May 29, 2014

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 too)
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.


Smart Sweet Real Birch Xylitol 1.5lbs
Just Like Sugar Table Top Sweetener -- 16 oz

Bodycrunch-Whey Protein Crunchies Natural



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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!  

Now that the weather is warming up, I can share one of the many different drinks I make in the afternoon to cool off.  This one is a product I found last year in my local Walmart and Publix Grocery Store and have been buying ever since;- ICEE brand flavor drops!  I have both Cherry and Blue Raspberry - and I love them because they are sugar free.  Now, if you aren't used to sugar free, you might be surprised by the flavor as it's not the sticky sweet of the awesomeness you get at your local store or gas station.  But for me the 'no sugar' is a winner.  (For the record I looked for these in one of the two Walmarts I shop at and did not see them last week. Don't know if they were just out or that particular store isn't stocking anymore.  Hmmm).

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!  

You might be interested in;
Nostalgia Electrics Retro Series Slush Machine
Mr. Coffee 20-Ounce Frappe Maker
ICEE Zero Liquid Water Enhancer Cherry 1.62 Oz.



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Product Review: Softlips Cube, Nivea, KISS French Nails and More!

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Do you ever walk through the aisles of a store seeing so many products you just don't know which to choose?

You hope a friend or family member or a trusted blog had used or reviewed a product before you so they could let you in on whether or not you might want to try it?  I am thrilled that I was chosen to receive the Spring Fling VoxBox with a number of products to try and let you know if I liked them.... or not.

This package of an air freshener, mascara, press on nails, lip  care, tampons and lotion was a hit.

First;  the air freshener is an apple pie to go along with the new movie "Labor Day".   Because I'm honest in my reviews I will say that I'm not a fan of food air fresheners in my car, but my 18 year old daughter is, so she is enjoying that one.  As for the movie, I'm going to be up front and say this isn't my style movie.  But when it comes to movies it has to be apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, horror, have dwarves and elves, zombies, bioterrorism or medical themes, natural disasters or ghosts for me to like it. Romance really doesn't have a chance with me. 

My 18 year old daughter and I both enjoyed the Softlips Cube - she squealed when she saw it as she uses another big brand 'round' style lip balm but had wanted to try this one.  It's Pomegranate Blueberry flavored, but honestly smells and tastes more like raspberry.  We love how it moisturizes our lips though.  The first time I used it I had an awesome 'tingle' although subsequent uses never reproduced that.  My lips are incredibly smooth though and I love the tiny cube packaging.

The Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara is currently under lock and key!  Ok, not really but I am keeping my eye on it!  My daughter may just walk away with it.  It goes on smooth but it's very, very thick so it takes just 1 swoop to achieve what 5 or 6 swipes would some of the other brands and styles we use.  Thumbs up.

The Nivea lotion?  ON MY BUY LIST!  This small bottle is perfect to store in my purse for 'on the go' but I'm so in love with the product it's on my list to purchase a full size bottle.  I don't know about the long term firming, but for hydrating? It's excellent.  I've always loved the Nivea brand but haven't bought it in a few years since they stopped making the product I loved.  I'm back in the game... my skin is softer and looks smoother when it's properly hydrated.

The tampons were typical of the Kotex style and fit - I didn't notice a difference with this particular version of their product, but I love the packaging.  I'm on the fence about the scent though. I don't feel the need for a scented tampon, nor the extra chemicals in it, but I do realize some people may like that feature.  For me, it's not a sell.

Lastly... the nails.  I am not a girly-girl.  My nails show the results of house maintenance, DIY projects, repairs, crafts, painting and projects. But I also like to look pretty when I have to.  These nails are the exact style I love (French) and actually, our family has used this brand in the past.  Both my daughter's have used them - as a matter of fact, this package arrived 1 day too late for me to use, but my teenager wore hers to her high school graduation!  NO ONE KNEW THEY WEREN'T HERE OWN NAILS.  They look great and stay on, yet don't cause damage to remove and get back to real life when you need to.

Thank You Influenster (link to their company on the right side bar) and to the companies for allowing me to review these products and spread the word!


Product Details:

Softlips® Cube. Revolutionary 5 in 1 lip care combines an advanced formula with an innovative new cube-shaped package. Lips look radiant and feel softer, smoother and more hydrated. It is available in three delightful new flavors: Softlips® Pomegranate Blueberry, Softlips® Fresh Mint and Softlips® Vanilla Bean.

NIVEA Skin Firming Hydrating Body Lotion is proven to firm skin and tighten skin's surface in as little as two weeks. Hydra IQ® technology support skin's own hydration network to unleash deep, non-stop moisture that lasts more than 24 hours. Coenzyme Q10 and Hydra IQ technology provide softer, smoother, more toned skin. This product is free of animal derived ingredients and is dermatologically tested and approved.

The timeless look that’s always in style, KISS everlasting French is the ultimate French manicure that never chips, guaranteed. Rich, white smile line is flawless and looks like you just left the salon—select from different tip thicknesses and lengths—file to any shape with no tip wear. Available in Flat and Regular nail arches with Flex-Fit Technology to ensure ultra-comfort and a perfect fit!

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara - The 60s are back in full swing with a thicker, fuller, wide-eyed look!
  • A wide-eyed false lash look
  • Fanned out volume
  • No clumps
  • Lashes up, out and over the top
Play without Limits. Introducing NEW Playtex® Sport® Fresh Balance™ with Odor Shield™ technology. It’s designed to neutralize odors for ultimate freshness on and off the field. Combined with a 360o® design for Sport Level Protection®, you can go the distance. Play On®.

From Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno), Labor Day is “a romance to root for”* starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin as two strangers drawn together under incredible circumstances. What starts as an unforeseen encounter over a long holiday weekend soon becomes a second chance love story in the unforgettable film that critics are calling “satisfying and deeply touching”**

*Karen Durbin, Elle

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A wholesome surprise! Annie's!

Today is a stormy, rainy day but a little bit of sunshine arrived at my door with this "Thank You" package from Annie's.  Real food... wholesome and organic.  It's a small 'thank you' for working them last March to review one of their family size frozen entrees.  Believe me Annie's, the 'Thank You' is all mine!  You are awesome and we can't wait to try more of your products.  

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May 28, 2014

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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May 26, 2014

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

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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May 25, 2014

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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