Low Carb Grain Free Bread

IMG_1630I went to a conference last weekend, and asked my husband, who is hands down the better baker in our family, to find a grain free bread recipe.  He found one and modified it a bit and made this for me when I returned home on Sunday (what a guy!) and it was very good.  It is hard to find “bread-like” consistency without using grain or yeast, and this bread is denser, more like pound cake consistency, but it worked for my craving to occasionally have almond butter on bread!  I have used it as a quick snack this week, and it has survived for 7 days now in our frig in a ziploc.  Sharing with you, and I’d appreciate feedback!

Pros:  amazingly low carb (3 net carbs!), high protein (7g) and easy to make, especially for non-bakers!

Cons:  not “tall” like sandwich bread, and denser, and less flavor that flour based bread

Low Carb Grain Free Sandwich Bread

2 cups + 2 T blanched almond flour (we use Honeyville)
½ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
¼ cup ghee (pasture butter that’s been clarified, can usually be tolerated even if you don’t eat dairy)*
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

*you can use any oil, coconut will impart a coconut flavor, and my opinion is olive oil would be too strong. Other healthy options would be avocado.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Generously grease a 8½ inch loaf pan with coconut oil or ghee.  Don’t use sprays, use real oil.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl:  flours, baking soda, salt.  Set aside.
Put the eggs in your blender and pulse on high for 10-15 sec. until frothy. Then add ghee, water and vinegar and process a few seconds until combined.
Dump the dry ingredients into the blender all at once.  Now here’s the tricky part:  process for only 10-15 seconds, until the dry ingredients mix with the wet ingredients.  Do not wait, or the dry flours absorb the wet ingredients and become too thick for your blender to process it.  If this starts to happen, or your blender isn’t high powered, dump it all into a bowl and hand mix to finish it.  Remember, you want it mixed quickly.

Pour the mixture into your greased loaf pan and smooth the top so it is even.

Bake for 50-70 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and turn out carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_1634Store uneaten bread in an airtight container in refrigerator, as this bread has no preservatives and is chemical free.

We’ve put chicken salad on it, almond butter, and it does crumble a bit, but it does make a sandwich.  I’m going to keep searching for an even lighter bread recipe, but for now, this makes a good alternative if you are craving bread.

I would say that open faced works better, because this isn’t pliable like regular bread, the pressure of two pieces might make it crumble.  I haven’t tried toasting this, but I did put it in a pan and brown it slightly and that worked fine.

Nutrition Information:  based on each loaf serving 12 pieces, which are pretty generous slices:

bread.nutrition

Strawberry Cookies GF, DF, Low Carb

strawberry.cookiesI had a bunch of organic strawberries last weekend, and I didn’t want them to go bad, so I made this recipe based on a paleo recipe I saw.  You can also substitute blueberries, blackberries or raspberries.  And, because of their nutritional value, they make a great breakfast! This makes 36 small cookies.  You can freeze them too.

The one thing our family has learned is once you stop eating processed food, most of it taastes too sweet once you try it again.  So, these cookies have only ½ cup of raw honey for 36 cookies.  I like using natural sweetners vs. others, but you may want your carbs even lower.  There are websites you can look up substituting Stevia for the honey, I just haven’t done it.  Each cookie has about 5-6 carbs and they are full of protein from the almonds, and net carbs are probably lower due to the fiber.

preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)

Ingredients

3 cups blanched almond flour (Honeyville is my fav)
½ cup raw honey
1 tsp sea salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 Tbs. chia seeds
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raw almond or cashew butter at room temp or slightly warmed
¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk or hemp milk)
1 cup berries, I quartered the strawberries, which were tiny to begin with

parchment paper or baking sheet or grease cookie sheet with coconut oil

Directions

In mixer, “cream” the honey, eggs, salt, cinnamon, soda, vanilla and chia seeds.  Add the milk.  With the mixer running on low, slowly add the first cup of almond flour.  Then, add the almond or cashew butter. Mix well.  Continue with the last two cups of almond flour slowly.  When the batter is ready, stir in the strawberries carefully.

Scoop small tablespoons onto a prepped cookie sheet.  They cook more evenly if you flatten the tops a bit.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, they will brown nicely.  Cool on rack.  I don’t put these in a covered tin, they get kind of “wet”, so we leave them on a plate and lightly cover them with a clean cloth.  For some reason, they disappear! 😉

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10 Ways, 10 Days to Lower Carbs, Day 3

Eat a Low Carb Breakfast

day3My mother battled her weight her entire life.  She was never heavy, but it was a constant struggle for her, and she passed on to me and my sister a “deprivation mindset” about food.  But, that is a story for another day.  I have truly battled my weight, for a variety of reasons (read my story later) and changing how I ate breakfast helped enormously. A carb free/low carb breakfast is one way you can start your day off to not sabotage yourself!  My mother complained that “If I eat breakfast, I’m hungry the rest of the day“.  She probably was.  With the American custom of high carb, low fat, low protein breakfasts, you sabotage yourself.   Here’s what happens:

Carb-Cycle

 

First, you eat a carb heavy breakfast. (BAGEL, OATMEAL, TOAST, CEREAL, JUICE, PASTRY…)→ your body gets a sugar load (that’s what carbs convert into once you digest them) so your body produces INSULIN in response to the spike in your blood sugar (Insulin stimulates the cells throughout your body to take in glucose from your bloodstream. Your cells then use glucose as energy, and excess is stored –AS FAT), your blood sugar drops, and then your body feels hungry, stressed and your cravings kick in, probably only 1-2 short hours after you ate!  So…  often you are so hungry you EAT MORE and the cycle starts again!  If you decrease the carbs, increase the FAT, and add a protein, it won’t do that! 

This cycle is killing us.  Literally.  Increased insulin increases inflammation, raises triglyceride levels and messes with our hormones. As if weight gain wasn’t bad enough!

How to break the “carb-insulin-store fat” cycle?

Eat a low carb breakfast, here are a dozen ideas:  Keep it simple.  You need fat-protein-veggie mix (or low carb fruit)

  1. Bacon and eggs — yes, we were brainwashed, eating bacon and eggs gives you protein for fuel and fat for satiety, and doesn’t raise your insulin levels!
  2. Hard boiled eggs with berries – I keep hard boiled eggs in our frig.  They are a quick snack too.
  3. Scrambled eggs with veggies — pick any veggies  you like:  onions, spinach, tomato, peppers
  4. Baked tomato with fried eggs. Or roasted zucchini circles with scrambled eggs.
  5. Smoothies made with coconut, almond, cashew milk and frozen fruit and chia seeds.  Here’s a recipe.
  6. A couple of my almond flour pancakes (no syrup!) with ham or bacon.
  7. “Ditch the Wheat” Meat Bagels (add avocado and tomato slices)
  8. A cocoa smoothie:  here’s a recipe
  9. Make Ahead Mexican Breakfast Casserole —  Here’s a recipe.
  10. Raspberry Chia Pudding (make night before)  Here’s a recipe from Kris Carr
  11. Dr. Hyman’s Green Breakfast Smoothie:  super healthy!  recipe
  12. On the run? grab some low carb granola.  Here’s my recipe.

I also have Bulletproof Coffee on certain days.  Some people do better without a big breakfast.  Bulletproof Coffee is 2 cups coffee/1 T Grass Fed Ghee/1 T MCT oil blended — it has readily available fat (MCT), gives you energy, doesn’t spike insulin, and holds me until lunch.  I use this in conjunction with intermittent fasting. (see my post here about that)

Give low carb breakfasts a try!  I’ll try and post more, and please share what works for you, I’d really like to know.

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Almond Flour Pancakes (WF/GF/DF/Low Carb)

If you are sugar free, wheat free and dairy free, and want to eat low carb, breakfast options are limited, just because our American culture is SO heavy on carbohydrates as the way to start our day.  I remember my Mom, who always seemed to be dieting my entire childhood, say “If I eat breakfast, I’m hungry the rest of the day”.  And she was right!  She would have a bowl of cereal (mostly CHO/Sugar) and milk (again, mostly CHO/Sugar), and toast (CHO), and NO PROTEIN.  Without protein and fat to slow down the digestion into your system, the typical American breakfast shoots a giant sugar load into your bloodstream, which in turn, causes a huge insulin spike, and overcompensates, and with many of us, we are STARVING 2 hours later.  Why?  Because although we’ve digested our breakfast, we still have too much insulin floating around screaming “feed me”!!  Again, it isn’t your fault.  You just have to know how to eat carbs wisely.  Here is a very low carb, low sugar, high protein breakfast alternative to protein smoothies or eggs:

Almond Flour Pancakes:

elana.cookbookWThis recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks “The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook” by Elana Amsterdam.  Elana’s website is also an awesome source for going gluten/wheat free.  You don’t have to be celiac to go gluten free.  More on that under links.

Ingredients:

This makes 8-12 small pancakes, enough for two.  You can easily double the recipe.  These are best made very small, as flipping them is a bit trickier than the standard pancake!  They are so good my 25 year old son ate all the ones in our freezer!

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs
2 T raw organic honey (or reg honey) or stevia if you want to get really low carb
1 T vanilla extract
½ cup water
1½ cups blanched almond flour (see sources below)
½ teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 T arrowroot powder (this helps the pancakes hold together better)* (there are some carbs in arrowroot, about 12 in total recipe)
2 T coconut oil, use 1 T with each “batch” (don’t put in batter!)

*  Unlike cornstarch or flour, arrowroot powder has a completely neutral taste.

almondpancakes

In a blender, combine the eggs, honey, vanilla, and water, process on high for a minute until smooth. Then, add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and arrowroot powder, blend until thoroughly combined.  You will need a small ladle to place the batter on the pan and a scraper to get the batter out off the sides. You may want the batter to sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken up.  It will be thick, and you’ll need a scraper to get it out of the blender.

pancakes.almondHeat a griddle and melt 1T of coconut oil and cover the pan.  Ladle pancakes about 4- 6 at a time, depending on the size of  your pan.  REMEMBER, YOU ARE COOKING NUTS, they will burn easily.  Do NOT have your flame as high as you would for pancakes, probably only half as high.  I suggest medium low and watch it carefully.  They will take longer to crisp up, but when they do, turn them.  I found these make less “bubbles” than the regular ones, and you almost have to peek under to know when to turn them.  They seem fragile, but they do flip if you are careful.  That’s why smaller is better! I would advise cooking these on a well seasoned griddle or a ceramic non-stick pan.  (see which pans I recommend here)

I served these with bacon for a pretty filling and low carb breakfast on weekends.  You can, if carbs aren’t an issue, serve with raspberries (2 pints with ½ cup orange juice cooked down to a sauce) and fresh blueberries, or you can use maple syrup, (100% ONLY) but realize that adds sugar.  Enjoy!

 

Links:

http://elanaspantry.com/

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam (Amazon link)

Related posts on my blog:

The Reverse of Super-Size me and it’s lessons for us.

Why to avoid Wheat

My favorite Almond Flour:  Honeyville BLANCHED almond flour  (you can also order on amazon, and Bob’s Red Mill also makes one)