March 28, 2021

Sugar Free version of my old "Best Cookie Ever" recipe from 20 years ago..... Oats, Bran, Cacao Nibs, Pecans... oh my!

Healthy, sugar free cookies!  Bran, Oats and Cacao Nibs
The front cookie is before pressing quickly and gently with my spatula. 
I like them flatter but they taste amazing whether you like them thick or thin.


I remember the first time I made these cookies, we lived in Northern Minnesota.  I recall tasting the dough, loving it, and eating spoonfuls of it because it was just SO good.  

(I'm not much of a 'cookie' person but I AM a 'cookie dough' person!  I'd much rather eat cookie dough and cake batter than eat the final, baked products.)  But these cookies are yummy and I often would end up eating over half the finished cookies myself anyway.  (Also, because I'm not sure my really little little kids at the time were all that crazy about cookies with nuts in them.  But I was.  Am.)

The original recipe is typical with brown sugar, white sugar and flour.  For that reason they've rarely been made over the past 10 or so years.  But this week I was craving them.  CRAVING them.  They popped up in my head one night around 8:00 pm and they would not leave my brain.  So I did what any normal, level headed person would do, right?  I went to the kitchen at 8:25 pm and started to get out all the ingredients to bake cookies.

My husband was in the kitchen. He looked at me.  He looked at the clock.  He looked back at me.  

"Yes.  I'm going to start baking cookies at 8:30 at night.  I tried to get them out of my head and I can't.  If I go to bed I'll just lay there and think about these cookies and I'll get mad at myself because I didn't make them."

He nodded, and bowed out of my kitchen so I could get to work.

If it had been at a normal time of day and I wasn't rushing through it to get them into my mouth, I'd probably have given these a 'trial run' using the new Keto King Arthur Flour that I've had pretty good luck with thus far.  In that case, these would be super low carb, keto-ish, sugar free cookies.  

But I didn't want a trial recipe.  No one got time for that.  Carbs be damned... I was going to use real flour.  Quick and easy, simple and fast.  No thinking, no hoping... just fast cookie dough to get into my mouth while a few sheets baked into the actual finished product.

The Original Recipe from 1999/2000:   

Best Cookie Ever

2 sticks real butter, soft
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
2 1/2 c rolled oats
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 bag chocolate chips
1 chocolate bar, grated
1 1/2 c chopped nuts

Oven - 375.  Cream butter and sugars.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients.  Roll into small balls.  Bake 2" apart on greased sheet.  6-7 minutes.  Cool a bit before removing to cool complete.

**Note that back then I started to add cereal to them to give them an awesome crunch.  I recall using corn flake or rice krispy style cereals back then; about a cup full.  I'd use about 1/2 a bag of the chocolate chips and I'd use a potato peeler to grate a Hershey's bar.  Sometimes I'd leave out the candy bar and just use a whole bag of chocolate chips, go more/less on the nuts or oats, etc.  Basically you can play with this recipe as you wish.



2021 Sugar Free Version (pictured):  Best Cookie Ever

2 sticks real butter, soft
1 c natural sweetener(s) - (Mix 2-3 for best flavor; Monk Fruit, Erythritol, Allulose)
1 c natural brown sweetener - (like Swerve)
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 c flour (I'll try it with King Arthur Keto flour when I have time to do a trial)
2 1/2 c quick oats
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 bag sugar free chocolate chips of choice (like Lily's or Hershey's)
1/3 c natural, organic cacao nibs (or use 1 grated sugar free chocolate bar)
3/4 c unsweetened bran cereal (I use the kind that look like sticks)
1 1/2 c chopped pecans or favorite nuts

Oven - 375.  Cream the sweeteners with the butter.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients - the batter will be pretty firm.  Roll or scoop into small balls.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 6-7 minutes.  If you like them flatter, just gently press them with your spatula either before or right after baking.  If you like them thick, just leave them bake as they are.  I've left one thick in the forefront of the post photo to show a thick version and in the cookies in the background were gently and quickly pressed a little with my metal spatula.  I like them pressed flatter personally but they all taste the same!  Let them cool a few minutes on the cookie sheets before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.





Below are links to some related products.  

I have a bunch of King Arthur Keto Flour in my freezer and I plan to try it in these cookies next.  I also use my own mixture of 3 different natural sweeteners (as I've posted about numerous times) but you could buy the King Arthur version if you want; or any number of the other brands that offer 'mixed' sweeteners.  

Lastly, I love the Swerve Brown Sweetener even though I do not love their regular granular or powdered versions.  I don't like the cool mint factor but it isn't strong in the brown version and best of all, I can get it at my local grocery stores and don't have to order it online!


King Arthur, Keto Wheat Flour Blend, Non-GMO Project Verified, 1-to-1 Substitute for All- Purpose Flour, 16 Ounces

King Arthur, Baking Sugar Alternative, Made with Plant-Based Ingredients, Keto-Friendly, 1-to-1 Substitute for Granulated Sugar, 12 Ounces

BochaSweet (16 oz): The Supreme Sugar Replacement

Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener - 1:1 White Sugar Substitute, Zero Calorie, Keto Diet Friendly, Zero Net Carbs, Zero Glycemic, Baking, Extract, Sugar Replacement (Classic White - 1 Pound)

Terrasoul Superfoods Raw Organic Cacao Nibs, 2 Lbs (2 Pack) - Raw | Keto | Vegan


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March 11, 2021

Faux Hash Brown Casserole - a cheesy keto casserole made with cauliflower!


Hey everyone!  Just popping on here quickly because the  baby is napping and everyone else is out of the house so it's actually quiet and I have a moment!  I posted this on my Instagram story today and figured in case anyone else wanted to make it tonight for dinner, I should hurry and post it.

I didn't use an actual 'recipe' or measurements...  yeah, as you know, I'm one of those cooks. But I have a rough idea of each of the ingredient amounts and it's a casserole - and casseroles don't need to be precise.  That's the beauty of them!  You can easily substitute, use what you have, and increase or decrease depending on what you like.

Faux Hash Brown Casserole

2-3 T butter
diced onion
1 pk. frozen riced cauliflower (it said it was 12 oz.)
shredded cheddar cheese (I just poured it in from the bag; about 1 1/2 cups?)
1 t chicken base (chicken bouillon)
heavy cream - about 1/3 c
1/2 t  Lawry's Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning Blend but you can just use salt and pepper if you don't have it
fresh ground pepper
Topping:  I used a scoop of my homemade chicken nugget blend I keep on hand but you could use crushed keto protein puffs, crushed pork rinds, parmesan cheese, crushed keto or low carb crackers, or if you can afford the carbs and don't really care, use crushed rice krispies or corn flakes. 

(My chicken nugget breading mixture;  I make and keep in a jar in the pantry)

2 cups protein puffs, rice krispies, ground pork rinds or a mixture of all three
3/4 t paprika (see option below for a smokey spicey option)
3/4 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder

Place about 1 tablespoon of the butter into a cast iron skillet (I used my 8" size).  Place it in your oven to get hot while your oven preheats to 350. 

In a pan on the stove, place the rest of the butter 1-2 T and melt - add the diced onion.  I love onion and my husband doesn't like onion.  We compromise.  I'd say 3 tablespoons is about 'right'.  Leave them out completely if you are like my husband and hate onions.  When the onions are softened and cooked, add the chicken base and stir in, then add the frozen riced cauliflower, the cream, the seasoning spices or the salt and pepper; and the cheese.  Stir to blend.
Get the skillet out of the oven (even if it's not completely up to 350 but it's still very, very hot).  Swirl the butter around to cover the surface then add the cauliflower cheese mixture.

Bake in the oven about 20 minutes and then add your topping (unless you decide not to put any crunchy topping on at all which is totally fine!  You don't have to!).  Bake another 20 minutes.  Let set at least 7-8 minutes to set up and firm up a bit before serving.

  Ready to go into the oven!

Out of the oven!  (The color on this picture is weird...  very brown (?))


Snitching what I thought would be one bite but ended up being more like 7 bites.








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Easter is Coming! Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs - Easy Peeling - And Natural Easter Egg Dye



Plain and simple:   For easy peeling of hard boiled eggs simply use eggs that are not new.  

When you know you will want to make or use hard boiled eggs for deviled eggs, egg salad, chef's salad, etc. just plan to purchase your eggs at least one or two weeks ahead. 

When you make them, they will peel easily.  Period.  No matter how you make them.  The simple truth is just don't use super fresh eggs.  That's it.

But here is another great hard-boiled hint:  Use your pressure cooker!  (Your 'instant pot' for those who are confused). Once I started to use my instant-pot style cooker to make our hard boiled eggs, I've never gone back to boiling them in a pan on the stove. 

A cup of water (or whatever your brand calls for), and a raised inner pot to keep the eggs off the direct heat of the bottom; and manual set for 8 minutes.  Let it set there, naturally releasing pressure for a couple minutes while you get a bowl of cold/ice water ready (about 3-4 minutes) and then quick-release to get your eggs out, put them in the cold water and let them sit for 5 minutes or until they cool down.

That's it.

As a side-note:

I found this natural egg dye list on the internet years ago and saved it to my personal files.
I don't know if I saved it to my files/recipes here on yet
so for my personal use and also my now-young-adult daughters who might
want a quick and easy color guide for their Littles - here it is!

Yellow onion skins = orange
Blueberry and beets = purplish
Red cabbage with baking soda = gorgeous teal
Turmeric = bright yellow
Yellow onion with no vinegar = orange
Red cabbage with no vinegar = light baby blue
Beets = pink
Red cabbage, no vinegar, left overnight = medium pool blue
Red cabbage, quickly dyed = barely there baby blue
Yellow onion left overnight = dark burnt red
Raspberries = light pale purple
Coffee = brownish orange


There are all different brands of pressure cookers - mine for example is just a Cosori brand but I know many households have the Instant Pot brand.  If you don't have a pressure cooker and want to order one from Amazon, feel free to use one of my links.

Pressure cookers at Amazon

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March 08, 2021

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - no sugar added



I've posted this previously but for those of you new to An American Housewife or having just saw that I was making a bunch of this today on my Instagram story, this is it!  


 Spaghetti Sauce

Approximately 3 cups tomato puree' - I often use diced tomatoes and put them in the blender
up to 1 c water (I don't like my sauce too thin so I use a bit less usually depending on the day)
1 1/2 t fresh, minced garlic
3 t fresh minced onion
1 1/2 T natural sweetener like monk fruit, erythritol, etc.  (you can use sugar, honey, etc)
1/2 t salt
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c dried parsley
1/8 t thyme
1/2 t dried basil or a few leaves fresh, minced or chopped
1/4 t oregano
black pepper - dash
If I happen to have a can of tomato paste already opened for another recipe I sometimes add a tablespoon or so but it's great without it too.

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan on the stove.  Bring to barely a boil, turn it down immediately to simmer and let slow simmer about 1 hour.    Use right away or freeze in containers or food sealer bags.  I also sometimes store extra in mason jars in the refrigerator but haven't 'canned' them to store on the pantry shelf as I haven't tested the ph level of this recipe.  

Since I've made this so many times and posted it a few times already on, I didn't bother with new photos.  The batch(es) I'm making today and are currently simmering are on my Instagram story right now and here is a photo of a previous batch.


I always make a triple batch (at the very least) and food seal ours to pop into the freezer.  It's not uncommon for me to quadruple it or more.  Having fresh homemade spaghetti sauce on hand is always a good thing.  I have put it into jars and 'canned' it but I store those in the fridge as I've not bothered to do the ph testing and pressure can them.  I was going to do that today actually but the sun is out, it's beautiful and after the cold, wet winter, I want to get outside and sit in the sun instead of canning so I'm just going to freeze these as usual instead.  Fast and easy!


UPDATE:  Originally I was using my old Weston food sealer - which worked great for 8 or 9 years even though it was a really 'cheap' model that we bought at Home Depot or Lowe's years ago on clearance for about $50.  When the heating element started to go out, I decided it was a great time to upgrade to a food sealer that had a couple more options since I know how much I love food sealers!  My purchase was this Nesco brand - which I'm totally in love with!

If you need a food sealer and like to order your household items through Amazon, please consider using my links? Thanks so much! 







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March 06, 2021

Low Carb Pasta Salad: I Use Great Low Carb Bread Co. Rotini


Currently the only dry pasta brand I trust and use is the Great Low Carb Bread Company brand.  I try to keep some of their pasta products on hand in the pantry at all times 'just in case' we get an urge for fettucine, penne, spaghetti or a dish with rotini... like this one. 

When it comes to pasta salads, I make them using whatever we have on hand at the time, or whatever I feel like that day.  I also sometimes take into account if I've already had a high number of carbs that day and want to leave out higher carb veggies or use fewer of them, and take into account what the salad is being served with.

Lastly is the dressing used.  I always keep a couple low carb no sugar added dressings on hand, but also often throw together my own versions - either Italian or Ranch.  Both bode well in pasta salads depending on what taste you're going for.  The final note to that is sometimes I use mayonnaise with the Italian dressings sometimes not. 

Basically you use your favorite pasta salad recipe or toss together random ingredients - but do so using low carb options.

  • pasta - low carb/sugar free only
  • fresh broccoli
  • fresh cauliflower
  • red pepper
  • fresh lettuce
  • cabbage shreds
  • green onion
  • cucumbers
  • mushrooms
  • cheese - mozzarella or feta with Italian or ranch
  • cheese - cheddar if using ranch or plain mayonnaise
  • basil
  • dressing - Italian style or ranch style within your personal carb counts for the day
  • black or green olives, red onion, yellow or orange peppers, fresh spinach, etc. (watch your carb counts and likes/dislikes)

Do not use high carb veggies like yellow onion, peas, corn, potato or carrots.  Use just a bit of tomato if you wish - it's higher carb or some artichoke hearts (not many - higher carb).

Mix and chill.  Serve cold.


I love broccoli and red pepper in my pasta salads.  I'm not a fan of tomato, but we had one to use up and my husband loves fresh tomato so I added it.  My feta was in the freezer but I had cheese sticks in the fridge so I grabbed a couple mozzarella sticks to cut up this time.  Easy peasy.  After some italian style dressing (sugar free and keto) I added some fresh basil.  We didn't have any cucumbers 

Great Low Carb Bread Company


Here is a close up of the package so you can see the carb and sugar counts on the label.  25g carbs - but 18g of those are fiber that is going to go right through you.  Zero sugar of course.

Here is what they look like after they are cooked. Yum!

I have mentioned before, I get most of my low carb foods online because I can't find most of them locally in my retail stores.  I usually buy all my low carb and keto products from Netrition, but I have bought some from Amazon when I'm placing an order anyway and can easily just add one or two items to my order. My last order of low carb pastas came from Amazon and they were fine.  Not out of date, not smashed and were safe and sound. 


  4 Pack Assortment Low Carb Pasta, Fettuccine, Rotini, Penne, and Elbows, Great Low Carb Bread Company





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March 01, 2021

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos


2020 really got me out of the mood of posting or updating my site.  Even with the recipes I wanted to make sure I got posted for ease of finding and using later (for me and my kids).  I have just shoved the scribbled or printed pieces of paper into random binders, albums or notebooks and yes... regretted it many times when I can't find the one recipe I'm looking for.  

This isn't much of a 'recipe' except for the chicken marinade.  I use it on chicken thighs because they have the best flavor and they stay moist when grilling.  I've never been a big fan of chicken breasts - not even as a teen.  Too dry for my tastes.  But my husband likes chicken breasts so I do use this marinade for both breasts and thighs.

A good idea is to have the chicken one night as a main dish with a couple side salads/side dishes.  But grill a couple extra pieces and use them the next night to make these soft shell tacos.


Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

low carb tortillas
grilled chicken thighs
sour cream
green onions
cheddar cheese
avocados, black olives, red or yellow onions, anything you want to put on them

You don't have to use this marinade for the chicken.  You can simply use a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  You could also use a cup of salsa to marinade them.  Or skip a marinade and just use any mixture of seasonings to flavor your chicken before grilling.  But if you wish, this is one of our favorites.

Fresh lime zest
Lime Juice
Oil - avocado or olive oil
Fresh garlic
Chipotle Powder
salt and pepper

Amounts are based on how much chicken you have and what you like.  

I usually zest 1-2 limes, use the squeezed juice from both
about 2-3 tablespoons oil
2 cloves-ish of fresh minced garlic
1-2 T dried cilantro
chipotle powder (it's really hard to find it right now where I live except mixed in other spice blends... what the heck? Weird Covid shortages.) I've been using a mesa chipotle blend I can find at Walmart or any other southwestern blend that has chipotle in it (Mrs. Dash makes one).

Marinade about 4-6 chicken thighs (not the legs attached, just the thighs) for as long as you wish.  I usually mix the marinade in the morning or late morning and grill that afternoon.   The lime can 'cook' the chicken if it's marinated too long so 6-8 hours is max.  1 hour minimum.  

Remove the chicken from the bone when done, and make your own tacos as you like them.

(I updated a similar post with amounts in June 2021)

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