Treat Week: Christmas Breakfast With A Sweet Keto Twist

pumpkinpancakes

Every year we go out for cocktails, then a five-course steakhouse meal with wine on Christmas Eve that rarely gets us home before midnight. Once we get home I prep #SantasGoodyPlate, pour him a tummy warmer of #KentuckysFinestBourbon, and finally, snuggle down with the labs in my jammies to watch The Pope lead #ChristmasEveMassAtTheVatican.  Just a few hours later, my family insists I make a proper Christmas morning breakfast after we open gifts.

Usually that consists of eggs, spicy Italian sausage and cinnamon rolls or some other type of pastry, but I think this year I’ll slide in one of my weekday Keto breakfast go-tos instead.  Once they pile on the butter and #MrsButterworths, they’ll never know the difference.  😉

Keto Pumpkin PancakeslibbypumpkinNI

  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 4 Large Eggs (I use Eggland’s Best – 60 Calories each)
  • 3/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1+1/2 tsp Liquid Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Whisk eggs in medium mixing bowl (or even better, in the bowl of your stand mixer) until frothy.  Stir in the pumpkin puree and Stevia, then add the dry ingredients.  Whisk until well incorporated.

**Note – Coconut flour sucks up more moisture than almond flour that you may be accustomed to using in Keto recipes – if you feel like your mixture is too dry: add a TBLS of water at a time and whisk thoroughly until you like the consistency.

Spoon onto hot griddle greased with butter, or coconut oil if you are using that as your fat.  The batter will be thick but spreadable.  You want your pancake to be 3 to 4 inches.  Cook over medium heat until nice and brown on both sides.  Makes 5 pancakes.

Butter and enjoy dusted with confectioners (powdered) Stevia or sugar free syrup if you need more sweetness.

Nutrition information per pancake:

  • 111 Calories
  • 4.55g Fat (2g Sat Fat)
  • 140g Cholesterol
  • 4.6g Carbohydrates
  • 1.9g Fiber
  • 2.1g Sugar
  • 5.7g Protein

#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Treat Week: Easy Peanut Butter Truffles

My haste to catch up on my #TreatWeek blog posts has me doing #TwoADays, so here’s today’s bonus post: an easy to create peanut butter truffle that lets you bake a quick batch of cookies while the truffle filling is chilling in the refrigerator waiting to be coated.

peanutbuttertruffle

A couple of notes: even a few drops of water can ruin your coating chocolate.  If you are accustomed to using a double boiler to melt your chocolate, there are easier methods to avoid the chance of having water seize up your chocolate.  While I love, and have gotten more than 20 years’ use out of my Calphalon Professional Anodized Aluminum pots and pans, I have begun slowly replacing them with Le Creuset Cast Iron skillets and Dutch ovens.  When doing things like making candy and melting chocolate, as long as I pay attention, I no longer have to use a double boiler because the heat conduction is so much better!

Easy Peanut Butter Truffles

  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 5 oz Can Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
  • 3/4 Cup Creamy Natural (NOT with the oil on top) Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 – 12 oz Bag Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips ( I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • 2 tsp Crisco Solid Shortening

Butter the inside side of a heavy saucepan.  Add sugar, evaporated milk, and the rest of the stick of butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture is boiling. Reduce heat to medium; continue at a moderate boil for 12 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Chill for 30 to 45 minutes.

Scoop into 1-inch balls and place onto wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.  In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted.

Dip balls, one at a time, into melted chocolate.  Set wire rack over the lined baking sheet. Place chocolate covered balls on rack to let chocolate setup. If you want to add crushed peanuts to outer coating, make sure to drop them into the coating while it’s still wet so they stick.  You can also use #CandyMelts to add decorative swirls either before or after the coating sets.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Treat Week: Truffle Tuesday

redwinetruffles

Due to the death of a close friend, this week’s postings got delayed, so, as you can see, Truffle Tuesday turned into Truffle Sunday

Day 2 of #TreatWeek is one of my favorites: #TruffleTuesday.  Or, as my family (& hairdresser) calls it, the day I start making make #BoozeBalls!

The first, and quickest to prepare are my soft centered Red Wine Truffles.  These truffles are only as good as the wine you use to make them, so I always use the last glass of whatever great blend I have open.  This year that meant that the truffles were made with #2013MountVeederReserve.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  This blend worked beautifully with the dark chocolate and made for a decadent treat!  A few important words of advice about these truffles:

  • Make sure you chill your truffle filling for AT LEAST 3 hours so it’s easy to scoop.
  • Freeze your scooped portions for at least 30 minutes & try to make them as close to balls as possible.  These can’t really be rolled.  Mine never look #CandyShopPretty, but they taste good. 😉
  • If your truffle filling is not holding it’s shape; i.e. it’s too thin, don’t worry, HERE IS THE FIX: Return your truffle filling to your pan. Warm it over low heat so that it is easy to stir but not completely liquified. Turn off burner and stir in unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 TBLS at a time, until your filling reaches desired consistency.  You don’t want it too thick, remember it will thicken when it chills in the refrigerator.
  • Melt your coating chocolate while your scoops are in the freezer so your coating has time to cool a bit.
  • If you intend to use the candy melts to decorate the outer/hard layer get it prepared in advance.
  • If you are sprinkling any type of decoration that will stick to the outer coating do it as soon as you coat the individual truffle.  The coating hardens very quickly on the cold truffles.
  • Because of their soft centers, these truffles must be kept refrigerated for best presentation and taste.

Red Wine Truffles

  • 2 – 12 oz bag dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)
  • 3/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 5 TBLS Good Red Wine – Anything with Malbec, Cab Franc, or that’s BIG and BOLD
  • 2 tsp solid Crisco shortening

Heat heavy cream in a saucepan to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from stove and add 1 bag of the chocolate chips and red wine. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir until everything is fully incorporated and smooth. Remove to a smaller bowl, cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

Once the truffle filling has chilled, using a cookie scoop or small spoon, scoop out chocolate and form into truffle balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes

While truffles are in the freezer, in a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted.

Take 6 truffles out of the freezer at a time and pinch them slightly to make sure they form a “truffle like dome” for the top side.  If, when you start working with the chilled truffles, they aren’t holding their shape, or seem to be getting runny really fast, STOP! and see the note in RED above.  If all is well, continue to the next step.

Working quickly, coat bottom of truffles first and place on a plate lined with waxed paper, then, using a spoon, coat the top of each truffle and decorate with red & gold sprinkles if desired.

They dry/harden on top quickly.  Move on to the next 6 and then move the plate to the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Treat Week: Spiced Keto Gingerbread Cookies

KetoGingerbreadMen

I love gingerbread cookies but hate making them.  The dough is a sticky mess and has to be refrigerated for hours and re-rolled before it can be cut and baked.  It’s an all day project that I just don’t want any part of, so I don’t make them.  This Keto recipe changed all of that.  It’s fast and easy, only has to be refrigerated for 30 minutes.  I can do that.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Easy Spiced Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1/4 Cup Butter softened
  • 2 Cups granulated Stevia (like Swerve)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 TBLS Molasses (Use whatever strength you like, or none at all)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 3 TBLS ground Ginger
  • 4 TBLS Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp White Pepper (optional)
  • 3 Cups Almond Flour (the finer ground the better)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 TBLS Psyllium (helps the cookies stay firm & hold their shape)

In bowl of your stand mixer beat the sugar substitute, butter, molasses, vanilla, and eggs together until fully. Next add all the spices. Finally, add the almond flour, psyllium, baking powder and salt to the mix until just combined. Do not over beat.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment paper.  You want the dough to be somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4″ thick.  Put the dough into the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Preheat oven to 325°F and remove dough from the refrigerator.  Cut dough using cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Do NOT use parchment paper or any other type of liner.

Bake 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies.  They may not feel like they are done, but they will firm up as they cool.  Leave sitting on the pan for a few minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Decorate with Keto Royal Icing if desired:

  • 4 TBLS Powdered Stevia (like Swerve) + 1 TBLS Water / Heavy Cream or Milk.  I use 1 TBLS Heavy Cream and about 1/2 TBLS of water to thin it down a bit.
  • You can use a decorating bottle or bag fitted with a decorating tip, or a plastic lunch bag with the corner cut off and the decorating tip slipped inside.

Treat Week is Here!

dippedmacaroons2

Christmas is two weeks from tomorrow.  Those words just struck fear into most of the people who read them, me included.  I haven’t gotten my tree yet, very few decorations are out, but all is not complete chaos, I have gotten my baking organized.  Organized, not done. 😉

We’ve all got to get our acts in gear though, it’s time to take treats into the office, get them sent to the kids’ schools, and have them ready for coaches, babysitters, postal carriers, UPS drivers, dry cleaners, house keepers, gardeners, pool cleaners, and the rest of the village we need to show our appreciation to for helping make our lives a little bit easier.

One of my favorite cookies to make is the macaroon.  While many people proclaim themselves #CoconutHaters, I push them out of the way and take the stand that it just leaves #MoreForMe!  I love the big glob of sweet, juicy coconut with the browned bottom and edges, and I don’t skimp when I dip my macaroons in the chocolate either, they get a solid coat!

I’ve tried all the fancy recipes and frankly none are better than the one found on the  #BackOfThePackage of Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut!

CoconutMacaroons

Baker’s Coconut Macaroons

  • 1 – 14 oz pkg Baker’s Sweetened Angel Flake Coconut (5 Cups)
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 6 TBLS Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract

Heat the oven to 325°F then, using butter, lightly grease and flour two cookie sheets.

Put the coconut into a medium mixing bowl and run a large fork through it to separate any clumps.  Sprinkle the sugar over the coconut and mix it in thoroughly, then do the same with the flour and salt.  Using a rubber spatula, mix in the egg whites and almond extract until all is well combined.

Using a tablespoon as a scoop, place 18 loosely packed mounds of the coconut mixture onto each of the cookie sheets.  Do not overload the spoon, roll into balls or pack too tightly.  You want the heat to circulate and get inside so the cookies bake completely without burning underneath.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown and you start to see edges crispy brown on some of the pieces on top of the cookies.  Remove from oven and take immediately from the pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.

If you are going to dip in chocolate, it’s easy:  I use milk chocolate chips, but you can use any kind you like, you can even get the dipping chocolate they sell in the fruit department by the bananas and strawberries.  I melt about 1/2 cup at a time in 30 second increments and then dip half the cookie in until it has as much chocolate as I like.  I move the cookies to wax paper to harden.

Store the cookies in a sealed container with wax paper between the layers.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Peanut Buttery Fudge

PBFudgeChunkStackI love Sees® Butterscotch suckers but they do a number on my teeth.  I had an extra bag of butterscotch chips and knew that I couldn’t make straight fudge.  It would be far too sweet.  I played around melting a few chips, threw in some spices & natural peanut butter….and came up with something that almost satisfied my desire for the teeth cracking hard sucker.

A few important things:

  1. Cooking with natural peanut butter (no sugar added) is tricky when you’re making candy.  I didn’t take into consideration the additional oil, and had problems with getting it to set up properly.  After waiting 4 hours for the fudge to set between, I had to re-melt it 3 times before I got the consistency right so it would set up hard enough to not be sticky and cut into squares that would hold their shape.  The peanut butter you use really mattersDo NOT use a natural peanut butter that has to be stirred!
  2. If your marshmallows are not real fresh, add a tablespoon or two of butter to the bottom of your pan to help get the melting process started so they don’t scorch.  Although, I did scorch some of mine and it didn’t hurt the final product.  Just added a little extra nuttiness to the end result.
  3. If you want to save some time, you can substitute a jar of marshmallow cream.  I prefer to use marshmallows when I make fudge, but it’s entirely up to the individual cook.

Peanut Buttery Fudge

  • 2 – 5oz cans evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 TBLS no sugar added natural peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural Creamy)
  • 1- 11 oz bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 Bag Jet Puffed large marshmallows or 1 jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, warm the evaporated milk but do not boil.  Add the peanut butter and continue stirring until peanut butter is melted and completely incorporated.  Stir in the pumpkin pie spice.

Add the butterscotch chips and stir until melted.  Don’t worry if you end up with a few unmelted chunks. You have 3 options at this point.  You can either:

  1. In a separate pan, melt your marshmallows with a tablespoon or two of butter (if desired) until almost all the way melted, then add the marshmallows to the peanut butter mixture and stir in the vanilla; or
  2. Turn the heat down to low and stir the marshmallows and vanilla into the peanut butter mixture.  Be patient while incorporating the marshmallows.  You want to make sure you stir continuously so you don’t scorch your fudge.  I use both a silicone whisk and the back of a heat proof rubber spatula to press them against the sides and bottom of the pan as they melt down; or, finally (and quickest)
  3. Turn the heat down to low and stir a jar of marshmallow cream into the peanut butter mixture, until fully incorporated, then add the vanilla.

ButteryFudgeinPan

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and put into the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until fudge is completely set up.  Cut into 1″ chunks.

It’s really rich, so one piece satisfies this girl’s sweet tooth.  The pieces look pretty in a WesterlyChardpaper candy cup and go nicely in hostess gifts, or those you make for friends during the holiday season too!  Make sure that you keep the fudge in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  Unlike chocolate “fantasy fudge” that can be kept in a cool place, the oily content of the peanut butter requires that it be refrigerated.  Not that it’s likely to last very long. 😉

I love to have a piece with a nice cold glass of #WesterlyWines Bentrock Chardonnay.  The fudge brings out the butterscotch notes in the wine beautifully and makes for a really nice pre or post dinner treat.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Do You Have an Echo or Echo Show?

I have an Echo Show that I bought on #PrimeDay with the intention of watching cooking videos, but the truth is I rarely use it for anything more than when I need some music to sing along to in the kitchen.  Then it’s, “Alexa play Guns N Roses,” “Alexa play me 80’s (or 70’s) music,” or “Alexa play me 80’s hair metal.”  😉

My dad lives in assisted living and I just bought him an Amazon Echo Show for Christmas. Because this is an interactive device that has educational, entertainment, books, music, TED talks, motivational speakers, video and so many other skills that can fill a lot of empty hours, think about what a wonderful #VoiceActivated gift this would be for an elderly or house bound friend or relativeThe Echo Show even allows you to talk via video messaging using your smartphone & the Alexa app!

AmazonEchoShowHP

I don’t do many product endorsements that fall outside of tools I use everyday when I am cooking, but this is one time I’m going to.  Just so we’re clear,  I do not get paid for product placements or endorsements.  But, since it IS the main #GiftGivingSeason of the year, I recommend you watch for the discounts & bundled deals on the Echo Show, and the rest of this device series, in Amazon deals of the day.  #ThisGirlLovesToShop

Now, back to the post…..

I was replacing the silicone inner seal for my pressure cooker on Amazon this morning, **TIP – keep an extra one on hand so you don’t carry heavy smells (like garlic) between dishes, when I saw the tab for Alexa Skills.  That reminded me I hadn’t used my Echo Show lately.  I started looking around and found that there are actually some useful things my Echo Show can do to help do things other than just cook in the kitchen, like stick to my diet.  Maybe they can help you too.

If you are following any particular diet plan, there are many great tools that you can access with just your voice when you need some help or reassurance, like:

  • Primal Potential Daily Bites:  A daily, non-preachy, bit of coaching on mindset, attitude, fat loss strategy and everything you need to win the day & reach your goals.
  • Healthy KETO:  Dr. Eric Berg’s Healthy KETO & Intermittent Fasting Daily Podcast
  • The KETO Police:  Ask the KETO Police to tell you if a specific food is KETO or not
  • vegi.style Vegan Guide:  Vegan Search Engine.  Examples – Ask for all vegan restaurants in a particular city or for vegan foods containing certain nutrients
  • Vegan Chef:  Thousands of vegan recipes
  • Is it Paleo?  Ask Is it Paleo? to tell you if a specific food is paleo
  • Mediterranean Diet Daily:  Everyday you will hear ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner to help provide inspiration and motivation for your Mediterranean inspired lifestyle
  • Food Expert by Selectivor:  Always know what everyone can eat and their favorite foods – without the hassle of remembering complex food lists for allergies, most diet plans, etc.

Overall this tool is one that I need to remember I have and put into use more often.  I am loading new skills in as I am typing and will start tomorrow…#ThisGirlLovesToEat