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.

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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.

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.

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!

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June 19, 2019

The Best Raspberry Crumble Bars - Healthy, made with almond flour - no wheat - and sugar free!

If you've made my sugar free caramel bars already, then you might recognize this basic almond flour crust mix.  Just a few simple ingredients, and a store bought filling and you've got this whipped up and ready to go into the oven in just minutes.

When I made my caramel bars I knew I wanted to use the same idea to make cranberry bars and raspberry bars next!  To make the cranberry version I wanted to use my fresh (frozen) bag of cranberries and cook them on the stove to make a sugar free filling; but honestly?  I wasn't in the mood to take that long to make that step.  I wanted something fast and easy. 

My husband loves peanut butter sandwiches, so I always keep various sugar free preserves on hand for him.  I had sugar free raspberry preserves in the refrigerator so these bars were oh-so-easy to make using about 2/3 cup of the fruit filling instead of taking the time to make my own filling.  Some days I WILL make the filling from scratch, but if you have ways to make life easier.... use them. 

These bars are great with cranberry, blackberry, raspberry fillings but don't forget my original post used Smucker's sugar free caramel which was incredible as well if you aren't in the mood for a fruit filled bar.

Red Raspberry Crumble Bars

2 c almond flour
2 T coconut flour
2/3 c Erythritol with Monk Fruit (Use a sweetener of your choice)
1/4 t sea salt
6 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla
2/3 c sugar free red raspberry preserves or jam of your choice

Whisk together the dry ingredients; almond flour, coconut flour, sweeteners and salt.  Melt the butter in cup in the microwave and add the vanilla to it.  Pour this into the dry mixture and mix with a spatula until it starts to come together.   Press just over half the dough into a greased 8X8 inch pan.  Bake this bottom crust for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Take it out and let it cool for about 10 minutes.  Place the preserves in a bowl and microwave for a minute or so to soften the preserves for spreading. Spread the raspberry filling over the crust, getting up into the corners and sides as well.  Now crumble the rest of the topping over it all and press down lightly just to adhere to the raspberry preserves, but don't flatten it.  Return to the hot oven and bake for 25 minutes until turning golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely to cut. 

I keep various jams and preserves on hand for my husband's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I had Smucker's brand in the refrigerator.  You can use whichever brands you like.

Melt it a bit in the microwave for easy pouring and spreading over the crust.

Fresh out of the oven!

I keep these in the refrigerator - they slice easily and taste... incredible!

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June 14, 2019

CopyCat Hostess Cupcake made Low Carb and Sugar Free - Also made into pretty buttercream topped cupcakes

This week I planned on making a Hostess Cupcake CopyCat in a sugar free and low carb version, but I was busy, not in the mood, etc. One day I finally decided to buckle down and get them made and in the end, I made a few into a "Hostess" copycat but I really hate detailed, repetitive work (like putting swirls on the top of cupcakes) and I had a ton of buttercream frosting left over as I made a double batch, so I stopped with the Hostess design and topped them all with a swirl from a frosting tip... creating really fast and simple roses.  So... two styles of cupcakes that day!

I used my 'old' chocolate chocolate chip muffin recipe and simply left out the chocolate chips.  I can't use my favorite filling recipe because it's a 'regular' sugar based and uses marshmallow fluff (marshmallow cream) in it.  There are 'marshmallow fluff' sugar free mix versions but I don't have any on hand, and just decided to do a basic vanilla frosting filling instead. 

I did a chocolate cupcake (sugar free, low carb and it has a healthy boost of flaxmeal!) covered it in a sugar free chocolate ganache and topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting that matches the filling inside.

This is the chocolate 'muffin' I've been making for YEARS and LOVE IT.  I left the chocolate chips out for this but you can still use them and leave them in if you wish!

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 c almond flour (heaped a little)
1/4 c flax meal
3/4 c unflavored or vanilla whey protein powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 c erythritol, or favorite sweetener
3/4 c pure pumpkin puree  (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 stick real butter, melted
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 c half and half or cream
4 oz. sugar free chocolate chips

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients;  almond flour, flax, protein powder, baking powder, soda, salt, cocoa and sweetener.    In another bowl mix the pumpkin, butter, eggs and vanilla.   Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon while adding the cream or half and half.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Add a little bit more cream if it's too thick or protein powder or almond flour if it's too thin. Your batter should be thicker than a cake mix yet still able to be scooped or poured into muffin tins.    Pour batter into greased or lined cupcake tins filled  either 2/3 or 1/2 full**.  Bake at 325 for approximately 25 minutes.

**Do not fill 2/3 full to get a nice flat top.  Instead just fill half way, this will give you a flat top to decorate like a Hostess Cupcake with swirls.  You will get about 14-15 of them if you fill 2/3 full for a regular frosting cupcake or about 23 of them if you fill half way for a flat Hostess cupcake.

Let cool completely while you make the chocolate ganache.


3/4 c heavy cream
1/3 c powdered sweetener
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1- 2 t vanilla

In a double broiler type set up (a bowl over a pan of simmering water under it to melt gently but avoiding direct heat) place all the ingredients and start stirring as it slowly melts.  Continue stirring until it's all melted and liquid chocolate goodness.  Set this aside to cool a bit until your muffin/cupcakes are done and cooled.  

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 stick real butter
1 1/4 c powdered sweetener(s) of choice*
1 t xanthan gum
6 T heavy cream
2 T vanilla

Cream the butter, add the sweetener and xanthan and the cream, add the vanilla. Whip. If it's too thick add a little more cream by drizzling - it doesn't take much.  If it's too thin, add more sweetener. 

*If you use a good quality sweetener about a cup is more than enough.
Take a LARGE SMOOTHIE SIZED STRAW (link at the bottom of this post, I find mine at the grocery store hanging on a clip-strip in a random aisle... they don't even have them near the regular straws!?).  Use this to push into the center of each cupcake and pull it back out.  This removes just a bit of the cupcake, to allow for your filling.

Fill an icing bag with your frosting and snip the end to give it about a 1 cm wide - you don't have to be precise.  But not too small and not too large.  Now insert the bag tip into the cupcake, squeeze gently as you start to slowly pull back as you will see the cupcake filling up.  As soon as you see the filling come to the top, stop and pull back.  Don't overfill, it will crack the cupcake and push out the top.  If some is out the top, just scrape it flat with a butter knife.

Dip into the ganache.  Either leave your cupcake in the liner and dip just the top, or remove it from the liner and dip it further down the sides.  To dip the entire cupcake you'll want to double or triple the chocolate ganache topping.  You'll need triple to dip them all but it will make them more like a Ding Dong - yum!

I dipped just the tops this time. 

Let set to harden for a bit.  Now using an icing bag with either a tiny round tip or snip just the very end off the bag for a tiny opening, carefully make the swirl design on top of your cupcake with the frosting.  This is time consuming and I hate repetitive, mind numbing tasks like this.  So I lasted all of about 5 cupcakes before I looked at my frosting, decided I had enough to ice them all (I had made a double batch intending on refrigerating some to use on cookies this weekend) so instead, I popped a large icing tip on a new bag, filled it with icing and did a quick swirl on top of each. 

Some product links are at the very bottom of this post if you need some ingredients or want to see what I used.

The cupcake/muffin batter

Don't overfill - you want them to have a flat top

Melting your ganache.  It will look like this when it starts to melt.  Keep going.  It will come together!

It will turn into a nice liquid ganache.  If you WANT TO you can add the sugar free chocolate chips to this if you didn't use them in the original muffin/cupcake recipe.  Or just toss in about 1/4 cup of them if you wish.

Out of the oven!
Let them cool.

Ready to dip!

Making the frosting.  I made a double batch so I used it for filling AND frosting them.

The smoothie straw inserted into the cupcakes and pulled back out to make room for a filling.

Ready to fill

Just smooth the tops with a butter knife to make them flat before dipping in the chocolate ganache.

Ready to dip!

And I'm FINE WITH LEAVING THEM LIKE THIS.  They are like a Hostess Ding Dong!

At this point they remind me of Ding Dongs... which I like better than cupcakes.

I hate this part. I have NO patience for this so after only four or five, I quit and used the icing to frosting them!  God bless you if you have patience... you're lucky.  :)

So much faster!
Although this much icing does make them sweet!  Too sweet for me actually.  But when I eat them I just take the icing off and eat the cupcake!  Ha ha.

 This is one freshly made.

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June 12, 2019

Repost - Blue Cheese and Bacon Coleslaw

This is a recipe I posted previously, but recently posted it on my Instangram when I made it again last week.  It goes fabulous with meals like pulled pork sandwiches - which is what we had.  You can find the original post here: https://www.housewifebarbie.com/2019/01/blue-cheese-bacon-coleslaw.html

Blue Cheese & Bacon Coleslaw

1 small head of cabbage, shredded
Tops of 3 green onions (can add the onion if you wish)
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper
1 t sweetener of choice
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t lemon juice
1/2 t celery salt
1 t mustard
1/3 - 1/2 c crumbled blue cheese
Real bacon crumbles

Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl or large Ziploc baggy.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together except the bacon crumbles.  Pour over the cabbage and mix.  You can add the bacon now or later; it's up to you.  Let this chill and set for the best flavor.  At least 2 hours but it's best if you can give it at least 4-6 hours or more.

(I used up leftovers 2 days later for lunch by adding some sliced kalamata olives and feta cheese... oh my it was good!)

I cooked a "whole mess" of bacon at once to be used in various recipes over the next couple weeks.  It's EASY to do!  Just bake it on a large baking pan in the oven at 375 or 400 degrees until it's done. It has incredible flavor this way and the whole piece is SUPER crispy.  Not like when you make it in a pan.  You can use what you want and FREEZE THE REST for future recipes.

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June 09, 2019

Keto Mozzarella Sticks - a Repost since I made a huge batch of them again yesterday for the freezer

Keto Mozzarella Sticks - Prepped and ready for the freezer

Here they are fried and ready to eat!

Low Carb Mozzarella Sticks

2 eggs, beaten
1 c almond flour
scant 1 c powdered Parmesan cheese
optional:  1/2 c wheat resistant starch 75
optional:  1/2 c ground pork rinds

(If you don't use the wheat resistant starch 75 or pork rinds just use more Parmesan or almond flour)
Approximately 20 sticks string cheese
2-3 T Italian Seasoning
1 t garlic salt

Cut the string cheese in half.
Lightly beat the eggs and pour into a small shallow dish.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large Ziploc baggy.
Roll the cheese stick halves in the egg and dip in the dry mix. Press lightly to help it adhere.
Place the breaded cheese sticks on a baking sheet and freeze at least 2 hours or up to 3 months.
When you want to make them, heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan and fry the sticks for 1-2 minutes. Do not crowd the pan.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  You can salt them if you wish for more salt.  Serve hot with low or no sugar marinara sauce or ketchup. 

As I mentioned above, I've posted this recipe previously.  And since lots of pictures is always a good thing... here are the photos from the original post.  I used a ziploc bag for the breading that time, a bowl this time. Do whatever you prefer.

I hate breading items.  I hate how the egg and dry coatings 'coat' my fingers.  So I used a steak knife to hang on to the stick this time.  The most recent time I made them, I had a box of disposable gloves so I put those on my left hand to 'bread' and I used tongs to roll the cheese in the beaten egg.  

All breaded! 

Now you have to freeze them...  at least a couple hours if you want to make them today otherwise they can stay in your deep freezer for a few months.  (If they last that long.)

Here I am carrying them to the freezer.  I freeze them like this for a couple hours then transfer them to a freezer baggy (Ziploc).

Yum!  Great plain... but honestly I like them with ketchup best. 

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