July 29, 2021

The Best Low carb, Sugar Free Monster Cookies (like a low carb M&M Cookie or...chocolate chips cookie)


A couple weeks ago I got into a cookie making mood and although I don't like chocolate chip cookies myself, I was making a vanilla 'sugar' cookie for me, so I whipped these up for my husband.  

I was using our regular old sugar and flour recipes but substituting keto and low carb options.  If you leave the chocolate candies off these and use plain sugar free chocolate chips you can save carbs but the option of sugar free 'gem' candies (like M&M's) are fun if you can afford the few extra carbs.

1/2 c butter, softened
1 c brown sweetener, like Swerve
3 T granulated white sweetener, like Lakanto
1 egg
2 t vanilla extract (good quality like Watkins)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 3/4 c King Arthur Keto Flour
6 oz. chocolate gem sugar free candies, or about 6-8 oz. sugar free chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sweeteners, beat in the egg and vanilla.   Add the dry ingredients.  You can add the chocolate chips at this point but if you are using gem candies, and want them to show up bright and pretty on top, add them later - after you form your cookies on the pan.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or parchment covered.  Top with the colored candies or even more chocolate chips.  Bake at 375 for about 9 minutes or until the edges are just golden.  Let cool on the pan for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.



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July 25, 2021

Zucchini Side Dish - (Using up yellow squash and zucchini -use as a side dish or a main entree)

Reposting this one as I go through photos in my file folders.... This dish isn't one that really has a 'recipe' so much as a throw it all together type thing.

When you eat low carb for years there are certain items you automatically always seem to have on hand, and for us, it's yellow squash and zucchini.  The problem is that sometimes I buy them and then we go all week without having anything that uses them and I forget about them until I realize I have to use them up or they are going to go bad.  

I've spiralized them and froze them at this point, or spiralized them and served them along side whatever meal we had that evening as a 'noodle' side dish or I quickly use them in random recipes (many already posted on this site).  
***One of my favorite quick ways to use them up is to slice them into rounds about 1/2 inch thick, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill them!  YUM!*** 
Here is another quick 'use em' up' dish....
Sauteed Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Zucchini and/or Yellow Squash
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Feta Cheese 
options:  a bit of diced red/yellow or orange pepper, a little bit of onion, green onion or even diced celery

Add some olive oil to your pan and then add the vegetables.  Saute' until they are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving.












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Keto Lasagna Noodles - (No pasta Lasagna) and a BONUS - using the cheese-pasta for your Mexican Lasagna too

This morning I'm trying to clean up some of the 1,000 random food photos in my files.  I don't have to be anywhere or have any tasks pressing to get done so my goal is to clear out and post some of these pictures I uploaded from my phone at the time, but never got around to posting on the site.


I originally posted this recipe back in 2017 or 2018 (?) but I've used it many times and in a couple completely different recipes.  The original post was for my keto lasagna.  I'll put some notes at the bottom for my second favorite way to use them!

 Original Post:  No Pasta Lasagna

I used my own homemade spaghetti sauce that I make, food vacuum seal and freeze.  Use whichever store-bought or homemade sauce you prefer just make sure you are reading labels to make sure of the carb and sugar content.

For the no-pasta noodles:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 t Italian Seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder
Place items in a food processor and blend smooth.  Spread smooth into a 9X13" pan you've lined with parchment.  Bake about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool or chill while you make the rest.
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or mixture of beef/sausage if that's what you prefer.) Brown in a pan on the stove with:
  • 1 t Italian seasoning
    1 t garlic powder
    1 t dried oregano
    1 t onion powder
Also use:
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c spaghetti sauce of you choice (I make mine homemade) Check carb and sugar counts on yours
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 t dried basil
  • 1/3 c mozzarella or Parmesan cheese

Turn the 9X13 pan of baked cheese "pasta" the long way in front of you and slice it into 3rds.  You now have 3 sheets that are the same size as a bread loaf pan. These are going to substitute the pasta. 

Mix the basil into the ricotta cheese and egg.  I use cottage cheese with an egg or two to thicken it, when I don't have ricotta on hand.  You can also use sour cream instead of cottage cheese or ricotta if that's all you have on hand (my brothers wouldn't eat ricotta or cottage cheese growing up, so my Mom always used sour cream in her lasagna and still does to this day.)

In a loaf pan, layer your lasagna as you usually do.  A bit of sauce, a sheet of cheese-pasta, meat, the ricotta cheese mixture, sauce, cheese-pasta, meat, ricotta.  Layer at least 3 layers and you should be to the top of the loaf pan.  Sprinkle with parmesan or mozzarella (or even a mixture of cheddar jack if that's what you have in the house).  Bake about 25-35 minutes at 350 until golden brown, bubbly and hot all the way through (depends on the thickness of your pan, your oven's 'personality' for baking, etc)  Let set at least 10 minutes to set up - or if you dig into it right away (like we always do) expect it to look more like a casserole on your plate because you didn't allow it to set up.  We enjoyed with a green salad and blue cheese dressing on the side.

I believe when these photos were taken, it was during the holidays when I was doing a lot of baking and I had used my 9X13 pans for bars and other goodies;  I have a lot of loaf pans though (bread pans) and just baked the layers in 3 bread pans instead of a 9x13 pan.  Improvise as you will.

After baking your 'faux pasta' will be a nice firm, golden sheet


Everything layered and ready for the oven

I had made a keto bread dough for garlic breadsticks with the lasagna that night


I've posted our family's favorite Mexican Casserole many, many times since I started this site in 2006 and I later adapted it to be lower carb by using low-carb or keto 'flour' tortillas, etc.

I found another option to make it more keto friendly was to use the 'cheese pasta' above in this recipe too!  It's a little more work since you have to make the 'pasta' first but it's a great fit for this dish.

Here is the original recipe - you can make it low carb or keto by using the options I mentioned.

Mexican Lasagna (original version)

1 - 2 lbs. ground beef, chicken, turkey, etc.
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 t seasoned salt
2 cups diced tomatoes (or use canned if you prefer)
1 T jalapeno's, diced fine (optional if your family hates them)
1 T onion (another option!)
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste with 3 empty cans of water OR use 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 c sour cream  OR  ricotta or cottage cheese
2 eggs
10 flour tortillas (any style - low carb, etc. is fine too)
2 1/2 - 3 c shredded cheddar or mixture of cheese

Cook the ground beef (if you are using) and drain.  If you are using already cooked beef, chicken, etc. place it in a large pan on the stove top.  When hot, add the taco seasoning, salt, tomatoes, paste and water or tomato sauce, jalapeno's and onions if you are using them.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer about 10 minutes while you mix the sour cream OR ricotta/cottage cheese with the eggs in a bowl.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Spread half the meat mixture in a 9X13 inch pan.  Cut your flour tortilla in half.  Layer about 5 of them over the meat.  Spread half the sour cream or cottage cheese mixture over the tortillas.  Sprinkle with half the shredded cheese.  Repeat the layers with the rest of the meat, tortillas, sour cream or cheese mixture and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.  You can now use green olives or black olives on top if your family likes them.

Bake uncovered about 20-30 minutes until golden brown, bubbly and hot.  Let it stand 10 minutes to 'set up' for easier cutting.  You can serve this as is or offer sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.

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Re-posting - One of the best and easiest keto riced cauliflower sides


I've posted a version of this previously - about 2 or 3 (?) years ago.  But I love it and make it often as it goes so well with different meals depending on a couple tiny additions or substitutions.  It's based on a recipe I found in the book: 500 Paleo Recipes

Chicken Flavored Riced Cauliflower with Slivered Almonds

1/2 head fresh cauliflower, shredded with an S-blade to 'rice' it or store bought in frozen foods
1/4 c slivered or sliced raw almonds
2 t coconut, olive or almond oil to saute' the almonds
1 bunch scallions/green onions, sliced
1/4 c fresh, chopped parsley or 2 T dried
1 1/2 T Tone's Chicken Base

Steam the cauliflower in the microwave for about 4 minutes.  You want it to remain crisp enough to double for 'rice'.  In a skillet, place the oil, heat to medium high and add the almonds.  As the almonds start to brown, be sure to stir them or they will burn quickly when you aren't watching.  Add the cauliflower when the almonds turn golden; add the scallions and parsley along with the chicken base flavoring.  Stir-fry until the chicken base is all mixed in.  Serve along with your dinner!


Basically it's the flavor and crunch/soft texture of Rice-A-Roni - and I'm all about a crunch in my foods. You can play with this one a little bit - I'll note some of the ways I do - depending on what I have on hand, in the pantry or in the freezer.

Use any of these or a mixture of them:

  • Store bought frozen, plain riced cauliflower
  • Cauliflower Medley
  • Fresh cauliflower you cook/steam and rice yourself

Best choice is sliced almonds but improvise if you wish:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Whole, raw almonds, chopped
  • Slivered almonds

Additions (based on your carb count goals)

  • Chopped green onions or scallions
  • A few baby peas
  • A little shredded carrot
  • A scrambled egg (like fried rice)
  • Soy Sauce/Liquid Aminos/Coconut Aminos
  • Dried chives
  • Dried parsley
  • A little fresh, minced garlic
  • Bits of chopped broccoli
  • Bits of diced red pepper


MY PERSONAL NOTES:  I almost always double the almonds - they are my favorite part.  Be sure you are sauteing them first though - it's a must for the right flavor of this dish.  You can substitute the chicken base for cubed bouillon but you would probably have to smash it to a powder before adding or try to dissolve it in a bit of liquid - which would make your dish liquidy.  Chicken bouillon granules would work; as does the paste base (which I always always have on hand).

I make it as above for a side with almost anything in hurry.  Made as above it's great with any chicken entree'.  When I use it with any of my Chinese inspired meals I add a scrambled egg, use the 'medley' version or add just a few peas/carrots and some Liquid Aminos.  I've also left out the chicken base and used 2 frozen bags or one head of cauliflower and used a packet of Sun Bird Fried Rice mixture.  YUM!

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July 21, 2021

One Simple Step to Clean Your Pampered Chef Pizza Stone


I have blogged about this in the past - the first time was in 2007 - it's how I clean my Pampered Chef Pizza Stones. 

It's easy.  I keep them in the oven when I set it to 'self-clean'.

They go in dark, they come out clean and beige.  If they are heavily soiled or dark, I'll have to wipe the ash off with a paper towel.

No, really.  That's all I do.

As a matter of fact, the photo above shows my stones - Pampered Chef Pizza Stones that were bought in 2005.  

I've been cleaning them in my oven on 'self-clean' regularly since 2007.
It's now 2021.

When I first started to clean them this way in 2007 I'd have to season them again by making something a bit greasy but that was easily;  I'd just bake buttery croissants them.  That was usually enough to re-season.

(This is not how I'm telling you to clean yours; that's up to you.  It's how I clean mine.  All three of them.  For the past 16+ years.)


My stones literally live in the oven all the time.  They stay in when I bake other items (usually) and they work as a drip pan of sorts as well, which is great.  Because they are about 18 years old, they are well seasoned and turn a nice dark, almost black color very quickly even with just a couple uses.  The are the beige stone color right out of the oven, but the darkness returns within a couple uses - again, because they are so well seasoned after so many years.  When I first started to clean on self-clean back in 2007, I'd have to re-season them to get that non-stick awesomeness.  Usually I'd just make something like canned, store-bought croissants on them as they were 'greasy' enough to season the pan for me for future uses.  But after a few years, I didn't need to do anything with them after cleaning. 

To clean them in between the deep cleanings, I just use the little plastic scraper to scrape them.  Sometimes some really hot water but never soap.


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July 18, 2021

Need to use up celery? Dehydrate it! Dehydrate it and then either use right away or food seal for longer term storage.


We hosted a family get-together last month and had a whole bag of celery leftover.  It sat in the refrigerator for a couple weeks waiting for me to use it up but the first bag wasn't completely gone yet so we were still using that one.  Finally, as the ends were starting to brown, I knew I needed to 'get around to it' that day.

I decided to replenish our jar of dehydrated celery in the pantry.  

I freeze the leafy part of celery to use in future soups or homemade broth, but when I have too much celery to use up, my favorite way is to dehydrate it.  

I know not everyone has a dehydrator at home - for years I didn't either.  But my husband saw one on clearance at Home Depot or Lowes years ago and bought it for me. It's a very low-end (cheap) version with no bells or whistles and has worked great for me over the past 9 (?) years now.   You can dehydrate small vegetable pieces like this in the sun or in the oven as well but I never have since I use my dehydrator.  

The best thing is... NO PREP NEEDED.  

Just wash and trim the celery into pieces roughly the same size so they dehydrate evenly and at the same rate.

That's it.

One full large bag of celery from Sam's Club or Costco, once dehydrated, fits into a small pint sized jar.

Store in an airtight jar in your cupboard or pantry.  You can rehydrate with warm water and let it set for 15-20 minutes before using or add directly to your soups or sauces and simmer. 



You can see the ends were starting to brown - time to use it up quickly!



Just trim the ends off and dice the rest to use 


Try to make your pieces uniform so they dry at the same rate.


My trays didn't come with canvas liners - I made a post about those a few years ago.  I just bought canvas sheets and drew around the trays and then trimmed to size.  I've managed to misplace one of the canvas liners and I don't want the pieces to fall through the larger slats of the trays so for that one I just use parchment paper.

That's it.  Just place your pieces on the trays and turn on your dehydrator.  Again, mine is a really cheap model and doesn't allow me to change the temperature so it just has an 'on' and 'off' button but if you have a more expensive model, just use the temperature yours calls for or at one of the lowest temperatures yours offers as celery (and mushrooms) dry very quickly.  

Near the end of drying time (just a few hours) you'll want to remove the dried pieces and let the ones still plump to dry a bit longer.  Let them all cool down to room temperature before sealing tightly so there is no condensation or moisture in the jars.

NOTE FOR STORAGE:  Over the past few years I just stored our dehydrated foods in a small canning jar or jelly jar.  I was using either the metal lid and rings or the reusable plastic caps for the jars I was using up in the next couple months in regular cooking. 

For longer storage you can use your canister attachment for a food sealer.  Because the smaller, regular sized lids are a bit temperamental on holding their seal, either use a wide mouth jar (because those almost always seem to seal perfectly for long term) or, as I found this week, Tattler lids seal perfectly with the canister attachments!  No more popped lids as with the metal versions.  

Update: in 2022 I updated my dehydrator to one with shelves and adjustable temperature which is truly better, as the lower temp allows my items to dry longer at a lower temp and thus, keeps brighter colors.

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Using Tattler lids and gaskets with a canister attachment and food sealer

I use Tattler lids for canning (see onions on the right) but wondered if I could use them with my canister attachment and food sealer too?


I wondered if the Tattler style canning lids and seals would work with my canister attachment on my food sealer.... and that is how this post was born.

If you own one of the food sealers that work with the mason jar attachment sets, you probably already have realized the wide mouth size work better than the 'regular' sized.  There are hints and helps to try to get the regular mouth sized jars to seal - and keep their seal - as they often either don't seal at all, or will 'pop' their seal if you check them a few hours later.  

One of the hints to help seal the mason (ball/kerr etc) jars is putting a
second metal lid over the first and then when you lift the canister sealer off,
it takes the second lid off and the first (in theory) seals your jar airtight. 
This does work (most/some) of the time, but it's not reliable like
the wide mouth size are. 

This past week I had a bag of celery to use up and dehydrated it for the pantry.  Typically I just close the jar with a screw top since I don't want to have to deal with the food sealer and canister, knowing it will take a few attempts to seal the small sized jars perfectly. 

However, this past spring I bought Tattler lids and seals and I wondered if they would work with my canister food sealer.  

The short version of the story?


Tattler lids work with my canister food sealer for mason jars
I was just going to use a screw top, but really wanted it air-tight. I tried Tattler lids on a whim!

It sealed perfectly the first time - and no tricks needed like with the metal lids

I tested the seal at 12 and 24 hours because with metal lids the seal has usually popped by then if it's going to (again: the WIDE mouth seal beautifully but for some reason the smaller regular sized mouth lids don't work as well with canister sealer attachments) but the Tattlers sealed perfectly.  I checked seals before posting this and yep;  still as perfect as when I first sealed them.

NOTE:  The only note I will add is that I rinsed the rubber gasket in water and shook it off just before sealing.  I put it on the plastic lid - and was careful there were no drops of water or moisture on the plastic lid at all (because you don't want moisture in your dehydrated foods).  I did not boil the gasket, just rinsed it so it would be damp for a good seal. 

Sealed quick and easy in mere seconds. 

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July 14, 2021

I had a brainstorm one day and decided to use a Keto Cake Mix in my old "CAKE MIX COOKIES" recipe: "Keto Cake Mix Cookies"

Remember back around 2006 or so when "cake mix cookies" became a 'thing'?  I've posted many different versions of them that I made of the years but last month (or was it two months ago now? Time goes by so fast!) I made them using a keto cake mix.  Because... why not try it?  Right?  It was just an idea I had one day so I did it!
The end result was good and was obviously simple.  I used a keto cake mix and had sugar free sprinkles on hand too so I made a "Keto Funfetti Cookie" version.  In the end, when we are doing strict keto they are a good option but I admit I do get tired of almond flour based cookies - which is why I've been posting some of my King Arthur Keto Flour cookies - because sometimes I need to mix it up a bit.
The basic "CAKE MIX COOKIE" recipe:
1 dry cake mix
1/3 c oil
2 eggs

Mix, form balls, bake at 375 for about 8-9 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet a minute or two and remove to cool on a rack.

FOR THE KETO VERSION:   Because the Swerve Sweets cake mix is only about half the size of a regular cake mix, I 'halved' the recipe and used 1 egg and less oil.  I also added a teaspoon of vanilla.  After mixing the batter, stir in your sugar free sprinkles.

Form balls, bake on parchment at 375 for about 8-9 minutes until set.  Let cool on the parchment for a few minutes until they are set, and then cool completely on racks.








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July 04, 2021

King Arthur Keto Flour Version of my favorite Sugar Cookies - Keto Sugar Cookies - low carb and sugar free

Keto version of my favorite sugar cookie


This version from Crisco is an oldie-but-a-goodie and happens to be my favorite simple drop-style sugar cookie version.  The problem?  It's 15 carbs and 8 sugar grams per 'traditional full sugar/flour' cookie.  Eek!  We eat primarily low carb and sugar free so eating 3 of these (because seriously, who only eats one cookie?) is something my brain can't even fathom.  45 carbs and 24 grams of sugar?  That's enough carbs for 2 days; and more sugar than I typically eat in a week.  But... so so perfect and good.

Original version

1 c Crisco Shortening
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Oven to 375.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.   Beat shortening and sugar on high speed 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt.  Drop on prepared baking sheets and bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

ENTER THE LOWER CARB VERSION:  Which is currently my 'go to' version of this cookie.

 Keto Flour Version

1 c Crisco Shortening
1 1/3 c sweetener(s) - I mix my own with Erythritol, Allulose and Monk Fruit
2 eggs
2 t good quality vanilla extract
2 1/4 c King Arthur Keto Flour
1/4 c all purpose flour (use all Keto Flour if you wish to save about 1 carb per cookie)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Oven to 375.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.   Beat shortening and sugar on high speed 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt.  Drop on prepared baking sheets and bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.





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