- Mini Ginger Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes w/ Walnut Coconut Crust -

   For as along as I can remember I have loved cheesecake- it's my favorite dessert. Don't give me traditional cake or cookies, give me cheesecake! :) Needless to say I was excited to come up with a cheesecake recipe I hadn't tasted before. As usual, I saw some various ingredients in my fridge and thought, "Hey, that might be good!" and got to baking. I didn't google this flavor combo or other cheesecake recipes- I wanted to see if I could do it. And I'm pleased to say- it worked! Whew. I wish all the things I made worked as well as this did on the first try. But that's the fun of the process- trial and error... and success. 
   This mild and lovely cheesecake is not the typical super-dense, sit-in-your-stomach-like-a-rock cheesecake. It's light and fluffy with notes of spicy fresh ginger and warm vanilla bean. The crust is complementary to the filling as it's got a light, nutty, coconuty, crunchy thing going on. The flavors remind me of springtime but this dessert would be wonderful following most meals or for baby/wedding showers and such. And of course: grain-free, refined-sugar-free, low-carb.
   Ok, that description might not be the best so you'll just have to trust me and TRY IT [and then let me know what you think!]. 
This cheesecake is fabulous.

• ½ c. walnuts, very finely chopped
• 2 tbsp almond flour
• 2 tbsp butter, melted 
• 1 ½ tbsp unsweetened dried coconut, finely shredded • 1 ½  tbsp ZSweet
 • ½ tsp vanilla extract

- Preheat oven for 350º and line 9 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Use a ½ tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop into lined muffin tin.
- Press firmly into bottom of lined muffin tin.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven [leave oven on], let cool.

 • 2 eggs
• 7 oz cream cheese
• ¼ c. + 1 tbsp ZSweet
• Contents of ½ a vanilla bean pod [carefully cut pod open and scrape beans out with a knife.]
• ¾ tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

- Beat cream cheese and ZSweet together.
- Add eggs and beat well.
- Add vanilla beans and ginger. Stir to incorporate.
- Place prepared muffin tin on foil-lined cookie sheet.
- Use ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop batter into lined muffin tins/baked crusts.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until nearly set.
- Let cool completely then refrigerate in an airtight container to set fully- at least 3 hours or overnight.

Makes about 9 individual sized cheesecakes.

**Please let me know if you make this and what you thought or how you modified it. I'd love to hear about your experience!**


- Dark Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Truffles -

Merry Christmas Eve to all who celebrate Christmas! I do- it's my favorite holiday. I have some of the best memories that involve Christmas time with my family. Love it. This year, though, I won't be with any family during this lovely holiday. But I will be with my wonderful housemates and some friends from work. Since I will be at someone else's house for Christmas dinner, I wanted to bring a yummy dessert that I could still eat and other people could enjoy, too. I was going to make these cookies, but I decided instead to make dark chocolate covered cookie dough truffles. They just seem more fancy. :) 
I've made them once before a couple months ago and have been wanting to post the recipe here for all of you. The ones I made today are better than the first batch and I'm excited to give you this recipe. An easy and delicious holiday [or anytime!] dessert. You can top these with a dusting of cocoa powder or powdered ZSweet for a decorative touch.

Cookie Dough

• ½ c butter, really soft
½ c ZSweet, powdered [I buy granulated and powder when I need in the blender.]
• ¾ almond flour, firmly packed
• 2 tbsp coconut flour, firmly packed
• 1 tbsp finely ground flaxmeal
• ½ tsp real salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp vanilla
• ½ c walnuts, chopped very small

- Beat butter and zsweet until mixed & fluffy.
- Add flours, baking soda and salt. Beat on low just until mixed well.
- Stir in vanilla and walnuts.
- Roll dough into about 20 balls.
- Cover dough and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
[- While dough is chilling, make chocolate shell.]

Chocolate Shell

• 1 oz bakers chocolate
• 4 tbsp coconut oil [can use unsalted butter]
• ¼ c ZSweet, powdered [I buy granulated and powder it when I need to in the blender.]
• 3 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 tsp vanilla

- In a small saucepan over low heat melt bakers chocolate, coconut oil, and ZSweet. Stir frequently.
- When melted, remove from heat and add cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir well to incorporate.

To Make Truffles

- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove dough from fridge.
- Place dough either one-by-one or a few at a time in to the chocolate and coat thoroughly.
- Remove from chocolate and place onto parchment.
- Once all of the cookie dough has been coated in chocolate, place in freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden the chocolate.
- Once the chocolate is hardened, serve or place truffles in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

*Enjoy! And, like always, if you make these please come back here and let me know. :) *

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope you are blessed with peace and joy this season and in this coming new year!


- Mexican Meatloaf with Jalapeño Lime Cream Sauce -

Tonight was one of those nights where I just stared into my fridge trying to decided what to make for dinner- which would also be my main meal for the next couple days. I really wanted to make something simple, but something I've not made before... something simple with ground beef. Simple for me would be meatloaf. And it's flavorful & healthy. But I didn't want traditional meatloaf. I wanted something with character. With spice. I though for a second about how I could change it up and, A-ha! Mexican spice meatloaf. As I was getting the ingredients out of the fridge for that, I saw a carton of jalapeños I needed to use. Immediately I remembered the jalalpeño mushroom cream sauce I came up with a couple months ago that topped a quesadilla I had made. Though this time I didn't want a mushroom sauce so I decided to omit the mushrooms and add lime juice instead. 
Satisfied with my plan for dinner I got to making the meatloaf and while it was in the oven I made another test batch of brownies. :) I think this is my 5th test batch in a week to figure out how to make a delish grain-free, sugar-free brownie without following someone else's recipe. It's more challenging than I anticipated. Good thing I like challenges!
Anyway, back to the meatloaf- when it was done cooking, I poured some of the drippings into a skillet and made the jalapeño lime cream sauce. While that was simmering I cut a green bell pepper and half an avocado, plated them with the meatloaf slices and then topped it with the lovely sauce.
I was really excited to try this and didn't want to take the time to take pictures, but I shot one with my phone just in case this meal was blog-worthy. This photo below was, like, 30 seconds before I ate the meal all up. It was SO good. I could eat this everyday!
The meatloaf itself was tender, moist, rich, and filling- but not heavy. And the sauce complimented it wonderfully: a subtly flavored sauce that blended well with the spices in the meatloaf. The avocado added more richness and creaminess while the green peppers added a nice fresh crunch. What a tasty and simple to prepare meal. This will now be a staple meal for me. As it is full of super healthy fats and protein, while being low in carbs and is grain-free. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Mexican Meatloaf

• 1 ½ lbs grass-fed ground beef
• 2 organic eggs, beaten
• ¾ c blanched almond flour
• ½ onion, finely chopped
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
• 1 small tomato, chopped
• 1 ½ tsp cumin
• 1 tsp chili powder
• ⅛ tsp cayenne [or more to taste]
• ½ tsp oregano
• 1 tsp real salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

- Preheat oven to 360º
- Mix all ingredients well.
- Place in loaf pan and bake for 40 mins.
- Let cool in pan at least 10 minutes.
- Slice and serve with jalapeno lime cream sauce.

Jalapeño Lime Cream Sauce

• 1 c water
• ½ c organic heavy cream
• 3 tbsp plain organic yogurt Or organic sour cream
• 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped [save seeds from 1 pepper]
• juice from half a large lime or a whole small one

- Add everything into a pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes stirring frequently.
- When sauce thickens and jalapeño pieces soften, it’s ready.
- Serve over Mexican Meatloaf  or any other dish you’d like and enjoy! :)

*As always, If you try this [or any!] recipe, please come back here and let me know. I'd love to hear how you liked it or any changes you made. :)


- Almond Flour Bread -

Ok, I admit, there are days when I wish I could just eat a bagel or a croissant [especially a chocolate-filled one], or the bread at a restaurant- partly for taste but also for convenience. But, because I m dedicated to my health and well-being, I choose not to eat them. So on one of those longing-for-a-piece-of-bread days about a month or so ago, I decided to try my hand at creating a grain-free bread recipe. Not a grain-free cupcake or muffin. Nothing sweet. Just a basic loaf of bread, darnit! :)  And while I only had a vague idea of what I was doing the outcome was a success. While in Colorado visiting family two weeks ago I made this the day I arrived. It wasn't for nibbling on- it was supposed to be the base of the grain-free stuffing I was making for Thanksgiving. I had them try little pieces and they all liked it, especially my 21-month old nephew! So that loaf was about gone in 3 days. Needless to say I baked another loaf for the stuffing.
My sister asked me for this recipe because she wanted to be able to have this healthy bread around after I left Colorado. And the other day I got a text from her letting me know she made this bread and it turned out great!
I am quite happy with this bread. Of course, I'll try making different variations, improving it how I can, and whatnot [I've already used this as a base for spice muffins and chocolate coconut muffins. Recipes to come!]. But overall I'm satisfied with this grain-free bread. 
A couple notes for you: If you use a 9"x5" loaf pan the bread won't be tall like a typical loaf of bread. This is normal. But, you could use a 7"x4" loaf pan and it would be taller. I don't know the bake time for a smaller pan, so if you try it please let me know! Also, this bread can be toasted but watch it carefully- it burns quickly. And lastly, because it's almond flour it is dense and quite filing. Delicious with any meal or as a snack!

Almond Flour Bread

• 2 c blanched almond flour
• ⅓ c flax meal / ground flax
• ½ tbsp coconut flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
•1 tsp baking soda
• ¾ tsp salt
• 1 tsp xanthan gum
• 4 eggs
• 3 tbsp butter, softened
• 1 tbsp olive
• 1 tbsp almond oil
• ½ c. whole milk Or almond milk
• ¾ tbsp apple cider vinegar

- Preheat oven to 350º and grease&dust w/ almond flour a 9x5 metal loaf pan.
- Add all ingredients together in a large bowl and beat/mix until incorporated.
- Scoop into loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.
- Let cool in pan for at least 10 minutes. 
- Turn out and let cool on wire rack. [Store in the fridge!]
- Eat and enjoy!

* If you try this recipe, please come back and let me know. I'd love to know what you think of it or any variations you might have made.*


- Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies -

Who doesn't like cookies?! I haven't met anyone, have you? So needless to say when I found out recently about being able to bake with almond flour and coconut flour I was looking for cookie recipes. None of the grain-free recipes really stood out to me until my best friend sent me a link to a different recipe from this blog- Gluten Free Fix- and I searched for cookies. There it was, This recipe! I was intrigued by what I found. No eggs?! No eggs in a grainless cookie recipe? How can this be? I was also drawn in by the addition of walnuts. I love walnuts in chocolate chip cookies. I read over her recipe and figured I could adjust it to my preferences [I changed several things].
These cookies are outstanding! I could eat them every day. My roommates really like them, too. When I didn't have anything to quickly eat as I left for work, I ate one cookie for breakfast and brought one or two to work with me so I could eat on my break. They sustained me for 6 hours without needing to eat anything else. Because of the fat and protein content, they are quite satisfying and- when using high quality ingredients- nourishing. I don't ever recommend surviving solely on cookies, but in a pinch they are great until you can eat/cook some other healthful veggies&protein&fat.
I typically will only bake half the batch [because I eat too many of them!] and then freeze the other half. Thankfully the dough thaws and bakes perfectly after being frozen.

Without further ado:
Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies [eggless]

• 1/2 c. grass-fed butter, really soft
• 1/3 c. ZSweet, powdered [Either powder it yourself in coffee grinder or blender, or buy the powdered kind. I prefer to powder it myself.]
• 3/4 c. almond flour, firmly packed
• 2 tbsp coconut flour, firmly packed
• 1 tbsp ground organic flax meal
• 1/2 tsp teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 tsp real salt [the mineral-rich kind]

• 1 1/4 tsp vanilla 
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp xanthan gum [optional]
• 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped very small
• 1 1/4 c. homemade chocolate chunks [recipe HERE]

- Preheat oven to 350.
- Beat butter and zsweet until mixed & fluffy.
- Add flours, baking soda and salt. Beat on low [or use a whisk] just until mixed well.
- Add in vanilla, walnuts, and chopped chocolate.
- Roll dough in to about 24 balls. - Place dough in fridge for 5-10 minutes to set.
- Put dough two inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. *Halfway through baking, flatten cookies with spatula.
- Let cool on pan because they can be quite crumbly when warm. [Or if you need to use pan for second batch, transfer the parchment with cookies onto the counter to finish cooling.]
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container!
- They are best eaten straight from the fridge [not oven] and taste great with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. 

As always, if you make these come back and comment here to let me know how they turned out, if you liked them, or if you made any adjustments. I'm curious to know! :)
-Enjoy eating well-

- Fried Zucchini with a Creamy Dipping Sauce -

Howdy! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I sure did!
I've not posted recently because I've been out of town. But I'm back and ready to get you some recipes and more great info.
Onto today's post:

  I love fried things. I always have. Thankfully, though, I don't really crave them anymore. But a couple weeks ago, for whatever reason, I wanted to try my hand at making fried onions. They were ok. Tasted good because they were fried, but nothing much to look at. So I decided to try making fried zucchini instead. And it worked SO well. Much better than the onions. I am quite excited about it... not that I fry things regularly. But I'm glad that I have a solid go-to recipe if something needs frying. [Tonight I'm going to try making fried mozzarella sticks with fresh mozzarella from Trader Joe's. And I just devoured a whole pan of baked kale chips!] :)
Anyway, after I made the fried zucchini I realized that I didn't have anything to dip it in- it's been so long since I've eaten a dipping sauce. But one can't eat fried zucchini without a sauce! So I peered into my fridge to find things I could whip together real quick. And I mean real quick! I didn't want the warm zucchini to get cold and soggy. So a little bit of this, a little bit of that in the blender and next thing I know I have a creamy, delicious dipping sauce for my delectable fried zucchini. Woo!
I know it's not hard to fry something up, but here's the recipe I came up with in case you're interested. The recipe for the dipping sauce follows.

Fried Zucchini

• 1/2 c. refined almond oil, for frying [Can use coconut oil or macadamia nut oil. If you use unrefined coconut oil, it will taste like coconut. I'd use refined. Do not use olive oil or butter.]
• 1/2 large zucchini, sliced in french fry strips
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/2 c. blanched almond flour
• 1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese [finely grate]
• pinch salt & pepper
• 1/2 tsp tumeric
• couple shakes of garlic powder

- In a small bowl, beat egg.
- In medium bowl add all dry ingerdients and mix together.
- Heat almond oil in skillet until a drop of water sizzles.
- Place a couple strips of zucchini at a time into egg, then into flour mixture and toss to coat.
- After first coat of flour, place zucchini pieces back into egg mixture and then coat again in flour  mixture.
- Place coated zucchini in oil and fry about 5 minutes each side. Or until deep golden brown.
-Drain on paper towel.
Serve immediately.
[I got the idea to add parmesan cheese from Maria over at Nutritious and Delicious blog. But this is my own recipe.]

Dipping Sauce

• 1/4 c. cottage cheese
• 1 tbsp cream cheese
• 2 1/2 tbsp organic chicken stock [make sure no sugars or oils are added to it]
• 3/4 tsp dijon mustard
• dash garlic powder
• pinch salt & pepper [to taste]
• 1/8 tsp xanthan gum [optional, makes it a little thicker]

- In blender or food processor blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Pour into serving dish and let set in the fridge for a few minutes.
- Serve with fried zucchini, fresh veggies, chicken, etc.

**If you try either of these recipes out, please come back and let me know how you liked them or if you altered them and how they turned out. Thanks!

-Enjoy eating-


-What I eat...-

   Some of you- ok, lots of you- have asked me what I eat if I don't eat any grains, starches, or sugar. I know it's a surprising thing to hear someone say they don't eat grains, but rest assured, there's life on the other side of the grain&sugar train. 
Don't get me wrong here. Do I miss a buttery, warm chocolate croissant or oatmeal raisin cookies, a baguette dipped in olive oil, french fries, the quick convenience of a bowl of cereal or going to a restaurant and eating whatever? YES. 
But here's the thing: My health [and yours!]- physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual- is way, WAY more important than eating those foods. And that is precisely what I've discovered in the past months of changing what I put into my body. And I wouldn't go back.

So, I can't answer the "What DO you eat" question without sharing what I DON'T eat. Here it goes!
[I will try to include links to articles about the things I post.] 

What I DON'T eat:
Grains in ANY form- wheat, rye, barley, oats, rice, corn, soy, millet, etc, [long list. And if you buy anything that has a label on it, read it carefully. There's typically wheat &/or soy &/or corn &/or rice products in them.] [Here's an informative article about grains and starches. And Another really good article about how cutting out grains can heal lots of physical ailments]
Sugar [takes on many different names, but it's all sugar]- refined, cane, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, beet sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple, agave, sucrose, glucose, or high quantities of fructose, etc, etc. [Here's a fascinating article about sugars.]
Artificial sweeteners- splenda, sweet&low, equal, etc.
Unhealthy oils- canola, corn, sunflower, soybean, safflower, or anything hydrogentated.  [Here's a great article about oils.]
Potatoes/Legumes [beans, lentils, etc]- starchy things are high in carbs which is what I avoid.
Fruits- most fruit has quite a bit of fructose which is bad for our bodies, especially with how we typically consume fruit in our country- in large quantities. [** My experience: After cutting out fruit for a couple months I added it back in and within 2 weeks I stopped losing weight, felt really tired&heavy, my knees hurt again, and I gained 4 pounds. I had an inkling that my symptoms were from the fruit so I cut it out again and within days lost the 4 pounds I had gained and my energy levels were higher and stable again.] NOTE: One small [a level cupped-handful] serving of fruit a day is fine. And berries are best. I personally just haven't had a desired to add fruit back in yet but will eventually.
Alcohol. [Though, I've read that wine is alright on occasion.]

What I DO eat:
Organic, grass-fed Beef- ideal is grass-fed. But if I can't find or afford it, I'll get the best quality organic I can find. ["Just because beef is labeled "organic" doesn't mean it is grass-fed. The label must specify "grass-fed" to be truly grass-fed beef!" -Dr. Mercola in this article.]
Organic chicken [I'm trying to figure out how I can get pastured chicken. More details later.]
Organic, omega-3 eggs [trying to get pastured eggs. More details later.]
Butter from grass-fed cows [like Kerrygold]
Lots of veggies of all sorts! [there are some I don't usually eat because of a high sugar content. But if it's all that's available, I'l eat them.]
Nuts & seeds- ideal raw then soaked & air dried or dried in the oven at a temp of 150º or lower.
Nut flours & oils [primarily almond flour and oil, but there are others.]
Coconut- flour, oil, milk [here's an article about coconut]
Organic dairy [ideally from grass-fed cows]- cream, cream cheese, some other cheeses: aged raw milk cheese is best [and tastes so good.
Natural sweeteners- Erythritol is my main choice, and stevia 
Spices & natural minerals-in real salt
• *Other things that I'd eat if I so felt like it: fish [yum- sashimi!], pork, foul, other meats [as natural&minimally processed, organic as you can find.]

I might have forgotten a thing or two. But those two lists are a pretty good roundup. 
Also, this isn't some gimicky "low-carb" diet! This is a lifestyle- one that's lived day in and day out for life. There's not and "ending point" like there is with dieting. And that's such a great feeling because I can setting into this for the long haul.
Some of you might be wondering, "Don't you need carbs to survive?!" Here's my answer: I get sufficient carbohydrates [sometimes too many] from the nuts, veggies, and some dairy  that I eat. And here's a good quote: "Of the three macronutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrate, it is only carbohydrate that is nonessential to the human diet." -Dr. Joseph Brasco 
This just just about the types of foods to eat/not eat, it's also about the quality of the foods eaten. This is truly about long-term health. Not a "get thin quick" fad thing. But real health. 

I will write more later about my story and why I eat this way. Until then read up and learn and cook up some delish meals. :) I want to hear about your journey and will do my best to answer questions you've got. 

I hope this was helpful for you!