1/17/19

The best low carb and sugar free vanilla, white cupcakes!




This is a recipe I've used for years, and posted previously on An American Housewife and even made into a cake I served to my parents (not doing low carb or sugar free) and my Dad couldn't believe it was wheat and sugar free.  However, the original recipe uses Carbquik, which thousands of people love and use regularly but I am one of those weirdos that can taste carbolose in items even in small amounts (along with coconut flour and soy protein, among other things) and I don't care for it.  I can eat it in this cake, as it's not too strong of a flavor to me, but most people can't taste anything in particular so I absolutely would suggest you TRY Carbquik if you haven't.  You might find you love it. Here is a link:  Carbquik Baking Mix

And here is one of the previous posts showing the cake I made for my parents Anniversary from the original recipe.  (Previous recipe using Carbquik here)


To make the cupcakes this time, I substituted the coconut flour and Carbquik for a mixture of almond flour, whey protein powder, a tiny bit of coconut flour, a little xanthan gum and because I am not allergic to wheat, I added a tablespoon of wheat germ.  If your cake batter is a little thin, add more almond flour or whey protein powder, or even a tablespoon of coconut flour (but wait a few minutes after stirring to give the coconut flour time to thicken it up as it thickens upon sitting for 4-5 minutes).


White Cake - Low Carb and Sugar Free

1/2 c butter, soft
8 eggs
1 c equivalent to sugar of natural sweeteners - mix 2 for best flavor (Just Like Sugar, Ideal, etc)
10 drops liquid sweetener (They stopped making my favorite brand but use your favorite)
1/2 t salt
4 t vanilla extract
2 T Torani Sugar Free Vanilla flavor
1/2 c sour cream
2/3 c (not quite heaping) almond flour
1/2 t xanthan gum
1 T wheat germ
1 1/2 T coconut flour
1/3 c Isopure Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (0 carb, 0 sugar)
1 t baking powder

Whisk or mix eggs and vanilla flavorings in a bowl until yellow and frothy.
In another bowl place the dry ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and the sweeteners; Beat until fluffy.
Add the eggs by pouring them in as the mixer is running on low. Add half the dry ingredients, half the sour cream, then the rest of the dry and the rest of the sour cream.

Place in 2 round 8" or 9" pans sprayed or oiled - or parchment lined (my favorite way) or about 15-ish cupcake tins lined with paper cupcake liners.  Bake at 350F for approximately 18 minutes for cupcakes or 30-40 minutes for cakes until the center is set. Let cool about 10 minutes so you can remove it easily from the pan. Invert it onto a platter and let cool completely before frosting and serving.



You can use any icing or frosting you wish.

I tested a 'new' recipe for these that uses non-fat dairy creamer and a base cooked on the stove.  I hated it.  I make a similar version using milk, and I know the non-dairy creamer version was an attempt to be dairy free (not important to me but I like testing recipes) and it tasted exactly like... non dairy creamer.  I couldn't stomach it.  I tried to save it with other ingredients but I finally put it into a ziplock and stuck it in the freezer to deal with later.

 

Instead, I whipped up a stick of butter, 2 oz. cream cheese, 2 t vanilla and about 1/2 cup of natural sweetener and just used that to frost the cupcakes.  An old standby, but it works every time.  Just keep tasting it to get the amount of sweetness and vanilla you like.  You'll have to double this to make enough to ice all the cupcakes if you using a bag and frosting tip.  If you just frost with a butter knife and 'smear' some on you can probably get all the cupcakes iced out of this.


You also might like this butter creme version: Sugar Free and Low Carb Frosting


Out of the oven - VERY GOOD PLAIN TOO!  You don't have to frost or ice them, although they are 'prettier' with frosting, they are fine as they are.  I left a few plain but frosted the rest. 



One of my cooling racks....
This angle shows how the eggs in the recipe help them to rise.  It's usually hard to get almond flour baked goods to rise but these did beautifully.


A simple frosting in a bag and tip... quickly transforms them from plain to pretty.






Carbquik Biscuit and Baking Mix




Carbalose - In most recipes, Carbalose behaves like wheat flour, because unlike similar products, it is made mostly from wheat, yet it lacks most non-fibre carbohydrates.

Carbalose is as close to real flour as you can get without being real flour.  Carbalose is made through a unique process and contains Enzyme-Modified Wheat, as well as plant fiber, wheat protein and some unique conditioners, enzymes and emulsifiers. Carbalose does not contain any soy protein, sugar-alcohols, dairy, animal-originated, trans-fat, or saturated fat products.
Carbquik will work in almost any recipe calling for traditional bake mix. It can be used in pancakes, biscuits, waffles, pizzas, and just about any other baked product. You can even fry with it (don't try that with other low-carb bake mixes).

Since Carbquik is made from wheat, products made with it taste just like products made using flour or other bake mixes. It's even lower in sodium and calories. Not only that, but most Carbquik recipes have 3 net carbs or less per serving!


IsoPure Low Carb and Sugar Free Vanilla Whey Protein Powder





Organic Coconut Flour by Anthony's














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1/15/19

Low Carb Chicken Alfredo - And even easier if you use an alfredo sauce from a jar that you've 'improved' a bit




Last night I wasn't sure what I was going to make for dinner for our family.  I looked in the refrigerator I saw 2 chicken breasts.  That was my starting point.  I also realized I had zucchini I could spiralize to make 'noodles' and I decided to make a pasta alfredo - but make it into chicken alfredo.  I knew I was out of heavy cream (I've made homemade ice cream twice this week!) but I suspected I still had a jar of alfredo sauce in our pantry.  I remembered picking up a 3 pack at Sam's Club for $5.91 months ago and was sure I had at least two of them there.  Bingo!  I did.

Although I like to keep jars of alfredo sauce on hand for 'emergencies' like this, I do not like the taste of a store bought alfredo sauce so I always improve it by adding other ingredients.  Actually I have a whole post on that here.

So last night I whipped this up for dinner - in 4 parts and only one pan.
First I cooked the chicken in the pan.
Then cooked the zucchini 'noodles' and garlic in the pan.
Cooked the bacon in the pan.
Then made the sauce in the same pan.

If you are doing keto or low carb you can leave a little of the bacon drippings in the pan when you make the sauce.  If you are not, or don't prefer to, then remove the bacon and drippings and you can even wipe the pan with a paper towel I suppose.  NOTE: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE BACON AT ALL.  I just love it in our alfredo dishes!


Quick and Easy Chicken Alfredo over Zucchini 'pasta' for low carb or regular pasta for those who aren't

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T olive oil
2 T butter, real
salt and pepper or seasoning of choice for the chicken (I used a 'Blackened Chicken' seasoning mix)
1-2 t fresh minced garlic
4 oz. cream cheese
optional: a little cream, half and half, grated parmesan, diced red pepper, smoked provolone, bacon, green onions, mushrooms
2-4 zucchinis - medium sized but use as many as you wish for as much 'pasta' as you wish OR use real pasta
1 jar alfredo sauce

Spiralize your zucchini and place it in a bowl until ready to use or if you are using real pasta, cook it as directed.

In a pan on the stove, heat the oil and butter, add the seasoned chicken and cook until golden brown and done.  Remove to a plate.  Scrape the pan to get the bits up and if you want to add bacon to your dish you can cook it now (or make it in the microwave or a George Foreman type grill while you are making the rest of this recipe OR you can just use 'real' bacon crumbles you've bought - or leave it out completely if you wish.) If you are using bacon, cook it crisp and then remove it to a plate.  Pour off most of the bacon drippings.  Add your zucchini 'pasta' and tossing and stirring it for about 3-5 minutes in the pan.  Remove to your serving bowl.

Add garlic and mushrooms to the pan if you are using them and let them cook 1 minute then pour in the alfredo sauce (or you can make homemade from mixing butter and heavy cream in your pan).  Add any additions to your sauce (I used the garlic, crumbled bacon, 4 oz. cream cheese, 4 oz. mushrooms, fresh black pepper and a little salt).

Stir or whisk until smooth and heated through.

Slice your chicken breasts and lay them over the zucchini noodles or your cooked pasta.

Pour the sauce over.  Sprinkle with bacon crumbled or some green onion tops, parsley, grated parmesan or some diced bright red bell peppers if you wish.





I used a 'blackened chicken' seasoning mix - you can season with just salt and pepper or whatever you wish.


Briefly cook your zucchini 'noodles' in the hot pan.


I use the OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Tabletop Spiralizer but I've linked to other versions below this post.  

We are doing a keto version of low carb right now so I left about 1 Tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan for flavor but if you can pour it all out if you wish or if you've made your bacon in another way (like the microwave) just cook your fresh garlic and mushrooms in a tiny bit of butter or oil for 1 minute before proceeding. 


This is SO good even just at THIS STAGE WITH NO SAUCE.  I had about 4 bites of it just like this and it could easily be served this way for a very low fat, low calorie dinner!  Yum!


Real food - not a "photo shoot" obviously because I don't do those.  I take the pictures of the food as it's being served or even while I'm eating it because I usually forget to take pictures at all!  And my photos are taken on my cell phone...  so REAL FOOD FOR REAL FAMILIES - not picture perfect.  Just real.




For spiralizing the zucchini (or many other vegetables!) this is the exact brand and model I own and love.  I've had it a couple years already and it's still going strong, I have no complaints.  It's quick and easy to snap together, it's sturdy, it has a great suction on the bottom to stay in place on the counter and it's affordable.  (Which is why I bought it.)


   OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Tabletop Spiralizer with StrongHold Suction




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When it comes to spiralizers there are MANY on the market now that low carbing is so popular and people are switching out veggies for pasta.  You can get as fancy with it as you wish like this model I found listed on Amazon:

Brieftons 5-Blade Spiralizer: Strongest-and-Heaviest Duty Vegetable Spiral Slicer, Best Veggie Pasta Spaghetti Maker for Low Carb/Paleo/Gluten-Free, With Extra Blade Caddy and 4 Recipe Ebooks

Or, go with a simple device like this one:  OXO Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer, Green, 1 Blade






      




You can even order a spiralizer to go on your KitchenAid mixer if that's your thing....









If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - An American Housewife at Amazon





















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1/12/19

Delicious Homemade Ice Cream AND a great ice cream maker that I absolutely love! The Cuisinart ICE-60 Cool Creations




Growing up, we would go to my Grandparents for Christmas and one of the traditions would involve someone going outside to get buckets of snow, and Grandma setting up the ice cream maker.  A manual version, a couple of my uncles would take turns turning it, adding salt and more snow as it melted down, and patiently letting us little kids each give the ice cream maker a few cranks when we wanted to 'help' before our little skinny arms would ache after just a few turns and we would declare ourselves 'tired' of it.  When the ice cream was hardened, everyone would get a bowl full and then I would look around at my Grandmother and a couple Aunts and Uncles bowls and wonder why in the world they would ruin perfectly good ice cream by eating it with ...  saltine crackers.

But I guess how people choose to eat their ice cream isn't what this post is about!  It's about the fact that making homemade ice cream is something I've grown up with literally my whole life.  Our family also had a hand-cranked version and we usually only got homemade ice cream in the winter time; when there was free and easy snow to be had right outside the door to pack it with.

When I married, we received an electric ice cream maker as a gift and although I was excited, I admit we rarely used it because we had moved to Los Angeles, California and snow wasn't readily available in Southern California.  Instead, I had to remember to buy a bag of ice or plan to make ice cream a week in advance so I could spare every minute I remembered, grabbing the ice tray out of the freezer, dumping it into a larger bowl, and refilling the trays to make more ice until I had enough to fill the bucket of the machine.  Needless to say we had homemade ice cream about once a year... or every two years. 

Ice cream just wasn't a 'thing' in our home for years after that. But recently I've been wanting a new ice cream maker.  When you are eating sugar free, the option of making your own ice cream is a great way to know exactly what is in your ice cream, knowing you've used all fresh or natural products and you can also have fun making whatever kinds you wish.

My wish however was for an electric ice cream maker this time that did not need ice.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even want the kind you had to keep a bowl frozen in the deep freezer for.  I originally wanted the kind that self freezes it.  But then reality set in and I realized I not only didn't have nor want to spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for that style, but that was just a very expensive part to break and need replacing in a couple years as it burns out. 

So I researched... and researched... and talked about ice cream makers so much that Mr. Husband jokingly laughed and said "Just buy one already so you stop talking about the damn thing!"  So I did.  And then I talked about how anxious I was for it to be delivered.  And then talked about how it had been delivered that day and what kind of ice cream I was going to make first!  And then talked about the ice cream being so delicious...  and I laughed and told him I obviously was STILL 'talking about the damn thing' - bah ha!

And boy is it getting used!  As a matter of fact, tonight I walked into the kitchen to find my husband using the last of the previous batch so I told him I'd whip up another.  And I did.  It's absolutely amazing to me that the 2-3 hour process of my childhood has now been reduced to about a 35 minute start to finish process and I'm eating amazing home made ice cream. 

I will link to the ice cream maker I chose (after way too many days of researching!) at the bottom of this post.

Our favorite is vanilla; because using that as a base, we can make it into almost any kind we wish at the time of serving.  Last night it was coffee ice cream.  Tonight my husband made his chocolate and I opted for plain vanilla.  Peanut butter, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter marshmallow, lemon cookie crunch, salted caramel, cherry nut....  make any kind you wish out of it! 


Homemade Ice Cream

4 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
dash of salt
1 T unflavored gelatin powder
3/4 c natural sweetener(s) of choice
3 T vanilla

In a saucepan on the stove but with the heat off, place 2 cups of the heavy cream, along with all the other ingredients.  Whisking them briskly, turn the heat on and heat over medium until it starts to steam and you start to see tiny bubbles start to form around the edge but do not let it simmer or boil.  Just remove it from heat.  Whisk in the rest of the cream and either chill it in the refrigerator until you wish to use it, or pour it directly into your machine. 

Turn it on and press the button for ICE CREAM.  And wait.  In about 30-35 minutes you have soft serve ice cream ready to eat and you can put the rest of it into a container of your choice, seal it tight and place it into the freezer to harden for scooping at another time.

(Remember your ice cream maker bowl needs to come straight from the deep freezer and needs to be frozen solid.  If you can hear the liquid swishing around the inside, then your freezer isn't cold enough or the bowl needs to be moved to a colder part of your freezer because it needs to freeze solid.  (Note: my upright freezer doesn't get as cold as our chest style deep freezer.  The bowl freezes solid within about 6 hours in that one!  But 24 hours in our upright style barely gets it solid.) 

*I like to fill a coffee mug with ice cream and pour 6 ounces of strong brewed coffee over mine.


_____________________________


I did NOT have a big budget to spend so I debated long and hard before purchasing!  I also price comparison shopped all over from Best Buy to Walmart, to Bed, Bath & Beyond to Amazon and more.  In the end Amazon had the best price - plus they currently have a 5% coupon the listing (as of this posting) which I used as well.

I did not buy the ICE 70 Cool Creations Gelateria only because of the price point.  I bought it's 'little brother' which works perfectly well for me.  Both make ice cream, gelato or sorbet with the touch of a button and yes, the machine comes with recipes!


Cuisinart ICE-60W Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker, White

https://amzn.to/2Rntyv0


When the ice cream is 'done' it's soft serve and ohhh  so creamy.


Serve it somewhat soft now or place it in another container to get harder for scooping later.


Soft serve, straight from the machine.


YES it tastes just as good as it looks.


You have to hurry to get the ice cream out because your bowl is still frozen and freezing the mixture that is closest to its walls.  If you work fast enough to scrape all the soft ice cream out into another container, you won't have much left that is hardened on the bowl... but then again, I always figure that's my first serving!  I just grab a spoon and dig in!





Here is the exact model I bought from Amazon. I chose it because although it's almost exactly like the improved ICE-70 version, this one does not have a digital timer 'count down' to count down the 35 minutes for you.  That wasn't important to me however and for the budget I had to work with, this one was perfectly fine!


Cuisinart ICE-60W Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker, White







Here is the one I mentioned that is one step up.  At about $120 it's still very affordable and it comes with the timer to let you know when your ice cream, gelato or sorbet is finished.

  Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker, Brushed Chrome

Ahhh, the electric bucket version.  It needs ice or snow packed in with rock salt to get it cold enough, but the memories of this one make me smile; and if you live where it's winter 7 months out of the year (like where I grew up) then you could have ice cream every day for months if you wished without ever having to buy ice a bad from the store!

   Nostalgia Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart, Brown



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