Monday, September 30, 2013

Low Carb Comfort Food


I realized today that I haven’t been posting very often lately.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about my diabetes or planning posts, it just means I’ve been busy with other writing projects and…well, life!  I have been anticipating today’s post for some time.  I couldn’t write to tell you about my cooking adventures until I had a chance to actually do the cooking.  I’m silly like that.  Today I want to tell you about my latest low-carb finds that have gone a long way to making life more comfortable.

I miss sandwiches.  I miss cereal.  Since I wanted those things back I spent some time searching out bread and cereal options.  I wrote here about the fact that I thought I had found my go-to low carb bread.  I was wrong.  You see, I liked that almond bread just fine but it was still too dense for my liking and was sometimes difficult to swallow if I took too large of a bite.  Not optimum.  I stumbled upon this new recipe and it is a qualified hit!

You can find the original recipe here. 

I followed the recipe exactly the first time and mostly liked the bread but was somewhat turned off by the odor and taste coming from the marsala wine.  It was just too strong for my liking.  She mentions that you can try using buttermilk instead so my next attempt I did just that.  Voila!  This bread is light and moist.  It’s a bit spongy but holds together nicely for a sandwich.  I usually toast it first.  It doesn’t brown up a lot but the toasting adds a little firmness.  According to her website the bread has 4 gr of carbs and 3 gr of fiber per slice.  All I know is that I can eat a sandwich now without having blood sugar spikes, and that’s a win! A sandwich made with 2 slices equals about a ½ sandwich when made with traditional bread.  It’s enough for me.

It's about the size of banana bread


Look what I had for lunch!


As I said above, I also miss eating cereal.  I had a hankering for a granola-like product so I searched and found this:  Almond flour granola bars.  Right up my alley!  I first made the bars and later made some changes to make “cereal”.  Since I adapted her recipe enough I’ll give it to you below.


My version:

½ cup peanut butter (I use the natural variety.  Almond butter would also work if you don’t like the taste of peanut butter.  It’s pricey though.)
¼ cup honey (more on this later)
1 large egg
1 cup almond flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup sunflower seeds (the seeds I bought were salted so I omitted the salt from the recipe.  If your seeds are unsalted, add ¼ tsp salt in the first step.)
¼ cup flaxseed meal

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease an 8"x8" square baking pan.   In a medium bowl, combine the nut butter, honey, and egg. Stir until smooth and completely combined.

In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, nuts, and flaxseed meal. Pour the nut butter mixture into the almond flour mixture and stir until combined.
Press mixture evenly into prepared baking pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown around edges. Cool before cutting into bars.

These bars are soft, almost like a cookie.  You can substitute any type of nut you like, but I would recommend keeping the volume the same.

About the honey: I tried the recipe with honey and then the next time I switched out ½ of the honey and replaced it with sugar free maple syrup.  ie: 1/8 cup honey and 1/8 cup syrup.  Either way works and neither of them spiked my glucose (provided I didn’t pig out on it).  Here are the numbers based on 9 bars:  with honey: 15 gr carbs and 3 gr. fiber.  With half honey/half syrup: 11 gr carbs and 3 gr. fiber.  You could even ditch the honey all together and just use syrup to get 7 gr carb per square but I’ve been trying to incorporate “real food” into my cooking more and more.  I find that I can tolerate small amounts of things like honey.  The trick is not to overdo it.  AND REMEMBER: things may (and probably will) be different for you.

Now for the cereal option.  I found a technique that I applied to the recipe above.  Instead of baking it in an 8X8 pan, I spread it out on a cookie sheet.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line the pan with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray.  Place the mixture in a circle, leaving the middle of the pan open.  See below:




Bake for 25 minutes. Cover with another piece of parchment and bake for another 15 minutes.  This can be broken up into small pieces, tossed in a bowl with milk (I use almond) and you have cereal!  It’s not crunchy but it’s good.  Next time I may try 4 lines of mixture on the pan to see if the crunch factor increases.  Be careful to not burn it.  Burnt almond flour isn’t exactly appetizing and it’s too expensive to waste.

These two additions to my food plan have gone a long, LONG way to making me happier with my food choices.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to make a sandwich again.  I hope you find this information helpful.

 

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