Tag Archives: snack

Chocoholics rejoice!

24 Mar

Chocolate pcs


Chocolate and diabetes ?- Does chocolate have a place in a diabetic’s food plan? Do you think you need to stop eating chocolate because you have diabetes? Or start eating diabetic chocolate because you still want to enjoy it?

Well, when I first started to seriously control my diet, I thought I had to stop enjoying chocolate (real chocolate, not the diabetic variety) otherwise my blood sugar would hit the roof – I used to eat tons of chocolate before I knew that I had diabetes. I would sometimes eat chocolate till I got sick!

Now, I know – not all chocolate is chocolate! People think milk chocolate is good because there is milk in it … but … it also contains a lot of sugar. White chocolate – forget it. It’s not chocolate. There is no cocoa in it! It’s the dark chocolate you have to go for. And if you believe the various studies which purport unproven health benefits due to the substantial antioxidant content in chocolate (hinders the formation of free radicals), then this is another reason to not restrain your urge to indulge in a piece of good quality chocolate. The emphasis here is on ‘good quality‘.

While scouring the supermarket shelves for low carbohydrate products to have as snacks, I noticed the difference in carbohydrate content between chocolate with varying amounts of cocoa. A lower carbohydrate figure points to a lower sugar content, a figure which may not always be shown on the label. My local supermarket carries a range of dark chocolate from a particular manufacturer with cocoa solids content ranging from 30% to 81%. So one day, I stood there and looked at all the fine print on the back of the packets and lo and behold, the chocolate bar with 81% cocoa solids had 22.8 gr carbohydrates in 100 gr chocolate. The whole bar weighs 125 gr and is already pre-portioned into 24 squares – that works out to  0.95 gr carbohydrates per square!

Lindt (Swiss) even sells dark chocolate with over 90% cocoa. I bought a pack once but I must admit, it was really tasteless. Between 80% – 85% cocoa is about right for me. The important thing is to still look at the nutritional information at the back. Each manufacturer produces its chocolate differently. We can only hope that the nutritional calculations are more or less accurate. You have to try the different brands available in your area before settling for something. While on a trip recently in Asia, I picked up a bar of Whittaker’s chocolate (manufactured in New Zealand) with 70% cocoa. It was pretty tasteless and I felt like I was eating something synthetic. It could have been the emulsifier in the chocolate which contributed to this texture. I have come across this same sensation when eating other brands of chocolate (even 85% cocoa ones!), so it is really important to try them out.

Despite my frequent (1-2 squares max a day but not every day of the week) consumption of dark chocolate, I am pleased to see that my blood sugar readings are still under control. 🙂

So don’t hold back – enjoy a piece of high cocoa content chocolate now and then without guilt! Make hot chocolate by putting two squares in a cup of hot milk. Drizzle melted chocolate over low carb berries. If you’re going to eat so little at a time, spend your money on good quality chocolate. Consume in moderation and you’ll still have your sugars under control!

And please, stay away from that diabetic crap!

Roasted, Salted, Paprika Almonds

3 Jan

I didn’t think I would be writing another recipe post so soon especially since I said in yesterday’s post – no camera, no photos = no recipe posts! Well, this recipe doesn’t really need a photo unless you don’t know what roasted almonds look like!! Okay, these are a little bit red. So just picture reddish, roasted almonds and you’ve got it.

You know how before Christmas, the magazine racks in bookstores and supermarkets are stocked with magazines featuring Christmas menus and homemade food gift ideas. Although I have lots of cooking magazines with more recipes that I could probably cook in my entire life, I still reached out and bought one – just for the heck of it and because I like giving people homemade food gifts made with love 🙂 and not loaded with chemicals and preservatives.

Did I make anything out of this magazine to give to someone? The answer is NO! Well… I did make something but I and my husband ate them all up!

I  spotted an easy recipe (being a bit lazy and always short of time, I usually look for quick, easy things to make). Of course, before giving something to someone, I had to test it out first to see if the recipe was worth its salt. Roasted, salted, paprika almonds  – packed in a nice jar, embellished with a ribbon and given with a bottle of good wine – sounds like a nice gift.

I made half a portion and wasn’t too impressed with the results. The nuts were slightly soft and didn’t seem to harden after cooling. The recipe said to place the almonds on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and paprika powder. The salt didn’t stick onto the nuts and so they weren’t salty enough.  Getting the skins off the almonds was a pain and a wet affair. So I decided this wasn’t a good gift choice,  put the roasted almonds in a jar, into the cupboard and told my husband he could eat them (he calls himself our organic bin). He did – the day after and proclaimed them fantastic and said they weren’t soft at all. Indeed, the next day the almonds were all crunchy. Since I only made half the recipe, they didn’t last very long.

Now, almonds have the lowest carb count of all the nut varieties and are a nice snack on a low carb diet. The nutritional information on the package of raw almonds says 100grams has 630 kcals, 25.8 gr. protein, 4.4gr. carbs and 54.3g fat. Well, you’re not suppposed to eat 100gr at a time or at least, you should try your very best not to! The package gives 1 portion as 25 gr. and that is equivalent to about 23 almonds. So that’s 158 kcal, 6.5 gr. protein, 1.1 gr carbs and 13.6 gr fat. Okay, that’s before baking and the egg white, salt and paprika have not been factored in but it isn’t much.

I then decided to rework this recipe – can there be anything to rework? – it’s so simple – have now made it 4 times and think that this is a super homemade snack for the low carb dieter.

Update 10 Mar 2011 – I’ve come up with a better, very addictive solution. Just bake the peeled almonds for 12 min at 200 degrees C. Forget the egg white, salt and paprika. However, if you are making a gift, the red paprika looks quite nice. The bad thing is – these are so good I can’t stop eating them. Here is a photo of the plain, roasted almonds. I haven’t made the paprika almonds again but will put in a photo when I do.

Plain Roasted Almonds

This recipe for roasted, salted, paprika almonds comes complete with all the adjustments I’ve made.

Roasted, salted, paprika almonds

400gr raw almonds

1 egg white (M size)

Salt, paprika powder

Bring a pot of water to boil and throw in the almonds. Boil 1 minute. When the water is boiling, turn off the heat and put in the almonds. Let them sit for one minute. Take out one almond and check if the skin comes off easily when squeezed. If yes, drain and rinse quickly with cold water. If not, boil wait 10-30 seconds more. Drain and wait for a while to let cool and for the excess water to drain off. If you peel them too soon, there’ll be a lot of brown water squirting around.

Squeeze the almonds out of their skins and lay on a paper kitchen towel to soak up the excess water. If they still look wet once you’ve peeled them all, take a paper kitchen towel and pat them dry.

Break an egg white into a mixing bowl and use a fork to beat it so that it increases in volume and becomes white and frothy. Add the almonds and salt as desired (I use 1 1/2 tsp). Stir well to coat.

Pour out the almonds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If there is any egg white at the bottom of your bowl, don’t pour it out onto the baking sheet.

Spread the almonds out making sure there is only one layer.

Sprinkle the almonds with paprika powder.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees convection oven) for 14-15 minutes.

Take out and let the almonds cool. The almonds will start crackling as they cool!

Notes:

  • I’ve noticed that if I boil the almonds too long, this makes them soft after baking and not all of them will dry up and become crunchy. I found 2 minutes boiling too long. I had to rewrite this tip cos the batch I made yesterday were still soft today despite boiling for only one minute. I found a site on the internet which said not to boil the almonds but just cover in hot water. Maybe that might do the trick. What I just did to the soft almonds was put them back into the oven till they hardened up. They’re ok now. I really hate recipes which don’t tell you everything!
  • if you don’t want your almonds spicy hot use sweet paprika powder, otherwise try it with hot paprika powder
  • 1 medium egg white is enough to coat 400gr almonds without having too much excess egg white on your baking sheet. If there is too much egg white, your almonds may end up stuck together (but this isn’t really a problem as you can break them up). If you use 500gr almonds, then use the egg white from a large egg
  • 400gr almonds will fill up your oven’s baking sheet, so if you make more, you will probably have to bake in two batches. I also don’t recommend making more otherwise your fingers will be sore from peeling. It took me about 25 minutes to get off the skins one by one. That’s why I don’t want to make these for anyone. This is bloody hard work!
  • I am not sure why the recipe calls for unpeeled almonds and not blanched, peeled almonds since these are readily available. You could save yourself a lot of trouble by buying blanched almonds. Maybe it’s the price factor. Here in Germany, they cost more than double the price.
  • I find it easier and better if I put a teaspoon of paprika into a little sieve and then sprinkle onto the almonds
  • The second time I made these, they were over roasted although I baked them for the same time. Maybe it was because they were boiled for a shorter time and were therefore soaked with less water. So check during the last few minutes.
  • adjust the amount of salt according to your taste in the next batch. I don’t like mine too salty as it makes me really thirsty after eating
  • try the same recipe with finely ground chili, curry powder or garam masala. I haven’t yet but the magazine recommended it. You can also do this with peanuts, cashews, macadamias or pecans although the carb count is higher.

Hope you like these.

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