Bananaless Muffins

Continuing the theme of “keto __-less hacks” here are some banana muffins that contain… No actual banana! I was really suspicious of this banana extract (found next to the vanilla) based on the smell, but I found the pumpkin really helped balance it out and give it a delicious authentic texture!

This is another modification of my pumpkin spice muffins. The texture of them is perfect, so I figured we shouldn’t mess with success. Note that if you’re not keto, you can 100% replace the pumpkin with mashed banana for a delicious sweetener free, gluten free, or even vegan treat.

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
    • (Vegan/DF: canned coconut cream)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
  • 2 eggs
    • (Vegan/DF: 2tbsp psyllium husk mixed with 4tbsp hot water)
  • 1 tsp banana extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp ground psyllium husk (optional but reduces crumbliness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 24 Guittard bittersweet chocolate wafers, chopped (adds 15 cal / 1.5 net carb / 1 fat per muffin) – or sugar free chocolate chips
  • Stevia or pure monk fruit sweetener (but I promise, you don’t need it)

For the frosting:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • generous splash of vanilla
  • Vegan/DF: Whip 1 14oz can coconut cream (best if refrigerated overnight) with 2 tsp vanilla until it resembles whipped cream.


Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12-muffin tin. Take out your cream cheese and butter (for the frosting) to soften.

Sift together dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl melt the butter, then stir in the pumpkin. Finally, add eggs and banana and stir. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Then stir in any extras.

Spoon into the muffin tins, and flatten tops since this batter does not rise. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat together all ingredients with a hand mixer until frosting consistency.

You can store these in the fridge for a week, but I recommend keeping the frosting separate and topping just as you are ready to eat.

Macros (recipe makes 12 servings):

Muffins: 185 cal | 3.5 net carb (8 total) | 16 fat | 6 protein
Frosting: 135 cal | 1 carb | 14 fat | 1 protein per serving

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Sugarless Cookies


I’ve spent the weekend testing Christmas Cookies and can’t wait to share the best ones with you!

First up are these completely sweetener free and ultra easy “sugar” cookies! I kept adding things to these because I couldn’t believe the answer was so simple, but when I got back to basics magic happened. Obviously they aren’t exactly sweet, but they make up for that in buttery goodness and completely satisfy my crunch craving.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups hazelnut meal
    • You can also use almond meal
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • Vegan/DF: substitute unflavored coconut oil (I like Carrington Farms organic coconut cooking oil, unflavored)
  • 2 eggs
    • Vegan: actually, the eggs are only here to cut down on crumbliness. You can leave them out entirely, or add 2tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • Optional, but gives it a chewier texture
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 -2 tsp flavoring of your choosing:
    • Vanilla Extract
    • Orange Extract or Orange Peel
    • Lemon Peel or Lemon Juice
    • Instant coffee
    • Bourbon
    • Powdered / Freeze Dried Raspberries

Recipe:

Make sure the butter is very soft, it may need a few seconds in the microwave. Its best if its not completely melted though.
Beat together all ingredients.
Wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out on wax paper or parchment paper to desired cookie thickness.
Cut out into fun shapes using cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie tray. (Tip: Lift up using a spatula, these are extra fragile before cooking)
Bake at 315-325F (depending on cookie size – I used 325 for 3″ cookies and 315 for 6″) for about 15 minutes. They are done when the edges are browned and the centers are firm to the touch.
Allow to cool still on the cookie sheet.


The macros for this one are tough since cookie sizes vary but…
Assuming you get 24 cookies, each would be: 123 Cal / 1 Net Carb (2 total) / 13 Fat / 2 Protein
For the entire recipe: 3176 Cal / 22 Net Carbs (53 total) / 317 Fat / 53 Protein

Buttery Roasted Green Beans

Buttery Roasted Green Beans
Buttery Roasted Green Beans

The most important Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in our family is Grandma’s chestnut stuffing. Obviously, stuffing is not at all keto-friendly, so I had to find a creative way to keep the tradition going this year.

These green beans turned out super fantastic and retained all the savory deliciousness I loved about the stuffing recipe!

Note that for the Thanksgiving meal pictured, I did use chestnuts because roasting them the night before is such an important part of our tradition. But for everyday keto use, they’re too high in carbs, so on regular nights I’ve been using pecans in their place.

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (dairy free: use 1/4 cup oil)
  • 1 shallot
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery leaves (which is about the amount you can get out of one bundle of celery – if you can’t get celery with the leaves still on it, just chop up a few celery stalks)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends removed (I prefer the slender french ones)

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add in the shallot and celery leaves, cooking until the shallots are translucent.
Add in all the seasonings and pecans and cook a few minutes more.
Toss the green beans in the butter mixture until thoroughly coated, then spread over 2 large tinfoil-lined baking sheets (so that they are a single layer).
Bake about 15 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.

Feel free to adjust the serving size to better fit your macros for the day. But this easily makes 8 generous portions:

Makes 8 servings: 235 calories / 5.5 net carbs (10 total) / 22 fat / 4 protein each

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.
Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Noatmeal

This might be the single healthiest keto meal of all time. It tastes just as yummy as carb heavy oatmeal, but contains:

  • 4.5g Omega 3s (415% DV)
  • 14.5g Protein (17% of my personal needs)
  • 9g Fiber (37% DV)
  • 7.2mg Vitamin K (80% DV)
  • 1.8mg Manganese (100% DV)
  • 4.3mg iron (24% DV)

…all for only 4.5 net carbs!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 tbsp hazelnut meal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

Combine all dry ingredients and water over low heat. Cook about 5 minutes, just as you would regular oatmeal. You can also cook it in the microwave for about 45 seconds, but watch carefully because it likes to boil over!

I portion these out ahead of time and bring them to work in a pyrex, which is perfect for the microwave method. Just remember that flax and hemp should be refrigerated after opening.

Topping ideas:

  • Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder
  • Vanilla or maple extract
  • Heavy whipping cream or coconut cream
  • Frozen raspberries (add them before cooking so they get juicy) and a spoon of nut butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs and 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Butter and cheese for grits style
  • Swap out the hazelnut meal for shredded coconut, or any other ground nut.
  • ??? The possibilities are endless!

This recipe is highly flexible so feel free to substitute basically whatever you want in here (although hemp seeds are a major source of those nutritional benefits).

Macros: 360 cal | 4.5 net carb (10.5 total) | 30 fat | 14.5 protein

Keto Vegetarian Chili

This is something I always keep in my freezer for a quick and protein-packed meal. Note, any tomato-based soup will always be a touch high in carbs (8 net). But as filling as it is, I hope this is something you can squeeze into your macros on those chilly fall and winter days.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot (or 1/2 yellow onion), diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 14oz can baby corn, drained, rinsed, and diced
    • Yes! Baby corn are low carb at 2 net carbs per 1/2 cup!
  • 15oz can black soy beans, drained and rinsed
    • You can substitute 1, 12oz bag frozen shelled edamame for a remarkably close approximation to beans
    • For soy free, you can sub in chopped zucchini or cauliflower
    • The black soy beans I get are ‘Eden Organics’ brand and you can find them using this locator: https://www.edenfoods.com/storelocator/search.php
    • You can also order them online at Swanson Vitamins
    • See my notes about soy below
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder (or use fresh garlic)
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (trust me on this)
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 0.75 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14oz can petite diced or pureed tomatoes
    • Make sure to check the ingredients for added sugar!
  • 1-2 cups vegetarian broth, as needed
  • 2 cups meatless crumbles
    • I use Beyond Beef because they are soy and gluten free
    • Meat eaters can just use 1 pound ground beef here
    • You can sub in chopped zucchini, cauliflower, or more soy beans

Instructions:
Heat oil in pan, then add shallots and sauté until translucent.
Add peppers and celery, cooking until softened.
Add corn, beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and all seasoning.
Add broth, as necessary, until the consistency looks about right (this will cook down a bit).
Reduce heat to low and simmer another 30-60 minutes.
Cook meatless crumbles in a skillet according to package directions, only stirring into the chili just before you take it off the stove (this keeps it from dissolving into the chili, yuck).

Veggies Cooking
Add the spices…
After broth has been added, before simmering. 

Macros:
Makes 6 servings: 275 cal | 8 net carb | 15 fat | 17 protein each

Recipe Notes:
I’m a total wimp when it comes to spice. Honestly, its embarrassing. So feel free to double or triple the chili and cumin, even throw in some cayenne.

Note on Soy:
Soy is a pretty controversial ingredient. It can disrupt your body’s estrogen receptors, potentially interfere with thyroid function, contains phytates (which act as anti-nutrients and may lead to leaky gut), has a high amount of omega 6, and is almost always GMO.
Personally, I stick them in the “not good for you, but not terrible enough to avoid altogether” camp. I limit my consumption to the occasional meal, and never eat it in it’s processed form (so, no soy imitation meat for this girl).
I find black soy beans to be the best option, texture wise, for an authentic yet keto-friendly chili. But ultimately, its up to you whether you’d like to include them.
For some more info on soy, check out these sources:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-soy-bad-for-you-or-good
https://www.amymyersmd.com/2014/07/5-reasons-soy-is-not-a-health-food/

Keto Pancakes

There needs to be some kind of ‘As Good As the Real Thing’ (AGATRT???) certification program. Because these keto pancakes would make the list. I’ve tried a lot of the low carb pancake variations out there, but none have the same fluffy texture as these do.

Keto Pancakes with Raspberry Compote and Whipped Cream

Pancake Ingredients:

  • 4oz cream cheese
    • For dairy free: sub in pumpkin puree & add 1tbsp coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Dash of salt

Pancake Instructions:

Dump everything in a blender and blend away. Cook over medium heat just like you would regular pancakes. Thats it!

Ingredients

Pancake Macros:
These pancakes save well in the fridge, so make a bit batch for an easy breakfast or snack!
Makes 2 big servings, or 4 snack sized servings. 
Macros for 2 servings: 470 cal / 9 net carbs (12 total) / 41 fat / 20 protein
Macros for 4 servings: 235 cal / 4.5 net carbs (6 total) / 21 fat / 10 protein


But wait… there’s more!
I know half the joy of pancakes is the toppings, but since sweeteners are ruled out for me, I had to get creative. This raspberry compote topping is super easy and delicious. You can, of course, always go with straight butter. Or, add a bit of sweetener free whipped cream.

Raspberry Compote Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • Splash water (roughly 1-2 tbsp)

Raspberry Compote Instructions:

Place frozen raspberries in a small saucepan and add a splash of water. Heat, covered, over medium-low heat until they are bubbling. Smash the raspberries with the back of your spoon, and return to the stove. Crack the lid and reduce heat to low until your pancakes are ready and sauce is slightly thickened.

Macros for 1/2 the compote: 23 cal / 3 net carb / 0 fat / 0 protein


Pumpkin Spice Pancake Variation:
Use the following ingredients instead:

  • 3oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract and/or maple extract

(Macros for 4 servings: 220 cal / 4.5 net carb / 18 fat / 10 protein)
(Macros for 2 servings: 440 cal / 9 net carb / 37 fat / 20 protein)

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

A note on blenders:
I’m totally not sponsored by Vitamix (oh, how I wish) but I did want to share our experience. We are coming up on one year of Vitamix ownership and could not be more impressed. It might be the single best home purchase we’ve ever made.

Before our Vitamix, we were going through a Ninja every 6 months, and before that a Bullet every 3-4 months. They just weren’t made well enough to withstand daily use chopping up ice for our protein shakes. They are made with plastic gears that just shred. Sure, they were warrantied, but we couldn’t live without a blender for the 3-6 weeks it took to get the warranty repairs. So even though the Ninja was cheaper, it wasn’t in the long run when we had to keep replacing them.

Little known fact: you can buy certified, warrantied, reconditioned Vitamix blenders for under $250 from their website. And around the holidays, they’re even more discounted. That’s how we ended up with our 780 last year! Here’s the link, just in case:
https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/shop/certified-reconditioned-series

Certified Reconditioned Vitamix Blenders 12/2/18

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

When I first made these muffins, my husband was literally swearing about their perfection as he ate them. Not gonna lie, some explicatives may have slipped out of my mouth too. The texture is authentic and the spice is delightful. These are a great ‘treat’ to pack for snacks at work, perhaps to accompany a cup of coffee?

Ingredients:
For the muffins:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
    • (Vegan/DF: canned coconut cream
  • 2 eggs
    • (Vegan/DF: 2tbsp psyllium husk mixed with 4tbsp hot water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
    • (you can sub in protein powder for extra protein)
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp ground psyllium husk
    • (optional but reduces crumbliness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice

Note: Its not a mistake, there are no sweeteners in this recipe! But if you’re looking for a sweeter treat, feel free to add a few drops stevia or pure monk fruit.

For the frosting:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • generous splash of vanilla
  • Vegan/DF: Whip 1 14oz can coconut cream (best if refrigerated overnight) with 2 tsp vanilla until it resembles whipped cream.

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12-muffin tin. Take out your cream cheese and butter (for the frosting) to soften.

Sift together dry ingredients in one bowl.
In a separate bowl melt the butter, then stir in the pumpkin. Finally, add eggs and vanilla and stir. Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Spoon into the muffin tins, and flatten tops since this batter does not rise. Bake for 25 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat together all ingredients with a hand mixer until frosting consistency.

Perfect inner texture.

You can store these in the fridge for a week, but I recommend keeping the frosting separate and topping just as you are ready to eat.

Macros (recipe makes 12 servings):
Muffins: 185 cal | 3.5 net carb (8 total) | 16 fat | 6 protein
Frosting: 135 cal | 1 carb | 14 fat | 1 protein per serving

Chocolate Muffins

I’m not sure whether these should be categorized as muffins, or brownies, or cupcakes, or crack… but whatever they are, they’re sure to satisfy any chocolate cravings!

Ingredients:
For the muffins:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
    • (Vegan/DF: canned coconut cream )
  • 3 tbsp (39g) melted cocoa/cacao butter
    • (or more butter or any other oil, but cocoa butter adds a great white chocolate flavor)
  • 2 eggs
    • (Vegan/DF: 2tbsp psyllium husk mixed with 4tbsp hot water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp ground psyllium husk (for a cupcake texture)
    • Or 2 tbsp flax seed meal (for a fudgey texture)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (56g) pecans, chopped
  • 24 chopped Guittard bittersweet baking wafers, or Lily’s chocolate chips
  • liquid stevia or pure monk fruit. I find these muffins have a lovely dark chocolate fudge flavor without any sweetener, but you are welcome to add to taste.

For the frosting:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • Splash heavy cream (about 2tbsp)
  • generous splash of vanilla
  • Vegan/DF: Whip 1 can coconut cream (best if refrigerated overnight) with 2 tsp vanilla until it resembles whipped cream.

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12-muffin tin. Take out your cream cheese and butter to soften.

Sift together dry ingredients. Melt the butters, and then stir in the pumpkin. Finally, add eggs and vanilla and stir. Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Batter Will Be Thick

If desired, add chopped pecans and chocolate at this point. Or save the pecans to put on top, whatever you like.

Spoon into the muffin tins, and flatten tops since this batter does not rise. Bake for 25 minutes. (You can also make this in an 8×4 loaf pan by baking 50 minutes).

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat together all ingredients with a hand mixer until frosting consistency.

Perfect Inner Texture

You can store these in the fridge for a week, but I recommend keeping the frosting separate and topping just as you are ready to eat.

Macros (recipe makes 12 servings, no pecans or sweeteners):
Muffins, no chocolate chips: 179 cal | 2 net carb (6 total) | 15 fat | 6 protein
Muffins, with bittersweet wafers: 194 cal | 3 net carb (7.3 total) | 16 fat | 6 protein
Frosting: 135 cal | 1 carb | 14 fat | 1 protein per serving