Quick Zucchini Pickle Ribbons

zuccpickleribbonsBecause the photo of the recipe isn’t on the same page as this recipe from #EatingWell Magazine, you could blink and miss it.  I’d have been sorry if I did!

Not only was I able to adapt it to make it #KetoFriendly, but it’s quick and easy & makes a perfect compliment for the Keto sandwiches I’m now able to enjoy because of my latest discovery: #Sola, 3g carbs per slice, Sweet Oat Bread!  It’s not cheap, but I can get it on Amazon and get my grilled cheese sandwich fix again!

Quick Zucchini Pickle Ribbons

  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • 8 Fresh Dill Sprigs
  • 3/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 TBLS Erythritol (or other Sugar Substitute)
  • 2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Crushed Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Dried Red Pepper
  1. Cut zucchini into long strips using a vegetable peeler, discarding the inner seeds. (You should have about 12 ounces of strips.) Place in a heatproof jar and add dill.
  2. Combine vinegar, water, sugar substitute, mustard seeds, garlic and crushed red pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour into the jar. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Drain and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per 1/4 Cup Serving

8 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g fiber; 0 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 99 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C; 8 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 40 mg sodium; 107 mg potassium  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Treat Week: Toasted Pecan Turtles

pecanturtles

We’re in the home stretch of #TreatWeek.  Under a week to go and houses in #EveryTownUSA smell of sweet things destined for sharing with friends and family alike.

Except for the old standbys of fudge and truffles, I usually shy away from making candy, but this year I got coaxed into making turtles, after seeing how ridiculously expensive they were to buy so few in the stores.  Admittedly, I cheated by not making my caramel from scratch, but if it all tastes good in the end, does it matter?  Considering the amount of time it saved me, I’m thinking nope!

Toasted Pecan Turtles

  • 12 oz Pecan Halves
  • 1 – 11 oz Bag Individually Wrapped Caramels (I used Kraft)
  • 2 TBLS Water
  • 1+1/2 – 12 oz Bags Milk Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli, but had Nestle’ on hand and the candies tasted just as good)
  • 3 tsp Crisco Solid Shortening

In preheated 350°F oven, on an ungreased baking sheet, toast a pecans in a single layer for 8+1/2 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately move nuts to a bowl so they stay warm while you’re working with them.

In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips together with the shortening in 30 second intervals until you have a nice, not too thick consistency.

Line 3 baking sheets with waxed paper.  Using a fork, dip into the chocolate and make a 1 – 1+1/2″ thin circle on the waxed paper.  Fan out 3 or 4 pecans in a Y or X pattern.  You want the chocolate to hold the pecans in place and act as a landing spot for any caramel that may spill over in the next step.  Continue until your pans are full or you run out of big enough pieces of pecan to work with.

While the chocolate and pecans start to set up, unwrap all of the caramels and put them into a 1 qt saucepan with the water.  Heat over low-medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted.

Using a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon, quickly spoon the caramel over the pecan clusters, making sure caramel is touching each of the pecans.

Rewarm chocolate to thin it again, then spoon a small amount on top of each layer of caramel. Put sheets into the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or until hardened.  If space is an issue, use a cooling rack between sheets so you can stack them.  #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

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.  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

Sweet Holiday Gifts From Your Kitchen – They’ll Never Know They’re Keto!

truffleboxOnce we get into December the invitations to holiday celebrations, cookie exchanges, progressive dinners, cocktail parties, office parties, and the like start rolling in and that means there will be many times you’ll need to bring a dish, a treat, or hostess gift.

It’s easy to go with a stand by recipe full of sugar and all of the ingredients that many are trying to consciously avoid, myself included, but wouldn’t it be fun to be the person who brings the treat that secretly isn’t quite as #badforthehips as all the others?  Here’s one that’ll let you tuck that secret into a hidden recipe card as the real #giftthatkeepsgiving:

Chocolate Mint Truffleschocolateminttruffles

  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 drops (safe to ingest) peppermint essential oil OR 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 10 drops liquid Stevia
  • 1/3 cup granulated Stevia (Swerve or the like)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s)
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and both sweeteners until light & fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and peppermint.  Beat again until well incorporated.  Add coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until a dough forms.
  2. Spread dough out onto your lined cookie sheet.  It should be about 1/2″ thick. Bake for 15 mins or until set up and starting to get firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.   Once cookie has cooled, break into chunks and put into your food processor.  Pulse until cookie is well crumbled.
  3. In the cleaned out bowl of your stand mixer, put 8 oz block of softened cream cheese and the crumbs from your cookie.  Using the paddle attachment, stir until cream cheese and crumbs form a sticky dough.
  4. Roll dough into about 3/4″ balls and put onto wax paper lined cookie sheet.  When all of the dough is rolled, put into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes while you prepare the chocolate coating.
  5. In a 2 to 4 Cup, microwave safe, Pyrex (glass) measuring cup, combine 2 TBLS Heavy Whipping Cream and 1-12oz bag of Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate ChipsMicrowave on HIGH for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir between each 30 seconds until chocolate chips are melted.
  6. Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate and put back on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar free cookie/candy sprinkles if desired.  Refrigerate until chocolate sets.  Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container between layers of waxed paper.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

You should be able to make 24 truffles and the nutrition information for each is:

  • Calories:  109
  • Fat:  10.45g (Sat fat 6.5g)
  • Net Carbs:  2.5g
  • Protein:  2g

 

Homemade Amaretto

amarettoI have a recipe on my all things wine website, californiagirlsgonewine.com that calls for Amaretto in it.  I know that you can make homemade Coffee and Irish Creme liqueur, and a little internet sleuthing led to the discovery that you can easily make homemade Amaretto too!

Amaretto

  • 1 Cup Distilled Water
  • 1 Cup Superfine (I use C & H Baker’s) Sugar
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 2 Cups Vodka (Any Vodka is fine)
  • 2 TBLS Almond Extract
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Heat until the mixture is boiling, and all of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir vodka, almond extract and vanilla extract into the mixture.
  6. Store in a well sealed bottle.

Perfect for mixing or sipping straight as an apéritif.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat