Monday, January 19, 2015

Pumpkin Protein Fauxtmeal

Back in October, I posted a recipe for "fauxtmeal" - a low-carb, grain-free alternative to standard oatmeal. I still eat it regularly, but wanted to try something new - something filling, with a little more protein that I could eat before or after a long run or intense kettlebell session.

The key? Liquid egg whites. Yep, we're doing things Rocky style. Instead of dealing with raw whole eggs, though, I'm using carton egg whites, which are pasteurized and safe to consume. Lots of protein, not a lot of calories. One bowl of this hearty fauxtmeal has 24g of protein - if I need more, I can always add some unflavored whey protein isolate powder to the mix. If you need a little more fat, add a Tbsp or 2 of heavy cream. For a little sweetness, a light drizzle of sugar-free breakfast syrup does the trick for me. Today, though - just a light sprinkle of cinnamon was needed.

Sounds weird, but it's super easy to prepare. If you can dump a bunch of stuff into a pan and whisk for a few minutes, you'll have a quick and easy, protein-packed breakfast that will keep you full, full of energy and ready for whatever the day has in store for you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Last month, I posted a recipe for Flax Pancakes, a low-carb alternative to the traditional flour-based pancakes - I make them for breakfast at least once a week. However, not everyone likes the taste of flax, and they don't yield a super-fluffy pancake. 

Enter the coconut flour pancake - common low-carb alternatives to regular pancakes are usually made with either almond flour or coconut flour. However, almond flour has a moist, more meal-like consistency, and doesn't lend itself well to pancakes (though it's great for crumby coffee cakes). Coconut flour, in my opinion, is a much better choice.

Like with the flax pancakes, all these need is a small drizzle of sugar-free syrup (or peanut/almond butter!) and a pat of butter. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Low-Carb Italian Meatballs

I know some of you are reading this and thinking that low-carb = low-flavor, right? Or that it requires weird ingredients, right? Well, this recipe is proof that you don't HAVE to live a low-carb lifestyle to enjoy a low-carb meal. In fact, unless you KNOW that this is a low-carb dish, you'd never suspect that this wasn't a traditionally-prepared Italian dish.

Why? It's simple - the breadcrumbs have been replaced with almond flour. That's basically it. There's still a ton of meat from a 1:1 mix of ground beef and Italian sausage, plenty of spices, and some egg and Parmesan to bind everything together. Cooked until browned, then baked in a rich marinara and layered with mozzarella and ricotta, these Italian meatballs are impressive enough to earn their place on a fancy Sunday dinner table, yet easy enough to prepare to enjoy on a weeknight as well. It's basically a combination of meatballs and lasagna, only without the noodles!

I like to enjoy these with spaghetti squash, tofu shirataki noodles, or even zucchini/squash noodles. If you're not following a low-carb lifestyle, feel free to use whatever pasta you'd prefer, and serve with some nice crusty bread. I chose to enjoy these meatballs with a salad and some roasted broccoli.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Stuffed Chicken Parmesan

"Chicken Parm you taste so good". Truer words were never spoken, Peyton.

Chicken Parmesan is such a classic dish of pure Italian comfort food. Chicken is breaded, fried or baked, then smothered with tomato sauce & cheese, then baked again to make a perfect, gooey dish. I posted my take on the classic breaded version back in 2013.

The downside of chicken parmesan? It's time-consuming. There are a LOT of steps to take. So, I sought out an easier version; one that wouldn't involve breading or frying or dirtying up a ton of dishes. The solution? Stuffing butterflied chicken breasts with marinara and cheese, then baking it with even MORE cheese, so you get all of that melty cheesy/saucy goodness with every bite. There's no dredging and breading, no frying, and you only need a single baking dish, making this a quick and easy weeknight meal! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mom's Roasted Cauliflower

Fried cauliflower is one of my Mom's favorite dishes at the Pita Stop Cafe. The cauliflower is fried as-is, no batter, and is served with a creamy, garlic sauce. It's super delicious, but so hard to make at home - frying cauliflower is NOT as easy as it seems!

Luckily, roasting cauliflower is pretty much idiot-proof, and gives the cauliflower an amazing flavor - kind of like how roasting broccoli makes it taste SO much better. For Christmas, Mom made a bunch of yummy but simple vegetable dishes to go with our meal, including her simple roasted cauliflower. I asked her for the recipe, and she was more than happy to share. 

Pro Tip: If you have an Aldi nearby, buy your cauliflower there - it's a paltry $0.99 per head. I went to Aldi, only to find they were completely out of cauliflower, and had to pay $3.49 for a head at Winn-Dixie :(

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dark Chocolate Chia Bark

Last post of 2014! Don't forget to make your ham, collard greens and black-eyed peas for the New Year - I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful 2015! :)

It's been a year of changes for me. For 7 months now, I've been living a low-carb lifestyle and learning how to indulge my love of food without losing the battle against the scale. I'm now down to my lowest weight in about 15 years and feeling better than ever!

Even with following a low-carb lifestyle, I occasionally succumb to cravings for chocolate. Luckily, it's OK as long as I stick with DARK chocolate, preferably 85% cacao and up. I've gotten to where I adore that bitter, dark taste - I think I'm at a point now where a Hershey Bar would probably taste like pure glucose to me!

Barks are an easy way to satisfy the craving for a chocolate bar. Like my Dark Chocolate Almond Bark from a few weeks ago, this bark follows the general rule of: melt chocolate, add some coconut oil and a bit of sweetener, stir in some 'roughage', then spread and chill. Pretty easy!

This time, I used chia seeds, which are full of protein and tons of dietary fiber. Plus, they give the bar a great, almost airy texture, kind of like a Krackle bar (always superior to Crunch, in my opinion). One sheet makes 6 generous servings, with only 5g net carbs each, making this a quick, easy, and macro-friendly treat for me.