Lemon Coconut Creme Paleo (and Candida-diet friendly) Cake!

As I mentioned before, a close friend of mine has been struggling under the confines of a very restrictive diet (Phase I of the Candida-diet) and the lack of variety has been very draining on her.

Her birthday was last week and I knew she was very upset that not only could she not indulge on her birthday with a drink, a birthday cake was totally out of the picture.

Or was it?

I decided I was NOT going to let her celebrate her 28th birthday without a sweet treat to make it special. Working with no grains, no sugars, and limited approved ingredients would make for a challenge, but I was ready to test my culinary prowess.

This is what I made my best friend:

12240046_10101645334673493_4460777102840056443_n

What you are looking at is:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, and 100% Paleo-Approved.

And, most importantly, DELICIOUS.

How did I do it?

Well, if you recall, a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with a Candida-approved Italian bread recipe that turned out REALLY well.

Running with that variation, I decided to see if I could turn a savory bread into a sweet cake with some mild variations. After FOUR experiments (using different measures of coconut milk, eggs, and flour ratios), I came up with the following PERFECT cake mix:

PERFECT PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON CAKE:

3/4 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut fiber
1/2 cup granulated Stevia
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon, with pulp

The cake would be prepared like any other cake: dry ingredients are first in the bowl, and then you’ll fold in the wet ingredients.

Place dough (it’ll be thick, but pliable) in a 9″ round cake pan that you’ve greased ahead of time. I used organic coconut oil spray, but you can go with whatever oil you prefer.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

But what is a CAKE without icing?

Now, I knew I’d never recreate a perfect, fluffy icing …and if I did, I realized it would be very temperature-weak, since it would have to be comprised of coconut oil which melts at pretty much any temperature over 72 degrees. So, I decided to forgo a traditional icing and aim for a lemony, zesty glaze to drizzle on top. After dabbling, I landed on the perfect recipe cited below.

ZESTY PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON ICING GLAZE:

1/3 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
4 tbsp coconut oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 egg white
1/3 cup stevia
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract

The icing is best prepared in a sauce pan on the stove, stirring NONSTOP until it thickens. Pour over cake while still warm. You’ll have a ton with this recipe, so think of this like a Lemon Tres Leches cake!

And there you have it! My best friend got to enjoy a slice of REAL CAKE on her birthday, and I had a real win in the kitchen!

For those of you worried about calories, the entire cake was roughly 2,100 total (with the icing included), and that worked out to about 10-12 slices, depending on how heavy-handed you are with your servings. If anyone wants a full nutritional breakdown (I have it!), let me know!

So, what are you waiting for? Time to start baking!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

High Protein, Low Carb Brownies

Alright, folks, I’m on day three of my low-carb, high intensity workout regimen and, amazingly, I haven’t caved and scarfed down my stockpile of Cadbury Creme eggs …yet.

I have, though, suffered from some pretty intense sweets cravings, which has led me on an internet search to find something sweet that won’t break the carb bank.

I found a few low carb recipes, but nothing really blew me over and most of them were RIDICULOUSLY high in fat and calories (basically pure-butter blocks!), so …I decided to improvise and make my own!

Tori’s High-Protein, Low-Carb (grain-free/gluten-free) Brownies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Splenda (it is low carb, after all)
  • 4 oz of unsweetened, pure dark chocolate (melted)
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter or ghee
  • 2 full scoops of your favorite low carb Chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup of egg whites (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Walden Farms brand sugar free chocolate syrup (aka, nectar of the gods)
  • 1/2 cup Walden Farms brand sugar free caramel syrup (tastes like melted dulce de leche ice cream!)
  • 1 cup of fat free cream cheese, softened (but NOT melted!)
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray (a godsend!)

Directions:

I’m the first to admit that I’m not much of a baker, so I definitely am not one to “sieve” this, or “whisk,” that, and –by some miracle of the pastry heavens– this recipe came out perfectly by just combining ALL of the ingredients in one giant bowl and beating it into a creamy oblivion.

Hint: the harder and longer you whip, the fluffier the brownies will be.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray your pan (use a brownie dish for THICK, moist brownies, or a COOKIE SHEET for thin, crispier brownies – my preference) well to ensure nothing sticks.

Pour in well-beaten batter and gently rock pan to get the better evenly spread out.

10423740_10155804494890204_939688812912327123_n

Tiny little cream cheese lumps survived the beating, but they didn’t impact the flavor or texture at all!

If using a smaller pan, bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 MINUTES. For a cookie sheet or larger pan, bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes. I baked mine for about 18 minutes in a cookie sheet and thought they turned out a little well done, but still SUPER delicious.

And, seriously, don't these look perfect?! Hard to believe they're completely flourless.

And, seriously, don’t these look perfect?! Hard to believe they’re completely flourless.

I could barely wait for them to cool, and managed to cut this tray into TWENTY FOUR giant servings (think 2×2″ brownies!).

Calorie/Nutrient Content for one brownie (assuming 24 servings in total):

  • 81 Calories
  • 5.3g fat
  • 2.2g carbs
  • 4.6g protein

I’m going to keep playing with the recipe to see if I can boost up the protein a bit more (maybe Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese? more protein powder?) and reduce the fat a tiny bit, but only 2.2g carbs for a solid 5 bites of brownie is a win-win in my book!

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Delicious Paleo Chicken Crockpot Recipe

In a hurry to get to the gym last night, I tossed a bunch of random ingredients into the crockpot and prayed for a miracle. My husband had class (we’re both in grad school), and I wanted something filling, healthy, and effortless, but really didn’t have time to prep anything, so I gathered the following ingredients and crossed my fingers:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs trimmed, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar (16 oz) Newman’s Own Organic Garlic Salsa
  • 1 jar (16 oz) water (use the salsa jar!)
  • 1 bunch (approx 1 oz) of fresh basil
  • 8 tbsp chili powder
  • 6 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 4 stalks of chives, chopped
  • 1 bag mixed chopped peppers (Publix and Trader Joe’s both have great mixed bags)
  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 bag raw carrot slices

I literally tossed all of these ingredients into my crockpot (which I sprayed with Coconut Oil non-stick spray from Trader Joe’s first) and stirred well to cover, set the heat to HIGH, and then took off.

I was at the gym a little more than 2.5 hours, stopped at Target on the way home, and eventually returned to the house three hours later to find the house smelled like MEXICAN HEAVEN!

Seriously, it smelled SO good. I was so excited by how it smelled, I didn’t even take a picture. I stirred the contents (holy cow, it looked good) and the chicken completely fell apart. It looked like pulled chicken, only spicy and fragrant like a good set of fajitas.

With perfect timing, my husband arrived from school right as I steamed a spaghetti squash (in the microwave, it takes roughly 7 minutes to steam a halved squash with salt and pepper) and diced up a fresh, ripe avocado.

I served the pulled Mexican chicken over the spaghetti squash (right out of the squash-skin, since it makes an organic, biodegradable bowl!) and topped it off with the avocado and a little more salsa.

Since my husband doesn’t follow a paleo diet, he also added some low-fat sour cream (which some Paleo dieters agree dairy is fine in moderation) and his favorite hot sauce, and we both inhaled our dishes like the ravenous cavemen (and cavewomen!) we are.

The prep time on this dish was honestly less than 5-8 minutes, and you could easily swap out pork, steak, or fish instead of the chicken with equally delicious results. The crockpot is always my go-to on busy days, so if you don’t have one at home …what are you waiting for?!

On that note… I can’t wait for my leftovers today for lunch. Bon appetit, my friends!!

~ Tori

Super Simple Paleo Breakfast Quiche

Tired of Greek yogurt every day, I decided to throw together these super simple crestless quiches for breakfast during the week.

Seriously, these took less than 5 minutes to prep and only 15 minutes to cook. They are endless customizable and store well in the fridge or freezer.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A cupcake/muffin pan
  • Cupcake liners (these are optional, but the clean-up is MUCH easier)
  • 12 whole eggs (or 6 whole, 8-10 whites whipped together)
  • Chopped turkey bacon, turkey sausage, or meat of your choice.
  • Assorted chopped veggies (onions, peppers, tomatoes, etc)
  • 1/2 cup low fat cheese (or, if you’re strict Paleo and don’t use dairy, Daiya-brand cheese alternative works!)

Instructions:

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • While it heats, put the cupcake liners into your cupcake pan.
  • At the bottom of the liner, add in crumbled turkey bacon or a few (small) pieces of turkey sausage. I used Jennie-O Turkey Sausage links and could only fit about 1/2 of a link into each tin.
  • If you’re mixing in veggies, make sure they are THAWED or cooked. These cook too quickly to use anything frozen. I’d recommend no more than 1 tbsp of chopped veggies unless you’re using a BIG muffin tray.
  • If you’re using WHOLE eggs, crack a single egg into each cupcake liner. If you’re using the egg white/whole egg blend, fill the tin to 3/4 full.
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I also added a 1/2 tsp of onion flakes, as well, because that’s my thing).
  • Right before you toss in the oven, sprinkle on a tiny bit of cheese/cheese alternative. I didn’t even use the full 1/2 cup I had set aside, but you can be as generous as you’d like.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. I checked mine a few times, as I was trying to keep my yolk soft and my whites cooked, but you can cook it a little longer (up to 16 minutes) without the egg becoming rubbery. Don’t OVERCOOK them if you plan to store them, as reheating them in the microwave could make them tough if they are already well-done.

 

Here’s what my finished product looked like:

20140605-115202-42722747.jpg

Using whole eggs and a 1/2 turkey sausage link in each, my crustless quiches were roughly 95 calories each. Not bad! I had two for breakfast this morning and plan to enjoy them over the weekend, as well. I’ll freeze the extras for future enjoyment or a quick and easy snack.

These are great for Paleo dieters, low-carb friends, or anyone that needs a quick, protein-filled breakfast in a hurry.

Bon appetit, my friends!

Tori

The Atkins Diet

Sometime in high school, I was introduced to the concept of the Atkins diet. At the time, I was close to 190 pounds and hanging out with the boys on the weightlifting team. My diet was similar to the boys, as well. I’m pretty sure I was consuming close to 5,000 calories a day, plus or minus 1,500. I didn’t count calories so much back then, as I felt I had found a community among my fellow over-eaters.

In science class, I overheard one of the popular girls chatting with a classmate about a new diet. It consisted of eating copious amounts of cheese, beef jerky, sausages, and other mouth-watering items. In fact, I’m quite certain I was drooling on my binder in the row behind them. I had never heard of a diet that allowed you to eat horrifically fatty foods and still lose weight. Had I overheard a discussion on diet Utopia? This couldn’t be true.

When I got home from school, I turned on my computer and signed on to AOL, the cacophonous dial-up a harmonious backdrop to my inhalation of potato chips. I’m dating myself with this one, I’m sure.

I typed into the search engine something along the lines of “cheese and meat diet” and the Internetz poured out information on the hallowed Atkins diet. It existed!

After approximately twelve minutes of intensive research, I declared myself an expert on the subject and a renowned nutritionist. I realized it was time to stage an intervention on the refrigerator, which was packed with unhealthy foods, such as fresh apples, green grapes, whole grain bread, and other vile atrocities of good nutrition. Was my mother trying to kill me? Gah!

I threw away everything that so much as resembled a fruit, a grain, or a starchy vegetable, debating whether or not a call to the DCF was too extreme in this particular case of child abuse. After deciding to let it slide this one time, I pulled some money out of my hidden stash and grabbed my book bag, intent on restocking the fridge.

I biked the two miles to Winn Dixie, the only grocery store in our suburb, and proudly grabbed a cart, prepared to save my family from the path of obesity.

[I should probably interject at this point to note that both my mother and father are thin, healthy, normal people who eat well, exercise, and probably have NO IDEA where my weight obsession came from.]

I stocked up on packages of turkey bacon, ground beef, cheese, sour cream, and gallons of heavy cream. Did you know you can eat whipped cream right from the can as long as you choose the sugar-free kind? This was going to be the best diet of my life. I was going to get skinny AND eat double cheeseburgers? HOORAH!

I returned home with my loot, much to the shock and dismay of my parents. Unfortunately, I was at an age where they couldn’t really regulate or control my diet, as I was old enough to make my own food choices and dumb enough to think I was capable of making these decisions.

I won’t go into too many details about the Atkins diet, but let’s just say its affects on the GI track are less than attractive. In fact, in less than two weeks of a strict diet of melted cheese on top of fried meat and I was in the doctor’s office. I didn’t lose weight, but I definitely learned that moderation is key when it comes to fried, cheese-encrusted anything.

While I do feel a diet low in white, refined sugars is likely a good thing, an extreme low-carb diet, such as Atkins, can be a bit too much for any rational human being. Or at least this one.

Fruits & veggies are a good thing, especially for your intestines,

Tori