Monday, December 28, 2009

Ginger Ale

I think I first made this recipe when I was pregnant and dealing with an upset tummy. I have since then turned to it on several occasions when a stomach virus reared it's ugly head or just when I got a craving for a sweet drink with a bite. Since commercially prepared ginger ales that don't use sugar or aspartame are few and far between (though becoming more prevalent), this recipe is an especially important one in my arsenol. This ginger ale definitely has a bite - it reminds me of "ginger beer" that I had while visiting Europe...however, it is GOOD and the intensity can be varied depending on how much of the syrup you use.

Ginger Ale

4 cups cold water
4 inches ginger root
1 Tbs vanilla extract (no sugar added)
2 tsp lemon extract (no sugar added)
1/2 tsp NuNaturals White Stevia Extract
Club Soda or Seltzer Water

To prepare Ginger Ale Syrup:
1. Peel ginger root.
2. Grate, mince, shread, and/or peel the ginger root flesh into a medium sized pot.
3. Add the water.
4. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour.
6. Remove from heat and strain to remove ginger pieces.
7. Add vanilla extract, lemon extract, and stevia. Stir.
8. Cool to room temp.
9. Store in an airtight container or mason jar with tight fitting lid in the refrigerator. The syrup stays fresh for several weeks when stored properly.

To prepare Ginger Ale:
1. Place desired amount of ice in large glass.
2. Pour 1/8-1/4 cup of Ginger Ale Syrup over ice.
3. Fill glass with approximately 1 cup of chilled club soda or seltzer water.

Inspired by this recipe: Ginger Ale by Troyh on

Cheese Sauce

Here is a delicious sauce - especially appropriate for topping some spaghetti squash to create Spaghetti Squash Mac 'N Cheese! tonight, I served this wonderful vegetable dish with a steak - on which the sauce was equally tasty. I used a fresh-grated sharp cheddar cheese but this sauce would be good with a variety of cheeses including parmesean to make an alfredo - so use your favorite or a combination!

Cheese Sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs coconut flour (no need to sift)
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup water
2 cups (8 oz) grated cheese

1. Mix cream and water.
2. Melt butter in small pot over med-low heat.
3. Add garlic and saute briefly.
4. Sprinkle flour evenly over butter and wisk until smooth.
5. Slowly add cream/water mix - wisking constantly and allow to thicken slightly to form a roux.
6. Add cheese and stir until creamy and smooth.
7. Season with a dash of pepper and salt to taste.
8. Serve over Roasted Spaghetti Squash or with your favorite vegetables.

How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash

Cold, snowy winter days (like today) make me yearn for carbs - especially pasta! Perhaps it is the memory of old comfort foods that were carb-heavy or maybe it is that many of those warm, toasty dishes featured pasta and other high carb foods. Whatever the case may be, I have learned to turn to some low-carb options that make me just as happy - if not more so since I can skip the carb hangover! Lately, I've been loving my spaghetti squash. A year ago, I had never heard of the vegetable. Now, it is a regular on our dinner menu. This past summer, I experimented with a small garden and was happy to harvest 9 spaghetti squash of varying sizes. Since they tend to be on the expensive side at the grocery store, I have been very happy to enjoy not only the home-grown goodness but the savings in my grocery budget! I currently have 3 of them left...and I'm sure they're not going to last long!

So, I thought I would share with you my favorite way to prepare Spaghetti Squash. Although it is a low-carb eaters good friend, I hope that all of you will try it as it is a wonderful way to sneak some veggie goodness into your diet! If you look around on the web, you'll find several ways to prepare spaghetti sqash including microwaving and boiling. While these methods are acceptable, there is nothing like a roast spaghetti squash. The roasting really brings out the flavor and yields a great texture.

I plan to share my recipes that feature spaghetti squash in the coming days - but in the meantime, leave me a comment and let me know about your experiences with spaghetti squash! Have you tried it? What is your favorite way to prepare it?

How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 350F
1. Wash, then dry the outside of the spaghetti squash.
2. Pierce the skin of the squash with a knife or strong fork in several places.
3. Microwave 3-4 minutes (this step may be omitted but allows for easier cutting of the squash).
4. Cut the top off the squash.
5. Cut the squash in half lengthwise.
6. Scoop out the seeds (a pumpkin carving tool, found at halloween, is very useful)
7. Place squash halves in a baking dish (9x13 or sized to fit) centers down.
8. Bake at 350 for about 45-60 minutes or until you can easily pierce skin with a fork.
9. Allow to cool slightly or use potholders. With a fork, scrape the flesh into a bowl and separate into strands. Throw the remaining skin into the compost bin or garbage.
10. Use the flesh in your favorite recipe or simply top with butter or your favorite sauce!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spiced Pecan Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Spiced Bundt Cake

15 oz canned black soybeans, drained and rinsed
6 eggs
6 Tbs butter, softened
3/4 tsp NuNaturals Pure White Stevia Extract
3/4 cup erythritol
1 Tbs vanilla extract
6 Tbs (packed) Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbs Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix (recipe to follow)
1/2 - 1 cup Pecans, roughly chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bundt pan well. (I prefer to use a silicone bundt pan lightly sprayed with PAM)
2. Place beans (drained and rinsed) and eggs into bowl of food processor. Blend on high until completely smooth (no bean lumps! a few skins may remain).
3. Add butter, stevia, erythritol and vanilla and blend for a few minutes to dissolve the erythritol and ensure ingredients are well-blended.
4. Sift coconut into medium bowl (to remove lumps). Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spice mix. Wisk to combine well.
5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined. Stir in chopped pecans, if using.
6. Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Please begin checking cake after about 20 minutes. Different types of bakeware cook differently and you may have to adjust your cooking time).
7. Let cake cool for about 20 minutes then invert onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
8. Once cake is cool, place in airtight container or cover with plastic wrap. Let cake sit for at least 8 hours. You must let the cake sit to get rid of any remaining "bean" flavor and to allow the flavors to blend together. The cake also becomes more moist as it sits. The cake can be stored at room temperature for a couple days but keeps best in the fridge.
9. Optional: Before serving, glaze cake

Cream Cheese Glaze
1/4 cup erythritol, powdered
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (4 oz)
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 Tbs heavy cream

1. Place cream cheese, erythritol, and vanilla in medium sized bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth.
2. Slowly add heavy cream, beating until very smooth and fluid.
3. Optional: heat in microwave for 15-30 seconds to make it even more fluid/runny.
4. Drizzle over cake with a fork or spoon.

Note: You can also serve the glaze on the side or frost the cake

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

2 Tbs ground cinnamon
1 Tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves

1. Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
2. Use in place of commercially prepared pumpkin pie spice mix.

Inspired by these recipes: Healthy Chocolate Cake with a Secret and Healthy Cake with a Secret Part 2 by Lauren at Healthy Indulgences and Pumpkin Spice Cake by Kelly at The Spunky Coconut


In a world where so many of us are exploring diets that are "free" of something, I would like to be a help to others (as so many have been a help to me over the past year). But since I am not completely familiar with all of the restrictions, I could use your help! If you are a follower of a "free" eating plan (dairy free, casein free, gluten free, vegan, Atkins (phase specific), South Beach, etc) and one of my recipes fits into your lifestyle, please make a comment or email me so that I can tag the recipe appropriately. It will be immensely helpful for those who are searching for recipes to fit their plan.

Bonnie's Green Bean Casserole

I took my Green Bean Casserole to our first Christmas celebration last night and it was once again enjoyed by all. So I thought I'd finally get around to sharing the recipe with everyone!

Bonnie’s Green Bean Casserole

28-30 oz canned green beans, drained
½ medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 Tbs butter or bacon drippings
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup cheese, shredded
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ lb bacon (optional)

1. preheat oven to 350° F
2. cook bacon until crispy, remove to paper towel to cool then crumble
3. melt butter in pan (or use bacon drippings), sauté celery - when celery begins to get soft, add onions and sauté until very, very soft. I do this in a pan set to LOW and use a lid to keep the moisture in. It takes a while for the celery to break down but is best when the celery is not crunchy.
4. mix mayonnaise and cream in large bowl
5. add seasonings and stir to mix
6. add remaining ingredients and toss to distribute sauce
7. pour into casserole dish
8. bake uncovered 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges (if it is browning too much for your taste, cover with foil or casserole lid)

For a crowd or potluck – I make a double batch and bake it in a 9x13 pan. Here is the doubled ingredient list:

56-60 oz canned green beans, drained
1 medium onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced small
4 Tbs butter or bacon drippings
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2 cup cheese, shredded
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 lb bacon

Inspired by this recipe: Low Carb Green Bean Casserole by Mercy on RecipeZaar

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Low Carb Lemonade

1/3 cup splenda or generic equivalent
1/4 tsp NuNaturals Stevia
1 cup lemon juice (bottled or fresh)
cold water

1. Place splenda, stevia, and lemon juice in 2 quart pitcher
2. Fill with water to the 2 quart line
3. Mix well, chill and serve!

This has become one of my favorite treats lately. It is especially good when used to make an "Arnold Palmer" (fill a glass with half lemonade + half unsweetened ice tea)!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Product Find!

For anyone else that is exploring the world of being sugar-free, I found a great product! I don't know what it was, but something propelled me to look at the nutrition label of SoBe Lifewater 0 Calorie the other day (it could've been the coupon I had!). AND...they use natural sweeteners in it! I was very excited to see that they only use sweeteners that are on my "approved" list ... erythritol and stevia (RebA/Purevia)! Of course, then there had to be a taste-test...I purchased two flavors (since I had two coupons)...MangoMelon and BlackandBlue Berry. My favorite of the two was the Black and Blue Berry - by far. I was a bit concerned about the 6 carbs per serving, so I called the company. They confirmed my suspicion that the carbs are strictly from the erythritol - being sugar alcohol carbs - which don't count in my world! So...while I had the rep on the phone, I kindly requested some coupons! He was happy to oblige and I will be sipping on some more flavors soon! It's so nice to have something that I can go-to if I find myself out and about with nothing to drink! SoBe is available at many gas stations and is often in the coolers by the registers at my favorite stores! Have you tried SoBe Lifewater 0 cal? I'd love to hear your opinion - so leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Low Carb Pumpkin Muffins

Today's theme for "Get to Know You Tuesday" at For The Mommas is food. I have been wanting to get a recipe posted so I thought this would be a great opportunity! With the on-set of fall and the cooler weather, pumpkins have taken a place in the forefront of my mind. With that, I discovered, then modified, a great pumpkin muffin recipe. Here is my version:

Low Carb Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins

1 1/2 cup Honeville blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/16 tsp cloves
2 T Tropical Traditions gold label virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar free DaVinci Syrup (vanilla or mild flavor of choice)
1/4 cup Emerald Forest erythritol, powdered
1/8-1/4 tsp NuNaturals stevia extract
2 lg eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick spray or use paper liners.
2. In mixing bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Mix with a wisk until well blended and no lumps remain in almond flour.
3. In VitaMix or food processor, combine oil, DaVinci syrup, erythritol, stevia, eggs, and pumpkin. Blend on high until well-combined.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Divide batter evenly (approximately a rounded tablespoon or small cookie scooper) into prepared mini-muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
7. Allow the muffins to cool for 10-15 minutes then remove to cool completely on a cooling rack. You may need to run a knife (or toothpick) around the edge to loosen the muffin.
8. Let the muffins rest for several hours before serving. These muffins get better with age as the flavors tend to develop more. I store mine in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They are good cold or warmed.

Inspired by this recipe: Pumpkin Pie Muffins by Elana Amsterdam at Elana's Pantry

Monday, September 28, 2009


Many of you are aware of my desire to eventually add some of my favorite tried-and-true sugar-free, yeast-free, low-carb recipes - many of which are also gluten-free. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to do this soon. In the meantime, I wanted to let you know about my three favorite resources for health products as many of my recipes will include ingredients that aren't found on local grocery shelves (or are there at twice the cost of internet pricing).

This is a great resource for vitamins, natural supplements, alternative health books, organic grocery items, and alternative baking/cooking ingredients. There are also lots of other items that I haven't even begun to explore including protein powders, protein bars, etc.

The first time you order, use my referral code and you'll SAVE $5. Plus shipping is FREE when your order totals $40 or more. Another perk...every time you order (the initial order and afterwards), I will earn a tiny reward perk on my account. These perks will help me afford to keep experimenting with low-carb ingredients to bring you great recipes! But don't stop there...refer other people and we'll both be rewarded (they will give you details after your first order). All orders over $60 receive a special discount every day. And don't forget to look in the freebies section for some great samples and brochures!

Referral Code: ONE706

In addition to vitamins and a couple supplements, here are the main ingredients that I order from iherb: NuNaturals Stevia Extract, NOW Foods Vegetable Glycerin, NOW Foods Lecithin Granules, Vital Wheat Gluten, Wheat Bran, Soy Flour, and Black Soy Beans.

Emerald Forest is my trusted resource for the sweeteners Xylitol and Erythritol. Although I prefer Erythritol and use it in most of my recipes. Xylitol has a special place in my ice cream recipe. This company provides great information about these sweeteners and their safety. Also, for anyone who is following a yeast-free diet, xylitol and erythritol are allowed sweeteners.

Shipping is free for all orders over $30

Honeyville Food Products is my new go-to place for blanched almond flour. Until last night, I didn't realize the difference a good, quality almond flour would make to my recipes! Last week, I made a delicious batch of Pumpkin Pie Muffins. In the meantime, I had learned about Honeyville and decided to order a 5 lb bag of their blanched almond flour. Last night I made a second batch of the Pumpkin Pie Muffins - and I can't even begin to describe the difference! It took the star rating from a 3/5 to a 5/5+. The texture is so much closer to a muffin made with white flour - light, fluffy, and smooth. When I had made my own almond flour/meal, the texture was alway very grainy because I lack the equipment to make it extremely fine. Well, I won't even consider making my own anymore! Join the revolution!