FATHEAD PIZZA!!

There are many things you miss when following a low carb eating plan. Sure, these get easier to ignore as time goes by, but some things for me are always going to be difficult to pass up – and one of those is definitely a good pizza. I’ve tried all sorts of home made bases – ripped countless squares of muslin cloth trying to get the cauliflower drained, bought overpriced low carb pizza bases that realistically are nothing but glorified wraps and meant pizza had to be eaten with a knife and fork because slices weren’t firm enough to withstand toppings and stay firm… BUT NO MORE!!

I spotted the FATHEAD pizza base recipe well over two years ago but now finally tried it myself for us earlier in the week and OMG. NO MORE FLOPPY PIZZA! Also, it’s dead simple to make – no wringing out of steamed veggie ingredients and more importantly, no eating pizza with a knife and fork (if you do this normally, please seek help).

So, thanks to Ditch The Carbs here is my new go to pizza recipe; I will never buy store bought again.

FAT HEAD PIZZA – THE HOLY GRAIL

PREP TIME
10 mins
COOK TIME
20 mins
TOTAL TIME
30 mins

Author: Libby
Recipe type: Dinners

Serves: 6 slices
INGREDIENTS
170g / 6 oz / 1¾ cups (approx) pre shredded/grated cheese (mozzarella is the best or Edam/mild cheese)
85g / 3 oz / ¾ cup almond flour/meal
2 tbs cream cheese
1 egg
+/- salt to taste
½ tsp dried rosemary/ garlic or other flavourings (optional)
your choice of toppings such as pepperoni, peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, ground/mince beef, mushrooms, herbs etc

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds.
Add the egg, salt, rosemary and any other flavourings, mix gently.
Place in between 2 pieces of baking parchment/paper and roll into a circular pizza shape (see photos above). Remove the top baking paper/parchment. If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften again but not too long or you will cook the egg.
Make fork holes all over the pizza base to ensure it cooks evenly.
Slide the baking paper/parchment with the pizza base, on a baking tray (cookie tray) or pizza stone, and bake at 220C/425F for 12-15 minutes, or until brown.
To make the base really crispy and sturdy, flip the pizza over (onto baking paper/parchment) once the top has browned.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and add all the toppings you like. Make sure any meat is already cooked as this time it goes back into the oven just to heat up the toppings and melt the cheese. Bake again at 220C/425F for 5 minutes.

I used mozzarella and made two side plate sized bases – next time I make this I’m going to split the dough into 4 and make thinner ones to see how that goes – the thinner outer edges of our bases were super crispy and DAMN AWESOME so I’m going to aim for that throughout the base by making them thinner.

I made a homemade pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes, chilli’s, garlic and a splash of Maggie’s (it adds a deliciously warm earthy tone to the flavour profile) all mushed and fried ina pan (very technical hahahahahaha!) and cooked down until it was the thickness I deem good enough for a spreadable base sauce. Topped with Grated cheddar and fresh tomato, back in over for 5 minutes and topped with fresh basil after they came out. SO DAMN GOOD.

Now go and give this a try. Soon you’ll be buying 2kg mozzarella loaves like me 😛

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Easy Low Carb Roasted Beetroot, Feta and Walnut Salad

Hey you!

I figured it was about time I actually post something, and what better way to start again than with a (mostly) low carb salad that’s dead simple to make and won’t fail to impress?

I say “mostly” as it does contain beetroot, which is on the orange list and therefore needs to be limited especially if you’re aiming for ketosis and avoiding carbs at all costs. Beets are 7g carbohydrates to 100g, so not overly high at least 🙂

Ingredients
Raw beetroot
Baby salad leaves (my aversion to iceburg lettuce know no bounds)
Walnuts
Plain Greek Feta
Coconut Oil
Granulated Xylitol (you can sugar if you aren’t avoiding carbs)

Boil your beetroots for roughly 20 minutes – this makes getting the skin off easier and less messy than peeling them. Tip: I put the hot beets in a large bowl of ice cold water and rubbed the skin off in the water itself – this way you avoid pink hands for the next three days 😛
Preheat oven to 220 C
Quarter your beets and place in a roasting tray with a generous spoonful of cocount oil, and sprinkle with xylitol. Place in oven just long enough to melt the coconut oil, remove and mix well to ensure all of your pieces are nicely coated with coconut oil and xylitol. You’ll want them in the oven for a minimum of half an hour to get that nice roasted finish – I had mine in for 45 – check on them every 15 minutes and remove when you’re happy with them.

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Throw your salad leaves in a bowl, spoon in the roasted candied beets, top with roughly chopped / partially crumbled feta and your walnuts. That’s it, you’re done!!

The beets are so sweet you don’t require a dresing with this, but balsamic would probably be my first choice if you need some extra “oomph” in yours.

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CREAMY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SOUP

It’s getting decidedly colder in our neck of the woods, and I’m getting lazier. The natural remedy to this is SOUP. It’s pretty hard to mess up when making a soup, and your options are endless – the taste is up to you and it’s also fairly easy to keep it low carb if required.

Last night’s “winging it” soup came out beautifully, so I thought I’d share with you. Remember though, any recipe is merely a guideline – tweak to suit your own tastes.

I did add sweet potato mash to this soup, but that was a left over from a lunch ordered while out and I didn’t want to waste it, so this soup was carbed up a tad; usually I’d omit.

Ingredients

1kg frozen cauliflower
1 red onion
Garlic (I used pickled garlic cloves we have in the fridge, fresh is perfect)
Olive oil for roasting
Seasonining of your choice for roasting (I used chilli flakes and himalayan salt)
4 rashers streaky bacon
1/4 tub smooth cream cheese full fat
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tub sour cream
1 cup pouring cream
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tsp nutmeg

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Roughly chop cauliflower and onion, season as preferred, place on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for roughly 40 minutes – took mine out as the cauliflower started to brown.

Roughly chop bacon up and fry on high heat until crispy.

Place all ingredients in a large pot on the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, blend and serve!

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LOW CARB CRUSTLESS SPINACH, MUSHROOM & BILTONG “QUICHE”

I keep seeing photo’s of glorious looking frittata’s all over my social media feeds, and in an effort to create one myself I came up with this over the weekend as part of my meal prep for work lunches to go.

As it turns out, I created something closer to a quiche than a frittata; and the servings are filling enough to keep your macro goals intact if you’re banting or avoiding carbs, and this keeps perfectly well in the fridge for a week, ready to be grabbed and shoved in a lunch box at short notice.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 5ml beef stock concentrate
  • 2 cups shredded spinach
  • 100g biltong torn up into small bits
  • 1 small punnet white button mushrooms sliced
  • 3 TBSP chilli flakes
  • Grated cheese for topping

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, beef stock and chilli flakes and combine well. Place remaining ingredients in an ovenproof dish (the one I used was roughly 10cm deep with a diameter of 20cm), mix them well, and then pour your egg mixture over all of it. Ideally you want the egg to just cover the top of your dry ingredients. Cover with your grated cheese and pop in the oven for 40 minutes.

And you have a delicious “quiche” that can be enjoyed hot or cold! Easy, wasn’t it?

MACROS

I am LOVING MyFitnessPal; I’m using it to plot my meals in advance to ensure I keep my daily carb intake low, and I’ve now realised I can provide the macro’s for any dish I prepare too, and create my own foods and save them on the app for future use too 🙂 So, here you go, thanks to the app here are the key Macro’s for the total dish, as well as per serving, assuming a split into 10 portions.

total macroserving

 

 

 

BANTING FRIENDLY GOURMET EGG SALAD CRACKERS

I’ve joined a fantastic group on Facebook specifically for women (sorry men!) as a support group for all of us wanting to get healthier and fitter this year. You too can join if you head on over to the Shell Shocked Mummy Health & Fitness group – you’ll find a wonderfully supportive group of ladies, most of whom are following the banting / LCHF lifestyle.

Some of us in the group have joined a challenge for the month of February as well as additional impetus to get our A’s into G, and as such I’m watching what I eat like the proverbial hawk at the moment. I’ve even re-installed MyFitnessPal and customised my macro’s to fit in with the Banting lifestyle of eating; here’s a great post to show you step by step to achieve this over at EatFatLoseFat.

Being a part of the group adds accountability for me, and seeing everyone’s shared meals on a daily basis provides inspiration and a push for me to not be so damn lazy all the time and actually put that extra bit of effort and thought into my meal choices and creations 🙂

So, yesterday I decided that it was time to experiment, but I also didn’t want a “heavy” meal for dinner last night, so I came up with these and they were delicious! It takes a bit of extra effort but it’s worth it for the flavour and texture (back to that CRUNCH I miss so much on the low carb lifestyle!), and if you’re looking to impress guests here’s a starter that’s sure to please 🙂

BANTING FRIENDLY GOURMET EGG SALAD CRACKERS

“GARNISH”
If you are topping off with the roasted pepper’s and cherry tomatoes as I did (and why wouldn’t you?!), preheat your oven to 180C and get your roast on as this takes the longest prep time wise – I like mine a bit charred which equates to roughly 35 minutes; use your own discretion here based on your tastes. I coated with coconut oil and a srinkling of NoMu’s Smoked Sea Salt (this stuff is my crack!).

CRACKERS
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
Silicon baking sheet or Parchment Paper (I highly recommend investing in a silicon baking sheet; I got mine at Pick ‘n Pay for R129, but there are plenty options available online )

Mix the Paprika well with the grated cheese, and place roughly a teaspoon full in a circle on your wax paper or silicon baking sheet. Leave 3cm gaps between your circles, and be sure to not pile too high or thick as they won’t crisp up if you do so.

Bake in preheated oven at 140C for about ten minutes; keep an eye on them and remove from oven to cool as soon as your “chips” have turned a golden brown.

GOURMET EGG SALAD

Note: This made enough for 12 crackers with enough to spare that I’ll probably make exactly the same for dinner tonight again 🙂

4 large eggs, boiled and shelled
3 tbsp Hellmanns Real Mayo
3 chopped spring onions
2 tbsp chilli flakes
2 chopped pre cooked bacon rashers
4 finely chopped cloves of pickled garlic (optional, I just love pickled garlic!)

Mix all of the ingredients together and “mash” your eggs to a consistency of your liking.

ASSEMBLY

I placed roughly a heaped teaspoon of the egg salad on each cracker, and topped each with a sliver of roasted pepper and a cherry tomato for each, and VOILA! A beautiful looking snack that is tasty, filling, and low carb 🙂

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ALL THE Cooking Weekend – Zucchini Brownies, Cauli Pizzas, Cheesy “Bread” Sticks and Eggplant Pizza Bites

I cannot recall when last I’ve spent so much time in our kitchen! This past weekend was all about trying out new (and old and trusted) LCHF recipes to ensure we stayed legal and on the banting wagon. Some of us did better than others *cough cough looking at you Chicken cough cough*.

I’m now down 3kg’s since getting serious about what I eat again from 4th January. I really should be happier with my results as I’m only two weeks in and percentage wise that’s a fifth of what I want to lose, but somehow I’m not. When I got on the scale this morning I was actually rather disappointed – somehow my silly brain expected a miracle because I spent an extra 20 minutes on a treadmill walking this weekend HAHAHAHAHA. Anyway, it’s a start. ONWARD!

Here are the things we shoved in our faces this weekend.

Mini Cauliflower Pizza’s

Unlike most recipes for a cauliflower pizza base, this one doesn’t require ninja skills on drainage and odd scraps of material. I used a recipe from GirlVersusDough found on Tablespoon with two variations – I added an additional egg as well as a 1/4 cup of almond flour. Probably not strictly necessary but I felt it gave the “dough” a bit more substance and helps combat the natural excess fluid resulting from not going all ninja on your cooked cauliflower pre baking.

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Brinjal Pizza Bites

Sensing a theme here? 😛 I love eggplant. It’s an odd looking vegetable and as a kid I despised the things, but with age comes a more refined (fussy, if you ask the other half) palate.

I made these by slicing an eggplant vertically into roughly 2cm thick slices, coating them with coconut oil and popping into a 180 degree C oven for about 40 minutes, flipping them regularly. While that was going I made a simple tomato sauce base which was one can chopped tomato and onion mix (All Gold – they tend to have the lowest carb count from the canned mixes), a sprinkle of Xylitol, chopped chilli’s and a few dashes of Maggi Aroma sauce (my absolute favorite secret weapon ingredient!) and let it all simmer away until it thickened to my liking. I topped the brinjal slices with the tomato base, added a mix of grated mozzarella and gouda on top, sprinkled some mixed herbs over it all, and popped back into the oven for 10 minutes. These are damn tasty.

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Cheesy “Bread” Sticks:

I used up the remaining “dough” from my cauli mini pizzas to go with our braaied lamb chops yesterday to make a banting version of cheesy breadsticks, and they turned out damn well. Simply spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, thin your “dough” out to roughly 1cm thick, top with your choice of toppings and cheese (I put dehydrated olives, chilli’s and mixed herbs on mine as well as a mix of grated mozzarella and cheddar), and pop into oven on low temp (mine was at 100 C) for about 40 minutes, or until you’re happy with the colour and texture. I didn’t manage to get a great pic of these, and they disappeared fairly quickly, but here you go none the less 😛

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THE WEEKEND WINNER – Zucchini Brownies

OMFG. PERFECTION. Seriously – Karina deserves a damn medal for this recipe! The only thing I did differently to her instructions was to throw all my ingredients in one bowl and mix with spoon, because I’m lazy that way – she does dry first and then adds wet ingredients. So, her already easy recipe just got easier – my brownies were still ridiculously good. MADE WITH BABY MARROW’S. Yes, I know, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. These passed three sweet tooth tester’s palates, and all agreed they are fantastic. You don’t even feel like it’s a banting / low carb sub for a treat – it tastes just like the real thing. Here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites for you:

 

 
 Serves: 16 Brownies
 
Low Carb Zucchini Brownies are so incredibly moist and fudgy AND flour-less and healthy! All in one bowl! Hello low carb lovers!
Weight Watchers: 2pp per brownie!
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (use the smallest blade on a cheese grater. It should look like a puree).
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, measured in melted state (or sub with any vegetable oil you have)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup natural granulated sweetener (or granulated sugar of choice — coconut; white sugar) *See Notes
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup peanut flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or ¼ cup if you don’t like them too rich)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 squares Lindt 90% chocolate (or chocolate of choice), cut into pieces/chunks
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 176°C | 350°F. Line a 8×8″ baking pan with baking?parchment paper, or lightly grease with oil spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the zucchini, butter, oil, egg, sweetener (or sugar), and vanilla until well combined. Add the peanut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; folding through slowly until just combined. The batter will be thick but shouldn’t be dry. (It depends on how much liquid your zucchini has! If too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water). Fold in half of the chocolate chunks; pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle remaining chocolate chunks over the top.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies spring back when gently touched. (If testing with a toothpick, they will be very moist in the centre BUT they do set and harden when removed from the oven.)
  4. Allow to cool completely (about half an hour); cut into squares and chill to semi-set.
  5. If storing at room temperature they’re best eaten within 2 days. If refrigerating, they last 3-4 days.
 
NOTES
I use a sweetener that measures 1:1 with normal sugar. If using a stronger sweetener, measure the amount needed for ⅓ cup normal sugar.
 
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: per brownie Calories: 71 Fat: 5.6g Carbohydrates: 4.3g Sugar: 1.3g Fiber: 1.6g Protein: 3.4g
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So there you have it – a rather busy weekend in the kitchen and some truly good food, all legal if you’re banting / avoiding sugars and carbs.

Back on the banting wagon – NACHO’s!!

To say the last half of 2015 was a disaster for me fitness and health wise is an understatement, really, for many reasons I won’t bother going into – hence the non posting. As mum always said – if you ain’t got nothing nice to say…. (at least she said one good thing in her life, right? Hahahaha).

So, we’re not going to bother dwelling on the how’s or why’s of last years latter half suckage, but pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start again! Back on the banting wagon we go!

I’ve made a few great new banting friendly dishes so far this year, and I’ll be sharing them as time goes on, but we’ll start with a new one I tried last night from the Raising Superheroes cookbook that the other half sneakily ordered for us last year 🙂

It’s a tad on the pricey side as you need to use almond flour, but the results are well worth it. It’s difficult to find a decent “chip” substitute on a low carb meal plan that isn’t a veggie parading as a chip… This one comes closest to that savoury crunch and dippable fun I miss.

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 30g butte
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C
  • Prepare your non stick baking paper before mixing the dough – I used regular baking paper found at all supermarkets, and sprayed both sheets with non stick cooking spray for good measure too. Tow sheets needed that are the size of the baking tray you are going to use
  • Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly – if you have a food processor use that, I used a hand stick blender
  • NOTE: this “dough” is really REALLY sticky – that’s normal though they don’t warn you in the book
  • place your prepared dough in the middle of your baking sheet, place additional baking sheet on top of it and press down by hand until manageable with a rolling pin
  • I rolled mine quite thing – just make sure it’s all as even as you can get it to avoid uneven baking
  • Once you’re happy with the thickness, lift top baking paper sheet off, and using a knife or pizza cutter cut the dough to your desired shape / sizes so that they’re easy to “snap” once you take them out of the oven
  • Place the baking sheet with your prepared pre-cut dough sheet on your baking tray and pop into the oven for roughly 10 minutes – keep an eye on them so they don’t burn
  • When they’re a nice golden colour, remove and let them col for at least 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet
  • Serve with a dip of your choice – I used avo, feta and chilli

 

While they don’t have that absolute crunch that a regular maize / flour based nacho chip does, they’re substantial and firm enough to stand up to a rugged dip, and tasty to boot. You could also tweak the spices you add to your dough – my next batch will probably include a good dose of chilli flakes – your possibilities are endless!