June 29, 2019

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake - Almond Flour Based (Solar Oven Option) - Low Carb and Sugar Free

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with a lemon glaze and a sprinkle of dried lemon peel on top

I've been craving something 'lemon' but I didn't want to make muffins again so instead, yesterday I used the same muffin idea but made a cake with a lemon glaze.

In addition to wanting to bake something 'lemony' I wanted to use our sun oven since it was pretty hot yesterday and I didn't feel like heating up the oven.  It's not that makes the kitchen hot but moreso I'm aware of the pull on the power grid when everyone has their electricity running full power to cool their houses, use fans, tv's, etc.  It's so simple and easy for me to bake in the solar oven and there isn't any reason not to.  But I know MOST people do not have a solar oven or sun oven so obviously you are welcome to bake yours in a regular old oven, ha ha. 

These can be made into great muffins, a cake or even a loaf bread.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, Muffins or Loaf Bread

1 stick (half cup) real butter, soft
2/3 - 3/4 c So Nourished monk fruit/erythritol or other sweetener of choice using equivalent  (link at bottom of post) Try to use a mixture of at least 2 if not 3 sweeteners to get the best flavor
3 eggs
2 t dry lemon peel/zest
1 t lemon extract
1 t lemon juice
1/2 t vanilla

3 c almond flour
3-4 heaping tablespoons unflavored or vanilla IsoPure whey protein powder (or any 0 sugar/carb brand)
2 T poppy seeds
2 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
2/3 c water

Grease your pan(s) or line your muffin tins.  Preheat your oven to 325 or put your solar oven outside in the sun to preheat.
Beat the butter, then add the sweetener, eggs, lemon peel and flavors.  Beat until smooth.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix them together then add half this almond flour mixture to the wet, beat in the water then add and beat in the last of the dry.
Spread in your pan of choice.
Bake about 45 minutes until done.
Cool completely and then top with a simple glaze;

Mix powdered sweetener of choice (like So Nourished, etc.) with enough lemon juice to make a thick glaze consistency.  Pour over your cake, bread or cupcakes and let it run down the sides if you wish.  I added a tablespoon of butter to about 2/3 cup powdered sweetener and then added lemon juice until it was the consistency I wanted.

I sprinkled the top of this cake with a dried lemon peel (those aren't crumbs in the photo at the top, but dried lemon peel bits).

The dry ingredients

The batter is yummy!

Baking mine in a sun oven... obviously most normal people use the oven in their home... ha ha.

Baking away.... I'll put a link to sun ovens at the bottom of this post for those interested.  Mine is about oh, 7 or 8 years old now? 

All cool and ready for it's glaze....

Just a simple glaze: I used a bit of butter, sweetener and lemon juice

Added some dried lemon peel bits on top as I love love love lemon

So moist.  So, so moist.  And it stays moist!  Doesn't dry out quickly like wheat flour based cakes do.  Also, because I use whey protein powder instead of coconut flour to offset the almond flour, that makes a difference.  Coconut flour is very drying as well.

The BRANDS of ingredients you use makes a huge difference in carb counts.  Mine is about 4 carbs per slice but depending on the whey protein powder you use, yours could have high carbs and even sugar if you aren't reading labels.  Use FitDay, FitBit, etc. to enter your own ingredients to get your nutritional counts.

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 - An American Housewife at Amazon

Powdered Erythritol Sweetener (1 lb / 16 oz) - Perfect for Diabetics and Low Carb Dieters - Confectioners - No Calorie Sweetener, Non-GMO, Natural Sugar Substitute

Powdered Monk Fruit Sweetener with Erythritol Confectioners (1 lb / 16 oz) - Perfect for Diabetics and Low Carb Dieters - 1:1 Sugar Replacement - No Calorie Sweetener, Non-GMO, Natural Sugar Substitute

  Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder, 100% Whey Protein Isolate, Keto Friendly, Unflavored, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)

2022 update:  it seems 'my' Sun Oven is hard to find but there are other solar ovens being made now.   This is the old Amazon link but it can lead you to other searches on Amazon if you wish.

  Exclusive All American Sun Oven Dehydrating Roasting and Preparedness Holiday Bundle

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Sun Ovens - The one I use plus two more options for portable use and camping as well!

Originally posted in June, 2015 - it's still relevant so here it is again in 2019!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably notice I cook and bake in my solar oven very frequently.  Although I use it year round, I use it probably three times a week from May through September.  It's used for everything from roasted chicken, roasts, pork roast, bbq pork and French Dips, to breads, muffins, pies, cakes and cookies.

I love being able to cook and bake without heating up the house or using electricity when I know the grid is getting heavy use from all the homes A/C's and other appliances running during the hot summer.

I have thought for a couple years now I should put 'my' oven on a static page to let people know which one I personally use - but it was constantly pushed down the priority.  I've done posts about 'my' solar oven before but I have never made it its own stand alone page. 




I am going to start off with the oven I own.  I bought this one a few years ago when they were still calling themselves "Global Sun Oven" - later changed to All American.   My version was literally just as they were coming out with the new style; but I got a good deal on mine as it was the 'older' style.  What does that mean?  It means they improved a couple tiny, teeny things like the stand is now a "T" shape instead of just a post and they are now bright blue as compared to black.  They also made the inside a bit larger so you can use a 9X13" pan and a couple other small improvements (read about them below in the product description).

2022 UPDATE:  I'm noting here that 'my' brand and model Sun Oven is apparently difficult to find now, but I'll leave the link as it might lead you to other styles or brands still available.

Here is the one I own - complete with the accessory package.  It's about 24 pounds so you can't 'carry' it with you hiking or backpacking - but if you are tent camping and arriving in a vehicle, you can indeed take it with you. 

All American Sun Oven Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package

  • Lightweight, portable solar oven reaches 360-400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Includes: Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set, 2 Easy Stack Pots w/ lids, & 2 Loaf Pans
  • Oven is American made
  • Comes with eCookbook with 600 recipes
Product Description

For the past 28 years, SUN OVENS® have been widely used around the world in more than 126 countries and have become the world's most well-respected solar cooking appliance. The TOTALLY NEW All American SUN OVEN® combines the experience gained by cooking millions of meals with the distinctive American cooking needs and lifestyle to create a uniquely American SUN OVEN® which:
-Is 20% larger than prior model SUN OVENS® to cook a greater volume of food and accommodate many standard size baking pans.
-Takes the guesswork out of aligning with the sun.
-Has improved wind resistance.
-Boosts temperatures by 15% over prior models to cook more food in less time.
-Includes CD with hundreds of recipes and Emergency Preparedness Organizer CD and videos.

You can cook almost anything - breads, cakes, muffins, pizza, vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, casseroles, grains, pasta, and desserts, just to name a few. ...Provides High Cooking Temperatures Reach temperatures of 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which are more than sufficient to bake, boil, or steam your favorite foods. ...You Choose The Cooking Time: Fast or Slow Cooks within 20 minutes of conventional oven or stove top time, or lets you slow cook all day. ...Is Ruggedly Built It is a serious appliance that is made for years of trouble-free use.

A Portable, Fold-able Version with cookware and thermometer Sunflair Portable Solar Oven with Complete Cookware and Thermometer
  • #1 Portable Solar Oven from Alaska to Afghanistan! Cook from sun-up to sundown.
  • The most versatile solar oven on the market. Bake cookies or pizza. Dry fruits and herbs. Can accommodate a wide variety of cookware.
  • No assembly required. Easy to use. Sets up and stores in seconds.
  • Everything included to start cooking: 1 solar oven thermometer, 1 heat-conducting/baking tray, 1 baking/dehydrating rack, 2 silicone pots, and a handy carrying bag
  • Oven weighs only 1 lb, 2 oz! Durable and portable for Camping, Boating, RV-ing, Tailgating, Emergency Preparedness, Crafts: candle-making, modeling clay

A Portable, Fold-able Version with all the accessories including racks and cookware Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe with Complete Cookware, Dehydrating Racks and Thermometer
  • #1 Portable Solar Oven from Alaska to Afghanistan! Cook from sun-up to sundown.
  • The most versatile solar oven on the market. Bake cookies or pizza. Dry fruits and herbs. Can accommodate a wide variety of cookware.
  • No assembly required. Easy to use. Sets up and stores in seconds.
  • Everything included to start cooking: 1 solar oven thermometer, 2 heat-conducting/baking trays, 2 baking/dehydrating racks, 1 enamelware pot, 2 silicone pots, and a handy carrying bag
  • Oven weighs less only 1 lb, 2 oz! Durable and portable for Camping, Boating, RV-ing, Tailgating, Emergency Preparedness, Crafts: candle-making, modeling clay

Related Products: 

Cooking with Sunshine: The Complete Guide to Solar Cuisine with 150 EasySun-Cooked Recipes

Solar Cooking for Home and Camp Solar Cooking


Originally I also also posted about my sun oven in 2015 and 2016:


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June 27, 2019

Product Review: Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo from Maple Holistics

Over the past 10 days I've been trying a new shampoo sent to me from Maple Holistics to try and review on An American Housewife.  I was pretty excited to try it, because if you are a regular reader, you might remember I did a hair conditioner product review for them about six months ago that I loved so much I started to purchase it on Amazon regularly for myself and also decked out our guest bathroom with some for the big wedding weekend we had here in May.

This time was the highly anticipated Apple cider vinegar shampoo, from Maple Holistics

Ever since I was a little girl I've heard great things about using apple cider vinegar on your hair.  I've used it as a rinse a few times in my life but I admit I never got in the habit of it.  Having a shampoo with an apple cider base certainly makes that easier... but I know the question my readers have is "well, what did you think?"

It's a mixed bag.

I know you have to use it for a week or two to see real results, so I've held off making any judgements until it had been in use for awhile.  The bottom line is there are pros... and a con.

My hair seems softer when I run my fingers through it
It had nice natural volume to it at the crown, where it usually goes flat pretty quickly
It seemed to work well with my blonde highlights

The scent
It's primary purpose of clarifying and removing haircare product build-up isn't something I need

Let's touch on that last 'con' a second.  I let my hair dry naturally, I don't use hardly any styling products on it.  Ever.  The most I use would be a little oil/cream on the ends when I want to straighten out some of the natural waves and curls and use my hair straightener. 

Generally speaking, I'm not a girl who uses a bunch of hair care products on my hair so there isn't any build up for the apple cider vinegar to work its magic on!  But for those of you who regularly use creams, sprays, dry shampoo, volumizers and conditioners... this would be your thing. 

It will clarify and bring shine back to your dull hair.  

From the Maple Holistics site product description:

"Remove buildup, restore volume and boost shine with our new, hotly anticipated apple cider vinegar shampoo. One of the most powerful ingredients in personal care, apple cider vinegar provides a variety of benefits for hair and scalp alike. We tap into its full potential in our apple cider vinegar shampoo, providing you with a shampoo that soothes the scalp, removes buildup, clarifies and adds or restores shine. Enriched with natural ingredients like sunflower, argan and jojoba oil, our apple cider vinegar shampoo is is sulfate and paraben-free making it great for all hair types, color treated hair, and sensitive skin."
Also, you may want to check out the article they offer on 20 Tips for Hair This Summer to help protect and care for your hair in the hot summer sun, heat and humidity.

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June 23, 2019

Drying Basil and Mint - FAST AND EASY - Oh so simple

I always do my basil this way but this week I also did mint

I've posted on An American Housewife (housewifebarbie.com) previously about how quick and easy it is to dry herbs but since I just did a couple more this week it's a good reminder so I thought I'd snap a couple photos and post it.

You can find last Fall's post here; drying basil in 1 minute but I'm reposting today as well. 

It's just soooo easy and quick; and homegrown basil just has so much more flavor than the store bought stuff!!!  Seriously, if you have 1 minute, you have enough time to dry some basil.

Save old spice jars so you can refill them with either your own homegrown or if you buy in bulk to save money you can put them in smaller jars for using/serving etc.  I'll also link to some options available on Amazon at the bottom of this post!

OK now back to basil (and mint this time as well).

  • Pick it.
  • Rinse it.
  • Place it on a paper towel.
  • Put another paper towel over.
  • Put in the microwave and turn it on for about 1 minute.
  • Check it by lifting the paper towel (which is there to absorb moisture).
  • You can now leave the paper towel off - and move the basil around a little bit, checking which might already be dry and which might need a few more seconds.
  • Turn it back on for another 15 seconds or so... check again.
  • Let the basil sit out on the counter for a minute for it to cool so you can really see how dry it is.  If it's dry, and cool then it's time to either just put it all into a bottle or jar as it is or you can crumble it or chop it if you wish.  It crumbles easily, it stores perfectly and it's ready for use in food dishes immediately.

I actually own a micro-herb mill that was a gift from my oldest daughter about 8 years ago.  I love it.  It was hard to find for awhile but I see them on Amazon yet... some links at the bottom of this post.

The basil was picked the morning before so it was a bit wilty by the time I got to it.  No worries.

This time I did some mint as well since I didn't need to use it right away.

 After the drying process (described above) I like to put mine through the microplane herb mill.  This is a great option but you do NOT have to use one.  You can use it as it is from drying OR just break it apart gently in your fingers or your palms.  It smells heavenly and it's amazing how crisp and dry it is in just a minute.

My fresh, dried mint.  Ready for use!

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

Herb Mill Chopper Cutter Mince Stainless Steel Blades Safely New ( Color: White & Green)
24 Mini Hexagon Glass Jars, 1.5oz Hex Jars (24-Pack) - for Spices, Gifts, Party Favors, DIY & more
3-Ounce Airtight Glass Jar with Leak Proof Rubber Gasket and Hinged Lid for Home and Kitchen, Multipurpose Container for Herbs, Spices, Arts and Crafts Storage and Gift Holder (12 Pack)


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