Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Low-Carb Bread Pudding in a Jar

Three years ago, I went ALL out for Thanksgiving dessert, making a rich and boozy Bread Pudding with Fruit Compote and Bourbon Sauce. This year, I'm going a little more basic/classic with a pumpkin pie. However, I still wanted to enjoy a little bit of bread pudding for myself - I'm pretty sure this craving hit after watching Chris enjoy deep-fried white chocolate bread pudding balls at Blackwell's Pub about a week or two ago and RAVING about them.

This version is low-carb and easy to prepare - definitely not as labor-intensive as my last bread pudding! Luckily, this means I can make 'bread pudding' whenever the craving hits!

Cream Cheese, Olive & Pecan Bites

About 2 years, I posted one of my favorite easy recipes, my Cream Cheese Olive Spread. Making this at home meant that I didn't have to venture out to O'Carr's and spend $10 on their cheese plate. 

I decided to make this same spread in little bite-sized pieces for Thanksgiving snacking - I always love to have a few little snacks on hand to nibble on while helping prepare the BIG meal! These balls basically play on the idea of the traditional cheese ball, but in little individual portions, with no need for crackers. Simply make your cheese spread and roll in chopped nuts! 

This recipe can easily be doubled/tripled/etc. I made a small batch since I won't be feeding a giant horde of people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Low-Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Anyone who has ever been on a low-carb or low-sugar diet has likely tried sugar-free candies before. A popular option is the sugar-free Reese's cup. They taste not bad, so you may have eaten more than a single serving.

Anyone who has done this before knows what happens next. For those that haven't, let's just say that the sugar substitute, maltitol, is known to have, um, a MOVING effect on the body. 

Needless to say, I avoid maltitol like the plague. Luckily, I can still enjoy a chocolate peanut butter cup every so often, especially when I need some added fat in my diet. These cups take only a few minutes to prepare, don't require cooking (well, except microwaving the coconut oil for about 30 seconds to melt it), and are vegetarian, vegan AND dairy-free!

Monday, November 24, 2014

EASY Homemade Mayonnaise

I love mayonnaise - I really do. I could link every recipe I've ever posted that involves mayonnaise, but that'd be, like, a LOT of links. I've always been partial to Hellmann's, but part of me has always wanted to make my own...

Except that I don't want to deal with my giant food processor. Or having to drip drip drip oil slowly to make that perfect emulsion. Or the agony of having the emulsion break into a clumpy, oily mess. So, I buy my mayonnaise. 

Until now. I have a stick (immersion) blender that gets a LOT of work in the kitchen. I puree soups with it, I make smoothies/shakes with it, and I use it to whip cream and even make soap (don't worry - I have a dedicated stick blender just for soap). Luckily, mayonnaise can be made with a stick about 2 minutes or less, with minimal prep or cleanup, and no drip drip dripping!

Basically, this recipe is foolproof - dump your ingredients in the cup, blend and slowly lift the immersion blender. I had mayonnaise in about 30 seconds!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Spinach-Artichoke Chicken

It's been COLD here lately - the past few days, we've woken up to temperatures in the 20s. I like my bedroom a little cooler (and I hate turning on the heat unless necessary - it smells funky and leaves the air so dry), so I've been layering my clothes to stay toasty (thank goodness for Wal-Mart's Faded Glory stretch leggings - about $6, and perfect for under jeans or for sleeping). 

Anyway, this cold snap has made me crave warm, comforting foods. Since this has also been a major weekend for college football, I've also been craving football foods, like my favorite Spinach & Artichoke Dip. Since I can't just eat dip as a meal (even though I totally have before), I knew adding some protein was a must. Enter "Spinach-Artichoke Chicken" (there's a chicken choking joke in there somewhere). It's just as easy to prepare as the dip, but is baked atop chicken! 

This recipe makes a LOT, so be prepared for leftovers. If you're not feeding a starving horde, feel free to cut the recipe in half and use a square 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan instead.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Last year, C went ALL OUT for my birthday - he bought me a bunch of slices of Pita Stop's amazing coconut cake. They don't sell the cakes whole, so he bought me a bunch of individual slices - which means, he paid individual slice price, making for one of the most expensive birthday cakes I've ever received. 

This year, I decided to make my own birthday cake, and to keep it low-carb. I opted for a simple vanilla bean cheesecake - most low-carb/keto cheesecake recipes are crustless, so I really like that this version actually had a crust. Luckily, this version, even with so many substitutions, doesn't have that 'fake sugar' flavor - it doesn't taste 'low carb' at all!

Of course, when it comes to sweets, trying to 'ketofy' things gets a lot more difficult compared to preparing savory meals. Basically, a lot of special ingredients come into play. That being said, I was able to find every single ingredient for this dish locally, but I've added Amazon links as well. Swerve can be found at Whole Foods or Earth Fare stores, and I've found the almond flour, coconut flour and coconut oil at Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie and Publix. The stevia glycerite was found at Whole Foods, right next to the Swerve. I always have good luck finding vanilla beans at World Market or Fresh Market. 

Oddly enough, I have better luck finding keto foods (Joseph pitas, PB2, flax meal, etc) at the Wal-Mart in Boaz, AL (a tiny town of under 10,000 people) than I do at any of the many Wal-Mart stores here in the Birmingham metro! So, I tend to 'stock up' when I'm up there!