At the first hint of the trees turning colors, my mind fills with visions of pumpkin spice and hot chocolate. I crave pumpkin bread and pumpkin donuts and pumpkin cheesecake and well, you get the idea. I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve committed to going low carb, and dealt with the necessity of going gluten free. So one of the first experiments in low carb/gluten free baking was definitely Pumpkin Bread! I’m going to share some of my favorite pumpkin recipes that not only are nice and healthy but also delicious!
One of the reasons I love this recipe is that, in my opinion, no-grain baked goods of the sweet variety taste the best when using a combo of almond flour and coconut flour. The combination I like to use is if the recipe calls for 2 cups of almond flour, I’ll actually use 1 1/2 cups of almond flour and 1/2 cup of coconut flour. The coconut flour lightens up the denseness of the almond flour, and the almond flour doesn’t overpower the flavor of the baked good, as coconut flour has a tendency to do.
Another reason I love this recipe is because when working with pumpkin recipes a lot of take the easy way out of spicing the pumpkin by throwing a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin spice and calling it good. That may work for lattes but you’ll find your baked goods more rich if you add the individual spice group that has made pumpkin so warm and inviting — cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. Another hint from my kitchen — if you like your bread on the spicier side, don’t get too terribly exact when measuring your spices, except with the cloves!
This recipe is very similar to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above but this time we’re using our mixture to make donuts. You’ll notice that the recipe calls for peanut flour, which if you’re like me, doesn’t exactly sit on your local store’s grocery shelves. So instead I used my old stand-by’s instead — almond flour and coconut flour. In this case I used 1 1/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour. I also used Splenda instead of the stevia blend since that’s what I had on hand. Turned out beautifully. Also note, one of my favorite new toys since going low carb is this little beauty, Sunbeam’s Donut Maker. I picked this little baby up at a second hand store for about $5. Pipe the donuts into each slot using a pint or gallon sized bag with one of the bottom corners snipped off, and they usually only take about 15 minutes to bake. Yum, and easy clean up.
If you can’t find one for a decent price anywhere, there are always donut baking pans like this one from Wilton.
I have a confession to make – I hate pumpkin pie. But I know that I am definitely in minority in this which is why, despite my distaste for it, I include it in my recipe list. Its a texture thing, I don’t think I could explain it.
I care what time of year it is, there is always room for cheesecake. Of any flavor. This recipe is quite rich so you’ll want to make sure to cut yourself small slices. If you don’t have access to collagen peptides or whey protein isolate, the same amount of a vanilla protein powder should work just fine.
Some times you just need a little something. And I think these little babies will do the trick. And I love cookies. They are easy to bake and easy to store. And you can make them last — IF you can keep them away from the kids!
I love pumpkin pancakes! Even being gluten intolerant, I love that I can still eat them when I want to and they still taste good. There’s something about the spices and pumpkin combination that make for a warm meal on a cool day.
You know when you go to an office party or church function and pretty much everything is sugar ridden and carb laden? Yeah well, here something you can bring that is better for you and may be just delicious enough that it will fool your fellow party goers. And its pumpkin!
So there is my list! You should now not lack for any delicious, healthy pumpkin treats that will get you through these chilly days and freezing nights! If you’re not feeling the pumpkin vibe, might I suggest my recipe for Homestyle Banana Bread. Its got the warmth and hominess without the pumpkin!
Late fall in the United States. People who are new to the low carb lifestyle despair of their turkey dinner, thinking they will just be noshing on turkey and looking forlornly at all the other goodies on the table. No so! Plan a little ahead of time and you can be eating your bird smothered in gravy, rolls dripping in butter, sweet potato casseroles, mashed, um, veggies, and pumpkin pie!
My husband and I found our perfect turkey recipe by splicing together two different Alton Brown recipes. Or rather techniques. We use a brining solution made of salt and brown sugar and combined with a bunch aromatics like herbs and oranges bring out your turkey’s full flavor. Brining a turkey does increase its salt content slightly, so for my readers who are being conscious of their sodium intake you may want to find a different technique. But neither the brown sugar nor the fruit should substantially add any sugars to the meat.
For the most delicious, moist turkey you’ve ever had, you are going to need:
¾ pound (roughly ¾ of one of the round canisters) of Salt
1 pound of brown sugar
1 orange, cut into quarters
Dried Herbs – parsley, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage
1 32 oz container of chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
Find a container large enough for your turkey and some extra liquid. We use a large Igloo Water Cooler that we set aside for our turkeys. It usually fits a 13-15 pound bird quite nicely. Pour some water in the bottom of the cooler or container, and pour in your salt, brown sugar, orange, herbs and stock. Mix until salt and sugar are dissolved. Put your bird into the water and then fill the rest of the container with water until the bird is just covered. Do a little stir to make sure the brining solution covers the bird and then fill the container up the rest of the way with ice. Cover and let sit in a cozy nook in your kitchen for 12-15 hours. We prep the bird in the afternoon of the day before we eat it.
Now comes the fun part.
The next day preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Don’t freak out. It will only be for a short time. Before your bird goes in the oven, get out some aluminum foil and make a triangle big enough to cover the breast side of your turkey, and mold it over the breast to get the right shape. You do this step now so you don’t have to try and shape it when the bird is in a searing 500 degree oven. You’re welcome.
Now you’ll need an apple and an orange, both cut into quarters and stuffed into the cavity of the bird. Then spray or rub olive oil over the entire skin of the bird. You can also re-herb the bird at this point if you want but DO NOT use more salt. Now place the bird in the oven without the aluminum breastplate for 30 minutes. Once the time is up, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cover the breast with the aluminum foil. Cook per the turkey label’s instructions based on the poundage of the bird or until a meat thermometer pushed into the deep parts of the meat, like the breast and legs, measures at 165 degrees.
If you find that the bird is browning too quickly you can cover the rest with aluminum foil in the last hour of roasting. Take the bird out of the oven and then let it sit for about a half an hour before diving in!
You can find gravy that is, at minimum, gluten free at your local grocery store. Its a little harder to find one that is both gluten free and low carb friendly. This recipe from Healthy Little Peach is easy, delicious and low-carby gluten free. A win-win in my book.
For the perfect Thanksgiving turkey gravy, just replace the beef broth with drippings from the turkey pan, or my personal favorite, take the neck and organ meats that come with your turkey and boil them in about 4 cups of water until the water is reduced and the odds and ends have cooked through. You can either eat the organs yourself, or find a lucky dog or cat. Then follow the directions as stated in the recipe!
This little gem from Keto Connect is the answer to canned sauce that is pumped full of sugars and corn syrup, or homemade recipes calling for loads of sugar or fruit juices. Cranberries, as a fruit, do have sugar in the form of fructose but it is lower on the GI scale and therefore won’t affect your blood sugar too drastically.
Make this the day or two before Thanksgiving because it refrigerates well. Also, don’t stress about finding fresh cranberries. Frozen ones are usually available in your local grocery store this time of year and work just as well as fresh.
Sweet Potato Casserole
You don’t need mounds of brown sugar and marshmallows to make a sweet yet satisfying sweet potato casserole. In this recipe from Very Well Fit, cinnamon and nutmeg are the keys to fool your mouth into thinking there’s more sugar than there really is!
This is a very large casserole. Sometimes too much of a good thing is bad for your willpower. You could very easily halve this recipe and only have a small amount so that you won’t be tempted to overindulge.
Creamy and delicious, mashed potatoes have always been a staple at my Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner tables. But potatoes are so starchy and they are relatively high on the GI scale. Not to worry though. Cauliflower is a great replacement. A warning — if you’re a texture eater like I am, the mashed cauliflower is not the same texture as mashed potatoes. It tastes wonderful but there’s nothing like potato to give you that soft, velvety texture. Flavor wise, this recipe for mashed cauliflower from The Lazy Keto comes just about as close are you’re gonna get and she gives some easy and practical tips on how to make this the best non-potatoes ever.
I’m giving you two options depending on how you feel. This first recipe uses a fathead type dough to give you a bread-like consistency, albeit very cheesy tasting still. The second would not be for those closely following the keto diet, but rather those looking for a gluten free option.
Low Carb Maven’s recipe, Easy Low Carb Dinner Rolls, is a great alternative if you just need something to dip in all that gravy goodness. One suggestion when making anything that resembles fathead dough. It does take a bit of kneading before the consistency is right. The dough is notoriously sticky but I’ve found a way that makes the kneading, rolling and clean up a breeze. Once you finish stirring it together, take a piece of Press & Seal or plastic wrap, spray it down with a little cooking spray and then fold the dough over and over using the ends of the wrap to fold them over with. When its the right consistency, you can then use the same wrap to roll it out to make whatever shapes you want. This dough is very soft and won’t require a lot of pressure when rolling it out.
Hello Gluten Free’s Dinner Rolls is a pretty straightforward gluten free recipe. If you don’t have the gluten free flour the recipe calls for, I’m sure any brand will do. Keep in mind that the amount of xanthan gum is for a flour blend that already contains it. Your best rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour. With xanthan gum, a little goes a long way.
Green Bean Casserole
I was introduced to green bean casserole when I lived in Texas for a while. Its a staple in the South and with good reason. Its savory deliciousness, as you’ll see when you make NutButterLover’s Low Car Green Bean Casserole. Now the ingredient that makes this dish not very low carb or gluten free is the cream soup that the recipe usually calls for. You can handle this a few ways. If you’re familiar with making a rue, you can always make the cream part of the recipe like I do in my recipe Creamy Chicken and Broccoli. If you’re going for purely gluten free, they have gluten free cream soups. I bought a couple of the Great Value brand at Walmart. Then lastly, as the recipe calls for, making a cream sauce without thickener. Any way you make it, you’ll be glad you did.
Last but definitely not least is pumpkin pie. Now I have a confession to make. I really don’t like pumpkin pie. Ok, that’s not true either. I hate pumpkin pie. Its a texture thing, so I don’t like most other types of custard pies with the exception of cheesecake. However, I know a huge majority of you, including my husband, love it and I’ve included a pretty great recipe for it. Wholesome Yum’s Easy Keto Low Carb Pumpkin Pie is pretty much what it says it is. Probably the hardest part will be the Almond Flour Pie Crust recipe you’ll need to make in advance. Another way is to try it without crust at all. Pour the pumpkin custard into a well greased brownie pan, either 8 x 8 in or 11 x 7 in and back until the middle jiggles just a little.
Here’s wishing you a fantastic start to the holiday season and here’s to healthy, flavorful eating!
Quick breads are one of my favorite treats. Banana bread, pumpkin bread, they are all yummy. And they make your kitchen smell awesome. Its one of those things that you think to youself, “Well, I guess I can’t have that any more now that I’m following a low carb lifestyle.” But I’m happy to report that really super cleverer people than me have found ways to make one of the best comfort foods, like this homestyle banana bread, ok to indulge in every once in a while.
This recipe from Low Carb Yum has been a favorite in my house for while. Sometimes you just can’t eat the bananas fast enough. They get soft and develop those dark freckles. And thankfully that is when they are perfect for banana bread.
Now I would not be me if I didn’t have to put my own flair on this family favorite. One of the things that I noticed when I first made these is that because of the lack of gluten, the bread tends to be crumbly. I’d worked on finding a happy medium. Xanthan gum is a good replacement for the gluten. Be aware though. Xanthan gum can be, well, gummy. Especially in a high moisture food like a quick bread. Less is always more. If you find that the bread is still gummy in the middle decrease the amount of gum in the recipe.
I also found that straight almond flour was a bit more dense than I liked. I played with it a bit and found that a combination of almond flour and coconut flour helps with the denseness.
I also increased the amount of banana originally called for. It does increase the carb count slightly but adding that extra banana gives the bread that cozy banana flavor you want in banana bread. I also find that banana bread without a ton of sugar in it can be bland. I discovered a long time ago, the remedy to the blandness is cinnamon and nutmeg. Cinnamon especially brings out the natural sweetness of the banana. The nutmeg gives the bread a warmth like you would get from a bakery.
Not in the mood for banana? Maybe a little chocolatey goodness with a lower wait time? Try my Chocolate Protein Mug Cake. Mix it together, pop it in the microwave and less than two minutes later you have chocolatey goodness!
Homestyle Banana Bread
Low carb treat for when you need some home baked goodness!
Simple. Easy. Tasty. Sound familiar? It should since that’s practically the name of my blog. It’s the whole reason I started it. I wanted to follow a low carb lifestyle and I needed recipes that not only tasted good but were quick to make. I belonged to an immensely supportive group on Facebook for people following the South Beach Diet as described in Dr. Agaston’s original books. Pamela Bongers had a brilliant recipe that I loved. The adaption of her one skillet dinner, Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet, follows all these principles. It takes less than 30 minutes to make. The ingredients are simple and easy to throw together. And it tastes amazing!
The secret ingredients to this dish’s amazingness are the lemon and the butter. You sauté the zucchini, onions and garlic in the butter and it gives that sweet savory flavor you crave at dinnertime. Then you throw in a little fresh lemon juice and lemon zest and it gives it a zippy fresh flavor that rounds out the meal. Your family will wonder why you don’t make it more often.
Depending on the type of low carb lifestyle you follow, like paleo, keto or some of the others, some really good sides for this could be cooked brown rice or a simple garden salad. I’ll tell you I thought I was in heaven when I added some Italian dressing to the salad. It complimented this lemon dish so well!
In the mood for something a little more hands off? Try my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup! You chop everything up, throw it in the pot and let it simmer and you’re good to go.
Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet
A zesty savory chicken dish that is fast and easy!
I have to be honest. When I saw the recipe from Low Carb Yum for a no carb dish pizza, I was only mildly hopeful. I am a texture eater. If the feeling of the food in my mouth is either egg-y or slimy or certain types of grainy, it could taste like the ultimate ice cream sundae but my stomach will heave. I’ve learned over the years to be ok with eggs in its myriad forms, and some types of puddings. But I knew that if this ‘crust’ turned out to have the consistency of a rubbery omelet then there was no way I could promote it.
I am, however, pleased to announce that this pizza is fantastic. I think the combination of the Italian cheese mix on the bottom, and the crust that is almost a fat-head type of dough really seriously makes this dish. This is the first time I’ve made a no carb dish that didn’t have left-overs because my husband ate nearly half the pan all by himself. Win! Call this ‘pizza casserole’ and you can easily get away with serving this to guests without serving them ‘diet food’.
The crust is very forgiving. If you forgot to scrap the sides of the bowl as you’re mixing it because the cream cheese tends to cling, just throw the cream cheese scraping in the pan anyway. Or if you did like I did, and forgot to add the mozzarella into the pan before I added the egg mixture in the pan, you can just throw it over the top and it cooks up like a dream anyway.
As a bonus, I am including a fast and simple no-sugar-added recipe for pizza or spaghetti sauce. Just throw it together while the crust bakes and the sauce will be done when its time to pour it over the time.
No Carb Dish Pizza
Low carb pizza baked in a dish and not a carb missed!
1 cup Italian Cheese blend (found in the pizza aisle of most grocery stores)
Or you can use just Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano on its own
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Full portion of pizza sauce (noted below)
Pizza toppings, if preferred
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 in baking pan with cooking spray.
In mixer or food processor, combine cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Then add the cream, Parmesan, garlic and oregano until well combined.
Sprinkle the Italian cheese mix (or any of the other cheese noted above as preferred)along the bottom of the baking pan, then sprinkle one cup of the shredded mozzarella over top of that. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the crust and then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the sauce. Add toppings as desired.
Heat the oven broiler to high. Add pizza pan under broiler and allow to melt and brown the cheese.
Take the pizza out from the oven and let it rest until cutting and serving.
Quick Mini Quiche recipe is based on one of the first recipes I tried when I started the South Beach Diet many, many moons ago. It has all of the attributes that this blog is all about – simple, cheap, family friendly, fast and easy. While the veggie combo is the one I like the most, you can add any combination of vegetables to these – kale instead of spinach, broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, celery, and on and on.
One of the best parts of this recipe is that it freezes very well. Make a big batch, pop a single quiche in a square snack sized plastic bag, or two in a sandwich sized baggie and breakfast is portioned and ready go to for the work/school morning rush or as a last minute lunch option. Does well in the freezer for about two weeks. Tastes fantastic topped with a little salsa on top!
Quick Mini Quiche
Easy breakfast that has infinite variation and freezes well for busy mornings.
It’s high in fiber and it’s quick when you use the microwave. Yes, even with steel-cut oats! Nuke it and in less than two minutes you have a warm, delicious breakfast. So you ask yourself — does oatmeal qualify as low-carb? If you’re on a strict Keto diet, then no. But you need some carbs, not just for the fiber but also the nutrition. So I came up with some delicious and easy recipes to brighten up you and your family’s mornings that are both gluten free and healthy!
Combine oats, milk and cocoa powder in microwaveable safe bowl. Microwave for 1 - 2 minutes until you achieve the oat consistency you want. Stir in the sweetener and enjoy!
Milk loves to bubble up in the microwave. Make sure that the bowl you microwave your breakfast in is nice and deep so that it doesn't bubble over. Either that or you can microwave for one minute, stir it and let it rest for a few moments, then continue to cook it until its the consistency you want.