4/30/21

From my Instagram: Keto Blueberry Granola (low carb, sugarfree); first in a 3 part series of blueberry, strawberry and crunch berry


FIRST in the series:  Blueberry (because it's my favorite!)

I was browsing Netrition and starting to make my online shopping list. For some reason, I was on a granola type cereal kick. 

Normally I don't even like cereals; I don't eat breakfast.  I'm a coffee only kind of breakfast girl.  But when I do/did eat cereal I liked granola and flake mixtures and one of my favorites was/is Kellogg's blueberry clusters cereal (honestly I'm not even sure if they make it anymore?  I last bought a box in the summer of 2020 I think - during a vacation).

On Netrition, I put a few of the keto low carb cereals on my 'maybe' list but at $12-15 for one little package, I balked.   The ingredients for granola are pretty simple, basically speaking.... (a screenshot of a couple at random)


There was nothing (generally speaking) in the ingredient lists that I didn't have in my cupboard and stupid me... I'VE MADE GRANOLA MANY TIMES!  I just never really thought about making it sugar free or keto.  Duh?  So I removed ALL the granola from my 'wish list' shopping list on the site and decided I'd just make my own.

On Thursday, the first thing I did was get out a bunch of random granola recipes and ingredients:

Pecans, Walnuts, Almond Flour, Sliced Almonds, Vanilla Angel Food Whey Protein Powder, Egg White Protein Powder, Flaxseed Meal, my homemade mixture of natural sweeteners (I've posted about that many times; I always use 2-3 sweeteners mixed for best flavor) and I grabbed my ziplock baggy of various extract oils, as well as my favorite blueberry emulsion flavoring.  I grabbed the cinnamon, a box of Devotion 'Flex Flavors' packets....

And then... I got to work.

I ended up doing 3 cereals - all  of which are currently in glass Mason jars in the pantry ready for us to gobble them up with unsweetened vanilla almond milk! (And extra batches made and food vacuum sealed to refill the Mason jars when they get low.)

This is my favorite so I've made 2-3 batches more in the past week and vacuum sealed them in my food sealer.  

NOTE:  I did try to cheat and just put one small test batch into the food processor to pulse a few times instead of mixing it by hand.  Nope.  Don't do it.  It breaks it all up into too small of pieces and it doesn't bake as well or form nice granola like clusters.  Just cut the butter in by hand - no food processor.






 

 

  

 

Blueberry Granola Cereal

1/3 c sweetener blend (Erythritol, Allulose, Bocha, Stevia - whatever you like)
1/2 c sliced almonds, crumbled a little bit
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/4 c almond flour
1/4 c scant Devotion Angel Food Flavor whey protein powder or vanilla Isopure Protein Powder
1/4 c egg white protein powder
1/4 c real butter
1 t blueberry emulsion
1/2 t cinnamon powder

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Stir the dry ingredients plus the emulsion together in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter in pieces until it starts to resemble crumbs. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or foil.  Bake 12 minutes or so, stir, flip a little bit to get the edges to the center and the inside to the outside.  Continue baking another 5-10 minutes until it's starting to turn golden.

Remove from the oven but leave it on the baking sheet.  Stir it just a little bit, then leave it to cool completely.  It crisps up as it cools.  When completely cooled and crisp, then you can package in an airtight jar or container.  

NOTE:  Play with your recipe to use what you have and what you like.  

  • The sweetener mixture (but having at least 1/3 erythritol is best for it to crisp nicely).  
  • The whey protein powders and egg white powders.  I'm stingy with my egg white protein powder because it's so expensive - almost always use a mixture of whey and egg white unless it's for something 'meringue' like.  
  • I also only use Devotion brand and Isopure brand whey protein powders because they have zero sugar and zero carbs - many whey protein powders have carbs and sugar grams.  CHECK YOURS for accurate counts.
  • I made a batch using a cinnamon bun Flex Flavor packet instead of cinnamon as I wanted to use up some of then as they are flavors I don't typically use.
  • I added a couple tablespoons of Flaxseed meal to the last two batches I made
  • Added chopped walnuts to one of the batches - which I love but then I was 'out' of walnuts and I have to buy more so the other two batches didn't have them.

 



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If you are interested - here are some links to related products in this post.  I buy most of my keto, low carb or sugar free foods and ingredients online from Amazon and Netrition.



LorAnn Blueberry Bakery Emulsion, 4 ounce bottle

Jay Robb Vanilla Egg White Protein Powder, Low Carb, Keto, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, No Sugar Added, No Fat, No Soy, Nothing Artificial, Non-GMO, Best-Tasting (24 oz, Vanilla) 

 

 

 

 

Devotion Nutrition Whey Protein Powder Original Protein Powder   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Isopure Zero Carb, Vitamin C and Zinc for Immune Support, 25g Protein, Keto Friendly Protein Powder, 100% Whey Protein Isolate, Flavor: Creamy Vanilla, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)  

 

 

 

 

Flex Flavors Instant Flavoring System Devotion Nutrition Flex Flavors Instant Flavoring System 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4/20/21

Keto Cookies - Shortbread, Peanut Butter and Chocolate! Like a Girl Scout Tagalong!

 
 
 
Over the last 20 years I've been making copy-cat versions of various Girl Scout cookies - some of which I've gotten around to posting on my recipe collection site (the page you are on now).  This is one that I wouldn't hardly call a recipe so much as '3 steps to make' a copycat version of the GS Tagalong cookies.
 
The Girl Scout Tagalongs (photo above) are yummy and I wouldn't mind splurging on 13 g of carbs for 2 cookies - but there is also 8 grams of sugar.  Umm... no thanks.  But it's just so easy to make a sugar free version that also happens to be low carb and might even fit into your keto plan.  
 
A basic almond flour based short bread cookie topped with a sweetened peanut butter filling and dipped in a sugar free chocolate coating.  I HATE dipping candies and cookies into chocolate and if you are a 'regular' reader of An American Housewife, then you already know that.  So I choose to do it as little as possible.  But once in a while, for this cookie and a couple others, it's worth it.
 
 
TAGALONGS - sugar free and low carb
 
Any basic shortbread recipe will work if you already have a favorite.  Something similar to this;
 
2 heaping cups almond flour 
6 tablespoons butter, softened 
1/2 c (powdered) confectioners style sweetener(s).  Mix at least 2 for best flavor.
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 t vanilla extract 

Mix the dough for the shortbread, and use a 1" or 1 1/2 " scoop to form little balls.  Place on an ungreased seasoned baking sheet or parchment paper and smoosh down to flatten a little.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Take them out and let them cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, flip them over carefully with a spatula and put them back in the oven to bake another 8 minutes or so until starting to get a little golden. (Double baking helps them get crisp.)

Remove and let cool completely.  You can put them in the freezer to speed up the process while you mix the peanut butter filling.
 
Peanut butter
Sweetener
Dash of vanilla

I didn't measure my peanut butter - I just used a rubber spatula and grabbed 2 scoops - so it was probably about 1 1/2 cups.  I added about 1/2 c sweetener, which you can taste test.  Add a dash of vanilla and mix smooth.

Spoon a dab of peanut butter filling on each round cookie.  Place back in the freezer while you melt the chocolate coating.

1 1/2  8-10 oz.  bags sugar free chocolate chips
1 T coconut oil

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and stir smooth. 

Dip each cookie into the chocolate, tap excess chocolate off and place on parchment or a wire cookie cooling stand until the chocolate hardens.  If you live where it's hot and humid you may have to pop them into the refrigerator or freezer to harden.
 
 

 
 
Peanut butter on the cookie base.....
  
 
 
I really hate dipping candies and cookies in chocolate coatings.... 
 

 

I've also posted a couple more in the past:  both sugar free and regular

Caramel Delites
Thin Mint Cookies







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4/19/21

From my Instagram: Cheddar Crisp Crackers - Keto, low carb and one ingredient

 

I posted this 'recipe' a couple years ago and haven't posted new photos or versions since then, although they've been made quite often!  Here is this weeks versions as I finally grabbed my cellphone while I was making them so I could post new photos.

I also tried to use a sharp cheddar this time that came in 'snack sticks' that are long square shaped logs.  I thought they would be quick and easy and make nice shapes but the Sargento brand I used was not drying out sufficiently.  I cut the little bites into tiny squares but they took a long time to dry out and even then, weren't as nice as the flat slices.  They did puff up and pop a bit but were not as dry and crisp as the flat squares and stayed more chewy.  I had to 'repop' them 2 or 3 times to get them as dry and crunchy as the square crackers.  I don't plan to make those again.


Homemade Cheese Crisp Crackers

Sliced 'hard' cheese of your choice - but 'real' cheese only.  Not 'American' or other soft cheese.

Salt
Spices, herbs - optional


I prefer to buy the sliced cheddar and sliced Swiss from  Sam's Club (in the black tub packaging) as it's the perfect thickness but it's also good quality so it makes a good quality crisp cracker with less prep work on my part. If I use a block cheese, I slice it in my food processor using the slicing blade.  

Lay out as many slices as you wish on a sheet of parchment paper or paper towels.  Use a knife to cut the slices into 1" squares, or use whatever little shape mini cutters you wish.  

Lay out all your little cheese shapes on the parchment paper on the counter for about 2-4 days so they start to get dried out.  I laid them out on my dehydrator trays!  I loved this as it was a compact place to keep them, I could rearrange the trays for optimal air circulation and I could easily flip them over and pat them dry with a paper towel. 

As they sit out, the excess oil can be patted with a paper towel.  After about a day or two (depending on where you live and your humidity level) they will be rather empty or hallow sounding when you tap them on the counter, and will start to be dried out.  (Currently very humid where I live and I left them for 4 days.) When they can be tapped on the counter top and sound 'empty' but are firm enough to tap, pop them onto a parchment sheet on a baking pan, add any sprinkles of salt or flavoring if you wish, and put them into a hot, 400-425 degree oven.  Bake them for about 3-5 minutes.  The oils left in them will cause them to 'pop' and crisp and sometimes even jump around the pan.  (I found 4-5 minutes at 400 or 3 minutes at 425 was about right for my oven.)

Pull them out, let them cool... they should be nice and crisp!  Eat them as you wish.   I now use my vacuum food sealer to seal them into air-tight bags to keep them crisp if we don't eat them all right away. 

 

 2021 photos:   Cheddar slices, cut into squares

  

Air dried a few days and ready to pop into the oven.

 

 



Video of them sizzle and popping.  It takes about 4-5 minutes at 400 degrees or 3-4 minutes at 425 degrees.



Let them cool completely and they crisp up like a cracker

These are the squares I mentioned in my post above.  They take longer to dry out, and didn't bake up as nice and crisp as the flat squares.  I would have to leave them 2-3 more days to dry out more I think but I'll probably just stick to making square crackers!





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   ParmCrisps Original, 1.75 oz (Pack of 12), 100% Cheese Crisps, Keto Friendly, Gluten Free

  Moon Cheese - 100% Natural Cheese Snack - Variety (Cheddar, Gouda, Pepper Jack) 2 oz - 3 Pack

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4/14/21

I'm smitten! Smitten with my new Nesco Vacuum Food Sealer! (Photos too)

Over the years it's no secret I loved my vacuum food sealer.  I think the first time I posted about it was back in 2015 - (this might be the first post mentioning it) and although it was a cheap Weston brand that my husband picked up on clearance at Lowe's for probably about $50, it just now, in 2021 was replaced.  (It's still working fine but the heating element has a couple weak spots during sealing and they don't have my exact model part number heating element in stock so I just decided to get a new one anyway.)

After researching for a couple months and standing in various store aisles debating while staring, shifting my weight from one foot to another, cocking my head sideways and nibbling my bottom lip; I ended up ordering my new vacuum food sealer off Amazon.  

I knew I didn't want to go with a FoodSaver brand.  I also knew I wanted a 'budget friendly' version.  I didn't want a Chinese 'name brand' knock-off that no one has ever heard of.  But I wanted one that had a good reputation, was budget-friendly and got good reviews.

In the end I went with a brand I knew.  NESCO.  I'm pretty sure NESCO is the brand of roaster my grandmother had at her house for a million years before she passed away.  I think she got hers around the late 1930's or 1940 - and for all I know, it's still working to this day for whomever ended up with Grandma's roaster oven after she passed.

The NESCO VS-12 Deluxe  

 

 

 

Here is the manual showing the series I chose and the features.

It has 3 “Seal” settings; Dry, Moist, and Double.  When I saw on some video reviews it offered a double seal option, that was a primary reason I looked closer at this one.  I seal a lot of foods with moisture in them and I love the 'double' seal option!

The second thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE about this one - that I didn't pay any attention to before I bought it but now I never want to be without it is the PULSE option.

When I sealed foods in the Weston Harvest Guard, it had a built in vacuum/seal but you had no real control over it.  I always ended up getting marinades and juices sucked up to the top of the bag (and out of it) and then the seal wouldn't seal well.  I had to always seal a paper towel inside to try to catch the moisture before it got to the top of the bag or wouldn't seal well.  THE NESCO SOLVES THAT.  

Using the pulse option, I pulse the vacuum until I see the moisture is up near the top, then I simply stop the vacuum and it 'holds' it (the Weston didn't) and then I hit manual seal. It sealed marinated steaks and pork chops perfectly this week.

It also has a 'gentle' vacuum verses a normal vacuum for foods that are more crushable.


 



When I bought it, I paid $99 but I see today (as of this posting actually) I just went to Amazon to get a link and saw it was $94.99 at this second. 


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4/9/21

"Gifted" a large crate of leftover green beans - time to FREEZE GREEN BEANS (post with photos included)

Gifted with beans... lots and lots (and lots) of beans.
 
Last night a family member came over and dropped off a huge crate of... green beans.
They were leftover from a church donation thing of some sort but they weren't really useable because they had 'lived' in the crate for a few more days than they should have, they were starting to go bad. 

Ok - Most were past 'starting' to go bad; and about half were pretty gross.  But others were just fine.  It would just be a pretty time consuming task to go through them all.  The family member (and apparently no one else of the 10 or so people who had a chance to take the beans before they made their way to me) were up to it.
 
I quickly snapped a picture of the crate that I took outside - one of the two bags of "not acceptable" discards is still inside it. 
 


I don't like to waste anything so around 6:00 I turned on the music app on my phone and got to work painstakingly going through the crate of beans.  I had two grocery store bags full of unacceptable (read: gross) green beans but I ended up with a nice amount left.

Although I had originally thought I'd pressure can them - I really didn't have enough to go through the hassle of getting it all out and it was already about 8:00 pm by this point so I just decided to freeze them.

To freeze green beans


Pick through your fresh green beans, remove those with rust, fungus, etc.
Wash them in cold water.
Snap or snip off the ends.  Leave whole or snap/snip in half.
Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
Prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice in it.
Submerge an amount green beans into the boiling water. 
The amount needs to be not so large that it would stop the water boiling. You want a constant boil.
Work in batches.
Boil the green beans for 3 minutes and remove promptly.
Submerge or dump the green beans into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
Swirl them a bit with your hands or a spoon to evenly cool, then remove to another bowl.
Repeat until all the beans are finished, adding fresh ice as needed to keep the water cold.
Place the amount of beans you wish into your freezer container of choice.
Freeze.

 
  

Cooling down quickly to stop the cooking process

Ready to put into freezer containers

 
I did not plan to do a post on this so I didn't take any more photos and didn't take a picture of the finished products last night.  I simply went to bed.  But I did have the above photos on my phone as I had sent them to a family member while I was doing it.
 
So I quickly went to the freezer just now, grabbed two of the bags out and took a picture!  Ha ha.
 
I opted to use a food sealer for ours but you can use any freeze container you wish.
The white at the tops of the bags are paper towels.  When I food seal anything with moisture
I add paper towels in the bags prior to sealing to catch the moisture before the vacuum process.


 I got about 5 1/2 lbs. of 'useable' green beans from the crate.




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I opted to use a food sealer to quickly vacuum seal my green beans. If you are interested, you can find many different options of sealers at your local retailers or through Amazon.

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