4/30/14

Cucumber and Cabbage Salad (it's a keeper!)


Want to know what happens when you make an incredibly bright, colorful and delicious side dish for dinner, early in the day?  It becomes lunch.  

And now I have to come up with a new side dish for dinner tonight...  yep, I ate the whole thing.  

Originally I was going to throw together a regular cucumber and onion salad that I make pretty often.  However, our whole family has been on a huge shredded cabbage kick for the past couple months and my husband and 18 year old daughter even prefer to put it on their sandwiches instead of lettuce now.   So I ended up using cabbage as well as cucumbers and red onion.  I used sugar substitutes of course but yes, you can use sugar of course!  It's a 'keeper' so I'm adding it to my website for not only myself and my kids to use, but anyone else popping into An American Housewife too!



Cucumber and Cabbage Salad

4 cups cucumbers, sliced & shredded cabbage or bought cole slaw mix
1/2 a red onion, sliced
1/2 t salt
2-3 T apple cider vinegar
3 T sugar or substitute sweetener to equal
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 T sour cream

Place the vegetables in a bowl.  In a smaller bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sweetener and salt.  Pour over the vegetables.  Best if chilled at least an hour but can be served immediately if needed.



vegetables waiting for their dressing







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4/29/14

Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa



 
I have posted this amazingly delicious salsa before, but I realized with the festivities coming up next week, it might be a good idea to revisit this post.

Homemade salsa, tortilla chips, margaritas....  See a themed party or small get together here?

Enjoy!


Easy Restaurant Style Salsa
about 1 quart

2 cans diced tomatoes (15 oz) or use equivalent of fresh, diced
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1 - 2 t fresh, minced garlic
1/2 - 2 jalapeno peppers (I often use jarred, sliced jalapeno's since we have them on hand all the time)
1 - 2 t honey (I often use sugar free as well and it works great)
1/2 - 3/4 t salt
1/2 t cumin
1 T lime juice (approximate - how limey do you like it?  I use the juice of 1 lime)
Cilantro or Parsley -  about a tablespoon or two dried or a small handful fresh


Place everything in a blender or food processor and process by pulsing just until blended.  Longer for smooth and shorter for more coarse texture.  Taste... adjust accordingly with pepper, salt, lime, etc.  Serve with tortilla chips.  I store in a quart jar in the refrigerator.




Everything thrown in a blender or food processor

I like it not too smooth and not too chunky.  Juuuuust right.






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A Crawfish Boil by any other name... could be crayfish or even crawdad!






Today's post was simply supposed to be me posting a photo my husband took at dinner the other night.
An after hours dinner for co-workers.  A Crawfish Boil in traditional Southern Style.


However, I'm watching this post get longer and longer as it grows a life of its own! 

You see, we are not originally from the South (which you already know if you visit my blog often).  We've relocated all over the country and lived in various states and regions.  Our most recent relocation to the deep South means I have embraced most things Southern... but I've never in my life held a Crawfish Boil myself. 

My husband attended an after-work dinner party for employees and snapped this photo on his phone of dinner and sent it to me. I just wanted to post the photo because it made me smile and looked like a very fun, delicious dinner.

Simple, right?  Except here in the South they would call it "Supper", not Dinner -  and in the North, we would call these little guys crawdad's or crayfish... not crawfish. 

See how this can suddenly get a little confusing?





Dialect maps by Joshua Katz based on data from the Harvard Dialect Survey conducted by Bert Vaux and Scott Golder.

Having lived all over the United States I've used all three terms for these little critters, but generally speaking I call them Crayfish or Crawdads.  But I've never held a Crawfish, Crayfish, Crawdad Boil.

Because my entire post happens to be about a dish I've never personally made, I went looking for a good overall, popular, typical version of this yummy dish.    This one seems to be the most popular version of ingredients except I find most people don't add mushrooms....



12, 3 ounce bags Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
5, 8 ounce bottles liquid Zatarain's Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
1, 4 lb jar powdered Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
18 ounces table salt (we use about 3/4 of a large Morton's salt container)
3, .12 ounce bottles bay leaves
1, 1.75 ounce bottle cayenne pepper
7 large onions quartered
12 lemons
6 heads of garlic cut in half horizontally
2 large bags of celery with leaves cut into thirds
5 pounds smoked sausage
9 lbs small red potatoes (left in the mesh bag if possible)
6, 8 ounce boxes of fresh mushrooms
2 sacks of live crawfish (60-65 lbs)
Desired amount of frozen corn on the cob (usually 2 pieces per person) ............................

For the rest of this recipe, please visit My Invisible Crown - as this is probably one of the best photo-step-by-step recipe and instruction I found.  She does an incredible job and I'm pretty sure almost anyone could make this recipe from her instructions and photos!

Another good source:  Insider Baton Rouge


I'm laughing at myself a little as my intention to post a photo of my husbands dinner the other night now has turned into a short lesson on dinner vs. supper and crawfish, crayfish and crawdads.    No matter what you call it in your part of the country, ENJOY!







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4/26/14

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars (This version with a chocolate top layer instead of peanut butter)



I was going to make my husband our regular chocolate peanut butter protein bars but I didn't have chocolate protein powder, and I decided to change a few other things as well - including using the chocolate layer from my favorite coconut bar instead of the peanut butter top layer.  I ended up with a completely different product and even though I don't really care one way or another about chocolate and peanut butter, when I was cutting and trimming these bars I took a bite and my eyes honestly, really did get wider and I said, "Oh.  Wow!"  It was that good.  Very smooth and creamy as well as being a little sweeter than the original bar I usually make.

This one reminds me of an expensive peanut butter truffle.  Remember, all brands of products make a difference in the taste and texture - as well as the amount of liquids you use.  So play around with this one!


Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

1 3/4 c vanilla protein powder (I use Isopure with zero sugar or carbs)
1/4 c (heaped) peanut flour
2 T cocoa powder
1/2 c Just Like Sugar
5 - 15 drops liquid sweetener (different amounts for different brands and strengths)
2 T c Splenda
2 t vanilla
1/4 c butter
2/3 c sugar free, natural peanut butter
1/4 c heavy cream or half and half
1/4 c water

Topping:
3/4 of a small bag Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
1 T butter
2 T cream
1 T sweetener if you wish
1 t vanilla

Blend the protein powder, peanut flour, cocoa, and powdered sweeteners in a bowl.  In a microwaveable bowl, place the butter and peanut butter and microwave until melted.  Stir in the vanilla, cream and water.  Blend the wet and dry.  You can add 1 teaspoon of cream or water more if you really need to but dry is better than too wet as it will be too sticky.  Pat and press the mixture into a lined or sprayed 8X8" pan.

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl in the microwave and add the cream, vanilla and sweetener if you want to use it.  Spread this over your bars.   Refrigerate until the topping sets up then slice into long bars.  I get 10 bars from this. I then wrapped each individually in saran wrap to make them portable and quick to grab.  We keep ours in the refrigerator.  




I keep these individually wrapped, in a basket in the refrigerator for easy 'grab 'n go' for my husband

  













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4/25/14

A Sugar Free Version of My Favorite Coconut Granola Style Bar






Although my husband (and most of the human population) loves peanut butter and chocolate, I'm not one of those people.  So while I make Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars for him, I prefer a tender, chewy coconut bar.  I really love the taste of the Sunbelt Bakery Fudge Covered Coconut Bars, but I don't want all the sugar.  So this is my version, which is a great copycat recipe.

Although when I made this recipe in the past I used Splenda for the bars, today I'm planning on using Just Like Sugar.  Because Just Like Sugar isn't quite as sweet, I'll be adding about 10 drops of a liquid sweetener to it.  Play with your ingredients and find the products that you like best.


Coconut Vanilla Protein Bars
By An American Housewife

1 1/2 c vanilla whey powder
1/4 c coconut flour
1/2 c organic, sugar free, shredded coconut
1 T powdered or liquid vanilla
1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c Splenda or sweetener that you prefer
2 T water
1 1/2 c sugar free chocolate chips
1 T butter
1 t vanilla

In a bowl, place the whey powder, coconut flour, coconut, powdered vanilla if you are using.  Whisk or mix to blend.  Then add the liquid vanilla if you are using it, melted butter, cream and Splenda.  Add the first tablespoon of water.  Use your hands to mix, squish and knead until it starts to crumble then starts to form together to a dough.  If it's too dry after mixing for a whole minute, then add the other tablespoon of water.  Press into a lined 8X8" pan.  Chill in the refrigerator if you wish while you make the topping.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter.  Stir smooth and add the vanilla.  Pour on top of the bars and let set until the topping hardens.  If you are antsy, place it in the refrigerator.  This makes about 10 bars, you can individually wrap like an Atkins or other protein or granola style bar if you wish.

Notes:  When I made this recipe up I tried 3 different toppings before I was happy with it.  The first, I thought I would just throw together a simple and basic Splenda, butter and unsweetened chocolate mixture and add vanilla.  Splenda doesn't melt though, and the result was too gritty.  I actually scraped it off my coconut vanilla bars (saving it to use in a frosting or candy later) and set out with another 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate to which I added a simple "not sugar" solution I made by heating Xylitol and water on the stove until boiling, then pouring it over the unsweetened chocolate, stirring until smooth and adding vanilla.  This I liked, but the third idea was the easiest and best; simply melt sugar free chocolate chips with a little butter and vanilla and spread!  They set up so quickly and so nice, and of course it tastes great.



Products I used in this recipe:
Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour, 16-Ounce
Nature's Best Isopure, Natural Vanilla, 3-Pounds Tub
Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, 1.2-Pound Bag
NOW Foods - Coconut Organic Unsweetened - 10 oz.
Provident Pantry® MyChoiceTM Imitation Vanilla Powder
Hershey's 8 oz Bag of Sugar Free Chocolate Chips,*some Walmart stores carry these, but some do not.




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Sale on Swerve Sweetener!


Good Morning! In my normal weekly newsletter from Netrition I saw they have Swerve Sweetener on sale this week and wanted to pass along a 'heads up' to those pricing it. I have paid up to $13.99 for this particular product, so the savings is pretty good.


Swerve
Swerve
at Netrition this week is only $8.99 for a 1 lb. package of either style, granular or confectioner's.


Swerve is a natural sweetener that measures cup-for-cup just like sugar. Made from a unique combination of ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables, Swerve contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavors.


• ZERO CALORIES
• NON-GLYCEMIC
• NATURAL
• NON-GMO


As a replacement for sugar, Swerve is zero-calorie, non-glycemic and safe for those living with diabetes. Human tests have shown Swerve does not affect blood glucose or insulin levels.

Swerve has no bitter aftertaste associated with other natural sweeteners like stevia. And unlike other sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol there is no digestive intolerance (no laxative effect).


The secret to Swerve's zero calorie sweetness is a combination of erythritol and oligosaccharides* that provide excellent baking and cooking functionality. And with the ability to brown and caramelize, Swerve is gonna be right at home in your kitchen. There are no conversion charts needed when baking and cooking with Swerve. If your recipe calls for half a cup of sugar… you simply replace it with a half a cup of Swerve!




Because I shop online from many sources online, I did a quick check for Amazon pricing and as of this morning it's currently running about $13.19 for the same 1 lb. package.


$13.19 at Amazon as of this morning and another source I buy product at, Swanson, is $10.59.










*Erythritol is made by fermenting glucose with Moniliella pollinis (a natural microorganism found in honeycomb) which breaks down the glucose and yields erythritol. Erythritol also naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables like melons, grapes, asparagus as well as fermented foods. It is classified by the FDA as a zero calorie, 4-carbon sugar alcohol that does not affect blood glucose. It is easy on the digestive system and does not cause gastric distress associated with other sugar alcohols.

Oligosaccharides are sweet, non-digestible carbohydrates extracted from fruit and vegetable sources. They are similar to fiber and can help stimulate beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.

The natural flavors in Swerve are derived from food sources. For those concerned about MSG being labeled as a natural flavor, you can be assured that MSG is not contained in Swerve.
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4/24/14

Sugar Free and Low Carb Chocolate Protein Bar

I posted this recipe after I made them up in 2012.  Although I'm not a big fan of chocolate or peanut butter, my husband absolutely loves these healthy, protein packed bars.   Using natural sweeteners in place of refined sugar, and no wheat or grains makes these bars his 'go to' snack at work when he gets a break or needs a pick me up.

I plan to make these for him again today.  You can 'play' with the ingredients based on what you have on hand or the products or brands you like.  When baking low carb or sugar free the brand of ingredients you use can completely change the outcome of the dish.  From texture to taste, even using a different brand of sweetener or protein powder changes the finished product.  I currently am in love with the sweetener Just Like Sugar, so I'm going to make these with that instead of the regular Xylitol I used in the past.  I also have chocolate Isopure Protein Powder on order right now so I'm using natural flavor with 1 1/2 - 2 T cocoa powder.   

I choose to wrap mine in plastic wrap or place into a snack sized ziploc baggy and store in the refrigerator.  This allows my husband to grab one or two quickly on the way out the door to work.  Just as easy as grabbing a candy bar, but so much healthier.




Homemade Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars


1 3/4 c chocolate protein powder (I use Isopure - link at the bottom of this post)
1/4 c (kind of heaped) peanut flour
2 T cocoa powder
2 T Xylitol
1 t vanilla powder (you can use liquid extract of course!)
1/4 c butter
2/3 c sugar free, natural peanut butter (I used Smuckers*)
1/4 c heavy cream or half and half
1/4 c water
Also:
1/3 c peanut butter (low or no sugar version)
1 T butter
2 T cream
2-3 T Splenda or Ideal sweetener
Blend the protein powder, peanut flour, cocoa, vanilla powder and Xylitol in a bowl.  In a microwaveable bowl, place the butter and peanut butter and microwave until melted.  Stir in the cream and water - and if you are using vanilla extract instead of powder, add it to this bowl.  Blend the wet and dry.  It seems a bit crumbly at first but use your hands and continue mixing until it starts to bind.  You can add 1 teaspoon of cream more if you really need to.  Pat and press the mixture into a lined or sprayed 8X8" pan.
Melt the 1/3 c peanut butter and butter in a bowl in the microwave and add the cream and Ideal or Splenda.  Spread this over your bars.   Refrigerate until the topping sets up then slice into long bars.  I get 10 bars from this. 
I then wrapped each individually in saran wrap to make them portable and quick to grab.  We keep ours in the refrigerator. 
*I use Smuckers brand because other brands of 'natural' peanut butter tend to be runny and won't set up well.  Be careful not to use a 'spread' because your bars won't set up well and the topping might not set up and stay runny.




Products I used in my recipe;


               
Just Like Sugar Table Top
Just Like Sugar Table Top
 







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4/19/14

Angel Food Cake with Rose Petals (Also known as Heavenly Angel Food Cake)





Originally posted April 7, 2009

This morning I was reading my Southern Living newsletter (I am a subscriber) and I think my breath caught in my throat when I saw this recipe for a homemade angel food cake. Now, cakes are cakes and it it's really hard for a white cake and frosting to be 'bad' in my book (white cake is my all time favorite!) but the presentation of this one is what makes it a hands down winner in my book. I saw it and knew I HAD to make it. It calls for gumdrop rose petals but if you have real roses or access to real roses that you know for a fact are all natural, never been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals, you can dip them in a beaten egg white with a little water and dip them in fine grained sugar to make a sugared petal, or place them directly - cleaned and dry - on the cake before serving. My email attributes the recipe to Linda Nesloney and was published in their April 2008 issue. Really though, you could use whatever white cake mix you want. In this cake, it's all in the presentation.

Angel Food Cake with Rose Petals

2 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
 1/4 t salt
2 1/2 c egg whites
1 t cream of tartar
1 t vanilla extract
1 t fresh lemon juice
Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting or favorite frosting
Garnishes: Gumdrop Rose Petals, fresh mint leaves


Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides of pan. (Do not grease pan or foil.) Sift together first 3 ingredients.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in sugar mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, folding just until blended after each addition. Fold in vanilla and lemon juice. Spoon batter into prepared pan almost to the very top.

Bake at 375° on an oven rack one-third up from bottom of oven 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Invert cake onto a lightly greased wire rack; let cool, with pan over cake, 1 hour or until completely cool. Remove pan; peel foil off cake. Transfer cake to a serving platter. Spread Frosting evenly over top of cake. Garnish with rose petals.


UPDATED:
Also known as:  Heavenly Angel Food Cake - featured in the Key Ingredient email April, 2015.






Similar products available:
Classic Southern Desserts: All-Time Favorite Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Cobblers, Ice Cream & More
Edible Mixed Colour Rose Petals
The Southern Cake Book

   







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