1/30/22

Dehydrating Zucchini for the pantry! Spiralized Zucchini and Half Rounds.


 

Although this post deserves a better written version, I simply don't have time so it's going to be a sloppy, quick post and it is what it is!   

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I dehydrated zucchini this weekend.   

It was a 'must' as the zucchini I bought last weekend to use for a meal this week was completely forgotten as I rushed to make it one evening and without even thinking about it, I grabbed the packages of frozen zucchini from the freezer and used them instead.  I didn't even realize it until the next day when I opened the refrigerator and saw the zucchini sitting there... forgotten.  Ha.

Thinking about how often I buy fresh zucchini and then it goes bad before I can use it, I decided what I really wanted to do was dehydrate it.  This way I'd have it on hand when I want it and with my newer Cosori dehydrator*, I can adjust the temperature and dehydrate at a lower temperature than my older dehydrator, which turns out a better, brighter end product. 

Dehydrating zucchini takes almost zero prep because you do not blanch it or do anything special to it unless you want to take one extra little step - which I do.  Because zucchini has a lot of moisture in it, I sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on the slices or spirals and let them set out on paper towels or the dehydrating racks for about a half hour before I pat them dry and put them into the dehydrator.  This leeches out some of the liquid before the process starts.

 

Zucchini that needs to be used up!

DEHYDRATING ZUCCHINI

  • Wash and pat dry your zucchini
  • Slice, dice, spiral in whatever cuts your family uses most
  • Lay the slices/spirals/dices out on paper towels or the dehydrating racks and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over to start leeching some of the excess moisture out
  • After about 30 minutes, pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel and place into your dehydrator
  • Dehydrate at 125 degrees for approximately 6-10 hours or so, depending on your appliance and the size and thickness and style of your slices/spirals.  They are done when they are completely dried
  • Place them loosely in a glass jar with a lid and let them sit for at least 4-5 days this will even out the moisture content in all the slices
  • Store in an air tight jar - you can use an oxygen absorber or vacuum seal with your food vac attachment if you wish

Do not reconstitute them before using.  Zucchini should be added at the last second to your soup or meal as it will soak up the liquid right away and be perfect for serving.  

The spirals are great to leave as is for soups or crumble them up to add to your batter for zucchini bread or muffins!  Crumbled, they are just like you shredded them fresh.  You only have to use about 1/3 of a cup of dried to equal a whole cup of fresh! 

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Here are some of the spirals I cut going into the dehydrator... I also did half slices, which is my 'go to' cut for most of our zucchini dishes. 

All the zucchini you see in the top photo dehydrated down to these two small jars. 

Dehydrated Zucchini - spirals and half rounds
Dehydrated Zucchini

 

 

Here is the dehydrator I used (and you can see pictured above).  I also have a 10 year old Weston basic round, cheap model that served me well, but when the lid cracked from age/heat after almost 10 years, my husband surprised me with this one for Christmas.   It's been used at least weekly since then!  Love it.

 Cosori Dehydrator

 

 

 

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Reposting from 2019: A perfect, chewy, homemade oatmeal cookie

 



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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1/27/22

Reposting: One of my favorite Cheesecakes! A lower-carb, sugarfree Birthday Cake Cheesecake......

 
Originally posted  similar in 2016/2019




Of course no one else has to make it sugar free if they don't want to.
Use regular sugar, a regular cake mix and put a regular graham cracker or sugar cookie crust on this baby and you've got it made.

Amounts don't specifically matter!  I'm putting down the approximate amounts but if you use a little more, a little less; it won't matter.  Taste test if you want.


Sugar Free Lower Carb Birthday Cake Cheesecake

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, soft
2/3 c natural sweetener of choice (I mix 2 kinds for best flavor)
1/4 t Lorann Princess Cake flavoring (link below post)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c heavy cream
3/4 c dry cake mix from the package (I use sugar free)
1/2 c half and half or milk
*sprinkles (most of these have sugar in them but you don't have to use many if you don't want to or you could make sugar free out of food color and unsweetened coconut flakes)  I have sugar free sprinkles - two different brands and I love them but they are expensive.  Like, $10 for a little bag.  But you can use them sparingly to go farther.
*Crust if you wish to use one or make one - you can always make cheesecakes without them.




Simple Basic Low Carb Crust:

1 1/2 c almond flour
1/3 c natural sweetener, confectioner's style
1/4 t salt
4 T butter, melted

Mix or blend the almond flour, sweetener and salt in a small bowl.  Add the melted butter, stir until it starts to come together, place in your pie pan or a small 8 or 9 inch pan (for pie or bars).  Press evenly all across the bottom of a springform pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with the sweetener and the princess flavoring and vanilla until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add a bit of the whipping cream and start the mixer on low (trying to cut down on splatters).  Keep pouring in the rest of the cream and half and half.  Then increase the speed to a medium/high like you usually use to whip.  Within about 1 minute it should be whipped to stiff peaks.  Add the cake mix and mix on low just until blended. I just dumped some in - going to guess it was about 3/4 cup-ish.  One cake mix can make about 3 of these cheesecakes. Save the rest of the dry mix for another time.  

At this point mine got really thick so I used about 1/3 c half and half to thin it out just a little bit.  Use your half and half or milk for this purpose if it's super thick, to get it to a nice thick batter more like stiff peak whipped cream.  Mix in some sprinkles if you wish at this point to make it rainbow sprinkled all the way through or you can leave it white and put the sprinkles only on top.  Up to you!

Scoop into the springform pan over your crust if using.  Smooth the top.  Top with sprinkles of your choice - as heavy or light as you like.  Now chill for at least 6 hours or freeze for about 2 hours and then move to the refrigerator until serving time.  If you can make this 1 day a ahead that is best!  It will set up beautifully and the taste really has a chance to mix through the entire cheesecake. 





Whipped cream and cream cheese before adding the cake mix.


Scoopable... not a real thick batter but not thin or pourable either.  "Scoopable" and "spreadable" is about right.


Here comes the pretties!


Scoop into the springform pan (I didn't spray mine and it came out perfectly after freezing/chilling).


Ready to add the rest of the pretties on top and then chill.


I wanted it to be set up in time for dinner in a few hours so I put it in the freezer for about 2 hours.  It went into the refrigerator after that.  Set up beautifully.


This is actually the snapchat I sent my family - that's why you see text on the photo.







You might also be interested in these related products available through Amazon;



This is the LorAnn Princess Cake flavor I mentioned above;  I order mine from Amazon.  It's an emulsion, not a watery liquid so you use a little less (I only use about 1/4 teaspoon instead of the normal 1 t I'd use of any other flavoring).  It's a mixture of almond, vanilla and lemon I think.  It's just so good and tastes to me like what white 'bakery' cakes taste like.


Lorann Oils Bakery Emulsions Natural and Artificial Flavor, 4-Ounce, Princess Cake and Cookie

 
I have various kinds of natural sweetener on hand and love to mix two or three together for best flavor.



Different styles affordable Springform Pans available through Amazon such as;

Wilton Excelle Elite 6 x 2-3/4  Inch Springform Pan
Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan, 10 Cup, 9 Inch
Norpro Nonstick 3 Piece Springform Cake Cheesecake Tart Quiche Pan Set New 3903

     

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1/26/22

Origin of Common Vegetables and Fruits

I don't know if anyone else will find this particularly interesting, but I did and I thought I'd share. 

It's the Origin of Common Vegetables and Fruits listing published by "Arm & Hammer" in their "Arm & Hammer baking soda is pure bicarbonate of soda book of valuable recipes" - published in 1921.

 


 

Spinach is a Persian plant.
Horseradish is a native of England.
Filberts originally came from Greece.
The turnip originally came from Rome.
The peach originally came from Persia.
Sage is a native of the South of Europe.
Sweet Marjoram is a native of Portugal.
The bean is said to be a native of Egypt.
The pea is a native of the South of Europe.
Ginger is a native of the East and West Indies
Coriander seed came originally from the East.
Apricots are indigenous to the plains of America.
The cucumber was originally a tropical vegetable.
Capers originally grew wild in Greece and Northern Africa.
Pears were originally brought from the East by the Romans.
The clove is a native of the Malacca Islands.
Cherries were known in Asia as far back as the 17th century.
Asparagus was originally a wild sea coast plant and is native of Great Britain.
The tomato is a native of South America and it takes its name from a Portuguese word.
Parsley is said to have come from Egypt, and mythology tells us it was used to adorn the head of Hercules.
Apples were originally brought from the East by the Romans.
The crab-apple is indigenous to Great Britain.
The onion was almost an object of worship with the Egyptians 2,000 years before the Christian era.  It first came from India.
The cantaloupe is a native of America and is so called from the name of a place near Rome where it was first cultivated in Europe.
Lemons were used by the Romans to keep moths from their garments and in the time of Pliny they were considered an excellent poison.  They are native to Asia.


 

 

 

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Tilapia Florentine (a Spinach, cheese white sauce): LOTS of options for fish, shrimp, chicken or even pasta

  

I was trying to think of what I wanted to make for dinner tonight, and clicked into my photo files on the laptop.  I saw this one (Tilapia Florentine) and thought it sounded good for tonight but I then realized I don't think I ever posted this one to the recipe collection site.  It's time I did!

Although I usually use tilapia for this one, I've made it with chicken and I've made it meat and poultry free and served it with pasta (you can use low carb pasta or even spiral cut zucchini).  The way I make it most of the time is to serve the florentine sauce over quickly added shrimp to the pan (and I use the optional lemon pepper for sure when I make the shrimp version).

Basically it's just your basic alfredo or white sauce, with cream cheese added and then served with almost any chicken, seafood, fish or pasta.  With pasta I also sometimes sprinkle the top with crumbled bacon or once in a while, some grated smoked Gouda cheese.

The amounts are approximate as you can add more or less of almost any ingredient to this one.  If making for pasta or shrimp you obviously don't bake it.   Just pour the sauce over your cooked shrimp or pasta; or you can throw the shrimp into the pan with the sauce and simmer for about 6 minutes or so until the shrimp is cooked through.  Chicken can also be cooked ahead if you wish and just warmed through with the sauce.  So many options.

Tilapia Florentine (a Spinach, cheese white sauce)

5-6 tilapia fillets (or as many as you wish)
3 T butter
2 green onions, sliced
1 c heavy cream
2-3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
salt
fresh cracked black pepper
handful of fresh spinach (about a cup)
Options:  use a bit of lemon pepper or a tiny bit of thyme if you wish

Rinse and pat dry your tilapia.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and fresh black pepper.  Melt the butter in a pan and add the green onions.  Cook for about 2 minutes until soft.  Add the cream and cream cheese, stirring until it melts and is smooth and thick.  Add the Parmesan, salt and pepper.  You can add a pinch of thyme if you wish, or a tiny dash of lemon pepper.

Turn off the heat, throw in the spinach and stir briefly.  Lay the tilapia in a greased or oiled baking pan (I like to use pans lined with foil for easy clean up).   Pour the sauce over all.  Bake about 25 minutes at 400 or until the fish is done all the way through.

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 







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1/25/22

Vintage Cookie and Candy Recipes: "Fancy Cookies - Festive Candies - Delicious Goodies For Giving" circa 1956

 
This morning I was going through some of my cookbook 'booklets' to find a certain one I wanted, but I spied this one and had to pull it out and glance through it.  Oh, these old vintage booklets and recipe books from my Grandmother and Mother-in-law make me smile.   

This is one printed and distributed by Karo Syrup and Mazola Corn Oil in 1956. 

 
 
Quick Popcorn Balls
Sherry Christmas Cakes
Quick Party Punch
Holiday Punch

 
  
 
 
 
Crunchy Ginger Cookies
Fruit-Nut Bars
Sugar Cookies
Rich Fudge Brownies
 
 
 
 
Candy Apples
Butterscotch
Vanilla Fudge
Refrigerator Fudge

 
Lebkuchen
Chocolate Squares
Swedish Date-Nut Bars
Pecan Bars
 
Holiday Pie
Glazed Sweet Potato Pie
Mazola "No Roll" Pastry Shell
 
Fruit Cake
Glazed Hungarian Coffee Cake (yeast dough version)

   No-Cook Fondant
Peanut Butter Kisses   

I love how it says on the last page:


For other delicious recipes featuring Karo Syrup and Mazola Oil write:
Jane Ashley, Home Service Department
Corn Products Refining Company
17 Battery Place
New York, New York 4 

(Note the zip code... "4")









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1/23/22

From my Grandmother's Recipe Box - Vintage Recipe: Homemade Grape Nuts

I explained in a previous post how I came to own an old metal recipe box that was my grandmother's.  I had this box in my possession for a few years before she passed away in the spring of 2017.  However, I hadn't used the recipes in it much as I didn't want to keep touching them and flipping through them as some are so brittle.

Some are 'newer' meaning; gathered in the 1970's but many are from the late 1940's and are handwritten - a couple in blobbed ink - and many are so faded I can barely decipher them.

I was going through them about 5 years ago (Fall of 2017 I think) and lamenting the fact many are ripped and edges breaking off the brittle cards - and it suddenly hit me; I need to take a picture of the card and type out the recipe on my site so they are 'saved' not only for me but for my three kids (all of whom love to cook and bake!).  

That is how and why I started to post some of my Grandmother's vintage recipes and photos of her recipe cards.  I've not continued this very often through the previous 2 years as... life... got in the way.  But I hope to keep adding some here and there throughout 2022.  Best laid plans and all that... ha.  
 
 
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Homemade Grape Nuts

3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup dark syrup
2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt

Mix well and bake in a slow oven.  Cool.  Cut in squares and dry in oven.  When it is good and dry, grind it.






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