Lemon Rosemary Cookies (Sugar Free, Low Carbohydrate, Grain Free)

These tasty little morsels got out of my dreams and into my oven.  Really.  They will blow your mind.  And would you believe that they’re sugar free, low carbohydrate, and grain free?  Using simple, easy to find ingredients puts them at the top of my list for quick and healthy treats!  

Lemon Rosemary Deliciousness!
Lemon Rosemary Deliciousness!

Ingredients

2 c. Almond Meal

1/2 c. (1 stick) Butter, softened

3 Tb. Powdered Stevia

1 tsp. Grated Lemon Peel

2 Tb. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

1/2 Tb. Fresh Rosemary, minced and crushed in pestle and mortar

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.   In a large bowl, cream butter and stevia with a hand mixer until mixed well (stand back while you do it, or you will inhale powdered stevia!).

3.  Beat in the lemon juice, grated lemon peel, and vanilla.

4.  Beat in the egg and mix well.

5.  In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour and rosemary.

6.  Gradually add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.

7.  Drop dough by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

8.  Flatten to a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch.

9.  Bake in the top third of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until brown on the top and bottom.

10.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Yields approximately 22 cookies.

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What is Stevia?

Unknown-1There are certainly a lot of misconceptions about Stevia.  I had never even heard of the herb until a few years ago.  Now that Stevia is becoming more mainstream, there are a lot of different varieties available.  Most have fillers in them to make it measure for measure like sugar.  The fact is, though, that Stevia is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so it only takes a small amount of pure Stevia to equal the sweetness of sugar.

My favorite brand of Stevia is SweetLeaf.  It is an all natural Stevia, with no fillers.  There is no bitter aftertaste.  You may need to modify your Stevia measurements if you are using another brand of Stevia.

Here is a great resource for any questions/concerns you may have about Stevia.

Updated 9/26/13.

Sugar Free Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Don't forget the milk!
Don’t forget the milk!

This is a wonderful recipe for a healthy “treat” that my children absolutely love!  Most of the time I hide some so that I can get some too (just don’t tell the kids!).

Ingredients:

3/4 c. Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 c. Unsweetened Peanut Butter

3 Tb. Powdered Stevia

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 c. Almond Meal

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix Almond Meal, Baking Soda, and Salt.

In a large mixing bowl, mix Butter and Peanut Butter until smooth.

Add Powdered Stevia and mix just until combined.

Add Eggs one at a time while mixing.

Add Vanilla and continue to mix.

Last add the Almond Flour mixture, and mix until combined.

Scoop approximately 1 Tb. of dough at a time and roll into balls.

Lightly press each ball down on cookie sheet with a fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.

Yields 3 1/2 dozen cookies

Chocolate Cake with a Secret

 Sugar Free.  Grain Free.  Chocolate.  Low Glycemic.  Beans.  What!?  Yes.  Beans.  There are beans in this recipe.  A chocolate cake recipe with beans.  It is the most awesome piece of cake I’ve ever had, and I think you’ll agree.  

Chocolate Bean Cake

Ingredients (For one 9 inch Round Cake)

1 15.5 oz. can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

4 Large Eggs, at room temp.

1 Tb. Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp. Salt

6 Tb. Butter, softened

2 Tb. Powdered Stevia

6 Tb. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 tsp. Aluminum-free Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

Method (Cake)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch cake pan, and lightly dust with Cocoa Powder, tapping off excess.

Place the Beans, 3 of the Eggs, Vanilla, and Salt in a food processor.

Blend until the Beans are liquefied, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, and Baking Powder.

In a large bowl, beat the softened Butter with the Powdered Stevia, until light and fluffy.

Add the remaining Egg to the Butter mixture, and beat another minute more.

Pour the Bean batter into the Butter mixture, and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients from the medium bowl to the wet ingredients in the large bowl, and mix for 1 minute, until smooth.

Pour batter into the cake pan.

Grab pan by the sides and tap on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top is rounded and firm to the touch.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out cake onto a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.

Cover (if needed) until ready to frost cake (right before serving is best).

Ingredients (For the Icing)

1 Stick (1/2 c.) Butter, softened

2 Tb. Powdered Stevia

6 Tb. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Tb. Milk of your choice (I used Goat Milk)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Method (Icing)

Cream the butter in a medium bowl until fluffy.

Add the Powdered Stevia and beat until smooth.

Slowly blend in the Cocoa Powder and Vanilla.

Slowly beat in the Milk.

This icing is light, fluffy, and very easy to spread.  There will be plenty of icing if you wish to make a layer cake.

Double Layer Chocolate Bean Cake
Double Layer Chocolate Bean Cake

Updated 11-11-13

100% Barley Sourdough Bread

Barley Sourdough Bread

Chewy, dense, full of sourdough flavor.  A pure Barley Bread that is naturally risen?  Impossible, you might say, especially since Barley Flour has virtually no gluten, the main element of flour that helps the bread rise.  Well, I’ve found a method that involves using pure Barley Flour that is fermented in order to bring out a delicious sourdough flavor and give the bread a little bit of rise (you essentially end up with a flattened bread).  The Barley Flour is not so overwhelming that you lose the sourdough taste, and it is low glycemic, which means that it will not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels like most white or whole wheat flours may do.

If you don’t have experience in bread baking, I find this to be relatively simple.  The first step is making your sourdough starter.  Once you have an active starter going, it’s time to convert it over to a Barley Flour starter.  

I tried various methods in converting my white flour starter to a whole grain one, and found the Detmolder Process gave the best results.  The process is for Rye Flour, yet Barley Flour may be easily substituted.  You need to make sure that you have an open schedule during the Detmolder Process, since there are specific times in which you add more flour and water to the starter.  You do not need to be precise on your ferment stages, but do not wait longer than one hour before adding the flour and water, or you will start to get a rancid starter.

I got a lot of help with my Sourdough bread making strategy from Sourdough Home, including the ratios of Starter/Flour/Water used in this recipe.  This is an amazing web site, so if you have a particular interest in Sourdough bread making, I highly recommend you spend your time browsing this very informative website.

*This recipe will make 4 small loaves of Barley Sourdough bread.  They may be frozen for up to three months.*

Day One

6:00 am-“Freshening”

Stage 1: Freshening
Stage 1: Freshening

I recommend you start as early as possible.  Even starting at 6:00 am, the bread usually isn’t done until around 9:00 or 10:00 the next evening.

Mix:

 

1/2 tsp. Starter

1 Tb. Water

4 tsp. Barley Flour

Set in a warm place and let ferment for 6 hours.

12:00 pm- “Basic Sour”

Stage Two: Basic Sour
Stage Two: Basic Sour

To the previous mixture, add:

1/2 c. + 1 Tb. Water

1 c. + 1 Tb. Barley Flour

Mix well, and return to the warm place for 24 hours.

Day Two

12:00 pm-“Full Sour”

Stage Three: Full Sour
Stage Three: Full Sour

To the previous mixture, add:

1 1/3 c. Water

2 1/2 c. + 1 Tb. Barley Flour

Mix well, and return to the warm place to ferment for 5 hours.

You now have your fermented Barley Flour Starter that is ready to use.  Do not refrigerate the starter, or ferment longer than mentioned, or it will become rancid and not have any active yeast.  

The Barley Bread Sourdough Recipe:

Ingredients

All of the active Barley Flour Starter from above

1 3/4 c. Water

3 Tb. Butter, softened and broken into small pieces

5 c. Barley Flour

2 3/4 tsp. Salt

4 Tb. Honey

Method

It is strongly suggested to use a stand mixer for this bread (i.e. KitchenAid), since this is a very sticky dough.  If you do not have access to one, you may attempt to use a sturdy bowl and a wooden spoon.

In a mixer:

Add all ingredients to the mixer bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes.

Turn off and let rest for 5 minutes.  This will allow the liquid to be fully absorbed into the flour.

Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes more.

Scrape the dough into a large oiled glass bowl for rising.

Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes (you will not see much rise since Barley Flour has such a small amount of gluten).

Using wet hands (this is the best way to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers), remove 1/4 of the dough from the bowl.

On a greased and floured cookie sheet, loosely shape into a loaf.

Formed Loaves
Formed Loaves

Repeat with the remaining 3/4 of the dough until you have 4 small loaves.  Lightly dust the loaves with flour and cover loosely.

Let the dough rest for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Again, there will be little rise.  You will, however, notice that the dough has a “cracked” appearance.  This means it is ready for baking.

"Cracked"
“Cracked”

Place an empty pan on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

When preheated, place the bread in the oven and pour 1 c. water into the empty pan to achieve a “steamy” environment.

Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes longer.

Let cool, then tear off a hunk and dip in your favorite dipping oil!

Dipped

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

I’ve been meaning to make these for quite some time.  I enjoy Kale every once in awhile, but I find it too chewy to eat raw, and I’m too lazy to saute it.  This is the perfect solution.  It is so simple and fast, and good for you as well (which, of course, means Leo does not like it)!  

Ingredients

Bunch of Kale leaves

Salt

Olive Oil

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse and dry the Kale leaves.

Cut out the fibrous stem, and tear or cut the leaves into bite size pieces.

Drizzle Olive Oil over the leaves, and toss to coat evenly.

Add desired amount of salt and toss again.

Evenly spread Kale leaves on parchment paper.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until leaves turn slightly brown and are crisp.  After 10 minutes, check every minute or so to make sure they are not overdone.

Let cool.  Eat.  Make more.

Make sure they are fully cooled before storing.  

Low Carb / Sugar Free / Grain Free / Cheesecake Brownies

I am in love with these brownies.  They taste divine, and are good for you too!  All of the ingredients are incredibly easy to find…none of those weird sugar substitutes that you see in most low carbohydrate recipes!  The texture is more like that of cheesecake, so be sure to let them cool completely before you try to remove them from the pan.

Epic Brownie Tower
Epic Brownie Tower

Ingredients

Cheesecake Filling:

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1 Egg

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

2 tsp. Powdered Stevia

Brownie Batter:

1 c. Almond Meal

5 Tb. Cocoa Powder

2 1/2 T. Powdered Stevia

6 Tb. Butter, melted

2 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 c. Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

2 Eggs, beaten

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and dust an 8 x 8 baking dish with cocoa powder.

Dusting with cocoa powder keeps the recipe grain-free!
Dusting with cocoa powder keeps the recipe grain-free!

Melt the butter over low heat.

Mix the cheesecake ingredients in a glass bowl with a hand mixer until smooth.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the Almond Meal, Cocoa, and Powdered Stevia.  Use a fork or whisk to break up any lumps.

Mix in the melted Butter.

Mix in the Vanilla, Yogurt/Sour Cream, and eggs.

Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan.

Pour the cheesecake filling on top, and mix the two batters with a butter knife to form “swirls.”  Be sure to mix them together well.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool for at least fifteen minutes before serving.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Updated 9-27-13.

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

I always have some chicken left over from my roast, and being a fan of chicken salad, I searched far and wide for a recipe that I liked.  I don’t like an overload of flavors, and I like only a small amount of mayonnaise on the salad. I made a few modifications to this recipe to create a simple and fresh chicken salad that can be eaten any time.

Ingredients

3 c. Diced Chicken

1 stalk Celery, minced

1/2 c. Sweet Onion, minced

1/2 tsp. dried Dill

1/4 tsp. dried Tarragon

2 Tb. chopped fresh Parsley

3/4 c. Mayonnaise

2 tsp. fresh Lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

Pepper

Method

Mix the Chicken, Celery, Onion, dried herbs, Parsley, Salt, and Pepper in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the Mayonnaise, Lemon juice, and Dijon Mustard.  Add to Chicken 1/4 c. at a time, until it is just coated (may have some leftover…or you can use it all and add more!).

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

No Sugar Added Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

I found this amazing recipe at a stevia website.  I made just a few modifications…the recipe had the stevia amounts spot on.  It has the perfect amount of sweetness, and can be served hot or cold as a dessert, breakfast, or anytime snack.  It works with almost any kind of apple too.  I would love to always have some on hand for snacking, but I tend to eat the entire thing as soon as it’s cooled off!

Ingredients

Filling:

7 to 8 c. Peeled, chopped Apples

3 Tb. Lemon Juice

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. Powdered Stevia

2 Tb. Whole Wheat Flour

3 Tb. Almond Butter

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Salt

2/3 c. Half and Half

Topping*:

1 c. Rolled Oats

2/3 c. Chopped Pecans

1/4 tsp. Powdered Stevia

3/4 tsp. Liquid Stevia

2 Tb. Melted Butter or Oil

*You may substitute 1 1/2 c. Granola for the topping.

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Place the Apples in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the Lemon Juice.  Mix the Vanilla, Powdered Stevia, Wheat Flour, Almond Butter, Cinnamon, and Salt into the Apples.

Pour the Half and Half into the bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon in the Apple mixture.

Mix the Oats, Pecans, Powdered Stevia, and Liquid Stevia together in a bowl.  Stir in the melted Butter/Oil.  Spread the topping over the Apples so it is evenly distributed.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  If the topping gets done before the Apples, cover dish with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.

Serve as is, or top with fresh Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, or Whole Fat Greek Yogurt.