4/29/22

A keto substitute for roasted little potatoes? Yes! Oven roasted radishes

Photo is prior to roasting - tossed together and ready to roast

I have loved radishes all my life - literally since I started to eat solid foods as a baby.  My Dad loved them and by default they were a huge part of my life and one of the earlier foods I recall pulling and eating fresh from the ground as a toddler (radishes and carrots). 

But I digress.  The point of this quick fly-by post is simply to remind people you can eat radishes cooked - not just raw or on salads!   

Since we are primarily and usually lowcarb and/or keto we don't get to enjoy potatoes often, but radishes and cauliflower fill the space quite easily.   Cauliflower for mashed and radishes for the rest.

When making a roast, I add radishes in place of potatoes.  Same for chicken, one-sheet pan dinners, onions roasted 'potatoes' and more.

This particular meal, I popped some radishes in a cast iron skillet along with some avocado oil, garlic and green onions.  Seasoned with simply salt and pepper.  Roasted until the greens and radishes were a nice golden brown and served along side our main entree'.  
Freshly thrown together and ready to pop into a hot oven to roast

 

 

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You might also be interested in the cast iron skillets related to this post (available through Amazon):

 

 

 

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4/26/22

QUICK AND EASY CHERRY PUFF PASTRY BRAID - (This is a great dessert for your little ones to make 'with you' since it's SO easy but SO pretty and delicious too!)

 
 
Although I can easily pass most desserts or candy by without a blink of an eye, there are a few items that I can't resist.  One of those is a 'pastry' - especially if it's either plain with just a sprinkle of sweetener or a vanilla or whipped cream filling.

Because of this, I try to keep puff pastry on hand in the freezer for when I need a quick dessert or brunch item, or I'm craving a dessert (which isn't ofen, but when it hits, it hits hard!)  Well this 'dessert' is so incredibly simple it's not even a 'recipe'.

It's literally 2 ingredients - can anything be a 'recipe' with just 2 ingredients?

You can use almonst any filling in this!  First off is canned or homemade pie fillings - cherry and apple are both perfect but if you have lemon, chocolate, blueberry, peach or any filling you like, it will work.  Another idea is to take an 8 oz. block of cream cheese and sweeten it with a couple tablespoons sweetener of your choice and a dash of vanilla.  Use cream cheese as the filling for a 'cream cheese Danish'.  More ideas include jam!  This is delicious with strawberry or raspberry jam fillings... again, so many more flavors to choose from (including our go-to which is the 'sugar free' versions.)  You can also 'meat' this up by using sausage and cheddar cheese, ham and cheese, pepperoni with a bit of cheese and sauce... oh gracious, the possibilities are endless.

But this week, it was cherry.  

QUICK AND EASY CHERRY PUFF PASTRY BRAID

1 sheet puff pastry
1/2 can cherry pie filling (or any flavor)
Cinnamon and sweetener or sugar to sprinkle
 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Unfold a thawed sheet of puff pastry and roll it out to its rectangle shape on a piece of parchment paper.  Place it in front of you the 'long' way and spoon your filling of choice down the center of the pastry from top to bottom.
Use a knife or pizza cutter and make even slices all the way down both sides, roughly 1 inch wide.
Start from the top and fold them into the center, overlapping a bit.
Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet (or you could roll the dough directly onto a very lightly greased baking sheet and skip the parchment.)
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake for approximately 25 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown, puffy and 'done'.
Cool for at least 10 minutes or longer and serve.
 
 
 
 
We are typically sugarfree as a rule, so we have this 'no sugar added' filling in the cupboard
or I make my own cherry pie filling - you use what you like


Making slices down the sides of the pastry


Folding each slice inward to cover the filling


Sprinkled with cinnamon......


And some sweetener (we use an erythritol and monk fruit blend)


Into the oven to bake!


 I didn't get an 'after' photo.  We literally immediately started to eat it and when I thought to myself "I should probably stop eating and get a photo" I decided I didn't want to stop eating it to do so... so I didn't!  Ha ha.

 

 

 

NOTE:  My local Walmart and grocery store stopped carrying the Comstock brand of no sugar added cherry pie filling - I thought it was a Covid 'shortage' issue but they STILL aren't carrying it!?  So I have to buy the Walmart brand - which is fine I guess - but homemade is better and Comstock's is better.  Amazon has the Comstock brand so if you can't find it either, you can still order it.

Comstock - Duncan Hines No Sugar Added Cherry Pie Filling

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4/24/22

A good day for an iced coffee frappe' (blended) kind of like a yummy coffee slushee!


If you follow me on Instagram, you will recognize these photos as I'm just using the same ones to post here quickly.

Yesterday was sunny and warm and gorgeous - a far cry from the last week and a nice break as we head into more 'yuck' weather this week.  I suddenly had a craving for an iced coffee.  I don't really like cold coffee simply over ice, but I love 'blended' cold drinks - more slushy.  

I have a Mr. Coffee Frappe' machine (they no longer make them) but they do make iced coffee machines which you could blend yourself in your blender.  

This is also NOT a sponsored post (even though you can see the product I used in the photos).  They most certainly did not supply me with product for this - we've bought it all ourselves and actually, the set this one comes from was gifted to my husband for his birthday.

I use ALL kinds and flavors of coffee when I make iced coffee!  I just happened to want to use up the last of the beans in this particular bag.  This day I used a rum barrel aged coffee bean, ground myself, brewed as an espresso over ice and added a splash of sugar-free vanilla syrup and topped it off with whipped cream and a sprinkle of espresso powder!

Not a sponsored post... use any flavor coffee or bean you wish!



THIS ICED COFFEE:

4 oz. espresso
3-4 cups ice
splash of sugarfree vanilla syrup
Whipped Cream
Instant Espresso Powder sprinkled on top




 

 

NOTE:  The Frappe' maker in the photos is one I've owned for years and I'm almost positive isn't available for sale anymore.  Here is a link to Amazon to search for something that might suit you, (LINK) but you could also just brew your espresso, pour it over ice and blend it in your own blender.  


The coffee used this particular time was from Cooper's Cask Coffee but obviously we use all types, brands and flavors of coffee to make iced coffee and frappe's. 

 

Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Whole Bean Set, 3 Bags - Single Origin Sumatra Whiskey, Ethiopian Rye, Rwanda Rum Roasted Coffee Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LowCarb and Sugarfree option for the traditional Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies

 
 
 
 
 
While glancing through some of my food files I saw photos of my lowcarb, sugarfree Mexican Wedding Cookies and realized I had apparently never posted these to my site.  All I can think of is that because I make these every year at Christmas, I snapped a few quick photos, got busy with the 25 other Christmas cookie recipes I make and never got around to posting it.  These photos were taken a few years ago actually - but better late than never.

This version is the low carb and sugar free version of the traditional vintage version that's been around for a hundred years. 
 
Mexican Wedding Cakes
 
1 1/2 c almond flour
dash of salt
dash of baking soda
2 T butter
2 T honey substitute (link to the one I use)
1 t vanilla
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 c powdered confectioner's sweetener of choice

Combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda either in a food processor or with electric mixer.  Pulse or mix in the imitation honey and butter (or shortening if that's your thing) and vanilla.  Stir in the toasted pecans by hand.  Form 1" balls or use a cookie scoop and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for approximately 20 minutes before dipping and rolling in the confectioner's sweetener. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Briefly toasting the pecans



 Pulsing the ingredients in a food processor



Stirring in the pecans

 


Scooped


Into the oven

 

Rolling in powdered natural sweetener
   

  Sugarfree and low carb options


 
 
 
 
If you regularly order from Amazon, you might be interested in these related products....  I used to be able to find this sugarfree 'honey' substitute at Walmart but my local store(s) no longer carry it.  This is the kind I like the best as it's thick like real honey and not the runny liquid versions other brands sell. 

HoneyTree imitation sugarfree honey

Lakanto Powdered Monk Fruit and Erythritol

Swerve Sweetener

So Nourished


 

 

 

 

 

 

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4/23/22

An actual grocery shopping receipt from one year ago verses today: Exact Same Item Price Comparison - Inflation! Plus a tiny bit about Food Storage

I have shopped the same 3 stores as my primary grocery and household item 'go to' places for almost ten years now so it's easy for me to mentally price compare and 'out of stock' compare while shopping.  

Yesterday, while starting to think about this weekends shopping trip(s) I decided to make it official.  I wanted to compare one year ago with this weekends pricing; this was easy to do because I have access to all my receipts and I tend to buy the same or similar items for our household.

NO SURPRISE was the price increases.  Actually, some from a year ago had gone up up up for the past 11 months and then went back down a little bit lately, but others have gone so high I can't even buy them any longer (crab cakes and steak, I'm looking at you!).   But the real surprisebutnotreally is all the items that are continuously 'out of stock' or 'no longer available'.  I have seen quite a few items over the past year that went 'poof!' and were never seen again at my stores (like the blue cheese dressing at our membership warehouse among many more items....)

Without further adieu, here is a QUICK (really quick) thingy I worked up that shows my receipt for 1 year ago with my typed in "TODAY'S" pricing next to it - or if the website said they were out of stock or it was no longer carried, etc.

This was a "STOCK UP" trip:   Anticipating price hikes and out of stocks I was buying more meats and poultry than usual so I could stock the freezer.  But this ended up being great for 'price comparison' now, a year later!

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PANTRY STOCKING TRIP

I went ahead and grabbed a receipt from 2 months ago (February, 2022) to show some random prices on items I don't actually buy often but I thought my readers might be interested. 

This trip was also a "PANTRY STOCKING" trip - where I was buying a lot of 'weird for me' purchases along with some of my normal shopping. The 'weird for me' is because I keep things on hand that in times of need I'd be happy to eat and use (like pancake mix and jelly) and because I prep with extended family members in mind.

Just for interest - a shopping list and price from February (and beef, chicken, dairy and seafood have gone up since this receipt 2 months ago.)









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4/15/22

Low Carb, Sugarfree, Keto Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I've been cooking and baking low carb and sugar free off and on since 2003; so I've tried and made a lot of low carb cookies.  A couple years ago I started to make a few different versions of low carb and/or keto cookies using a couple different ingredients like unflavored gelatin and sugarfree honey substitute, which really improved the texture of some of them. 

Last year I bought a cookbook off Amazon called The Southern Keto Cookbook (I'll post a link at the bottom of this post when I'm done) and one of the cookie recipes in it was basically like a thousand other keto chocolate chip cookies except it did call for almond butter - which I don't keep on hand because we don't really like it or use it.

But I picked some up a couple months ago at the store and kept it in the pantry for whenever I decided to make cookies again.  And that was this week.


I based the recipe off the general idea in the cookbook I mentioned, except I never actually follow recipes - so I changed a couple things and my cookies are more like 3 carbs each instead of 2.

 

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter, melted and browned a bit in a skillet or pan and then cooled
1/4 c almond butter
1/3 heaping cup of natural sweetener substitutes (I mix 2-3 for best flavor; erythritol/monkfruit)
1 egg
1 T black strap molasses (optional but I use it for the flavor and it only adds barely 1 carb to the count)
2 t good quality vanilla
1 1/4 c almond flour
1 1/2 T oatmeal (Optional - I added this for a more authentic oatmeal cookie and texture)
1 T unflavored gelatin
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c unsweetened coconut shreds
1/2 c sugar free chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and place a sheet of parchment paper on your baking sheet.

Mix the cooled, caramel colored 'browned' butter with the almond butter and sweetener until creamed.  Add the egg, molasses if you are using it and vanilla.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients, stirring in the chocolate chips last.  Scoop equal sized portions onto the parchment.  Bake for 8 minutes until they are starting to turn golden on the edges.  Gently use a metal spatula to lightly press the tops of the cookies to flatten just slightly while they are still on the cookie sheet.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet(s) for about 10 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.  I got about 20 cookies from this.  The size cookie you make will vary.

 

NOTES AND LINKS:  The book I mentioned above is this one:  

 The Southern Keto Cookbook



However - I'm adding another link below and some notes about it.

One of my long-time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes from 2002/2003 was in this cookbook (yes, I've been doing low carb this long) and Dana used a bit of black strap molasses in her cookies that added a touch of authentic flavor without jacking up the carbs or sugar - which as I stated above in the recipe is optional and NOT actually needed.

One addition to that thought is that back then (2002 ish) there was NO brown sugar sweetener alternatives like you have options today.  (Actually, it was hard to find hardly any ingredients as they simply didn't make them back then and the few items that were made weren't available to the public easily - which is a whole other topic! For example, it was almost impossible to find erythritol except finding lists of natural food stores in the backs of cookbooks and then calling and placing orders over the phone with a health food store that happened to sell it.)  We are SO lucky today we have a million options and ingredients to work with and they are easily found and ordered or bought right in our local stores.  But that is how the molasses/granulated erythritol blend came to be in 2002 verses simply using a brown sugar style sweetener today.    

Dana Carpender's 500 Low Carb Recipes


 


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4/13/22

Jalapeno and Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

 

I am actually carving out a few minutes from a very busy morning to make sure I get this recipe and the photos posted! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know we had this for dinner last night.  It's not anything 'brand new' really as I make the pork chop version of this fairly regularly, but one of my young adult daughters was here at dinner time and went nuts over this stuffed pork loin.  I told her it was really easy - it was just like the smothered pork chops - except I stuffed the pork roast with it instead.  

She likes recipes, directions and photos though, so this one is for her!  :)

(My pork chop version was posted in 2017 - which you can find here:  Jalapeno, Cheese and Bacon Smothered Grilled Pork Chops)

Here is the pork roast right after it came out of the oven, placed on the serving platter, before adding the vegetables for serving....

Basically you can use any amount of the cheese, jalapenos and bacon that you wish.  The same with the size pork loin or pork roast.  Depending on large of one you bought or how many people you are serving.

This pork roast looks fairly small in the photos but easily feeds 4 people.

 

Cheese, bacon & Jalapeno Pork Roast

Pork Loin or Roast (your choice cut and how large)
cream cheese - I used about 1/2 block or 4 oz. for this small pork roast, which was plenty
cheddar cheese (I used sharp cheddar this time but mild, medium or sharp will work fine)
diced jalapeno peppers - either fresh or bottled - your choice
cooked, crumbled bacon (fresh cooked and crumbled or bagged - your choice)
Optional:  cilantro, garlic or onion powder or even green onions

Form a pocket in the meat:

Lay the pork down on its side and use a knife to slice into the center, making a slice horizontally, but leaving about 1/2 - 3/4 inch on each side and the back/bottom.  Now turn the knife and make a vertical slice up and down, again leaving a bit on the top and bottom so you don't slice all the way through.  I added a couple more slices at angles in order to fill with more cheese filling.

Filling:

The amounts of the cheeses, bacon and jalapeno are up to you and your tastes.  If you don't like spicy foods or have children eating that are not used to spice, cut back on the jalapenos or just use a small can of diced green chili peppers (they are mild).  We used about 4 ounces cream cheese, 1/3 cup cheddar, 1/4 cup sliced jalapenos, 1 T cooked, crumbled bacon (I just grabbed some of the Hormel real bacon bits I keep in the freezer at all times).  Mash this together and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 325.

Dry Rub: 

You could use any dry rub you like.  For this one I threw together a simple mixture using:
2 T salt
1 T ground corriander
2 T smoked paprika
3 T natural sweetener (most people would use sugar here - we are sugar free)
1/2 T espresso powder
1/2 t rosemary

Stand the pork upright and stuff the cheese mixture in.  Press it in well so it stays. 
Cover the pork roast in your dry rub spice mixture.  Roll and press gently to cover.

Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove with a bit of oil in it.  Now sear the pork roast on all sides except the cheese stuffed side.  Transfer the cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) to the oven and proceed to roast until done.  For the roast in my photos it was about an hour. 

(Note:  I also baked it propped 'up' so the cheese filling was on top during cooking.  This isn't necessary but I wanted to keep it all in during cooking and not have it melt/run out.  It naturally falls out when you lay it on the serving platter anyway but this way I kept it all in until serving time.)

PHOTOS BELOW

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A simple mixture of cheeses and a bit of real bacon crumbles

   The pocket formed in the pork by slicing with a knife, but not all the way through.
Stuffed and ready for its dry rub marinade

 
All dressed up...
 
Searing in a hot pan
Transferring to the oven to finish cooking for about an hour
Hot from the oven, placed on a serving platter


Grabbed random veggies to throw together to serve with it; spinach, peppers, onions and zucchini squash with some oil, salt and pepper 
So simple yet so good

 

 

 





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