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Low Carb Sunflower Seed Loaf

27 Jun

After putting off posting a low carb bread loaf for so long, I’ve decided that this recipe below is good enough to share. I’ve been playing around with ingredient combinations for months, sometimes even forgetting to take note of what went in and this one is by far the best – to me at least. One thing I’ve noted and had problems with is the rising. At times, the bread will rise beautifully and at times, not much. That’s when the end result will taste gummy. Sometimes the gluten will get stringy and sometimes, it mixes in nicely. A tad more water may make the difference. I’m now so satisfied with the outcome of this bread I don’t experiment anymore. The problems with stringy gluten strands in the bread have disappeared after so much practice. Whatever you do, don’t use the bread machine, just put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir in the warm liquid gently with a spoon. Then use your hands to knead lightly into shape. Don’t overknead.

I now throw  in a handful of sunflower seeds and 1 tsp chia seeds everytime I make the bread. I’ve also put in some millet – but only because I was trying to get rid of the leftover millet in my pantry. Millet is  not exactly a low carbohydrate item. Other suggestions are sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. You might have other ideas.

Low Carb Sunflower Seed Loaf

100 gr flaxseed meal

100gr finely ground almonds

30 gr soy flour

10 gr wheat bran

200 gr gluten

1 packet yeast (9 gr)

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Optional: chia seeds, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds

250 ml lukewarm buttermilk

150 ml warm water

Heat your oven to about 50 degrees C for 10 min and turn off the heat.

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the buttermilk and water and stir gently. If it looks like the liquid is not enough, add more water bit by bit till you are able to form a nice ball.

You can either put the ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or put it into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper like illustrated below.

I’ve also tried baking with a silicon loaf pan. I usually advocate baking low carb items with silicon wherever possible due to the ‘non-conventional’ ingredients which tend to stick heavily – except in this case. Although the bread literally fell out of the pan without any sticking after baking, the shape was something else. During the rising process, because the dough was heavy, it pressed against the sides of the wobbly silicon pan and expanded sideways. So although there was nothing wrong with the end product, it looked out of shape. If you don’t mind, then do use silicon because it is a blessing.

Cover the pan with some tented aluminium foil and put it into the warm oven (switched off!) and leave the bread to rise for 50 min.

Once the bread has risen, take off the foil, close the oven door and turn on the oven to 180 degrees C. Bake the loaf for 55 min. Take out and let cool.

* You can also slice the whole loaf and freeze it, taking out the amount you need the night before. I usually freeze half a loaf and once the first half is eaten up, I will defrost the next half overnight in the fridge.
* I would not recommend leaving this bread outside on the kitchen counter for too many days. It depends on the temperature. I left half a fresh loaf out in June when the day temperature was about 25 degrees C and it was covered in mold within 2 days. I must admit it was quite warm in my kitchen and I stupidly recycled a plastic bag which I had used for another loaf of bread. Now I’ve learnt. This bread is moist and this makes it a wonderful breeding ground for mold. However, if properly handled (like in the previous tip), you can enjoy this for up to 2 weeks.


Nutritional Information – per slice if cut into 22 slices, without the optional seeds

Total calories – 115.2 kcal; fat – 6.8 gr ; carbohydrates – 2.6 gr of which dietary fibre is 2.3 gr ; protein – 10.5 gr

Total carbs for the whole loaf is 57.2 gr.

Print this recipe – Low Carb Sunflower Seed Loaf

Muffins, muffins, muffins

10 Jun

Blueberry Muffins (top) and Chocolate Chip Muffins (below)

What is it with this low carb diet? I am always hungry! So I’ve been thinking of things to make which are low carb so that I can satiate those hunger pangs.

I found an almond cake recipe on the internet, made some changes and turned them into muffins. On my second try, I’ve added blueberries to one batch and chocolate chips to another batch.  No additional sweetener is added because the designer whey I use already contains a sweetener and I find this is enough.

Update 10 Mar 2011 – when I first started my low carb diet I thought these were great but I’ve changed my mind now. I’ve found an even better recipe using white beans. See my post on 6 Mar 2011.

Here are 3 variations of Almond Muffins.

Almond Muffins (Basic Batter)

makes 9 muffins (not pictured but they look like the blueberry muffins)

50 gr Butter

100 gr cream cheese

2 large eggs

100gr almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

20gr vanilla flavoured protein whey

1 packet lemon zest (this gives it some flavour and masks the protein whey taste – I use ESN Designer Whey which I have decided I don’t like at all but I have 2 kg to get rid of!)

Melt the butter and stir in the cream cheese till well blended. Next beat in the eggs one by one. Add the almond meal, protein powder, baking powder and lemon zest. Mix everything well. Portion into 9 well-greased muffin cups. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Let cool before removing from tin.

Nutrition Facts: Calories per muffin – 167.8 kcal; Fat – 15.2 gr;  Cholesterol – 76.1 mg; Total Carbohydrates – 3.2 gr; Protein – 6.1 gr

Blueberry Almond Muffins

Use the recipe above, omit the lemon zest and add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Portion the batter into 9 muffin cups and drop in 5 fresh blueberries per muffin. (Note: fresh blueberries are heavy and sink to the bottom. You can try with frozen blueberries – 1 tsp full per muffin.)

Nutrition Facts: Calories per muffin – 171.1 kcal; Fat – 15.2 gr;  Cholesterol – 76.1 mg; Total Carbohydrates – 4.1 gr; Protein – 6.2 gr

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Use the Almond Muffin recipe above.  Omit the lemon zest. Instead of vanilla flavoured protein whey, use chocolate flavoured protein whey if you have. If not, vanilla is ok. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and 50 gr chocolate chips. Yes, the chocolate chips do contain sugar but the sugar works out to around 2.8gr for 9 muffins.

Nutrition Facts: Calories per muffin – 198.3 kcal; Fat – 17.5 gr;  Cholesterol – 76.1 mg; Total Carbohydrates – 6.5 gr; Protein – 6.6 gr

I’ve frozen my muffins and I am now ready for any hunger pangs which may arise the next couple of weeks. 🙂

WARNING! – these muffins are low carb so don’t expect them to taste like the stuff you make with sugar and flour.

Print these recipes: Muffins – 3 variations

The Flaxseed-Soy Wave

9 May

Since I’ve discovered that flaxseed meal and soy flour combine well together, I’ve tried out another recipe substituting flour with half flaxseed meal and half soy flour. Yet, again, I am pleasantly surprised. I have a timer on my waffle iron and after it beeped, I felt that the waffle could be crispier (I like the slightly hard bite of a Belgian waffle) so I left them in another 2 more minutes. I think 3 or 4 minutes would have been better but I was too impatient!  Mind you, I think alot of people would be happy with these results as is as I’ve had waffles made by others before that are sometimes soft!

The lemon zest was just an addition to mask the soy flour taste. I’ll have to try making them without and compare.

So today, I share with you my Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Belgian Waffles – 4.5 gr carbs per piece with Splenda, 17.4 gr carbs with plain flour and sugar. Here goes…

Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Belgian Waffles

(Ok, perhaps I shouldn’t have put a glass of orange juice in the photo 🙂 – a no-no)

Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Belgian Waffles (Makes 7pcs in my Belgian Waffle iron)

1/2 cup (40 gr) flaxseed meal

1/2 cup (35gr) soy flour

1 Tbsp Splenda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup whole or low-fat milk with 1 Tbsp white vinegar added – let curdle before using)

1 large egg

2 Tbsp (30gr) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Mix the dry ingredients well in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk to stir, add in the buttermilk, egg and butter and keep stirring till you have a nice smooth batter. Let sit a while to thicken. You don’t want to have a batter which is too watery, otherwise it will flow right off your waffle iron. If it is too watery, add more flaxseed meal, a tablespoon at a time.

Use a soup ladle and put a scoop or more onto your preheated waffle iron. You’ll have to figure out the quantity yourself as waffle irons come in different shapes and sizes.

Cook till done.

Notes: As mentioned above, if you have a timer, you may need to leave the waffles in a little longer if they are not yet crispy.  I’ve frozen the rest and will pop them into the toaster next time.

Nutrition Facts per pc out of 7 servings

Using Splenda – 113.6 kcal; Fat 8.1 g; Cholesterol 39.7 mg; Sodium 252.1 mg; Carbs 4.5 g; Protein 6.4 g

Using Schneekoppe Prodieta Diabetiker-Süße – 116.2 kcal; Fat 8.1 g; Cholesterol 39.7 mg; Sodium 252.1 mg; Carbs 5.7 g; Protein 6.4 g

Print this recipe: Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Belgian Waffles

I can’t get Splenda here so I used Prodieta – 5.7 grams Carbs – oops!, I had two pieces. 😦

The low carb bakery

4 May

I wanted to try and create some flax seed and/or soy flour scones today since I had a bit of time. Then I thought, instead of starting from scratch, I would see what I could find floating around the web and try to improve on it. Why waste time and ingredients? I googled for flaxseed scones and found a recipe for flaxseed drop scones on the Low Carb Diets forum by anitamay. It didn’t call for many ingredients so I said, I would detour a little from my ‘English’ scones and do these first.

Boy, these turned out to be the PERFECT low carb pikelets. Ok, first let’s clarify all this confusing terminology. Pikelets are little pancakes and a little thicker than the usual American ones. In the UK, pikelets are referred to as drop scones. They are not to be confused with the thick scones that the English eat for tea with butter, jam and clotted cream.

I took the recipe, made a few changes and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the finished pikelets. Look for yourself.They look like regular pikelets, only darker and taste pretty good too. I can imagine you could use these as ‘muffins’ to make Egg McMuffins too!

Soy Flaxseed Pikelets

I’ll bet if I added a 1/2 tsp of baking soda, I’ll get those holes on the back of the pikelet but I’ll have to wait for the next round to test that out.

With the recipe below, I got 5 pieces about 8cm in diameter (3 inches).  Now, I can usually eat 3 pikelets for breakfast but let’s not be greedy here. We don’t want the Chinese restaurant effect. After doing a nutrition calculation, I discovered that each pikelet has about 2.6gr carbs. So if you eat two, you’ve already got 5.2gr and if you are on Dr B’s diet, well, you’ll just have to find a topping that won’t get you way over 6gr!

The recipe…

Low Carb Soy Flaxseed Pikelets (5 pieces)

2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal

4 Tbsp soy flour

1 medium egg beaten

3 Tbsp soy milk

pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp oil

Mix everything together into a smooth batter. Lightly coat a frying pan with oil and heat it up, then turn down heat to medium.  Drop batter into pan to make small rounds. I can get three into my pan. When the batter has slightly set, flip it and cook the other side. Simple as that.

Prepare the night before, prepare the morning itself or make ahead and freeze. Mmmm… Now you just have to decide what to eat it with!

Note: don’t turn the heat up too high. Soy flour gets brown faster so the outside could get burnt before the inside gets cooked.

You can play around with the flavouring. Instead of lemon zest, you could use orange zest or vanilla.

Nutrition Facts: Calories per piece – 47.4 kcal; Total Fat – 2.8 g, Cholesterol – 37.4mg; Sodium – 141.2 mg; Total Carbs – 2.6 g; Protein – 3.5 g

Print this recipe: Low Carb Soy Flaxseed Pikelets

Well, now that I’ve got that flaxseed meal and soy flour sitting on the kitchen counter, do you think I’m going to stop here? Of course, not. Get on with those scones or else…

So what should I do next. Well, the pikelets gave me an idea – mix flaxseed meal and soy flour. So I took my cream scone recipe (I’ve got many scone recipes) and substituted the plain flour with flaxseed meal and soy flour. Made another small change and voila! Another success! These scones don’t rise as much as when plain flour is used. However, they are still light and absolutely perfect! Fresh out of the oven, the scones have a light crisp crust. I immediately enjoyed one with cream cheese! Heavenly!

Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Scones

Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Scones (8 pieces)

1 cup (90gr) flaxseed meal

1 cup (70 gr) soy flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup (80gr) butter, chilled, cut into pieces

2 tsp lemon or orange zest

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup (60ml)  cream

Glaze: some buttermilk, milk, egg white or beaten egg

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C.

Mix the two flours, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter till mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in zest. Add the egg and cream and stir with a spoon till just combined. You should be able to form a soft ball with your hands. If the batter is too watery, add a bit more flaxseed. If too dry, add a tad more cream.

Divide the mixture into 8 portions, form each into a ball, press down slightly and place on baking tray. Brush with desired glaze.

Bake for 20 min. or slightly longer if centre is still not done.

Nutrition Facts: Calories – 188.7 kcal, Total Fat – 16.8 gr; Cholesterol – 58.4 mg, Sodium – 261.4 mg; Total Carbohydrate – 3.7 gr, Protein – 6.8 gr

Print this recipe : Low Carb Flaxseed Soy Scones

PS. I’ll let you in on a secret – I forgot to substitute the sugar in the recipe for splenda, leaving it out completely and you know what – you don’t need any sweetener!

Carbohydrate Sensitivity or Insulin Insensitivity

1 May

Which is it? I had some guests over the weekend and after breakfast, was left with a small piece of cranberry scone and some apricot jam (70% fruit content). Being raised not to waste anything, I thought I would eat it up and take an appropriate amount of insulin to cover the expected carb jump. I was wrong –  the amount of insulin was not enough to cover the increase in BG. So does that mean I have become very sensitive to carbohydrates or insensitive to the insulin. I think it is the former because I don’t need so much insulin when I take a salad meal or a protein breakfast consisting of eggs and ham.

Not only that, while the ‘snack’ was digesting, I felt as if I was getting hypoglycemia. My vision was slightly blurred, my heart beat felt faster and I was slightly wonky. So imagine my surprise when I tested my BG and saw the 182 mg/dl figure. Why is this so?

By contrast, I had a good BG after the huge breakfast I served our guests and also enjoyed. There were baked eggs with cheese, sausages, mushrooms, rolls for the guests and LC Focaccia bread for me and a selection of cheeses. I only took 4 units of Novorapid (more than the usual 3 because I anticipated that I would eat more) and it was enough. Here is my recipe for baked eggs with cheese, ham and bell pepper which is adapted from a recipe taken from Breakfast and Brunch Recipes. These are really good  and well worth the 45 minute wait.

Baked Eggs with Cheese, Ham and Bell Pepper  (serves 5)


10 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 1/4 cup grated gouda cheese or any other suitable cheese like cheddar, montery jack

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3 slices ham chopped, any type

1/4 bell pepper, chopped into tiny pieces

2 Tbsp green onions

30gr butter, melted


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Butter a deep baking glass dish or pan.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add everything else and mix well. Pour into dish. Bake for 45 min – 50 min.

As simple as that. The eggs turn out light and fluffy. I baked for 45 min in my oven.

Nutritional Information per portion:  Calories 297.8 kcal; Total Fat 21.8 g; Total Carbs 4.3 g; Protein 19.9 g

Print this recipe: Baked Eggs with Cheese, Ham and Bell Pepper

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