Almond Flour: Where Have You Been All My Life?

I love baking. LOVE it. I love changing recipes, adding veggies and beans to cakes and brownies, tricking my family with nutrient-rich chocolate chip cookies, making the house smell a bakery, and I get giddy when I’m declared the best mom ever for feeding my tribe secretly healthy desserts.

Now, as some of you know, my son Jake has type 1 diabetes. He’s nearly 7 years old and also happens to be one of my pickiest eaters. This stinks (in a non-bakery nice smelling way) because I’ll make or bake something that has lots of healthy protein from hemp seeds or chia seeds, is low in white carbs, and will be perfect for preventing roller coaster blood sugars, and everyone will love it but him. Makes me CRAZY!!!

Until finally…. the stars aligned and I was clued into Simple Mills gluten-free, handful-of-natural-ingredient baking mixes based on almond flour. Not the crunchy, coarse almond meal that was in my fridge, but a fine, delicate, rare gem-quality flour made from blanched almonds. The Simple Mills mixes are pricey, so after I tried making one of each of their offerings, I decided that all I really needed to do was replace regular flour with almond flour in my favorite (and Jake’s favorite) recipes. This is why:


Almost 1/4 the carbs, 6 times the fiber (so 1/7th the net carbs) and twice as much protein. I knew right away that if this simple substitution worked, I would have discovered the Holy Grail of diabetic baking.

So. I learned that Jake doesn’t care for pumpkin anything (no son of mine). But, if chocolate chips are involved, he’s all in (definitely my child!). I’ve redone my famous marriage-inducing and TJ’s-published Chocolate Things recipe, with Jake, health, and flatline blood sugars in mind. Now presenting!:

Chocolate Things: Almond Flour Version

Makes 9 large squares

This is a lower carb, lower sugar, higher protein version of my classic “Chocolate Things.” It may look like there’s a bizarre combo of sweeteners. There is! While I tried to make these 100% sugar-free, too much erythritol or stevia gave them a not-so-funky funk. Feel free to replace the erythritol, sugar, and maple syrup with 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon maple extract (optional).

2 cups fine almond flour (like Bob’s on Amazon here)
1/2 cup white, wheat, or oat flour (blend gluten-free rolled oats to make oat flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp iodized salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp Swerve (erythritol)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lite maple syrup (like Wholesome! brand with 33 g carbs per 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup melted Smart Balance, Earth Balance, or other non-hydrogenated margarine
3 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/2 cup (100 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour and spread into a lightly greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Per square: 21 g total carbs, 4 grams fiber (17 g net carbs), 7 grams protein

And here is Jake’s blood sugar graph after eating one of these sweet little thangs at 10am. No spike! And no crash! We did it!

Let me know how almond flour works for you. It’s been a baking lifesaver for us.



Zucchini Overpopulation Solution Project

Is your garden giving you more zucchini (zucchinis?) than you can handle? Take this hummus out for a spin! The tahini gives it a whopping punch of a bunch of different nutrients. Filmed by my 9 year-old daughter, a movie-maker in the making.

Zucchini Hummus
Makes about 2 cups

2 medium zucchini, diced
¼ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients until creamy. Perfect for a sandwich spread, dip for veggies or crackers, or for just eating with spork on a rainy Tuesday. Reduce the fat content by 5 grams per serving by eliminating the olive oil.

Nutrition info for 1/4 of recipe: 193 calories, 17 g fat, 9 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 4 g protein, 30% daily vitamin A, 10% daily vitamin C, 20% daily copper, 26% daily manganese, 12% daily iron, 12% daily magnesium

Breakfast in Dessert Clothes

Choc Chip Protein

If you’re a busy parent, busy person, or night owl, this is one of the best quick breakfasts that has ever come out of my Bitchin’ Kitchen. Make a batch on a slow morning or weekend, freeze individual portions, and booyah! when the natives (or you) get restless and hungry. I went into the kitchen with my lab coat on specifically trying to invent a lower-carb, higher-protein, cravey (crave-able?) breakfast for my type 1 diabetic 5 year-old in prep for his upcoming kindergarten year — using stevia-sweetened protein powder to both boost and sweeten it. But now, we have something that is a family staple for the whole team. Best thing is, it tastes like dessert! Why not get the chocolate river flowing first thing in the morning? You only live once!

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
Makes 12 large bars
325 degrees, 40 minutes

WET INGREDIENTS: Stir to combine
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup milk (I use vanilla soy)
1/4 vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

DRY INGREDIENTS: Sift together in a separate bowl
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 scoop Plantfusion protein powder or other protein powder providing ~20 grams protein per scoop

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal, or ground or whole chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds, ok to use other seeds or leave out)
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9X9-inch pan.

Stir to combine wet ingredients in a large bowl, and in a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine, and then stir in flax, hemp seeds, and chocolate chips.

Bake in a 9X9-inch pan for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

NUTRITION FACTS PER BAR: 227 calories, 8.5 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 6 g protein, 9% daily iron.

High & Mighty Brownie Cookies


Ever thought to put veggies and beans into brownie mix and then turn them into cookies? Wait, that’s not what you think about as you lie in bed at night? Oh. Well, I’ve taken on the age-old question and attempted an answer: How do we make brownies a complete meal? Announcing the High & Mighty Brownie Cookie. High in nutrients, mighty in taste and energy. And while I still serve them for dessert, they can certainly pass for a side dish or maybe even a main squeeze…

High & Mighty Brownie Cookies
Makes 48

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained & rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
Large handful kale, about 2 cups chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (the canned type)
1 box brownie mix
1/2 cup coconut flour, almond meal, or cashew meal

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Blend or food process beans, kale, and pumpkin into a smooth, olive green glop (probably not wise to taste-test this…).

Stir glop together with brownie mix and coconut flour (or almond or cashew meal).

With slightly wet hands, form into 1 1/2-inch round balls (slightly smaller than golf balls) and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Press down gently with a fork in a criss-cross fashion.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and chow down!

Nutrition Information Per Cookie: 74 calories, 1 g fat, 36 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 1 g protein, 21% vitamin A, 3% iron.

Now you (or at least I) can rest soundly. Cheers to chocolate! xo

Full of Plants, Free of Gluten

Baby Carotene

Baby Carotene

Hello healthy herbivores! What’s the word?!? I have been happily sucked into MOMLAND for the last couple months. It’s a pretty place where you put your feet up, drench yourself in life’s miracles, and sip organic green smoothies out of martini glasses. Actually, it’s more like Legoland. Bright lights, fast moving humans, and too many colors to count. Too bad it’s not vegetables whizzing by! Or is it?

Not only do we have an amazing new being in our brood (a little girl, born at 8.1 lbs in early May), but life for the other 3 kids hasn’t stopped, nor has the Vitamix! But now I am back, and I am full-on gluten-free-fabulous.

When the new baby was born, I read a neat article about a new study that had just been published in the journal Diabetes: Could a Maternal Gluten-Free Diet Protect Protect Offspring Against Type 1 Diabetes? I read it while sipping tea and quickly inhaling my very last piece of whole wheat peanut butter toast. Sure, the study was done in mice, but when you have 1 child with type 1, even a study done with mice is motivating. Plus, with a few pesky baby weight pounds to dissolve, perhaps GF is a grand idea anyway. Bring it, Stuart Little!

So as I ventured into GF land, I realized most GF snack foods, breads, and muffin mixes are high-calorie, low-fiber, and rich in eggs, oils, and dairy (not so good for the squishy tubular mid-section of which I’m trying to bid adieu). And EXPENSIVE! Am I supposed to diaper the new baby with the GF Flour Mix packaging? Better idea anyway, I’m sticking with a GF plan that skips the processed goods and highlights the whole ones, and am on a mission to make a high-fiber, plant-hearty GF sandwich bread (read on). This mission may take the remainder of my life on earth.

My day at the moment:

First thing:
Huge glass water, then coffee with coconut creamer (I do love me a cup ‘a joe!) while nursing baby
2 mile hilly run/walk, 100 crunches, 50 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 squats, 600 beads of sweat pouring down face
Green smoothie: 1 scoop Plantfusion vanilla, 2 c dino kale, 1 c frozen fruit, 1 banana, water
KIND bar, apple, OR peanut butter on corn thins
Huge green salad with lots of veggies and beans w olive oil-lemon-salt dressing, 2 pc dark chocolate
Veggies, hummus, Brown rice cakes (2, 3, 4…), TJ’s Roasted Seaweed or TJ’s Kale Chips
Stir-fry veggies with tempeh or tofu, OR overloaded veggie burrito fixin’s piled on 2 corn tortillas
2 pc dark chocolate
Bedtime snack:
2 chilled sliced apples topped with cinnamon

For baking, I’ve been substituting GF all-purpose flour blend for regular flour and things have come out well. Until I tried my hand at a healthy, vegan GF sandwich bread, modeled after this one (except using King Arthur’s multipurpose GF flour and flax instead of chia). Mine was edible, and bordering on tasty if you like dense, heavy bread. Yum! I mean, HELP!!

Hugs to plants,

GF Vegan Sandwich Bread, Take 1

GF Vegan Sandwich Bread, Take 1


4 Year-Old Tests His Own Blood Sugar

Type 1 folks and type 1 fans! I thought you’d appreciate a video of my son Jake who just turned 4 and just started testing his own blood sugar. What an inspiration!

Sweet Potato Mashup: A Thanksgiving Must

Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet Potato Mashup

Hate to admit it, but sweet potato mush is the one thing I continue to pass at the Thanksgiving feast. Even with its beta-carotene-rich orange goodness, it just doesn’t tickle my tofu.

Until now.

Determined to one day fall in love with denture-friendly sweet potatoes (of course sweet potato fries have always been a favorite), and inspired by Kathy’s Famous Sweet Potato Mash, it has happened. I am in love with this sweet potato mush!

Sweet Potato Mashup
Makes 5-6 cups (about 10 ½-cup servings)

2 large sweet potatoes, baked or boiled
1 cup vidalia onion, chopped

1/3 cup garlic hummus
3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh tangerine or orange juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt/pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.

2. Mash well, but leaving some chunks.

3. Heat/reheat over the stovetop, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. 

Nutrition info per serving: 68 calories, 2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3.5 g sugar, 2 g protein, 43% vitamin A, 3% iron

My version has fewer ingredients than Kathy’s, but please check hers out. Her photos are profesh and her ingredient combos (in this recipe and others) are uniquely gut-pleasing. I don’t know if it’s the garlic hummus, the fresh garlic, the raw onion, or the parsley, but this is definitely a must-try. Hello, Thanksgiving, and hello, orange taters!

Happy healthy holidays!

Upcycled Earrings: Not Edible!


Wearing my earrings with my type 1 son Jake

Foodie Gang! I’m now making jewelry in the kitchen (no joke) from my diabetic son’s old diabetes supplies. They’re upcycled! A whole slew of earrings are done and I’m working on bracelets, necklaces, and more. Here’s a preview pic. If you’re interested, 100% of the profit (which is $9.50 of the $10 charge) goes to the JDRF.

Check out my Jake’s Jewelry page here for all the goods and details.


Earrings made from old Accucheck glucometer chips

Thanksgiving with a Diabetic Child: Insulin Pumps & Carb Charts

Today is our first Thanksgiving with Jake (nearly 3 years-old) and his diabetes. We’re pretty psyched and THANKFUL for his new insulin pump (no more shots!). It’s not only awesome all around, but it’s definitely going to make today easier. He can have dinner, we’ll count the carbs he ate, dose him his insulin with the pump. And then an hour later, he can have dessert, we’ll count the carbs, and dose him with more insulin. When he was still getting shots (which he HATED, understandably!), he would’ve had to get 2 shots, and it was advised that you wait 2 hours between shots. The pump tells you how much insulin is “on board” so you can give insulin doses super close to eachother. Woo hoo!

Just to give you an idea of how meals go with a diabetic child — and the ultimate annual meal at that! — I’ve posted a link below (after the videos) to the chart I made to count Jake’s Thanksgiving meal carbs. No need for a Sudoku book to prevent Alzheimer’s in OUR house! We’ve got all the math and calculating exercises we need 3 or more times a day🙂

Happy Thanksgiving and Carb Day, everyone!

Here is Jake *practicing” wearing his pump before we went “live” 3 weeks ago:

And here is our very first insulin “shot” we gave him with his pump (video also served as an instructional video for Jake’s caregivers):

And the chart (plus calculator and food scale) that will come in handy later today.

Jake’s Carb Chart for Thanksgiving

Product Review: Almond Milk with Added Protein

Ran into this Almond Plus single-serve almond milk by So Delicious at Whole Foods the other day and couldn’t resist the spontaneous purchase. Most non-dairy milks–except soymilk and to some degree oat milk–are devoid of protein, making them simply a great calcium and Vitamin D source, but a less-balanced addition to a meal. Ta da! So Delicious Inc. rocks the boat! Their new “Almond Plus” comes in Unsweetened (40 calories, 1 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein/ cup), Original (70 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g protein), and Vanilla (70 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g protein). Get it in the half-gallon or get the single-serve vanilla for lunches. The Vanilla is as you would expect: SO Delicious. And for the carb-conscious, it’s lower carb than skim milk and tastes like a milkshake. Magic! And btw, it has pea protein. That can only be good.

Look for it at your local Whole Foods Market or health food store. Bottom’s up!



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