Saturday, October 31, 2015

Easy Sloppy Joes - Low Carb & "From Scratch"

Happy Halloween! This morning began as a sunny day but quickly clouded over early in the afternoon. We are expecting rain tomorrow...lots of rain; up to 4 inches. We are ready for trick-or-treaters and they have already begun arriving since it's dark out now. While Halloween is my least favorite "holiday", I never get tired of seeing the little ones and school aged kids. We are blessed to live in a neighborhood full of really good kids.

We sort of took it easy today and decided to run our errands tomorrow instead. I was in the mood for Sloppy Joe's for dinner this evening. I just happened to have a package of Maverick Ranch grass-fed ground beef in the fridge and the only item I needed to send hubby out to pick up at the store was a Poblano pepper. I had all the ingredients needed otherwise. While he ran to the store, I made a batch of my Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns and popped them into the oven. I love them because it takes 5 to 10 minutes to mix them together and about 20 minutes to bake them, so in 30 minutes you have fresh low carb, grain free sandwich buns that actually taste like REAL BREAD!

The Sloppy Joe's turned out great. In the past, I've used chicken stock instead of water to simmer the meat in, but tonight I used water for my liquid. If you've never made Sloppy Joe's from scratch before, you will be surprised at how easy they are to make. Kick the "can" of "Manwich" to the curb and instead make a "REALwich" where you can control the seasoning and avoid the added junk and high fructose corn syrup, etc. I like to give mine a little kick with a couple dashes of cayenne pepper. I snapped a few photos and included the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy!

GGC Sloppy Joes


1 pound ground beef (I used 91% grass-fed beef)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup finely diced Poblano pepper (or green bell pepper)
1/3 cup finely diced onion
3 ounces tomato paste (half of a small 6-oz can)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Few dashes Cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup water (or chicken broth)
1 tablespoon Swerve sweetener (or sweetener equivalent to 1 tablespoon sugar)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 2-quart saucepan or 10-inch skillet. Brown ground beef, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. While the beef is browning, add the peppers and onions and continue cooking until beef is cooked and peppers and onions are softened.

Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, and water or broth. Add sweetener and vinegar and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered on low heat for approximately 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced and the sauce is thickened. Once the sauce is reduced to desired thickness, taste and adjust for seasoning. Serves 3 to 4.

*Note: Be careful not to over season or salt your meat mixture until after it has reduced as the flavors become more intense and concentrated as it reduces and thickens. 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Low Carb Pizza Crust w/ Zucchini - NEW RECIPE

This evening I was in the mood for pizza. I considered waiting until tomorrow night to make it but decided that tonight was the night! I experimented a little with my pizza crust recipe this evening. I modified one of my crust recipes by adding grated zucchini to it and a few other tweaks. I didn't want it to be wet and soggy but more "bread-like". I have a number of different pizza crust recipes; some crispy, some chewier, thick crust and thin crust. This evening I wanted a softer crust that could be picked up or eaten with a fork. It turned out great! The crust rose a bit more and was fluffier than my others. I will definitely be making it again! Since I was testing this new crust recipe, I decided to keep the toppings fairly simple so I could really test the crust for taste, texture etc. I topped tonight's pizza with Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce, shredded mozzarella, and Fiorucci uncured pepperoni. I really enjoyed the simplicity of a few excellent toppings. I snapped a few photos below and included my new pizza crust recipe. Enjoy!

Low Carb Pizza Crust w/ Zucchini
Makes One 12" round pizza (3 to 4 servings)


Dry Ingredients
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup ground chia seed 
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
2/3 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Wet Ingredients
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini), lightly squeezed dry

Toppings (Optional)  

Pizza sauce, pesto sauce, etc.
Cheese: shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced or diced fresh mozzarella, provolone, etc.
Vegetables of choice: onions, green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, etc. 
Meats of choice: sausage, ground beef topping, etc.
Other: artichokes, olives, pepperoni, etc.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat wet ingredients together, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Let the dough sit for approximately 5 minutes to thicken. 

Spread dough on a lightly oiled large pizza pan, nonstick pizza pan or cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Use a lightly oiled rubber spatula (or hands dampened with water) to press dough out to desired shape and thickness (I usually press mine to about 1/4" thick).  

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through; check crust after 15 minutes; remove from oven when it looks and feels done. 
Spread crust with sauce; top with cheese and desired toppings (high moisture fresh vegetables such as mushrooms or raw meat toppings should preferably be pre-cooked to help prevent a soggy crust). Place pizza back into oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  If desired, run pizza under the broiler for a few minutes to lightly brown the toppings and make the cheese bubbly.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Easy Breaded Chicken Cutlets & Roasted Acorn Squash Rings

This evening I made a quick and easy meal. I had a package of chicken breast cutlets to use. I breaded them with a seasoned almond flour/flax/Parmesan based coating. I decided to serve simple Roasted Acorn Squash Rings alongside the cutlets.

To make the acorn squash, I sliced a green acorn squash into 1-inch thick rings and removed the seeds and pulp. I kept it very simple and brushed the rings with olive oil and seasoned them with a sprinkle of salt and dash of Ceylon cinnamon and roasted them on one of my USA Pans ribbed baking sheets. I roasted them in a 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes and then sprinkled them lightly with a pinch of granular Swerve sweetener after pulling them from the oven. I only used about 1/2 teaspoon or less to enhance their natural sweetness. I will say that while the squash tonight was good, I found the orange acorn squash I cooked the other day to be a bit sweeter.

While the squash baked for 30 minutes, I prepared and cooked the chicken cutlets so everything was done at the same time. I typically dip my cutlets in an egg wash before dredging in breading, but tonight I decided to try something different; I very lightly brushed them with olive oil based mayonnaise...not much, just enough for the seasoned coating to adhere. I've made something similar with baked chicken breasts before but this was the first time I tried it on chicken that gets cooked in a skillet on the stove. It turned out nice and tender and moist. I snapped a quick photo below and included the easy peasy recipe for the cutlets. Enjoy!

Easy Breaded Chicken Cutlets


1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground golden flax seed
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dash onion powder
Dash garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
6 1/4-inch thick chicken breast cutlets
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil


In a shallow bowl or plate, combine almond flour, ground flax seed, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of chicken cutlets with a thin layer of mayonnaise and dredge in flour mixture, pressing lightly on both sides and shaking off excess. Cook for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown (I cooked 3 cutlets at a time in 2 batches). Transfer to cookie sheet and place in a 300 degree F oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining cutlets. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Szechuan Beef w/ Broccoli - Easy Low Carb

This evening I had about 1-1/2 pounds of beef loin top sirloin steak in the fridge that needed to be used. I decided to make Szechuan Beef w/ Broccoli. I sliced it into thin slices, seasoned it and used my stainless steel wok instead of my nonstick wok because I wanted to get that nice deep brown caramelization. I kept it very simple and decided not to make a sauce, just nicely seasoned. Since this cut of steak if tasty as is, I didn't need to go overboard seasoning it and it was tender enough that it didn't require any marinating. It turned out unbelievably delicious. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Brown the beef in batches so it gets nice caramelization for flavor

Szechuan Beef w/ Broccoli


1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced sirloin steak
3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
4 sliced green spring onions
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon organic gluten free Tamari sauce
1 tablespoon natural rice vinegar (I used Nakano Natural Rice Vinegar)
2 cups steamed fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons water


Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large wok. Season beef with salt and black pepper. Add 1/3 of the beef at a time to the wok and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned. Transfer cooked beef to a plate. Add another tablespoon oil to the wok and repeat twice more, until all of the beef is cooked. Return all beef to the wok; add garlic and green onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, Tamari sauce, rice vinegar, steamed broccoli and 2 tablespoons water. Stir and cook until heated through.


Monday, October 26, 2015

12 Low Carb Days of Pumpkin - It's National Pumpkin Day!

Today is another one of those silly "food holidays" in it's National Pumpkin Day (as if we needed a special holiday to enjoy it...NOT). Did you know there was such a thing; more importantly do you really care? LOL Anyway, I'm going to go all out "Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin" on you and share a dozen of my favorite pumpkin recipes. I had actually planned to do a "pumpkin roundup'' this week but figured I'd go ahead and get it out today to keep you all on the "cutting edge" of food holidays. LOL

I've included 12 of my favorite low carb, grain free, gluten free and no added sugar pumpkin recipes. You'll see the collage with all of them first and then the individual photos below the collage. To get to the recipes in the large photograph, simply click on the title under each photo to take you there. I hope you find a new pumpkin recipe to try. Enjoy!

12 Ways to Get Your Pumpkin On
Click on the recipe titles below each photo to take you to the recipe

Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake
Spicy Pumpkin Sausage Soup
No-Flip Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups
Pumpkin Pie-sicles
Pumpkin Pie w/ Cinnamon-Almond / Hazelnut Crust or Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini Muffins
Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake Yogurt Parfaits
Pumpkin-Walnut Spice Muffin w/ Cream Cheese Frosting for One
Salted Pumpkin Seed Bark
Pumpkin Spiced Donuts w/ Chocolate Glaze


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beef Stroganoff - Low Carb

This evening capped off a great weekend where I had the opportunity (and gift) to spend one on one time with each of my 3 kids. Only my oldest son came for dinner tonight, and at his request, I made Beef Stroganoff. Rather than using flour to thicken the sauce like my old recipe used, I used cream cheese and it worked beautifully. I served the stroganoff over lightly sauteed zucchini ribbons that I made using a simple regular vegetable peeler. I saute them for a few minutes in a little olive oil in a large nonstick skillet, just until they begin to soften, then season them with a bit of sea salt. Yellow squash works nicely, too. I served a fresh green salad with tomatoes and Parmesan Crisps. It was a delicious meal and nice one-on-one time with him as well. As he switches between football and MTV awards, I thought I'd post a couple of quick photos below. I've included the recipe below, too. Enjoy!

Beef Stroganoff - Low Carb


1 lb. sirloin steak, sliced into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, cooked
1/2 cup diced onion
1 minced clove garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
3 ounces softened cream cheese (brick style)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup beef broth or stock
1 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
Hot buttered yellow squash or zucchini noodles


Season beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute in large skillet over medium-high heat in olive oil until cooked and slightly browned.

Add onion and garlic to meat mixture; cook until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add cooked mushrooms. Transfer meat and vegetables from skillet to a bowl or platter; set aside.

Add 2 Tablespoons butter to the pan drippings; add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add tomato paste and whisk until smooth and blended with cream cheese. Add beef broth and whisk to combine; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Return meat and mushroom mixture back to the skillet; mix well. Stir in sour cream and dry white wine, cooking on low to medium heat until heated through and just begins to simmer and bubble (DO NOT BOIL). Serve over hot buttered yellow squash or zucchini noodles.

*Note: If desired, chicken stroganoff can be made by substituting beef with boneless chicken breast and beef stock with chicken stock.


Sunday Breakfast & My Perfect Weekend

This morning hubby and I slept in a bit which was nice because he's been attending a conference in Atlanta for the last few days (translated into our alarm was set for 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, too...ugh). I made quick and easy omelets for breakfast. Mine was filled with sauteed red bell peppers, onions and multi-colored baby tomatoes along with Cabot's Vermont White Cheddar Cheese. I served it with chicken sausage patties. I snapped a quick photo below.

Since hubby was tied up until late in the evening the last several nights, I took advantage of some one-on-one time with my 3 kids. On Friday night, my daughter and I enjoyed some shopping and dinner out at Turkish Kitchen near the Mall of Georgia. I enjoyed Char-grilled Chicken Shishkebab and she had a flatbread pizza. On Saturday, I spent the entire day with my youngest son in Midtown Atlanta. We had lunch at Fresh To Order where I enjoyed Fire Grilled Chicken, Salad & Grilled Veggies. We shopped at the new Ponce City Market (where I got to visit the new huge Williams Sonoma); we had coffee at Dancing Goats Coffee Bar; walked the Atlanta BeltLine; shopped at Whole was the perfect day! This evening my oldest son is coming for dinner and I will get some one on one time with him and cook him a nice dinner (he always prefers home cooking to eating out). This has been the best weekend ever..."I've found that it's the little things that really are the biggest things." I snapped a few photos of my weekend adventures below. Enjoy!

Mother-daughter dinner at the Turkish Kitchen
Mother-youngest son lunch at Fresh To Order
Coffee at Dancing Goats - sat in their huge screened in porch
Shopped at Ponce City Market
Beautiful yellow fall colored tree
View from the Atlanta BeltLine - it was overcast and sunny at the same time

Snapped a quick photo at dusk before leaving


Thursday, October 22, 2015

NEW RECIPE: Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

I am SO excited to be sharing this new recipe today as part of my guest post for Honeyville! My recipe is for Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake and it is absolutely delicious! I've been secretly enjoying it for days now to ensure it was just the way I wanted it to be. When I have it in the evening for dessert, I like to top it with whipped cream...and Oh-My-Pumpkin it is so good! It feels like I'm eating a "pumpkin pie coffee cake"...oh so moist and pumpkiny. I absolutely LOVE the buttery, toasted pecan, "brown sugar" flavored topping. This coffee cake is so easy to make and even easier to eat and enjoy! It just screams fall/autumn is here! This cake makes a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert and would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving breakfast table. I hope you enjoy this Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake as much as I do! Now, I think I'll go have a piece. To get to the recipe, click here: Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake. Enjoy!

Ready to pop in the oven
Fresh out of the oven


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuna Egg Salad Cups - Quick & Easy Low Carb

This evening I made a super quick and easy dinner. I was in the mood for tuna egg salad. I also had a few heads of my favorite baby romaine lettuce in the fridge that I get at Costco which are perfect for filling with tuna or chicken salad and even with taco meat. What I was most excited to try though was the new jar of Primal Kitchen Mayo that's made with avocado oil. They actually sent this jar to me to try a few months ago and I put it in the pantry and it got pushed to the back somehow (well, if you saw my pantry you would understand completely)! I came across it last night when I was rooting around in there for something else and immediately put it out on the counter in plain sight. I liked this can definitely taste the avocado flavor and I just happen to love avocados.

I put everything but the kitchen sink into this tuna egg salad. I flaked 2 cans of drained tuna in a bowl and added 2 sliced green onions, 1 diced stalk of celery, 2 to 3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper, 3 tablespoons diced pickles, a few tablespoons of chopped toasted pecans, 2 diced boiled eggs, and of course, the Primal Kitchen Mayo. I piled the tuna egg salad into a couple of baby romaine lettuce leaves and then topped it all with diced grape tomatoes. I have plenty left for my lunch for the next couple of days. I absolutely LOVED it with all the different flavors and different textures of crunchiness. I also really liked that Primal Kitchen Mayo doesn't contain canola oil like most other mayo does. I snapped a couple of photos below. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Baked Acorn Squash w/ Butter, "Brown Sugar" & Pecans Served w/ Pan Seared Wild Halibut

This evening we had an easy and delicious dinner. I made Pan Seared Wild Halibut and Baked Acorn Squash with Butter, "Brown Sugar" & Pecans (no worries, it's sugar free "brown sugar"). It was easy to make and full of  "fall flavor." I cooked the halibut in Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a few capers. It takes less than 15 minutes to make and you can prepare it while the acorn squash is in the oven baking. To make the halibut (I prepared 2 6-ounce fillets), season both sides with salt and pepper, then sear it in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness). Transfer the fillets to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter to the skillet, 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and swirl until melted and bubbling. I then added about 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest and 1 heaping tablespoon of capers (leave them out if you don't like them). I returned the halibut to the pan and basted it with the lemon garlic butter and capers. That's all there is to it, other than serve and eat.

To make the "brown sugar" for my acorn squash topping, I simply mixed 2 tablespoons of Swerve Sweetener (granular) with 1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses. It gave it just enough flavor and color to mimic brown sugar and then mixed it with butter, cinnamon and pecans to make an absolutely delicious topping for the acorn squash. These would make a perfect side dish to serve at Thanksgiving, too!  I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe for the baked acorn squash. Enjoy!

Baked Acorn Squash w/ Butter, "Brown Sugar" & Pecans


1 acorn squash (green or orange skinned)
2 tablespoons Swerve granular sweetener (or other granular sweetener)
Generous dash of ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons diced chilled butter
3 tablespoons chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Cut acorn squash in half from top (stem end) to bottom. Scoop out seeds and pulp with a spoon. Place acorn squash cut side down on baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until softened.

While squash is baking, prepare topping. In a medium bowl, add granular sweetener, cinnamon and salt. Combine with a fork; mix in molasses. Cut butter into mixture using a pastry cutter/dough blender or 2 knives until crumbly and in small bits. Stir in pecans. Remove squash from oven and flip over (cavity side up). Fill cavities with topping. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. 

*Note: If squash is wobbly or sits unevenly when flipped over, transfer it to a small casserole dish for support to help keep the melted topping inside the squash as it bakes.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Bacon Cheddar Burgers on a Bed of Buttered Cabbage

This evening I was craving burgers for some reason. I decided to make Bacon Cheddar Burgers, but not your typical bacon and cheddar on top burgers. I mixed diced crispy bacon and shredded cheddar into my ground beef along with sliced green spring onions. They turned out amazing and full of flavor. To make them even better, I put a nice thick piece of Cabot's Vermont White Cheddar on top with a slice of tomato and slice of sugar free bread and butter pickle. I cooked the burgers in a large skillet on the stove. While they were cooking, I pulled out my big bag of coleslaw mix and sauteed it in Kerrygold butter in another skillet and seasoned it with sea salt and black pepper. Easy peasy. I love the convenience of having the slaw mix ready to use either hot or cold or in soups. It's a real time saver on weeknights. I snapped a few photos and included the simple recipe below. Enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Burgers


1 pound lean ground beef (I used Maverick Ranch 91% lean organic grass-fed beef)
2 sliced green spring onions
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
4 strips cooked bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided


In a medium bowl, mix together ground beef, onions, cheddar cheese, bacon, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix just until combined; divide and form into 4 patties about 1/2-inch thick.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook burgers approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. 

*Note: I prefer to use lean beef and then add my own additional fat, like olive oil to add moistness.