Shirataki Noodles: Low-Carb Goodness!

So this is probably the most exciting food find I’ve made in a long time. I am a noodle and pasta fanatic, and I know nothing better than spicy Indonesian fried-noodles with a sunny side up egg on top, or a creamy Italian carbonara with plenty of extra cheese. My love for these carb-filled dishes however, is not often satiated, as I try to stay away from starch laden noodles and pasta.

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Shirataki noodles are Japanese yam noodles and they are extremely low-calorie and low-carbohydrate. They are quite gelatinous in texture and are a great replacement when on a low-carb diet.

How Shirataki Noodles Are Made

Shirataki comes from the root of a plant (Amorphophallus Konjac, or a few other closely-related species) grown in various parts of Asia. The fiber in Shirataki noodles is known as glucomannan, which is derived from the Konjac root. This fiber contains more than 16 amino acids and several vitamins and minerals.

Konjac glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber derived from Konjac plant roots. In Japan Konjac foods are known as Shirataki noodles or Konnyaku. These noodles are a traditional Chinese food and have been eaten for more than two thousand years. Shirataki noodles are also known as Moyu and Juruo in China.

Potential health benefits from the glucomannan fiber include weight loss, decreased cholesterol, diabetes control and gastrointestinal regulation.

FOOD FACT: Konjac

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 6.25.31 PMKonjac foods are ideal for feeling full as the glucomannan increases up to 200 times its original volume after absorbing water, helping you feel more satiated. Konjac also helps remove toxins inside the body, clear the stomach and balance salinity.

Konjac glubcomannan fiber has strong swelling capacities and is the most viscous fiber in nature. When Konjac fiber mixes with other food in the stomach it absorbs a lot of water, forming a soft gel which helps slow digestion. Via. Konjacfoods.com 

Miracle food? I think so!

Recipe coming soon!

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Paleo Crisp Bread with Smoked Ham and Hazelnut Pesto

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I LOVE PESTO. Like I really, really, really adore pesto with a passion, and often find myself fantasizing about fresh pasta tossed with homemade pesto with lashings of parmesan cheese on top. But alas, I am staying away from the pasta, but that doesn’t mean I have to say no to pesto!

I recently made Paleo Crisp Bread, and decided to make a homemade hazelnut pesto to compliment some smoked ham I had bought as a topping for the bread. This recipe is inspired by traditional Danish Smørrebrød.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Paleo Crisp Bread
  • 2 slices smoked ham (or whichever cold-cuts you prefer)
  • 1/2 hazelnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cheddar or parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 spring onion

Blend the hazelnuts until finely ground. Add basil, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Blend again, adding olive oil until desired consistency. I usually add a little water to thin-out the pesto a little bit, to save on the oil.

Slice the spring onion and set aside. Place two slices of Paleo Crisp Bread on a plate and put a piece of ham on each slice. Add desired amount of pesto and garnish with spring onion.

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And voila! There you have Paleo Crisp Bread with Smoked Ham and Homemade Hazelnut Pesto!

FOOD FACT: BASIL

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 5.02.43 PMBasil not only tastes great as a main ingredient in pesto, but it also has many surprising health benefits! Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, basil also has antioxidants that can protect the body from premature aging, skin complications and even some forms of cancer. Basil oil can be used to treat stomach complications such as constipation, cramps and indigestion as well as the common cold. (via. Motherearthliving.com).

Here’s a fun fact about basil: In Hindu cultures basil is considered a sacred plant.  In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples (it’s probably easier to find than mistletoe too).

Oven baked chicken with celeriac fries

Do you find yourself craving french fries, but you’re trying to follow either a low-carb or Paleo lifestyle, and all you can make is sweet potato fries? Here’s a low-carb alternative to making your favorite fried tots, and with no guilt involved.

You can literally eat as many of these celeriac fries as you wish, and your waistline will continue shrinking with every bite!

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Even though it’s summer I reside in Denmark, and there is never, ever a guarantee for sunshine or warm temperatures in the summer months, even at the end of June. As I sit here writing my next tasty update the wind is howling tirelessly against the windows and giant rain drops are pounding on the grey tinted glass. Although I would prefer sitting on the beach with a Skinny B*tch (my favorite drink at the moment) there is one really great thing about cold summer days: you can make comfort food! Screw barbecuing freshly roasted meats and tossing light zesty salads with a cold Carlsberg in your hand, when the weather is in a bad mood there is only one thing to do, treat yourself.

I was really hankering for fried chicken with french fries, but as I am on a health kick I had to come up with something else that would hit the spot. To satisfy my comfort cravings I decided to make oven baked chicken with celeriac fries and a side of what I like to call cabbage slaw (although it is in no way shape or form the same recipe as what you would consider traditional coleslaw), and I must say (with as much humility as someone who thinks they really are a great cook, can muster) it tasted DIVINE! So here it is, my healthy rendition of fried chicken with french fries.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts or thighs (up to you)
  • 1 celeriac
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Coriander (optional)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder

Preheat your oven to 350 °F / 180 °C

Marinate the chicken in cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, cumin and olive oil. Finely slice 2 cloves of garlic and add to the chicken. While the chicken is marinating cut up your celeriac into fries. You can do this as you please, and make them thin and crispy or big and soft, depending on your taste preferences. Once the fries are cut up toss them in olive oil, salt, black pepper and the remaining garlic.

Place chicken into a baking dish and put in the oven for around 45 minutes (depending on your oven).  Throw the celeriac fries on a baking sheet and place in the oven as well, turning after approximately 15 minutes (they should be done in around 35 – 40 minutes).

Slice up the cabbage, onions, carrots and remaining clove of garlic. Stir fry in a pot with olive oil, and add desired spices (I used cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and curry powder), but you can really use anything you please.  Serve with coriander on top.

FOOD FACT: CELERIACScreen shot 2013-06-26 at 4.17.40 PM

Celeriac not only helps you lose weight by boosting your metabolism, it also contains high amounts of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium besides containing vitamins B1, B2 and E. According to Giverecipe.com celeriac also helps cure kidney diseases and promotes healthy skin and hair.

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon

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Banana bread is one of my favorite desserts, and after making Paleo Crisp Bread I decided to use the leftovers to make this delicious, Paleo Banana Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon. This is perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert or just as a snack. You could also whip up some killer Paleo French Toast delights based on this recipe.

I made a Paleo Cherry Compote to go with the bread, which gave the bread that extra sweetness you sometimes miss when on a diet, but without the excessive sugar and guilt that come with regular jam and marmalade.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a batch of Paleo Crisp Bread
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Turn your oven on to 375 F / 200 C

Mix together the bananas, eggs and honey into the Paleo Crisp Bread mixture. Mush the bananas into small and large pieces (I like to have some consistency left in the bananas so you get the real banana taste in the bread) and make sure everything is well mixed together before placing in a bread pan. I use parchment paper and place it in the pan so that the bread doesn’t stick, but you could also use oil.

Chop up the walnuts and sprinkle on the bread. Add additional honey on top if you wish.

Bake at 375 for one hour. This could be a little less or more, depending on your oven, so keep an eye on the bread. Serve with Paleo Cherry Compote or other topping of your choice.IMG_8888

FOOD FACT: WALNUTS

IMG_8820-001According to Health.com, 14 walnut halves contain 185 calories, 18 grams fat, and 4 grams protein. The health benefits of walnuts are aplenty, and beyond lowering cholesterol, it appears that consuming walnuts and walnut oil also potentially reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Here’s a fun fact about these super nuts: Walnuts are the oldest known tree food — they date back to 10,000 BC! (via. www.nutritioulicious.com)

Paleo Crisp Bread with Seeds and Nuts

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Paleo Crisp Bread with Seeds and Nuts is inspired by traditional Nordic crispbread, which is often served with cheese, ham or other light cold-cuts and toppings. This version is completely Paleo friendly, and contains no gluten or wheat at all. I chose to test something new with this recipe, and added half a head of cabbage to the seeds and nut mixture, giving the bread fill and lending enough mass to make Banana Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon with half the batch!

This bread can last up to a week when stored in an air tight container. Paleo Crisp Bread is perfect on its own as a snack, as an accompaniment to soup or salad or as a base for delicious sandwiches.

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (or almonds, whatever nuts you have and like will do)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1 cup flaxseed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Blend the walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseed in a food processor. Once finely ground, add the cabbage and coconut and continue blending. Mix in the eggs and oil slowly, and process until the consistency is almost like a smooth paste.

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Add the sesame seeds and mix by hand (this is so you have some varying textures in your bread, and added crunch).

Heat your oven to 300 °F / 150 °C.

Roll out half the mixture on a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of your dough, and roll the batter out until thin with a bottle or other object. Any additional dough can be added back to the other half of the mixture you still have (this can be used for Banana Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon or just to make more Paleo Crisp Bread with Seeds and Nuts).

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Roll the dough until you have a thin bread, and then cut it with a sharp knife (I usually make pretty small square like shapes, but you can also make larger or smaller pieces, it’s totally up to you).

Once you have bread that looks like this (below) you can put it in the oven.

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Bake in the oven for up to 40 minutes, preferably on dry heat, as this dries out the bread rather than burns it. Keep an eye on the bread as you go along, as oven time may vary. Store bread in an airtight container for up to a week.

FOOD FACT: FLAXSEED

Flaxseed is full of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, and has been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.

flaxseedHere’s a fun fact about flaxseed: Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it.  Now, thirteen centuries later, some experts say there is preliminary research to back up what Charlemagne suspected. (via. WebMD.com)

Roasted chickpeas with chilli and garlic

I found this low-carb recipe on Pinterest, and decided to make my own version with Asian spices and finish off the crunchy chickpea delights with a little fresh coriander on top.

FOOD FACT: CHICKPEAS

Chickpeas are a vegetarian source of protein. One cup supplies more than 25 percent of the dietary reference intake, or DRI, for protein as well as more than 40 percent of the DRI for fiber.

chickpeasCooked chickpeas contain little fat, as one cup contains only 4.3 g. Nearly half of this fat is polyunsaturated fat. One cup of cooked chickpeas contains less than 0.5 g of saturated fat and no cholesterol. (via. www.livestrong.com)

Low-Carb Madame and Gentleman Deluxe Burgers

Low-Carb Madame and Gentleman Deluxe Burgers

Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a deluxe burger once in a while. Just make it’s low-carb (no bun) and with sugar free condiments.

The low-carb gentleman deluxe burger with fried onions (front) and a low-carb madame deluxe burger with horseradish and mustard (back).

Dieting should be painless, easy and in my opinion, fun. Instead of thinking of all the things you can’t eat, start exploring the things youcan. Fresh vegetables, filling legumes, homemade hummus and olive tapenade, pickled assorted vegetables, oh god, the things you can’t make with healthy, organic ingredients. And the great thing with a diet like South Beach, or Atkins for that matter, is that you can also eat as much low fat protein as you like, and low-fat cheese.

A burger can be an indulgent, healthy, no-sin experience, if you just tweak it a little. Remove the classic bun, replace this with lettuce, or even portobello mushrooms or fried celeriac if you want something with more fill. Forego the bacon and fried onions (although this is still low-carb, so if you really want it, have it!) and use plenty of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and low-sugar condiments as you like. I usually opt for mustard, a tiny bit of mayonnaise and horseradish (the Low-Carb Madame Deluxe Burger) while my boyfriend, who usually eats his burger with a bun, prefers his a classic burger, with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and fried onions (very Danish of him).

The low-carb gentleman deluxe burger lays on a bed of lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise, topped with melted cheddar cheese and fried onions

The Low-Carb Gentleman Deluxe Burger

Ingredients:

  • 2 hamburger patties
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/3 of a cucumber
  • 1/2 cup fried onions
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Start off by taking out all your ingredients and placing them on the tabletop in front of you. Turn on a pan and warm up a frying pan with 1 teaspoon oil. Throw both hamburger patties in the pan, making sure they both have enough oil under them so that they do not stick. Let them fry on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile chop up your lettuce in fine strands, and chop your cucumber and tomato as you please (I prefer to cut the vegetables in small chunks, so it feels more like a hamburger salad with vegetables all over the place) but it’s completely up to the diner 🙂 Arrange the greens on two separate plates and add the mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise to both plates. Flip the burgers and let them continue to fry, turning down the heat a little if they start to burn. Add the cheese to both burgers and let it melt (putting a lid over the frying pan for the last 2-3 minutes lets the cheese melt really nicely).

When the burger patties are ready arrange them on the two beds of salad. Dress the gentleman burger with fried onions(you could also add a fried egg if you like).

Low-Carb Madame Deluxe Burger

The only difference between the gentleman and the madame burger is that the Low-Carb Madame Deluxe Burger is served with horseradish rather than fried onions.

And voila! There you have Low-Carb Madame and Gentleman Deluxe Burgers from the Low-Carb Fairy!

FOOD FACT: BEEF

Screen shot 2013-06-09 at 12.52.44 PMAlmost half of the fat in beef is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid—the same heart-healthy fat that’s found in olive oil and most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart-disease risk—either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.

Besides being one of the most available sources of high-quality protein, beef also provides many important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. (via. www.menshealth.com)