My way of eating is low-carb. Not no-carb, but low-carb, and some protein at every meal, if I possibly can manage it.
Lately, my dear husband (DH) and sweetie of 22+ years has joined me in this new way of eating. He, too, has serious blood sugar problems, high blood pressure, and a family legacy of diabetes that he has decided to start minding now rather than wait until it’s a big problem.
Now, DH is a man who likes his treats. He’s a cookie eater, a pie eater, a cake and ice cream craver. So low-carb living is a bit rough on him, too, but in a different way. While I’m busy minding my ummie-salt fixation, I’m noticing a looming monster in his sugar-sweet fixation. There’s an odd 21st-century lo-carb nursery rhyme just waiting to be written in this household.
For me the answer to my cravings is roasted almonds. That usually puts a stop to my evening cravings. But for dear husband, the nuts don’t cut it. I am now on the lookout for sweet, nutritious, protein-hosting, low-carb alternatives to his preferred after-dinner snacks of pecan sandies and coffee ice cream and pie.
Laura, a Skinny Daily Post reader, recommended Dana Carpender’s cookbook, 500 Low-Carb Recipies (from snacks to dessert that the whole family will love), Fair Winds Press, 2002.
I ordered it from Amazon last week, feeling a bit dubious. I try to scan the low-carb recipe sites and have had real hit-and-miss success with many of the recipes. But so far, Dana’s book is terrific. She introduces whey protein powder as a flour substitute in many recipies for things like pecan sandies, and oatmeal cookies I’m dying to try.
Dana has risen to the challenge of feeding a family while diligently cutting down on carbs, and her book offers recipes of every kind from fast one-dish meals to slow-food meals for sharing with really good friends and family.
A great help is her first chapter on low-carb cooking ingredients that may be new to you (whey protein powder, xanthan gum) but that help outfit a low-carb kitchen and will empower you to translate your own recipes as you become accustomed to using them. Note, please, that Carpender is a classic Atkins low-carber, whose substitutions include unapologetic use of saturated fats like butter and coconut oil. If you’re curious about why, check out the saturated fats link below for Atkins’ position on using these fats in your diet. But please know that most nutritiionists would prefer you limit your intake on saturated fats. If you have a history of heart disease in your family, it’s a good idea to cut way back on any fat that’s solid at room temperature.
Okay then. Here are a couple of FAST little dessert recipes I’ve developed and find successful, although I’m more inclined to try Carpender’s Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Crust recipe the next time I’m craving sweets.
Sweet Potato Mousse:
1 lb. skinned, baked sweet potato, very soft (that’s two or three spuds, but do weigh out the lb. for this recipe)
1/2 C. Splenda (or try sweetening to taste with stevia drops)
« tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
3 large eggs
1 « c. whipping cream
Butter for greasing ramekins
Blend all ingredients in a blender and pour into buttered round ramekins, filling them _ full. You will get 6-8 servings, depending on ramekin size. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of cinnamon for color, and bake in a 400øF oven for 30 minutes or until the centers are set and/or the mousse begins to pull from the sides if the cups.
Place cups on a wire rack to cool. Serve cooled with whipped cream sweetened with splenda.
Low-carb Panna Cotta
3 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. Splenda (optional, or try sweetening with stevia drops)
2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
Mix splenda and gelatin together in a sauce pan. Add cream and vanilla extract or vanilla bean. Stir well and allow mix to sit for 2 minutes.
Place pan on low heat and heat slowly, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very hot, but not quite boiling. Do not allow it to boil. About 5-7 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool down quite a bit. Pour into 5 large or 8 small molds, metal or ceramic will work. If you used vanilla bean, rinse the bean well and set it out to dry for another use.
Chill molds in fridge, 1-3 hours, or until set.
When ready to unmold, lower a mold into a bowl of bath-water-warm tap water for a few seconds, then run a sharp knife around the rim to release the panna cotta, invert mold on a serving plate and give one good hard shake. This should release the gelatin from the mold.
Serve plain or with a berry sauce made by blending fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries or blueberries with a little lemon juice and splenda to taste.
Bon app‚tit, friends,