Yummy Low Carb Cheesecake

Originally posted on Healthy, EZ, Yummy!:

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Mmmmmm … cheesecake.  What’s not to like about low carb cheesecake?!

HEALTHY

With reduced fat cream cheese, fresh strawberries, Greek yogurt, almond flour/pecan crust, and less than a tablespoon of sugar in the ENTIRE cheesecake, this is as healthy as cheesecake gets!  Skip the Cheesecake Factory with all their calories, fat and carbs, and give this recipe a try.

EZ

No “water bath.”  If it cracks, it cracks; you’re going to cover it with strawberries anyway!  Also, I like to keep my recipes simple and not require the use of fancy and/or expensive kitchen doo-dads when possible.  So no springform pan, no zester, food processor optional; you’re good to go with a rolling pin, an electric mixer, and a grater.

YUMMY

Tastes sweet and creamy and FANTASTIC.  I must resort to cutting it up into serving slices and freezing them so we don’t just gobble the whole thing down in a…

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Yummy Low Carb Cheesecake

IMG_1357

Mmmmmm … cheesecake.  What’s not to like about low carb cheesecake?!

HEALTHY

With reduced fat cream cheese, fresh strawberries, Greek yogurt, almond flour/pecan crust, and less than a tablespoon of sugar in the ENTIRE cheesecake, this is as healthy as cheesecake gets!  Skip the Cheesecake Factory with all their calories, fat and carbs, and give this recipe a try.

EZ

No “water bath.”  If it cracks, it cracks; you’re going to cover it with strawberries anyway!  Also, I like to keep my recipes simple and not require the use of fancy and/or expensive kitchen doo-dads when possible.  So no springform pan, no zester, food processor optional; you’re good to go with a rolling pin, an electric mixer, and a grater.

YUMMY

Tastes sweet and creamy and FANTASTIC.  I must resort to cutting it up into serving slices and freezing them so we don’t just gobble the whole thing down in a few days :)

VERSATILE

You’ve probably seen a lot of low carb cheesecake recipes out there, and  many of them manage the carbs by eliminating the crust.  But for me the crust is the best part!   So to accommodate different dietary needs/preferences,  behold … three yummy options, descending from highest carbs/potassium content to lowest:

Cheesecake with crust

Cheesecake with a crumble sprinkle on top instead of crust

Naked cheesecake – no crust/crumble

So you have no excuse not to try this cheesecake!  Nutrition info for all three options is at the bottom of this page.  Bon appetit!

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
1 cup almond meal
2/3 cup crushed roasted, unsalted pecans
3 tblsp melted butter
1 tsp Truvia
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup

Crumble topping:
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup crushed roasted, unsalted pecans
2 tblsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp Truvia
1/8 cup sugar free syrup

Filling:

8 oz neufchtafel cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup Truvia sugar blend
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup 2% Fage Greek yogurt
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp lemon zest
2 large egg whites

Strawberry topping:

1 cup sliced strawberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9″ pie plate with spray oil.

Crust:
Place pecans in a baggie and use a rolling pin to crush them down into small pieces (or use a food processor to crush them). Stir crust ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl until crumbly. Press crust evenly into pie plate.

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Spray crust lightly with spray oil and bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Filling:

In a medium sized bowl, beat cream cheese, vanilla and Truvia sugar blend with a blender on medium just until smooth. Beat in yogurt, lemon juice and zest just until incorporated. Add egg whites and mix on high speed just until smooth; do not over mix.

Spoon filling into pie plate (either with or without a crust) and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until filling is firm (doesn’t move or wiggle when you jiggle the pie plate).

Crumble Topping:

Crush pecans by placing them in a baggie and use a rolling pin to crush them down into small pieces (or use a food processor). Stir crumble ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl until crumbly.

After baking the filling for about 15 minutes (about ten minutes before the filling is done), open the oven and slide the rack toward you (don’t take the cheesecake out!).  Using a tablespoon, carefully sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the top of the cheesecake.

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Return to oven and continue baking until filling is firm and does not jiggle.

Turn off oven, open oven door a crack, and allow cheesecake to cool for an hour (this should prevent cracks, but not guaranteed). Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cool. Place in refrigerator to cool overnight (if you can stand to wait that long. Me, I gotta eat it after dinner that night!).

When ready to serve, top with sliced strawberries.

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If you plan to freeze the cheesecake, freeze without strawberries and add them once the cheesecake is defrosted.

Nutrition per serving*:

WITH CRUST
Calories, 337 Carbs, 10 Potassium, 268 Sodium, 185

WITH CRUMBLE
Calories, 194 Carbs, 7 Potassium, 166 Sodium, 142
NAKED
Calories, 124 Carbs, 5 Potassium, 124 Sodium, 116

*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.

Low Carb, Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

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If you read the post just prior to this one, you will see that this coffee cake does not fit with my usual recipe selections … in that it is not all that low in potassium :(  But as far as I can tell there isn’t anyone out there right now who is looking at my blog for low potassium recipe ideas.

So … here is a SUPER YUMMY low-carb, gluten-free coffee cake.  It is made with almond and coconut flours and it is dense, moist, just everything you’d ever want in a coffee cake WITHOUT the carbs and gluten (and can be dairy-free if you use a vegan butter substitute).  I developed this recipe by taking ideas from coffee cake recipes on simplyhealthyliving.org and glutenfreehomemaker.com.

INGREDIENTS

Topping
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter, melted (or vegan spread)
6 Tbsp. sugar free maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cake
1 cup almond flour
¾ cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
½ cup Silk light vanilla almond milk
¼ cup melted butter (or vegan spread)
½ cup sugar free maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake pan with spray oil.

Combine the topping ingredients (except for the last 1/4 cup pecans), mix well and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs and milk until well combined. Add the egg/milk mixture, melted butter, syrup, and vanilla to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer a few minutes, until ingredients are well combined.

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Spoon batter into the cake pan and spread out evenly. Spoon the topping evenly over the entire cake with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pecans evenly over the topping.

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Bake for about 35 minutes or until it is set in the middle and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan about 5 to 10 minutes. If you would like to plate the cake, invert onto a plate, and invert again onto a serving plate.

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Servings:  12

Nutrition per serving*:

Calories 235, Carbs 8, Potassium 267, Sodium 104

*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.

Coconut Flour Rant! – OR – You just can’t trust Jillian Michaels

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If you have issues processing potassium, and you are trying to eat healthy and address this issue through diet, you are probably GOING CRAZY RIGHT NOW.   > : 0

Because hardly ANYONE publishes potassium info.  I should start counting the hours I spend surfing the internet trying to find potassium information on various foods.  The dangers of trusting the internet become frighteningly clear while engaging in this treasure hunt.  For example:

Since hubby recently was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I now try to cook both low potassium and low carb (if you’re looking for a 24/7 endlessly frustrating hobby, give this a try).  An ingredient that comes up frequently in low carb (and gluten free) baking is coconut flour.  Lots of cooks sing the praises of coconut flour as a complement to or substitute for almond flour/meal, as almond flour can taste grainy in baked goods.  So I began the quest to determine the amount of potassium in coconut flour.  One thing I already knew – fresh coconut and coconut milk is loaded with potassium.

But I had no luck finding any sites that would list coconut flour potassium content.  Then I looked at Jillian Michael’s site, fit.jillianmichaels.com.  Lo and behold, there was a page called “Nutrition Information for Coconut Flour,” and it stated that there is “no potassium in coconut flour.”  I was, like, “Awesome!”  I immediately found a coffee cake recipe that used coconut flour; made some recipe adjustments; and baked away.  And it was GOOOOD.  In fact, I will post my adapted recipe to this site shortly.

But then I began to have second thoughts … how could coconut flour have NO potassium?  So I did some further research and found some product websites selling coconut flour.  And they said … guess what … COCONUT FLOUR IS LOADED WITH POTASSIUM.  I mean, a total potassium bomb (as in 1160 mg in 1/2 cup of flour).  What the heck, Jillian Michaels?  Are you trying to kill us out here?

I immediately wrote to Jillian Michaels and company, asking where they got the information that there is NO potassium in coconut flour.  And they said: “Huh!  Let us get back to you on that!” (well, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s pretty much what they said.)  And I NEVER HEARD FROM JILLIAN MICHAELS AGAIN.

When you or your loved ones have a health issue, you need solid nutrition information!  You don’t need supposed health experts blithely dispensing ERRONEOUS AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS INFORMATION!  Even most doctors have no idea what foods are good for a low potassium diet and what foods are bad (except everyone knows bananas, thanks a lot, that is not even close to being the highest potassium food).   I am thankful for the USDA site http://ndb.nal.usda.gov , which is where I get almost all my potassium info.  But when they don’t have a particular food, I’m stuck! :(

So now I have a delicious coffee cake with crap loads of potassium in it.  And also … coconut flour is loaded with calories!  And it’s not all that low carb!  And it ain’t cheap, either!  Honestly, unless you are rich, skinny, and need to eat gluten free, there just is not a compelling reason to use coconut flour.

But I already have a good recipe that in fact does use coconut flour (and it’s a lot of work developing these recipes and documenting all the nutrition info, gosh darn it).  So for those out there who are looking for a healthier coffee cake,  I’m going to post my delicious low carb, gluten-free coffee cake (although I personally don’t care about gluten), and then back to the drawing board trying to find a yummy low carb, low potassium one.

So now I got that out of my system :)

Satisfying Fruit Salad

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While on vacation last week we stopped in at a restaurant that had a “Build-Your-Own” salad bar.  The salad I made was so yummy I decided to investigate the nutrition information and measure out a recipe that would ensure the salad stayed within guidelines for potassium and carbs for hubby’s twin dietary requirements of LOW POTASSIUM and LOW CARB.

Happily, this recipe is also LOW CALORIE.  So add your favorite low cal dressing and a protein – shrimp is a good protein choice for those who need to keep potassium low (in the salad pictured above I added langostino).

PS: If you are super observant you may notice that the salad pictured uses spring mix rather than red leaf lettuce.  If you don’t have a potassium problem, it doesn’t matter what lettuce you use.  However, if you have to watch your potassium intake, I found in my research that the lowest potassium lettuce seems to be red leaf, so that is why red leaf lettuce is listed in the ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup red leaf lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup green apples, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dried, sweetened cranberries
1 tablespoon red onion, chopped
1 inch cube feta
1 tablespoon roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

DIRECTIONS

Layer ingredients in a salad bowl in order listed.  Top with your favorite low cal dressing and protein.

Nutrition per serving*:

Calories 204, Carbs 37, Potassium 245, Sodium 344

*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.

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.

Recipe update:  If you, like me, are trying to cut potassium from your diet due to a health issue, please see the second version of this recipe below, because it cuts the potassium by MORE THAN 2/3.  Calories are the same and only 2 grams additional carbs when compared with the first, gluten free recipe.

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 – GLUTEN FREE RECIPE

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

INGREDIENTS – LOW POTASSIUM RECIPE

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup Truvia or Splenda
5 large eggs
1 3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 tablespoon light almond milk
1 tsp baking powder
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 flour(s) and baking powder together; add to egg mixture a little at a time, and beat until incorporated. Mix in extracts (and almond milk for low potassium recipe).  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*:

GLUTEN FREE RECIPE:  Calories 272, Carbs 15, Potassium 169, Sodium 198

LOW POTASSIUM RECIPE:  Calories 272, Carbs 17, Potassium 55, Sodium 205

*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.