Thursday, September 15, 2011

YUM YUM YUM!!! Pumpkin MiniCakes #lowcarb #recipe #glutenfree #grainfree

Yesterday evening my 28MO grandson and I talked about making bread, which he really REALLY loves to do. But I had sort of a sweet tooth so I was able to persuade him to make cupcakes instead. I didn't know what kind yet, and of course didn't have a recipe (I rarely use them, and even when I do it is just for guidelines), but I sat him on the kitchen counter, pulled out the mixer, and got started anyway. These are pretty close approximations of ingredient amounts, since I do measure when baking with him. He likes using the cups and spoons, and is learning to level off the tops as well. So here we go.

- 4 eggs
Whip with whisk attachment in mixing bowl until fluffy.

- 1/2 of a 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Add to eggs and continue whipping until very smooth.

- 1c pecan meal/flour
- 1/2c coconut flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2c erythritol (or your choice)
- 1/4c brown Sugar Twin (or your choice)
Mix well with fork or wire whisk.

Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly with paddle attachment. It will be very thick, almost like cookie dough.

- 1/2c melted coconut oil
Drizzle into "dough" with mixer on low speed.

This will help thin it a little but it will still be too thick for cake batter.

- heavy cream
Drizzle into bowl with mixer on low until "dough" becomes batter and reaches desired consistency; I used probably 1/3c (guesstimate); mix until well incorporated.

Grease (or spray) your mini-muffin tins WELL. Bake in preheated 350*F oven about 25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of the largest muffin comes out clean.

Remove from tins to a cooling rack and cool completely.

NOTE: This recipe made exactly 48 mini-muffins, or 2 trays. I did make frosting for these, and once I put it on, they went from superb to SUPER AMAZING! Just did a standard cream cheese frosting, whipping together about 2 parts cream cheese to 1 part butter, with a splash of vanilla, sweetening to taste with liquid sucralose drops, and drizzled in cream while whipping until desired fluffy consistency. Since the frosting needs to be refrigerated we are frosting them as we eat them - I don't want the muffins to dry out in the fridge.

These are SO SO SO SO good, especially with a nice hot cup of coffee!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some Good #Lowcarb Eatin' This Week! #recipes

Just a few Cheap'n'Easy Low Carb meal ideas, in case you're interested :).

Pork dinner: I love pork with something sweet! Saturday I made a very pretty and delicious roast pork rib (country style) dinner that was easy prep and easy cook! Got some brussels sprouts out of the freezer, and tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil and sea salt. Washed 3 small sweet potatoes and put them in the oven to roast, right on the rack. Seasoned my pork (this time very simply - S&P, garlic and onion powders) and put it into the oven. Then I sat with my feet up for about 30 minutes while I checked my facebook and email accounts. Poured the brussels sprouts onto a small baking sheet and added it to my oven for the last 30 minutes or so. Fiddled around for another half hour, then dinner was ready. Beautiful plates of color and nutrition! Served my sweet potato with a lot of butter and cinnamon, and a little brown Sugar Twin. Everything else was perfect as it was. Served 3 of us for about $7.

Fish dinner: While I really love crunchy coated fried fish, I've never managed to get it right. The coating either slides off or sticks to the pan, and I'm not sure why. (Christmas gift idea - a deep fryer that doesn't have a nonstick coating!) So I usually just season and bake my fish. On Monday it was pollock, which is so easy! I coat both sides with butter/olive oil mixture, very lightly sprinkle some coconut flour and seafood seasoning on top, and that's it. I had a couple of small potatoes (most low carbers don't eat potatoes at all; I eat 1-2 small ones/week) so I cut those into chunks, tossed with olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them at 375. Then I put a couple of Tbsp of butter in a saucepan with a couple cupfuls of frozen chopped spinach, covered, and set it on the "vent burner." After the potatoes had a 20-minute head start I put the fish in the oven and let them get acquainted in there for 25 minutes. When it was time to serve I turned the vent burner on and added a splash of lemon juice to the spinach while I pulled the fish and potatoes out of the oven, poured drinks, and so forth; since the spinach was already thawed and warm it only took a minute and a quick stir before it was good and hot. $4 for the meal for 2 of us.

Steak dinner: As I've mentioned, I buy chuck - it is my favorite cut, and it is cheap. And I buy the roasts, which I slice across into 2 "steaks" when I get home. I have grilled these, broiled them, fried them, you name it, and they act and taste like the chuck steaks that cost more. Anyway...I fried a chopped-up onion in plenty of bacon fat, then moved it to the side and added a "steak" that I had cut into big (about 2 oz.) chunks. Seasoned with sea salt and granulated garlic. I turned them until they were nice and brown on each side, but rare in the middle (how we like it). With a salad on the side, this was a great meal for about $4.50.

Chicken and bacon: I put my chicken thighs and bacon into the oven in separate pans (because I save my bacon fat) and just cook them together. I think chicken and bacon go well together, and with a big heaping side of my saucy green beans it makes a great meal. Plus, the next day we get another meal out of a big plateful of greens or lettuce (this week lettuce because I'd gotten it on sale), piled with leftover chicken and bacon plus a handful of shredded cheese and some chopped veggies - whatever is in the fridge at the time. Lots of food, very filling, about $3 for both plates of salad fixed the way we had them this week.

Saucy green beans: Everybody loves these, but they're so simple! I melt some bacon fat in a saute pan, and add the powdered onion (not granulated, it's fine powder, like flour), and it makes like a roux - maybe 3 Tbsp of bacon fat and 1 tsp of onion powder will do it. Once it thickens I add my frozen whole baby green beans, some sea salt, and some granulated garlic and cover. As soon as the beans are softened, I stir it all together and return the cover to let the beans cook well (but not mushy). The liquid comes out of the beans and mixes with the "roux" and makes a lovely light but tasty sauce. So easy but really REALLY great! And cheap - about a buck for the whole panful which serves 4 - or 2 when my husband and I have them :). Add some bacon and it's a light meal!

Simple Stir-Fry: Only it's not really a stir-fry because I don't make it like the Chinese do, in a hot wok, quickly. But I don't know what else to call it. I use an electric skillet, and fry my meat chunks and chopped onion in fat. Then I throw in a package of frozen stir-fry vegetables and a package of cole slaw mix, season with soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil, toss it all together, lower the heat, and that's it. Ready to eat in about 10 minutes. Depending on what I have on hand I also have been known to add a can of baby corn, water chestnuts, mushrooms...whatever. Sometimes I chop up shirataki noodles and add those too (at the beginning, with the meat and onion). But it is filling, inexpensive (under $5 for 4 portions - and the 2 or 3 of us usually eat it all), fast, and easy.

Cucumber salad: Did I already write about this? I take 4 cukes, peeled and seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks...4 tomatoes, de-seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks...1 onion (red is pretty, sweet yellow ones are tastiest, sometimes I use both!) sliced into thin slivers...toss with balsamic vinaigrette and a little sea salt. The longer it sits in the fridge the better it tastes - next-day is excellent! We paid 49c each for the big cukes, the tomatoes were from our own plant, and the onion was about 50c ($1.29/lb, less than 1/2#). The balsamic vinaigrette was $1.79 for the bottle, I used 1/4 of the bottle. So the salad, which feeds both of us for several meals/snacks (8 servings?) cost $3 with the free tomatoes. I've taken this to church potluck and gotten rave reviews, and it is colorful and beautiful as well!

This is what we've been eating the last few days. Of course we've also had breakfasts and other things, but we've had some great suppertime meals using the bounty of groceries I purchased on Saturday morning!

OOPS! Sorry about the #foodforthought amp...didn't mean to post it here :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another #LowCarb Shopping Trip - MEAT!

We like to buy our meats at Steve's in Harrison, MI for the most part. It's about 20 miles away but I have found their meats to be far superior to what I can buy for a decent price in Houghton Lake. We have Glen's, who have good meat, but unless it is last-day-marked-down or part of a super-sale, it is just out of our budget. Sav-a-Lot has decent meat. But it's nothing like Steve's. So once a month we drive down to Steve's and stock up for the month. I plan on spending about $100 each time - we are big meat eaters.

This month we did it for just $80 and change. And here is what we got:
3.84# of Pollock
6.55# of chicken thighs
13.38# of pork (steaks, chops, country ribs)
11.87# of chuck roast, which I usually slice across and broil as steaks

We averaged $2.24/lb for our meat. Last year I would have been disappointed in anything over $2/lb but this year, considering many prices have almost doubled since last summer, I consider this excellent!

After rewrapping the meat for the freezer, I ended up with 8 chuck (my favorite cut!) steaks, 9 packages of pork, 5 packages of chicken, and 3 packages of fish. Easily a month's worth, considering we go out for our fish dinners once a week, and sometimes we have dishes that don't involve much meat...

Then I went to Sav-a-Lot to stock up on $70 of other stuff, like dairy, eggs, tuna, and other canned goods. I haven't shopped as much as usual this summer, so we'd use up all of the meats and veggies in our big freezer. I don't have my usual "stock" on hand at the moment (except baking supplies), so we're eating what we're buying. This is a great chance to have a more realistic picture of what we are actually spending each month.

So far this month I have spent $165 on groceries. We will probably need some more dairy and some more produce, and I will place my monthly and orders...but we'll still be under $300 for the month for food. YAY!

My Produce Haul - Yes, REALLY This Time! #lowcarb

So I uploaded a photo directly to this blog from my DroidX the other day, thinking that it posted...but I see that it didn't, so here it is again WITH the photo.

Just $15 and change...that's all I paid for ALL THIS yesterday! I also got more fresh produce today...more about today's shopping trip later, but isn't this just BEAUTIFUL??? I bought a lovely eggplant, a butternut squash, a spaghetti squash, 3 small sweet potatoes, 2 heads of iceburg lettuce, a MASSIVE cantaloupe, 4 big cukes, 2 big red onions, and 3 bananas. (only 1 shown - my grandson ate the other two!)

Doesn't it just make a wonderful picture?