Sunday, November 29, 2015

Update on My Absence...

It's been a little over a week since I've posted and I know many of you who follow me and my almost daily posts are probably wondering where I've been. I wish I could say that I've been away on an exciting vacation or journey...but I can't.

My family received some very, very sad news a week ago...and I'm just not ready to "talk" about it yet. We are all heartbroken and unbelievably sad. I will be posting occasionally, but for now, not as frequently. Until I am ready and able to say more, I would like to ask you to please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers...and one more thing; tell your loved ones how much you love them because none of us ever know what tomorrow will bring.

With love...Ayla

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Cake - NEW RECIPE

Today's new recipe is for Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Cake that I shared on my guest post for Honeyville. This cake is a moist decadent chocolate pumpkin cake that is tastes like a cross between a chocolate cake and a rich moist brownie. All of my family loves this cake; even those that aren't grain or gluten free. The only small amount of sugar contained is in the 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips. They could easily be replaced with sugar free chocolate chips like Lily's if preferred. It's great as is or topped with whipped cream. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. To get to the recipe, please click here: Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Cake. Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

12 Thanksgiving Breakfast Recipes - Low Carb, Gluten Free & No Sugar Added

Today's post is a collection of 12 Thanksgiving Breakfast Recipes that would make perfect accompaniments to your eggs, bacon and sausage breakfasts next week; you know that little "something special" which is what holiday meals are all about. Since many of you will likely have overnight guests, extra family, friends, and kids home from college with you next week...I figured it would be the perfect time to make a special Thanksgiving breakfast post to give you plenty of ideas to choose from. All of these recipes are suitable to serve your non grain-free guests as well. There's no reason for us to feel deprived or tempted to stray from our grain and gluten-free way of eating over the holidays because there are plenty of really good recipes to choose from. Most are easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time as well. I have many other breakfast recipes, biscuits, fritattas, etc. that you could make but thought this collection would be nice for this time of year and especially nice at Thanksgiving time. I hope you find something in this collection to make your meals extra special next week. Yesterday's post was a collection of 16 Thanksgiving Desserts and the day before it was 12 Thanksgiving Side Dishes. I do not want you to ever feel deprived or left out. Enjoy!

P.S. - Stay tuned for tomorrow's NEW recipe! You're going to love it!  :-)

A Collection of 12 Breakfast Ideas for Thanksgiving
Simply Click on the Recpe Title Beneath Each Photo Below to Get to the Recipe

Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini-Muffins


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

16 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes - Low Carb, Gluten Free & No Sugar Added

Yesterday I shared my "12 Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes" collection with you. Today, I'm going to share another favorite collection of's my 16 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes collection. I haven't fully decided which desserts I'll be making for Thanksgiving yet, with the exception of one of them...Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups! But, then I also really love my No-Bake Cheesecake w/ Cranberry Pecan Coconut Topping, too. Oh, and who doesn't love warm Cranberry Apple Crisp with a big fat dollop of whipped cream? Decisions; decisions!

Historically, we usually have both Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie but it's just so hard to decide what to choose from (plus with my tooth issues, I can't do a lot of chewing), so I'll find out what the rest of my family wants and let them have a vote as well. I never thought I'd have so many yummy low carb, grain free, no added sugar choices to choose from; isn't it great? I have many other dessert recipes that I could have chosen, but thought this collection would be especially nice for Thanksgiving dessert. I hope you find one that suits your fancy. Oh, and stay tuned for tomorrow's special post! Enjoy!

A Collection of 16 Dessert Ideas for Thanksgiving
Simply Click on the Recpe Title Beneath Each Photo Below to Get to the Recipe

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tartlets

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Magical Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Bars

Chocolate Pecan Pie

No Bake Cheesecake w/ Pecan Cinnamon Crust w/ Cranberry-Coconut-Pecan Topping

Pecan Pie w/ Cinnamon Almond Crust

Pumpkin Pie w/ Cinnamon Almond or Hazelnut Crust (or a nut free crustless option)

Salted Pumpkin Seed Bark

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini-Muffins

Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups

Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

Pecan Tassies

Magical Cookie Bars

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Salted Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies


Monday, November 16, 2015

12 Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes - Low Carb, Gluten Free & No Sugar Added

As promised, today I'm sharing 12 of my favorite side dishes, all of which would be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. The collection includes everything from Stuffing to Green Bean Casserole, to Southern Buttermilk Biscuits, "Cornbread"...and many more. I actually made a huge casserole of my Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole today to take to work for our Thanksgiving Luncheon. Everyone LOVED it (and none of them are grain/gluten free)! I've brought it to our holiday lunch for the past 3 years and get requests for it now. So,, while these recipes may be grain and gluten free, they are recipes that can be enjoyed by EVERYONE!

All of these recipes are my favorites which is why I chose these to share. I have many other side dish recipes but thought these would be the best for Thanksgiving. I have a couple of other collections I'm working on for this week as well but thought I'd start with side dishes first. Beneath the collage of photos below is an individual larger photo of each of them, along with the name of each recipe underneath. If you click on the name of the recipe, it will take you to the recipe. I hope you find a few ideas to try out. Stay tuned because I have new collections coming for the next few days as well as a NEW recipe for later in the week. Enjoy!

A Collection of 12 Side Dish Ideas for Thanksgiving
Simply Click on the Recpe Title Beneath Each Photo Below to Get to the Recipe

Rich & Thick Parmesan Cauliflower Mash

Baked Cauli-roni & Cheese


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Green Bean Casserole - Low Carb & Gluten Free

Over the last few years that I have been low carb, grain and gluten free, I have tinkered with the classic and traditional green bean casserole (you know, the kind made with canned soup and commercial French-fried onions). I have made it with sauteed onions, without onions and finally came up with a version that I like this past year. I use my low carb Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe which can be made several days ahead of time to save time when putting the casserole together on Thanksgiving morning. If you want, you can top it with my Oven-Fried Onion Rings but that is a lot of work (in my opinion) for a day like Thanksgiving where you are probably preparing a lot more side dishes than you usually do for a typical night's dinner.

My favorite way to prepare the onions is to thinly slice fresh onion rings, toss in oil, and season with salt and then roast until they are golden and crisp. It is imperative that you watch them closely though because they can go from brown to burned quickly...don't leave the kitchen. Because I know you are liable to make the same mistake I did last year, and step away for "just a moment" (thus burning your first batch), do yourself a favor and pick up an extra onion for back-up...LOL. After preparing the crispy onions, I prepare the casserole much the same way as in the "other version" I used to make. I also like to add a few ounces of cream cheese to the doubled Cream of Mushroom Soup to make it richer when making it for casseroles like this one, so be sure to check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe first (it gets whisked into the soup when made). I've always added about 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (up to 1-1/2 cups) and about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese but you can leave that out if preferred. It just gives it a bit of flavor without making it cheesy. Below are some photos of the Green Bean Casserole I made last year (before topping it with the remaining final half of onions and baking). I included the recipe below. Enjoy!

Ready to be topped with crispy onions and then baked again

Half of the onions are stirred into the casserole; remaining half will go on top after baking
Here they are on my plate at Thanksgiving (along with turkey, Rich Parmesan Cauliflower Mash, Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole, Herbed Apple Sausage Stuffing & Cranberry Orange Sauce)

Green Bean Casserole - Low Carb & Gluten Free


1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil (more if necessary)
2 pounds cooked French-style green beans
2 cups grain free Cream of Mushroom Soup (prepare a double batch of soup recipe)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional
Salt and black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole and set aside. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil and grease lightly. 

In a large bowl, toss thinly sliced onion rings with oil to lightly coat. Spread out on lined baking sheet in a single layer (you may have to use 2 baking sheets or roast in 2 batches to prevent overcrowding). Season generously with salt. Roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until they just begin to brown (keep a very close eye on them so they don't burn and toss them occasionally to brown evenly). As soon as onions just begin to brown, reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F and cook until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Turn oven off and allow onions to continue crisping and drying out. 

When onions are done, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked green beans with 2 cups Cream of Mushroom Soup (the doubled soup recipe makes approximately 3 cups; start by adding 2 cups and add more, if necessary), Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and about half of the crispy onions. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Top with remaining half of crispy onions and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until onions are heated and golden.

*Notes: If a thicker soup mixture is desired, when preparing the doubled recipe for cream of mushroom soup, add 3 to 4 ounces of brick style cream cheese to the pan after the moisture is cooked out of mushrooms and whisk until cream cheese is softened and melted before adding chicken stock and cream (instructions are on the note at bottom of soup recipe) and whisk briskly while heating until blended. When making the crispy onion topping, watch very closely because they go from browning to burning very quickly.