Turnip Bake – NoTato Bake or Fake Potato Bake – Whatever floats your boat!

fake potato bake2

Ingredients:

4 Medium to large turnips sliced thinly

1 cup  grated cheese (Omit if dairy intolerant)

1 cup cream (Coconut cream if dairy intolerant)

Himalayan salt to taste

2 slightly heaped tsp turmeric powder (read more about this powerful spice here)

2 Tbsp butter

Method:

1. Peel and thinly slice your turnips and put a layer into an oven-proof dish.

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2. Pour half the cream over the turnips. Sprinkle 1 tsp turmeric over the first layer and use one Tbsp chunks of butter on the layer. Sprinkle with half the cheese.

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3. Repeat another layer as above.

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4. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes at a 180 degrees.

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I served this comforting side-dish with some grilled chicken.

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Now if you really want to be resourceful and take your turnip-experience to the next level, pick a bunch with beautiful turnip greens. These greens are filled with cancer-fighting properties. I used mine to make a broth along with the chicken bones from the carcass after I cut my chicken into pieces.

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Simply add 1 carrot, half an onion, turnip greens, 2 free-range wings, chicken bones, garlic, salt, peppercorns and apple cider vinegar to create this nutrient-dense broth. I used the broth the next day, simply added some mushrooms and cream for a lovely mushroom soup.

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Creamy Spinach and Eggplant Lasagna – Prepare to welcome a new family favourite

Lasagna

A low carb lifestyle to me is all about swapping food that’s filled with empty nutrients with nutrient dense produce.  It really amazes me that people can build so much of a meal around carbs. The word lasagna was derived from the Roman word that means “Cooking pot”. However, if you would type in the word lasagna you will get the description of a dish made with pasta strips.

We are going to make a mighty fine lasagna dish today without pasta or flour filled sauces. We are simply going to keep things REAL. Real yummy and nutritious that is.

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Ingredients:

1.5 kg mince

2 packets swiss chard or spinach, centre stalks removed

1 cup cream

1 Cup grated mozzarella

1 Cup grated Cheddar

half a block of cream cheese

1 cup milk

3 free range eggs

2 large eggplants (briljals), cut into 1 cm rounds

1 small packet tomato puree

1/2 cup coconut oil, lard or rendered fat

BBQ spices

2 tbsp Italian mixed herbs

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 Tbsp Xylitol

1/4 cup water

This recipe is really simple and pretty straight forward.  You can absolutely spice up the meat however you like, as long as it is not too saucy. That is why I only use a small packet of tomato puree. It consists of four elements :

1. The creamy spinach

2. The  slightly saucy meat

3. The egg mix and cheese topping

4. The brinjal/eggplant rounds

Preheat the oven to 190 C

In a large oven proof dish, allow the coconut oil or lard in the oven proof to melt and then pack a first layer of brinjals to cover the bottom layer of the dish.  Pop into the oven for about 15 minutes till tender.

In the meanwhile, brown your mince and then add the BBQ spice, salt and pepper, herbs, tomato puree, xylitol, garlic and 1/4 cup water.

In a separate pot, boil/steam the spinach and a pinch of salt in a small amount of water.  As soon as the spinach is just a little more cooked than the wilted stage, drain the excess water, add the cream and cream cheese and allow the cream mix to thicken and reduce for 5 + minutes while stirring gently.

In a separate bowl whisk your eggs into the milk.

Now use halve the mince and layer on top of the brinjal layer, followed by the creamy spinach.  Then pack the rest of the raw brinjals on top of the spinach cream followed by another layer of mince meat. Sprinkle the cheese over the meat and pour the egg mix evenly over the entire dish.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes and Koos is your cousin!  Okay or Bob can be your uncle if you insist.

Serve with a beautiful green salad and be sure to save some for the next day’s lunchbox.  It is divine eaten cold too.

YIELDS ABOUT 8 – 10 PORTIONS AT ABOUT 8 GRAMS OF CARBS EACH.

Decarbing Da Donut!

This handy dandy donut recipe is easy, awesome and really versatile. Make a batch of 24 mini’s in under 15 minutes, why don’t you.  The kidlets will love you for it! (Ok the hubby will love it … I mean you too!)

When I started experimenting in my mini donut maker, I really wanted to capture that almost gluten like texture.  I found that adding cream cheese to the finest possible nut flour ( I used macadamia but almond will be just as good.) did the trick. Also then, achieving the fried oily outer crust of that donut or “oil ball” as we call it in Afrikaans, is possible by adding 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to each donut mould. Got all round thumbs up and so I’m happy to share my version of a basic donut recipe.

The other good news is :

This batter can be used for donuts, flapjacks or waffles!  I know … and yes, you are welcome!

Donuts

Batter:

1 cup nut flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2  Tbsp Xylitol

2 free range eggs

60g cream cheese or 1/4 of a 230g block

1 tsp vanilla extract/ essence

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Method:

With a blending stick, mix the cream cheese, vanilla, xylitol and eggs together to a thin custardy consistency.  Add the nut flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mix.

Melt a bit of coconut oil into each mould. Scoop half tablespoonfuls into the pre warmed donut moulds and follow machine instructions from there. (I keep mine in a bit longer than suggested.)

Immediately dip into or coat with your preferred topping and eat while hot for the best little fiesta in your mouth.

Yields 24 mini’s

Donut Love

Topping suggestions:

1. Cinnamon sugar

Simply grind 2 Tbsp of xylitol and add some ground cinnamon to taste, mix and sprinkle over your donuts.

2. Vanilla Fudge Glaze

1/2 cup cream

2 Tbsp butter

1 – 2 Tbsp xylitol (We tend to prefer less sweet…)

1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan on medium high heat, allow the ingredients to boil and reduce for about 3 – 5 minutes while constantly whisking. You don’t want it to be too thick or “fudgy”  though.

Dip your mini’s into the sauce and enjoy.

(This sauce will also make a great waffle sauce)

3. Choc Glaze

1/2 cup cream

2 Tbsp butter

1 – 2 Tbsp xylitol (We tend to prefer less sweet…)

1 heaped Tbsp cocoa

In a saucepan on medium – high heat, allow the ingredients to boil and reduce for about 3 – 5 minutes while constantly whisking. You  want it to be too thick and glossy. Just be careful not to burn this sauce, rather reduce heat and simmer longer if you feel unsure.

Dip your mini’s into the sauce and enjoy.

High fat  topping

Use 1 part cream cheese, 1 part soft butter, 2 parts milk/cream, powdered xylitol to taste and vanilla. Mix till smooth and scoop onto your donuts.

You can even squirt in some lemon juice and add some lemon rind.

These are some basic ideas to get you going. Aren’t you glad you can eat more than the hole in the donut again?

Next post we are taking this donut concept out of the box… so excited to share.

Yours in low carb,

Inè

The healthiest little LCHF cupcake and the quickest little deconstructed cheesecake… ain’t they the sweetest?

Watermark - 10 minute choc-cherry cheesecake

DECONSTRUCTED CHOC CHERRY CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

125g (half a block) cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup cream

1 1/2 Tbsp Xylitol

Zest of one lemon

Juice of 1 small lemon (about 4 Tbsp)

1 cup of frozen cherries or any fresh or frozen berries of your choice.

Chocolate:

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup coconut cream or regular cream

4 Tbsp cocoa

3 Tbsp xylitol

Method:

For the cheese cake mousse:

Cream the cream cheese, xylitol, zest and lemon juice in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer.

Slowly pour in the cream while mixing on low at first, and as soon as the cream starts to thicken a bit mix on high for about two minutes or until stiff peaks form.

Cherries:

In a saucepan on medium heat, allow the cherries to stew for about 4 – 5 minutes and the sauce to reduce a bit.  I did not add any xylitol to mine because cherries are naturally very sweet.  If you use other frozen berries, use the same method.  If you opt for fresh berries, keep them fresh and do not cook them.

For the dark chocolate sauce:

In a saucepan, on medium to high heat, melt the coconut oil, cocoa and xylitol together. Whisk continuously. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, add your cream of choice slowly while whisking. Within a minute or less the sauce will thicken and turn glossy.  Remove from heat. (Add a dash more dairy cream if you want your kiddlets to enjoy a more milk chocolately version.) Allow to cool to just above room temperature, to a still scoopable or pourable consistency.

Assemble this “Divalicious” dish in a fancy schmancy wine glass or modern white plate and impress the company around the dinner table with oodles of “ooohhs”  and  “aaaahhhs” guarranteed!

Yields 4 – 6 portions at about 8 – 10 grams of carbs per serving

NEXT…

Watermark - Ten Minute cupcakes

I bake with pumpkin seeds a LOT.  Not only is it currently half the price of most nuts per kilo, but they are little nutritional bombs waiting to provide a body near you with an explosion of cell building magnesium, zinc, and FIBRE. (They are also a powerhouse of prostate cancer prevention – So ladies, feed the man in your life some pumpkin seeds!) This is in my opinion the Rapunzel of noble flours, however still waiting to be rescued out of the tower though.  I realize this is as unconventional as baking can get, but really this is a minor mind shift and no, you are not signing your life away to tree hugging and eating compost.  You are simply embracing incredible smart ingredient swap outs and baking food that is as nutrient dense as they can be.  Give it a try… just once – You’ll be hooked!

Emergency 10 Minute Cupcakes:

(I make these whenever my kids have their carb crazy friends over.  They devour them not suspecting a thing)

1 1/4 cup milled pumpkin seeds (I grind mine in my coffee grinder. Takes about a minute.  You could substitute this ingredient with any other nut flour too.)

3 Tbsp cocoa

3 tsp baking powder

4 Tbsp xylitol

1/2 cup desiccated coconut, fine

1/2 cup nut meal. (I used almond)

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup melted butter

1/2 cup cream

Small bar of 85 % Lindt dark chocolate or caring candies chocolate bar, chopped (Completely optional, I would only suggest this if you plan to eat them dry, as a muffin instead of a cupcake)

Method:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2. Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well.  Pour into your preference of small medium or large silicone muffin cups or lined cupcake pan if you want to bake them in the oven.

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Simply bake them in batches of three or four (depending on size) in the microwave for about 2 – 3 minutes.  It needs to be just set but not dried out so keep an eye on them and check after two thirds through the process.

I don’t like to use my microwave oven a lot, so I tend to prefer baking these, which then makes them 25 minute cupcakes really.  Bake them at 180 deg C for 12 – 16 minutes.  Do a knife test to see if they are baked through, but be sure to take them out while still fairly moist and spongy on top.

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QUICK  MOCHA  ICING:

2 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature

2 Tbsp finely ground xylitol (Once again, give regular xylitol a quick grind in your coffee grinder to make powdered xylitol)

1/2 tsp instant coffee, mixed in 1 Tbsp warm water

1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa

1/4 Cup cream

Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Yields 16 -18 small cupcakes at 5 grams carbs each.

NEXT:

Make your cupcakes dreamy an fun with this easy to make marshmallow fluff.

Watermark - Marsh Mallow Cupcakes

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1/2 cup xylitol

2/3 cup warm water

4 Tbsp gelatine

½ cup cold water

2 tsp vanilla extract or cocoa powder.  Or 1 tsp coffee powder

Method:

Place the xylitol and warm water in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until the xylitol dissolves completely.

Add the gelatine to the cold water and let it ‘sponge’ for a few minutes. Stir it into the xylitol syrup. Boil the mixture for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer until almost doubled in volume. Add the flavouring and whisk for another 8–10 minutes or until soft peaks form. Scoop onto your cupcakes immediately. If halfway through scooping the mallow mix is too stiff to scoop, simply microwave for 10 secs.

Yields 16 – 18 small cupcakes with mallow topping at 5 grams carbs each.

Easy end of the month low carb meals…

Oh Nuts! We love them but we hate their prices, don’t we?

So we are going to ignore them completely during this blog!  That should teach them…and their suppliers… and the NUT Illuminati… 😉

The secret to an exciting low carb lifestyle lies really in focussing on the wonderful things we can eat instead of the empty carbs we should rather avoid.

 

Some handy, budget, nut substitutes:

Pumpkin seed meal (Pumpkin seeds ground in your coffee grinder)

Coconut meal (Desiccated coconut ground in your coffee grinder)

Flax meal  (Flax seed ground in your coffee grinder)

You can really substitute almost any recipe with these nut alternatives.  However, almonds especially, have a very neutral taste, and the above meals might add a bit of a different flavour palette. Pumpkin meal has a very subtle taste too.  However, when substituting with coconut meal, it is always good to add liquids, either with an extra egg, yoghurt or milk to the batter.

 

Watermark - Cabbage & Baby marrow latkes

 

Ingredients:

Coconut oil to saute and fry.

500g shredded cabbage (I just got a pre-packed, cabbage slaw kind)

2 medium baby marrows, grated

1 small onion finely chopped (Or swap for a small apple, grated)

salt & pepper to taste

2 eggs

2 1/2  tsp baking powder

1/3 cup *milled pumpkin seeds (optional)

* The pumpkin meal makes the latkes a bit more puffy in consistency and easier to stack and fill if you want to use it in a lunch box filled with cream cheese and bacon.

The batter without the pumpkin meal is a bit more like I remember my German Grandma’s, but needs to be eaten with a knife and fork.  I love it though, because the cabbage caramelize so nicely with this one.

 

Method:

Saute the cabbage, onion/apple, baby marrows and spices in a pot on medium to high heat for about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  In a mixing bowl, add the cabbage mix and the rest of the ingredients and gently mix into a batter.  Fry heaped tablespoons full until brown, turing once or twice.  Serve with butter, or sour cream and chives.  Makes a great addition to a soup or eaten with a scoop of ground beef and grated cheese.

Yields about 16 latkes at 1.2 grams carbs each.

 

Watermark - Stuffed Chicken

 

4 Chicken breasts, skin on, deboned

6 – 8 rashers of bacon, chopped

1/2 green pepper/ red pepper, chopped

4 tsp pesto

4 Tbsp cream cheese / grated cheddar cheese

Herbed salt in grinder or salt and pepper to taste.

Coconut oil for frying

 

Veggies:

Baby marrows, sliced

Plumb tomatoes, halved

Herbed salt in grinder or salt and pepper to taste

Coconut oil for frying.

 

In a pan on medium to high heat, cook the bacon rashers in a bit of coconut oil.  As soon as the rashers start to cook through, add the chopped peppers and saute in the bacon fat along with the bacon. As soon as the peppers are soft remove from heat.

Cut a pocket into the breasts and stuff the chicken breasts with a tablespoon layer of cream cheese/cheddar cheese, a teaspoon of pesto, and a 1/4 of the bacon mix. Tuck the skin as tightly as you can to close the pockets. If they can’t close all the way, “no problemo”.  Just be swift with turning without losing the filling.

In the bacon pan, on medium to high heat.  Add a bit of coconut oil to the bacon fat left from sauteing the bacon.  Seal the breasts on both sides till nice and brown (about 1 – 2 minutes on each side), sprinkle slightly with salt and pepper, and turn heat down to medium – low. Add the chopped veggies all around the chicken pieces and allow to gently saute in the pan juices.

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Put a lid on the pan and allow to cook for 6 – 8 minutes (Times may vary according to fillet size. The inside of the filling must be oozy and the the chicken must be warm through out, when poking a knife into the thickest part. Take the chicken out  of the pan and allow to rest for a minute while you quickly allow the veggies in the pan to caramelize on high heat.

Mustard  cream sauce:

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1 cup cream

3 Tbsp butter

Salt to taste

1 tsp xylitol

A grind of black pepper

A squeeze of lemon juice

 

In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow the sauce to simmer on medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes and reduce to a creamy consistency.

Yields just over a cup of sauce, enough for 4 – 6 servings of meat.

Smother the chicken breast with warm mustard sauce and enjoy!

This recipe yields 4 portions at about 6 grams of carbs per meal.

Serve with a salad.

 

Watermark - No bake seed clusters

Ingredients:

100 gram *coconut flakes (one Montagu packet)

(* can be replaced with 3/4 cup plain fine or medium desiccated coconut)

50 g butter

2 Tbsp cocoa

2 Tbsp xylitol

2 Tbsp boiling water

4 Tbsp coconut cream

4 Tbsp sunflower seeds

4Tbsp desiccated coconut fine

4 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp grated orange peel (optional)

In a dry pan, toast your seeds and coconut flakes ever so slightly on medium heat till brown colour starts to show. remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan, on medium – high heat, melt the butter, add the xylitol and mix.  Add the cocoa dissolved in the hot water and the coconut cream.  Allow the sauce to bubble and thicken for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and allow to sit for a minute or two.  Add all the seeds and coconut and stir into the chocolate sauce.  Scoop into a12 hole tiny cupcake latex moulds or into small cupcake liners. (You could also line an egg carton with cling wrap and mould little clusters in the oval moulds) If you did not use the coconut chips you could roll the batter into 12 balls.  Allow to cool and set overnight or for 2 – 3 hours. They set quite firmly if you give them a chance.

Yields 12 clusters at 1.75 grams of carbs per cluster

These make great lunchbox treats, while you get to sneak in some much needed fiber.

Off course you can make these with chopped nuts instead of the seeds, but nuts does not get to steel the lime light today!

 

Yours in low carb,

Inè

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smooth(ie) Operator… Swopping juicing for smoothies – do the carb-smart groove!

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{Berry Buchu Smoothie}

I get such deep emotions when I look at this picture!  This is my once a month kidney tonic.

I gave it a healthy name, and it is 100% true, but in all honesty it is just plain awesome!

There are however some do’s and don’ts to consider when on a low carb diet, especially when it comes to juicing fruit and veggies.

Let me give you my opinion on the matter:

JUICING

Indeed, so noble sounding.  I was a juice fan for a loooooong time!  Carrot juice, beet juice, with added apples, oranges and ginger.

I could just feel it cleansing me from tip to toe!  Taking nasties out, feeding my cells concentrated vitamins and minerals.

I juiced, I also eliminated all fats, dairy and meat from my diet.

After 4 months, I almost died!  I could not function properly.  I felt tired ALL the time.  I went to my Doc and he told me very sternly that my cholesterol was incredibly dangerously low.  He also explained that too low a cholesterol level was worse than too high levels of cholesterol.  He told me to go home and eat eggs and a lamb chop.  He said that the fat in that lamb chop will save my life!

It did!

What went wrong on this approach?

I ate a very very high carb diet with hardly any fats to sustain me.

When we juice fruit and veggies, we extract the beautiful fibre our digestive tract needs to be healthy. Leaving really only concentrated carbs in the form of sugar. (Especially the veggies that makes the best juice bases like carrots and beets and fruit of course)

We also eliminate the process that slows down how quickly those sugar get absorbed into our bloodstreams.

A cup carrot juice has 22 grams of carbs! You need at least 4 – 5 big carrots for a cup of juice.  Again when you put it into perspective of 30 grams of carbs a day, it changes the picture a bit.  If weight loss or controlling insulin spikes and avoiding inflammation driven disease is your goal, a single cup of juice with apple and carrot can take you over 40 grams of carbs!

When juicing you can easily drink all your daily carb allowance in a single sitting.  Plus, you eat more servings of veg than you would have consumed in a meal.

Have a look at this fruit carb counter:

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The problem with fruit juice is that a single serving of these fruit cannot fill a cup.  You need a few!  So you can just imagine the amount of carbs.  It can pull you out of fat burning mode in no time and put you right back into burning sugar for energy and storing fat.

If you can manage to juice veggies like spinach, cabbage, marrows, celery and cucumbers and add a few berries to sweeten, I guess it will be fine. (Does not sound too yummy honestly) But in my opinion you can put those veggies to better use in scrumptious side dishes, soups or stews and still benefit from all the fibre that encourages a healthy digestive system.

My  juicing SWOP – OUT Suggestion would be the following:

SHIFT TO SMOOTHIES 😉  I know, it is a sacrifice of monstrous proportions!

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 This recipe yields  2 – 3 servings is filled with fibre and has oodles of feel – good properties.

TEA BASED SMOOTHIES:

You can make any combination of tea and lowest carb portioned fruit (as per suggested serving size above)

Green tea and raspberry, Rooibos tea and strawberry, Sweet Chamomile tea and a chunk of Winter melon.  Creamy cucumber, avo and  Ginger tea…

You can make loads of awesome combo’s.  Herbal teas have beautiful health properties and combining it with a low carb, fibre rich fruit is being truly “carb smart”.  Not only are you taking in much needed fluids, you are also keeping sugar spikes at bay. As long as you still keep in mind that you can not have one 3 times a day every day.  Fruit remains nature’s candy… use sparingly and keep the carbs in mind within the bigger eating picture.

CREAM AND COCONUT CREAM BASED SMOOTHIES:

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{serves 2}

These are a bit more decadent and absolutely like this heading suggests, should be seen as a meal in a glass!

Remember fat is the most energy dense food per gram and a smoothie like this will take you far while also taking up the 5 -7 grams of carbs of a breakfast or lunch.

Again combinations are endless…  You can even leave out the milk and rather add a rooibos, chai tea or a water base to save 2 – 3 carbs

per serving.

Add a new level with spices and herbs like cinnamon, cardamom and mints…

 Now I’ve got you thinking of awesome combo’s right?

How smooth was that move!

Yours in Low carb,

Inè