Gluten-Free Cranberry Shortbread Bars

These are NOT "healthy" or hacked to be lower in sugar or anything like that - they are just dessert!

Enjoy that once in a while, would ya'? :)


Makes 16 squares

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

1 c. Pamela's Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

1/4 c. coconut sugar or Sucanat

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 stick of chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

For the filling: 

10 oz. fresh cranberries

1/2 c. coconut sugar or Sucanat

1/4 c. orange juice

1 tsp. orange zest

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Line an 8x8x2" pan with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine whisk flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Blend until mixture resembles coarse meal.

4. Transfer to prepared pan, pressing evenly onto bottom of pan [TIP: Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to flatten and spread the dough). Prick dough all over with a fork.

5. Bake shortbread until cooked through and pale golden, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely in pan.

6. Bring remaining 1/2 cup coconut sugar, cranberries, and orange juice to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and mixture is thick and syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in remaining cranberries and cook until skins begin to split, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

7. Spread cooled cranberry topping over shortbread. Scatter zest over. Refrigerate for easy cutting. Using paper overhang, lift shortbread from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut shortbread.

DO AHEAD

Both shortbread and filling can be made 3 days ahead and stored separately. Cover pan with Saran wrap and store at room temperature. For cranberry topping, cover and keep chilled until ready to assemble bars.  I kept the crust refrigerated as well for easier, cleaner cutting.

 

Nutrition Info (for 1/16th)

120 calories, 17 g. carbs, 6 g. fat, 0 g. protein


Spaghetti Squash with Tuna, Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta

Sometimes a meal speaks to your soul and surprises you. Out of nowhere you’re reminded why you do what you do, and then you feel a little bit silly because…

Well, I mean, come on. It’s just a bowl of food.

After working on a fun treat recipe this morning - these Low-Carb Pumpkin Donuts - lunch had to be the polar opposite. The donut was rich, sweet, and dense, as it was made mostly with almond flour and topped with a coconut butter glaze. Baking requires attention to detail and you can’t really just wing it.

Lunch needed a bit of freedom and lightness. Something thrown in a bowl based on what sounded good, with no real care for measurements or exactness. This lunch I made - Spaghetti Squash tossed with Tuna, Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta - was exactly what I wanted. After one bite, it made me go, “Ahhh….that’s the stuff right there.”

The simple food that hits the sweet spot of “good for you” and “tastes amazing.” Something light, briny, and fresh to contrast with the treat I’d eaten earlier.

This bowl of goodness reminded me of the flavors I tasted on my trip to Spain a few months ago. We were in the Southern part of the country and seafood was everywhere. At some point every day I had a salad with tuna (the kind packed in olive oil), olives, hearts of palm, tomatoes and other fresh vegetables. It was always dressed simply with just oil and vinegar. I vowed to make more meals like it when I came home.

Spaghetti Squash with Tuna 2.jpg

First this meal made me happy, and then it made me a little sad/angry for all the women out there who think meal plans are going to save them.

They won’t.

I hate meal plans for many reasons, but near the top of the list is this:

Meal plans stifle our creativity and keep us from listening to our bodies - and souls. (Yes, I think we need to feed both!) Some days, it’s okay when food and meals are on autopilot, like a uniform. Just the usual. There’s a place for that!

But I think we also need those days where we slow down the pace and ask our bodies and souls, “Hey…what do you want today? What do you need?”

Now, you can’t always listen to that voice, because sometimes it be a real piece of work and tell you “cake and wine” 7 days a week and you know that ain’t gonna work…

Food is so much more than calories and macros. It’s an experience. It’s pleasure. It’s community. It’s self-care.

Meal plans steal all of that from us.

Meal plans don’t give you the freedom to experiment with new flavors and combinations of ingredients, so you never really learn to play and have fun in the kitchen. It becomes a place where things are measured, weighed, portioned out. Where rules are followed. No wonder so many women say they hate cooking. There are too many damn rules in there.

Meal plans don’t give you any freedom at all really, since you’re eating what someone else tells you. Not having to think for yourself feels like freedom at first, but it doesn’t last long.

Mindlessly following meal plans means never experiencing the joy of discovering something brand new and amazing and saying with confidence, “Wow I can’t believe I just made that!”

I’m exhaling a little deeper today and feeling very thankful that I found my way to the food that nourishes my body and soul. It’s a cherry on top that I get to share it with you here.

Thanks for reading.

LAQ

 Mr. FLF and I wandered into a weird discount grocery store called Lidl one weekend and found a little section of Spanish foods. I snagged some jars of olives and this ^^^. Any canned tuna in olive oil will work, but bonus if you can find one from Spain.

Mr. FLF and I wandered into a weird discount grocery store called Lidl one weekend and found a little section of Spanish foods. I snagged some jars of olives and this ^^^. Any canned tuna in olive oil will work, but bonus if you can find one from Spain.

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

1-2 c. cooked spaghetti squash

1/2 can of tuna packed in olive oil

~1/4 c. diced tomatoes (better idea: roast some grape tomatoes and toss them in here instead of fresh)

4-5 kalamata olives, chopped

4-5 green olives, chopped

2 Tbs. crumbed feta cheese

red pepper flakes, to taste

salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine spaghetti squash, tuna, tomatoes, chopped olives, and crumbled feta. Add a spoonful of the olive oil from the tuna - this will act like a dressing and pull everything together! Use tongs to combine the ingredients well.

  2. Turn out into a serving bowl and season with red pepper flakes, a couple good pinches of salt (spaghetti squash tastes blaaaahhhh if you don’t season it well!)

Grab a fork! Bon appetit!

Spaghetti Squash with Tuna 1.jpg

P.S. A sheet pan of fennel and cauliflower was roasting in the oven while writing this recipe. I tossed a handful of the finished roasted veggies in the bowl as well. Absolutely. Amazing. I really think you could take this recipe in any direction you like:)

Low-Carb Pumpkin Donuts with Salted Caramel Coconut Glaze

 OKAY! This one’s a winner, baby.

OKAY! This one’s a winner, baby.

These Low-Carb Pumpkin Donuts with Salted Caramel Coconut Glaze are inspired by a visit last week to Erin McKenna’s Bakery, which is like baked good heaven for anyone with food allergies. Even if you don’t have food allergies, I love places like this for their higher quality ingredients when I want to indulge a little.

I was on a mid-day walk and thinking it might be time for my weekly treat, but wasn’t sure what I wanted. No joke: I looked up and saw her bakery staring me right in the face.

“IT’S A SIGN.”

I went in and of course had to spend a few minutes just admiring all their hard work. (Baked goods can be so pretty!)

Ultimately I went with one of the vegan GF donuts -Vanilla with Cinnamon & Sugar - and it was TAH DIE FOR. Not sickeningly sweet, and the kind of treat that satisfies me without opening the craving flood gates and turning the rest of the day into a sugar spree. Perfect:)

This morning I woke up and had a little extra time on my hands, so I decided to get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of donuts for all the FLF Girls out there who aren’t ashamed of their love of all things pumpkin.

It’s been a while since I tried my hand at baking donuts, but these delivered! I used this recipe from Primal Kitchen as a loose guide, but made some changes to the flour and the topping.

For those with food allergies, these Low-Carb Pumpkin Donuts are gluten-free, but do contain dairy from the butter.

Give these donuts a go and be sure to snap a pic and tag @FatLoss_Foodies #FatLossFoodies on Instagram! Let me know how you like them! I also think they would be a fun, unexpected addition to your holiday dessert table, and who knows - they could be more popular than the pies. :)

Low Carb Pumpkin Donuts Platter.jpg

INGREDIENTS

2 c. Bob’s Red Mill Fine-Ground Almond Flour

1/4 c. Tapioca Flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

2 eggs, yolks and whites separated

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 c. pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbs. Monk Fruit extract (I use Lakanto brand that I found at Sprouts. You could sub coconut sugar or another granulated sweetener here)

Non-stick cooking spray

For the glaze:

2-3 Tbs. melted coconut butter (I used Nutiva Organic Coconut Manna from Whole Foods)

1-2 Tbs. nut butter (I used Wellnut Farms Salted Caramel Walnut Butter which I found at Home Goods believe it or not!)


DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together: almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all spices.

  3. In a separate bowl, add the two egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks form. (You can use an electric mixer here or just give yourself a really sick arm workout.)

  4. In another large bowl, combine egg yolks, melted butter, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and sweetener. Stir until smooth.

  5. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture.

  6. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin-egg mixture and stir until just combined.

  7. Spray donut pan with non-stick cooking spray and spoon batter into the rings. (Use clean hands to push the dough into place; it’s thick and won’t spread on its own!)

  8. Bake in preheated oven for around 15 minutes. Mine were perfectly done at 14 minutes! Let donuts cool slightly on a wire rack.

  9. FOR GLAZE: Melt coconut butter in a small bowl. Add nut butter and stir a couple times to create a swirl. Dip donuts into the glaze.

ENJOY! Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, but we both know they won’t last that long.

Macros (for 1/9 of recipe, without glaze):

216 calories, 16 g. fat, 10 g. carbs (4 g. fiber), 7 g. protein

7 grams net carbs

By comparison, a Pumpkin Cake Donut from Dunkin Donuts is 340 calories, 39 g. carbs (1 g. fiber), 19 g. fat, and 3 g. protein.

BAKER’S NOTES:

Baking with alternative ingredients works best when you have the ingredients in the recipe. Substitutions may result in a #bakingfail. Substitute at your own risk. I have not made this recipe with any other ingredients than the ones listed here, but if you make a substitution and find success, be sure to let me know in the comments!

PIN IT FOR LATER:

Pinterest Low Carb Pumpkin Donut