THE Premier Low-Carb store .. .. AND Meeting Place

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CHOCOLATE SWEETHEART CAKE



CHOCOLATE SWEETHEART CAKE
This beautiful, layered cake rises very high and tastes like the real thing. Make this cake for you and your sweetheart as a sweet ending to a perfect meal and a lovely day. This recipe is in Low-Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1.

23/cups Gluten-Free Bake Mix 1 (675 mL)  (Click for bake mix recipe)
Liquid sweetener (sucralose or stevia) to equal  3/cup sugar (175 mL)
1/cup Dutch cocoa (75 mL)
2 tsp baking soda (10 mL)
1/tsp salt (2 mL)
6 eggs
3/cup sour cream (175 mL)
2/cup granulated erythritol (150 mL)
2/cup light-tasting olive oil (150 mL)
1/cup Da Vinci® Sugar Free (60 mL)
  Chocolate Syrup, OR any low-carb pancake syrup (OR just use water, flavoring and extra sweetener!)
2 tsp vanilla extract (10 mL)
Ganache Frosting, BELOW  

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  In large bowl, combine Gluten-Free Bake Mix,  liquid sweetener, Dutch cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Stir to combine well. In food processor or in bowl with electric mixer, add eggs, sour cream, erythritol, olive oil, Da Vinci® Sugar Free Syrup, OR low-carb pancake syrup and vanilla extract.  Beat on low speed until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, processing one minute or so until it thickens, scraping the sides once.

Spread batter evenly in two greased and “floured” (use tiny sprinkle of bake mix) 7-inch (18 cm) heart-shaped nonstick cake pans or 2, 8-inch (20 cm) nonstick cake pans. Bake in oven 25 to 30 minutes.  Test cake with cake tester in center of one cake after 25 minutes and check every 2 minutes thereafter, until tester comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack.  Carefully run a knife around edges and lift underneath with a thin, flat spatula.  Invert cakes, supporting with your hands onto cake rack and cool.  Turn one layer of cake on its topside, so that the two flat sides meet in the middle.  Frost when cooled with Ganache Frosting (below), OR frosting of choice (see my blog for ideas).  If desired, place a heart-shaped patch of Crème Fraiche, page 52 on top of cake over chocolate frosting and garnish with 1 or 2 red candied cherries cut into tiny pieces for color.   Sprinkle with unsweetened, grated chocolate.  If desired, double the frosting recipe to have a really generous amount and use the rest as a treat to eat by the spoonful (it’s that tasty!) whenever.  The frosting freezes well. 


Helpful Hints:  This cake recipe can be used to make cupcakes instead.

Yield: 12/16 servings
1 serving without frosting
287.5/215.6 calories
8.2/6.1 g protein
24.9/18.7 g fat
6.5/4.9 g net carbs

CHOCOLATE SAUCE AND GANACHE FROSTING
This sauce and frosting is beyond delicious!

1 cup sugarless chocolate chips (250 mL)
  (sweetened), OR 6 oz of your favorite low-carb chocolate bar! (180 g)
1 can Thick Cream, (170 mL)
  Carnation® (25% M.F.)
1 tbsp Da Vinci® Sugar Free (15 mL), OR water and extract flavoring
  Kahuli Caffe, OR B-52 Syrup (optional) 

In double boiler, melt chocolate with cream.  Stir to combine well.  Stir in Da Vinci® Sugar Free Kahuli Caffe or B-52 Syrup, if using.  *If using as a frosting, refrigerate or briefly freeze sauce, until it has a firmer consistency and spreads easily.

Helpful Hints:  Use warm chocolate sauce for dipping fruits or as a topping for ice cream.  This would make an awesome topping for a cheesecake or pour over a crust and then add a pie or cheesecake filling.

Use this thick sauce as a delicious, decadent drizzle over plain cakes or any other dessert that it would compliment.

Use this sauce as a frosting for brownies or cakes.  It is also great for frosting cookies. Use as the basis of chocolate truffles as this sauce is similar to ganache (a smooth mixture of chocolate and cream).

Yield:  1 cup (250 mL)
1 tbsp (15 mL) per serving
74.2 calories
0.7 g protein
5.3 g fat
0.9 g net carbs

Variation:  French Silk Pie:  For a really decadent, famous pie, double recipe and pour over a low-carb crust and let set 24 hours in refrigerator. For a firmer pie, drain cream first over a colander and add extra drained cream from another can to make up for lost volume. 
Yield: 10/12 servings. (350.2/291.9 calories, 6.5/5.4 g protein, 24.0/22.5 g fat, 4.4/3.7 g net carbs)


Helpful Hints:  *The frosting is a little sparse for a double-layered cake; however, with a filling for the middle of the cake, such as custard, apricot fruit spread or cream whipped with cocoa and sweetener, it is then substantial and able to frost the entire cake comfortably.  Otherwise double the recipe!


For other great Low-Carb, Gluten-Free recipes by the team & me:

Support your team, buy Low-Carbing Among Friends cookbooks at: 
http://amongfriends.us/Jen.php (Paypal/Amazon) - SALE priced! 

Insulin and Insulin Resistance



We hear these terms an awful lot as we grow older, because the fact is most people my age(52) will have some degree of insulin resistance, mainly due to our diets and aging.

Insulin resistance is not a disease but a condition in which a person's body cells have a lower level of response to insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps to regulate the level of glucose in the body. Therefore, the body produces larger amounts of insulin to maintain proper levels of glucose in the blood.

Although being an apple shape is one of the 4 or so body types, being a really overweight apple shape (big tummy!) is considered a problem, and it serves as a red flag to indicate insulin resistance and all the ills associated with that down the road. It is important when one has that body shape and one is severely overweight, to be responsible and lose the weight - at least to a healthier weight - not necessarily fashionable skinny, which believe it or not, is not that healthy either as one ages. My husband read something the other day that said if one is going into one's seventies at normal weight or below, risk of death at a younger age increases. That's so weird and I'd have to do more research to figure out if that is true.

One of the reasons a low-carb diet works or intermittent fasting (my latest thing) is because it does an end run on the insulin output - it reduces the amount of insulin produced in any given day. Since insulin is the fat storing hormone, this means less fat is stored.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Remember my Chicken Linguine Alfredo with Dreamfields? Alternative for pasta...





Update: My husband says the eggplant needs to be peeled first! He decided he likes it better without any skin.

Instead of Dreamfield's pasta, which is awesome by the way, it is possible to use Spaghetti Squash or Zucchini Noodles, or Japanese Eggplant Noodles. I bet that last option is a new idea to you. It really is a tasty option, however. Basically, using a potato peeler, slice ribbons as you would with a zucchini, turning the unpeeled Japanese eggplant (shaped not too unlike a zucchini) as you go. Fry in butter with some crushed garlic and seasonings until turning limp and tender. It has an interesting mouth feel, not too different from pasta. I also put my spaghetti meat sauce atop eggplant noodles. My hubby was very appreciative of both meals, so thought I'd share it on my blog. Warning: If you are not a fan of eggplant, then this will not appeal to you.

*TACO SALAD* (GF)


TACO SALAD
This is a whole meal deal on it’s own. Very similar to the traditional favorite! This recipe is found in More Splendid Low-Carbing.
1 lb lean ground beef (0.454 kg)
2 tbsp dehydrated onion flakes (25 mL)
2 tsp ground cumin (10 mL)
3/4 tsp hot chili powder (3 mL)
1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (2 mL)
1/8 tsp Thickening Agent, page 60 (0.5 mL)
1 cup water (250 mL)
6 cups shredded lettuce (1.5L)
1 large tomato, diced finely
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (125 mL)
3/4 cup Thousand Island Dressing, (175 mL)
Splendid Low-Carbing, page 100
Cheddar Taco Chips, page 9  (see APPETIZERS)

In large frying pan, brown ground beef. Pour off fat. Add onion flakes, cumin, hot chili powder, salt, garlic powder and Thickening Agent, page 60. Stir in water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens and onion is soft.

Prepare Taco Chips as described on page 9. Prepare each plate individually. Place lettuce on plate, mound ground beef in center, diced tomato, sprinkling of cheese, and 2 tbsp (25 mL) dressing. Toss salad to mix well and arrange Taco chips on or around salad.

Helpful Hint: It is customary to toss the Taco Salad, however, it may be served without tossing, as it looks more attractive, in my opinion. Sprinkle dressing around perimeter of meat and on salad greens.

Nutritional Analysis: 6 servings, 1 serving:
408.2 calories; 26.4 g protein; 31.3 g fat; 4.2 g carbs

*CHEDDAR TACO CHIPS* (GF)

CHEDDAR TACO CHIPS
Excellent replacement for taco chips in appetizers. These are awesome in Taco Salad, page 20. Make as many batches as you require.
1.2 oz grated cheddar cheese (34 g)
1 1/2 tsp vital wheat gluten, OR oat flour (7 mL)
1/2 tsp light-tasting olive oil (2 mL)

Using an electronic scale, weigh cheese. Sprinkle cheese in 5-inch (13 cm) nonstick pan (basically cheese just covers surface). As cheese melts over medium heat, sprinkle vital wheat gluten, OR oat flour evenly over top. Drizzle with olive oil overall. Cook just until it can flip (use spatula and fork simultaneously for control). Cook a few seconds on other side. Scrape any excess gluten off underside. Wipe pan clean with paper towel inbetween batches. Cut in half while still warm and then cut each half into 4 taco chip triangular shapes. Place last cooked side face down on ungreased cookie sheet, making sure chips do not touch each other. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 10 minutes.

Helpful Hints: If you do not have an electronic scale, keep the following in mind: grated cheese just barely covers the surface of the pan. My electronic scale is a Danescook® 907/2, and measures in ounces and grams.

Nutritional Analysis: 1 chip: 21.5 calories; 1.4 g protein; 1.7 g fat; 0.1 g carbs

CHEWY COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


CHEWY COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
This is a delicious variation of my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

NOTE: For a demonstration of this recipe, visit Bowulf's Channel - Chewy Coconut Pecan Cookies. Bowulf (Kent Altena) is not a huge fan of chocolate! :-)

1 1/4 cups Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix
(recipe below)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered erythritol
1/2 cup Splenda Granular
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1 1/4 cups desiccated, unsweetened coconut
1 cup sugar free chocolate chips, OR
One Lindt bar (70%) chopped

In medium bowl, combine Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix (see recipe below), baking soda and salt. In food processor with sharp blade, combine butter, powdered erythritol, Splenda Granular, egg, vanilla extract and molasses; process. Add dry ingredients and process until combined. Stir in coconut and then the chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls on greased cookie sheet (leave some room for spreading) and bake in 350°F 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned underneath and around the edges. Cool on cake rack. Refrigerate.

*Helpful Hints: You may use something else instead of the chocolate chips, if desired. Chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc.) combined with snipped raisins would be good.

Nutritional Analysis: 24 servings, 1 serving:
133.8 calories; 3.2 g protein; 10.6 g fat; 2.0 g carbs

SPLENDID LOW-CARB BAKE MIX™
This tasty bake mix guarantees a low-carb result in your baking. Regular sugar and white flour recipes will have carbs reduced by about 75% to 85% or more, if Low-Carb Bake Mix is substituted for white flour and SPLENDA® Granular is used to substitute for sugar and high-carb dairy is changed to low-carb, etc.

1 2/3 cups ground almonds (400 mL)
2/3 cup vanilla whey protein* (150 mL)
2/3 cup vital wheat gluten (150 mL)

In large bowl, combine ground almonds, vanilla whey protein and vital wheat gluten. Use a large wooden spoon to stir and mix well. Store in a closed container at room temperature. Shake container to ensure ingredients are combined well.

Yield:
1/3 cup (75 mL) per serving
162.9 calories
14.3 g protein
10.3 g fat
3.3 g carbs

To use this bake mix: For every cup of flour in your recipe, replace with l cup (250 mL) of Low-Carb Bake Mix, PLUS 2 tbsp (25 mL). The aforementioned rules apply also to replacing any of the Ultimate Bake Mixes from my previous cookbooks (which are a cup-for-cup substitution for all-purpose flour) as well as Vital Ultimate Bake Mixes with this bake mix.

Once again, always add liquid cautiously to your own recipes that you wish to de-carb. Sometimes as much as 1/2 cup (125 mL) less wet ingredients (this includes ingredients such as butter, olive oil, applesauce, pumpkin, water, yogurt, sour cream, cream, etc.) will be required. Typically, most of the time, it is 1/4 cup (50 mL) wet ingredients that will need to be omitted from your regular recipe.

Helpful Hints: *If the application for this bake mix is for savory baking, it is possible to replace vanilla whey protein powder with natural whey protein powder, if desired.

Ground hazelnuts or walnuts may be used instead. This bake mix is useful for piecrusts, muffins, loaves, many cakes, cookies and squares, some cooking applications, and it guarantees lower carbs as well.

COCONUT CHOCOLATE PROTEIN SQUARES (GF)


COCONUT CHOCOLATE PROTEIN SQUARES
Hmm, these are so good and good for you! Enjoy indulging every day without guilt. Great fiber! The coconut oil controls weight because it speeds metabolism and controls Candida.  It is hard to believe that this confection is actually good for you. Don't have an ounce of guilt over this one!  This was very popular on lowcarbfriends.com many years ago.  Here is the thread for you to check out how people were having fun playing with this recipe.  Some people managed to leave out the powdered milk, for instance (although I like milk chocolate).

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp Da Vinci® Sugar Free Syrup
(I used Macadamia Nut), OR sugar free Pancake syrup
1 tbsp butter
1 cup chocolate whey protein
2/3 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup powdered erythritol
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut (divided)

In food processor, process coconut oil, whipping cream, Da Vinci® Sugar Free Syrup, butter, chocolate whey protein, powdered milk, cocoa and erythritol. Stir in 3/4 cup coconut. Press into lightly greased (spray bottom of pan lightly with Pam) 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining coconut over top and press coconut into mixture with back of a soup or dessert spoon. Freeze until firm and refrigerate

Helpful Hints: This is quite a fudge-like confection and I love the combo of coconut and chocolate. It was sweet enough for me, but YMMV. You could add the contents of a couple of packets of sweetner, if desired – taste and see.

This confection could be cut into 8 bars – as in protein bars - and carried in a plastic baggie in your purse. It will be a little softer, but you could always mitigate that by adding a couple tablespoons more of the whey protein or leave out a tablespoon of the sugar free syrup.

Nutritional Analysis: 32 squares (8 x 4)
1 square: 74.4 calories; 3.4 g protein; 6.1 g fat; 1.5 g carbs


For other great Low-Carb, Gluten-Free recipes by the team & me:
Support your team, buy Low-Carbing Among Friends cookbooks at: 

http://amongfriends.us/Jen.php (Paypal/Amazon) - SALE priced!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do you know your shape? How do you dress your particular shape?



As can be seen from the above photo, there are actually many more different body shapes than most people realize. Find the body shape at the site below that more closely describes your own.

Dress For Your Body Type This was so interesting. I am an apple shape I think, but I do have a waist, so does that make me an inverted triangle? lol My legs and hips don't change too much if I put on 10 lbs, but you can bet my chest will be bigger as well as my lower abdomen and I'll have some weight on my shoulders and arms too. I have had people tell me it's not so bad to have my shape, but secretly I think I would have preferred being a bit taller (2" would have been nice - I'm only 5' 3") and more willowy looking. Wishful thinking for this shorter, curvy girl, as that will be a frosty Friday in the tropics! We have to make the most of our own particular look. It's true I grew up wanting my sister's straight hair instead of wavy hair - rarely are we completely happy with our own set-up.

With age, comes more acceptance, believe it or not. We accept the things we cannot change and instead wisely decide to work with what we have. Today I like my hair with more body as I realize straight hair on me would be rather harsh at this age. Each woman should work towards her own ideal and her own personal beauty. Even if you're at a heavier weight than you would like at the moment, it is no reason to not hold your head high and recognize that you are a lovable person and a nice person for other reasons other than looks. Looks should only be the cherry on the top. We should seek an inner beauty first, and people will definitely see that, and find it more appealing than simply outer beauty.

Search on that site, and you may find a photo that resembles your own body. They are asking people to submit photos of themselves for their database: www.mybodygallery.com

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Agave Nectar - Remember my former post?


My former Agave Nectar Post

Below is a link for more confirmation that Agave Nectar is not the health food it is made out to be. Many health-oriented people gravitate towards it, but there are a few reservations, but honestly it's sometimes a case of "choosing one's poison." I have had plenty of people say things to me about Splenda. They don't always want to be mean, but the choice of a sweetener is a personal thing and no one should really meddle with that. However, it's good to know all the pitfalls of everything out there and then make an informed decision. There are pros and cons for everything, I think.

Agave Nectar