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.  

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. 

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Easier Than Ever Low Carb (Keto) Mozzarella Sticks - because I made them in the waffle iron this time!

Remember these? (above)  I've posted how much I love my low carb mozzarella sticks more than a couple times now. I usually make a double or triple batch to keep in the freezer because I really (really) hate to bread foods.  I will choose to not make favorite food items just because I hate the messy breading process!

 I got the idea of using my normal, regular recipe but skipping the freezing time completely AND then making them in the waffle iron on top of that.  

I knew they wouldn't be quite the same as deep frying them, but I actually was kind of excited about that as I usually have to drain them on paper towels to get the excess oil off.  I wasn't sure if they would still crisp up nice for me but guess what?  They did!  And they were SO FAST and SO EASY that I'm actually considering making more of them again tonight since I'll be the only one home for 'dinner' tonight due to schedules.

Here is my regular mozzarella 'stick' made in the waffle iron instead....

If you don't want to use wheat resistant starch (which is totally cool because I know it's usually hard to find except online) just use more Parmesan.  Same with pork rinds.  This time around I did use wheat resistant starch, but added more Parmesan to take the place of the pork rinds that I didn't feel like food processing because... hello?  I already said I was hungry and wanted to eat NOW.  Ha ha ha.

Low Carb Mozzarella Sticks

1 egg, beaten
1/2 c almond flour
1/4 c powdered Parmesan cheese
optional: 1/4 c wheat resistant starch 75
optional: 1/4 c ground pork rinds
(If you don't use the wheat resistant starch 75 or pork rinds just double or triple the cheese)
16 pieces string cheese
2 T Italian Seasoning
1/2 garlic salt

Cut the string cheese in half.
Lightly beat the egg and pour into a small shallow dish.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large Ziploc baggy, dish or jar.
Roll the cheese stick halves in the egg and dip in the dry mix. Press lightly to help it adhere.
Now, you CAN  place the breaded cheese sticks on a baking sheet and freeze at least 2 hours or up to 3 months.  But I made these literally straight from breading to laying it in my hot, and sprayed waffle iron.  Cook them in your waffle iron until the light turns green that they are 'ready' or if yours doesn't have one, about 3 minutes (more or less) depending on your brand of waffle iron and how hot it gets.
Lightly salt to taste and serve hot with low or no sugar marinara sauce or ketchup. 

Because it's crumb-based Parmesan breading, it does get your iron a little messy but obviously that wipes right out with a paper towel when you are done making them.

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Just in time for Thanksgiving - Reposting from 2017: My sugar free, low carb pie crust


I have to be honest, I've been so busy I had not even given any thought to the fact that Thanksgiving was right around the corner.  I didn't realize it until I returned home from being out of town this past weekend, and was scrolling through my Instagram stories.  Someone posted their Thanksgiving Dinner last weekend as they had scheduling issues with blended families.  I went... wait!  What?  Thanksgiving...? 

Then I looked at the calendar.  Oh my.  Thanksgiving IS right around the corner. 
From 2017:  My Sugar Free, Low Carb Pie Crust


A low carb, sugar free pie crust I've made a number of times before, but this time I tried to make it the way I make my tradition non-low carb versions; which is in my food processor.  And I doubled the recipe - which worked perfectly!  Score a win as I can use one and freeze one for future!

(The food processor in the photo is a Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor.)

 Low Carb, Flour-Free Pie Crust

1 c Blanched Almond Flour (any good quality, fine grain, blanched almond flour)
4 T Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
2 t xanthan gum
2 T Nature's Best Isopure Unflavored Whey Protein Powder (I've never made this with any other brand so far)
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 food process and pulse a few times to mix.  Add the butter pieces while pulsing a few seconds. Beat the egg yolks briefly with cold water and drizzle into the processor while it's running. As soon as it forms a ball, stop.  Remove, place on plastic wrap, form a disk, wrap and chill til needed. 

Roll out the pie crust between two pieces of parchment and place in a large, deep dish pan pan.  Either fill and bake or if using for a 'cold' pie, prick the bottom and bake at 350 until golden brown and firm in the center.  Use as you would any pie crust.

I doubled this and it turned out perfectly.  No issues.

 As soon as it forms a ball, stop the machine.

Sometimes it goes into the pan easily and other times it tears and I just piece it and press into place.

The photo at the top of this post is the baked, finished product with a simple sugar free chocolate mousse and sugar free chocolate chips sprinkled on top.  Use your crust for whatever pie you wish.

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From my Instagram Story: Tilapia Florentine

I've made this more than a few times in the past year, and I make it the same... and different... every time.  It's just a basic white sauce/alfredo sauce with spinach; poured over tilapia and baked in the oven.  

I thought I had posted this before, but a quick search doesn't reveal it, so maybe I haven't.  However, I do have photos in my files from 3 different times I've made it - so the post will have pictures from different days - which means different pans and even different kinds of tilapia.  Sometimes I use fresh tilapia, other times I've used Parmesan crusted tilapia from the frozen food section of Sam's Club.   

This last time, I had used frozen spinach straight from the freezer that I had simply thrown the entire plastic container of fresh spinach into the deep freeze when it was needing to be used up but I was going out of town.  I just tossed the container into the freezer, took out 2 handfuls to use today and was quite happy to see it worked perfectly!  I didn't know if it would have been too watery, as 'frozen' spinach containers are... nope!  So apparently if you have a large container of fresh spinach leaves, it works to just put the whole container in the deep freezer and pull it out later to use in cooked dishes. 

Note:  Use fresh or frozen tilapia, parmesan encrusted tilapia, catfish or any kind of white fish that you like!  Also feel free to use fresh or frozen spinach.  Also - the amounts are approximate as you are just making a simple sauce.  Use more or less garlic or onion depending on what you like.  If you don't want to use green onions, I suppose some onion powder would work just fine too.  Maybe a 1/2 teaspoon-ish?

Tilapia Florentine

2-3 T butter
1-3 green onions
1-2 t fresh minced garlic
2-3 oz. cream cheese
1 c heavy cream
salt and pepper
1/2 c Parmesan
1-2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, or a small box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Tilapia - fresh, frozen or even Parmesan Crusted/Seasoned - 3-5 pieces

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the green onion and garlic.  Add the cream cheese and stir, press and heat until it's melting.  Add the cream cheese, season with salt and pepper and about a 1/2 teaspoon thyme.  Add the Parmesan, stir until smooth and add the spinach. 

Lay the fish in a greased baking dish or casserole dish.  Pour the sauce over and bake at 400-425 ish for about 20 minutes.  


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Homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls



My latest 'pumpkin' inspired recipe was deciding to add it to my homemade cinnamon rolls.  I made a large double batch so it made two (2) 9X13" pans.  This way I already have Christmas morning breakfast in the freezer and ready to simply take out on Christmas Eve and let them raise in the pan in the refrigerator for a delicious breakfast for our entire family that takes no time whatsoever!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 c water
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 1/3 c pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin)
1/2 c warm/barely hot tap water
2 pkg. yeast (or about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 eggs
7 c flour
2 t cinnamon
1 3/4 c brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 t powdered vanilla (optional if you have it)
1 1/2 sticks butter (about 3/4 c)

In a microwavable bowl, place the water, milk, butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla.  Microwave for a minute or two until melted.  Add the pumpkin and stir or whisk smooth.  In a mixing bowl pour the warm tap water and add the yeast.  As soon as it's foamy, add the 2 eggs and the pumpkin mixture.  Mix just until blended.

Add about 5-6 cups of the flour and the 2 t cinnamon.  Using your bread dough hook, mixing and kneading.  (I often make my dough in the bread machine as well;  just use your 'dough' setting).  As soon as the flour is incorporated, add the last 1 1/2 cups (or so) until your dough is no longer sticky.  When it is forming a nice ball and isn't sticking, let it machine knead about 4-5 minutes more or take it out and knead it by hand.  Let it rise in the bowl under plastic wrap until doubled in size.  Punch down.  Divide in half.

Mix the last brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered vanilla (if you have it) and butter.  Mix with your fingers (or cut in with two forks) until crumbly.  

Roll out the half dough ball to a large rectangle.  When it's roughly about 12 inches by 16 inches, spread half the topping mixture over it.  Starting with the longer 16 inch side, roll it up and squeeze the end to form a log.  Use a sharp knife or utensil to cut equal slices.  You slice them as thin as 1 inch or as thick as 2-3 inches.  It depends on how thick you like them and how many you need to make!  I like them about 1 1/2" side and get about 12 of them this way.  Place in  a greased baking pan (anything around 9X13" size works fine).  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let them double in size.  Bake at 375 (ish) around 20 minutes.  They will be golden brown and bubbling.  Let the rolls cool for at least 7-10 minutes before adding icing if you wish to top them.  Can be served as they are or with an icing recipe or even store bought frosting.

Easy Icing:
Start with 1 to 1 1/2 c powdered sugar. Add 2 T soft butter and about 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Turn on the mixer and mix until completely smooth. If it's too thick add more cream (or milk) but only 1 teaspoon at a time as you don't want to add too much and have 'soup'. Frost the rolls and serve warm.

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Fresh from the Oven - Homemade Oatmeal Cookies (that stay chewy!)

I made these for house guests that were staying with us and have regular white and brown sugar in them (not sugar free).

Although many of our regular low carb, sugar free or keto recipes work perfectly for everyone, there are those that don't.  I found that when I made these with the natural sweeteners instead of brown sugar and white sugar, they puffed up too much and they got hard, while made with brown sugar and white sugar, they stayed flat and chewy, which was more preferable. 

As a matter of fact, these are still chewy and perfect 3 days later... although they are almost gone now.  But don't over bake them!  The oatmeal and brown sugar keep them pretty chewy and perfect but if you over bake them to death, they'll be hard no matter how hard the oatmeal and brown sugar try to save you.  There is no coming back from an over baked cookie.  If your oven is preheated completely, then about 11 minutes is right.  But 10-12 is what to aim for and watch for.  All ovens and the cookie sheet you bake them on make a difference!

Homemade Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

1 c butter
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal - the quick cook style

Cream the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Shape into balls or use a scoop about 1 1/2 inch size and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Use an ungreased cookie sheet or bake on parchment.  Let cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two before removing to a wire rack to cool completely (so they don't fall apart on you). 

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