Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature. Today she makes a return visit to share a special blueberry muffin recipe and tell us about her latest novel. Learn more about Joanne and her books at her website.
The Last of the White Devils
At the beginning of 2020, I resolved to eliminate the remaining white devils—white flour and sugar—from my diet. A daunting goal, but one I was determined to achieve by the end of December (hopefully sooner).
During January and February, I continued to struggle with desserts. I simply couldn’t give them up. In conversations with my naturopath, Emily Murphy, I discovered that almond flour and erythritol can replace wheat flour and sugar in many recipes.
A non-foodie, I don’t enjoy cooking or baking but if some extra time suddenly became available, I would consider experimenting with a few recipes.
The universe was listening. Two weeks later, we were in lockdown.
No more excuses. I started researching and experimenting.
About Almond Flour
Made from blanched almonds that have been ground and sifted, almond flour is low in carbs and high in healthy fats and fiber. One ounce (28 grams) contains 6.1 grams of protein, 5.6 carb grams, and 3 grams of fiber. Rich in Vitamin E and magnesium, almond flour is gluten-free and an excellent alternative to wheat flour.
While almond flour can replace wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio, the baked products will be denser and flatter.
Substituting erythritol (a sugar alcohol that is found naturally in foods such as grapes, pears, melons, and mushrooms) for sugar is also easy. For starters, it contains significantly fewer calories than sugar. With only 6 percent of the calories of sugar, it still maintains 70 percent of the sweetness. And more importantly, erythritol does not raise blood sugar levels.
A 1:1 ratio works well for erythritol to sugar. If you miss the sweetness, try a 1.25: 1 ratio.
I experimented with almond flour and erythritol and created the following quick-and-easy blueberry muffin recipe:
Yield: 12 regular-size muffins
2-1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup erythritol (I use the monk fruit blend)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1/2cup unsweetened almond milk
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a muffin pan with paper or silicone muffin liners.
In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to stir together the almond flour, erythritol, baking powder, and salt.
Melt butter. Add to the dry mixture. Add in the almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Blend well using an electric mixer.
Fold in the blueberries with a wooden spoon.
Distribute the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins are done when the tops are golden, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
No More Secrets
Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.
Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.
But one heartbreaking secret remains untold...