Be Still My Heart: Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Choc-Peppermint Cookies

One of the hardest things about being celiac and diabetic is that most gluten-free products are made with rice, corn, potato, or other such high-carb flour. And for those who struggle with insulin resistance, our food options become even more limited.

Recently I have gone on a manic search for something to satisfy my sweet tooth without endangering my well-being. And my experiments have finally paid off, for I have discovered one of the most beautiful things in the world—a gluten-free AND low-carb cookie that tastes absolutely AMAZING.

I used a plain, grain-free cookie recipe from Dr. Pompa’s book, “The Cellular Healing Diet,” and tweaked it in order to get this delicious result: Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup  xylitol
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (a good quality brand from Whole Foods—less processed sugar = less carbs)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, cacao powder, sea salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter with stevia and xylitol.
  4. Mix grapeseed oil and peppermint extract with melted butter.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into the dry.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  7. Form 1-inch balls and press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

 

Double Choc Peppermint Cookies

Don’t they look yummy?! (Okay, I’m not the best food photographer.) If you end up making 40 cookies, one is about 4 grams of carbohydrates. 4! A gluten-free cookie from the store of similar size runs about 18 grams. And I don’t know if this is personal preference or because of the ingredients, but I find these taste best refrigerated as opposed to fresh out of the oven or room temperature. Cold seems to bring the flavors out more. So there you have it. Happy baking!

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Interview with A. R. Silverberry

I have a special guest on the blog today, fellow fantasy author A. R. Silverberry. He’s here to talk about the genre we love and his latest book, The Stream. Please give him a warm welcome!

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What genre do you write and why do you like it?

I love being swept into strange worlds, where creatures and heroes cut a wide swath and battle with swords and magic. If a writer can bend my mind and ignite my imagination, all the better. So you know if I was going to write anything, it had to be fantasy. What I love the most about the genre is that you can inspire people to believe in themselves. The hero or heroine is up against world-shattering power. If they can triumph, so we can we.

 

I couldn’t agree more. Tell us about your hero, Wend.

He symbolizes innocence, the way we all are, thrown into the flux of life, trying to understand our existence and survive the unexpected curveballs that are thrown at us. He symbolizes the spirit in all of us to grow, to love, to be wise.

 

What was your favorite part about writing this book? Least favorite part?

One of the characters, Dory, insisted on being different than I originally intended. Fortunately, I got out of his way and let him do his thing. Completely unexpected was the truculent rooster that came along with him, dripping attitude.

As I approach completion of a novel, I’m down to making decisions I’ve been struggling with. I’m plagued with a million questions. Does that scene need to be revised, or is it just fine as is? Is that sentence clear? I pick and pick and pick, putting in commas, taking them out, putting them back in, etc. After The Stream was supposedly done, I ran a sentence change by my copyeditor, to make sure the punctuation was correct. My point: ending is harder than beginning. My father, a Renaissance man if ever there was one, used to say, “It takes two people to paint a painting. One person holds the brush. The other bangs him over the head with a hammer when it’s done!”

 

Haha, I can relate. Are you working on anything new? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I never reveal a plot before something is released. Call it a character flaw! But I’ll say this: It’s a dystopic, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy trilogy.

 

Sounds intriguing! Now, be honest, what is the geekiest thing about you? 

My love for classical music is so intense it seems like I was born in another century. When I was in high school, I risked my health delving in the mold-invested cellar below our garage, pulling out old 78s of Rubinstein, Heifetz, and Horowitz. Even now, my wife will be singing popular songs, and I’m whistling something from Bach or a Mozart concerto.

 

Everyone seems to complain when their favorite book is made into a movie or mini series. What is your favorite movie based on a book?

New writers long to sell the movie rights. Established writers hold their noses and pray! A movie is usually a guarantee the book will get ruined. There are exceptions, To Kill a Mockingbird being one of them. Who could complain about Gregory Peck?! And Elmer’s Bernstein’s music score was so haunting. Here’s some geeky trivia: Bernstein used the Lydian mode in that theme.

 

Thanks for the tidbit! Now, since we are writers, what would you like your tombstone to say?

He loved, he inspired, he made it to Aerdem!

 

Love it! Thanks for your time today!

 

Stream Small Cover 2The Stream:

What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?

After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?

Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.

Purchase The Stream in both e-book and paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

WC Cover SmallAlso by A. R. Silverberry: Wyndano’s Cloak on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also get a limited first edition hardback, signed or unsigned, directly  from the author.

 

Author Photo 2 198x300Follow A. R. Silverberry: 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

About A. R. Silverberry:

A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel.

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#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

The lovely Rebecca Enzor has tagged me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour, which means I’ll be answering four questions about my process and then passing the questions along to two other authors. To read about Rebecca’s current project (very intriguing, I might add), visit her post here.

What am I working on?

I’m currently writing a handful of Supernatural Sleuth short stories that I’ll publish as a collection later this year. Then I’ll be diving into the fifth book of my Elemental Magic series.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Elemental Magic series is a bit eclectic in composition—it’s urban fantasy spiced up with murder mysteries, crime fighting, romance, and mythological creatures. And while vampires, werewolves, and the like exist in that world, they’re not the main attraction. For my elementals, think Charmed meets Avatar, the Last Airbender.

Why do I write what I do?

I write and read fantasy to escape the struggles of this world that are beyond my control or capacity to conquer. Sure, going up against monsters and magic may bring my characters to the edge of despair and almost certain defeat, but they always triumph. Their victories lift my spirit and inspire me to keep fighting, even when mundane hardships seem impossible to overcome.

How does my writing process work?

Goodness, just when I think I have a process down, it seems to change! I’m definitely a plotter though. I brainstorm story ideas with pen and paper (complete with color coding!), and then craft a general outline from start to finish, always looking for potential plot holes to fix before I’ve written twenty pages into something and then have to backtrack. But just because I plan most everything out doesn’t mean there’s no room for detours or surprises. When the muse strikes, I listen and make adjustments.

Lately I’ve been struggling to focus while trying to write on the computer, so I’ve been doing a lot of first draft material by hand and editing later. This process has been working really well—I’ve been averaging 1600-2000 handwritten words a day. But hey, if my process needs to change in the future, so it shall!

That’s all for me. For the next stops on this blog tour, check out these authors!

Alina Sayre is the author of THE ILLUMINATOR’S GIFT, a Middle Grade fantasy written with an imagination and poetic elegance reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Susan Illene is the author of the SENSOR series, a dark urban fantasy featuring a kick-ass heroine and steamy bad boy. She recently released PLAYING WITH DARKNESS, a companion novella following Book 3, DARKNESS DIVIDES.

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NEW RELEASE: Unbridled Magic (Elemental Magic 4)

Well it’s about time, wouldn’t you say? I’ve been holding onto this book for too long. So without further ado, I give you the fourth book of the Elemental Magic series:

AW-UM-EMBk4-432x648

Once again, Spittyfish Designs did a fantastic job on the cover!

Book Description:

Nita Young couldn’t be happier: she’s getting ready to marry her soul mate, Keenan Donovan, in the company of close friends and family. Everything is perfect…until a major earthquake crashes the party.

As the only elementals in the area, Nita and her friends are sent to investigate a local volcano as the cause. Instead, they find an archaeology team has unearthed an ancient artifact buried deep in the mountain. After Keenan touches the relic and gets jolted with magical energies, he starts developing some unsettling new powers.

Messing with alchemist magic is dangerous, especially when shadow hounds emerge from the volcano seeking the artifact and those who took it. Nita and her friends must battle the dangerous creatures while trying to figure out where the archaeology team stashed the relic. To make matters worse, Keenan’s new powers are growing unstable, and Nita has to find a way to reverse the artifact’s spell before its consuming magic tears Keenan apart.

Now available on Amazon and B&N!

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Adventures in Homemade Cat Food

While I was on my quest for health through diet change these past few months, I decided my cats’ diet needed a complete makeover as well. I’d thought about making my own cat food in the past, but it always seemed like a daunting task. And dry food was so *easy*. I guess my brain needed a challenge though, during my writing/blogging/life hiatus, so I dove into research and found a recipe written by a veterinarian. (Dr. Lisa Pierson’s website has very detailed info on the subject.)

So I bought a meat grinder and the handful of necessary vitamin supplements, and proceeded to make a batch of homemade cat food. Mhm, doesn’t that look appetizing…

Making cat food Making cat food2

I thought my eldest kitty would be the picky one who would refuse to transition, but it turned out the younger one—who had up until this point consumed everything with vigor—downright refused to eat the new food. I tried various tricks to entice her, but she was stubborn.

One recommended trick for picky eaters is to sprinkle some ground up kitty kibble on the new food. So I tried grinding up my cat’s normal dry food…with a full plastic bottle, then with a hammer, and finally I resorted to sticking the food in a baggie and running over it with my car. Can you believe it took four times back and forth before that stuff was 70% crushed?! Oh my god, how is that digestible for my poor kitties? If I’d had any second thoughts about sticking with this diet change, seeing how resilient those pieces of cat kibble are banished them.

And, as it turned out, little Nika only required about two weeks of tricks and bribery consisting of treats waved in front of her nose and then jammed into the meat before she willingly gobbled up her entire meal. Now she can’t wait to eat her food…

Say 'yum'

Say ‘yum’

My darlings have been on their new diet for a month and a half now and are still happy and energetic as ever. Actually, even a little more so. My older cat’s fur, which used to be so coarse and brittle it could stab through skin and clothes like a javelin (no joke), is beginning to soften. And knowing I’m no longer feeding them byproducts and nasty chemicals gives me a little more peace of mind.

Anyone else thought of going homemade when it comes to pet food?

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Clap Your Hands For Cheesecake Pancakes

Last week in my comeback post, I said I wasn’t sure whether I’d blog about my quest for health through diet considering most of my experience was an epic failure. However, I’m happy to share a few gems I discovered along the way in the form of recipes. First up, cheesecake pancakes! These delightful pancakes are super low in carbs (about 1 pancake = 1g!), and they taste fabulous.

Ingredients

  • 2 large brown eggs
  • 4 oz organic cream cheese
  • 1/8 -1 tsp stevia (depending on brand and concentration)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (cinnamon is great for blood sugar control, so I get a bit liberal with how much I put in)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 dash salt

 Note: With the amount of work and clean-up involved in this process, I made a double batch, which yielded 8 pancakes from 8 oz of cream cheese. But then, I’m also a fan of leftovers. However, because of the slow cook time and how runny the batter is, I had to do one pancake at a time, and the entire double batch took me two hours! I am not a kitchen person, so yeesh.

Directions

  1. Separate egg whites from egg yolks and beat egg whites with electric mixer.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. (I will note that the original recipe doesn’t specify electric as it does for the egg whites, but I used one anyway. It didn’t quite work except to make the cream cheese nice and smooth and stuck in the beaters.)
  3. Add egg yolks, stevia, cinnamon, salt, and flaxseed into cream cheese and beat together.
  4. Add egg whites. (Not all of the cream cheese blended well, but ended up at the bottom of the bowl, so you might want to follow up with a fork or manual whisk.)
  5. Heat Cast Iron or Stainless Steel pan over medium low heat. Grease lightly. (I used Grapeseed Oil cooking spray and sprayed the pan before each pancake.)
  6. Use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. (Really, I think it took longer than that, but I wasn’t timing myself, just eyeballing it. The important thing is not to turn the heat up so you avoid turning the butter/oil into bad fat.)

Cheesecake pancakes

And voila! I think they taste just dandy with butter, but you could add fruit, jam, or even syrup. Just keep in mind that if you do, they won’t be low-carb anymore.

For recommended ingredient brands, see the original recipe at Dr. Pompa’s website, cellularhealingdiet.com/cheesecake-pancakes/

Note 2: While I haven’t tried this, a friend of mine made a similar recipe using a blender rather than a beater. I imagine it might go about smoothing the batter more easily.

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COVER REVEAL: Playing With Darkness By Susan Illene

Hey, two posts in one week! I’m so excited to be back blogging in time for this cover reveal. Playing With Darkness is the second companion novella to Susan Illene’s Sensor series. It takes place after the events of the third book, Darkness Divides, so you definitely want to pick that one up. I finished reading it earlier this week and it was a fabulous installment. I’m looking forward to this novella, mainly because—shape-shifting fae kitty! Who is awesomely featured on this spectacular cover…

Playing with Darkness medium cover

Aren’t those colors striking? I’d love a notebook of this cover. Watch for Playing With Darkness coming May 31st!

Description:

There’s no avoiding it.  Melena must keep her promise to return the fae device that opens the portal to Purgatory.  Except there’s one problem—Kerbasi.  How can she go when she has one of heaven’s minions practically attached to her hip?  One who will strike fear in the hearts of the fae the moment they realize who he is.

When her shape-shifter cat suddenly gets sick, she can’t delay the trip any longer.  Only the fae can help get Sable healthy again.  And if Kerbasi tries to cause any trouble while they are there, she’ll just have to find creative ways to keep him in line.

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photo of SusanAbout Susan Illene:

Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber…an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.

After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school at the University of Oklahoma to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.

*You can find a listing of all the books in her urban fantasy series either on her website or Amazon author page.

Connect with Susan online:

Website- Darkness Haunts