Tag Archives: no sugar

Revised Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Brownies

3 Nov

 

 

 

I decided to make these brownies again, coming up with a more accurate, delicious recipe of my own. I incorporated coconut flour this time. It was my first time using it, and now I see what everyone was talking about! It adds a sweet, light flavor to gluten-free baked goods and makes the consistency a bit smoother. Again I used agave instead of refined sugar. My toppings this time were chocolate chips on one side and a cut-up Snickers bar on the other (a straggler leftover from Halloween). I used more chocolate powder for an intense flavor. Although I liked this recipe better, the only thing I would change are the sweet potatoes used. I only hand the ones with the yellow inside; I think the ones with the orange flesh would make the consistency smoother. I’ve found they’re a bit sweeter as well. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

**Revised Recipe:

– 1 1/2 medium sweet potatoes, boiled

– 1 large egg and 2 large egg whites

– 2-3 oz. dark chocolate   (I made my own with unsweetened cocoa powder – see below)

– 1/4 c. agave

– 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil

– 1 tbsp. vanilla

– 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

– 3 tbsp. coconut flour

– 1/2 tsp. baking soda

To Make:

1) Peel the boiled sweet potatoes. Mash, mix, or puree them together. After sweet potatoes are mashed, start concocting your dark chocolate (alternatively, you can use chocolate chips and/or baking chocolate and melt it down).

* If you do not have baking chocolate, you can use the unsweetened cocoa powder. To make your own dark chocolate like I did, mix 3 tbsp. of cocoa powder with 1 tbsp. of grapeseed oil. Melt them together in a double-boiler, then add the dark chocolate to the mashed potatoes.

2) After the potatoes and dark chocolate are combined, add in the wet ingredients: egg and egg whites, agave or honey, vanilla, and grapeseed oil. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer until thoroughly blended.

3) Now add the dry ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut flour, and baking soda. Mix well.

4) This batter was less lumpy than the first batch I made. It was sweeter and more consistent than the first one–the batter even tasted better! Add any toppings you want, sugar-free or not. ;p

5) Bake at 350 Fahrenheit / 175 Celsius for about 25-30 minutes. Check the center of the brownies by putting a clean knife in the middle. Mine cooked a bit faster than the first batch. Enjoy! Super yummy…

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try it.

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Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

29 Oct

I had an intense chocolate craving. With the fall season quickly approaching here in Korea, all I’ve been wanting to do is bake!!! The cold weather gets me down, and I am missing home this autumn season. This is my fourth fall in South Korea. Suddenly, the thought of another holiday season here, the lack of Halloween candy in the stores, the absence of the excitement at the beginning of the holiday season…it’s all just kind of gotten to me more this year. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older?! Maybe it’s part of the post-competition blues (still)?! Whatever it is, I know one thing for sure: my toaster oven is quickly (and dangerously) becoming my best friend.

While Googling gluten-free cookie recipes, I stumbled across one that used all of the “natural” ingredients I’ve been wanting to incorporate: PB2 (my powdered natural peanut butter), Nestle’s unsweetened cocoa powder, agave nectar, and chocolate chips. I found great new blog (!) called loveveggiesandyoga.com. It was originally dedicated to vegan food and yoga, but now Averie, the author, has shifted the focus to desserts. Its name officially now is “Averie Cooks”. Here’s the link: http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/. Thanks to Averie for sharing the original recipe. I used her recipe, substituting agave for both the white and brown sugars. I wasn’t sure how the recipe would turn out, so I made half batch (about 10 small cookies). For a full batch, just double the recipe. Here it is:

Half Batch

– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I used PB2, but Averie used Natural JIF in hers–something I can’t get in Korea)

– less than 1/2 cup agave sweetener

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chocolate chips

– 1 egg white

1) I first had to “make” the peanut butter, which consists of combining PB2 natural peanut butter powder with water. It took about 6-7 tablespoons to make 1/2 cup. Put the peanut butter, cocoa powder, agave, and vanilla into the bowl. Use the egg white of one regular-size egg by separating it. Mix all ingredients together.

2) After all ingredients are mixed well, add in your chocolate chips and stir.

*Averie suggested putting the dough into the freezer to make a thicker, fluffier cookie. I wasn’t sure if my dough would work properly with the substitutions. It looked a bit runny, so I stuck it in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes while I baked a “test cookie”. It worked!

3) Drop cookies by the spoonful or roll into 1-inch balls and place them onto the cookie sheet. I greased mine with grapeseed oil. I made these cookies bite-sized, but you can make them bigger if desired.

4) Bake at 350 Fahrenheit (I put mine at just above 200 Celsius) for 10-12 minutes. I found 10 minutes was the perfect amount of time. As Averie suggests, watch the cookies carefully! Because they are dark chocolate, it is hard to tell when they are done versus when they are burnt!

These cookies were rich and delicious. I was happy that they turned out well with all of my substitutions. I recommend them for anyone who is craving chocolate. The bite-size portions were perfect as well. I’m curious to hear how other people’s experiences are. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2011/08/flourless-chocolate-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies.html.

Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Brownies

18 Oct

What?!

That title is a mouthful!

Tonight I experimented a little more with my new sugar-free ingredients. A good friend and fellow competitor of mine posted a picture of paleo brownies she made with sweet potatoes. Having just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my friends (I’m not a native Canadian–just an honorary one who happens to work with a lot of Canucks), I had half a bag of sweet potatoes left after making sweet potato casserole. (Sweet potato casserole was not a diet- or competition-friendly dish: it was loaded with brown sugar and marshmallows. CHEAT MEAL, BABY!!!) The chocolate craving hit me pretty hard today (stressful day at work, that time of the month, had an intense workout this morning), so I decided to test the recipe out. The brownies are not overly sweet. They are subtly sweet but have a good consistency. I found a recipe online but adapted it (as always) to the ingredients I had on hand.

Here’s what I used:

– 2 medium sweet potatoes, boiled

– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (can substitute with unsweetened/dark baker’s chocolate)

– 1 tbsp almond flour

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/3 cup agave

– 1 tbsp vanilla extract

– about 1 tbsp grapeseed oil

– 2 eggs

To bake,

1) Mash the sweet potatoes, either with a fork, mixer, or by pureeing them in a food processor. I used the bullet that I make my protein shakes in. As long as the potatoes are still warm after boiling, they should mash up nicely. I took the thicker parts of the skin off to make pureeing easier.

2) I transferred the sweet potato puree to a mixing bowl, then added the dry ingredients first (cocoa powder, almond flour, baking soda).

3) Next, I added the wet ingredients (eggs, agave, vanilla, and grapeseed oil). I stirred everything together until it had a somewhat smooth consistency. There were a few lumps and uneven spots in the batter. I hand-mixed the ingredients, alternating between a fork (to mash big lumps) and a rubber spatula. Don’t worry if there are still small lumps remaining; they’ll bake out.

4) Add any other ingredients that you want. You can see from the picture that I didn’t stick to an entirely sugar-free brownie: I added dark chocolate chips to the top. The coconut is unsweetened, however. To keep it sugar-free, you could substitute carob chips for chocolate chips–or just leave them out.

Transfer the brownie batter to an oiled baking dish (I used a small square 6×6 glass dish–this recipe only makes about 12 brownies). Pop it in the oven at about 350 Fahrenheit (I did almost 200 Celsius, which is a bit hotter). Bake for about 30 minutes or until the middle is cooked. I knew mine were done when the cocoa smell filled the house!

My brownies finished about an hour ago. I sampled them before remembering to document what I had baked, as you can see in the picture. They’re not bad for my first experience baking with sweet potatoes. The brownies could stand to be a bit sweeter, but they are very moist! I’m happy to have found an alternative to using gluten-free flour mixes.

Let me know if you try them out and what you think!

Flourless Spinach Quiche

3 Oct

While preparing food for my competition, I came across a few really great resources that helped me do things with chicken and egg whites other than just simply boil them. Now that I’m no longer dieting and it’s after the competition, I have been experimenting with cooking new dishes and baking different cookies and cakes. One website that has been a wonderful, helpful resource both on and off the competition diet has been Chelle’s Fitness Recipes, found here: http://billandchelle.com/fitness/recipes.html. For those of you on a figure competition diet, I recommend clicking on the “View Figure Competition Friendly Recipes Here” link just under the page’s header.

I adapted Chelle’s “Crustless Spinach Quiche” slightly, using what I had in my refrigerator. Here is what I used:

1 tbsp olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 cooked chicken tenderloins, flavored with basil (1-2 chicken breasts could be used instead)

1/2 package of fresh lettuce (about 6 small spinach plants)

12 egg whites

1/2 cup shredded Formaggio al Tartulo (a mild-flavored Italian sheep cheese; could probably substitute Parmesan for a stronger taste or cheddar for a milder taste)

Pepper

Basil

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 180 Celsius. Mince all of the garlic cloves, chop onion (if you want to add it), and cut chicken tenderloins or breasts into chunks or strips.

*Chelle’s original recipe only calls for two cloves of garlic ; I love garlic and its healthful properties, so I always use more. The original recipe also has one small onion, which I was out of. I had chicken tenderloins left over from a previous meal. I sprinkled basil on them, then cut them into chunks. You could use any kind of chicken; the original recipe has chicken sausage. I had tofu in the fridge and considered using that as an alternative to chicken.

1) Put olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic and onion for a few minutes. Add in the chicken to warm it up; saute all three together until onion and garlic are browned. Rinse spinach leaves and cut up if necessary while food is sauteing.

2) Using a fork, whisk 12 egg whites in a large bowl. I whisked them as the recipe said for a couple of minutes, or until the whites started to bubble a bit.

3) Add all ingredients: sauteed chicken, garlic, onion, spinach, and cheese. Mix together with the egg whites until all ingredients are moistened. Depending on how much spinach you use, you may want to add another egg white. Add seasonings to the mixture. I only used pepper and basil.

4) Coat a glass or metal dish with non-stick cooking spray or oil. Pour the mixture into the dish and pop it into the oven.

5) Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center is cooked.

I served this dish with some steaming fresh green beans. It was a delicious, healthy, satisfying meal! Gluten-free and yummy. I was quite happy with the taste, as it was my first time making quiche. I usually avoid quiche because of the crust. Now I will try my own versions. The best part of a meal like this is you can eat the leftovers for breakfast the next day!

Healthy Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

27 Sep

During my figure competition diet, all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to go back to gluten-free baking. I really don’t eat that poorly in the “off season”–being gluten-free keeps me in check. I do, however, looooove gluten-free brownies and cookies. I always keep my favorite Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix on hand for baking emergencies. Because of the competition diet, I’d consumed zero processed or refined sugar for 12 weeks. During the last two weeks before competition, I even cut out fruit because of its high sugar and carbohydrate content to lean up. Coming off of an extremely restrictive diet, I wanted to use as close to natural sugar as possible to not shock my body.

Oatmeal was one of the three main sources of carbohydrates in my diet. One might think I wouldn’t want to eat oatmeal after the diet, but all I could think of was how delicious oatmeal raisin cookies would be after the competition! So, here it is, the week after the competition, and I found a great recipe from a fellow English teacher in Korea that cooks wonderful vegan and gluten-free foods. The site is great–it’s called “Wayfaring Teacher”. I encourage you to check it out for some great recipes, or just a bit of insight of what it is like for those with food restrictions living in Korea. I adapted that recipe to what I had in my cupboard. Here’s what I used:

1 3/4 cup quick-cooking old-fashioned oats (I used the Quaker ones because I’m not super sensitive to oats; if you are, I would Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free quick-cooking or rolled oats)

1 cup Pamela’s Baking & Pancake mix (*original recipe calls for 1/2 cup oatmeal ground into flour plus 1/2 cup almond flour, which I didn’t have)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup raisins

1 banana

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp honey (*optional – or substitute your choice of sweetener)

1/4 cup nonfat milk

2 tsp cinnamon

1. Mix oatmeal, Pamela’s, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl.

2. Mash the banana, then add vanilla.

3. Combine wet ingredients to dry mixture.

4. Start mixing, then add in honey. Use more or less, depending on personal preference.

5. Pour in raisins.

6. Add milk to get a lighter, thinner consistency.

As the original post says, add more milk if the mixture is too dry; if it is too wet, adjust with oats.

Bake at 350 degrees (about 175 Celsius in my lil’ Korean toaster oven) for 12-15 minutes. When mixing the cookie batter, I used my hands. Depending on how many oats you use, the batter can be a bit crumbly. I wanted “mini-bites”, so I rolled the cookies into small balls and flattened them down a bit. Cookies were ready when the edges started to brown.

I ate them without taking a picture. No worries; I’ll make them again and post. This was my first time using honey in place of sugar. These cookies didn’t need any additional sweetener, but I had to satiate my craving, and honey did the trick! I personally love extra raisins and cinnamon in mine, but this recipe can be easily tweaked.

Happy Baking!