Banana Nut Mug Muffin (gluten-free)

Banana Nut Mug Muffin

Here’s an easy recipe for using up bananas that have become too ripe. I usually have several over-ripe bananas in the freezer ready for banana mug muffins or a breakfast smoothie. Ready in five minutes, this easy version of banana bread serves one. You simply mix the ingredients up in a microwavable mug and pop it into the microwave. As you know, Glenn and I are lowering our carb intake these days. Now I know banana is usually on the hit list for low carb dieters but we still eat a small amount of banana now and then. If you are watching your carb intake, this mug muffin will add 9.9 G of carbohydrates in total to your daily count.

Ingredients

  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • 1egg
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T stevia sweetener or sucralose (I use Sugar Twin Stevia Sweetener)
  • 1 T PB2 powder or 1 T peanut butter (see note about PB2 below)
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of Salt

Directions

  1. Place banana in a microwavable mug and mash into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the egg, melted butter & vanilla and mix all the wet ingredients together with a fork until well blended.
  3. Now add the rest of the ingredients (PB2 powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt) and using the fork mix everything together right in the mug.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 ½ minutes. My microwave is 1000 watts so I use the shorter time.

Yield: 1 serving

For those who prefer to use an oven: Pre-heat oven to 350 F and bake the muffin for 15 minutes.

Note: You may be wondering what PB2 powder is. Well, it’s a mighty fine addition to the pantry for anyone who likes peanut butter but is watching their calorie intake. PB2 powder is made from slow roasted peanuts that have been pressed to remove 85% of the fat and oil. The resulting powder is full of peanut flavour and is great for use in recipes like this Banana Nut Mug Muffin.I purchase PB2 online from: The Low Carb Grocery

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Low Carb Pizza

Low Carb Piza

Glenn and I have decided to shed a few pounds and to that end we’ve been cutting back on carbs and increasing our protein consumption. Last night a craving for pizza consumed Glenn, so I decided to help the poor guy out and we both enjoyed this tasty treat. Of course, in keeping with our new eating plan, it’s a low carb version. I’ve adapted the cauliflower crust (yes, I did mean cauliflower!) from a Paula Deen recipe.

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 3 C grated cauliflower
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ C mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 T parmesan cheese, finely grated

For the Topping

  • ½ C tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cooking onions, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ C black olives (dried & cured in olive oil), stone removed & cut into small pieces
  • several roasted garlic cloves
  • Pepperoni, cut into thin slices
  • ½ C Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  • ½ C mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T parmesan cheese

 Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F

  1. Use a box grater to grate the cauliflower. Place the grated cauliflower into a glass measuring cup and microwave on high until it’s beginning to soften. It only took 3 minutes in my microwave but it’s a powerful commercial version so the amount of time will depend on the microwave you have in your kitchen. Most will probably require 7 or 8 minutes on high.
  2. This next step is crucial for a successful crust. Make sure to blot out the excess moisture from the cauliflower using a clean kitchen towel before proceeding.
  3. Now mix the partially cooked cauliflower with the beaten egg, mozzarella and 2 T of the parmesan cheese.
  4. Line a round pizza pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to size. Coat with a quick spray of cooking oil. Spread the cauliflower/cheese mixture around evenly in the pan and place on the middle rack of your preheated oven.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until the crust begins to turn a nice golden brown colour. Don’t turn off the oven yet!
  6. While the crust is baking, carmeilize the sliced onions over medium heat (using 1 T of olive oil). Also cook the bacon in a separate skillet over medium high heat and cut into bite-sized pieces when done.
  7. Start to layer your toppings on the crust beginning with the sauce. Sprinkle with the oregano & basil and then layer the rest of the ingredients on top ending with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Place the pizza back in the oven, on the middle rack, for another 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for a bit before cutting into wedges

Low Carb, Sugar-free, Gluten-free Cheesecake

Photo by Janet Moore

How’s that for a mouthful! Our local Arts Council hosts a yearly variety show to raise funds for the Peter Oliver Scholarship. This scholarship, named for a man who was famous for mentoring young actors in our small town, helps young people embarking on studies in the arts. This year I am one of the organizers. We serve a variety of cakes, sweet squares and cookies during the intermission. People, in our community, flock to the United Church basement to enjoy the entertainment and to savour the half-time treats. Today I baked a low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free cheesecake for the event.

For those of you who can’t eat sugar and are trying to be gluten-free this easy to make cheesecake just might fit the bill when you get a craving for something sweet. The crust, made with a mixture of ground almonds and ground pecans adds rich flavour and the creamy smooth texture of the cheesecake filling won’t disappoint!

You may be wondering why I have used a number of different sugar substitutes in this recipe. I have found that the end result is simply better when doing so. Each sugar substitute has a slightly different flavour. The stevia can sometimes have a bitter after-taste, the xylitol feels almost cool as it dissolves in the mouth and the sucralose can be almost overwhelmingly sweet on it’s own. I’ve discovered that when I mix them altogether in one recipe the end result is simply better flavour!

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • one cup ground pecans
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup stevia blend (I used Sugar Twin brand)
  • 2 T melted butter

For the Filling:

  • 3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 cup 18% coffee cream
  • 1/2 cup sucralose
  • 1/2 cup xylitol
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup thick plain yogurt
  • 2 T sucralose
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Directions

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350

  1. In a bowl combine the ground almonds, ground pecans and the stevia blend.
  2. Add the melted butter and mix together.
  3. Place this mixture into an 8”, non-stick, spring-form cake pan.
  4. Pack the mixture firmly and evenly around the bottom of the pan letting it rise slightly up the sides.
  5. Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes only. Remove from oven and set aside. Do not turn the oven off!

For the filling:

  1. Cut the softened cream cheese into smaller pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the 18% coffee cream, sucralose, xylitol and vanilla. Beat, using a hand mixer on high speed until everything is well blended, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat on high speed until the eggs are well incorporated into the mixture.
  4. Turn the cream cheese filling into the crust lined spring-form cake pan.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes until done.

For the Topping:

  1. Let the cheesecake cool completely inside the spring-form cake pan.
  2. Mix yogurt, sucralose and vanilla together until well blended.
  3. Spread evenly on top of the cooled cheesecake.
  4. Arrange fresh raspberries on top of the yogurt mixture. The thin layer of yogurt will keep the raspberries in place!

The cake can be covered with plastic wrap right inside the cake pan and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Run a breadknife carefully around the outside edge to loosen the cake before releasing the spring.

Cheesecake: Photo by Janet Moore

* All photos on this website by Janet Moore

Parmesan Poppy Seed Crackers (Gluten-Free)

Homemade Crackers

You don’t have to be following a gluten-free diet to love these crackers. They are a staple in my home and are often requested when I am invited out to dinner.

Ingredients    

  • 1 cup almond meal (also known as almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 T poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1  egg white
  • 1 T softened butter

Directions    

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

  1. Mix together the almond meal, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and poppy seeds
  2. Add the egg white, Dijon mustard and soft butter to the dry ingredients mixing everything together using a flat spatula
  3. Place small mounds, about 1 tsp each, of the mixture onto two small parchment lined cookie sheets
  4. Flatten each mound by placing a small piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking oil over top the mound
  5. Press down on the mound with a flat-bottomed glass to create a flat round cracker-sized disc
  6. Repeat with each mound until all the mixture has been used
  7. Place cookie sheets on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven and bake for 8 minutes until the crackers begin to brown around their outer edge
  8. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container

Homemade Crackers

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