Lemon Muffins - Low Carb and Sugar Free 2020 version

About two weeks ago I bought a container of ricotta cheese intending to make a keto lemon cake, but... life.

So last weekend I used half the container to make a keto lasagna and hoped I'd have time to get around to the cake this week.  Which, I didn't.  But yesterday I realized had about 30 minutes free to whip up 'something' yummy to snack on for the next couple days and using up the ricotta cheese was my goal.

Although I wasn't in the mood for a cake and my husband isn't a 'cake' eater at all.  He loves cake, but it never occurs to him to eat it.  Ever.  If it's out of sight, it's out of mind and also, as sad as it sounds, he thinks "cutting a piece of cake" is just too much work.  But he will eat cupcakes (and muffins), if they are front and center, on the counter, where he can't miss them and can grab one or two 'on the go'.

A couple weeks ago I had bought the book; The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking - but I hadn't had time to look through it yet.  It's just been living on my kitchen counter.  I knew the lemon CAKE recipe I wanted, using ricotta was... somewhere... in a pile of binders, books and handwritten recipes but since I do a ton of baking, I figured I would open the 'baking' book - find ANY random muffin or cupcake recipe and just adapt it as I wanted to.

It just so happens I lucked out!  The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking has a lemon muffin recipe that uses ricotta!  I barely had to adapt it at all.  I did make a larger batch (making approximately 1 1/2 times what the recipe called for), used dried lemon zest, and didn't use the 2 tablespoons water, nor did I opt to use a glaze on the top.  I wanted to make sure I get the recipe and photo uploaded to my site collections so I can find it quick and easy in the future, as well as when I'm traveling or staying with friends or family and needing some of my recipes to make at their homes.

Lemon Muffins
Great to use up leftover ricotta

2/3 c ricotta (I used about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 c granulated sweetener (I used 1 c So Nourished brand erythritol w/ Monk Fruit)
3 eggs (I used 4)
1 t grated lemon zest (I use 2 t dried lemon zest)
3/4 t lemon extract (I used about 2 heaping capfuls)
1/2 t vanilla extract (I used about teaspoon, didn't measure)
2 c almond flour (I used 3 cups)
1/4 c coconut flour (I used about 1/3 cup)
1 T baking powder (I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 t salt (I used about a teaspoon)
2-4 T water (I didn't use at all)

Preheat oven to 325.  Line your muffin tins with paper liners.  The original recipe made about 12.  My version made 18.

In a food processor bowl, place the ricotta cheese, sweetener, eggs, lemon zest, extracts and blend.  Add the dry ingredients and process again just until smooth.  Wait about 30 seconds to see how thick your batter is as the coconut flour thickens the batter as it absorbs moisture.  If you need to add a little water you can do it now and blend again.

Fill your muffin tins. Bake 25-30 minutes until the tops are firm when you gently touch them.  Cool in the pan for about 15-20 minutes and then you can remove to cool on a wire cooling rack (to keep the bottoms from getting soggy).  

You can top with a simple glaze if you wish - mix about 1/2 cup powdered natural sweetener with about 2 T lemon juice and drizzle.   Mine in the photo are plain. 

You might be interested in the book this recipe came from;

The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking

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Keto (low carb, sugar free) donuts ...

Mini Donuts... one of the pan versions I made

This was my favorite pan - a mini fluted pan - not a bundt pan, more like a thick cookie or little cake

Is it a donut or a muffin? Or a little cake?  I decided to bake my donuts in 3 different pans instead of just my mini donut pans like I usually do.  I used a mini muffin pan, a mini donut pan and then a pan I had no idea what to call it... and still don't.

I found one very similar to it at Amazon that called it a 'mini fluted cupcake pan' so I decided we'll go with that.

The mini donut pans are just too difficult to get the donuts out of, even with a lot of butter or oil. After about 10 years of dealing with the little donut pain-in-the-butts, I decided to grab two other pans that were in the cupboard, and that is how I found I really liked the other two pans even better than the little donut pan.  So much easier to get out, but I also loved how the had a little crisp to the outside of them!  Not just a completely moist and soft almond flour baked good like you usually get with almond flour goodies.

You can play with this recipe:  These donuts can be flavored however you wish.  LorAnn oils are my ultimate favorites and I have a whole ziploc full of different flavors from grape to apple, from peppermint to chocolate to bubble gum and more.  They last for years and years (and years) and are good quality, strong and very easy to use.  The apple cider in this version is because I used apple flavored oils.  With blueberry I leave that out and replace with a teaspoon of lemon juice and/or vanilla.  For cake donuts, it's vanilla extract. Play with whatever flavor you like.

This one is apple cinnamon... keto, sugar free and low carb of course.


2 c almond flour
1/2 c natural granular sweetener (I used Lakanto classic)
1/4 c unflavored whey protein powder (I use Isopure exclusively)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t cinnamon
2 eggs
1/3 c water
1/4 c butter
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 t apple flavored LorAnn Oils

Whisk together the dry ingredients; almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the eggs, water, butter, apple cider and flavoring.  Fill about 24 mini donut or muffin tins that you've greased very well with butter.  Bake at 325 for about 17 minutes.  So they are firm and not still jiggly.  Let them cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing to cool completely.

Top with a mixture of cinnamon and natural sweetener (I used Lakanto) - about 1/4 cup sweetener to 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Heavier if you really like cinnamon.  If the tops of your donuts or mini muffins aren't sticky enough to grasp the cinnamon/sweetener, you can brush them with melted butter first.

My favorite shape was the fluted mini cake pans.  Almost like thick muffin tops - but bigger than a muffin top. 

This is the pan I'm not sure what it's called.  I bought it and a Madeleine cookie pan at the same time years and years ago - on clearance in some random cake and decorating shop in Minneapolis that doesn't exist anymore.


I found a similar one on Amazon (I linked to above and below this post)


The tops are dipped in a mixture of granular natural sweetener and cinnamon.  For blueberry donuts or vanilla cake donuts I'd use a simple glaze.  I would for chocolate donuts too but I hate chocolate so I probably won't be making those any time soon.

These were made in the mini muffin pan. Most people have this pan or have easy access to it.  They do come out of this pan much easier than the mini-donut pans!

When you can get them out of the pan in one piece, the mini donuts do turn out cute!

Here is the pan I found at Amazon that is similar to mine:

Mini Fluted Cupcake Pan

You might also be interested in these related pans;

USA Pan Bakeware Mini Cupcake and Muffin Pan, 24 Well, Nonstick  and Quick Release Coating, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
Wilton Perfect Results Non-Stick Donut Pan, 20-Cavity Donut Baking Pan


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#WhatsForDinner? Keto - Low Carb - Sugar Free and YUMMY

We'll be doing mussels in garlic and butter along with grilled bacon wrapped shrimp.  For a side, I prepared (earlier today) a salad with peppers, green onions, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, kalamata olives and some diced tomato; sprinkled with basil and chilling now.

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We eat out on average, zero (0) times a week. The average American eats out 6 times a week for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner!

This afternoon I found myself hanging out at Zagat and finding out that as of 2018, the average American eats out (breakfast, lunch and dinner) 6 times a week.
Not counting breakfast, American eat out 5 times a week for lunch and dinner!

If you take breakfast out of the line up, Americans eat out 5 times a week just for lunch and dinner. 

When I saw those numbers, I then decided to look up obesity and overweight statistics for both adults and kids.  I found some interesting numbers on the CDC (government) website in their 2018 publication (which uses the latest available statistics, 2015-2016).  Are you ready for this?

If you count how many Americans are overweight (not all obese, but overweight) it's almost 72%.

  • Percent of adults aged 20 and over with obesity: 39.8% (2015-2016)
  • Percent of adults aged 20 and over with overweight, including obesity: 71.6% (2015-2016)
  • Percent of adolescents aged 12-19 years with obesity: 20.6% (2015-2016)
  • Percent of children aged 6-11 years with obesity: 18.4% (2015-2016)
  • Percent of children aged 2-5 years with obesity: 13.9% (2015-2016)

Because I'm Swedish and German, I clicked over to see what the Swedish obesity rates were it seems that 53.3% of the population of Swedish is overweight with 18.6% of them counting as obese.  Not as bad as America but still higher than I expected to see - however I noted the information used was compiled in 2008 so it's most likely closer to American rates by now, as it's been almost 12 years since then.  Here is a graph showing European countries obesity rates in an easy to compare graph.  LINK.


Eating out 6 times a week:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Zagat surveyed nearly 13,000 people across the nation about their dining spending habits, social media influence on food choices, as well as what they do and don't do.

".....We asked our respondents and the results revealed that for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Americans typically dine out 5.9 times per week.

And for lunch and dinner only, 4.9 times per week on average. Certain markets outpaced others, of course. Our respondents in Dallas-Fort Worth eat out most frequently with a total of 7.0 times per week, while Orlando and Houston are right behind at 6.9 times per week. Those in Minneapolis dine out the least, at 4.7 times per week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So how much is all of this dining out costing? Nationally, diners spend an average of $36.40 per person at a restaurant. New York City and Boston spend above the national average, with $46.14 and $41.54 respectively, while most of the respondents in other cities spend below it, with cities like Charlotte, San Antonio and Detroit spending the least.

Our survey data revealed that noise was the most irksome at 24% followed by service (23%), crowds (15%), high prices (12%) and parking (10%). And how about those trendy backless stools? Seventy percent of those surveyed say they are “over it” when it comes to this style of seating. Check please!

56% of New York patrons have or would ask to charge their phone in a bar or restaurant, compared to the national average of 45%. Diners in Detroit and Seattle are less concerned with bothering staff about their phone batteries as 64% say they would not ask to charge their phones in a restaurant or bar.

You might also be interested in some related topics (books and dvd) available through Amazon;

  The Rise of Obesity in Europe: A Twentieth Century Food History

  Super Size Me [DVD]

  Fat Nation: A History of Obesity in America

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#WhatsForDinner? - Tonight's dinner is..... Marinated Grilled Pork Chops with Jalapeno, Cream Cheese & Bacon

I'm sitting here in the office waiting for my husband to get home from work... dinner is made and I thought what the heck, I'd post a #WhatsForDinner?  post.  Tonight it's grilled pork chops!

I've posted this one before (just search for it in the search box to the right or at the top of the page) - it's pork chops that have been marinating in salsa, then grilled.  At the end of the grill time I top them with a scoop of spicy mixture that uses cream cheese, jalapenos, cheddar cheese and crumbled, cooked bacon.

Oh... so .... good....

My husband is not a fan of pork chops but he will gladly eat these!  We love them and so far, everyone we've made these for does too!

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Creamy Sugar Free, Low Carb Cheesecake made with Sour Cream

You should chill your cheesecake overnight as it makes the texture creamy and wonderful. I cannot EVER wait and always have a piece warm...  so this photo is of it still warm.

Cheesecakes are so incredibly easy to make, take almost no work and yet are so good, and can be made into so many flavors!  They are also one of the easiest desserts to make into a sugar free, low carb or keto option so most people following a low carb way of eating will have these on hand often.

I've been making cheesecakes regularly since about 1992.   They are all basically made about the same, give or take one or two small ingredients and perhaps whether or not you use a water bath to bake it, or the mixing process.  Generally speaking though, you'll have cream cheese or ricotta cheese, sugar or sweetener, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla and sometimes sour cream.  The crusts are also pretty generalized.

This is a cheesecake very similar to the first cheesecake recipe I was given a copy of in the early 90's, by the wife of the Pastor I worked for in Tennessee.  She always made hers in a cake pan though.  I use the traditional springform pan. She used sugar of course, while I use a natural sweetener.  In this cake, I was using Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener - which I've been thrilled with so far in everything I've been making lately.

Basic Low Carb Crust:

2 c almond flour, other nut flour, ground pecans, fine sugar free cookie crumbs, a mixture of any/all
1/2 c natural sweetener, confectioner's style (like So Nourished, Just Like Sugar, etc.)
1/4 t salt
4 T butter

Mix or blend the almond flour, ground nuts, sweetener and salt in a small bowl.  Add the butter, and mash/mix with a fork, your fingers or a rubber scraper until it starts to come together, place in your pan (for pie or bars).  Press evenly all across the bottom of a springform pan. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350.  Remove and let cool while you make your cheesecake.

Basic Plain Cheesecake

5 packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 c sweetener of choice that is not liquid drops (adapt the amount for the brand/style you are using*)
1 c sour cream
lemon juice

*I used a mixture of Lakanto and Swerve - the confectioner's or 'powdered sugar' style.  Sometimes I use the granular, but it can make a less creamy texture.  You can also just whirl your granular sweetener in a food processor or blender. 

Beat the cream cheese smooth, then add your sweetener, followed by the eggs, sour cream and lemon juice and vanilla to taste.  Start with about a tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of vanilla but if you want a more lemon flavor, don't add the vanilla.  And if you wish, just switch to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a tablespoon of vanilla.  (You can add other flavors, add fruits, mix about a cup of the batter with cocoa and swirl it in, add sugar free candy pieces like crumbled peanut butter cups, add swirls of sugar free jams or jellies, etc.  But I'm a weirdo I guess.  I like plain, vanilla cheesecake best of all).

Pour your batter into a well greased 9 or 10 inch springform pan (or a large cake pan like my bosses wife used to use).  Bake at 325 for about 1 1/2 hours for the springform pan. Remove and let it cool completely then cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.  This changes the texture.  Serve with a drizzle or dollop of whatever you wish.  Caramel, chocolate, fruit, whipped cream, peanut butter sauce, crushed candies, crumbled cookies - using all sugar free and low carb options of course!

*I sometimes use a water bath and sometimes half this and use a small sprinform pan to make this in my InstantPot pressure cooker.  I don't typically bother with the water bath though.  It makes cheesecakes a bit more of a pain to make.  I had my pizza stone heating in the oven this time and just put the springform pan on it and baked it that way.  Turned out great.  If you do get a cheesecake that develops a crack during baking or cooling, just add a nice topping!  Covered with a sugar free jam, lemon filling, crumbled sugar free cookies or candies or even just covered in sweetened whipped cream, it is beautiful and no one would ever know.

This time I used a mixture of almond flour and ground pecans leftover from Christmas baking for the crust

Pressed into the bottom of the pan (and just a tiny lip up the side)

Baked for 12 minutes in my oven, until starting to turn golden on the edges

A yummy smooth cheesecake batter

In the pan and now... into the oven!

You might be interested in some of the products related to this post, available through Amazon;

Swerve Confectioners Sweetener
Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener
Lakanto Confectioner's Style
Wilton 10" non-stick springform pan

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#WhatsForDinner? - LOW CARB AND SUGAR FREE. This is an unexpected addition to the last post. This time with a long list of ideas!

I randomly posted what we had for dinner last week, just for the heck of it. But this morning I glanced at one of my kazillion hand written and printed out 3-ring recipe binders (I have binders, notebooks, recipe boxes, folders, etc.) and in the front cover one of them I had printed "Tried & True" Low Carb & Sugar Free on the front of, I had an idea list from years ago that I honestly never bother looking at anymore, but it gave me the idea that I might want to help out readers by posting a list of 'IDEAS' because I know the question "What do I make for dinner tonight?"  VERY WELL.

There is a very long post hidden inside the topic of how I use a "MEAL IDEA LIST" and don't believe or follow weekly or monthly menu plans. But that's for another day maybe.  Today I'm skipping head and I'm just going to start re-typing some of the menu or meal ideas I had jotted down in this one particular 3-ring binder.  I'm thinking this particular list might be from about 8 (?) years ago.  I forgot it was tucked inside there.  I have various 'idea lists' depending on what we like right now, what we don't really like to eat anymore, or got tired of.  The lists change based on what 'sounds good' at that time.  My lists can be 10 meal ideas long or 65 meal ideas long.  Sometimes family chimes in.  Other times it's just me brainstorming, or flipping through the kazillion recipes I have.

So this list...

It was during the Atkins and Low Carb, Sugar Free stage... but we weren't following 'keto' so some of the items might have 15-20 carbs OR have more carbs depending on how YOU MAKE THEM and what BRAND PRODUCTS you use.  

*** This is important ***   
Example:  the brand unflavored or vanilla whey protein powder I use is 0 carbs and 0 sugar, but the brand you buy might have 20 grams of sugar and 8 carbs.   READ LABELS.

Also, if I write down an idea for 'enchiladas' this is going to leave you open to what YOU use for the tortilla wraps.  The carb counts between homemade crepe style wraps verses those of you who buy store bought low carb tortillas, verses some made with almond flour or coconut flour.  The diced tomatoes or tomato paste you use might have a bunch of sugar carbs added.  Mine doesn't.  Brands and styles of ingredients are important so yes, you can have almost ANY food item/meal assuming you have a way of substituting products to keep it sugar free and low carb or keto. If you see 'cheeseburgers' for example, you have to use your brains - no, we are not having them on store bought buns.  Use the mozzarella fat head dough and make buns, or if you trust a low-carb company's buns, or even using a lettuce wrap or no bun at all.  I'm a big proponent of using common sense, and have no patience for those who don't. 


Turkey Club Sandwich
Asian Beef with Bean Sprouts
Grilled Rib Eye
Chicken Salad
Tuna Salad
Pork Chops with Chive Sauce
Egg Salad
BBQ Pork Chops
BBQ Chicken Breasts
Southwestern Chicken Breasts - grilled
Buffalo Wings and Blue Cheese Dressing
Shrimp Scampi
Grilled Fish
Grilled Salmon with Lemon Butter
Fish Tacos
Steamed Mussels with Garlic Butter
Crab Legs
Lemon Pepper Chicken
Grilled Scallops with Bacon
Grilled Pork Chops
Chicken Fingers
Creamy Mushroom Chicken
Pizza Burger
Lettuce Wraps - turkey, avocado
Asian Chicken with Almonds
Chicken Breasts with Italian Cream Sauce
Prime Rib
Lasagna with zucchini noodles
Fried Chicken
Parmesan Chicken
Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Baked Chicken with Sour Cream Sauce
Grilled Spicy Shrimp
Tuna Cakes
Marinated Grilled Chicken - Fair Style
Creamy Garlic Chicken
Broccoli Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Enchilada Bake
Smothered Pork Loin Chops
Pork Chops with Smoked Gouda and Bacon
Cream Cheese Crock Pot Chicken
Baked Chicken Breasts
Crab Cakes
Stuffed Red Snapper
Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops
Chicken Cordon Blue
Smothered Chicken
Cheesy Chili Bake

Cauliflower Salad
Broccoli Salad (ranch)
Mashed Turnips
Turnip Fries
Mashed Cauliflower
Zucchini Noodles with butter
7 layer salad
Broccoli and Bacon Salad
Zucchini Patties
Faux Fried Rice
Homemade Protein Noodles
Chef Salad
Green Bean Almondine
Avocado and Bacon
Cucumbers in Creamy Sauce
Sauteed Vegetables
Jalapeno Poppers
Stuffed Mushrooms
Deviled Eggs
Cauliflower Casserole
Cheesy Cauliflower and Ham
Garden Salad
Steamed Broccoli with Lemon Butter
Hot Spinach Dip
Hot Crab Casserole or Dip
Mock Macaroni and Cheese
Almond Thin Crackers
Creamed Spinach

While typing this out, I smiled a few times as there are things on this list I've never made (Prime Rib, I'm looking at you) and things we kind of make, because I make it completely different now.  Things I can't believe aren't on this old list (because many products and ingredients weren't available back then or I hadn't thought of it or found a recipe to try yet).

So this old (2011?) list is just a great place to 'brainstorm' as it may lead to a lot of other ideas.

And soon, I'll do a new UPDATED list of about 40 menu ideas we use NOW that are actually more keto as we tend to follow keto more now (which is really just the Atkins Induction Phase!  But it was hijacked years ago by others and is now just called eating "keto" as if it's a new invention.  For those of you oldies on Atkins, you know what I'm talking about.)  Call it what you want, but I'll do a more  recent and updated low carb and sugar free list soon!


Need ingredients?  Need groceries delivered?  Need a certain dish, pan or appliance?  Need a cookbook - low carb, keto or otherwise?   What about a motorcycle part then?  A new bedspread, coffee table or maybe some baby diapers?  LOL.

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

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#WhatsForDinner? Low Carb, Keto, Atkins, etc. All week.


This week we've had:

  • Santa Fe Salads (grilled marinated chicken and spicy homemade sauce)
  • Cheeseburgers on the Grill and Side Salad
  • Steaks with sauteed Mushrooms, Low Carb Cheesy 'Hashbrown' Casserole
  • Fish Tacos 
Tonight I'm thinking it is going to be either grilled salmon or stuffed salmon
Tomorrow I'm considering Southern Style Pulled Pork BBQ
And probably Homemade Low Carb/Keto Pizza Sunday

(All recipes are posted on An American Housewife, you can search labels or the search box, on the right hand side bar).

*update - we did have grilled salmon and a side salad
We did not do a pulled pork, instead I grilled patties from my homemade Chicken, Spinach and Feta Sausage (posted numerous times; just do a search) along with grilling zucchini and peppers with them.

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - No Sugar Added

Serve your favorite spaghetti sauce over spiral zucchini 'noodles' for a low carb, pasta free option

This is a sauce I keep on hand at all times (as well as homemade pizza sauce) in my freezer.  I typically triple or quadruple the recipe and use a large #10 can of diced tomatoes I buy from our local membership warehouse.  If I'm out and I'm in a hurry I'll make a single or double batch quickly using regular sized cans.

I love the flavor of this sauce the best out of all the spaghetti sauces I've made over the years.  I really love when I use the canned tomato puree in it, but I don't often have that on hand as much as I do diced tomatoes.  Easily remedied by whirling them in a blender or food processor!  Use fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato puree or whole tomatoes you've pulsed a few times in the blender/processor.  Use what you have.  And be ok with not being precise on amounts either.  If you are off on the tomato puree by a half cup or something, don't sweat it!  Plus, you can always add a can of tomato sauce if you don't have enough puree.  Just play with the recipe and make it your own!  

Spaghetti Sauce

2 - 10 3/4 oz. tomato puree (I usually use diced tomatoes and puree it in the processor)
1 c water
1/2 t dried minced garlic or garlic powder (yep you can use fresh)
1 t dried, minced onion  (yep you can use fresh instead)
4-5 t sweetener of your choice (taste test for sweetness. I like to only use about 3 teaspoons myself)
1/2 t salt
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c dried parsley flakes
1/8 t thyme
1/4 t basil
1/4 t oregano
dash pepper
*optional meat

If you are using meat, brown about a pound of ground beef, turkey, pork, Italian sausage, chicken sausage or a mixture of whatever you wish.  When it's browned, continue by adding the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer slowly for about 1 hour.  I either Food Seal mine for the freezer or if I want it fairly soon, store in Mason jars in the refrigerator.

Serve over pasta or for a low carb option, serve over spiralized zucchini or even the Palmini canned version.


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