a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

OH Joy! Low Carb Almond Joy bars!

It happened like this: I was walking by my friends office today and mid stride, I suddenly HAD to have one of the 'fun sized' Bounty bars I knew she kept on her desk. For my American friends, Bounty are what the rest of the world calls Almond Joy, sans the almond. It's just coconut and chocolate. Of course the ones she has on her desk are the sugar laden ones and decidedly high in carbs. I ate one anyway. But as the guilt sank in, I resolved to try and make some low carb treats I could keep handy so I wouldn't succumb quite so easily next time. I got back to my office and googled 'low carb almond joy recipe' and you wouldn't believe the number of hits I got! I'm clearly not the first to have had this idea. I then saw that the author of one of my favorite blogs was among the hits returned. Healthy Indulgences, hands down one of my guilty pleasures. It's written by a food GENIUS named Lauren. Seriously check out her blog. She is one of those rare people who comes up with original recipes that make your jaw hit the ground. I bet she could win MasterChef if she tried. Or at least place in the top 4. I digress. I've tried several of her recipes before and have yet to be disappointed, so hers was the one I decided to try.
If you are new to this whole low carb, healthy (yes healthy) way of eating, don't be frightened by some of the strange ingredients we tend to use like erythritol, coconut oil, xylitol and xanthan gum. Seriously, just go buy them. You will thank me for it later.

I started by mixing unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk and melted erythritol in a bowl. With my hands I put them on a cookie sheet and shaped them into fun sized candy bars.

Next I pressed a couple of almonds into the top to give it that almond joy feel. Then I put them on the balcony to freeze. Ha! Yes, you read that right. On the balcony to freeze. If you aren't as fortunate as I am to have a huge walk in freezer, simply use your small indoor one, it'll do.

After about 5 minutes, or 10, or 15 or however long it takes you to get the baby to bed, get them off of the balcony (or freezer) and get ready for the dipping phase! Where coconut meets it's lucious lover, dark chocolate ganache. (Don't worry, I'll put the recipe below)
After you've coated them all, and licked the extra chocolate off of your fingers about 19 times, but them back on the balcony to harden again. When you bring them back inside, you'll have something a bit like this:
Please excuse the tacky fingerprints in the ganache, but I've never been known for my finishing touches.
These are so good! Really hit the spot! And the ganache is made from 85% dark chocolate, and for fun I also threw in a few squares of Green and Black's espresso dark chocolate. This is a decadant treat and all your processed sugar eating friends are gonna wanna eat them ALL because they are just THAT good!
Recipe from Lauren at Healthy Indulgences

Makes ABOUT 20 bars

1 1/2 cups fine unsweetened shredded coconut
5-6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup erythritol or 1/4 cup xylitol
Raw almonds
2 batches dark chocolate ganache
Pinch of unrefined sea salt
1 packet of Stevia

Melt erythritol over medium heat in a saucepan until liquefied. Combine coconut oil, coconut milk, unsweetened coconut, salt, and stevia. Pour in hot erythritol and mix together thoroughly until coconut oil is melted. Put the coconut mixture on parchment paper and do your best to shape into fun sized candy bars. Top with almonds, pressing the nuts down gently into the filling. Freeze until filling is firm and cold.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

1-3.5 oz 85% cacao content chocolate bar
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup erythritol or 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered
1 packet of Stevia

Pop it into the microwave and cook on high for about 30 seconds. Take it out and stir to melt chocolate. Keep microwaving for a few seconds and stirring until all chocolate is melted and the ganache gets thick and creamy. You may need to add extra cream to keep it thinned out.

Keep in mind, if you use the ganache, it won't 'harden', so you really need to keep them in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yes, monkey, this is seriously good banana bread!

When it comes to food, as a diabetic, I have often felt frustrated by my bodies inability to play nice with most grains and starchy foods. The first few years after my diagnosis, I just chose to ignore the consequences and pretty much ate what I want when I wanted it. Getting pregnant forced me to behave like the adult I am and take my health more seriously, and now that the kidlet has fully entrenched herself in the guest room and I have examples to be setting, I find myself embracing whole foods. We are trying to embrace a 'traditional' way of eating here. Think of how your great-grandparents ate and you get the idea. Eggs from free chickens, RAW dairy from happy cows (haven't found that in Norway due to it being illegal), fresh local produce when possible, soaking grains, bone broths, ect. Fun pioneer stuff like that. On top of that mission, the dysfunctioning pancreas makes it necessary to try and find low glycemic alternatives to starchy carbs. Enter coconut flour! My experimentation with coconut flour continues and I think this may be my favorite recipe yet. Who doesn't love a good banana bread? This one set up great and came out moist and delicious. As a bonus, it's gluten free, grain free and sugar free. What's not to love? Start with some over ripe bananas:

Mash them with a fork and too the bananas add FOUR (4) eggs and 1/4 cup melted butter or organic virgin coconut oil. Look at those gorgeous orange yolks:

Then add your sweetner:
I use erythryitol. It's derived from melons, pears and other fruits and is essentially a sugar alcohol, but I haven't had any trouble downstairs because of it! Seems safe, but your mileage my vary.
In a separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of coconut flour with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, baking powder and baking soda and then dump it in your sweet, eggy banana mixture:

Coconut flour has a lovely mellow coconutty smell. Not overwhelming and pina colada-y. It also is super absorbant and you only need a fraction of it compared to regular flour.
I know it's not really a traditional ingredient of banana bread, but I had these gorgeous dried ranier and bing cherries, so I tossed them in:

And of course the nuts! The glorious wlanuts:

Mix it all together and pour it into a greased baking dish. I felt more comfortable using a dish rather than a bread pan, but you can try what you want. Put it in a 350 (180 c) oven and cook until a knife inserted comes out cleanly. Hopefully, you will have an end result that looks something like this:
Shockingly, some of the BEST banana bread I have ever had. I cannot tell the difference between the coconut flour and the regular flour. Try it! You'll LOVE it!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cupcakes for the princess

It was my girl's first birthday, so what's the mommy to an only child supposed to do? Why, spend hours individually decorating 24 cupcakes, of course!
I always use the Magnolia Bakery cupcake recipe. It's easy and always turns out well. For these cupcakes, I used my new Wilton cake decorating color kit. The vibrancy of the colors was just astounding! These were technicolor cupcakes. Cupcakes on crack. It was awesome mixing colors, not knowing what I was going to come up with, it felt a little Willy Wonka-ish.

I had a great time up until cupcake number 18, by then I just wished I had done normal, plain frosting, but I felt guilty leaving the remaining 6 naked. So, I pressed on. The husband said they didn't look real and that all of my Norwegian guests would be afraid to eat them because they were so pretty. I don't care how pretty they are, NEVER pass up the opportunity for a cupcake. In the end, he was right. There was a lot of oohing and ahhing and asking 'Er det ekte??' Which is 'Are they real??', but there was NO hesitation in eating them. In the end, we gobbled them all up, every last sugary, colorful bite. Enjoy!