If you are carefully tracking your carbohydrate intake, you might be using vodka as your adult beverage of choice. It's true that plain vodka does not contain carbohydrates, but that is not necessarily the case with flavored vodkas. While current laws do not require distillers to release carbohydrate content, individuals have contacted different alcohol companies in the past requesting carbohydrate information. Informal claims range from zero for Absolut brand, 2g/shot for some Smirnoff flavors, and up to 6.6g/oz for some 360 brand Vodka flavors.
Until distillers officially release carbohydrate content information, why take the chance on hidden carbohydrates you do not need? Luckily you can replicate a lot of the flavors by simply using plain vodka along with sugar-free syrups. Torani and Da Vinci are the two sugar-free syrup leaders, both offering many quality options without the potential carb count of flavored vodka products. While originally created as coffee syrups, these flavored syrups work just as well for your mixology experiments. Other syrup brands may be available at places like Dollar Tree and World Market. Just check the label carefully to make sure the syrups do not contain sugar. In the case of Dollar Tree, their Cafe al Fresco syrup IS sugar-free, but it does not state it is a sugar-free product on the label.
The chart below gives some guidelines to creating your very own sugar-free vodka flavors (or download the pdf). As for ratio of vodka to flavored syrup, that can depend a great deal on vodka brand as well as brand of sugar-free syrup you are using. Start with 1oz of vodka to .5 oz of flavoring and adjust to taste from there.
This quick and delicious recipe requires two ingredients that can be hard to find - unsweetened flaked coconut and coconut aminos. If you can secure those supplies, the rest is easy to put together in a matter of minutes. Vitamin Cottage, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are your best chain store shopping bets, but independent health food stores should also have both those items on hand. The recipe shown is for two servings, but can also be easily doubled or even quadrupled to feed a raving hoard.
Cashew Coconut Curry Chicken
- 16 oz raw chicken breast - cubed
- 1/2 red bell pepper - chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp cashews
- 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes*
- 3 tbsp raw coconut aminos**
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (canned)
- additional coconut flakes and/or cashews for garnish
- Optional: Squirt or two of liquid monk fruit or stevia extract for a slightly sweeter flavor.
Fry chicken in coconut oil. Add peppers when chicken is nearly cooked through. Add remaining ingredients after peppers soften. Cook and stir until all ingredients are well blended and sauce is bubbly. Add a little water or additional coconut aminos if sauce gets too thick.
* If unsweetend coconut flakes are unavailable, just add more cashews.
** If you can't find coconut aminos, soy sauce or Braggs aminos can be used instead. Just start with 1 tbsp and then add more to taste. The flavors of these alternatives are stronger and saltier than coconut aminos, so take it easy.
Estimated nutritional values (entire batch)
Fat: 72g, Carbs: 38g, Protein: 96g, Calories: 1,178
On a diet or not, sometimes you just need a cookie! By using almond flour and Splenda, a cookie goes from a sugar-ladened no-no to a tasty low carb treat. These whip up in minutes and taste a lot like those cookies you get at the Chinese restaurant...only better and healthier!
2 cups almond meal flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup Da Vinci sugar-free simple syrup with Splenda*
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream*
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
12 whole roasted almonds
Mix coconut, vanilla extract, almond extract, cream and Da Vinci simple syrup together and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix almond meal with baking powder, then add the eggs and stir. Add to the coconut mixture and mix well. Drop the resulting dough on to a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. The cookies don't spread out much, but they do puff up a bit so make sure that aren't piled high. Place a whole almond in the middle of each cookie.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes in a 350º oven or until the edges on the bottom begin to turn golden brown.
*For a Paleo/Primal version...
Substitute honey for the Da Vinci syrup and coconut milk for the cream.