Pumpkin Bars

Keto / Low Carb / Gluten Free / Easy

Growing up I LOVED when Pumpkin Bars. They are an ultra moist mix of pumpkin cake and pumpkin pie topped with sweet cream cheese icing. Not a fan of pumpkin pie but still like the flavor? These were made for you.

ingredients

  • — Bar —
  • 1 1/2 C Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 15 oz Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 Egg
  • 1/2 C or 75g Powdered Sweetener
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • — Frosting —
  • 4 oz Softened Cream Cheese
  • 3 Tbl Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 1-2 Tbl Half & Half or Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 C or 37g Powdered Sweetener

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small mixing bowl, mix the 1 1/2 cups almond flour, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt with a whisk and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix the 15 oz pure pumpkin, 2 egg, 1/2 cup or 75g powdered sweetener, 1/2 cup olive oil until combined. Add half the dry mixture and combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into a lightly greased 9×9 baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 35-45 minutes but check about 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out without wet batter. You don’t want dry crumbs either though. The goal is baked but still very moist. Pull and allow to fully cool. While the bars are cooling, combine 4 oz softened cream cheese, 3 Tbl softened unsalted butter, 1 Tbl half & half or heavy cream, 1/4 cup or 37g powdered sweetener. Mix with hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the other tablespoon of cream or heavy cream if it is still quite thick. Once the bars are cooled completely, spread the frosting over the bars evenly. Cut into 12 even pieces. Store in refrigerator.

nutrition

  • 1 Serving (12 Servings)
  • 261 Calories
  • Fat 24.2g
  • Total Carbs 5.7g
  • Fiber 3g
  • Protein 5.3g

Instant Pot Not Red Beans Not Rice

Keto / Low Carb / Instant Pot / Gluten Free / Easy / Medium Spice

I am a sucker for warm comforting spice and this serves that up. This dish has a nice warm heat that hits the spot on a cold day. It is made with black soy beans but if you avoid soy, feel free to omit them. Nothing better than a hearty and EASY meal for dinner! This recipe is written for the instant pot but can easily be accomplished on the stovetop or in a crock pot.

ingredients

  • 1 Tbl Avocado or Olive Oil
  • 1 C Diced Yellow Onion
  • 1 C Diced Celery
  • 1 C Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 3 Cans Black Soy Beans
  • 2 lb Smoked Sausage (Andouille, Mennonite, Polish)
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Hot Sauce (Frank’s, Local Hot Sauce, Tabasco)
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • Green Onion for Garnish

the how to

Cut the 2 lbs sausage into 1/2 inch slices and set aside. Dice the 1 cup onion, 1 cup celery, and 1 cup green pepper in 1 Tbl oil and sauté on medium heat until soft. Add 2 tsp garlic, 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cans of black soy beans, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 3 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 Tbl hot sauce, 2 tsp paprika. Stir to combine and seal the lid. Set manually to high pressure for 20 minutes. Once done, manually release pressure. Open it and set to sauté. While continuously stirring, add 1 tsp xanthan gum and keep stirring until dissolved. Add the additional 1/2 tsp if you want it thicker. Turn off insant pot and serve over cauliflower rice with a green onion garnish.

Chewy Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies

Low Carb / Keto / Gluten Free Option / Easy

These are my new favorite winter cookie. They’re chewy and they stay chewy. They are like a great sugar cookie with subtle mint and chocolate flavors. Not too sweet and not slap you in the face minty. I have two versions of these. A version with vital wheat gluten and a gluten free version! These could be made with dark chocolate chips too and they would be great.

ingredients

  • 1/2 C Unsalted Softened Butter
  • 2 oz (1/4 block) Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C Granulated Sweetener (I use Lakanto)
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 C Almond Flour (superfine is best – Kirkland brand is my favorite)
  • 1/2 C Vital Wheat Gluten (also known as 80% wheat gluten)
  • 1 Tbl Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C White Chocolate Chips (I use Lily’s)
  • 25 Sugar Free Peppermints Crushed (I used Russell Stover)

the how to

Unwrap the 25 peppermints and put them in a ziploc bag and smash them using a rolling pin or something heavy. Set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the 1/2 C butter, 2 oz cream cheese and 1/2 C sweetener for about 5-6 minutes. This is an important step, do not skip this step. Let it go and go and go and go. You will produce a better cookie if you do this. Beat it like it has personally offended your mother. Once it starts to look like this:

It looks like it has a dough consistency. it looks “rough”

Add the 1 egg and mix just to combine then 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp vanilla and again let it beat for another 3-4 minutes. When finished it will look like this:

fully emulsified and also looking like a dough

Add the remaining ingredients (1 C Almond Flour, 1/2 C Vital Wheat Gluten, 1 Tbl Cornstarch, 1 tsp Baking Soda, 1/4 tsp Salt, 1 C White Chocolate Chips, 25 Crushed Peppermints) and mix until just combined. Remove and use a spatula to finish bringing it together. Using a 1 Tbl size cookie scoop or spoon, scoop 1 tablespoon size scoops onto a parchment lined baking sheet. It must be parchment lined or silicone lined. These cookies are chewy and gooey and will stick. Space them about 2″ apart. Place into the fridge and let them chill about 15 minutes. While they chill, preheat your oven to 350°.

Bake for 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes) until just turning light golden around the edges. Let them cool on the pan near completely before removing them.

gluten free version

  • 1/2 C Unsalted Softened Butter
  • 2 oz Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C Granulated Sweetener (I use Lakanto)
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C Almond Flour (Superfine is best – I use Kirkland brand)
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum or 1 Gelatin Pouch
  • 1 Tbl Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C SF White Chocolate Chips (I use Lily’s)
  • 25 SF Peppermints Crushed (I used Russell Stover)

Follow the directions above for the gluten free version as well.

nutrition

  • Gluten Option
  • Makes 35 Cookies – Serving Size 1 Cookie
  • 100 Calories
  • Fat 7.1g
  • Carbs 5.2g
  • Fiber 1.8g
  • Protein 2.9g
  • —-
  • Gluten Free Option
  • Makes 35 Cookies – Serving Size 1 Cookie
  • 103 Calories
  • Fat 7.9g
  • Carbs 5.3g
  • Fiber 1.9g
  • Protein 1.9g

Sloppy Joes

Keto / Mild 🌶 / Easy / Quick

I had briefly considered calling this “Sloppy Hoes” but I changed my mind. This recipe produced a classic style sloppy joe with rich flavor. There may not be much to write about a sloppy joe, but this recipe will get people talking for sure!

ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 C Diced Onion
  • 1/2 C Diced Green Pepper
  • 1 C Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tbl Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Yellow or Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 C Powdered Sweetener
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (optional if you want to amp up the heat)

the how to

Brown the 1 pound ground beef with 1/2 cup diced onion and 1/2 cup diced green pepper in a skillet on medium high heat. Once browned, lower the heat to a simmer.

Add 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 tablespoons yellow/dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup powdered sweetener, and a few dashes of optional hot sauce. Stir to combine. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is thickened and the flavors have combined. Serve on a low carb bun, wrap or in a bowl!

nutrition

  • Serves 4
  • Calories: 252
  • Total Fat 14.1g Saturated 5g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 9.1g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Net Carbohydrates: 7.2g
  • Protein: 22.5g

Pierogi

Low Carb / Keto / High Protein / Nut Free / Easy

This pierogi dough was a happy accident. In the quest to make some great egg noodles, this dough was born and it is fantastic for pierogi! It is easy to roll, fill, and fry. I recommend against trying to boil these, frying is the way to go. The top ingredient is unflavored casein protein (micellar casein). It is a protein powder that is slow releasing and fantastic for baking and dough. These can be filled with savory or sweet filling as well. Hint: Sugar free jam filling topped with powdered sweetener would be an excellent way to finish off some of this dough!

ingredients

  • 1 C Unflavored Casein Protein
  • 1/4 C Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1/4 C Milk (I use Fairlife 2%)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

the how to

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or hand mixer, mix the ingredients together until the ingredients come together and a dough ball can be formed. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and begin to knead it. You can sprinkle some casein over the top to keep the sticking down and help bring it together. Continue kneading until the ball becomes smooth and pliable.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before rolling. This dough will keep for days wrapped in the fridge so making it ahead of time is absolutely fine.

Split the ball of dough in half and roll the dough about 1/8″ thick between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Using a 3″ or 4″ round cookie, dough, or biscuit cutter cut the dough into circles. Gather up the scraps and form into a dough ball. Add to the other half of dough and repeat this process until out of dough. Splitting the dough in half, makes it easier to handle and roll. Fill with filling of choice (I used cheddar and bacon mashed celery root – see recipe below). Use your finger to press the dough and stretch as needed . A 3″ round will hold a little under a teaspoon of filling.

As you pinch tightly along the edge, you may have a little filling squeeze out and that is fine. Just wipe the excess away and continue pinching and crimping the seam.

Once you have filled and sealed your pierogi, heat 1/4 C oil and 2 Tbl butter in a skillet on medium heat. Once hot, add the pierogi carefully to fill the skillet. Give them about 30 seconds and check the underside. They will brown quickly. Flip them and move them around so they get even heat.

Once golden brown and crispy, pull them off and place them on a sheet pan and place in a warm oven while finishing the rest.

Mashed Celery Root

ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Celery Root
  • 2 Tbl Butter
  • 1/4 C Milk or Cream
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 C Bacon Crumbles and/or 1/2 C Shredded Cheddar

the how to

Cube the celery root and boil until fork tender. Once tender, drain and place back into pot over lowest heat. This helps some of the excess water evaporate. Add the butter and milk/cream. Mash with a potato masher or immersion blender until smooth. Add seasonings and optional ingredients. Mix well.

Cream Sauce (optional)

ingredients

  • 2 Cups Half & Half (you could do 1 C heavy cream and 1 C water)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum

the how to

Once you are done frying your pierogi, add the cream and seasonings to the pan. Gently whisk while the yummy bits loosen in the pan. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the cream sauce and whisk to dissolve and thicken. This is a super simple cream sauce and completely optional.

It is even better if you fry your kielbasa or Mennonite sausage first in the pan, then pierogi, then the cream sauce.

This recipe will make up to 40 pierogi depending on the size of cutter you use.

Cabbage Roll Soup

ingredients

  • 2 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion (large diced)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (large diced)
  • 2 Medium Zucchini (cut in 1/2 moons)
  • 1 C Strained Tomatoes or Tomato Sauce
  • 14 oz Can Diced Tomato
  • 1 Tbl Garlic Paste or 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tbl Paprika
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tbl Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1/2 Medium Head Cabbage (chopped into bite size pieces)
  • 1 1lb Bag Frozen Riced Cauliflower

the how to

Instant Pot: Brown 2 lb ground beef on sauté setting. Drain excess liquid if needed. Add all of the ingredients except the cabbage and riced cauliflower. Set the instant pot for 10 minutes high pressure. Once done, release pressure and add the cabbage and riced cauliflower. Set for another 10 minutes high pressure. Once done, release pressure and stir.

Slow Cooker: Brown 2 lb ground beef. Drain excess liquid if needed. Add to 6 qt slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours or until vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Stovetop: Brown 2lb ground beef in a large crock, soup or stock pot. Drain excess liquid if needed. Add all ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer on medium low heat for at least one hour or until vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Curl up with a kitty on a snowy day and enjoy!

Brunswick BBQ Stew

Keto / Sugar Free / Easy / Great For Leftovers

A satisfying stew FILLED with meat! The BBQ sauce gives it a slight sweetness and combined with the other savory flavors it is truly delicious. The recipe calls for three specific meats but you can use whatever leftover meats you have. I list beef stew meat but if you had pork stew meat that would be fine. No chicken thighs but you have a rotisserie chicken? That works! Are you a hunter with game meat? That works! It is truly a versatile dish and great if you have barbequed a few nights in a row and you have meat leftovers. Packed with protein and great flavor.

ingredients

  • 1 lb Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 lb Pulled Pork
  • 1 lb Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Large Celery Root (1″ cubes)(1 lb radish halved can be substituted)
  • 3 C Beef Broth
  • 1 tsp Salt (may need more*)
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper (may need more*)
  • 1 C Sugar Free BBQ Sauce (I use G Hughes)
  • 1/4 C Sugar Free Ketchup
  • 1 Heaping tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbl Brown Sweetener (I use Swerve Brown)
  • 2 C Frozen Mixed Vegetables
  • 1 14 oz Can Black Soy Beans
  • 1 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
  • A Few Dashes Hot Sauce (optional)

the how to

  • Instant Pot Instructions – Add all the ingredients and set the instant pot to high heat. You SHOULD be able to fit everything in the pot before hitting the MAX level. Cook for 45 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
  • Slow Cooker Instructions – Add all the ingredients to a 6 qt slow cooker, cover and set on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender or high for 4 hours.
  • If all of your meats have already been cooked, your cooking time will be about half the time.
  • * If none of your meats were already cooked & seasoned (think pulled pork rub or brisket rubbed) you might need some extra salt. Taste and season accordingly.

Smoky Chuck Roast Chili 🌶 🌶

If you have time on your hands and you want to give this a try, it is worth your time. If you have a smoker, start with smoking the chuck roast to infuse some great smoke flavor. If you don’t have a smoker, you can slow cook or instant pot your chuck with some liquid smoke.

I do not like intense heat, I don’t eat buffalo wings. I love this. There is a lot of spice going on but it is flavor making spice, not scary spice.

The Ingredients

  • 2.5 lb Chuck Roast (Blade Roast)
  • 1 lb Hot Sausage (I used Johnsonville Tex Mex Sausage)
  • 1 C Beef Broth
  • 2 1/2 tsp Salt (2 tsp as rub, 1/2 tsp in chili)
  • 2 1/2 tsp Pepper (2 tsp as rub, 1/2 tsp in chili)
  • 1/2 C Diced Bell Pepper
  • 1 Small Diced Onion
  • 2 28 oz Cans Diced Tomato
  • 2 Tbl Tomato Paste
  • 1 14 oz Can Black Soy Beans
  • 1 tsp Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers (From Canned Chipotle in Adobo Sauce)
  • 1 Tbl of the Adobo Sauce
  • 2 Tbl Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbl Cumin
  • 2 Tbl Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbl Granulated Garlic / Garlic Powder

The How To

Rub 2 teaspoons of salt & pepper evenly around the roast. Place onto your smoker at 200* for 2 hours until it becomes a nice mahogany color. Transfer to the instant pot or slow cooker and add 1 cup beef broth. Cook on high pressure for 2 hours in the instant pot or high for 6-8 hours in a slow cooker until fork tender. If you don’t have a smoker, add 1 Tablespoon of liquid smoke to the beef broth and skip the smoker step.

When you have about 30 minutes of cook time left on the roast, cook the sausage on medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and pepper, cook with the sausage until soft and translucent. Once the roast is finished, add to the pot and shred. It should easily shred without much effort. Add the cooking liquid from the roast and all the remaining ingredients. Cook for at least 45 minutes. This is great the day after so nice to prepare ahead of time for a group. It does take some time but so worth the wait. Enjoy!

Nature Valley Style Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I used to be a granola bar lover.  Thinking I was being super healthy stuffing one into my back pocket not really aware of how much sugar was packed into each bar.  I saw some the other day and it gave me a hankering.  So, I came up with a pretty great keto alternative.  They have that crumble but not too much crumble.  They hold together so they would be great for camping or hiking.  I like the macros and above all, they taste awesome!  They are really easy but you will need something like a food processor to blend everything together.  It is basically throw it all in, smoosh it, bake it, drizzle it, eat it.

“Nature Valley” Crunchy Granola Bars – Peanut Butter Flavor

Preheat your oven to 350*.  Combine the sliced almonds (reserve about 2 ounces), pecans, peanuts, coconut, flax seed, hemp seed, coconut oil, salt, baking soda, sweetener, peanut butter powder and vanilla into a food processor.  Blend until it visually becomes sticky and pulls away from the sides.

Sprinkle a baking dish or shallow cookie pan with the reserved sliced almonds evenly and pour the granola mixture over the almonds.   With the flat bottom of a glass, press and spread the mixture out to create an even thin granola bar.  You’re aiming for about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thickness.  If your pan is too big, you don’t need to fill the pan.  Spread it out then straighten out the end of the bars.  The mixture won’t run so you can mold it and it will stay.  Bake at 350 for about 18 – 20 minutes.   Start keeping an eye on it towards the end of baking time to make sure you they aren’t burning.

Pull them out of the oven and let them cool for about 20 minutes.  Once they have cooled, cut them into even bars.  You should get 15 bars.

Nature Valley bars have a peanut butter drizzle on top so that’s where the peanut butter and coconut oil come in.  Combine the peanut butter & oil and heat it in the microwave for a few seconds until melted, stir, then drizzle over the top of your cut & cooled bars.  The longer you let these sit, the crunchier they get but they will be set and ready to go once they cool.  They have a fantastic granola bar crunch and you won’t miss the oats.  I promise!

Ingredients:
  • 1 C Unsalted Pecans
  • 1 C Sliced Almonds (reserve about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 C Unsalted Peanuts
  • 1/4 C Hemp Hearts
  • 1/4 C Flax Seed
  • 1/2 C Lakanto Golden Sweetener (or your choice, I like the taste of the “brown sugar” in these)
  • 1 C Unsweetened Coconut (I used large flakes)
  • 1/4 C Coconut Oil
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 t Salt (I used Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/4 C Powdered Peanut Butter
  • —— Peanut Butter Drizzle ———
  • 2 T Peanut Butter
  • 1 t Coconut Oil
Nutritional & Serving Information:
  • Serving Size: Makes about 15 4×2 bars
  • 241 Calories
  • 26g Fat
  • 12.9g Carbs
  • 11.1g Fiber
  • 8.3g Protein

Strawberry Italian Ice

I have never owned a food processor.  Why?  I don’t know, but I recently purchased one and there is just no going back now.  I’ll throw anything in there and give it a spin.  Yesterday I decided to try frozen strawberries and the result was very yummy.  If you don’t have a food processor, I’m sure a heavy duty blender would work as well.   This is cold, refreshing and low in carbs and calories!

Strawberry Italian Ice

Throw your frozen strawberries, lemon juice, and lemon zest into your food processor.

Over medium heat, combine your sweetener & water and stir until the sweetener is fully dissolved and you have a simple syrup.

Pour your syrup over the strawberry mixture and puree until smooth.

Pour mixture into a shallow dish & cover tightly with plastic wrap or into popsicle molds and freeze.  It is really that simple!

Ingredients:
  • 4 C Frozen Unsweetened Strawberries
  • 1/4 C Sweetener (I used Granulated Swerve)
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
Nutritional & Serving Information:
  • Serving Size: 1/2 Cup or 1 Popsicle (Makes 8 Servings)
  • 20 Calories
  • 0g Fat
  • 5.5g Carbs
  • 1.5g Fiber
  • .5g Protein

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