Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

pumpkin-mousseI saw this on Pinterest and not only is it quick & easy to make, it is sinfully delicious without being heavy in calories or carbs!  Thanks go to The Sugar Free Mom, Brenda Bennett, for this wonderful, easy to make, treat!

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

Instructions

  1. In a KitchenAid or stand mixer blend cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until whipped and fluffy about 5 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust sweetener to your liking if needed.
  4. Pipe into serving glasses and top with cacao nibs or brown sugar sub like Sukrin if desired. Best if Chilled about an hour to set and thicken but still fantastic to enjoy immediately!

  5. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

Net Carbs: 4g

Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 280 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 186mg 8%
Potassium 154mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 132.1%
Vitamin C 2.2%
Calcium 7.4%
Iron 3.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Short Rib Mushroom Risotto

stuffedWe have a lot of family celebrations that come in a very short time, which means a lot of heavy big dinners either out at restaurants or at one family gathering or another.  By the time we hit our wedding anniversary in late February (which is the same day as my sister-in-law’s birthday) and, a week later, my husband’s birthday, we are about food-ed out!

Despite that, I make a big to-do and tonight, am making a new recipe I’ve been playing with for a dish I had made for me at my post-Christmas birthday at one of my favorite restaurants, The Winery in Tustin, CA.   I’m good enough in the kitchen to be dangerous so I’ve gathered the ingredients and am giving it a go tonight! If it sucks I can always order pizza, right? #ThisGirlLovesToEat

First a tip:  Start this recipe either the day before, early on the the day, or at least 2 hours before you want to eat.  You’ll want to prepare the short ribs first so that you’ll have the broth left from cooking them to use for the risotto.  Trust me on this. It makes a huge difference.

Short Rib Mushroom Risotto

Making the Ribs

  • 8-10 Strips Thick Cut Bacon – cut (with kitchen shears) into 1/2 – 1″ chunks
  • 3 to 4 Lbs Bone-in Short Ribs
  • 1 – 8oz Pkg Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Minced Garlic
  • 1 Cup Mushroom Broth (Sprouts carries this) or Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 TBLS Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 TBLS Dried Herbes De Provence (McCormick)
  1. Set the Pressure Cooker to the brown setting with the lid open.
  2. Cut the bacon and cook it in the pressure cooker (with the lid open) until it just starts to get crisp. Remove and set aside.
  3. Put short ribs into the pressure cooker in the bacon grease, brown on all sides, in batches if needed, until all are browned.
  4. When all ribs are browned, put all back into the pressure cooker fattiest (if any) or bone side down.
  5. Put garlic, brown sugar, and broth into the spaces between the ribs.
  6. Sprinkle ribs with black pepper and lightly with ground cloves and Herbes De Provence.
  7. Add bacon and mushrooms on top of the ribs in the pressure cooker.
  8. Secure lid and set to pressure cook on high for 40 minutes.
  9. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then do quick release.
  10. Remove ribs from the pressure cooker to a covered pot, and as you are moving them remove the bones – they should pull right out.
  11. When all ribs are deboned, use 2 forks and shred the meat while it is still hot.
  12. Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved broth from the pressure cooker to the meat and cover to keep warm and moist.

Making the Risotto

  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil + 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (1/2 Stick)
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1 – 8oz Pkg Sliced White Mushrooms (chop them)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Minced Garlic
  • 1 Cup Mushroom (Sprouts carries this) or Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 2/3 Cup White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 1/2 – 5 Cups Beef Broth (use the reserved strained drippings/broth from the short ribs and add enough stock/broth to make up the total amount)
  • 2/3 Cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
  1. Using a fat separator, pour the remaining liquid from the pressure cooker through the strainer top and allow to slightly cool.  Once cooled pour off the broth only into a 6 cup measuring cup.  Discard the fat.
  2. Add enough broth (mushroom or low sodium beef) to equal 5 cups. Then put in a pan to simmer.
  3. In heavy gauge saucepan heat olive oil + 1 TBLS butter until melted.
  4. Add rice.  Cook and stir about 3 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. To prepare the mushrooms, clean the mushrooms by brushing them off (do not wash if possible) and roughly chop (stems may be left on).
  6. Sauté onions, garlic and butter in heavy gauge saucepan over medium-high heat until onions are translucent about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are soft (about 4 minutes)
  7. Add the browned rice to the vegetables and stir to combine.
  8. Pour in the white wine and allow the liquid to boil and be absorbed into the rice. Then pour in 1/2 cup of stock to the rice, stirring constantly. (If necessary, adjust the heat under the pot – you want a medium simmer.)  Add more stock 1/2 cup at a time – adding more just as most but not all of the liquid is absorbed before adding in more stock.)
  9. Stir the rice and stock together in this manner for approximately 25 minutes or so – until the rice is tender but not mushy. Stir about 1/2 Cup of the shredded short ribs into the risotto with the final addition of broth.
  10. Turn the heat off when there is still some liquid remaining in the rice and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  11. Remove from heat and cover.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

TIP:  Risotto may be reheated by adding in some additional mushroom or low sodium beef stock and stirring to incorporate into the risotto.

To serve:  I toss some fresh spinach in olive oil over medium heat until wilted, lay a small bead in the center of the plate then mound some risotto atop the spinach, pile some shredded short rib on top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and add a slice of french bread with some butter for sopping up the juices.

My husband said it was better than The Winery!  Sorry Chef Yvon Goetz. 😉

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

pumpkin-gooey-butter-cake-pauladeenI’m not someone that thinks pumpkin desserts are only for the fall.  I love pumpkin pie and get out of my way if there is a moist pumpkin bread in the building!

I don’t know if you have ever had Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake, but if you haven’t, let me tell you it is a chunk (you cannot call a portion of this merely a piece) of heaven on earth!  Leave it to Paula to springboard off of that delight and create something even more decadent starring pumpkin and, of course, her favorite “heart stopping” ingredient, butter. 😉

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1  box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar – equivalent to 3 3/4 cups (reserve 3 Tbsp for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine the cake mix, egg, and 8 TBLS butter and mix well with an electric mixer.
  3. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth.
  5. Add the eggs, vanilla, and remaining 8 TBLS butter, and beat together.
  6. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well.
  7. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
  8. Check after about 35 minutes so you make sure not to overbake. The center should be a little gooey.
  9. Let the pan cool completely before you cut the squares.
  10. You could even pop the cooled pan in the fridge before cutting to get extra clean cuts.
  11. Dust squares with powdered sugar before serving.

I like to serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprig of fresh mint.  Yum

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Oreo Red Wine Nutella Cupcakes

red-wine-nutella-cupcakes-with-oreo-nutella-filling-and-red-wine-frosting-767x1024I was sourcing articles related to wine and the picture, almost as much as the title convinced me, although I am seriously deficient in the cupcake decorating department, to give these a try.

I’m not sure what appealed to me more, the wine or the chocolate, but I figured I could manage combining them without staining everything in my kitchen.  I might even be able to pipe on the frosting without too much problem, so I’m off to the store to make these grown up delights!

I found this little bit of deliciousness at a blog I saw on Pinterest: www.yummyaddiction.com.

One thing: I noticed the blogger didn’t specify what type of wine she used or recommend a type.  For my own personal taste, with the cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar in the cake, I am going to go with a red wine with a similar flavor profile like a Zinfandel, Petite Syrah or maybe a Pinot Noir or Malbec.

Oreo Red Wine Nutella Cupcakes

Makes: 10 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Nutella
  • 10 Oreos
For the filling:
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 5 Oreos
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. The cupcakes. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in Nutella and red wine until evenly combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Place an Oreo cookie on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Pour batter over each Oreo cookie and fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. The filling. In a ziplock bag, place the Oreos and use a mallet to crush the cookies into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine Nutella with crushed Oreos. Set aside.
  4. The frosting. In a small saucepan, combine red wine and sugar. Cook over mediumoreo-red-wine-nutella-cupcakes-center heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and wine comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (until the liquid is reduced to about ¼ cup or a light syrup texture). Let cool.
  5. Beat the butter until until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time), vanilla, and ¼ cup of prepared wine syrup. Beat until no lumps remain. Taste the frosting and add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer.
  6. Assembling the cupcakes. Cut out the center of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Fill the cupcakes with Nutella & Oreo filling. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake. Enjoy!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Boozy Hot Cocoa

Last year the weather reports for California promised the El Niño was coming which was supposed to mean many many opportunities to stay in, warm and dry, and sip on hot drinks.  The weather reports couldn’t have been more wrong!  Instead of rain filling up our reservoirs, lakes, and packing our mountains with snow, it was one of the hottest years on record!  I barely had to wear more than a sweatshirt and my Uggs stayed clean and dry, unworn, in my closet.  Hardly the kind of weather for enjoying hot drinks.

This year the weather reports predicted a La Niña, an unusually dry winter.  Thankfully, once again, the forecasters have been completely wrong.  We are just 3 weeks past the official start of winter and already we’ve had more cold days & nights, more rain than we’ve seen in years, and there’s more to come.  Instead of bone dry reservoirs, we are seeing them refilling to levels of 75-80% of capacity.  Thank you #PineappleExpress!

That also means that I can finally whip out the recipes I have been sitting on for boozy hot cocoa.  Yes!

Mint Cocoa Hot Toddy

  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnappsmintchocolatetoddy
  • 1 envelope hot cocoa mix
  • 6 oz hot water (or milk, if that’s what pkg calls for)
  • Miniature Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Cinnamon Stick
  1. Make 6 oz. of hot cocoa in a 10 oz mug.
  2. Add the Kahlua and the Schnapps.
  3. Place 8 or so miniature marshmallows on top.
  4. Grate some chocolate over the marshmallows, and stir with a cinnamon stick.

Toasted Bailey’s Hot Cocoa

  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1/3 cup Half and Halfbroiledbaileyshotchocolate
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Marshmallows
  1. In a small saucepan, add milk and half and half. Turn on medium heat and let mixture warm up. Add chocolate chips.
  2. Let chocolate chips melt in milk mixture, whisking frequently. Once the chocolate has fully combined, add Bailey’s. Stir to combine and transfer to mugs.
  3. Place marshmallows on top of hot chocolate and toast the tops of your marshmallows with your mini-torch. Once your marshmallows are browned and melty it’s time to enjoy!

Chocolate-Orange Hot Chocolate

  • 2/3 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Creamchocolate-orange-hot-chocolate
  • Zest of 1/2 and Orange
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate chopped
  • 1 oz +/- Warmed Grand Marnier
  1. Heat the milk, cream and orange zest together in a saucepan until simmering then remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a jug to remove the orange zest. Pour the infused milk mixture back into the pan and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and is really smooth.
  2. Put the pan back on the heat to warm through then add the orange liqueur. Pour into a mug and serve.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Darkest Chocolate Cake With Red Wine Glaze

chocolate-red-wine-cake-101916

I keep old copies of Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Cooking Light, Food and Wine, and other cooking magazines for when I want to break out of a recipe rut.  Lately I have been experimenting with wine more in my cooking and baking, but wasn’t happy with the texture of the last couple of cakes I’d made, so I thumbed through in search of professional guidance so I’d be able to share something decadent at an upcoming dinner party.

I found exactly what I was after in the February 2014 edition of Bon Appétit.  

**Tip:  I always read the reviews of those who have made the recipes, paying particular attention to those who have made them more than once.  Those changes have been included in the recipe below.

Darkest Chocolate Cake With Red Wine Glaze

  1. Cake:
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
    • 8 ounces unsweetened cocoa or 100% cacoa baking chocolate chopped
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 large eggs
    • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  2. Glaze and assembly:
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
    • Blackberries, Raspberries and/or Strawberries (1-2 baskets total) washed, stemmed (if necessary) and laid on paper towels to dry
    • Special equipment: A 9″ Springform pan
  1. For cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and (powdered) sugar the pan.
    2. Melt the chocolate and the butter.
    3. Separate the 6 eggs.
    4. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the eggs are thick and pale in appearance.
    5. Pour a little of the chocolate mixture into eggs to temper it and then add the egg mixture to the chocolate and mix well.
    6. Add the flour and the salt and mix til combined.
    7. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
    8. Add a bit to the batter and gently mix in.
    9. Add the rest of the egg whites to the batter and gently fold until completely incorporated into the batter.
    10. Pour batter into pan, it should go almost all the way to the top.
    11. Bake for 43-45 minutes, check with toothpick for doneness, if it comes out clean–it’s done.
    12. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.
    13. Cool completely before releasing pan.
    14. Glaze as directed and pair with some of the berries to balance out the chocolate.
  2. For glaze and assembly:
    1. Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar.
    2. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan.
    3. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes.
    4. Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.
    5. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made and glazed 2 days ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Alternative Preparation:  You an substitute an equal amount of Chambord Liqueur for the wine and you will get a sweeter dark raspberry taste to the chocolate glaze.

The cake is very rich.  Slice into very narrow pieces – you can easily serve 12-16 with this decadent cake!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Upside Down Banana Bread

udbb1Since this New Year’s Day is “Upside Down,” you know, all of the official festivities happening on Monday, January 2, what better way to kick-off (no pun intended) our entire day of parade and football watching than with this upside down take on my favorite overripe fruit concoction?

Our whole holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has been spent at home, except for an escape on Wednesday for my birthday dinner WITH a 102°F temperature, so I did no baking, we did no entertaining, and I’ve really done nothing but sleep and drink hot tea.  I’m trying to rally, despite being sick, and make some kind of effort for tomorrow, yet another day of being sick at home, but at least there will be something I might want to eat.

My husband (he who is Twitter challenged) managed to send this Buzzfeed video to me in a message a couple of months ago as a hint, then I saw it again last night.  It looks easy enough so why not?  I’ll give it a try.

Upside Down Banana Bread

4-5 ripe bananas
3 eggs
½ cup oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2-3 bananas, sliced
Vanilla ice cream

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas.
  • Add the eggs, oil, sugar, and cinnamon, mixing until evenly incorporated.
  • Add the flour and mix until the batter has no large pockets of flour. Set aside.
  • In a pot over low heat, melt the butter, then mix in the brown sugar until dissolved.
  • Bring up the heat to medium, cooking until the mixture starts bubbling.
  • Remove the caramel from heat and pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  • Lay the banana slices evenly on top of the caramel.
  • Spread the banana bread batter on top.
  • Bake 40-50 minutes.
  • Cool until the bottom is barely warm.
  • Use a knife to loosen the edges from the pan.
  • Place a plate upside-down on top of the pan, then invert the pan, flipping the banana bread onto the plate.
  • Slice, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

TIP**  It’s important to make sure you are using a 9 x 9 pan.  If you use an 8 x 8 pan, like I did my first try, you need to increase the baking time by about 10 minutes and be prepared, you’ll be cleaning up the brown sugar that will bubble up and spill over the sides and burn onto the bottom of your oven.  Trust me, the smoke alarms blaring, dogs running around barking and the cleanup weren’t worth not following the exact directions.  UG!

It’s very sweet, so you might want to start with a small square and go back for seconds. Who am I kidding?  Put it in a bowl and pile the ice cream on!  And, before you ask, “Yes, I do intend to start my day with glorified cake and ice cream!”  #TheDietStartsTuesday 

If you’re on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: my favorite recipes, drinks, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood