Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

ItalianStuffedSpagSquashThis hits the spot when you’re craving lasagna! Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash uses an alternate for pasta. And the best part is your kitchen smells so delicious –  like you’re baking a tray of your favorite Italian dish. Gluten-free and lower in carbs. So good!

RECIPE

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. of minced garlic
  •  1 jar of sugar-free spaghetti sauce of your choice (or make your own)
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
  1. Cook your spaghetti squash per instruction on this link: click here.
  2. While that is cooking, make your meat sauce by first browning the meat and garlic, then adding the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  3. When your squash is done, cut it into two halves lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and fill each side half way with ricotta cheese, then top with meat sauce until it’s over-filled.
  4. Top with cheese and place under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Scoop out your servings and enjoy with a side of green salad!
Advertisements

Strawberry Vanilla Lemonade

straw_van_lemonadeMy daughter and I had a free Saturday one day while my husband and son went on a hike. I asked her what she wanted to do and she requested to have a tea party at home. Just the two of us. How sweet. She said she didn’t want to drink tea. She wanted “fancy lemonade.” My parents’ lemon tree happened to have an abundance of lemons that week so I happened to have a zillion lemons on hand. I also happened to have some strawberries in my freezer that I save for making smoothies. Together, we made a sugar-free Strawberry Vanilla Lemonade. Served in champagne flutes, my daughter definitely enjoyed her fancy lemonade on our Mommy & Daughter Tea Party.

RECIPE

  • 4-5 lemons
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of powdered Stevia extract (or other sweetener)
  • 6-8 fresh or frozen strawberries, washed, cleaned and cut in half
  • water and ice
  1. Juice the lemons and pour in a pitcher.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Fill with ice and water.
  4. Add Stevia (or other sweetener). Add more to your preferred sweetness.
  5. Add the strawberries and let them soak for an hour before serving so that the strawberry flavor enhances the lemonade.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

choc_avocado_mousseI was watching Top Chef one night, and it was a healthy food challenge. One of the contestants made a dairy-free chocolate dessert using avocado. That perked my attention, not only because I love avocado, but because it’s dairy-free. So I played around to come up with my version of Chocolate Avocado Mousse. It is just as rich and creamy as the real thing. You don’t actually taste the avocado so if you don’t like avocado but you want a healthier version of a chocolate mousse, then you should give this recipe a try.

I also started experimenting with Xylitol. I was a little worried about using this sweetener because I thought it was a man-made substitute. It’s not. “Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine.” It tastes just like sugar and with no after-taste. You can use it in the same proportions as sugar (1:1) and it is actually good for your teeth. The  catch is it is quite expensive. So I use it sporadically. If you consume too much in a day, your tummy won’t like it. (I haven’t had this problem.)

You can use Xylitol with this recipe or another sweetener of your choice. It’s still delicious.

RECIPE

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut cream, chilled
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tsp of Xylitol or agave nectar, coconut palm nectar (or other sweetener of your choice)
  • Optional: Add a tsp. of peanut butter for a richer, more decadent mousse.
  1. Cut the avocado in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl (or in a blender or food processor).
  2. Add coconut cream, cocoa powder and sweetener.
  3. Mash with a fork (or blend/process) until smooth.
  4. Serve chilled.

Brazilian Chocolate Truffles

braziliantruffles I saw this post on FastPaleo.com, and although I have no idea what Brazilian Chocolate Truffles are, I was already intrigued when I saw the words “Chocolate Truffles.” 🙂 What perfect timing since Valentine’s Day is almost here. Enjoy this gluten-free, refined sugar-free, lower-carb (and can be dairy-free) dessert with your Valentine!

The recipe seemed simple enough, just lengthy since you have to make your own guilt-free condensed milk (JACKPOT!) and that takes two hours. But don’t be discouraged. The end result is totally worth it! Even the condensed milk alone is a winner. I followed the method that was posted but it didn’t turn out right, so I had to improvise. No worries because the truffles came out perfectly! (I love it when that happens.)

RECIPE

  • 1 can coconut cream or milk
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar or coconut palm nectar
  • 4 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free option)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Mix the coconut cream/milk, vanilla and the nectar in a sauce pan.
  2. Stir under medium heat until simmering.
  3. Lower the heat as low as it goes and let it cook for 2 hours. Stir every few minutes and keep an eye on it that it doesn’t boil over. You’ll know it’s ready when it has the consistency of condensed milk (thick and syrupy).
  4. Add the butter/coconut oil and half of the cocoa powder under medium heat.
  5. Stir and add the remaining cocoa powder. Keep stirring until liquid separates from the chocolate mixture. Remove from heat.
  6. Drain and toss the liquid.
  7. Cool the chocolate (while in the pan) in the fridge for about 2 hours. It is important it is cool before you roll it. It should have a similar consistency as clay.
  8. Line your hands with coconut oil and start rolling the chocolate into balls. You might need to add more oil to your hands in between a few rolls.
  9. Cover each ball in cocoa powder (or cocoa powder and cinnamon), shredded coconut or chopped nuts. You can also hide a whole hazelnut or almond in the middle for a surprise crunch.

K-Cup Guilt-Free Vanilla Cappuccino

capuccinoSo we got a new “toy” in the kitchen and as fun as it is making these individual K-cups of coffee, I decided to play around and find a quick way to make a Guilt-Free Vanilla Cappuccino.

RECIPE

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk (coconut, almond or soy)
  • 2-3 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • coffee
  1. In a mug, heat the milk and vanilla syrup for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then froth with your magic wand. (If you don’t have a frother, it’s okay. It’ll taste just fine.)
    milk_frother
  2. Place your mug (with the heated frothy milk in the mug) under your K-cup brewer and select the 6 oz. cup size.
  3. BAM… Guilt-Free Vanilla Cappuccino!

Feel free to use other sugar-free flavors. Sometimes I add sugar-free caramel syrup with the vanilla to make a caramel macchiato. Other times, I’ll pour my cappuccino over ice in a blender and make a frappuccino. The possibilities are endless!

Cheesecake Muffins

If you can’t have real cheesecake, then you should bake a batch of these guilt-free Cheesecake Muffins instead. These low-carb, gluten-free, flourless, sugar-free desserts are super easy to make! You can eat them warm or cold. I tried both ways and chilled is definitely the way to serve this. I’ve decided to highlight the pre-baked state of these muffins because they’re so beautiful, and because the “after” picture (scroll down) shows them all shriveled up. 🙂 It’s okay. They still taste good.

RECIPE

  • One 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1-2 tsp of Stevia or Splenda, depending on preference or 1/4 cup sweetener (agave, coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  1. Pre-heat oven at 350˚F.
  2. In a medium glass bowl, soften cream cheese about 40 seconds in microwave.
  3. Add sweetener, egg and vanilla. Beat with mixer till smooth.
  4. Pour into muffin pans lined with the papers. (Option:  sprinkle cinnamon on top.)
  5. Bake for 20 min.
  6. Cool in the fridge for a cheesecake type texture or eat warm. Makes about 5-6 muffins.

Morning Muffin in a Mug

This Morning Muffin was all a buzz after Dr. Oz aired it on his show last February. It’s filled with guilt-free ingredients, and surprisingly, I had all the ingredients in my pantry. I love it when this happens! It’s actually very similar to my low-carb hamburger bun I posted a while ago (gluten-free, flourless, no sugar).

So I finally got around to giving it a try and it’s actually not bad. Not very sweet (because it only uses Stevia so it’s sugar-free) but pretty darn good especially when you smear it with butter and you watch it melt on contact. Mmmm! It was quite filling. I couldn’t eat the whole thing yet I wasn’t hungry at all until I realized it was already after lunch. Talk about a power muffin! And it only takes 1 minute to cook.

RECIPE

  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1 tsp. of butter or coconut oil (Just scoop it out of the jar! No need to melt it.)
  • 1/3 tsp of Stevia (or more depending on your preference)
  • 2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • a handful of blueberries
  1. Put all the ingredients in a mug and stir it well, making sure the egg and the dry ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. Microwave the mug for 55-60 seconds.
  3. Turn it over on a plate, slice in half, and butter generously!

For a chocolate option, substitute the cinnamon for 1 tsp. of cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla. Or you can check out heathereatsalmondbutter.com’s recipe. (Love her!)