Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Best (Gluten-free, cane sugar-free) Primal Banana Nut Muffins. EVAH.

These muffins are soooooo good!

Recipe makes about 18 regular sized muffins):
3c almond flour (I make my own by buying blanched, slivered almonds from Whole Foods, then grind them in my coffee bean grinder)
1 1/2c smooshed bananas (I find that 4 bananas work well)
2t baking powder
2t baking soda
3 eggs
6T full fat sour cream
1/3c organic maple sugar (I get mine from Trader Joe's)
1/3c xylitol
2t pure vanilla extract (slightly less if using organic, as it tends to be strong)
1/4t salt
1c chopped/ground walnuts (I threw them in the grinder too)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease regular sized muffin pans with coconut oil.

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Put 1/4c of batter into each muffin cup. Cook 20-25 minutes until the muffin is brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Nutritional info:

For the whole batch:
Calories: 4673 
Fat: 345g
Sat Fat: 87g
Carbs: 326g
Sugar: 138g
Protein: 128g

Per muffin:
Calories: 259.6
Fat: 19.2g
Sat Fat: 4.8g
Carbs: 18.1g
Sugar: 7.7g
Protein: 7.1g 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Primal Sugar Free Sweetened Peach Iced Tea

10 cups of boiling water
4 family size tea bags (I use Tetley tea bags. I tried Lipton, but they tasted bitter to me)
2 fruit flavored tea bags (I love Celestial Seasoning’s raspberry zinger and peach tea)
1.5 – 2 teaspoons liquid stevia (I use Whole Foods brand)

Boil the water. Once it boils, put all 6 teabags in the water and remove from heat. Let the family size teabags steep for 3 minutes, then remove. Leave the fruit flavored teabags in the water for an additional 2 minutes, then remove.

Fill a gallon pitcher with ice and pour the tea from the pot into the pitcher. Add 1.5 – 2 teaspoons of liquid stevia. Mix.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cane sugar-free Primal Ice Cream

I've been wanting to make some chocolate ice cream ever since I made the strawberry ice cream last week...and tonight I got my chance.

I based my ice cream loosely on this recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. Their version is dairy-free...mine is not.

Here's mine:
1 cup cold coconut milk (the kind in the can with all the good fat and hardly any carbs)
1 1/2 cups cold cream (like heavy whipping cream type stuff)
3T Hershey's Cocoa
1.5t Vanilla Extract
1/4c Xylitol (I use XyloSweet)
handful of slivered almonds
a few drops of unflavored liquid stevia (I'm currently using the Whole Foods brand)

Mix all the ingredients except almonds in a bowl. Make the ice cream according to your ice cream maker's directions. At least with my ice cream maker, you wait to put stuff like almonds in at the end. You really have to watch the ice cream maker because it "ice creams up" very quickly. It took less than 15 minutes for this batch.

Makes about 6 4oz servings.

The ice cream is not super sweet, but it's sweet enough to tickle your taste buds and make them happy. :D

I store my homemade ice cream in 4oz glass canning jars with plastic lids in the freezer.

Nutritional breakdown based on my calculations:
 Whole batch: 
Calories: 2021
Fat: 196.5g
Sat fat: 114g
Carbs: 77g
Sugar: 6g
Protein: 12g

1 ~4oz serving:
Calories: 337
Fat: 33g
Sat fat: 19g
Carbs: 13g
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 2g

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Primal Chocolate Milk with Stevia

I'm so excited about this chocolate milk I made today! It's sugar free and primal! (I should add the back story as to why I made this: My younger son drinks chocolate milk at school, so I was going to buy a large container of chocolate milk and have him take some in a thermos. When I looked at the amount of sugar in the chocolate milk, I was horrified! 22 GRAMS of sugar. So I decided to make it myself, and this is what I came up with).

To make 5 - 6 cups of chocolate milk you'll need:

6T natural cocoa powder (this makes it pretty chocolatey)
5 1/4 - 6 1/4c organic whole milk (or whatever kind of milk you want - I think it would work with alternative milks such as coconut, almond, etc)
30-40 drops of liquid stevia

1. Put 6T of cocoa powder in a flat-bottomed bowl.

2. Pour enough milk in the bowl to make a paste with the cocoa powder (I'm guessing around 1/4c).

3. Mix the milk and the cocoa.

4. When it is completely mixed (if you see any little balls of cocoa, try to smash them and mix them into the paste), it should be pretty uniform in color and very pasty.

5. Put the cocoa powder/milk paste into the container you'll be using for your chocolate milk.

6. Pour 5 - 6 cups of cold milk into the container with the paste, along with 30 - 40 drops of liquid stevia, then mix with an immersion blender until completely blended. It's ok if you get a layer of froth on the top. The more milk you put in, the less chocolatey it will taste.

7. Pour into a cup and enjoy your sugar free chocolate milk!

NOTE: You will have to blend or shake the chocolate milk if it's been in the fridge for any period of time as the chocolate will settle to the bottom.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Busy week ahead, so I'm cooking tonight

It's going to be a busy week, so tonight I took some time to cook and bake a few things:

First I made 2 kinds of turkey sausage. Hubs wanted apple sausage, so I made a pound of onion/apple sausage and a pound of regular sausage. I'll do separate posts with the recipes.

Next I started the fermentation process for some kefir I've been wanting to make. I bought some freeze dried starter grains (it's not grain, actually; it's yeast and bacteria) at Whole Foods (they were like $5 off, so only $.97 for a pack of 6) yesterday. I heated up some organic whole milk, let it cool to about 75 degrees, then poured some into 4 different containers into which I'd already put one pack each of starter grains. Now they sit, covered, for about 24 hours while the kefir starter grains "wake up" and ferment the milk. After that, I think I drain off the excess liquid and voila! My very own live and active starter grains. Throw them in some milk and let them get to business.

Then I made banana/strawberry egg-free and grain-free muffins. They are actually in the oven right now, and I'm not sure they are going to make it. This happens frequently to me when I try baking without eggs. It's really a gigantic pain in the ass, but I figured that since this particular recipe didn't call for eggs, there shouldn't be a problem. We shall see. I'm not opening the oven door for another 20 minutes...

I'm also going to bake some pumpkin-zucchini egg-free and grain-free muffins. And possibly some of those delicious brownies.

I'm feeling a bit sad right now, but it's nothing I want to talk about. It's something that's been going on for years, and it's something I guess I just have to deal with. As much as it sucks...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Egg-free, Grain-free, Cane Sugar-free Brownies (primal)

So I was looking around for egg free muffin recipes earlier today, and some how came across this recipe for egg-free, grain-free brownies.

I didn't have any xanthan gum, but I did have flax meal. After looking around the interwebs for subbing flax, I finally found that it's a 1:1 sub...for breads. That little tidbit escaped my notice for a bit.

I made the recipe exactly like she said, with the exception of honey - I used 1/3c xylitol - and the flax subbed for xanthan. My batter was incredibly dry and crumbly. So I decided to put a little whole milk in. And a little more. And a little more. Didn't work well enough, so I threw in some full fat sour cream. That did the trick! These brownies are soooo moist and chewy. The only thing I'd change is using almond butter without salt.

Here's the recipe:

1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3 T coconut flour
1 c almond butter (salt free)
1/4 t salt
2 droppersful liquid stevia (mine was actually Lemon Drop from SweetLeaf, but the lemon flavor is so minute, it made no difference)
1/4 t organic vanilla (maybe use a bit more if yours isn't organic - I find organic to be very strong)
1/3 c xylitol (I use XyloSweet)
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c organic whole milk
1/2 c full fat sour cream

Mix all ingredients together with an electric beater or stand mixer. Pour into a small greased cake pan (I used a metal pan greased with organic coconut oil). Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Makes 18 brownies.

By my calculations, here is the nutritional breakdown per brownie:
Calories: 119
Fat: 9.2g
Sat Fat: 1.6g
Carbs: 8.2g
Sugar: 1.3g
Protein: 4g

If you make them, lemme know how they turn out!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CELEBRATE! I've lost 20 pounds!!

I really can't believe it. On the one hand, I feel like 20 pounds is not that much, considering the amount of fat I want to lose. On the other hand, holy shit! TWENTY POUNDS! I haven't lost this much weight on any diet or lifestyle change I've tried in about 20 years. And trust me, I've tried them all. The last time I remember losing this much fat was when I was about 16.

Has this been difficult to lose? Yes and no. I started with a personal trainer back in December, 2011. I figured that with the additional exercise I was doing, regardless of what I was eating, that I should lose weight based on simple math - more calories burned than calories coming in = caloric deficit. That premise doesn't work for my body. I think I lost 3 pounds.

At some point I decided to put into practice what my trainer had been trying to get me to do, which was eat less carbs. I was kinda freaked out about what to eat, but eventually figured it out. When I was ready, I took the next step to lowering my sugar consumption to 12g or less per meal. As my trainer and I continued to talk about nutrition, I started looking up some of the stuff she was talking about, mainly The Paleo Diet. I knew she ate a lot of meat and few carbs, but I wanted to know more. Somehow I found myself over on Mark Sisson's blog about The Primal Blueprint, and it resonated with me. I bought the book (The Primal Blueprint) and gave it a good read.

The things Mark talks about in his book really make sense. While it wasn't easy to give up sugar, I've found the lifestyle fairly simple to maintain. What I'm struggling with now is how to get my kids on board. What makes it especially hard is one of my kids is egg-allergic, which takes away a great source of fat, protein and other micronutrients. Getting creative with alternatives for egg has been fun, but I also want to keep the carbs down, so it's been a little iffy too.

Something else that has been interesting is seeing what foods my body likes and doesn't like. For instance, when I eat cheese, my weight loss stalls. But I can eat guacamole and sour cream with no problems. 

Anyway, I feel great. My energy level is high, I go to the gym or walk outside pretty much daily and I can't wait to see my Dr. in August.

I actually feel as though I can continue living like this indefinitely, and can watch the fat continue to disappear.

I've actually met 2 goals - 1 to lose 20 pounds and the other to start getting off all the meds I take because I'm fat. I got rid of my Metformin (which I took 2x a day) last week. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

And tonight...I made chocolate chip cookies

I tweaked a recipe for some higher carb cookies and mine turned out pretty good. The original recipe called for honey and dates to sweeten, as well as 1/2 c of chocolate chips. Instead, I used 1/4c xylitol and 1/4c stevia, then halved the amount of chips.

So my recipe looked like this:
1/2 c organic butter
1/4 c xylitol
1/4 c stevia (I use Stevia in the Raw; I find it to be less bitter than others I've tried)
2 eggs
1 1/2 T organic vanilla extract (I used less than the original recipe b/c it's very strong)
2 c almond flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c Ghirardelli Double Chocolate all natural chips (I put them in the food processor and chopped them up instead of leaving them whole so the chocolate flavor would be throughout the batter, raising the overall sweetness without raising the carbs/sugars)

Cream together the butter, xylitol and stevia with an electric beater (or stand mixer).
Add eggs and vanilla; mix with beater.
Add flour, baking soda, salt; chopped chocolate chips; mix until combined.
Drop by teaspoon on a WELL GREASED cookie sheet (I used coconut oil).
Bake until the edges start browning...maybe 6 or 7 minutes at 350 degrees.

This made a total of 40 cookies!
NOTE: Leave room between the cookies on the baking sheet. They spread out quite a bit, and were flat-ish when finished baking.

ALSO NOTE: These cookies are not as sweet as regular cookies. You may have to adjust to the level of sweetness in them. I think they are of my kids loved them, the other (more picky) one said they weren't sweet enough.

Nutritional breakdown per my calculations (please do your own!):

Per 1 cookie (40 per batch)
calories: 46.15
fat: 4.3g
saturated fat: 1.9g
carbohydrates: 2.3g
sugar: .48g
protein: .35g

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grain Free Granola

Grain Free Granola - Primal

(click on photo to enlarge for recipe)