Category Archives: Recipes

Perfect Cake to combine with fruit

Photo: Almond Cake

A sign of spring in the Truckee Meadows is a farmer’s fruit stand on a street or parking lot near your house as some of the California growers begin bringing their spring harvest to the Reno area. We have one who sets up on the corner of the road to our house, and for the last three weeks, he’s been offering oranges, mangoes, cherries, and strawberries fresh from the farms. Nothing beats fresh, plant-ripened berries with their wonderful sweet taste. The first batch we bought could have been a little riper before picking, but the boxes from last weekend — perfection!

When you have sweet, flavorful strawberries, they just call out for cake and whipped cream. It’s a bit of an indulgence when you’re counting your carbs, but they are within limits when you mix the berries with a granulated sugar substitute, and you make a low carb cake. While not a shortcake, this recipe for an almond-flavored cake is moist and delicious complimenting the berries so well. You can use it for any kind of fruit you’d like for the topping or put a sugar glaze (with a sugar substitute, of course) over the top to serve with only a trio of raspberries and a mint leaf for garnish.

I made mine using Dixie Carb Counters Bakesquick, but the original recipe from Bob’s Red Mill called for almond flour. You can also use a combination of a low carb flour with almond flour. I changed the recipe to add in ricotta cheese, which adds to the moistness and flavor of the cake. Since it calls for coconut flour, I altered the egg option to 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites to give it more lift. You can use liquid egg whites for this.  I changed the proportions to a small cake recipe. If you want a large cake, double the amounts of all ingredients and use a 9″x13″ cake pan.

Moist Almond Cake

Based on a recipe from Bob’s Red Mill as made by Rene Averett

6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 Egg Whites
2 tablespoons Cream or Buttermilk
2 tablespoons Water
2 tablespoons Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
3/4 cup Low Carb Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
Pinch Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.). Prepare a 6-inch square baking pan by putting parchment paper on the bottom, then spraying the bottom and sides with baking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the butter and sugar substitute and use a mixer to cream together until it is smooth. Add in the egg and egg whites and beat until they are full mixed in. Add cream and almond extract and mix until blended.

In a separate small bowl, mix flour and coconut flour with the salt and baking powder. Add the flour to the egg mixture in three batches and beat each addition in until all the flour is mixed in. You will have a thick batter. Let it sit a few minutes. Coconut flour expands as it gets wet, so you may need to add a little water to have an easily spreadable batter.

Spread into your cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is done. Test with a toothpick in the middle that should out clean.

Remove to a rack to cool about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan. If the cake has not pulled away from the sides of the pan, run a plastic knife around the edges, then put a plate over the pan and flip it. Remove the parchment paper if it flipped out with the cake.

Let cool, cut into slices and serve with berries and whipped cream or make an icing to top it.

Makes 6 to 8 servings. I cut it in 6 servings initially, but with the berries and cream, a smaller slice works great.

To my shame, I didn’t take a photo of the cake with the strawberries and whipped cream on top.  I will be doing this recipe again in a couple of weeks and will add a photo then.

 

Green Chili Riced Turnips side dish

Image: Green chili riced turnips

Several years ago, I adapted my grandmother’s recipe for Spanish rice to a cauliflower version. It tastes great, and I often use it as a rice replacement. However, turnips can also be riced, and they have wonderful flavor in a risotto, so I decided to try a green chili rice using turnips. This came out very well although the color may not be the prettiest. This came from the ranchero beans I added to it. Next time, I might try black beans that don’t have any sauce with them.

For this version, I added the beans, chopped up baby corn, and onions. I used a small can of Herdez Green Chili Salsa, but you can use any green chile salsa or green enchilada sauce

These also reheat well, work as a filling for a burrito, and go well with eggs. Give them a try; you might love them.  Next up, I think I’ll try them with tomatoes in the regular Spanish rice.

Green Chili Riced Turnips

2 medium Turnips (about 2 cups)
1 4 oz. can of  Green Chili Sauce or Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
1/2 Onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/2 cup of black beans, drained
1/3 cup of Baby Corn, drained & chopped
1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil

Peel turnips, cut into pieces, and process in food processor until they are the size of rice grains.

In a pan, add 1/3 tablespoon olive oil, chopped onions and 1/2 teaspoon garlic. Sauté until onion and garlic are fragrant. Add the riced turnips and stir together.

Add 1/2 cup hot water with bullion mixed in to the turnips mixture. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes. Add the taco seasoning, black beans, and green chiles. Stir in can of green chile sauce.

Cook until thoroughly heated, turnips are tender, and the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce.

Makes six 1/2 cup servings.

Nutrition for Riced Turnips

If you try this recipe, post your thoughts on this page. I’d like to hear from you.

Cinco de Mayo book plug and a new taco recipe

Image: Pork taco with avocado crema

For those who like a reason to celebrate, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. That’s May 5th for anyone who doesn’t read enough Spanish to know. It’s a great celebration day for Mexico, but also just a good reason to raise a margarita in their honor and indulge in Mexican food. Of course, if you’re trying to stick to your low carb lifestyle, this presents some challenges.

One of our Reno Mexican restaurants has a sugar-free orange margarita made with Crystal Light that is not bad at all. If you’re making them at home, you can buy Skinny Syrup sugar-free margarita mixes in syrup form from Amazon. They also have a mojita mix if you prefer that flavor. Or you can find recipes on line for sugar free to make at home, like this one for a Skinny Margarita.

But moving along to the food, it is difficult to eat out and not indulge with more carbs than you want in your meal. Some dishes, like fajitas are not bad in carbs, but the tortillas, beans, and rice will really slam you, so best to avoid going out unless you can say no to the side dishes and just make something at home.

Here’s a plug for my low carb LC15 cookbooklet, Mexican Food for a Low Carb Lifestyle. This booklet has over 15 recipes for tried and true Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes that will satisfy your need for spice. At only 99-cents, this will give you main courses and side dishes with easy to follow instructions. I didn’t go into the desserts but I do have a recipe for flan on this website .

As a reminder, if you’re looking for low carb flour tortillas, most stores carry La Tortilla Factory or Mission flour tortillas in the low carb version. These vary from 3 net carbs to 6 net carbs per tortilla, so be sure to check the package for the carb count. For corn tortillas, I haven’t found a low carb offering, but I do have this recipe that is similar, golden flax meal tortillas.

While a few of my recipes from the book are on this website, most of them are exclusive to the booklet. If you prefer a book you can take to the kitchen and scribble notes in, the booklet is included in the 3-in-1 paperback book with Breakfast Choices and Magic Muffins for just $4.99. You can buy it here.

image: Open pork taco with apricots

Grilled Pork and Apricot Tacos with Avocado Crema

Now, for a new recipe that I tried last week, here’s a very tasty pork taco with an apricot salsa. This can also be made with peaches. I settled on apricot because I had some in my freezer and I couldn’t find a ripe peach at the grocery store. Using fresh is better than a frozen fruit that doesn’t look quite as attractive, but it tasted very good.

1 large  (8 oz) boneless Pork Loin Chop, about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp. Coriander
1/8 tsp. Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
1 Avocado, diced
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Peach or 2 Apricots, chopped
1/2 Green Onion, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lime, divided
1 1/2 tbsp. freshly chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp. Sugar Substitute
4 Low-carb Flour Tortillas
Cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, add chopped apricots or peaches, shallots, cilantro, sugar substitute, 1/2 the lime juice, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Mix together well and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

In a big bowl, add chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, coriander, and allspice and salt and pepper. Mix all together, then add the pork and cover it the seasonings on both sides. Let sit while you mix the avocado crema.

Using your food processor, add the chopped avocado, sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and the rest of the lime juice. Blend until it is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula if necessary. Set aside.

Grill pork chop on an outdoor grill or in your grill pan for three minutes. Turn to grill the back side for another two to three minutes until the pork is done. Let rest a few minutes, then slice thinly.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or in the grill pan until they are hot. You can also do this over an open gas flame allowing them to blister or bubble, then flipping to the other side. Top each tortilla with 1/4 of the avocado crema, then the pork, and top with the salsa.Garnish with cilantro if you wish.

Makes 4 tacos.

My picture at the top shows the taco with a scoop of riced turnips with green chile, corn, and beans. I’ll share that recipe next week.

Derby Cheesecake Time is Coming!

Recipe: Derby Pecan Cheesecake

I promised I would do this and here it is. Just in time for this year’s Kentucky Derby on May 4th, I adapted this decadent recipe for a fabulous cheesecake celebrating the event. I made it for Easter and can attest to the incredible flavors of the dessert. In addition to changing certain ingredients to low carb ones, I did add a couple of things to the original recipe. For those who would like the full carb version, you can find it here on the Tasty.co web site.

One thing you will absolutely need to make this is a brown sugar replacement. I used a combination of LC-Foods Sweet Brown and Swerve Sugar Replacement Brown, both of which are 0 carbs. You could use all Swerve Brown as it is most like brown sugar where LC-Sweet Brown is a powder and doesn’t have the texture of brown sugar. Swerve is available at Amazon, maybe Wal-Mart, and through Netrition.com (also LC-Sweet Brown). Truvia also has a brown sugar blend that has 1 net carb per 1/2 teaspoon but also says you use half as much as you would use of brown sugar. I haven’t tried it, but I would assume that if you use it, you use 1/4 cup of Truvia in place of the 1/2 cup.

I made a small 7″-spring-form-pan cheesecake as the larger one is too much for a two-person household. Cut into eight slices, the piece is large enough for a reasonable dessert and as rich-tasting as this is, the smaller serving is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Here’s a hint though. I made this with an almond flour crust standing in for a graham cracker one, but it would work perfectly well without the crust and save 1.5 net carbs on the total carb count. Next time, I plan to omit the crust.

Derby Bourbon Pecan Cheesecake

Original Recipe by Matthew Johnson
Low Carb Adapted by Rene Averett

Crust:
1 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar Substitute
1/4 cup Butter, melted

Filling:
8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
2 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Sugar Substitute
2 tablespoons Almond Milk
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoons Low Carb Flour
3 teaspoons Bourbon Whiskey, divided
1 Egg

Topping:
1/2 cup LC-Sweet Brown or Swerve Brown Sugar Substitute
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Egg Yolks
1/3 cup Sugar-free Maple Syrup,
1/4 cup Cream, warm to the touch
2 tablespoons Butter, cold
1 cup roasted Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Prepare the spring-form pan with parchment paper over the base. Spray the pan with baking spray.

Prepare your ingredients and have them ready ahead of time. This actually goes together pretty quickly.

For the Crust:

In a small bowl, add the almond flour, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, and melted butter. Mix together with a spoon, then spoon into the bottom of the spring-form pan and press it to cover the bottom and about half-way up the sides.

Bake for about 10 minutes to set up and lightly brown the dough. Cool.

For the Filling:

Add the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup sugar substitute, and almond milk into a large bowl. Beat until blended and fluffy-looking.

Spoon in the sour cream, low carb flour, teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of Bourbon (more if really want to taste it), and two eggs. Mix on low until the filling is smoothly blended.

Pour the mixture over the almond flour crust in the spring-form pan. Bake for one hour, then turn the oven off and let sit for 30 minutes in the oven.

While the cheesecake is sitting for 30 minutes…

Make the Topping

Add egg yolks, sugar-free Maple Syrup, and warm cream to a bowl and stir together.

In a medium saucepan, add brown sugar substitute, cornstarch, and salt then stir together and put it on a low heat setting on your stove. Add the egg and cream mixture to the pan.

Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens to a pudding texture, around 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the cold butter and a teaspoon or two of bourbon, depending on how much you prefer.

Fold in the chopped pecans, mixing them through. Pour the mixture over the cheesecake while it is still in the spring-form pan. Spread to make an even layer over the top. (Mine dipped in the middle a little so that well of pecan is thicker.)

Photo: Bourbon Pecan Cheesecake
You can see where I didn’t quite get the topping spread all the way to the edge. Not that there wasn’t enough of it, but I just missed it. The topping is quite thick on the cheesecake.

Put in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours and allow the topping to set up firmly. Remove the spring-form pan and slide the cheesecake off the parchment paper onto a serving plate if you want it for a formal presentation.

Serve either chilled or let come to room temperature if you wish. Sometimes the higher temperature will bring the flavors out more.

Makes eight delicious servings.

Note: A word about the roasted pecans. These are easy to roast in the oven ahead of time by spreading them out on a layer of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pour melted butter (about 1/4 cup over the top) and put in a 300 degree (F.) oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
However, it isn’t necessary to roast the pecans unless you really want the roasted taste. You can just use raw pecans chopped up.

Photo: Nutrition Information

If you try this, let me know how you like it.  I’d love the feedback.

Broccoli Bacon Bites appetizer for any party

Photo: Broccoli Bacon Bites

Recently, this recipe came around on my Facebook feed as one of those tasty, simple-to-make appetizers that work well for a party. The original recipe said to fry them in fryer– you can do that if you’d like, but I wanted mine to be a little lighter and without the extra oil flavor, so I decided to bake them.

To make this low carb required only one change, swapping out regular flour for low carb flour. In my case, I used Bakesquick, but you can use whichever one you prefer, such as almond flour or CarbQuick.

While I simply dropped my batter on a parchment paper, you can also put these in mini cupcake pans with papers so they retain a more compact shape. This is a versatile recipe and you can easily swap in cauliflower for the broccoli, add peppers, or other spices to it to personalize your bites.

Broccoli Bacon Bites

1/2 cup Bacon, chopped
3 cups Broccoli, chopped (or Cauliflower)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Water
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon Pepper
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
1/2 cup Low Carb Flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F.) Prepare a baking pan with parchment and spray with oil.

Put broccoli in a microwaveable bowl, add salt and water. Microwave for 3 minutes until almost tender. Drain.

In a bowl, put all the ingredients and mix together well. Use a small scoop to form balls and place each on the parchment-covered baking pan.

Cook for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Remove to serving plate and put out a bowl of Ranch Dressing for a dipper.

Makes 40 to 45 bites. (I got 42, but some were quite a bit larger than the rest.)

Photo: Nutrition for Broccoli Bacon Bites