Repost....  because it's Autumn!  Enjoy.

Autumn is here!  The perfect time to celebrate the awesome pumpkin.  Don't wait for Thanksgiving to make a pumpkin pie and call it 'done' for the season.  Here are over a dozen recipes from my website that I've posted over the years.  From cakes to cinnamon rolls, pasta to griddle cakes.  There is something here for everyone - as I even have an amazing pumpkin bread that can be served to those doing sugar free or low carb way of eating.    Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping
Perfect Pumpkin Bread
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Mexican Pumpkin Dip
Flaxseed Pumpkin Bread (sugar free and low carb too!)
Pumpkin Butter Pie
Pumpkin Pie with an Oatmeal Crust
Homemade Pasta
Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Griddle Cakes
Pickled Pumpkin
Pumpkin Dessert
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Pie

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Triple Layer Pumpkin Bars

A re-post because well, it's Fall and... they are yummy!

This time of year I crave pumpkin.  Cinnamon and spice infused pumpkin... anything.  Breads, bars, pound cakes, pancakes, lattes...   Last night I decided I really needed to use up the 1/2 can of pumpkin I had leftover in the refrigerator from another recipe.  I decided on these bars because I had a random yellow cake mix in the pantry as well as a 2nd can of pumpkin.  It comes together so quickly because you bake all three layers at the same time.

Triple Layer Pumpkin Bars

1 yellow cake mix, divided. Save 1 cup out for top.
1/2 c real butter
1 egg

2 eggs
3/4 c milk
20 oz. pumpkin
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla - liquid or powder
2 t pumpkin pie spices

1 cup of the dry cake mix reserved from bottom layer
1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter

Combine the bottom layer ingredients; dry cake mix, butter and egg.  Press into a 9X13" pan or the equivalent sized pan.  I used 10X10.  Mix together the filling ingredients by hand, whisk or electric.  When blended smooth spread over the bottom layer.  Mix together the reserved 1 cup dry cake mix with the sugar, cinnamon and butter.  When crumbly, sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Cool completely and preferably chill before cutting. 

Press the bottom layer in a pan

Add the filling on top

Make the crumble topping

Ready to go into the oven to bake

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Jalapeno Chicken Breasts

If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know that about an hour ago I posted I was not in the mood to cook or bake today so I was going to pull out the slow cooker and throw something in - a 'no work for me' dinner.

I pulled some chicken out of the deep freeze, set it on the counter and then had to decide what I was going to do with it.

After a bit of decision making, I decided on Jalapeno Chicken Breasts.

This recipe comes from Midwest Living and doesn't take a lot of crazy ingredients!  It needs at least 3 hours to cook though (3 on high and up to 6 on low) and more if your chicken is still frozen so if it's early enough in the day when you are reading this - go pop it in!  If it's not?  Well, take it out of the freezer, put the poultry in the refrigerator and plan this one for tomorrow instead.

Jalapeno Chicken Breasts

Makes: 6 servings
Bake 15 mins
Slow Cook 5 hrs to 6 hrs (low) or 2 1/2 to 3 hours (high) plus 15 minutes (high)

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6 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeno chile pepper, drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1 8 - ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened and cut into cubes
2 slices regular bacon or turkey bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled (optional)

Sprinkle chicken with chili powder and salt. Arrange chicken, bone sides down, in a 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour broth and lemon juice around chicken. Top with drained jalapeno pepper.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Transfer chicken and jalapeno pepper to a serving platter, reserving cooking liquid. Cover chicken and keep warm.
If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. For sauce, in a small bowl, combine cornstarch and the water; stir into cooking liquid. Add cream cheese, whisking until combined. Cover and cook about 15 minutes more or until thickened. Serve chicken with sauce. If desired, sprinkle with bacon.

Nutrition Facts

(Jalapeno Chicken Breasts)
Servings Per Recipe 6, vit. C (mg) 6, vit. A (IU) 923, sugar (g) 1, Thiamin (mg) 0, Riboflavin (mg) 0, fiber (g) 1, Niacin (mg) 18, Lean Meat () 7, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 1, Folate (µg) 12, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 1, sodium (mg) 489, Potassium (mg) 474, calcium (mg) 81, iron (mg) 2, Monounsaturated fat (g) 3, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 1, chol. (mg) 143, sat. fat (g) 6, cal. (kcal) 329, carb. (g) 5, pro. (g) 49, Fat, total (g) 11, Fat () 2 Print Friendly and PDF


Homemade Sausage Gravy on a Low Carb Bagel

Typically you make this with flour - but if you are cutting out carbs you can thicken it with a tiny bit of xanthan gum or thickener of your choice.  

UPDATED FOR JANUARY 2019:  PLEASE SERVE THIS GRAVY OVER MY ALMOND FLOUR CHEDDAR BISCUITS... OH YUM!!!  Find the recipe here:  Homemade Low Carb, Keto Cheddar Biscuit

Sausage Gravy
(can be made with ground beef or even bacon, too)

1 lb. sausage
3 T flour or 1 t xanthan gum or 1-2 t Thick it Up
3 c whole milk or if low carbing using cream
garlic salt
black pepper

Brown the sausage in a pan on the stovetop until brown and done.  Remove from pan and drain all but 2-3 T fat in the pan.  Whisk in the flour and make a roux - or if using a low carb thickener, don't add it yet.  Whisk and cook the flour/fat mixture for about 1 minute and slowly start to add the milk or cream while whisking.  If you are using a low carb thickener, mix in half the milk, THEN LIGHTLY SPRINKLE THE 1 teaspoon xanthan over the cream while whisking or it will clump.  When it's smooth, whisk in the rest of the cream.  Cook the gravy over medium or medium low depending on your stove, until it starts to bubble.  Season with garlic salt and black pepper to taste.  You can whisk in a little more thickener if you need it, or if it's too thick for your personal tastes, add a bit of milk or cream.   Serve over a biscuit, toast, mashed potatoes, bagels or mashed cauliflower.  You can adjust pretty much all the ingredients in this recipe to your own tastes - using less or milk cream or milk or half and half, use regular salt instead of garlic, add more or less - well, any of it.  :)

If you want to make it with hamburger gravy, make it the same way.  If you are making a bacon version, only use about 6 strips of bacon and crumble them in or dice them small before cooking - do not use a whole pound.

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Oven Roasted Zucchini & Cabbage

Ready to go into the oven

Why yes!  I did forget to take a 'finished' picture... again.  I'm usually so busy grabbing the prepared foods and getting them on the table so we can eat, that taking a pretty picture of the finished product is really, the last thing on my mind.  But if you have stopped into my blog before... then you know that.  My site is NOT about 'pretty pictures'  it's about the food.  Real, basic foods that I throw together for our family meals.  

I did grab my phone and take a picture before it went into the oven though... so there's that!  This is another no-brainer recipe that isn't even a recipe.  Just throw some veggies in a pan with some butter and olive oil - salt and pepper them, and bake.  The butter starts to caramelize the veggies and ohhhh it's good.

Oven Roasted Zucchini and Cabbage

Zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
Cabbage, chopped or slice fresh or use a bagged mix
olive oil
salt and pepper

I like to line my baking pans for easy clean up but that's up to you.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a pan cover the bottom with a light layer of olive oil.  Add about 1/2 stick butter cut into pats, for every 5-6 cups of sliced/chopped veggies.  Use as much zuchini and cabbage as you like.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pop into the oven and bake/roast until the veggies are golden brown and start to caramelize around the edges and bottoms.  Anywhere from 30-50 minutes and you can adjust the temperature of the oven to whatever else you are baking and adjust the bake time accordingly.  350-400 degrees doesn't matter too much - it's just how quickly they cook.

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Traditional Style Key Lime Pie - sugar free and low carb but without cream cheese or jello!

Hi guys!  Today's post is a yummy and healthy pie that I've posted about before - made the traditional way with sweetened condensed milk.  (Key Lime Pie) but I have finally made a healthy version of the traditional recipe with just lime juice, egg yolks and faux 'sweetened condensed milk' - no cream cheese.  No jello.  I'm thrilled with this version. 

Crust Talk:  I had a Dixie Carb Counter Pie Crust mix in the pantry from last Fall.  I posted about this once before and didn't tout it too much because it really wasn't great.  It is a dark brown crumb mixture that seemed to be a lot of bran and flax seed (?) but little else.  It wasn't very good tasting and I hadn't used the 2nd package yet for that reason.  I decided to use this and 'doctor' it a bit.  I added some low carb baking mix (maybe about 1/3 cup?) and I added about 1/3 cup of granular sweetener.  Melted 3-4 T butter, mixed it up and put it in the pie pan.  The result was amazing.  LOVE this crust now.  

Last night I had a slice with whipped cream...  but I thought it was even better without it.  This morning I opted to have an other piece (for breakfast!) with no whipped cream or topping... it was perfect.  Delicious.

Low Carb, Sugar Free Key Lime Pie

1 bag of Key Limes (the very small limes!) OR about 2/3 c bottled or fresh lime juice
4 egg yolks
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk substitute*
1 pie crust of your choice (see my notes above).

*Sweetened condensed milk substitute
1 can Nestle Media Creme
2/3 cup sweetener (plus about 5-10 drops of a liquid sweetener as a blend of 2 sweeteners always tastes best)
2 T unflavored why protein powder
2 t vanilla

Zest about 4 of the limes.
Slice and juice all the limes.
Strain the juice and reserve. You should have about 2/3 cup of liquid.
In an electric mixer bowl whip the egg yolks and lime zest about 3-5 minutes. If you don't have zest, just beat the egg yolks about 2-3 minutes on their own.
Add the condensed sweetened milk slowly while on low and then whip 3-4 minutes more.
Add the lime juice and mix until blended.
Pour into the graham crust. Bake at 325 degrees until filling is set. A sugar-filled version only takes about 15 minutes but this sugar free, low carb version took about 35 minutes.

Cool 20 minutes on counter. Chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator but will be best if you can chill overnight.

Here is the more traditional pie crust I mentioned above.  I use this one for pies like my blueberry pie but you could make it and partially bake it, and use it for the key lime pie as well.

Low Carb, Flour-Free Pie Crust

1 c Blanched Almond Flour
4 T Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
2 t xanthan gum
2 T Nature's Best Isopure Unflavored Whey Protein Powder
1 t baking powder
dash of salt
4 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
2 T cold water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.  Cut in the butter with your fingers and work it in until it's coarse.  Beat the egg yolks with cold water and blend it into the dry ingredients.  When it forms a ball, remove, place on plastic wrap, form a disk, wrap and chill.  Roll out the pie crust (between two pieces of parchment because it's sticky) and place in a large, deep dish pan pan.  Mine wouldn't transfer easily so I pieced it together in the pan and pressed it all into place.  Bake at 350 until golden brown and firm in the center.  Use as you would any pie crust.

Dry ingredients in a bowl

Starting to mix it after the butter is added

Wrap in plastic wrap to chill

Pressed into a deep dish pie pan

Baked to perfection!

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High Protein, Low Carb Bacon Mushroom Swiss Meatloaf

We are not doing low carb right now and I wanted to use up these potatoes - serve with something else if you low carb.

Let me first say;  we don't really like meatloaf.  I rarely, if ever make it.  When I do, there is only one way we really like it and that is my own version where I top it with lots of bacon and bbq sauce before cooking... not like Grandma used to make.  But my husband loves Mushroom Swiss Burgers and I thought, "What the heck" and made this one.  Since I'm not a fan of meatloaf, I can't say I love it... and I felt it needed a little more flavor to it.  I'll put the low carb recipe below and then put some notes and thoughts after it.

Bacon Mushroom Swiss Meatloaf
Low Carb Version

12 oz. bacon, diced
4 mushrooms, whole, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c half and half
6 oz. shredded swiss cheese
1/2 c pork rinds, crushed

Preheat oven to 350.  In large skillet, cook bacon crisp.  Remove with slotted spoon.  Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan but leave about a tablespoon to saute the mushrooms and onions until tender.  Allow to cool slightly.  In a large bowl mix the beef, egg and half and half.  Add the mushroom and onion mixture, all but a couple spoonfuls of the cheese, and all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon crumbles.  Add the crushed pork rinds and mix well.  Shape into a loaf and place in a loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Drain fat from the pan and sprinkle the reserved cheese and bacon on top.  Bake 5 minutes more.  Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

We are not doing low carb right now, so I went ahead and added a bit of celery to the onion and mushrooms. 
I did not think this dish had much flavor.  Due to carb counts some things couldn't be increased (like only 4 mushrooms) but I would HIGHLY recommend changing a few things if you make this. Use more mushrooms if they are not really large.
If you are not doing low carb, use crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs instead of pork rinds.
Use milk if you wish in place of half and half.
Do not substitute cheddar for swiss cheese.  The swiss, bacon and mushrooms all work together to make this dish work.
Increase the swiss cheese to at least 8 oz.
Add 1 tablespoon teriyaki or soy sauce to boost the bland flavor of this dish.
The low carb 2002 recipe did not have salt and pepper listed and YES this dish needs it. Season to taste.  A little salt and pepper will help bring out the flavors.

I added a little celery - not needed, it was just there so I grabbed a stalk

I added some cheddar - which eh, should have gone with all Swiss.  And more of it.

Double the Swiss, add salt & pepper, and a bit of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to help bring out a little more flavor

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Six Summer Pasta Salads - Perfect for Labor Day Weekend Cookouts

Italian Tortellini Salad
(pictured above)

1 package dry stuffed tortellini pasta (the flavor is your choice)
1 red pepper
1 package of Good Seasons Italian dressing
capers (optional)
fresh shredded asiago, parmesan cheese mixture or provolone, diced
tomato (optional)
cucumber (optional)
fresh snipped basil
1 can or bottle artichoke hearts, drained (water based is best)

Boil the pasta until just tender. Rinse under cool water and continue rinsing until the pasta is cooled. While the pasta is boiling make the dressing using rice vinegar and canola oil if possible instead of distilled vinegar and vegetable oil. In the meantime dice the red pepper, using 1/2 the pepper for most salads, but the whole pepper if you know the people you are serving really like fresh red peppers (like us!). Dice the cucumber and zucchini, tomato as well if you are using it. Add about 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil - or just a 1/2 t of dried. Stir in drained artichokes. I choose to use water packed so the marinade doesn't interfere with the Italian dressing flavor of the pasta salad.


Cauliflower Pea Salad

1 head cauliflower
1 bag frozen peas, thawed
1 red onion diced
1 each red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved (save juice)
1/2 pound bacon crisp and crumbled (reserve some for garnish)
8 oz cheese, grated (cheddar or pepper jack) (reserve some for garnish)
1 dry packet ranch dressing mix (3 T)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk

Break the cauliflower in bite sized pieces, add finely diced peppers, pea's, tomatoes and onion, bacon. Sprinkle top with reserved bacon and cheese. Mix the sour cream, mayo and mix with the ranch dressing. Add to the salad. Gently stir in the cheese. Top with sprinkled reserved bacon crumbles and a bit of cheese. Chill and serve.


Garden Pasta Salad

1 box (16 oz) pasta (rotini or bow tie are pretty)
1 small onion - sliced thin
1/2 red bell pepper - diced
1/2 green bell pepper - diced
2 celery hearts - diced
1 whole carrot - julienned
1 whole cucumber - sliced or diced - leave the dark green skin on
1 cup grape tomatoes
8 oz Italian dressing of your choice

Cook pasta just to al dente so it still has a bite to it and is not mushy. Add the rest of the ingredients, chill. 


 Ranch Potato Salad

2 lb. baby red potatoes, boiled until just tender
1 c prepared Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1/2 c diced green onions
1/4 cooked, crumbled bacon
black pepper
*maybe some fine diced celery

Dice the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Toss with the dressing and onions, season with a little black pepper. Top with a garnish of bacon, chives and dust with paprika.


 Summer Garden Pasta Salad

1 box ziti pasta
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans - 1 inch pieces
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/2 c each - cubed ham, and turkey
1/2 c diced Cheddar cheese
1/2 c black olives, sliced

1/2 c. olive or canola oil
7 T red wine vinegar
2 T chopped parsley
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t paprika
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook pasta and green beans just until tenter. Mix cucumber, ham, turkey, cheese and black olives. Mix oil, vinegar, parsley, dry mustard, sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic. Toss and refrigerate until serving.


Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

1 sm. box of shell pasta
1 pkg. of Ranch Dressing Mix
1/2 c. Mayonnaise
3-4 T. bacon bits
1/2 c. peas
1/2 c. shredded carrots

Cook your pasta until almost done and add shredded carrots. When pasta and carrots are done rinse under cold water. Place in bowl. Add peas. In a smaller bowl mix together ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise and bacon bits. Add to pasta mixture. Mix well. Refrigerate and keep cool until ready to serve. 


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Homemade Braided Bread (with recipe)

A few years ago I figured out bread was really hard on my digestive system and tried to give it up most of the time.  It's only been in the last couple years I figured out it's not all bread that causes distress... it's store bought, mass quantity, low quality breads that my body doesn't like.  I seem to do just fine with artisan breads and homemade breads.  So this week I made a batch of Texas Hot White Bean Chili and baked bread to my hearts content.  And ate almost that much too!

I made half this recipe into the quick braided bread you see above and the other half into buns.  I did not wait for it to rise as high as I should have... I couldn't.  I was like a kid waiting to open gifts on Christmas morning.  I was so hungry and knew it would be so good!  So I rushed two 'not even half' raises and then popped it in to bake.  As you can see, it forgave me and still turned out oh-so-yummy.

Farm Wife Bread

1/4 c butter
1 c scalded milk
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 package yeast (dissolve in ½ cup lukewarm water)
1 egg
4 cups flour

Put butter, salt and sugar in bowl; add scalded milk. Stir to melt margarine and dissolve sugar. When cool, beat egg and add to mixture. Add yeast mixture. Mix and add flour. Knead.  Cover and let rise until double, punch down and let rise again. Shape into balls for buns or loaves for bread. Let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes for buns/rolls and about 25 minutes for a bread loaf or braid.  Check for doneness in the center and when it's golden brown.

To braid, divide half the dough into thirds, roll and form ropes.

Braid the bread loosely just like you would if you were braiding hair

Tuck the two ends under the loaf and allow to raise double in height (although I was too anxious and couldn't wait!)

Half the dough can be made into rolls, a loaf of bread or a second braid

After baking you can rub the top with butter to soften the crust or let it cool as is for a harder crust


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