Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Little Debbie" Be My Valentine Snack Cakes: Sugar-Free. Gluten-Free. Dairy-Free.

Little Debbie snack cakes.....  I had forgotten about these little devils! And then someone brought a box to work.

And, suddenly I was flooded with memories of mind-blowing sweetness! Litte Debbie Vanilla Be My Valentine Snack Cakes... even when I last ate these circa age 6, I could tell that these were far too sweet and artificial to really even be considered food.

And, of course, I knew I needed to whip up some of my own.

Out of curiosity, I checked the ingredients on the real things before I started. Do you really want to see it? Probably not if you are planning to eat one of these in the near future. Or, you can do what I did: read the ingredients and then run to make the ACD healthier version!

Little Debbie "Be My Valentine" Cakes: Vanilla --- the real deal:

INGREDIENTS (for diabetes):
Sugar, Vegetable(s) Shortening (,, Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Cottonseed Oil Partially Hydrogenated ),, Corn Syrup, Water, Flour Enriched Bleached (,, Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB) ),, Dextrose, Egg(s) Whites, Color(s) (,, Caramel Color, Red 40 ),, Whey from Milk, Leavening (,, Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate ),, Salt, Emulsifier(s) (,, Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Propylene Glycol Monostearate ),, Corn Starch, Sorbic Acid To Retain Freshness,, Egg(s), Soy Lecithin, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial

 I bolded the ingredients that I deem acceptable on my diet. Water, egg whites, and baking soda-- now that's a tasty combination (blergh!!) Also note that (from which I got this list) gives them a health score of 32/100, and marks it with "AVOID" and "CONTROVERSIAL INGREDIENTS." Yep, I thought so.

Now let's take a look at what my packaging label might look like:

INGREDIENTS (for awesomness):
White beans, eggs, coconut oil, agave nectar, erythritol, coconut flour, strawberries, ghee, tapioca flour, almond milk, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, lemon juice, liquid stevia, salt, liquid chocolate raspberry stevia

 Looks a whole lot prettier, huh? Shorter, more natural, more healthy. 


1 cup white beans  ---> puree in high power blender (Vitamix)
1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
24 drops stevia
2 1/2 tbs agave -----> add, puree well
3 eggs***

1 1/2 tbs coconut flour
1 tbs tapioca flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda  ----> mix all dry ingredients well, then add to wet and puree again

*** There are two ways to do this to vary cake consistency. For a dense (pound cake-y) cake, blend eggs with wet ingredients. For a lighter, fluffier cake, separate egg yolks and whites. Add yolks to wet mixture, but beat eggs separately in a bowl, until stiff peaks form. After adding dry ingredients to the wet mix in the Vitamix, fold the batter into the egg whites. This will also yield a higher volume of batter, which will end up making more mini cakes.

I used heart shaped silicone cupcake molds to make these. Fill each one halfway, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the largest one comes out clean.


1/2 c powdered erythritol* or, soy milk powder to desired consistency, plus extra stevia to sweeten
1 tbs ghee, sort
1 tbs coconut oil, soft
1/2 tsp vanilla (will slightly brown the color)
1 tbs almond milk (add slowly to make it the right consistency)

* Make your own powdered erythritol! Put ~1/2 c granular erythritol into the Magic Bullet small cup, and pulse for about 20 seconds with the crossblade. BAM-- powder!

To make frosting, blend all ingredients in the magic bullet. Add almond milk as necessary to make it a nice whipped consistency.


1/4 c coconut oil
1 tbs agave
1 tbs strawberry puree (I magic bullet-ed this first)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
dash of salt
8 drops chocolate raspberry stevia
1 tsp powdered erythritol (optional-- thickens consistency)

Blend all ingredients in the Magic Bullet. This should be a thin consistency which will harden in the fridge.


Middle frosting layer.
Slice a heart mini-cake in half, and spread white frosting between the two layers- then re-assemble them. Next, coat all visible sides of cake in pink frosting. Finally, pipe white frosting on top in a spider-webby pattern. (I was lazy and used a ziploc bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner, instead of a real piping tip.)

Result? Something delicious, and just about as (sickeningly) sweet as the real deal. But, it's low GI, (sucrose) sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, aaand pretty much awesome!!

Now, I'm not saying that I should (or could) eat these every day (there's a reason I only made six!) But, they certainly are perfect for a rare (non)sugar fix.  Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!


Also-- what's the deal with hating Valentine's Day? It's an excuse to eat chocolate and celebrate love of any sort- whether it's for yourself, a lover, a pet-- who cares? Just enjoy the day!


Also: check out February's SOS Challenge at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, with challenge ingredient stevia!

I got off to a rocky start with stevia, back in the day. When I started exploring the world of ACD baking, the only stevia we had around the house was a powdered form left from my mother's dabbling in vegetarian healthfood... which was probably in the 60s. Or 70s. Or sometime when they made pretty poor quality stevia, SLASH it had just gone bad by this current millenium. At any rate, everything we baked using that stuff had a sickening taste... soapy, if you will. Not quite to the "bitter" realm, but just all too "stevia-ish". I could taste a grain of that stuff anywhere... in anything. It haunted me. And ruined many a baked good.

I avoided all baked goods cooked with stevia, subbing in anything from vegetable glycerine, to agave nectar (when I got to the point I could handle it). But as I did my research, I raid many accounts claiming that with the right quality stevia, the disgusting taste problem really wasn't a problem at all.

So, I decided to give stevia another shot. I would buy a new batch. This time, I opted for the liquid form, and purchased a bottle of SweetLeaf SteviaClear (from good old And it worked wonders! Gone were the days of ruined baked goods.

Stevia still can be a finicky sweetener when used carelessly, and certainly isn't for those with a heavy hand when it comes to measuring. Basically, its sweetening curve looks something like this:

Yeah-- tough. But as long as care is taken while sweetening, stevia can work wonders. I especially like it to sweeten beverages-- like when making chocolate almond milk!
So, in summary, I am a stevia convert. I still use it primarily in conjunction with other stronger sweeteners, but stevia does have its place in my baking arsenal. 

And who knows? I just might grow it in my garden this year. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seed Bread Sandwich


Raw Seed Bread: (requires dehydrater):

1 c ground flaxseed
1/3 c whole flax seeds
1 tsp chia seeds
½ tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T onion, minced
2/3 c sunflower seeds
¼ c sesame seeds
1 c water

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture moldable, and able to stick together.

Use a spoon or spatula to spread out thin "slices" onto a dehydrator sheet. Since my (ghetto) dehydrator has really big holes in its trays, I spread the bread patties onto waxed paper, flipped it over onto a tray, and then peeled the paper off to leave the patty ready to dry.

This made about eight "slices."

You can take them out before entirely dry for a softer, more bread-y consistency. If you want to store them for a while, let them dry completely.


avocado (or guacamole for a taco effect)
chopped tomato
mache! / lamb's lettuce / canonigos*

*Once upon a time, I was in Spain, had an awful hangover, was forced to eat pasta with tomato sauce for lunch, and felt like I was going to die (or kill myself) if I didn't eat something green immediately. So, I jumped into the local supermarcado in search of some spinach or lettuce. But, what I found in its place was a bag of canonigos (minus the frog in the bag....). They were pretty much awesome- a little bit bitter, but completely adorable, with their little bunches of baby leaves.

When I got back to the states, I did my research to find out what exactly this foreign salad stable was. I determined it is called Lamb's Lettuce here- I had never seen it before.

But then, behold! What should I find at my local Trader Joes- nestled right between the bags of arugula and spinach? Canonigos! Lamb's lettuce! Mache? Yes, the bag's primary label was "Mache", and it was the same awesome little green.

So, every now and then I buy it to add to salads. I still find to be a bit bitter on its own, but it makes a perfect salad base when mixed with arugula. It also was perfect on top of these raw sandwiches.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Raw Spinach Mini Quiches

This is what I made for my Superbowl fiesta. (aka, I ate them for dinner before going elsewhere to a real superbowl fiesta). I used a spinach-avocado filling which worked perfectly. A couple of them I filled with guacamole, and that was also delicious.


3 tbs ground flax seeds
3 tbs almond meal
1 tsp chia seeds
dash of salt          ----> stir together in a bowl
water                  ----> add just enough water for the meal to clump together


1 handful spinach   ----> chop (pulsing Magic Bullet works perfectly- just don't over-blend into juice!)
1/2 small/medium avocado ---> add to Bullet or manually whip it and spinach together

dash of salt            ----> add and stir to mix

Use a mini muffin tin (optionally sprayed with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.) Use a spoon (/your fingers) to press a dollop of crust into each muffin tin, shaping it to the cavity. Make sure to compact it tightly, or the crust will crumble under the weight of the filling. Top the crust with a small spoonful of filling. To remove each mini quiche, gently loosen around the edges with a spoon, then scoop underneath it and transfer to serving dish.

These worked really well for me, and were a hearty and happy meal since I ate so many of them!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy World Nutella Day!

February 6 is World Nutella Day! Obviously I had to celebrate. I whipped up some homemade nutella using my Magic Bullet, and ate it on clementine slices.

THE RECIPE (nutella):

1/4 c hazelnuts
1 tbs almond milk (or water)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs raisins
dash salt
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tbs agave nectar, /to taste

All proportions can be adjusted to taste. Blend until smooth in a food processor. (I was lazy and left mine chunky)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Raw Triple Chocolate Mudpie Pudding

This was maybe one of the most satisfying items I've eaten in a long time. Once again, it was inspired by RawOn10. This decadent concoction features chocolate pudding topped with chocolate brownie bits topped with chocolate syrup. Can't go wrong!


1 1/2 frozen bananas
1 tbs almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs cocoa powder        ---> puree in magic bullet

Brownie bits:
1/3 c walnuts
1/3 c raisins
dash salt             ---> pulse food processor until well mixed-- it should be crumbly, but stick together

Chocolate syrup:
Agave nectar
Cocoa powder   ---> whisk together

Layer pudding, brownie, and syrup in a nice big bowl. Dig in and enjoy!

Raw Blueberry Banana Parfait

Another instant magic bullet delight.


Banana layer:
1/2 banana
2 tbs walnuts
1 date
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash salt   ----> purree

Blueberry layer:
handful of blueberries
squirt of agave   ----> purree

Layer in a small bowl or glass. Use a knife to draw lines down the sides of the dish, letting the top blueberry layer dip down into the banana layer for a pretty effect. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

Raw Strawberry Cremesauce Pie

This was the first dessert I made since starting my Raw diet kick. It may not look too picturesque, but its pure deliciousness more than compensates for the goopy appearance. I went off of a recipe from RawOn10, using a walnut-banana crust, strawberry-agave filling, and walnut-date creme on top. I used frozen strawberries, which contributed to the wet, sauce-like consistency.


3/4 c banana slices
1 c walnuts
pinch salt    
   ---->; blend in food processor

Strawberry filling:
8 oz strawberries
dash lemon juice
3 tbs agave (/to taste)
  ---->; puree in food processor, then, Add:
8 oz strawberries, chopped

Walnut creme:
1/4 c walnuts
2 dates
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash salt          ----> puree until creamy

To assemble, first spread crust mixture in the bottom of a plate/pie pan using a fork/spoon. Next, pour in strawberry mixture for filling. Finally, dollop walnut creme on top. If desired, sprinkle on shredded coconut for a final touch.

To avoid each serving becoming a yummy little pile of sweet goo, try freezing the pie. I however, was perfectly fine with the messy version- just serve in a bowl with a spoon!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Raw Tomato Soup

BREAKING NEWS:  I got a magic bullet blender off of craigslist. It is amazing, and I love it, and I have been using it exclusively to make my meals for the last week.

Also, I have been using a ton of raw food recipes from RawOn10. I love how that site provides daily menus, complete with calorie counts! Has been KEY to my pre-Trinidad diet and weight loss plan ;)
Without further ado: I've been making a super easy raw tomato soup for dinner. I eat it cold, so it's kind of a cross between gaspacho and soup-- but since I put in olive oil and garlic and basil, it still has soup-y flavor.

THE RECIPE: (makes one serving)

1 tomato
4 inch piece of celery stalk
4 baby carrots
1-2 tbs basil
salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion, (minimal) red pepper flakes --> all to taste
1 tbs almond milk
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Blend it all up! And of course, garnish with celery leaves.

Makes a filling yet light meal-- dang, don't you feel healthy?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sweet Eggplant Pilaf

Sweet and savory eggplant pilaf, made with brown rice. I got this recipe from The listed proportions make this a primarily rice dish-- but rice proportions could certainly be decreased to make it heavier on the vegetables.


small eggplant (1/2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill   (optional)
1/4 cup shelled natural pistachios, coarsely chopped (optional)

(

"Cover eggplant with water in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt. Soak 30 minutes. Drain eggplant and squeeze handfuls to remove excess moisture, then pat dry. 

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté eggplant, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Cool eggplant. 

Cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add rice and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, raisins, remaining 1/2 tablespoon salt, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered and undisturbed, until rice is tender, about 12 minutes. 

Fluff rice with a fork and gently stir in tomato and eggplant. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover and cool 10 minutes. Stir in dill, then transfer pilaf to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with pistachios" -epicurious

It's delicious!