Raw Sugar-Free Chocolates

These are SO good (again, if you like strong dark bitter REAL chocolate), and so good for you. Terrific holiday treats for the kiddies (and the kiddies in all of us!).

Cacao is full of heart-protective anti-oxidants similar to polyphenols found in red wine and green tea. It is full of many minerals too, and extremely high in magnesium, a mineral many diabetics in particular are often deficient in. The problem with commercial chocolates is that they are full of sugars or chemical sugar-substitutes. Any chocolate that contains under 70% cocoa shouldn’t even be called chocolate!

Anyway, here’s my basic recipe, with suggestions for variations afterwards.

Approximately 7 ozs raw cacao butter, melted slowly in a double-boiler
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted over a very low heat
2 cups raw cacao powder
1 T vanilla extract
1 T almond extract
Approximately 20 scoops of KAL organic stevia (or to taste, depending on how sweet you want it)
Chocolate molds and/or ice cube trays

Combine the melted oils in a large bowl or measuring pitcher. Add the extracts and stir well. Stir together the cacao powder and stevia powder, then pour these dry ingredients into the wet and whisk together until no lumps remain. Pour or spoon chocolate into molds and refrigerate. They should set in about an hour. These need to be kept in the fridge. They’re a little more melty at room temperature (approx. 70 degrees F) than commercial chocolates, as they don’t contain soy lecithin or any chemical emulsifiers. You can also try a higher percentage of cacao butter (or no coconut oil at all), and they won’t melt as easily. I’ve never done this, I guess just because I like them cold out of the fridge anyway.

Here are some of the additions we’ve done:
mixed dried berries
goji berries
golden berries
orange extract
mint extract
powdered dried mint leaves
powdered  dried basil leaves
turmeric, almond butter and black pepper
almond butter
peanut butter
crushed pecans
chopped almonds and walnuts

If you add some raw cream while you’re making them, they come out thicker, like truffles. Experiment!

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Raw Chocolates, sugar-free and delicious

No time left today, but will get this recipe up very soon, so stay tuned. I promise it will be in the next couple of days. These are incredible, if you are a true chocoholic and like dark bitter chocolate, but don’t want (or can’t have) all the sugar.

 

Curried Lamb Stew


Coconut oil or ghee for cooking
2 lbs lamb, either shoulder or stew meat or shank or butt roast, trimmed of visible fat
3 medium-sized onions, sliced into wedges
One 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 t turmeric
3 to 4 T curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 14-oz. cans unsweetened organic coconut milk
2 large tart apples, cored and coarsely chopped
3 medium rutabagas, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup stock or broth
salt and pepper
cilantro, finely chopped (as much as you want, depending on how much you like it)

If cooking in the oven:
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Sprinkle the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large flame-proof/oven-proof pot (cast-iron works well). Brown the lamb on as many sides as is possible. Remove and set aside. Saute the onion wedges until slightly browned, then sprinkle on the spices and saute for another minute or so. Turn the flame down to medium-low. Add the rutabagas, and stir in the ginger, apples, garlic, coconut milk, bay leaf and stock. Set the lamb back in the pan, on top of all of this, cover and roast in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. At the very end, stir in cilantro.

If cooking in the slow-cooker:
Follow instructions above, but once meat and onions have been browned, throw all ingredients into the slow-cooker, cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn down to low for 6 to 8 hours, until meat is very tender. Again, stir in cilantro at the end.

I once had a lamb curry served with yoghurt and a fruit chutney spooned into it. It was great. I’m still trying to create a sugar-free chutney, so stay posted. In the meantime, experiment, and if anyone comes up with one let me know! Hope you enjoy this warming winter stew.

 

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Sorry, not the best photo, but this got eaten so fast I couldn’t get a better one.

Another simple recipe that’s good for the holidays. I froze a lot of pesto this summer, and everyone in the family loves it, so I’m always coming up with ways to use it. This has been a favorite of mine for decades.

First, my Pesto recipe:
3 well-packed cups of fresh basil leaves (no stems)
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup walnuts or combination of walnuts and pine nuts
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Approximately 3/4 cup fresh-grated parmesan (or equivalent aged cheese, preferably raw)
Approximately 3/4 cup extra virgin organic olive oil
salt to taste

Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blend until you get the consistency you desire (I like it very smooth, but some people like it a little chunky).

The squash:
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut a medium to large spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Grease a large baking dish (I prefer glass or ceramic), and place the two squash halves face down in the dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork, at which point, remove from oven and let cool until you can easily handle it. Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl.

The two together:
Put as much pesto as you want in with the squash and toss until thoroughly combined. You can serve as is, or alternatively, sprinkle with more parmesan (or mozzarella) and bake until cheese melts, browns and bubbles. Pesto is also great cold on just about anything. Makes yummy omelettes too.

 

 

Spicy Almond-Pecan-Cranberry Holiday Bread

OK, It’s been a long time since I’ve posted recipes on here, so I am going to try to put up a whole bunch of posts today with holiday ideas among them (and yes, more breakfast ideas for those who keep asking!)

First on the list of holiday recipes is this delicious pecan bread that I adapted from a recipe a friend gave me a couple of years ago, which I think she may have adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cook-Book, by Elana Amsterdam, a great resource for how to use almond flour I have recently discovered, though she uses ingredients I don’t recommend, such as Agave Nectar, which is basically High Fructose Corn Syrup. Anyway, here’s my final adaptation of this bread, great for the holidays, but also a good low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free breakfast staple. (Pictured above with home-made yoghurt cream-cheese.)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup creamy raw almond butter
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1 T maple syrup (optional, for a sweeter bread)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 t baking soda
10 to 12 scoops KAL organic stevia (or to taste–this bread is good sweet or not)
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried tart cherries, like Montmorencies)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a bread pan with butter or ghee and dust with almond flour.  Mix together the almond butter and eggs (and maple syrup if using) until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda, stevia and spices. Combine the wet and dry ingredients well, then fold in the pecans and cranberries or cherries (or both!). Pour batter into the greased pan.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan for about an hour. Keeps well in the fridge for at least a week. This bread makes great toast and great french toast too (more breakfast ideas).

Like this knife? Check out Zeke’s amazing new knives at his etsy shop, echtzeke. He’s getting new ones up every couple of days, so keep checking back. Great gift ideas!

Link to “suger-industry-lies” article. A Must-read!

Sorry, no time lately to post anything. I’ve been trying to work on this massive amount of paperwork I have to get through to see if we can get a paraproffessional in my daughter’s classroom next year (or maybe even miraculously next semester!), so we don’t have to keep homeschooling her in the afternoons and going up to her school for lunch and recess, which is just an insane marathon for us, and causing me to have no time at all to work on my book or this blog. Please, as usual, bear with me. I know those of you who are parents of diabetic kids will understand, but for the rest of you:I’m lucky if I get 4 to 5 hours’ sleep a night, and am trying my best. I am compiling recipes for the holidays, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to get a whole bunch of them up for those of you who have been calling me and emailing me for recipes. I promise I’ll get some up before Thanksgiving…

Meanwhile, here’s a new article not to be missed:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign

Zeke’s Kitchen Knives!

Remember that post I put up last week of Zeke’s knives? well, here’s a link to his new Etsy shop:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/echtzeke

Check them out. Really cool. He’s going to be posting a couple of new ones every day through the holidays I believe. Hopefully the above link will work!