites say to freeze them and eat them straight from the freezer for a more crisp cookie.  

I love all the recipe round-ups the blogs are doing, highlighting their most popular recipes.  It's such a nice retrospective.  I wonder which recipes of mine I'd highlight for 2011.  Gosh I have absolutely no clue.  It's hard to say because even when I LOVE something I might not make it again for months and months.  Do you have any fave recipes from 2011 that have been total game-changers for you?  Do you have links for them?  I'd love to see!

I also need to think of a round food to make for breakfast for New Year's Day.  You're supposed to eat round foods for good luck, and I am one superstitious lady so you bet I'll be eating round stuff all day long!  Are you making any round foods?  Whatever you do, have a great New Year's Day, much love to all your families! XoXoGFG