November 28, 2019

From Instagram: Thanksgiving Day Pies

If you saw these on my Instagram... well, God bless ya, because Instagram started shadow banning me over a month ago - (why? I have absolutely no idea and apparently they have a whole hidden list of rules that they don't show anyone... normal, everyday hashtags that if you use, automatically send you to the shadow land, and when they do... they don't even have the balls to tell you they did it.  You have no idea until you realize you suddenly are down in views and only the people who already follow you can see what you post).  So... again, God Bless Ya!  Because I've reached out to them and so far... silence. I keep hoping I'll magically be back in their good graces, but I'm a conservative, Catholic Mom who bakes cookies so I don't think they like me much.

Today is actually Thanksgiving and yes, I'm making a full traditional Thanksgiving meal, but if you have the pies done, the turkey and stuffing is in the oven and the side dishes are prepped, you really do have a good amount of down time until it gets a bit crazy bringing it all together the last 30 minutes or so. 

I'm here sipping coffee and getting ready to go mash the potatoes, add some things to them and then pop them into the crock pot to keep warm until mealtime.  Thought I'd pop in long enough to post my Instagram photos here - and remind everyone that the recipes are all on my site; just do a search for the item use the labels in the sidebar.  (There is a Thanksgiving label too!  It has 144 posts right now - just scroll through, and don't forget to hit 'older posts' to continue to the next page of search results.) 

You'll find my pie crust recipe, homemade bread and rolls, mini Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes that look like turkey and gravy but are really cupcakes, frosting and candy), our Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, pecan pies, pumpkin pies, chocolate pies and more... as well as Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Gravy, Stuffing and, well, you get the idea.

I've been posting on An American Housewife since 2006 so it's all there.

And because it's Thanksgiving - and tomorrow is BLACK FRIDAY - I know a lot of you are shopping online.  Please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon - An American Housewife at Amazon

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November 23, 2019

From my Instagram Today - Artisan Bread

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen this (below) photo posted today.  

 I've been battling what seems to be 3 different back-to-back colds for over a month now (the first wasn't a big deal, mostly just a cough, the second one following it was a little worse and then my husband returned from a business trip with a whopper of a nasty cold and was more than happy to share it with me... ha ha) so in regards to our normal low carb keto way of eating?  Nope.  We still mostly do low carb and of course, sugar free (always sugar free) but the carbs have been more Atkins maintenance than anything else. 

However, this cold coupled with the rainy, wet, dreary and gray last few days has me just wanting homemade bread.  Although I could easily make one of my regular bread recipes or even just make my 'classic' easy bread dough in the bread machine with no work on my part (all those recipes are posted numerous times already on An American Housewife - just use the search engine) I really wanted a thick, chewy, artisan bread.  The kind with a chewy, crunchy crust, but a thick, chewy center to either slather with butter and eat hot, toast under the broiler for a couple minutes or use to dip into a thick, rich, hot soup for dinner.

That kind of bread.

But I still needed it to be rather easy and no work because this cold has my head killing me with a massive headache, a hacking cough and I'm just so so so worn out I don't have the energy to babysit a dough.  

With that in mind, I turned to one of my favorite recipes that I don't get to make often since we normally are eating low carb or keto.   
This artisan bread recipe I've posted a couple times before, that uses just a couple ingredients, you mix, but don't knead, toss into a bucket or bowl with a lid and forget about for a couple hours.  Then you take it out, cut some off to use, form a round, let it sit there for 40 minutes and bake in a hot oven with some steam to form the chewy crust.  (The part I'm craving!).
I'm just going to cut and paste the recipe from a previous posting but I'm going to add a note here.  The recipe as original is not necessarily a tasty sweet bread or even as sweet as you might be used to because it uses zero sugar. Yep, zero.  Not even to feed the yeast.  So I add some sugar-free honey to my water/yeast/salt mixture just to give it a little bit of flavor.  

This bread also don't save well for a 2nd or 3rd day (I personally don't think) but the cool thing about this recipe is that you can pop your bucket or bowl into the refrigerator after the initial 2 hour raising/falling and use it over the next 10-14 days.  You can get about 4 - 1 lb. loaves from it. Just reach in, cut off a piece of dough, toss it on a floured surface and form a round, let it rest 40 minutes and bake.  So you can be making fresh rounds from it from the refrigerator and don't have to worry about leftover bread.

Artisan Bread

1 ½ T yeast
1 ½ T salt
3 c water, lukewarm
6 ½ c flour
Baking/Pizza Stone

Dump yeast, salt and water into a large bowl, bucket or container.
Add flour.
Mix with a wooden spoon just until the flour is incorporated. No dry flour, no lumps.
Put a loose lid on or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Not air tight.  Let set at room temperature about 2 hours.
Sprinkle bit of flour so your fingers don’t stick. Cut off grapefruit sized piece with serrated knife.
Work in your hands to make a ball, pulling top layer to bottom.  Round and smooth.
Place on cornmeal sprinkled board.
Let set 40 minutes.
Sprinkle with flour, slash the loaf with a few slices.
Bake at 375 preheated oven with an empty pan in the bottom.
Slide on middle shelf baking stone.
Pour a cup of water in the hot empty pan and close door quickly to steam the bread.
Baked till top is golden brown - about 20-25 minutes.
Hard crust and moist, soft bread!

NOTE:  This bread is best served fresh.
I like it warm and eaten the first day.
I personally don't think it 'saves' well the second or third day because the texture changes.
I'd use it for croutons, cube & save for Thanksgiving stuffing, or process for bread crumbs and freeze any leftovers after the 2nd day. That's just my personal opinion though.

Mix it with a wooden spoon

Let it rise and do it's thing

It's ready!

Pull it out and prepare your bread rounds

Small or large - it's up to you! Just chop or pull some dough and form. No kneading.

Ready for the oven!

Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. Love this bread with soup!

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Easy Sugar Free Peanut Butter Fudge

If you've read An American Housewife for any length of time, you know I'm not a fan of chocolate.  Or peanut butter.  But my husband is.  And although he's not a big fan of 'fudge' when you are in a snacky mood, it's nice to have items on hand.  I keep this one in the freezer but the coolest thing about it is that having this on hand is perfect for making homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream.  (Just make your favorite vanilla or chocolate ice cream and crumble this into the ice cream at the end of the cycle before serving or freezing.)

This recipe is a regular easy fudge recipe like you probably have in any of your 'grandma's' recipes as it's in every church or school or fundraising cookbook.  Any chocolate chip based 'easy fudge' recipe will do and you can make it sugar free by substituting ingredients and then mixing in your favorite sugar free candies (Peanut Butter Cups, Toffee, whatever you wish).

I didn't measure exact but used these in approximate amounts.  I had a partial bag of Lily's chocolates and a partial bag of Hershey's so I mixed those too.

1/2 c butter
Scant 1/4 c cream
1 bag chocolate chips
2 T peanut butter
1 1/2 - 2 c powdered sweetener or sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you like it. Taste it.)
1 t vanilla
Sugar free or regular candies of your choice to crumble or break into it (like toffee or peanut butter cups)

Line 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over edges. Grease foil with butter. Place  butter, cream, peanut butter and chocolate chips in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 2-3 minutes or until melted.  Beat in the sweetener and vanilla along with whatever crumbled candies you wish.  Spread into prepared pan and crumble a few candies on top. Chill until firm. 

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Low Carb and Sugar Free Zucchini Trifle? YES! Zucchini BREAD Trifle! With cream cheese frosting and whipped cream

I had this on my Instagram Story and planned on putting the recipe here but... life.  So this morning I'm finally putting the photos up!

When and if you say you made a 'zucchini trifle' it probably wouldn't sound all that great to a lot of a people (I'm guessing).  But what if you say "Zucchini Bread Trifle with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream" or something like that?  So, basically it's a yummy zucchini bread with cream cheese frosting but made into a dessert.

This really doesn't need a recipe... as you just throw it together with your favorite zucchini bread recipe, your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe and some vanilla whipped cream.  This can be low carb and sugar free or not.

I made this one low carb and sugar free using a typical zucchini bread recipe but just substituting almond flour and whey protein powder along with the natural sweetener instead of flour and sugar.

3 eggs
1/4 c butter
2/3 c sweetener of your choice (I used Lakanto this time, which is erythritol & monk fruit)
1 3/4 c almond flour
1/4 c unflavored or vanilla whey protein powder, or oat fiber or a tablespoon of coconut flour
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 t ginger
1/2 t salt
Shredded zucchini - about a cup (I use a 'handful')
Optional - walnuts

I made 2 loaves - one with nuts and one without.  The 'nut' version tended to be a little more crumbly than the 'without' - probably because I used too many nuts!  Ha ha.  So keep the nuts to about 1/2 cup I think. 

Mix the butter and eggs and sweetener with the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, mix and then stir in the zucchini.  Pour into a parchment lined and greased loaf pan/bread pan (9X5) and bake at 325-350 degrees for about an hour.  The temperature and and length of time depends on your oven and how dark your pan is.  Anything between 45-65 minutes until it's done in the middle and no longer battery. Let it cool in the pan for about 10-12 minutes before you turn it out to cool completely. 

As it cools mix up a basic cream cheese frosting

I used about;
2 T butter
4 T cream cheese
1 c granulated sweetener (I used Swerve Confectioner's this time)
1 T heavy cream or almond milk
1 t vanilla

Whip about 2 cups heavy cream until it forms soft peaks in a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese frosting and keep whipping until it's blended and whipped to stiff peaks.  Taste.  See if it's the level of vanilla and sweetness you want.  Add some cream cheese, vanilla, dash of salt, whatever you wish.

Layer the whipped cream mixture and the cut or crumbled up cold zucchini bread in a glass bowl (or any container really, glass bowls are just traditional for trifles to show off the layers). I crumbled the last of the zucchini bread on top. 

Blue Diamond Almond Flour, Gluten Free, Blanched, Finely Sifted 3 Pound bag

Lakanto Monkfruit Natural Sweetener Variety Pack, Classic & Golden Sweetener, 8.29 Oz

  Powdered Monk Fruit Sweetener with Erythritol Confectioners

Swerve Sweetener, Brown Bundle, 12 oz pack of 2

Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners (Pack of 2)

Anchor Hocking Monaco Trifle Bowl - 86605L6

Circleware Wavy Glass Bowl

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November 21, 2019

From my Instagram Story: My Ashley Sommerford Farmhouse Dining Table and Bench

If you are here from my story on Instagram... here is the 'formal' dining room with it's farmhouse style dining table and bench I got from Amazon.  I've had for awhile now and I'm loving it.  It is actually pretty 'light' in weight but looks heavier than it is.  Also, it's not solid, although that center block looks like it would be.

It's not a piece that would last for 80 years and then be handed down through the generations (well, I guess it can be... perhaps?) but it's pretty and affordable and I'm still quite happy with it!  I paired it with both the matching bench and some white linen nail head chairs.

I didn't 'stage' this photo or even take the picture with a good camera... LOL.  This is what it looks like this morning and photo is taken with my cellphone. 

NOTE:  it does have ridges and nail holes so crumbs can get into those little crevices but you can suck those out with a vacuum easily!

  Signature Design By Ashley - Sommerford Rectangular Dining Room Table - Casual Style - Brown

  Signature Design By Ashley - Sommerford Large Dining Room Bench - Casual Style - BrownPrint Friendly and PDF