April 30, 2014

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 family 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 but yes, you can use sugar of course! 

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

You might also be interested in these related products, available through Amazon;


Natural sweeteners like erythritol and monk fruit (This is Lakanto brand)

This one is Whole Earth Brand - which I've recently bought as well.




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April 29, 2014

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?


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.

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. - American Housewife at Amazon

You might also be interested in;

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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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April 26, 2014

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) low sugar peanut flour
2 T cocoa powder
1/3 c natural sweetener granules 
5 - 10 drops liquid sweetener (different amounts for different brands and strengths)
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

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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April 25, 2014

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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April 24, 2014

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 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)
1/4 c (kind of heaped) peanut flour
2 T cocoa powder
2 T Xylitol or other natural sweetener
1 t vanilla 
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
1/3 c peanut butter (low or no sugar version)
1 T butter
2 T cream
2-3 T  sweetener

Blend the protein powder, peanut flour, cocoa, vanilla powder and sweetener 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.

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 - As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. -- American Housewife at Amazon

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April 19, 2014

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.

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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April 17, 2014

Ranch Potatoes: Hidden Valley Ranch Meets Potatoes

One more potato recipe and I swear I'm done!  LOL.  I don't think we've ate as many hash brown potatoes in the past 12 years as we have this past winter.  Usually we are following a semi-low carb meal plan just for the 'health' of it, but my 18 year old daughter got me to buy a container of dehydrated potato hash browns a few months ago, which she would quickly cook up with peppers, onions and bacon in the morning and put it on a Sandwich Thin as a "to go" breakfast on her way to school. 

When the hash browns were in the house I found myself using them more and more often, and because they are so incredibly cheap, hot and filling, it was great on the grocery budget.

This is a recipe I have made for years using real, fresh potatoes in which I would slice them, and layer in them in a casserole dish and bake as a side dish.  When all three kids were small and we lived in the part of the USA that has winter for a full 7 months out of the year, this was one of their favorite side dishes at dinner time.  It's SO easy because you only a couple ingredients.

Ranch Potatoes

4 medium size potatoes, sliced thin
1 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1/3 c dry bread crumbs

Salt and Pepper

Toss the potatoes with the dressing and place in a greased casserole dish or pan. Sprinkle on the bread crumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until tender and golden brown.  

Note:  We often skip the bread crumb topping.  This means this yummy side dish only has 2 ingredients.  Since we started to keep dehydrated hash brown potatoes on hand in the pantry, I've started to make this dish using those instead of real, fresh, whole potatoes that needed to be sliced.  SO much easier!  This is literally mixed and put into the oven to bake in under 1 minute.

I use about 1 heaping cup dehydrated hash browns and 1 1/4 cup hot water water to rehydrate them in this recipe.

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Cooking from Storage: Hashbrown Potatoes with Peppers, Onions and Bacon

Another hash brown recipe from food storage!  Not only have we been craving hot, filling foods around here due to the cold weather spell we've been having, but dehydrated hash browns are a very, very frugal and budget friendly food.

I've started to use only dehydrated hash brown potatoes for everything from my cheesy potato casseroles, to breakfast pizzas, morning breakfast sandwiches, side dishes at dinner (like the jalapeno version in the post below) to soup thickeners and more.

You can make recipes similar to this completely from food storage if you use your dehydrated potatoes, dehydrated onions, dehydrated or freeze dried red and green peppers, canned or dehydrated bacon bits or real bacon, crumbled, pantry salt and pepper and even use some freeze dried cheese if you want to add a bit of cheesy goodness to these morning hash browns. 

I buy a box of dehydrated potatoes at Sam's Club for about $6 (which makes about 50 servings) but if you don't have them near you you can order them online as well (links below this post).  Add and delete amounts of ingredients based on what you and your family like (I don't measure anything for this recipe)!  Remember, recipes are just ideas.  Play with your food!

Hash Browns with Onions, Peppers and Bacon

Depending on much you need to make, adjust your amounts accordingly.
About a 1/2 cup of dehydrated hashbrown Potatoes per person
Add a choice of items from the list;
Freeze dried, dehydrated or fresh green and/or red peppers
dehydrated chopped onions
Ova Easy Whole Egg Crystals
Crumbled, cooked bacon, bacon bits or crumbled canned bacon like Yoders Bacon
Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese
Salt and pepper

In a saucepan on the stove (or over a campfire, etc.)  place your hash browns with an equal amount of water.  Add the rest of the ingredients you wish (except for cheese)  and be sure to add the equivalent of water needed to rehydrate.   I do not measure, but for example, I used about 2 cups hash browns with 2 cups water, added about 2 T red and green peppers, onions and 1/4 cup Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon along with another cup of water. 

Simmered over medium high heat, stirring while everything rehydrated.  If you don't have enough water in the beginning, simply add a bit more, about 1/2 cup or so and judge accordingly.  You are simply rehydrating the foods to where they look plump and natural as if you just grated the potatoes and chopped the onions and peppers yourself.  If you want to add fresh cheese, add it at the very end right before you serve so it melts from the heat but doesn't brown or burn.  If you are using freeze dried cheese from storage you can have it rehydrating according to directions while you cook the potatoes and add it at the end. 

Continue to let cook, not stirring any longer so the potatoes start to crisp and brown.  Use a spatula to flip large areas of the potatoes over as it cooks so you brown and crisp both sides.  When the potatoes are generally golden brown, remove from heat, season and serve. 

Lots of water when you start. More is better than not enough as it cooks in and evaporates

Most of the water is rehydrated into the foods.  Now it's time to leave it alone to cook and start to brown.

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April 16, 2014

Cooking from food storage: Jalapeno Hash browns

I posted this about 2 years ago but just the thought of these makes my mouth water so it's time to post it again!  I've been cooking a lot from potatoes we have in our emergency food storage due to how filling and cheap they are coupled with the cold winter we had.  Now that it's spring, hash browns are still yummy in the mornings or as a side dish with dinner. 

Using your dehydrated hashbrown potatoes is so easy and fast!  Not having to peel and grate potatoes is a luxury.   Since I decided to start stocking dehydrated hash browns, making these either as a breakfast item or as a side dish, has become super easy. 

The brand I use is Golden Grill - which is available at Sam's Club and Costco as well as on Amazon, but I haven't honestly looked for them in my local grocery store so I'm not sure if they carry them or not.  I am sure almost any dehydrated brand would work - however, I can attest that this particular brand, once reconstituted with water is just like freshly grated potatoes and tastes delicious!  You can use your Dried Jalapeno Peppers from storage as well as adding some freeze dried cheese if you wish.

Reconstituted dehydrated potatoes mixed in a bowl

Hash Brown Potatoes with Jalapeno's

6 c reconstituted or freshly grated potatoes
1 c grated onion
1-3 jalapeno peppers, chopped fine (depending on how much spice you want)
1 egg
1 t cumin
1/4 c flour
salt and pepper
optional:  if you don't have jalapenos or don't want to use them, use a basic green/red bell pepper.  Very good and not spicy.
oil to cook

Drain the potatoes well, pressing to get out all moisture.  Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste.  Heat oil in a pan to coat the bottom - on the stove top or use an electric griddle to many at once.  Use about 1/3 cup scoops and press slightly with your spatula.  Cook about 4 minutes on one side until dark golden brown.  Flip and continue cooking until the second side is golden brown the centers are cooked through.  Serve!

I like them plain but also sometimes serve this particular style with a sour cream sauce I make by mixing in Mrs. Dash Southwestern Seasoning with sour cream.  Love it! 

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