2/23/22

What 6 large green peppers look like after dehydrating them! Crazy isn't it? - Prep and Pantry work going on right now in the American Housewife Household

Busy!  Not much being posted lately by way of recipes, but a busy toddler, a few unexpected things in 'life' we're dealing with and of course the state of things being what they are right now, I'm also trying to do some canning, dehydrating and 'stocking up' just in case.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen this, but I just love seeing the results of dehydrating foods!  

This is the dried green pepper bits from... SIX (6) large green bell peppers!  

It's so awesome!  After drying, each 1/4 cup of diced pepper basically equals about 1 fresh. 

I store bell peppers in various ways, but for our family, I do a few bags of green peppers frozen, and the rest I dry as I tend to use them in soups and stews, which are perfect for dehydrated (or freeze dried). 

Red and yellow peppers are mostly cut into strips and food sealed and frozen as I use them in stir-fry, and fajita's, etc.  It's super easy to cut them into diced if needed as well from frozen state.

(Just because we are on topic - as a side note, I buy containers of sliced mushrooms and immediately put them into the freezer as they are unless I am using them that night or the next day.   I throw them into soups, stews, the pan to saute', etc. straight from frozen state as well).

Lots of "prep" work going on behind the scenes...  

NOTE:  if you are wondering about my dehydrator - it came from Amazon.

I don't have a high-end, expensive dehydrator, as I can't afford that - but I have upgraded from my 'starter' dehydrator I have had and used for the past 10 years.  

My first dehydrator (there are posts here on An American Housewife) was a very frugal model, a basic round, with no temperature control.  Just 'off' and 'on' switches.  It worked fairly well for most things but when the plastic lid finally cracked from time, heat, age and use, I was gifted a newer upgrade by my husband last Christmas.  I love it, as it works well, and it's affordable.  (About $150 - give or take).  

I do need to buy more trays for it so I can make more fruit leathers and I'm going to buy more canvas style trays as well to catch the little dried bits like celery, which get so small they fall through the larger squares.  I'm currently using my homemade round canvas trays, which work fine, but I have the canvas trays in my "wish list" on Amazon to purchase as soon as I get a little extra fundage in the budget. 

COSORI Food Dehydrator

 

(50 Recipes) for Jerky Fruit, Meat, Dog Treats, Herbs, and Yogurt, Dryer Machine with Temperature Control, 6 Stainless Steel Trays, ETL Listed, Silver 

 

Here are the trays and liners I have bookmarked on my Amazon wish list for my dehydrator, just in case you wanted them too! 

 

    The fruit leather roll sheets I have bookmarked to purchase for my Cosori dehydrator - link

 

     The canvas trays to use for 'tiny' items that fall through, like the dried celery and bits of pepper diced small - link

 

 

    These are non-stick versions of the trays to make things like fruit leather, dried yogurt, etc. - link

 

 

 

 

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2/20/22

Great Low Carb Bread Company Pastas.... Rotini, Shells, Fettucini and more... ready for pasta salads, speghetti, alfredo and so much more

 


This is a 're-post' of sorts - originally blogged about in March of 2021.  However, it's here today because for the past 3-4 weeks I've been trying to talk myself into spending the money to place another order of low-carb, or keto foods and ugh... I just don't want to spend the money!   But I really need to, as it's much easier, more fun and quicker to cook healthy lowcarb when you have ingredients on hand.
 
I've almost convinced myself to buckle down and place an order today as I really need some low carb and keto pastas, flours, and sugar free syrups.  So that is how this post was 'born' this morning and why it's here.  LOL.
 
If you are low-carb or keto and can't do pasta, these are amazing to keep on hand as a substitute. 
 
 
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. 

Low Carb Pasta Great Low Carb Bread Company Low Carb Pasta

 

 

 

 

 

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.





Here is the nutrition listing for the Great Low Carb Breads Company Rotini Pasta.  Just 7 carbs.





Available through Netrition or you can find them on Amazon too, as well as their own company site.


Low Carb Pasta Great Low Carb Bread Company Low Carb Pasta 

 

 

 

 

I buy some low carb products from Amazon - although I'm picky about what food items I order from there.  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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2/14/22

Triple Layer Krispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars - also can be made sugar free and lower carb if you wish

 
 
Did not plan to post this, but it ended up to be really, really good and I want to keep it here as a reminder!   
 
My version is a lower-carb and sugarfree option but it can be made full sugar and full carb making it the exact same way, using 'regular' ingredients.  
 
This weekend was my husband's birthday and I wasn't sure what to make. At first I figured I'd just make a birthday cake, but meh.  Not really in the mood for that, and he doesn't eat cake all that much after that first celebratory slice.  I had made a sugarfree banana pie for dessert already this week.  We had (sugarfree keto) chocolate muffins and almond muffins on the counter.  I wouldn't mind a spice cake or carrot cake, but he likes chocolate and it's his birthday.  :)

In the end, I went with a layered dessert using things I had in the pantry.  He loved it and it turned out so good!
 
 

Triple Layer Krispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Brownies:  either homemade or a mix (sugarfree or regular)
Peanut Butter - approximately 3 cups
2 t vanilla
1/3 c confectioner style sweetener or sugar
1 T butter
3 c plain rice krispies
2 c chocolate chips - regular or sugar free

Make the brownies according to directions and spread in the bottom of a parchment lined pan of choice.  I used a spring form pan here.  You could also use a 9X13" pan, be sure to leave the parchment on the sides long enough to be able to grasp and pull the bars out of the pan with it when they are done. 
 
(My quick and easy brownies are to use 1 dry chocolate cake mix of choice, mixed with 1 stick melted butter and 2/3 c evaporated milk.)

When the brownies are done, let them cool completely.  Prepare the peanut butter filling by mixing 2 cups of peanut butter with the vanilla and sugar or sweetener.  Spread this over the cooled brownies.
 
In a microwaveable bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup peanut butter with the chocolate chips and 1 T butter.  Microwave about 1 minute, stir smooth, microwave another 15-20 seconds if you need to until melted and smooth.  Mix with the 3 cups rice krispies.  Spread this over top of the peanut butter layer.  I use plastic wrap to press and smooth (it won't stick to the plastic like it does your fingers).
 
Now chill for about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle sprinkles, drizzle with melted white chocolate or add frosting if you wish.  Serve.
 
____________________________________________
 
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 - As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. -- American Housewife at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 If you need to purchase the ingredients, the cake pan, the keto or sugar free alternatives for the sweeteners or the brownie mix - please consider using my affiliate link above!  Thanks so much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2/10/22

Five (5) Low Carb and Sugarfree Cake Recipes: White, Chocolate, Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Red Velvet (Plus 2 frosting recipes)

This post isn't actually here for anyone but me... but I keep the blog site open to the public so others can find recipes and hints too.  

The reason for this post is to take some of my keto or low carb cake recipes from the past 10 years and put them 'front and center' here because I need to make a birthday cake this weekend and I'm not sure yet which kind I want to make.  It just saves me a few extra minutes to put them here and decide at the time I start the cake.

All of these are from posts over the past 10 years.

 

sugar free low carb white cake with layers of white sugarfree frosting and fresh flowers

 

This photo is a cake I made in September of 2012 for my parents anniversary as they were visiting us during that time, and I wanted to celebrate, but our family was in the middle of a no sugar, low carb way of eating.   I first made it in April 2012 for my own birthday (was also doing no sugar at the time) and again in September for them. 

 

 

FIRST RECIPE:   Sugar Free, Low Carb White Birthday Cake

3 c good quality, blanched, fine grained almond flour
1/3 c whey protein powder - vanilla or unflavored (I only use IsoPure - not any other brand)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/3 sticks real butter
3/4 c mixture of granulated natural sweeteners of your choice (Lakanto, Xylitol, SoNourished, etc)
1/2 t liquid sweetener drops like Sucrarose, etc. (optional but it helps to use 2-3 sweeteners)
3 eggs
1 T cake batter flavoring
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

Grease or line a 9" pan with parchment.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Put the dry ingredients into a large bowl; almond flour, whey protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt.


Mix butter and sweeteners until fluffy, add eggs.  Beat in cake batter flavoring and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients alternating with the almond milk.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes.  At this point your cake might be done, but I find almond flour baked goods need a little longer and the cake may start to be too brown on top.  If your cake is still a bit too wet in the center or jiggles, yet the top is getting browned, cover with foil and bake about 5 minutes more; turn off the oven and let it for about 5-10 minutes more, checking to see if the center of your cake is set and done.  My oven bakes this cake in a good quality 9" pan for 35 minutes at 350, cover with foil, turn off the oven and leave for another 10-12 minutes and it's perfectly done.  Cool completely or freeze before frosting.


 
 
SECOND RECIPE:  White Cake - Low Carb and Sugar Free

1/2 c butter, soft
8 eggs
1 c  white sugar-like sweetener of your choice
2 T Xylitol
14 drops liquid sweetener (I used Superose Liquid Sweetener which is no longer available, but you can use Stevia, EZ-sweet, etc.)
1/2 t salt
4 t vanilla extract
2 T Torani Sugar Free Vanilla flavor
1/2 c sour cream
1/3 c (not quite heaping) Carbquick
1/3 coconut flour
2/3 c Isopure Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (0 carb, 0 sugar)
1 t baking powder
Whisk or mix eggs and vanilla flavorings in a bowl until yellow and frothy.  In another bowl place the Carbquick, coconut flour, protein powder and baking powder.  In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and the sweeteners; Splenda, Xylitol and liquid sweetener.  Beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs by pouring them in as the mixer is running.  Add half the dry ingredients, half the sour cream, then the rest of the dry and the rest of the sour cream.  
Place in 2 round 8" or 9" pan sprayed or oiled and dusted with either a light dusting of Carbquick or almond meal, etc.  Bake at 350F for approximately 25-35 minutes until the center is set.  Let cool about 10 minutes so you can remove it easily from the pan.  Invert it onto a platter and let cool completely before frosting and serving.
You can use any icing or frosting you wish but here is the one I used;  sugar free and low carb as well:  Sugar Free and Low Carb Frosting

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






From my SnapChat Story to my Family that day...


Cinnamon Coffee Cake  It's one that always turns out and everyone loves it - even those who have no idea it's sugar free, gluten free and low carb. 


Frosting:  Do a taste test on this one.... add more or less sweetener or vanilla if you wish

Approximately:   1 stick butter
2 c Swerve Confectioner's Style sweetener (Swerve Confection Style)
about 1 teaspoon liquid sweetener drops
1/4 - 1/2 c Lakanto or other sweetener to bring out the best 'sugar like' flavor.  (If you use something like SoNourished Sweetener, I find I only need about 1 cup!  So TASTE TEST because the sweeteners you use make a huge difference in the amount needed to flavor your frosting). 
1/4 t xanthan gum (optional, but it makes a nice thickener/texture)
1/2 - 3/4 c heavy whipping cream
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 t LorAnn liquid emulsion "princess" cake flavoring.

In an electric mixing bowl, beat the butter, then add the rest.  Add more cream to make it a bit thinner, or more sweetener to make it thicker.  Taste test to get the right amount of sweetness and flavorings that you like.




 Low Carb, Sugar Free, Chocolate Cake

2 1/4 c good quality almond flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c sweetener (erythritol, etc.) + little more if you like it sweeter
1/3 c whey protein powder (I use Isopure - zero carb & zero sugar)
1 t instant coffee
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t xanthan gum
1/2 t salt
3/4 c sour cream
1/2 c soft butter (1 stick)
5 eggs
15 drops liquid or other sweetener (mixing sweeteners gives it better flavor than a single sweetener)
2 t vanilla
2/3 c almond milk or half and half, etc.

Place all the dry ingredients from the almond flour to the salt, in a large bowl and mix well with a wood spoon, whisk, etc.  Set aside.  In your mixing bowl, beat the butter and sour cream.  Beat in the eggs, liquid sweetener and vanilla.  Add half the dry almond flour mixture, beat well.  Add the almond milk, beat.  Add the last of the almond flour mixture.  Bake in your preferred pan;  a greased and parchment lined 9X13, a greased bundt pan, 2 greased and parchment lined round 8 or 9 inch pans or make into cupcakes.   Bake at 325 degrees.   I baked in two- 9 inch round pans about 32 minutes.  Test and bake until the center is done.  Let cool about 10 minutes and remove from pans to cool completely.



Low Carb Sugar Free Red Velvet Cake

1 c butter
1 1/2 c sweetener
2 eggs
2 1/2 c almond flour
1/3 c whey protein powder
1/4 c coconut flour
1 t xanthan gum
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t cocoa
1 t salt
1 bottle - 1 oz. red food color
1 T vinegar
2 t vanilla
1 c almond milk with part cream and 1 1/2 t vinegar (or lemon juice) to sour

Mix the almond milk with the vanilla and 1 1/2 t vinegar in a small cup and let set.  You could buttermilk in place of the vinegar and almond milk.

Cream the butter and sweeteners in a mixing bowl til fluffy.  Add the eggs.  If your eggs are small use 3.  In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture.  Begin and end with the dry.  When mixed well, pour into your pans of choice.  I use 2 round cake pans sprayed and lined with a piece of parchment.  Bake at 350 approximately 25-35 minutes depending on your oven.  When the center is set and the cake is done, remove and cool 10-15 minutes in the pan before removing from pan to cool completely.  Decorate as you wish - the traditional Red Velvet Cake Frosting DOES NOT USE CREAM CHEESE.  It's a flour and milk based frosting you then cool and add the butter, sweetener and vanilla.

Sugar Free Butter Cream Vanilla Frosting

3/4 c granular Xylitol 
1/4 c water
3 large egg whites (separate and use the yolks in another recipe)
2 1/2 sticks real butter
2 T vanilla extract or use half vanilla sf syrup and half extract
*If you taste test it and find your personal tastes would like it sweeter, use 5-10 drops liquid sweetener

In a saucepan, place the water and Xylitol. Heat over medium high until it comes to 240 degrees.  With normal sugar this would be soft ball stage but because Xylitol and Splenda do not thicken, you cannot test this by traditional soft ball stage.

As you are heating the sugar substitute and water, mix the egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  With the mixer running, pour the hot Xylitol mixture down the side of the bowl in a thin stream, mixing into the egg whites.  Beat approximately 7-10 minutes on high until the egg whites resemble a thick and glossy meringue.

Start to add the butter in chunks, about a tablespoon at a time.  Keep the mixer running and whip the mixture about 7- 10 minutes more.  If the mixture breaks up when you first add the butter and it looks like cottage cheese, no worries.  Just keep whipping until it's smooth again.  Once the frosting is smooth, add your vanilla and whip again for a few minutes.  If it's a really warm or humid day it might get too warm to work with.  Just refrigerate it for about 7 minutes, whip again.  The cooler temperatures will cause it to harden up again.


 Drizzle the hot syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the egg whites


 I had to make 2 batches to fill and cover a 3 layer cake












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. - American Housewife at Amazon

Almond flour, xanthan gum, natural sweeteners, baking pans, parchment, whey protein powder, coconut flour...  I order most of my low carb & sugar free items from Amazon or Netrition myself as I can't find many options in stores where I live.










   Blue Diamond Almond Flour, Gluten Free, Blanched, Finely Sifted 3 lb bag


   Isopure Zero Carb, Keto Friendly Protein Powder, 100% Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored, 3 Pounds



   Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener, 1:1 Sugar Substitute, Keto, Non-GMO (Classic White - 3 lbs)

  Bakery Emulsions Natural & Artificial Flavor 4oz, Princess Cake & Cookie


  McCormick Imitation Cake Batter Flavor, 2 fl oz (Pack - 1)

  Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners (Pack of 2)








 

 

 

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2/9/22

Home Canned Butter - a taste test after almost 18 months (2020 canned - testing 2022)

 

In May of 2021, I posted a "6 month taste test" of my home canned butter.  At the time, I was thrilled it was so wonderful yet at six months but now, in 2022, how is it?

I'm thrilled to say last night I grabbed one of the 2020 jars of home canned butter and opened it for a taste test and... it was perfect!  A beautiful 'butter yellow' color and the taste?  As perfect as the day I canned it.

I'm extremely happy with it!  

Here is a copy of part of my original "six month" taste test of my home canned butter - but I can attest that after almost 18 or so months out, it's still as perfectly delicious as the day it was canned.

ORIGINAL 2021 post:

Last fall I finally canned butter in a pressure canner.  This post is a follow up on the 6 month mark and a taste test.   


Something a million other women and men have done but I had not, was canning butter.

I didn't know if it was going to work out or not, but I wanted to try and thanks to good sale at our local membership warehouse, my freezer food storage had some 'extra' butter I could do a trial run with and not be too upset if it didn't turn out.

You can find many tutorials online and at youtube for canning butter. That's not my post.

My post today is the 'AFTER' of pressure canning butter. 

I have a Presto brand, 23 quart pressure canner. This is an 'after thought' but I need to mention it because it's important... if you haven't bought a pressure canner yet and you have a GLASS TOP ELECTRIC STOVE then you need to be careful of the brand and style you buy!  Many are not recommended for glass top stoves because they will crack them.  I have a glass top stove, which I've always used for water bath canning but I had to be careful when I purchased my pressure canner.   

This also probably goes without saying if you've been doing your research on canning butter - but you never trust water bath canning for items like butter.  And even then - always use brand new, good quality lids so know you have a new seal.

My butter was canned in October 2020.   I wanted to wait to do the first taste test and seal test at about 6 months.

I had to work hard to get that seal off.  That was the first good sign.
When I opened it, it smelled like... butter.   There wasn't much of a scent at all - which is good.
 
It was just... butter.  That sounds almost too simple but there you go.  It was just... spreadable, creamy, real butter.

It had good, even color.  It had a light, fresh, 'buttery' smell.  

I don't typically 'lick my finger' or a butter knife with just butter on it because I'm not a fan.  But for this test, I felt I needed to taste it by itself. I have a crazy good sense of smell and sense of taste - like - oddly good.  I get it genetically from my Dad and my paternal Grandmother.  So taste test I did.

And... it was good. Not only good but it was SO good!  

It was seriously, 'sweet cream butter'.  So light, creamy and good.

Not even a smidgen of off taste.  Not a smidgen of even the taste of room temperature butter - which I thought it would since it's... room temperature.  But since there is no air, it tastes as fresh as the day you canned it.  

It was so incredibly sweet and light and... buttery.  

Why did I want to can butter? 

For my readers who are thinking "Why would you can butter!?  Just buy it at the store or put some in the refrigerator or freezer!", this is why I personally wanted to. 

I do keep butter in our freezer for longer term storage.   

Butter is a food item I never want to run out of!  I use a lot of butter in our day to day meals and baking!  

I will always keep butter in the freezer as part of my well stocked kitchen/pantry, but I know first hand about storms and power outages.  We personally have friends and family who have had weather related storms in the past (the Iowa Dericho... I'm looking at you!) who lost power for over THREE WEEKS.  We personally went without power and water for 5 days during an ice storm in Tennessee.

Even if you have a generator - you have to have one large enough to run the multiple appliances you need or want, and you may have to pick and choose what gets power and what doesn't.  One of my good friends had a generator but the first week of the Iowa dericho storms, her husband had to literally spend all day finding gas.  He ended up having to drive 3 hours away to find gas.  That was a 6 hour trip just to find gas for their generator for a storm that was contained to a rather 'small' area. Imagine if it had been even more wide spread.

I want the ability to have butter for meals for my family in the event of an emergency of any sort or to take with when we go camping, on vacation, etc.  

You can buy canned butter.  

Commercially canned butter like Red Feather brand  - currently about $200 for a case of 24 little cans.  The cans are about the size of a can of tuna.  So, 24 cans for $200 verses me canning 24 half pints for about $16 (based on the current price of butter at my local membership warehouse where I bought two 4-packs for a total of 8 lbs. fresh, sweet cream butter yesterday as it was on sale for about $8 for 4 - one pound packages.)

Basically, I want to have the option of having and storing butter without depending on electricity.

  _______________________


(Tiny update the next day...  I made another 18 jars yesterday.  Finished the 'shaking' during solidifying process last night around 9:15 pm.  What a great feeling to see the fruits of your labor!)


2022 PHOTOS

Thrilled!  That's how I felt about this can of 2020 canned butter last night.  It was just as perfect as the day it was canned in the Fall of 2020.  

 


________________________________________-

 

You might be interested in some products related to this post - like pressure canners from Amazon.  They are back in stock after being almost impossible to find during Covid shortages in 2020.  I've seen pressure canners back in stock at my local retailers and various sites online but if you prefer to buy from Amazon, please consider using one of my links for your search.  Thanks much!

  

 

My particular model is the Presto 23 quart.  It was more affordable than the other really popular brand, but it was also easy to 'learn' and really easy to use.  MOST IMPORTANT?  I knew THIS STYLE/BRAND CAN BE USED ON MY GLASS TOP ELECTRIC STOVE.   This is important because some other brands are not to be used on glass top stoves.

 

   


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 - As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. -- American Housewife at Amazon 







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