Low Carb Pumpkin Muffins

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Before the leaves turn yellow and school buses are back on the road, the scent of pumpkin spice is in the air. With everyone talking about their favourite fall flavour, I decided to whip up this batch of moist and sweet Pumpkin Spice Muffins. So easy and quick, I made a dozen of them while dinner was in the go, popped them in the oven while we ate – and enjoyed some for dessert.

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice mix (or combine cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to make your spice mix)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sweetener (this makes them pretty sweet; you can certainly cut back according to personal taste)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 eggs

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners* and preheat the oven to 350F.

You can combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately then mix, but I just put everything in one big mixing bowl and beat it all together with the electric mixer until smooth.  Put one heaping tablespoon of mixture into each cup, filling it about half way up. Bake muffins for 20 minutes. When time is up, insert a toothpick in the centre (it should be dry) to ensure it is cooked through.

Remove pan from oven and drape with a clean towel while they cool off.  Serve with butter. Store any remaining muffins in a tightly-sealed container.

*(Note: although the muffins were cooked, they did stick to the paper liner a bit. Better than in the pan!)

muffins1

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Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Combine:

  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp powdered artificial sweetener

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until well combined. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a small Ziplock sandwich bag and seal tight. Push the mixture toward the corners. Place bag in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, wash berries and pat dry, leaving stems with leaves intact. Carefully cut the berries halfway through to the tip, then turn and partially cut them halfway into quarters to create an “x.”

Snip off one corner of the Ziplock bag and squeeze the cream cheese mixture to fill the berries.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

stuffed berries

Pork Rind Nachos

This week, chef Graham Elliot introduced his take on ballpark favorites at Wrigley Field in Chicago. His innovative menu included pork rind nachos, which inspired me to try making my own! Keeping with the “piggy” theme, I used pulled pork, but you could go with chicken, ground beef, bacon or whatever kind of meat you prefer. Here’s how I layered it up:

  • 1 ½-2 cups prk rinds (chicharrons) Tip: use sturdier pork rinds that will stand up to cheese and toppings. Some will still soften.
  • 1 cup pulled pork tossed in sugar free barbecue sauce (here’s my recipe)
  • ½ cup Mexican-flavoured cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp green chilies, drained
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Spread pork rinds on the bottom of a foil-lined pan. Sprinkle with half the cheese and put under the broiler until cheese is melted and pork rinds brown. Top with chilies, jalapeno and remaining cheese and return to the broiler for 2 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

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Sunshine Coconut Shrimp

A little messy to make, but the tropicaltastic taste is soooo worth it!

You will need:

  • 1 dozen medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined and (optional) tails removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ tablespoons coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Dash salt and pepper
  • Optional: add more of your fave seasonings; I added in a few shakes of Old Bay
  • ½ cup (or more) medium desiccated coconut, unsweetened

Heat oil in deep fryer or large pot to 350F.

Place coconut in a shallow container and set aside.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Set on a paper towel while you mix up the batter: eggs, coconut flour, baking powder, water and seasonings. It will be very thick and pasty. With clean hands, mold the batter around each shrimp and press into the coconut to coat.

Cook shrimp in the oil, adding no more than three at a time. They will be golden brown, crisped up and float to the top when they are cooked (about 2 minutes).

Serve with this Sweet Heat dipping sauce:

  • 1/3 cup sugar-free orange marmalade, apricot preserves or peach jam
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp sriracha sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and taste, adding more sweet, heat or acidity to taste.

Shrimp

 

Low Carb BBQ Sauce (“Bubba Q Juice”)

I bought my partner a smoker for our anniversary recently, and our first attempt at baby back pork ribs was a lip-smackin’ success! He found this low carb barbecue recipe for Lexington Bubba Q Juice that I was happy to replicate – and now share with you. This would be great on any grilled meat, but trust me on the ribs!!

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cup ketchup (Heinz Reduced Sugar)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • A sprinkle of cayenne to taste

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes (longer for a thicker sauce). Makes 3 cups of sauce (about 1 net carb per oz).

ribs

 

 

Bacon-Wrapped Pickles & RB Float

‘Twas a beautiful afternoon for a snack outdoors! I whipped up a sugar-free root beer float and these adorable bacon-wrapped pickles to enjoy a bite in the sunshine.

Bacon Wrapped Pickles with Buffalo Dip

As my pickles were fairly small, I split them each in two and let them sit on a paper towel to drain well. For larger pickles, I would suggest cutting them into quarters.

Slice uncooked bacon lengthwise then wrap each piece around a pickle spear. Secure with a toothpick.

Place pickles on a wire rack set inside a foil-lined cookie sheet. I cooked mine for 8 minutes at 350 and then broiled on high for 4 minutes to crisp them up. Serve with your favourite dip. Mine is a mixture of ¼ cup mayo and 2 tbsp Frank’s buffalo wings sauce.

Sugar-free Root Beer Float

In the blender, combine ¾ can sugar-free root beer (I used Diet A&W root beer), ¼ cup heavy whipping cream and 6-8 ice cubes. Slowly pour into large glass (it will be very frothy!) and top with remaining root beer before serving.

bacon wrapped pickle

Sugarfree Poke Cake

I just discovered that even with a low carb lifestyle, you can have your cake and eat it too! This dessert, adapted from All Day I Dream About Food’s Kentucky Butter Cake is soft and moist and has the same texture of a traditional recipe. This makes a 9×13″ pan.

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup whey protein powder

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup softened butter

1 cup powdered artificial sweetener

5 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 9×13 baking pan. In a bowl, whisk together almond and coconut flours, whey protein, baking powder and salt, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add the almond flour mixture and add the whipping cream and water. Keep beating until all ingredients are well incorporated. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until firm and golden brown on top. Test the cake doneness by inserting a toothpick and ensuring it comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together 1 package (4 servings) of sugar-free raspberry Jello, 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until Jello is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup cold water and continue stirring.

Once cake has cooled, use the end of a wooden spoon or a chopstick to poke holes in the cake about 1″ apart. Pour Jello over the entire cake and let it sink in.

Refrigerate for 2 hours. Top with whipped cream ( 1 1/2 cups heavy whipped cream beaten until stiff with 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tbsp sweetener).

poke cake