Low-Carb Homemade Corn Syrup

There’s no way to avoid it, if you’re baking or making candy: you are going to need light corn syrup at some point to get a good result.  After a few trials (and errors), I finally came up with a corn syrup recipe that is close enough to maintain the integrity of the recipes without adding any weird after tastes or textures!

lightcornsyrup

Low-Carb Light Corn Syrup

  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Truvia
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Xantham Gum

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the water and Truvia.  Bring to a low boil and stir in the Vanilla.  Reduce Heat to low.

Spoon out 1 TBLS of the hot Truvia mixture and, in a small bowl, stir in the Xantham Gum.  It will be quite thick and sticky.  It’s ok if it’s not entirely smooth.

Stirring continuously, add the Xantham gum mixture to the saucepan.  Return the heat to medium and bring the mixture back to a low boil.  Cook for one minute until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Pour the corn syrup thru a fine mesh strainer, pressing the corn syrup thru while leaving any unincorporated Xantham gum solids in the strainer.

Allow to cool slightly before using.  As this cools further it can become crystallized, although mine did not.  Mine just thickened into a jelly like consistency.  If either happens, just put it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds and stir it again before you’re ready to use it.  Makes about 1/2 Cup and doesn’t keep real long, so plan to make it when you will be likely to use it up.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Holiday Bites: Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

One of my favorite things about the December holiday season is the permission we all seem to give ourselves to indulge in every hearty, rich, gooey, decadent dish and treat we can before the calendar changes over welcoming a new year. Calories, fat, and carbs don’t count in December, right? 😂😂

Some treats I make year after year, but I’m always looking for new ways to indulge my love for all things food. This year I tripped across a 2016 recipe from Bon Appétit that has two of my favorite holiday ingredients: chocolate and peppermint. It’s one that’s joining the annual must haves list for sure! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring or extract or ¼ teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 2 ounces soft peppermint puff candies, finely crushed

Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil, pressing into edges. Lightly coat with nonstick spray. Heat sugar, cream, corn syrup, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth, then bring to a boil. Fit saucepan with candy thermometer and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, brushing down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as needed to dissolve sugar crystals, until thermometer registers 238°.

Immediately pour mixture into a large bowl (do not scrape bottom or sides of pot). Dot top of mixture with butter; do not stir. Rinse thermometer, removing any sugar crystals, pat dry, and fit on bowl. Let mixture sit until thermometer registers 110°, 30–45 minutes.

Remove thermometer. Add vanilla extract and peppermint flavoring to mixture and beat with a hand mixer on high speed until mixture is light and thick like frosting and has lost its high gloss (will still have a slight sheen), about 4 minutes.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth surface, then top with peppermint candies, pressing gently into surface. Cover with plastic and let fudge sit at room temperature until set, at least 4 hours.

Using foil, remove fudge from pan, peel away foil, and cut fudge into a 6×6 grid to make 36 squares.

  • Do Ahead: Fudge can be made 3 days ahead. Keep stored at room temperature.

  • Tips: 1) Crush the candies in a zip bag using a rubber mallet or rolling pin, and 2) A hand mixer is better than a stand mixer for this recipe.

Holiday Bites: Crab & Brie Wontons

If you feel like the dishes have barely been done following Thanksgiving dinner when discussions and planning for December holiday parties and dinners begins, you could be right.  For those of us who love to entertain and treat our friends and family to fine meals, there are never enough days to plan the perfect meal.  This appetizer, from the December 2019 issue of #EatingWellMagazine, is rich and flavorful while also being surprisingly low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates!  #ThisGirLovesToEat

crabandbriewontons

Crab Wontons with Brie

  • 4 ounces Lump Crab Meat, drained & picked over
  • 4 ounces diced Brie Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 TBLS Minced Jalapeno
  • 2 TBLS Minced Chives
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 24 Wonton Wrappers
  1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Combine crabmeat, Brie, mayonnaise, jalapeño, chives, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Scoop about 2 teaspoons of the crab mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper. Use your finger or a pastry brush to moisten the edges of the wrapper with water. Carefully lift two opposite points up until they touch. Gently pinch together to seal. Fold the remaining two points up toward the center just to close the opening. Pinch the edges together to seal into a four-pointed star.
  3. Carefully transfer the wontons to the hot baking sheet. Generously coat them with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes.

To make ahead:  Assemble wontons (Step 2) up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size 2 Wontons

  • Calories – 121
  • Fat – 7 g
  • Carbs – 10 g
  • Protein – 5 g

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

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Ground chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to build a base for a #Keto meal!  It’s so versatile, mixes so well with most of my favorite ingredients, and is so easy to meal prep for the week ahead, that it’s become my go-to for creating new #KetoRecipes

This recipe for #ChickenBaconRanchMeatballs is fun because you can eat them all alone or pop them on a skewer between a piece of lettuce and 1/2 a plum or cherry tomato and drizzle with some ranch dressing for a fun lunch, light dinner, or appetizer.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

  • 2 Pounds Ground Chicken Breast
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon
  • 3 Pieces Thick Cut Peppered Bacon
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 4 TBLS Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 Cup Panko
  • Olive Oil Spray

 

Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed.

Spray the basket in your air fryer lightly with olive oil spray, place a layer of meatballs, with space between for the air to flow around, set the temperature to 380° F, and set the timer for 8 minutes. Cook the meatballs, shaking them to turn them about halfway through so they brown evenly.

Quick, easy and oh so tasty!

 

Beyond the “5 Mother Sauces”

While I’ve managed to learn to make passable Béchamel and Hollandaise sauces, the other 3 “essential ‘Mother Sauces’ that all serious cooks should master,” just haven’t been at all essential to meals I prepare. However, the 5 sauces Food & Wine Magazine featured in an April 2019 article are definitely featured much more prominently in my favorite home cooked meals!

  • Chimichurri – Comprised of herbs, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and garlic and/or minced shallot, Chimichurri is a quite versatile, and eminently adaptable sauce that’s great paired with grilled meat or vegetables, or used as a dressing tossed with greens or pasta salad.
  • Hollandaise – F & W’s Justin Chapple shared his secret to making the perfect hollandaise: A blender. Instead of using a double boiler to cook the yolks, Chapple purees the egg yolks in a blender and then streams in hot melted butter, thickening and cooking the hollandaise.  I love this sauce spooned over eggs benedict, steamed or grilled asparagus or as a compliment to a perfectly grilled piece of salmon or steak.
  • Pomodoro – Marinara’s thick, easy, cousin made by simmering crushed tomatoes with a touch of olive oil, garlic, and salt, until it’s thick and a deep rich red. As a sauce for pasta or chicken/veal/eggplant Parmesan, this sauce can easily have some pizzazz added to it by stirring in chopped capers and anchovies, or fresh basil and crushed red pepper.
  • Béchamel – This easy, roux based, sauce is the flavor stepping stone for layering in a lasagna, smearing on a croque madame, or adding cheese so it becomes a mornay sauce for macaroni and cheese.
  • Romesco – Pureed Spanish sauce, made with chilies, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, toasted nuts and olive oil that tastes good on anything from pasta to seafood, grilled vegetables, or even as a spread on a hearty sandwich. Just thinking about these bold, flavorful revisions to the traditional “Mother Sauces” gets my creative culinary juices flowing! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Sausage Stuffing for Beef

Although I am not making the traditional Thanksgiving fare, there are still some foods that accompany the feast that I need to have, like stuffing.  This stuffing recipe is great alongside roast beef, so it could be your go-to for Christmas #RoastBeast too!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Sausage Stuffing for Beef

  • 1 Pound Ground Italian Sausage (Mild or Hot – your choice)
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) Salted Butter (1/4 Cup Melted Butter)
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1 Bunch Celery (including the tops), chopped
  • 1 Medium Granny Smith Apple, chopped
  • 1+1/2 to 2 Cups Beef Broth (Or 1 Can Beef Consommé + water to desired moistness)
  • 1 – 16 oz Bag Dried Bread Chunks for Stuffing (Any type of bread)
  • 1 TBLS Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch Nutmeg (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter a 9″ x 13″ Baking pan and set aside.

In large dutch oven, brown the sausage (I like big chunks).  Remove the sausage from the pan and melt the butter, scraping up the browned pieces.  Add the oonion and celery and cook until onion is translucent.

Add the apple and stir the sausage back into the pan.  Add the pepper and nutmeg, the parsley, and adjust the salt if needed.  Turn off the heat and add your cubed bread.  Slowly stir in your beef broth/Consommé and then add your egg.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared baking dish and drizzle the melted butter over the top of the stuffing. Baker for 40 minutes covered and an additional 10 minutes or so uncovered, to crisp up the top!

Turkey Day Prep: Pumpkin Hummus

You know you need something to let people snack on before the big meal, but you don’t want them to be too full to eat the meal you’ve been slaving over for days…

This recipe, from November 2015’s Food & Wine Magazine, takes the edge off but won’t ruin anyone’s dinner! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

How to Make It

In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the chickpeas with the pumpkin, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper and serve with pita chips or crudités.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.