The last few days have been an adventure of experiments in the kitchen.
Andrew recently went on a self-imposed low-carb diet. I must say I am proud of his efforts and discipline. I don’t know that I could resist the urge for carbs as well as he has! He researched the diet pretty thoroughly before beginning. Then he decided that when I left for the States would be a good opportunity for hime to commence with his plan. He sweetly informed me that this was because he didn’t think it was fair (for me) if he went a diet with a pregnant lady in the house.
Now, the pregnant lady is back. The hubby is still on the diet. And while the wife has no intention of giving up carbs, she has discovered that researching low-carb dieting options can be a fun challenge. Rice and pasta, not to mention homemade breads and baked goods,
are used to be regulars in the Randles’ household. So finding ways to work around these has been a challenge. But, the good news is that Randles members like to rise to challenges.
And… personally, it has been a good diversion as I’ve just come off of a “high” of time with my family. Don’t get me wrong, I am oh so estatic to be reunited with my closest family member, Andrew – but I already miss spending time with my loved ones who were left on the East Coast. Having something new to focus on, like finding ways to cook and bake low-carb-style, has been a welcome distraction.
On Tuesday, I made coconut crusted salmon, with cauliflower “rice” and salad with warm balsamic dressing as the sides. Yesterday I did a stir-fry; this time with a cabbage dish as the base instead of our typical rice-standby.
But I must admit, even though these have been fun, some of my favorite low-carb conquests have been in the baked goods departments.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
For whatever reason, I have yet to find poppy seeds in Singapore. I probably will have to go to an “expat-y” grocery store here to find them. But in the meantime, since I couldn’t find some here, I brought some back from the States. (Since it cost me several dollars for a little bit from Giant in the States – I shudder to think how much it will cost once I do eventually find it here!) In any case, a few bucks and minimal suitcase space is worth it for a way to show Andrew, the Lemon Poppy Seed lover, how much he means to me!
I searched here and there online. Finally I decided to modify and half this recipe.
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup coconut flour (I just processed some desiccated coconut I had on hand)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup sweetner (malitol)
- 1 Tbsp poppyseeds
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 egg juice
- juice from 1 lemon
- rind of 1 lemons
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix dry and wet ingredients separately. Combine together, and let sit while you prepare the muffin tins. Line muffin tins and spray paper liners with oil to prevent sticking. Fill muffin liners. (I was able to stretch the muffins to make 9 regular muffins. It would probably make more like 6 full muffins if you like your muffins to rise above the paper liner.) Bake at 350F/190C for about 30-40minutes. (Our oven doesn’t insulate very well
Some DELICIOUS lemon poppy seed muffins. There are some noticeable differences that are due to the low-carb nature of baking.
- They are by no means sponge-like. They are not cupcakes. They are muffins. However, they are lighter than expected and by no means dense or dry.
- While they do have egg and yogurt, they do not hold together quite as well as I would like. I might increases the egg on the next try. That being said, they don’t fall apart.
Low-Carb Flax Blueberry Mini-Muffins
I again halved the recipe I found and made a few modifications. I probably wouldn’t have halved it had I had more blueberries on hand and not just made other muffins.
- ½ cup ground golden flax seed (I ground my own flax seed)
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- dash of cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp sweetener (malitol)
zest from ½ of a lemon
¼ cup blueberries (I used what was left of our blueberries in the fridge)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp greek yogurt
1 tsp of Vanilla
I mixed the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl I blended the wet ingredients together until the butter was incorporated. (I guess you could’ve . I combined the wet and dry ingredients together until a consistent dough was formed, making sure to squish some of the blueberries while I was mixing so that the blueberry flavor wasn’t stuck in the blueberries. (I also did this because I worried about getting mini-muffins without any blueberries!) I stuffed the filling into lined mini-muffin tray. (I would’ve made 12, but my tray only has 10 spots – hence the “stuffing”.) To top it off, I sprinkled the muffins with some sweetener and desiccated coconut. They baked in a 350F/190C oven for about 15 minutes.
- I would definitely do the coconut on top, it made a nice, slightly crunchy topping with an extra flavor profile.
- The sweetener on top was optional as it didn’t caramelize as real sugar would’ve.
- While definitely more of a “grainy” texture due to the flax meal, they are actually surprisingly moist and hold together well. The addition of the little bit of coconut flour seemed to balance out the rest of the flax seed so that you didn’t feel like you were eating something quite so “low-carb, no real flour inside” tasting.
- While the mini-muffin size worked out fine, we discovered that they are quite good when they are cut in half and eaten with peanut butter. The application of the peanut butter goes well with the grainy almost nuttiness of the muffin. For this particular use, I think normal sized muffins might have worked better.
Although it has been nice to have some baked goods on hand, I must admit that they don’t cover all the bases:
The Wife’s Indulgences
Now, it must be mentioned that Andrew is very adamant that I not feel pressured or confined in any way while he is on this diet. He demonstrated this concept by having fresh chocolate chip cookies (an Andrew favorite, but off-limits currently due to the low-carb imposition), that he made himself, ready for me when I met him at the airport!
There have indeed been benefits from the low-carb dieter in our household. For example, we have been more apt to have salad fixings on hand. And I have consequently been more likely to have salad for lunch.
As much as I have enjoyed having health alternatives in the house to turn to, during our grocery store trips we have added things to the basket that are very Adrielle-friendly. The other day, this meant that I added two liters of fruit juice (OJ and Blueberry Pomegranate) and some bananas to the basket, knowing I would be the one consuming them. I have already gone through almost all of the above except for some of the juice.
Yesterday, I added pineapple to my collection of things to bring home from the grocery store. Last night, I cut up the pineapple and filled a tupperware container with the yummy fruit ready for consumption. This morning I was in the mood for a snack. I pulled out the pineapple. I snacked. Snacked some more. By 11am, the entire container of pineapple was gone. <insert slight blush of embarassment>
I sheepishly told Andrew what happened. I then asked if that constituted a craving or just simply lack of self-control. While he didn’t confirm the lack of self-control, he did state, “If you woke up at 5am and NEEDED to have that much pineapple, then it would count as a craving.” <sigh> Can I blame the fact that I haven’t had as much fruit on hand as I would normally? Maybe not. I think I must admit that this pregnant lady has an issue with self-control. Or at least when it comes to pineapple.
Thankfully my husband has more self-control than I do. So we will be continuing, for now, with at least half of this household seeking lower-carb alternatives. Here’s to future kitchen adventures!