Low Carb, Gluten-Free Almond Pound Cake

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Ok, so nobody NEEDS to eat pound cake, even the low carb variety.  But when you’ve got a sweet tooth, or for a special occasion, this stuff is dense, moist, and YUMMY, with that buttery pound cake taste.  As with many baked goods made with almond flour, it tastes better after it sits a while, preferably overnight.

Adapted from a recipe found on the blog grace2882.wordpress.com.  

Please note serving size is about half the size of the pieces pictured!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
· 2/3 cup Truvia or Splenda
· 5 large eggs
· 2 cups almond meal or flour
· 1 tsp baking powder
· a tad less than 1 tsp lemon extract
· 1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Cream butter and sweetener in a large bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each (use an electric mixer if you have one). In a separate bowl, mix almond flour and baking powder together; add to egg mixture a little at a time, and beat until incorporated. Mix in extracts.  Spoon into 8″ greased baking pan.

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Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until knife comes out of center clean and cake is a light golden brown.

Servings:  12

Nutrition per serving*:

Calories 272, Carbs 15, Potassium 169, Sodium 198

*All nutrition info is the result of my internet/product research and should be considered approximate. You can find my favorite nutritional “go-to” sites in my blogroll.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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Pizza is definitely a food you learn to live without when you’re on a low carb, low potassium diet.  I had seen cauliflower crust recipes here and there on the web, but honestly they sounded gross, so I never tried one.  But the other day, I set out to test whether a decent pizza could indeed be concocted out of cauliflower.

Results – outstanding!  And I just revised the recipe I posted last week to make the crust even crispier/firmer.  I think I have come up with a cauliflower crust pizza that anyone would love, no matter the diet.  And with careful measuring, you can keep the potassium levels down while enjoying the tomato sauce everyone else takes for granted.

One thing I did discover when researching the nutrition data – while Canadian bacon is great for a low carb diet, it is not so great for managing potassium.  So while my pics show Canadian bacon atop my pizza, I’d suggest that should remain a “splurge,” or every-great-once-in-a-while, pizza topping.  A better topping choice would be bell peppers, and I have included that option in the nutrition data below.

The directions below may look long and daunting but it’s not a difficult recipe at all!  I got a little wordy because I wanted to offer several ways to prepare the cauliflower, depending on what appliances you have in your kitchen.

Bon appetit!

Crust
3 cups grated/riced cauliflower
1 egg
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp almond meal/flour

Toppings (for each 6″ pizza)

1 tablespoon (bottled or homemade) marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozarella
1 slice Canadian bacon, quartered
2 tablespoons green bell pepper, chopped
basil
red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450F.

Preparing the cauliflower:

With a Ninja or food processor:
Place one half of a small to medium head of cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets, into Ninja and pulse until cauliflower looks like “rice.”
OR
With a cheese grater:
Grate 1/2 of a cored small to medium head of cauliflower.

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In a microwave (preferred method):
Pour grated/riced cauliflower into an unzipped baggie and microwave until soft, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Let cool.
OR
On a stove:
Place a medium sized saucepan with about a half of a cup of water on medium heat until water steams. Pour shredded/riced cauliflower into the saucepan and cover, reducing heat to medium low, stirring/checking often, until cauliflower softens. Remove from heat and let cool.

Note:  If you microwaved the cauliflower you can skip the next step and just dump the cauliflower onto some paper towels.  The cauliflower is not nearly as wet when you microwave it.

Dump the cooled, cooked cauliflower into a kitchen towel, fold the towel over, and squeeze as much water out as you can. Then dump the cauliflower onto some paper towels and soak up any remaining water (you could also place the cauliflower inside a baggie with a paper towel, and refrigerate overnight, which helps to dry it out).

Measure out three (loosely packed) cups of the grated/riced cauliflower. (Save any extra for another day! If you make this often enough you will get a feel for what size cauliflower head to buy.)

In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, egg, parmesan, onion and garlic powders.

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Spray a cookie sheet with oil.

Divide mixture into fourths and spoon onto cookie sheet. Using your hands, pat out 4 approx. 6″ circles, ensuring that mixture is evenly spread out.

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Bake about 15 to 20 minutes or until crusts begin to brown (use convection if you have it); then use a spatula to carefully flip crusts over.  Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until firm/crispy. Edges may get dark brown.

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Remove crust from oven, add toppings in order listed and place under a high broiler* until cheese is bubbling.  Remove and serve immediately.

*You could also rebake the pizza with toppings at 450F until cheese is melted rather than broiling it, but the crust may not be as “crusty.”

Make-ahead pizza:

You can freeze the crusts by placing them between pieces of wax paper inside a freezer bag.

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When you want to use them, remove from freezer and lay them separately on a cookie sheet under a broiler or in a 450F oven, watching them carefully until they start to brown more deeply (about 5 to 10 min); remove from oven, add toppings and cook per directions above.  I also like to prepare a batch of measured topping ingredients and store them together in the fridge or freezer, so all the ingredients for a pizza lunch, snack or dinner are ready to go when I’m hungry and in a hurry.

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Total Servings: 4

Nutrition per serving – one 6″ pizza:

With Canadian bacon:  Calories: 263 Carbs: 4g Potassium: 346mg Sodium: 863mg

Without Canadian bacon:  Calories: 251 Carbs: 3g Potassium: 146mg Sodium: 776mg

*All nutrition info is the result of my internet/product research and should be considered approximate. You can find my favorite nutritional “go-to” sites in my blogroll.

No Salt Chicken Stock

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Since realizing it is impossible to use store-bought chicken stock/broth when cooking for someone on a potassium-restricted diet, I have been planning on finding an easy homemade low salt, low potassium chicken stock recipe.  Here it is!  I adapted it slightly from the Basic Chicken Stock recipe I found on seriouseats.com.

I like this recipe because it has NO SALT added.  When you use it as a base for soups or other recipes, you can add your seasonings to taste, which is a much healthier way to go about it than incorporating the salt- and potassium-laden stocks and broths they sell in the grocery store.  It freezes easily so you can always have some on hand.  And it’s just not very hard to make: chop, cook, cool, freeze.  I think you will find you don’t mind taking a couple hours to throw this stock together and tuck it away in your freezer as a healthy base for soups, stews, pot pies, etc.

INGREDIENTS

4-6 pounds whole chicken, cut up (or more if you can fit it in your pot!)
4 quarts water
2 yellow or brown onions, diced
3-4 large carrots, diced
4 large celery ribs, diced
8 garlic gloves, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS

Use a knife or a food processor to dice the vegetables.

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Combine chicken, water, onions, celery, garlic in a large stockpot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Lower heat, maintaining a very gentle simmer, and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.

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Strain stock through a colander or a mesh strainer.  I placed another large soup pot in the sink, placed a colander on top of it, and then poured the stock through the colander so the stock ended up in the other pot and the colander caught the meat and vegetables.

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Let the stock cool, then transfer to containers and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 6 hours.

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Once stock is chilled, skim off and remove any fat or scum from the surface. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Use in any recipe calling for unsalted chicken stock.

Throw away the skin, bones, and vegetables.  Deboned and skinned chicken meat can be used in recipes calling for cooked chicken; the flavor of this chicken is somewhat diminished because most of the flavor has cooked out into the broth; the best use of the chicken meat is in a soup or stew. Freeze meat if you do not use it immediately.

Healthy Tasty Waffles

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These waffles melt in your mouth and are … low carb, low potassium, low salt, and dairy free.  And delicious.   Only 3g of carbs per serving!  Another yummy Carbquik recipe.   I use light vanilla almond milk instead of milk, which makes them taste great without dairy.  Of course, you can  use any milk or creamer you like, but I based the nutrition info below on the Silk Vanilla Almond Light product.

We use Joseph’s Sugar Free Syrup on top of these, with only 35 calories and 9 g of carbs per 1/4 cup serving of syrup.  Together they are so delicious you won’t miss “regular” waffles at all!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cup Carbquick
1 egg
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Silk vanilla light almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Stir all ingredients together with a spoon in a bowl just until completely mixed (do not over mix).   If not wet enough to pour, add small amount of almond milk.

Pour batter into lightly oiled, hot waffle iron and cook until browned.

Nutrition per 4″ x 4″ serving*:

Servings: 8

Calories: 92 Carbs: 3g Potassium: 12mg Sodium: 84mg

*All nutrition info is the result of my internet/product research and should be considered approximate. You can find my favorite nutritional “go-to” sites in my blogroll.

Who Knew

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Who?  Who knows how to manage a low carb, low potassium diet?

Spending the day online looking for low carb/low potassium recipe ideas, I see many others asking the same questions I have, like:

How are you supposed to eat on this crazy, nonintuitive diet?  And where can you find reliable information that follows sensible guidelines?

Reliability is a big problem. The same food will be listed as “high potassium” on one site, and “low potassium” on another.  When I put “low carb AND low potassium” in a search, I have to carefully review each recipe that comes up, because they are seldom (I’m tempted to say never) low in both.

And then there’s the mutating nature of potassium in food.  The USDA site shows that a cup of white mushrooms is a low potassium food until you cook it (223mg before/555mg after); a cup of cauliflower is high potassium when raw and low potassium when cooked (320mg raw/176mg cooked).

The typical low potassium diet relies on processed carbs to fill in calories; the typical low carb diet relies on foods heavy in potassium.  So I sure have my work cut out for me.

The main thing is, I need a daily target in both carbs and potassium so I can build menus that stay within the targets (you would think his doctor would have given him daily targets to manage his prediabetes and hyperkalemia, but no).

Finding low carb dietary goals online is relatively easy; sites like US Dept of Health and Human Services provide a formula that for my hubby comes out to a daily target of 275 grams of carbs a day (formula based on target calories by gender, age, and level of activity).

For potassium,  I am settling on keeping him to about 2,000 mg of potassium a day, recommended on several sites (like the National Kidney Foundation) for Chronic Kidney Disease patients (a kidney function problem, though not hyperkalemia).   I am still considering making an appointment with a nutritionist, but I just would like to see if I can create healthy, YUMMY meals that are low in both carbs and potassium, and judge my success by how his labs come out next time.  I doubt any other patient with the completely unhelpful advice his doctor gave him (watch carbs, watch protein, watch potassium) has spent all the time I’ve spent on this, but I hope all this effort benefits not only my hubby but someone else out there struggling on a low potassium, low carb diet.

Perhaps I will become a pioneer in online low potassium/low carb meal planning!  Who knew.

Less than One Carb Parmesan Herb Breadsticks

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I have recently discovered – CARBQUIK!  A super low carb baking mix, similar to Bisquick but without the high carbs.  OMG if you are on a low carb diet you have got to try this stuff.  In some recipes I think it tastes even better than using flour-based products!

In fact, I’m creating a Carbquik category on this blog because I have been making all kinds of stuff with it — if you’re on a low carb diet you know you get desperate for something carby, and with Carbquik you can have it!  Geez, I really sound like a commercial but this blog is not sponsored.

I got the basic recipe for these breadsticks on the Carbquik box and then I improvised to create these yummy breadsticks that have LESS THAN 1 NET CARB EACH!!!  And of course, low potassium.  We love them.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Carbquik
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
1 tblsp melted butter
1 tblsp fresh chopped Thyme
1 tblsp fresh chopped Rosemary

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 425F. Mix Carbquik, 1/4 cup cold water and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan by hand in a bowl
or
mix Carbquik, water, and parmesan in a food processor, using a dough blade.

Mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and sticks together. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 tblsp at a time, up to a total of 1/2 cup, until the dough can form a ball.

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Sprinkle some Carbquik on a cutting board, scrape the dough onto the board, sprinkle the dough with Carbquik, and knead or fold the dough over five times. Pat dough out with your hands into a rectangle and cut into (about 8) strips with a knife.

Brush breadsticks with melted butter.

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Add 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, along with the Thyme and Rosemary, to
a bowl, and use a knife to chop the mixture up as finely as you can
or
put in a food processor, and pulse until mixture is ground together.

Sprinkle cheese/herb mixture over breadsticks.

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Carefully lift breadsticks and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, pinching breadstick dough together slightly to round them.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.  FYI, Carbquik breads seem to “melt in your mouth” right out of the oven, but if they sit a while, the texture becomes firmer.

Nutrition per serving*:

Servings:  8

Calories:  74   Carbs:  <1g    Potassium:  7mg    Sodium: 155mg

*All nutrition info is the result of my internet/product research and should be considered approximate.  You can find my favorite nutritional “go-to” sites in my blogroll.

Healthy Blueberry Crumble

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Breakfast is the toughest meal of the day when you’re on a low carb diet!  This yummy blueberry crumble satisfies your sweet tooth and carb cravings without a touch of added sugar. It has only 250 mg of potassium per serving* and is a good breakfast choice all the way around for those watching potassium, sodium, or carbs; it’s also easy to make it dairy-free by substituting a vegan spread for the butter.

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INGREDIENTS

Filling:
5 cups frozen, unsweetened blueberries
1 tbsp butter (or vegan substitute like Earth Balance)
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp nutmeg
½ cup sugar free maple syrup (I used Joseph’s)
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 packet stevia (or other artificial sweetener)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Topping:

1 cup almond flour
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
1 tbsp butter (or vegan substitute)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 packet stevia
2 tbsp sliced almonds for garnish

spray oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Coat a 9″ deep dish pie plate with spray oil.

Mix filling ingredients well in a large bowl and transfer to pie plate, spreading filling evenly. Mix topping ingredients in a medium bowl until mixture becomes crumbly. Spread over blueberries and garnish with additional 2 tblsp of sliced almonds.  If desired, spray top of crumble lightly with spray oil to increase browning.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until it begins to brown.

Optional: Serve with a splash of almond vanilla creamer for extra yumminess!

P.S. I found the original (apple) recipe for this crumble at unconventional baker.com.

Nutrition per serving:*

Servings:  8

Calories:  214   Carbs:  20g   Potassium:  250mg    Sodium:  33mg

*All nutrition info is the result of my internet/product research and should be considered approximate.  You can find my favorite nutritional “go-to” sites in my blogroll.