Product review: CarbQuick

I’ve seen this product online and finally decided to try it when I found it at a local health food shop. I paid about $20 for the box which is comparable to what it costs online. I was intrigued by the product because it promised a low carb baking mix that’s made out of wheat. Typical low carb options for baking include but flours, coconut flour, and other harder-to find (and expensive) ingredients.

The CarbQuick box included several recipes and I can attest to the few I tried.

First was basic cheddar tea buns or biscuits. They involved using the box mix base, adding cream, egg, and shredded cheese. These turned out well and were eaten in a flash at my house.

Then I tried a muffin recipe from the box. I subbed in chocolate chips and again these turned out well. The muffins were a little dry and didn’t make a lot. So next time I make these I’ll probably add more cream and double the recipe.

I made pancakes with the CarbQuick mix but forgot to get pics. But I also tried the thicker waffle recipe with the mix and the waffles were excellent. This is my favourite use of the mix so far. I haven’t found s good waffle recipe with low carb ingredients yet. So getting to make and have these were an extra nice treat.

At first I was hesitant to purchase CarbQuick because I wasn’t sure how it would work, plus it seemed expensive. But after my experiments I attest that the mix makes good baked goods. And I still have about half a box left. In doing some math, I realize CarbQuick is cheaper to use than almond flour which has been my go-to flour/base recently. The main draw back is that CarbQuick is made with carbalose flour (wheat) so not gluten-free. So that’s important to keep in mind if you have sensitivity or an allergy, or someone you’re baking for is in that situation. That flour base is also high in fibre which is what causes it to have a lower net carb count than typical flour.

I don’t have issues with gluten myself, and didn’t experience any adverse effects from this product or it’s added fibre. And though it is “processed” I’m ok with incorporating some of that including convenience foods.

All in all I’m glad I took the plunge and tried this product!

Product review: Keto Creamer (360 Nutrition)

I’ve noticed products popping up in stores branded specifically for the keto diet. Companies are bound to jump in as this lifestyle gains popularity and more people try it, and succeed with it. I’m in Canada but follow many American keto instagram accounts and bloggers. Though we’re slower on the uptake some keto-branded products are making their way north.

This particular product is a powdered creamer for coffee and other such beverages. It’s named very directly Keto Creamer and contains MCT oil powder. I found it at Winners for about $10.

Note: I find lots of interesting food products at Winners including most of my keto-friendly baking supplies. #winnersfabfind

I assume the reason it’s marketed as ‘keto’ is because of the fat content from the MCT. The packaging boasts about its power as ‘fuel for your brain’.

This product is a fine white powder with brown specks.

The issue I have with this so-called ‘keto’ product is it’s sweetened with coconut sugar, and has added palm oil. Everyone must do their own research and figure out what they will or won’t allow in their diet. I’m ok with a little bit of these ingredients but I know some folks would give this a hard NO.

Looking at the nutrition content and ingredients is important. Please don’t be fooled into supporting products just because they are labeled certain way. I see online this company does make unsweetened creamer too FYI.

So now that you’re aware of the product and content, what about how it actually performs and tastes? Well I did try this product out several times and ways over the past few weeks. Here is my take:

It is sweetened but not too sweet in my opinion. There is a slight coconut flavor. It doesn’t blend well into just straight coffee. If you take a spoonful and stir it into a cup, it does whiten or cream the coffee but doesn’t fully dissolve. I think it’s the oil which tends to float on top like a crema, but mixed with some of the powder so it’s unpleasantly chunky.

It did blend very well in a blended boosted coffee. I tried it several times with my usual morning bulletproof coffee, both instead of straight MCT oil and in addition to it. This powder doesn’t have enough fat for me to outright replace all the oil/butter in my boosted coffee. And often I don’t like a sweetened coffee if I’m fasting.

So what is this product good for? I ended up taking it to my work office and am using it there. I can make coffee at the office but don’t have a fridge. So I haven’t to been able to have cream for my coffee (I don’t like plain black coffee). The product was also useful a few times when we ran out of cream and butter at home (I know, gasp!). I use about 1tsp powder for a cup of coffee, which is an ok sweetness and cream for me, and that’s 2g carbs which is still less than regular milk.

Do I recommend this product? Yes and no. If you’re serious about a ketogenic lifestyle then you probably have (or will get) the real things in terms of coconut oil, MCT oil, or other coffee additives. But this is good if you are in a pinch or want to start dabbling in adding fat to your drinks. As I’ve said, just be aware that not all products beaded as ‘keto’ will be right for you and proceed only if it fits your macros.

Fat bombs (and a recipe for cocoa almond bites)

If you asked me two years ago (or any time before that) if I would make or eat something called a ‘fat bomb’ the answer would be a big NO. I learned from an early age that fat is bad. I’m sure many of you were the same. But it’s so wrong. Fat is glorious and healthy (and tasty). I’ve been making fat bombs since starting a ketogenic lifestyle. They’re popular in most keto sites and you can find lots of recipes on Pinterest.

Try these peanut butter chocolate ones from Divas Can Cook or these strawberry cheesecake ones from Savory Tooth.

I usually have at least a few in the freezer for a quick snack or to help nix any sweet or chocolate craving.

Fat bombs are made with ingredients with low or no carbs, lots of fat, and are often best kept cold or frozen. If at room temperature they generally will fall apart or melt. I mix mine up and use a silicone mold to form them. Best of all they don’t require baking or cooking!

Here is a recipe I recently tried and loved. It’s simple, doesn’t contain hard-to-source ingredients, and is satisfying and tasty.

Ingredients

3Tbs almond butter

2Tbs peanut butter

2Tbs coconut oil (solid)

2Tbs sweeteners (I had Truvia on hand)

2Tbs almond flour (finely ground almonds)

2Tbs cocoa powder

Handful of add-ins if desired such as pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, chocolate, etc.

Mix everything together in a bowl and scoop into a mold. I find this much easier and less messy than rolling into balls. This particular mixture is looser or wetter too so doesn’t roll well.

Freeze. That’s it. When I get to them in a few hours or overnight, I pop the fat bombs out into a freezer-safe container. Put the lid on and keep them in the feeezer. Grab and snack as desired!

I often mix together a version of these and substitute different fat/butters and play with the ratios. I’ve not calculated the nutritional content as I just have these occasionally. And I know if they’re made with high fat, low carb ingredients then they’re ok for me. That’s one of the benefits of making your own food and keeping those options on hand.

Pancakes: made ketogenic-friendly

Do you need a pancake recipe that’s ketogenic-friendly? Lazy weekend mornings call for a bigger breakfast. And breakfast-for-dinner is a common thing at our house. Plus Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) is coming up. Whatever your need for pancakes I’ve got you covered with this gluten-free recipe.

This particular recipe uses a mixture of almond flour and coconut flour. Unlike some keto pancakes there’s no cream cheese or anything to make these too rich. Nor do these taste too eggy.

It comes together and cook like regular pancakes. I will caution they can be more delicate (less sturdy) than ones made with white wheat flour. But they have always turned out well for me as long as I’m careful when flipping them in the pan. I also use a seasoned cast iron skillet or other non-stick pan which helps.

Essentially you just mix the ingredients together and fry them up like regular pancakes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour

2 Tbs coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 TBS sweetener (I used Truvia)

1/4 cup milk (of choice)

3 eggs

You can also add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla to the batter, or add berries, dark chocolate, shredded coconut, or nuts.

This recipe makes about 10 pancakes. That will change depending on how big you make them. I find smaller ones turn out better for this recipe.

Im usually frying pancakes while cooking other food and fending off hungry kids. So, unfortunately, my pancakes usually don’t end up looking uniform or pretty. But I assure you they taste good.

Top these with butter, a keto-friendly jam or syrup, blueberries, or a fried runny egg.

Banana bread: Does it keto?

This banana bread went fast in our house this past weekend. Bananas are sweet and have up to 25g of carbs per medium/average banana. So they’re not on most keto-ers’ grocery shopping lists. If I had one whole banana that would be almost my entire daily carb allotment if following a stricter keto regime. Bananas are still a favorite for my kids though so we have them in the house often. And we happened to have three turning brown, being neglected on our counter. That used to be my cue to whip up some banana bread or muffins but I haven’t made banana bread in a long time – probably as long as I’ve been ‘keto’ which is fourteen months.

I got to thinking…can I make a low carb banana bread? I searched the internet and found a few ‘keto’ banana bread recipes. There were different versions so I wasn’t seeing anything consistent to give me confidence this would work. And I also didn’t want to go shopping first so I had to work with the ingredients I had on hand. I landed on this one from Keto Size Me and decided to try it out. I saw the recipe didn’t contain any sweetener or sugar which appealed to me. Now, I’m not against sweetener though I know from reading comment sections on other sites that many out there promote zero-sweetener or artificial ingredients. I am picky about the type I use and take note which kinds are in pre-packaged products, and where they are in the ingredient list (ie. how much in in there). And I don’t think I’ve baked anything sweet in the past year or so without sweetener. But that’s where the bananas come in.

I read some of the comments on that recipe’s post and saw people who thought bananas are a no-no while keto, and some were disappointed in the higher amount of carbs in this recipe. While bananas and other higher-sugar fruit are often out of the picture while eating keto you can incorporate them depending on the situation. For example, once slice of this bread will not equal an entire banana’s worth of carbs. I think it’s a great recipe (though I altered it slightly – see below) and it turned out wonderfully for me. Best of all, my kids loved it and I felt good they weren’t getting traditional, sugar-filled banana bread which can have up to 50g of carbs and hardly any fibre per slice due to pure sugar and wheat flour.

Is this ‘keto’? I say yes because lots of non-traditional ‘keto’ foods can fit into a ketogenic lifestyle as long as they fit within your macros. The sugar is more than I’d like but still fantastically low compared to most other breads or desserts.

This recipe calls for 3 bananas and I found it made 10 good-size slices. I’ll post my nutrition findings with the ingredients/brands I used calculated from SparkPeople here:

That’s a nice amount of fat per slice (19g), just over 5g sugar, 8g protein, and about
10g net carbs (total carbs minus fiber). These findings will differ depending on
types/brands of ingredients and the bananas themselves.

I consider this a huge ‘win’ for a banana bread recipe make-over to make it healthier.  

Ingredients:
3 bananas (medium, mushed/mashed)
3 eggs (large, slightly beaten)
1/4 cup olive oil (I actually used coconut oil which was melted – this was my only edit)

And this recipe is so easy! Mix wet ingredients together (incl. liquefied oil and mushed banana), add the dry ingredients, and combine. Pour into a loaf pan and bake 50-60mins on 350F. I used a silicone loaf pan which worked really well.

Sliced like a dream.
It was soooo good still warm with a bit of butter dabbed on top.

Product review: FlatOut flatbread

This pizza is on a “crust” made out of a pre-packaged flatbread. I didn’t want to put together any fat head dough. After a long work week I just didn’t want more work and really craved pizza!

I added some tomato paste, Italian meats, green olives, and cheese.

This is the base. FlatOut protein up carb down flatbread. The one I found was salt and pepper flavored but honestly I couldn’t taste much seasoning. It crisped up nicely and held the toppings.

Each whole flatbread contains just 1g sugar, and 9-10 net carbs (depending if you count sugar alcohols). Now, the sugar alcohol in the ingredient list is maltitol which many consider a no-no. Personally I haven’t experienced trouble with it in small quantities. In this product it’s about half-way down the ingredient list.

So it’s a personal choice but I like these flatbreads or wraps for their conscience and ease-of-use. There is also s decent amount of iron in these. Good for when you want a quick wrap, quesadilla, or pizza like I did tonight.