Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Sugar Free Meringues

As most of you know I am carb cycling these days and really trying to be  more careful with what I eat in general... not going off the rails with sweets and treats.

But since I indulged in a few gluten free macarons and date muffins (OMG!) at a family wedding I recently attended... I have been craving sugar.  Not only was it the most beautiful and intimate wedding I have ever attended, it was also the most delicious!  I guess I am going to confess to having eat a whole jar of this fabulous granola that was a favor from the wedding, too.   It is full of whole nuts and the most wonderful oat mixture.




So, I have been trying to come up with a healthy way of getting in a bit of sweetness and today I experimented with making sugar-free meringues.  I love meringues, but certainly don't want all the sugar that normally goes into making them... but I looked in my pantry and spied several little bottles of NuNaturals liquid stevia in a variety of flavors.

I chose lemon.  And went to work.  Now, I know these pictures are not great, but I am going to show them here anyway so I can share this recipe with you. If I get better ones another time, I will replace them, promise. I think it is more important at this point to get this out to you than to dither over poor pictures!

If you don't have flavored stevia, use plain and add a small spoonful of vanilla or almond or any other extract that you might like.  I used cream of tartar to help stiffen the egg whites as I beat them. If your climate is dryer than mine, you may not need it.

Little confession... no, these meringues are not exactly like the ones you would make with sugar... they are dryer and flakier... but just as tasty and they fill the sweetness need.

Sugar Free Meringues

Sugar-Free Meringues
Makes 9 meringues

Ingredients:
  • 5 Tbs liquid egg whites 
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 15 drops liquid stevia. flavor of choice
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 215°F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Beat your egg whites and cream of tartar till stiff peaks form. May take several minutes.
  4. Add the stevia drops and beat again till well mixed.  (At this point I tasted the mixture. If it had not been sweet enough I would have added  more stevia.)
  5. Using a large spoon, make 6 mounds of the egg white mixture on the baking sheet.
  6. Put the pan into the oven and bake 75 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven.
  8.  Store any uneaten meringues (ha ha) in a covered container as they will take on moisture.
Per whole recipe:
Weight Watchers Smart Points = 1 *
Calories 43
Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 8g

* You can actually have up to 1 cup of egg whites for a single Smart Point so make a larger batch if you like and go for it!

I think I will use this method to make some Pavlova nests in the near future. With some berries and a bit of whipped cream, they will be lovely... and still low carb.  YAY!

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.


Add stevia and beat again till mixed.


Pile on a baking sheet and place in oven.


Out of the oven and cooling...


and popping one into my mouth!



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Delicious and Easy Low Carb Meal and Snack Ideas

Quite often on my Facebook page I post pictures of a meal I have prepared and make reference to my low carb day or my high carb day... and I have had a few people ask me about that.

It is not my intention to write a primer about Carb Cycling here. There are many authorities on the subject and several different ways to use the technique as well as a great variety of different reasons that people do so.  I just want to tell you a bit about my experience with it and share some meal ideas that I have used on my low carb days.

I will share a bit of background.  I first became interested in Carb Cycling after reading a couple of books by Chris Powell. He is the Extreme Weight Loss trainer on the tv series. I hadn't seen it when I first picked up one of his books but the information he wrote made sense to me. He offers a few different ways to use the technique and I have tried a couple of them... finally settling on one that works for me.

My taste buds love carbs!  But I have learned over the years that my body just does not tolerate them all that well.  I am not talking about the carbs we find in fresh veggies and fruits.  No, I am referring to the starchy carbs in rice, and quinoa, in legumes, and in processed foods made with grains... you know... bread, crackers, cookies, cakes... all the good stuff.  And I have also found that once I do eat some of those things, I want MORE of them.

So, limiting them works for me quite nicely. It also helps me maintain my weight while giving me the fuel I need to power through my days.

In the past I have tried to follow an extremely low carb plan where I don't get to eat any of those things I like, and found it just too hard to stay with. I mean, who wants to never eat dates or sushi again... EVER?  Not me.  I know that some people do very well with Keto diets and I am not knocking them... again, just not for me.

Carb Cycling the way I do it works for me.  I get to eat some of those 'trigger' foods occasionally. I have a drink occasionally. And I also eat a ton of fresh produce and lots of nuts and seeds.  I am a happy carnivore, too.

I do keep track of macros with My Fitness Pal but I do not obsess over it.  Here is what I am aiming for on each of the 3 different types of day I plan:
  • Regular Day - Protein 35%/Carbs 40%/Fat 25%
  • Low Carb/High Fat Days - Protein 40%/Carbs 20%/Fat 40%
  • High Carb/Low Fat Days - Protein 40%/Carbs 40%/Fat 20%
My week usually looks like this:
  • Sunday - Regular Day
  • Monday/Tuesday - Low Carb/High Fat Days
  • Wednesday - High Carb/Low Fat Day
  • Thursday/Friday -  Low Carb/High Fat Days
  • Saturday - High Carb/Low Fat Day
Actually, my Low Carb/High Fat days have become my favorite days.   Serious. And I find them very easy to EAT... meals are simple but allow me to be as creative as I like.    So what do I enjoy on these days? Protein.. meat, BACON, cheeses, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders that have few carbs... lots and lots of vegetables... seeds, nuts, avocadoes, and oils, berries and grapefruit.

On these days I avoid starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, and legumes...  most fruits other than berries and grapefruit.... dried fruits, grains or processed foods with grains, alcohol, sugary treats like fudgsicles, and so on.

Do I miss them?  Nope, because I know I can have them on Sunday or Wednesday or Saturday... and let's face it... it isn't the law... it's NOT the boss of me, so if I want something I will have it anytime I choose.  But honestly, I usually choose not to...

Let's have a look at what I have been eating lately on my Low Carb/High Fat days.

Some favorite low carb meals and snacks by @Wecanbegin2feed



Breakfasts:

This is where I like to get creative. It is usually lots of protein with some fruit and/or veggies.  On days I go to work in the morning, The Captain scrambles up some eggs with a bit of onion, sliced grape tomatoes and pre-cooked bacon crumbles... add a piece of grapefruit, or half an orange or some berries and I am set to go.



One of my favorites... eggs with bacon-style turkey and red grapefruit.




Protein 'cookie dough' with pecans, almonds, strawberries and coconut oil.  The cookie dough is a low-carb vegan protein powder mixed with just enough almond milk to make it lumpy and thick like a real cookie dough. 



Scrambled egg and egg whites with hemp seeds and cinnamon.




My High Protein Puck with Greek yogurt and mixed berries.




My High Protein Puck, cut in half and toasted with PB2, strawberries and cinnamon, with red grapefruit.

And just a note... My High Protein Puck is great torn up into bits and topped with Greek yogurt and fruit. Kinda like a trifle.




Scrambled egge whites with strawberries, slivered almonds, coconut shreds and cinnamon.



Eggs with Canadian back bacon and berries.




Protein shake made with protein powder, coconut milk and spinach.




Protein Shake made with protein powder, almond milk and frozzen mixed berries.


A couple of other breakfast faves...





Lunches:

Lunch is usually a huge salad with protein and and oily dressing. Or if I have some on hand I make a sandwich rollup with my Low-Carb Flatbread and some lean deli ham.  I often have zoodles (zucchini noodles made with a spiralizer) ... and if it is a cool day, I will cook my veggies or even make a veggie soup and toss my protein of choice into that.  

I love cottage cheese topped with tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, sunflower seeds and then drizles with an oily, herb-filled dressing.


Greek style tuna salad. A can of water packed tuna tossed into a bowl with lots of peppers, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a dressing made with EVOO and red wine vinegar mixed with basil and oregeno.



Leftover barbecued chicken with lettuce, cucumbers, orange peppers tossed with EVOO and apple cider vinegar.



Lightly sauted peppers, zukes, onions tossed with canned chicken breast. I love the Kirkland canned chunk chicken breast that I find at Costco. Handy and tasty.



Spinach, cucumbers, strawberries, pecans with chicken and dressed with EVOO and apple cide vinegar. Snow peas on the side.  



Raw zoodles topped with yogurt/avocado mixture and cilantro.  Snap peas, cucumbers, tomatoes alongside.



This experiment turned out to be one of my favorites. Yellow and green peppers lightly sauteed in coconut oil with zoodles. Leftover barbecued chicken on top.



Check out some of the sauces I use on my zoodles:





Dinners:

I have become a meat and veggies kind of girl.  Dinner is usually something cooked on the grill, if I am lucky... cause The Captain is the grill-master here!  And I will prepare veggies or salad to go along with it. One of my favorite meals is a grilled Wild Pacific Salmon Burger (Trident brand from Costco - frozen) on top of a plate of salad or coleslaw.


Lean pork chop and fresh thyme with green beans and oven-roasted cauliflower.




This grilled eggplant with balsamic sauce is great!  Yes, it is a bit higher in carbs but when I am low for the overall day, I enjoy it!  




The Captain likes pizza so I make my own crust with ground flax (it's easy and quick) and then top it...



sometimes a little more elaborately...



Oven roasted veggies with barbecue chicken.  Roasted veggies are a favorite and in the cooler months I make them a couple of times a week. 




Baked meatballs with a wee bit of cheese melted on them, then placed on skewers with tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and served with coleslaw.



Check out:






Snacks:

I normally have an afternoon snack.  I try to avoid protein bars because they normally have more sugar than I want on Low Carb days.  I ofen will mix up a couple of tablespoons of defatted peanut flour such as PB2 or Protein Plus, and then mix in some sunflower seeds and if I want a sweet... a small spoonful of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I love a handful of almonds or raw cashews and I also like cheese... mini Baby Bels or light old cheddar is a favorite too.  I love the low fat turkey pepperettes that I find at Costco.  Club soda has become my cocktail of choice!

Sometimes I like to make up what I call 'cookie dough' and have that as a snack in the afternoon. I find that the vegan protein powders work very well for this. I have a couple of favorites that I like that are low in in carbs... gotta be a labe reader.

Mix a scoop of the protein powder with cocoa powder or PB2 if you like.. and then enough almond milk or coconut milk to make it barely wet and quite lumpy.... probably 3 to 4 Tbs of milk.  Add nuts or semi-sweet chocolate chips and eat with a small spoon. Awesome!


Yeah, I know it looks terrible. But if you like raw cookie dough you gotta try this.



This is another fave... can be a snack or a dessert. It is my High Protein Angel Food Cake and it is made with egg whites and a whey protein powder... I like it topped with berries and Greek yogurt or whipped cream.  Mmmmm.


I think you can see why Low Carb/High Fat day has become my favorite... not only for the great things I eat, but because my body is leaner on these days.  Starchy carbs hang onto water weight so on days I eat them, my belly is rounder, my fingers and toes are a bit puffier.  I probably weigh 3 or 4 pounds more.

What is your favorite low carb meal?

Have you tried carb cycling?


Sunday, July 10, 2016

My High Protein Puck... What?

This is something that  am so excited to share with you!  I like to make sure I get lots of protein into my day.  I know it helps keep me fuelled and satisfied.  I often use protein powder throughout the day for meals and snacks... but not always in smoothies or shakes. I like to make 'sludges' and I also like to bake with various powders.

I am a big fan of these high protein cakes that I can cook up quicky in my microwave oven.  I stir up a few ingredients,  then pop into the mike for a couple of minutes, top and enjoy.  The Captain calls my little creations pucks.  So High Protein Puck it is...

That name would imply that they are hard... however they are anything BUT!  They are cake-like but not crumbly.  And, they are filling and nutritious.

Depending on the ingredients I use, they work nicely into a low carb/high fat day or a high carb/low fat day on my eating plan.  They are gluten free and Paleo.

Here are a few that I have been making lately.  They work for breakfast or for an after-workout or afternoon snack, and they are very portable, too. Pop one into a ziplock bag and off you go!

The basic recipe is:

  • 2 Tbs of protein powder (about 20g in weight)
  • 2 Tbs mashed fruit
  • 3 Tbs liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Mix together and cook in microwave safe dish that has been coated with a non-stick spray or coconut oil, for 3 minutes. (Mine is about 4-1/2 inches across)


Very simple. Very quick. Very tasty and satisfying!  And the possibilities for variations are limited.

I started out by using a vanilla pea protein powder, but have also used a hemp powder too.  I am sure you could use any favorite of your own.  If you stay with pumpkin for your fruit base and choose a low-carb protein powder, you have a good puck for your low carb days.

I have also used these to make high protein trifle... tear one up in a bowl and add yogurt or whipped cream and berries and if you like, add some pudding. Delicious!  And so much better for you than CAKE!


Here are some ideas...



Hemp powder with applesauce, topped with Greek yogurt, banana and berries




Pumpkin, topped with cottage cheese and berries




Pumpkin topped with chocolate PB2 and banana




Applesauce topped with chocolate PB2 and banana




Applesauce topped with Laughing Cow cheese and cinnamon




Applesauce... puck in hand to show the size



Applesauce... made in a smaller dish so I could let it cool a bit and then cut in half to toast...




and top with peanut butter




Hemp powder with applesauce, topped with Protein Plus peanut flour/water and sugar free syrup


I have not provided my calculations for the different N.I. with the various ingredients. But I can assure you that they will be only 2 or 3 WW Smart Points, depending on the protein powder you select.



What is your favorite high protein snack?