Sweet and Healthy! The Best Natural Sweeteners.

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so you are not alone! But did you know that you can satisfy your sweet craving without sabotaging your health or your weight? The key is to choose your sweetener wisley- and of course not overdue the amounts you eat…

 

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Beautiful honey drizzle over pan seared apples and almond ricotta…

 

There are a lot of no calorie sweeteners but I never eat or drink any artificial sweeteners, and I like to choose natural choices that also have good cooking qualities as well as nutritional value.

My favorite choices are:

  • A dark, organic maple syrup- I always use this when cooking or baking with chocolate. I also add just a drizzle to balance out a tangy vinaigrette. When you buy a high quality maple syrup it is a good source of vitamins and minerals and has a great nutty flavour. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Coconut sugar- This is a great sugar substitute that I always use for Asian cooking, or baking when granulated sugar is needed. It is rich in minerals and had a nutty flavour that does noe reck havoc on your blood sugar.
  • Honey- Manuka honey is a really healthy honey loaded with nutrients but I never use it for cooking as I find it too expensive and hard to work with. But it is great for tea! If you can get a hold of an organic, local honey that is not refined or heat treated it is absolutely best because it has more nutrients and a more complex taste. I use honey when I need a “lighter”, less complex taste and also need to keep a light color for the recipe I am making.

You may also use Stevia which is a no calorie, natural sweetener but to be honest I never use it as I find the taste to be less than pleasant and it doesn’t have good cooking qualities.

Note: I never use agave syrup and would never recommend it as it is highly refined and just as bad for your body as regular sugar…

 

 

 


Carina’s Guilt- Free “Low Gluten” Chocolate Cupcakes!

Are you like me; you like to have your cake and eat it too? That is why I had to develop a guilt-free chocolate cupcake using healthy and clean ingredients!

These cupcakes are “low gluten” meaning there is only a smaller amount of gluten in them and a different kind of gluten as I only use spelt flour. The gluten in spelt is different from the gluten found in wheat. Therefore if you are gluten sensitive, like me, your body can handle spelt much better.

I have also used almond flour to get a rich and moist texture and I only use coconut sugar or an organic maple syrup when making sweets as they are not refined, have more nutrients, are more blood sugar friendly and taste great as well.

The frosting is made from soaked cashews so they are dairy free as well and when combined with fresh orange juice and zest the taste is amazing. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

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Carina’s Guilt- Free “Low Gluten” Chocolate Cupcakes (serves 8-10)

You will need for the cupcakes:

  • 100 grams almond flour
  • 70 grams whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 ts. Himalaya salt
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • 25 grams chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 60 grams coconut sugar
  • 4 tbs. meltet coconut oil
  • 2/3 (1 dl) almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • 2 ts. baking powder

How to:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients before adding all the wet ingredients. Mix well and add the chopped walnuts.
  2. Add the mixture to cupcake molds and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 12- 15 minutes depending on the size.
  3. Let cool before frosting.

 

 

For the frosting:

  • 260 grams about 2 cups of soaked cashews.
  • 4 tbs. maple syrup
  • 7 tbs. fresh orange juice
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • 5 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ( 5 tbs) almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • Pinch of Himalaya salt

How to:

  • Soak the cashews in water for 6- 8 hours. Rinse well.
  • Add to a high speed blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until completely smooth.
  • Let set in the fridge before adding to a piping bag.
  • Garnish with orange zest, chocolate, cacao nibs or walnuts.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

 

 


Dairy-free (vegan) chocolate ice cream

I love ice cream, but my body and health does not love diary… Therefore I had to develop a dairy- free, healthy and delicious alternative because who wants to live a life without ice cream?!

The store bought kind is also full of additives, colouring and things I really don’t want to put into my body, and especially when I know how easy and fun it is to make my own at home.

This recipe i vegan, easy to make as well as loaded with antioxidants when you use a high quality, raw cacao powder and add cacao nibs and walnuts.

Best results are achieved when using an ice cream machine, but of course you can make it using a freezer, a bowl and a fork to whip air into it about every 30 min.

 

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Dairy free, antioxidant-rich chocolate ice cream!

You will need:

  • 500 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 6 tbs.maple sirup
  • 1 ts. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of Himalaya salt
  • 2tbs. Maizena corn starch
  • Cacao nibs
  • Walnuts

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the corn starch, in a pot and bring to boil, taking care to stir all the time so it doesn’t burn.
  2. When the mixture is boiling add the corn starch and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add to a bowl and let cool before refrigerating for at least 3 hours to chill and let set before adding to an ice cream machine or the freezer.
  4. Add the cacao nibs and chopped walnuts following the instructions for the ice cream machine or when the mixture has started to freeze if making manually.

 

Watch how I make my chocolate ice cream in my video. I speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in english:)

 

 


Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

Chocolate can really be an immune boosting food if chosen wisley, especially raw chocolate. Raw means the cacao has not been heat treated therefore it contains all the nutrients. It really is a powerhouse full of antioxidants, magnesium and healthy, fat burning fats.

Perhaps best of all is that it is really easy to make. I developed this recipe after being inspired by my trip to Modena, Italy where real balsamico is made. You can read about my trip here.

The recipe is posted below but take a look at my video of me making the chocolate. I do speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in English:)

A real good quality balsamico is naturally sweet and goes great with Maldon sea salt which enhances the chocolates flavour. You will also find this recipe in my latest book Carina’s Healthy Kitchen. (Currently only in Norwegian). You can purchase it here.

Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

You will need…

  • 100 grams of cacao butter
  • 0,25 dl ( 2 tbs) maple sirup
  • 3 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbs. good quality balsamico
  • Maldon sea salt or other unrefined sea salt flakes.
  • A  silicon chocolate mold

How to:

  1. Rouphly chop the cacao butter and add to a glass bowl.
  2. Melt the cacao butter in a water bath (slowly) making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. This will scorch the butter.
  3. When melted remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients except for the sea salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a silicon mold and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Let cool before setting the fridge for 2- 3 hours.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

 

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Healthy chocolate! Food styling and photo: Carina Hultin Dahlmann/Carina’s Healthy Kitchen.