Low Carb Vegetable Lasagna Soup

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Spring is in the air people! The birds have been singing, we’ve had a lot of warm sunny days and I’m personally absolutely thrilled! So are my buddies, obviously.

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Despite good weather being on the cusp, there is snow on the horizon, and I decided to make some tummy warming soup. The kind that fills you up, makes you happy, and tastes unbelievably decadent. Although, it’s healthier for you and easy to make in one pot!

One pot meals are my  jam. Because I literally hate doing all the dishes and when you cook at home, dishes pile up everywhere. It’s the one major downside to eating at home, in my opinion. The good outweighs the bad though, delicious food made to show how much you love your family, that is winning every time.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs Carls Bad Cravings. I had to tweak it though to fit my nutritional needs- lower carb, no meat {Lent}, and limited dairy. I have eliminated most dairy for over a week now, and I feel so good! Less bloat, more energy and I have restarted my weight loss from the plateau I’ve been in for a few months. I say limited, because I completely put parmesan cheese in this soup, and I’m not upset about it! 😉

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Vegetable Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper and garlic powder
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1-2 tbsp gluten-free cornstarch {depending on how thick you want your soup}
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 oz of uncooked pasta of choice {I use thinslim pasta}
  • 1 cup cashew milk {or almond milk, cream, milk, etc}
  • 9 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • water to thin recipe, if desired
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter/ghee in a large Dutch oven/soup pot over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots, cook for 4-5 minutes while stirring. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook for 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Add in all your spices and mix into vegetables. Sprinkle in xantham gum.

Turn heat to medium low and gradually stir in 7 cups of the chicken broth. Stir in beans, bay leaves and pasta, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer to allow vegetables to fully soften and pasta to cook. Stir occasionally so pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom (approximately 15-20 minutes).

Whisk 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1 cup additional chicken broth and add to soup, to thicken.

Turn heat to low, discard bay leaf and stir in milk {of choice} and spinach, warming through. Stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in additional chicken broth or water if desired for a less “chunky” soup. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Now it’s time to enjoy! This is a thick, creamy soup that is so good. I didn’t miss the meat, but if you want to add it, go ahead!

What I love most about soup is that it is so versatile. You can add anything to it, and it usually will end up being the best bowl of soup you’ve ever had!

So while we have some snow coming our way over the next week, grab your veggies and get chopping! Soup’s on!

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It’s Low Carb Pumpkin Muffin Time

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Happy Friday all! It almost seems impossible that tomorrow is the last day of 2016, how did this happen? Wasn’t it just New Years Eve 2015? Weren’t we all putting on our party hats, drinking champagne and watching the ball drop?!

No Melissa, that was a whole year ago and what a year it has been! {Disclaimer: I didn’t actually make it to watch the ball drop last year, but I hope you did!} I also hope you all had the best year with your families, your personal lives, your professional lives, your health, your dreams, etc. All of it. If you in fact had a rough year, I am sending much positive energy your way for a great start to 2017!

I know how I am going to start 2017- by devoting more time to something I love doing. This blog. Making new recipes. Taking pictures. Being a foodie. Loving every second of it.

What better way to end my sporadic year of posts, than to share a recipe that I will be making weekly from here on out. I hope you decide to do the same. Your hearts and bellies will thank me!

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Low Carb Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup palm shortening
  • 1/3 cup swerve sweetener
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Directions

In a blender or food processor (can also use your magic bullet type blenders ;-)), combine eggs, pumpkin, and sweetener.                                                                                                           Then add in coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
Divide batter between 8 paper lined muffin cups
Rinse out blender or food processor to make streusel topping
In the same blender or food processor, combine shortening and sweetener
Pulse in coconut flour and cinnamon
Sprinkle topping over muffin batter
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
Cool 1 hour

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Muffins can be kept in the refrigerator in ziplock bags or closed containers for 5-7 days.  Can also be frozen.

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A wonderful, healthy treat for breakfast or for a midday snack.

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Happiest of New Years to you all! Enjoy your weekend and let’s crush some goals in 2017!!

Low Carb Italian Cookies

Can you believe that Christmas is really over?!

It just seems like yesterday that the season started and we pulled all our normal decor off the shelves and Christmas came exploding into our homes. What a wonderful season to be celebrated and I hope it was just as fabulous as you all imagined!

When the holidays come, what better way to indulge in the most wonderful time of year, than to bake our little hearts out! I love baking all year round, but there is something so amazing about making treats for all of your loved ones to enjoy on Christmas! This year, I sang Christmas carols and really enjoyed the whole process of making Christmas cookies.

I’ve decided, without a doubt, next year I will be hosting a christmas cookie exchange party, so my people better be ready! They do have a whole year now to prepare 😉

One of my favorite cookies from this year, is by far this Low Carb Italian Cookie. It is moist, buttery and I bet you won’t be able to stop at just one!

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Low Carb Italian Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup swerve confectioners sweetener
  • 2 tbsp half and half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Directions

Cookies:
Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the Swerve until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Then beat in the almond flour mixture until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You will get 24 to 28 balls. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about ½ inch thick.
Bake about 12 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up. Remove and let cool on the pan.
Glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Swerve, half and half, and vanilla extract. Dip the top of the cookies into the glaze and set back on the pan. Sprinkle as desired.

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Seriously, make these.

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I really wish Christmas lasted a little longer, but it unfortunately goes by so quickly! That doesn’t mean we can’t make these all year long, just change your sprinkles!

In my opinion, there are never too many sprinkles in life!

Carrot Cake Loaf

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Since finding out about my own personal struggle with insulin resistance and PCOS, I am on a mission to get my body where it needs to be. Weight loss is never an easy journey, pair that with crazy hormones, it’s been quite a ride.

I am working so hard at breaking this vicious cycle for myself, but in doing so, I can’t and will not give up my love for cooking and baking. Because none of us need to do that!

I have had so much fun in the kitchen, trying new recipes and making our old favorite recipes more low carb friendly for us, and ultimately for you!

I do not believe my joy for food will ever go away, because I can talk, read, write, browse, eat…. all day long. I have made a choice to put the right foods in my body, to make it work the best it can. I have also made a choice to indulge in healthy treats from time to time, that don’t derail me from my goals.

Life is definitely all about moderation, and if you can make your treats healthy for you, you aren’t cheating. You are living!

There are some things you can say that life is not worth living without, if I was dramatic I would say this Carrot Cake Loaf! I personally feel happier knowing I have found a slightly sweet bread that I can put together really fast, that gives me a tasty snack with delicious carrot cake flavor! Carrot cake is one of my favorites, and this did not disappoint! I hope you try it!

Carrot Cake Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup swerve sweetener {or 1/2 cup sugar, honey, etc}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. {almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon}

In a mixing bowl, add eggs and swerve sweetener. Mix to combine, then adding coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in mixing bowl and combine.

Then add grated carrot to batter.

Grease a bread/loaf pan with nonstick spray {butter or coconut oil} and pour batter into pan, spreading evenly.

Place in oven and bake for 30-32 minutes until top is browned and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Then it’s time to slice it up and serve!

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It is moist, delicious and just subtly sweet- making it the perfect bread to eat as is, put a little butter on it, or make it into french toast! I think next time, I’ll even drizzle a little cream cheese frosting over it!

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Happy eating!!

Do you have a favorite loaf or bread recipe?