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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Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

It’s finally cool enough in California, at least once the sun goes down, to justify getting the stock pot out to make a hearty soup that can serve as dinner with a big salad & crusty bread that can then live on as a couple of workday lunches too!  Great for the wallet AND the waistline!  This soup is so rich, and has such depth of flavor, that it seems like a cheat meal, which is a plus during the non-stop holiday feast season.

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1  –  2 to 2+1/2 lb Butternut Squash (Peeled/Seeded/Chopped into about 1″ Cubes)
  • 1  –  Large Granny Smith Apple (Cut into about 1″ Pieces – seeds/core/stem removed)
  • 3  –  Large Ribs Celery Chopped
  • 3  –  Carrots (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 1  –  Medium Yellow Onion (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 4  –  TBLS Butter
  • 1  –  32 oz Container Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1+1/2 Cups Water
  • Freshly Grated Sea Salt (To Taste)
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper (To Taste)
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Pinch to 1/8th tsp)
  • Chopped Parsley (if desired)

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot and add the onions, carrot and celery.  Sauté over low heat about 10 minutes.  When onions just start to brown, add the squash, apple, salt, pepper, chicken stock and water.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring just to a boil.  When bubbles appear at the edges of the pan, reduce heat to low.  Cover pan tightly and simmer soup for 45 minutes until squash is completely softened.

Remove soup from heat and either process soup until smooth using your blender (I use my Vitamix) and returning to the pan after processed or an immersion blender as shown in the video.

Once soup is smooth, add the Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cayenne.  Adjust spices to taste.

I came across a video that uses the same technique I use to make my soup, with slightly different measurements, and it’s much prettier, so I’ll give the standard #ShoutOut and #HighFive to Simply Recipes for producing a great (and quick) video that I can also use to demonstrate how to assemble my soup!

I’ve already been remiss at keeping up with my blog, so not having to produce a video is a definite bonus! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Another Twitter video find when I was hungry…best part?  It’s from www.health.com!

buffalocauliflower

My sister Wendi and I fell in love with these when we went to San Diego and found a sports bar to watch USC football at before going to a Blake Shelton concert last year. I’ve finally found a recipe that comes close to what we had there!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Wash a Large head of fresh cauliflower (About 1 lb).
  • Remove the outer leaves and stem and then cut to separate the individual florets.
  • Dry the florets and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  • Sprinkle florets lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Put sheet in oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes stirring once.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 1 TBLS Butter melted
  • 3 TBLS Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or any kind you like)
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • Put roasted cauliflower florets into the bowl and stir with rubber spatula until all florets are coated with sauce.
  • Return coated florets to the cookie sheet.
  • Roast at 400° F for 5-10 minutes more or until cauliflower starts to brown.

Make the dipping sauce:

  • In a small pan over medium-low heat put 2 tsp Olive Oil and 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • Heat until garlic starts to brown.
  • Transfer garlic and olive oil into the mixing container of a blender or Vitamix.
  • Add 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt.
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 TBLS Parsley
  • 1 TBLS Chives
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1/4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Honey
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Blend until well combined.  Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with the dip and ranch dressing on the side.

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Easy Roasted Tomato Soup

fellp20150820_lowCalifornia’s multiple personality disorder has reared it’s ugly head again.  The weather, which had been giving us a normal winter for a change, has turned on a dime and we have Santa Ana winds, sunshine and warm temperatures just a day after rain clouds and temperatures in the low 60’s.  Ugh!  This is really screwing with my pre-planned menus!

Screw it!  I planned to make soup for dinner and soup it will be.  I don’t care if it’s warm outside or not.  If anyone complains they can chill theirs like gazpacho.

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 1 Poblano Chili (Stem and Seed Pod Removed if Desired)
  • 6 Large Tomatoes (Hard Stems Cut Out)
  • 1 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion (Peeled and Halved)
  • 5 Large Carrots (Peeled & Tops Removed)

Preheat oven to 350°F

Place the onion, cut side down, onto an oiled baking pan along with the peeled carrots, the poblano chili and the 6 tomatoes (cut tops up). Tip:  For added flavor, I roast my chili with the stem and seed pod in and remove them before throwing into the Vitamix.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tomato skins begin to crack and peel.

Preparation Option 1 – VITAMIX:

If you have a Vitamix with a soup setting like I do (it’s on the Professional Series 750), the steps are simple from here.  All you do is throw all of the roasted vegetables into the container, place the lid on securely, turn the dial to the soup setting, depress the start button and wait for the cycle to end when it’s done chopping/blending and cooking the soup.

Preparation Option 2 -Blender or Food Processor and Stove Top:

Place the onion, chili and carrots into the blender/processor container and pulse to chop the vegetables up.  Then turn the blender to puree and mix until the vegetables are well chopped.  Add the tomatoes 1 at a time blending on high until all are well incorporated.  If you run out of room in your container, move 1/2 of your vegetable mixture to the pan you’ll be heating the soup in.  When all of the vegetables are blended/pureed, heat in a pan on the stove until warm enough to eat.

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Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup

broccolichickensoupCooking Light is my favorite “Go-To” resource for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.  It’s been cold and blustery this week and the last thing I wanted to do was put together a big fussy sit down meal, but I wanted something hearty enough to be filling.

This soup, that they did a recipe rescue on, has 40 percent fewer calories and 62 percent less fat than the heavy original.  It satisfied the need for something hearty and filling without completely blowing the diet while also giving a big sit down meal feel with some crusty bread and a glass of wine!

Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup pre-sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces uncooked vermicelli, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded light processed cheese (such as Velveeta Light)
  • 4 cups (1-inch) cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  3. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; add butter to mushroom mixture, stirring until butter melts.
  5. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.
  8. Add pasta to pan; cook 10 minutes.
  9. Add cheese to pan, and stir until cheese melts.
  10. Add chicken and remaining ingredients to pan; cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender and soup is thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information

Calories 317 Fat 12.3g Sat fat 6.8g Mono fat 2.9g Poly fat .9g  Protein 27.5g Carbohydrate 23.8g Fiber 1.9g Cholesterol 74 mg Iron 1.6 mg Sodium 723 mg Calcium 179 mg

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

A Lemon Bar That Won’t Derail Your Diet

6021601_SYYOL12299Most people who put themselves on diets at the beginning of each year wrongly assume that they have to deprive themselves of anything sweet and especially anything that falls under the category of dessert.  Thankfully they are wrong on both counts.

This week my main focus is finding low fat & calorie conscious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth whether you are dieting or not.

This recipe from Cooking Light Magazine cuts the sugar from a standard lemon bar recipe down from an estimated 36 g of sugar to 6 g of sugar and only 129 calories.

Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Crust:

  • 4 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cooking spray

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, almonds, powdered sugar, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse until almonds are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pat mixture down into an even layer, patting firmly without compacting too tightly (which will make crust tough). Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool completely.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.

4. To prepare filling, rinse processor, and wipe dry. Place yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through cream cheese) in processor; process until smooth. Add eggs; process until smooth. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until set.

5. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or until chilled.

Nutritional Information

Calories 129     Fat 7.7 g       Sat fat 3.5 g      Mono fat 2.6 g
Poly fat 0.8 g   Protein 4 g  Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 1 g     Cholesterol 37 mg    Sodium 130 mg    Calcium 34 mg

Sugars 6 g     Est. Added Sugars 5

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Best Way To Cook Cauliflower Rice

how-to-make-cauliflower-rice-graterAnyone who has tried to diet, lose a few pounds, or who just wants to cut down on the many, many carbohydrates in the average American diet has likely heard of substituting white rice with cauliflower grated down into a low-calorie, gluten-free rice substitute that is also a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins C, K, and B6.

I have yet to master “cauliflower rice.”  The methods I have used so far have left me with either a pile of mush (something close to Cream of Wheat) or rock hard mini chunks that in no way resemble rice…UG!

Thankfully the test kitchen at epicurious.com did the hard work of trying out the many methods we’ve all seen on pinterest and gave us the method that they found to be the best tasting and closest in consistency to rice so that home cooks like me can stop screwing it up so badly.  The one thing that they did note, for consistency, was that they added olive oil to all preparations (except raw).

cookingcaulirice

The following is taken directly from the article found at http://www.epicurious.com:  The Best Way to Make Cauliflower Rice; by   04.22.16

COOKING METHOD 1: NONE

They tasted the grated cauliflower in its natural state, as it is sometimes added to couscous-like salads raw and simply tossed with a rich, acidic dressing that helps break down some of its tough structure. But although the raw form is the easiest—no cooking required—it had a crunch that was too vegetable-like to approximate rice.

Epinion: Raw cauliflower rice is crunchy, and works to add texture to a salad, but it doesn’t mimic cooked rice.


COOKING METHOD 2: STEAMED IN CHEESECLOTH

Steaming the grated cauliflower is the most minimal cooking process. But since the cauliflower granules are so small, they had to use several layers of cheesecloth to hold the cauliflower in the steamer basket. The texture here was great, and the flavor was clean and fresh, very similar to the blank canvas of white rice. But removing the tiny cauliflower pieces from the cheesecloth was a pain, and some cauliflower rice was lost in the process.

Epinion: This process yields great results, but it’s too fussy.


COOKING METHOD 3: STEAMED IN WATER, THEN GRATED

They then tried steaming the whole cauliflower florets first, using a traditional steamer basket set into a medium-sized pot. Once cooled, the cooked cauliflower was grated. Although this greatly simplified the process, the cauliflower rice tasted waterlogged and was mushy.

Epinion: Steaming whole cauliflower florets doesn’t work.


COOKING METHOD 4: COOKED IN WATER

Next they tried cooking the grated cauliflower as if it were traditional rice: they added the grated cauliflower to a small amount of simmering water, covered the pan, and let the cauliflower cook until the water evaporated. Again, this yielded watery mush.

Epinion: Cauliflower rice shouldn’t be cooked the same way as rice.


COOKING METHOD 5: BOILED

Not wanting to give up on the ease of water-cooking, they tried dunking some of the grated cauliflower in a pot of boiling water and then in ice water to try out quick-blanching. But yet again, the cauliflower rice was wet and squishy.

Epinion: Water + tiny granules of cauliflower rice = soggy cauliflower.


COOKING METHOD 6: MICROWAVED

They placed the grated cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, stirred in the tablespoon of oil, covered the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and cooked for about 3 minutes. And viola! Super easy, delicious texture with distinct rice kernels, and clean flavor, very similar to the steamed version, minus the mess of the cheesecloth.

Epinion: For the easiest and cleanest white-rice—esque cauliflower, use the microwave.


COOKING METHOD 7: SAUTÉED

Finally, they tested high-heat methods of cooking the cauliflower, heating up the olive oil in a pan and sautéing the grated cauliflower until lightly cooked. The taste was much richer than the microwaved cauliflower (or any of the boiled/steamed versions), but the cruciferous flavor was much stronger.

Epinion: For a sweeter, more cauliflower-forward rice, sautéing is a great option.


COOKING METHOD 8: ROASTED

For the final test, they tossed the grated cauliflower with the oil, then roasted it on a baking sheet at 400°F for about 12 minutes. This version had the sweetest flavor, thanks to the caramelization of the cauliflower. But again, that earthy, cauliflower funk was much more apparent than in other cooking methods. Cauliflower rice made this way makes a great side dish on its own, seasoned simply with butter, salt, pepper, and perhaps some cheese, but for a white rice alternative, the microwaved rice was the clear winner.

Epinion: For a quick-cooking, caramelized cauliflower side dish, roasting is the way to go.

I can see now that my mistakes were:

  • I wasn’t adding any olive oil when cooking
  • I was adding too much water
  • I was overcooking the riced cauliflower in the microwave

Knowing where I failed, plus taking the expert advice of the Epicurious test kitchen, convince me that my next attempt at cauliflower rice is going to be much better!

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