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5/29/14

Quick and Easy Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Crunch Candy Bars



First - IMPORTANT:  this is not the candy bar I intended to make, nor is it the version I'm going to post in a week or two.

This was a quick 'cheater' candy bar because frankly... I didn't feel like making the peanut butter nougat filling that day.  I had gone to the grocery store and had spied these sugar free peanut butter wafers and decided that would be my "cheat".  To use the wafer cookie inside so I didn't have to bother with the nougat that day.   

The end result was a candy bar my husband was crazy about.   And because it's so easy to make, I can whip these up quickly when I don't want to deal with homemade fillings or don't have the time.


Quick and Easy Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Crunch Candy Bars

1 batch sugar free caramel (recipe copied below)
1 package sugar free peanut butter or vanilla wafer cookies
1 package sugar free chocolate chips (Hershey's is the brand I use)
1/3 c Bodycrunch-Whey Protein Crunchies Natural (optional)
1/2 c Dry Roasted Peanuts - chopped

Mix one batch of thick caramel. Let it cool to room temperature (or chill it for a faster cool).  Lay two rows of wafer cookies on a foil or parchment lined pan.  Add the chopped peanuts and if you wish (and you have them on hand) the Whey Protein Crunchies to the caramel.  Using your hands, roll a walnut size scoop into a log shape, the same size as the wafer cookie.  Place one caramel filling roll on each cookie, pressing gently.  Freeze or chill until you are ready to dip.   Melt the package of sugar free chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or in a metal or glass bowl over simmering water on the stove, double boiler method.  Melt slowly so it doesn't burn or seize.  Dip each candy bar into the chocolate and place on the foil or parchment. Chill until hardened.  Can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap or in a little snack size baggy for 'on the go' snacking later.



Thick Sugar Free Caramel

6 T real butter
1 cup Just Like Sugar or mixture of your favorite sweeteners 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/8 t xanthan gum (optional)

Have everything measured out, ready to go, because once you start to make this, you don't want to walk away from the stove and let it burn. This last batch, I sprinkled 1/8 t xanthan gum in with my Just Like Sugar Sweetener so it mixed in evenly and easily.

Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over high.  Just as soon as it starts to sizzle and boil, watch for it to start turning brown.  When it's turning the color of a penny, immediately add the sweetener, xanthan if you are using it, and cream to the pan, whisking quickly.  If you want your caramel sauce thinner, leave it out completely.  After only a minute or so, your caramel should now be a rich color and nice and thick and beautiful.  Remove from heat and whisk or stir in the vanilla.  Store in a glass jar - let cool on the counter and then put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.



Just starting to brown

It browns quickly! 
So buttery and rich!  And yet... no sugar!


Adding the whey protein crisps (optional)

Adding the dry roasted peanuts


Apparently when I sent the photos of the caramel rolls on the cookies before dipping, from my iphone to my email, they didn't go through.  I deleted them from my phone thinking they were sent.  But... they never made it.  So I have no photos of the naked caramel topped wafers before dipping.


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A quick post to clear my files... Homemade Icee





 


This isn't really a recipe - but I need to clean out some of these files that are in my "post" folder!  

Simply add your ICEE flavoring to ice in a blender (I use my Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker) with a bit of your favorite brand sparkling water (you don't have to use carbonated water if you don't want to or if it's for the Little's who wouldn't care or know the difference anyway).  

Blend, pour and serve!  










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5/28/14

Fried Cabbage with Bacon





About two weeks ago I was completely enamored with this dish for my breakfast... every day.  As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure I had it for both breakfast and lunch at least one day.  It doesn't really use a recipe - but you just throw it together based on what you like.

Fried Cabbage with Bacon

1-2 cups shredded cabbage or bagged cabbage cole slaw mix
3-4 slices bacon
1 egg
salt and pepper
option:  onions, peppers and jalapenos

You can fry the bacon in the pan first, remove, crumble into the cabbage - leaving about 1 T of the fat to fry the cabbage - OR you can make the bacon in a different pan (I use a George Foreman Grill) and crumble and add to the cabbage mix. 

Mix the cabbage with the egg, season with a little salt and pepper.  You can add onions, peppers or a bit of jalapeno.  Fry in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil, coconut oil or some of the bacon grease until golden brown, flip and continue cooking the second side until golden. 












You might be interested in;

George Foreman GRP99 Next Generation Grill with Nonstick Removable Plates
George Foreman 4 Serving Classic Plate Grill
2 Serving Classic Plate Electric Grill


    









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5/26/14

Six Salsa Recipes! From traditional to cranberry, mango and bananas!








Easy Restaurant Style Salsa
about 1 quart

2 cans diced tomatoes (15 oz size) 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.






Quick and Easy Salsa

1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
5 jalapeƱo pepper slices (jarred) or one small fresh
1/4 c firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 c chopped red onion
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
1/4 t salt


Drain 3/4 of the liquid from tomatoes. Mix all ingredients well if keeping diced or you can briefly pulse in a food processor or blender just 4 - 6 times for a smoother texture. Cover and chill until serving. Serve with tortilla chips.






Peach Mango Salsa

2 ripe peaches, peeled and diced
1-2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 sweet onion (vidalia, washington, etc.) diced
1 T dried cilantro or parsley
1 T olive (olive, vegetable, canola)
juice of 1 lime
1 t salt
2 T diced green chilies (the mild kind you buy in a can)
1 jalapeno, diced incredibly tiny

Mix and chill 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips or with cinnamon pita chips or even won ton chips.






Banana salsa and Chips

2 c banana, sliced
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c yellow bell pepper, diced
2 T cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 Lime
1 T. brown sugar
Salt


Combine all ingredients: adjust seasoning to taste. Prepare a least one hour in advance and keep chilled. Use less jalapeno pepper if it is too hot. Serve with tortilla chips.




Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa

1 pkg (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 lime
3/4 cup sugar
1 - 2 jalepeno peppers (how hot do you like it?)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place cranberries, jalapeno and lime into a food processor bowl and process until coarsely chopped. Add sugar and cilantro. Refrigerate relish 2-6 hours to allow flavors blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature with tortillas or as relish to accompany roast turkey.





Black Bean Salsa

1 pound dry black beans, soaked and cooked about one hour until just tender*
1 - 11 oz can white corn, drained
2 - 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice of one lime
salt to taste if using dry beans

Mix it all up. Chill overnight. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired. Serve with chips or use in burritos.
*Can use 3 cans of black beans instead





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5/25/14

Sugar Free Lemon Ice Box Pie (Like my Lemon Supreme Pie)





Since 1996/1997 I've made a favorite lemon pie that I actually posted here on An American Housewife back in 2006 (Lemon Supreme Pie).  But it is not sugar free and it's not low carb.  Last night, with that pie in mind, I whipped up an impromptu version that is a little bit healthier.

I like my lemon pie tangy - not sweet.  So if you like your pie sweeter - add more sweetener according to your own taste test.  This can be a traditional ice box pie by leaving off the topping completely, in which case you'll want to sweeten the lemon filling just a touch more as I use the sweet cream cheese topping to off set the tang of the lemon.

You CAN use a typical meringue on this of course.  But... I've never been a fan of meringue (ever) so I rarely make them (and when I do, I scrape it off my slice)  Ha ha.   Since I didn't want to use flour for a shortbread crust, nor sugary graham crackers for the crust, I tried a new to me product - Dixie Diner Carb Counters Graham Cracker Style Pie Crust Mix.  It was a good choice if you have to do low carb or sugar free but you can tell it's very 'healthy'.  I didn't look up the ingredients so I'm just guessing, but it 'felt' like it had ground flax seeds and bran in it...  you can tell it's a high fiber crust.   

Sugar Free Lemon Supreme Pie


2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 - 3/4 c Ideal sweetener (or your favorite brand sweetener, more or less to personal taste)
1/2 c lemon juice
3 T butter
dash of salt

In a heavy sauce pan on a cold stove, whisk the 2 eggs with 3 egg yolks.  Turn on the heat to medium high and add everything else, whisking the whole time.  As it warms and cooks it starts to thicken.  Turn down the heat if it's too hot, whisk until thick and smooth - do not scorch or burn.  When thick, set aside to a cool for a bit.

Mix up your favorite crust - I used the Dixie Diner crust mix I mentioned above.  Normally you would use a shortbread or graham crust so for this pie as a low carb option use almond flour instead.  A simple, basic crust is;

1 c almond flour
1-2 T granular sweetener
2 T melted butter

Mix and press in pan.  You can bake it at 350 for about 12 minutes.  Let cool.

Pour the lemon filling in your crust.   Place in the freezer for an 'ice box' pie. 

However;  if you want to use up the egg whites from the filling you can whip up the cream cheese topping (or use them to make your own meringue). 

In a saucepan place the egg whites and about 1/2 cup sweetener of your choice. 
Warm while whisking until the sweetener is dissolved and the mixture is getting hot.   Remove from heat and put into a mixing bowl.   Add 12 oz. cream cheese and about 1/2 t vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  You can also add about 1 T heavy whipping cream if you wish.  When stiff and smooth,  spread over the pie OR use a decorator bag to cover with stars.  Freeze or chill to store.





The lemon filling

Traditional Ice Box Pie with no topping is one choicce


I like to use up the leftover egg whites so this is egg whites, vanilla, sweetener and cream cheese


I was out of decorator bags - so here is a Zip Loc impromptu decorator bag





You might also be interested in;

Dixie Carb Counters 1 Net Carb Home Made Press n' Bake Pie Crust Mix
Dixie Diner Carb Counters Easy 'No Bake' Dessert Mix, Key Lime
Ideal Sweetener No Calorie 10.6 Oz 6 Packs

   












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5/24/14

Warm Sugar Free Caramel Sauce.... so buttery and good!





http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00430EJY6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00430EJY6&linkCode=as2&tag=justthecoffee-20&linkId=Z7LDUCGQ46EVO3XSAbout a month or so ago I vented frustration when suddenly my tried-and-true caramel recipe didn't work for me.  It was a complete failure and of course, with the cost of sugar free products being what they are, it almost makes you want to cry!

I knew my recipe worked perfectly (I had made it many times before) but after throwing the batch out and trying it again, it still didn't work.  I was so sad.  And confused.  I even wrote to the company to ask if anyone else had any issues with that particular batch (and gave them the batch number off the package).  I'm happy to say everything is back on track and after a double batch of caramel today I can say Just Like Sugar behaved exactly as I thought it would.


Today's caramel sauce is the thinner version - just 3 ingredients and it's a topping you can drizzle over anything you want a buttery caramel topping for.

Thinner Sugar Free Caramel - Syrup style

6 T real butter
1 cup Just Like Sugar or Global Sweet Xylitol (confectioners is what I used today)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Have everything measured out, ready to go, because once you start to make this, you don't want to walk away from the stove and let it burn. Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over high.  Just as soon as it starts to sizzle and boil, watch for it to start turning golden brown.  Immediately add the Just Like Sugar or Xylitol and cream to the pan, whisking quickly.  After only a minute or so, your caramel should now be a rich color and nice and thick and beautiful.  Remove from heat.  Store in a glass jar - let cool on the counter and then put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.




 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~





I'm also adding my other posted recipe which is really similar but adds xanthan gum to make it thicker.  This is better for homemade 'candy' bars, candies, caramel brownies, etc.   I've posted this one before but to make it easy for anyone looking for it I'm posting it piggy-back on this post too.


Thick Sugar Free Caramel

6 T real butter
1 cup Just Like Sugar or Global Sweet Xylitol (confectioner's is what I used today)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/8 t xanthan gum

Have everything measured out, ready to go, because once you start to make this, you don't want to walk away from the stove and let it burn.

Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over high.  Just as soon as it starts to sizzle and boil, watch for it to start turning golden brown.  Immediately add the sweetener and cream to the pan, whisking quickly.  Still whisking, sprinkle lightly the xanthan gum and whisk like crazy so it doesn't clump.  If you want your caramel sauce thinner, leave it out completely.  This is simply a thickener - which makes it easier for me to use in my candy but for brownies, ice cream, etc. you won't need it.  After only a minute or so, your caramel should now be a rich color and nice and thick and beautiful.  Remove from heat and whisk or stir in the vanilla.  Store in a glass jar - let cool on the counter and then put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.


Just starting to brown

It browns quickly! 
So buttery and rich!  And yet... no sugar!

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Warm Sugar Free Caramel Sauce.... so buttery and good!






Thinner Sugar Free Caramel - Syrup style

6 T real butter
1 cup Global Sweet Xylitol (confectioners is what I used today)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Have everything measured out, ready to go, because once you start to make this, you don't want to walk away from the stove and let it burn. Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over high.  Just as soon as it starts to sizzle and boil, watch for it to start turning golden brown.  Immediately add the Just Like Sugar or Xylitol and cream to the pan, whisking quickly.  After only a minute or so, your caramel should now be a rich color and nice and thick and beautiful.  Remove from heat.  Store in a glass jar - let cool on the counter and then put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.




 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



I'm also adding my other posted recipe which is really similar but adds xanthan gum to make it thicker.  This is better for homemade 'candy' bars, candies, caramel brownies, etc.   I've posted this one before but to make it easy for anyone looking for it I'm posting it piggy-back on this post too.


Thick Sugar Free Caramel

6 T real butter
1 cup sweetener
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/8 t xanthan gum

Have everything measured out, ready to go, because once you start to make this, you don't want to walk away from the stove and let it burn.

Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over high.  Just as soon as it starts to sizzle and boil, watch for it to start turning golden brown.  Immediately add the sweetener and cream to the pan, whisking quickly.  Still whisking, sprinkle lightly the xanthan gum and whisk like crazy so it doesn't clump.  If you want your caramel sauce thinner, leave it out completely.  This is simply a thickener - which makes it easier for me to use in my candy but for brownies, ice cream, etc. you won't need it.  After only a minute or so, your caramel should now be a rich color and nice and thick and beautiful.  Remove from heat and whisk or stir in the vanilla.  Store in a glass jar - let cool on the counter and then put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.


Just starting to brown

It browns quickly! 
So buttery and rich!  And yet... no sugar!

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5/17/14

Jalapeno Popper Meatballs - Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Meatballs with a Cheese Filling





As a child, the only memories I have of meatballs are usually affiliated with dinner at my Grandma's house.  My own family didn't make them often and for that I'm thankful as I was never much of a ground beef kind of girl.  I got yelled at many-a-time for picking the chunks of ground beef out of my goulash, taco salad, chili and stews.  As an adult I rarely make or eat meatballs or even meatloaf.  I'm not a fan of either unless I personally have made them and you will never, ever, ever find me ordering it off a menu.  My meatloaf is a bbq and bacon based dish and although I will make meatballs two or three different ways, I don't make them often.  At heart I'm still not a ground beef kind of girl.

Having said that however, this meatball is one I just made a few nights ago but will be serving again tonight or tomorrow.  They are that good!  Then again, we love ANYTHING jalapeno popper-like.  I often make bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapenos, homemade jalapeno pasta ravioli with cheese filling,  jalapeno poppers made in wonton wrappers, jalapeno popper style deviled eggs...  the list goes on.  We love jalapenos and cheese in this family.

I don't use a recipe, but I will tell you how I make them.

Jalapeno Popper Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1 t fresh minced garlic
1/4 c ground almond flour (you can use regular flour, fine oatmeal or crackers or bread crumbs as a binder/filler)
1 egg
salt and pepper
jalapenos
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
bacon slices

In a mixing bowl combine the beef, garlic, flour, egg, salt and pepper.  Add a few or many jalapenos depending on how spicy you like your dishes.  Form patties a couple inches across.

In a second bowl, mix the cheddar cheese and cream cheese.  Form small balls.  Form the beef patties around each cheese filling ball.

Slice the bacon in half and use a half slice to stretch gently and wrap around the meatball.  Bake at 375 until they are done, the cheese is starting to melt out of the balls and the bacon is done.  I crisp them under the broiler for about 3 minutes as we like our bacon completely done and crisp.   

*I saved the leftover cheese filling and used it the following night in cheese stuffed chicken breasts.

Mixing everything in a bowl.



You don't even have to wrap with bacon if you don't wish to!

  














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