Saturday, September 30, 2017

Grilled Chicken atop a Roasted Vegetable Medley - Easy Low Carb

This evening we got up early and were at Costco when they opened at 9:00. We didn't even eat breakfast before we left; just stopped at got a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts on our way. Costco had their fresh bouquets of flowers on sale for $7.99 a bunch so I picked up a huge bouquet of beautiful sunflowers. I also bought two huge yellow mums to put out on the front porch since it's finally beginning to cool off and feel like fall. Of course I picked up some other stuff, too! We got back home by 10:30 and I made us a quick and easy breakfast of cheddar scrambled eggs, bacon and yogurt for our late "brunch". We decided to take the afternoon off from projects around the house for a change and to stop and just relax for a change. We sat out on the porch for hours this afternoon, reading and drainking coffee. When we came back inside, I laid down and actually fell asleep on the sofa and took a 3-hour nap. How crazy is that? I never EVER nap. I think it was all the fresh cool fall air. When I woke up at 6:00 p.m. this evening, I was dazed and confused...LOL. I decided I'd better get a quick start on dinner and didn't really have a plan so I pounded some boneless skinless chicken breasts I had in the fridge and seasoned them with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, spritzed them with olive oil and grilled them. They only took about 8 minutes or so to grill. While the grill was heating up, I turned on the oven and pulled out a head of cauliflower, a large crown of broccoli and a couple of organic carrots and cut them up, tossed them in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and smoked paprika and popped them into the oven to roast for about 25 minutes. Literally, dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes! Oh, I picked the beautiful head of cauliflower at Sprouts Farmers Market yesterday for 77 cents! They were on sale for 77 cents each so I bought 2 heads (about 3-pounds each). After dinner, we sat out on the porch for another hour or so and enjoyed being serenaded by the crickets and frogs along with the sound of acorns falling out of the oak trees in our backyard. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy recipe for my Roasted Vegetable Medley that I served the grilled chicken on. I also shared a snapshot taken of my beautiful sunflowers I posted on my Instagram post below. Do you follow me on Instagram yet? Enjoy!

Do you follow me on Instagram yet?

Roasted Vegetable Medley


1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets
2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Smoked paprika, to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss cauliflower, carrots and broccoli in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until vegetables are coated. Spread out in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes; remove from oven, stir and lightly dust with smoked paprika. Return to the oven and roast an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pan Seared Chicken Topped with Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

This evening I started out with the intention of grilling chicken for dinner, but as luck would have it when I went out to put the chicken on the hot grill, apparently our gas ran out and it was only registering 200 degrees. I already had a big sheet pan of tomatoes and garlic roasting in the oven that I planned to top the chicken with, along with sliced fresh I had to improvise and pull out a skillet and pan sear the chicken on the stove instead. No big deal. Fortunately I had pounded my boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1/4-inch thick cutlets so they took only minutes to cook. This meal was so very simple yet so unbelievably delicious. I had half of a large container of Mucci Farms multicolored small tomatoes that I halved, tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and then roasted for about 25-30 minutes. It's amazing how much deep rich flavor roasting the tomatoes brings out. I also added some sliced fresh garlic half way through roasting the tomatoes. I topped each pan seared chicken breast with a slice of fresh mozzarella by Bel Gioioso that softened on the hot chicken, then topped it with the roasted tomatoes and garlic. It was simple fresh ingredients put together that were transformed into a really delicious meal that tasted like something you might enjoy in a nice restaurant. I snapped a couple photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Pan Seared Chicken Topped w/ Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thick (or use chicken cutlets)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Ground cayenne pepper, optional
2 - 3 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes (I used Mucci Farms multi-colored medley)
2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken cutlets with salt, pepper and dust lightly with cayenne; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss halved tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss sliced garlic with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and set aside. Spread tomatoes in a single layer on lined baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove tomatoes from oven, stir and scatter sliced garlic over top of the tomatoes. Return to oven and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. While tomatoes are roasting, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken breasts in skillet and cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side until lightly browned. Place chicken breasts on a platter and top each with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Spoon roasted tomatoes and garlic over top. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Brownie Bites - LCHF (Low Carb High Fudgy)

This evening I'm sharing a recipe I created a couple of years ago for Brownie Bites. These brownies are deep, dark, rich and fudgy. They're made with blanched almond flour, grass-fed butter and deep dark cocoa powder. To give them an extra chocolatey kick, I added a little bit of espresso which enhances and deepens the chocolate flavor, along with a few bittersweet chocolate chips. They are so easy to make and delicious to eat as is, but can be made even more decadent if frosted or drizzled with a glaze, too. If you like nuts in your brownies, you could add some finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter. These brownies are topped with whipped cream and fresh berries like decadent little chocolate berry shortcakes and are amazing served that way.

These brownies are low carb, grain and gluten free and are also low in sugar (the small amount of bittersweet chocolate chips adds a trivial amount of sugar). To make them completely sugar free, simply substitute sugar-free stevia sweetened chocolate chips (like Lily’s) in place of the bittersweet chips. The amount of sugar contained in the 1/4 cup of 70% dark chocolate chips used in this recipe is minimal (each brownie bite contains less than 1 gram of sugar). The recipe and photos can be found below. Enjoy! 

Brownie Bites
Makes 2 dozen square brownie bites or 3 dozen smaller round brownie bites


3/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups Swerve sweetener or preferred sweetener (I used powdered Swerve)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used 70% cacao)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a nonstick 20-well brownie bite pan or 24-cup mini muffin pan with coconut oil or butter.

In a large bowl, combine melted butter, sweetener and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in espresso powder. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, flour, ground chia, baking powder and salt. Gradually blend dry mixture into egg mixture, adding half at a time. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill each prepared brownie well or mini muffin cup two-thirds full with batter. Bake for approximately 15 minutes if using brownie bite pan or 12 minutes for mini muffin pan, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (a couple of moist clinging crumbs is okay). Be careful not to over-bake. Cool in pan. Remove by gently loosening edges with a plastic knife or spatula and then carefully pry and lift up edge of brownie and remove from pan. Yields approximately 2 dozen square brownie bites or 3 dozen round brownie bites. If desired, frost with your favorite frosting, drizzle with glaze or top with whipped cream and fresh berries.

*Notes: If brownies don't release easily, place in freezer for about 15 minutes before removing from pan. Granular or powdered sweetener can be used, but if using an erythritol based sweetener (like Swerve or Truvia, etc.), using a powdered version eliminates the grittiness sometimes created when refrigerating baked goods made with it. Ground chia can be purchased already ground or is easily ground in a small food processor or coffee grinder. Measure chia seeds after grinding because grinding them increases their volume.

*Nutrition Information: a) For 24 square brownies, each contains approximately 1.8 grams net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and less than 1 gram of sugar (0.72 grams); b) For 36 smaller round brownies, each contains 1.2 net carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of sugar (0.48 grams).


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grilled Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken Burgers & Grilled Romaine Salad

This evening I made grilled chicken burgers using a pound of ground Perdue chicken breast I had in the fridge. Even though the calendar says its Fall, the outside thermometer is telling us its still SUMMER! It was in the upper 80s and humid here today so grilling just made sense this evening. I had part of a leftover jar in the fridge of my favorite Sun Dried Tomato Pesto by Mezzetta. I decided to mix that into the ground chicken breast, add a bit of sea salt and cook the burgers on my Lodge grill pan outside on the big grill; since they're a bit more tender, it keeps them intact and I don't lose them through the grates of the big grill. I decided to make a grilled romaine salad topped with grilled mini San Marzano tomatoes to go with our burgers. I also sliced a small Vidalia onion and added that to the grill pan. I split two medium heads of Josie's organic romaine lettuce, brushed them with olive oil and seasoned them with Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Grill Mates Seasoning for a few minutes on each side (I held one half back so I could mix it in and add a bit of crunch to the wilted romaine). It turned out great! The burgers were moist and flavorful and so simple. I love using sun dried tomato pesto for all kinds of things. I drizzled the grilled romaine and tomatoes with some olive oil and vinegar and added a pinch of salt and tossed it together and served it alongside our burgers. I included the easy peasy recipe for the burgers below along with some photos. Enjoy!


Grilled Romaine & Tomato Salad

Grilled Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken Burgers


1 pound ground chicken breast (or turkey)
2 slightly heaped tablespoons of sun dried tomato pesto, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste


Combine ground chicken, pesto and salt. Divide and form into 3 patties using hands dampened with water. Grill over medium-high heat (about 400 degrees F) approximately 4 minutes per side or until juices run clear when pressed slightly.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chipotle Cheddar Crackers - Are You Ready for Some Football?

Since football season is upon us now and fall is just around the in tomorrow, I decided this would be a great time to give you an awesome snack idea to prepare and these Chipotle Cheddar Crackers are low carb, grain and gluten free and make the perfect snack to enjoy along with friends and family while watching your favorite team play. Or if you are like me and could care less about football (sorry football fans), these crackers are also great alongside a bowl of soup, chili or cheese and crackers or name it. They are also incredibly good as is! The ways you can season them and change them up are endless. I love them served alongside my Fire Roasted Tomato Cheddar's like having grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup (well, almost). These are great snack crackers to put out during football games, holiday get-togethers, etc. Check out a few of my photos below as well as the recipe for the crackers below. Enjoy!

Chipotle Cheddar Crackers


·        1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
·        1-1/2 cups almond flour or meal
·        2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseeds
·        2 tablespoons sesame seeds
·        1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
·        1/4 teaspoon onion powder
·        1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, to taste
·        1 large egg
·        1 tablespoon olive oil
·        1/4 teaspoon sea salt, optional


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place cheddar cheese and almond flour in a medium bowl. Using a pastry/dough blender, cut cheddar into flour mixture until finely chopped and evenly incorporated; stir in flax, sesame seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground chipotle chile powder.

In a separate small bowl, whisk egg and olive oil until combined; pour into dry mixture. Combine mixture using a rubber spatula into a stiff dense dough; knead a couple times in the bowl with the heel of your hand to thoroughly combine and moisten all ingredients.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet pan and place parchment on counter or workspace. Place dough in center and press down evenly with your hands to about 1-inch thick. Place another sheet of parchment on top of dough. Roll dough out between sheets of parchment to about 1/8-inch thick. Remove top sheet of parchment; transfer bottom parchment to baking pan. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutting wheel, cut into 1-inch squares, or desired size. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until light golden brown, checking frequently. If crackers on outer edge begin browning more quickly, carefully remove those and transfer to a plate or rack. When crackers are done, remove from oven and leave on parchment paper until cool. Separate crackers and enjoy. Store cooled crackers in an air tight container.

Note: The ground golden flaxseeds and sesame seeds are added to give the crackers a slightly “grainy” texture. If you prefer not to use them, just substitute additional almond flour or meal in their place. The chipotle chile powder adds a smoky/spicy flavor. If you do not have chipotle chile powder, you can easily substitute regular chili powder (to taste) or use milder and sweeter ancho chili powder.

Serving Suggestion: These crackers are delicious to eat “as is” or topped with your favorite cheese. They are also great used as a dip cracker to scoop up hummus that’s been lightly dusted with smoked paprika, chopped fresh parsley and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. 


Monday, September 18, 2017

Happy National Cheeseburger Day - on Grain Free Sesame Seed Buns

Happy National Cheeseburger Day! Hah...who comes up with these things? Obviously this is one celebration that Hallmark doesn't corner the market on. Today I'm re-sharing one of my favorite cheeseburgers of all time "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" served on my delicious grain free Sesame Seed Buns. I don't mind eating a burger without a bun...I've gotten used to it; but sometimes, you just WANT a bun on your burger! These buns are also delicious to make a sandwich with. If you haven't tried them before...these are a must try. They are the closest to real bread as I have come in over 5 years that I've been wheat free. Check out this beautiful burger below and to get to the link on the recipe for the here: Sesame Seed Buns. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pizza for Breakfast - How to Use Leftover Pizza

Happy Saturday!  It's a beautiful sunny morning here. When I woke up this morning I thought about having a piece of last night's cold leftover Roasted Tomato & Shallot Pizza for breakfast. Instead, I decided to "breakfast-tize" it a bit! I placed a piece of pizza in a small nonstick skillet, covered it and heated it over low heat until it was warmed through and the crust was nice and toasty. In a separate skillet I fried an egg in a little butter. I used the pizza as my "toast" and topped it with the fried egg. It was so delicious together and the flavors were as if I was eating a delicious roasted tomato omelet over toast. I loved it and will save a piece to make again for breakfast tomorrow too! Next time you have leftover pizza, give it a try. I can't wait to make it again!  Now, off to put our furniture back out on our screened porch after Irma blew through earlier this week! Enjoy!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Cheese Head Pizza Topped w/ Roasted Tomatoes, Shallots, & Pepperoni

This evening I made the BEST pizza ever. I know I've said that a lot, but this evening's pizza knocked it out of the park! We needed something to cheer up an otherwise gloomy week after Hurricane Irma came through Atlanta. I know many folks had it so much worse than we did, so I'm so thankful we had no serious damage...just lots of limbs down and a big mess in our yard; we lost power for a day and night and had no cable, internet or phone for 2+ days. We also lost some food in our 3 refrigerators but thankfully our frozen stuff stayed frozen! I did NOT want to have to throw out all the wild salmon I had frozen and stashed for the winter! LOL!

This pizza, as silly as it sounds just brightened up our week with all the colors and delicious flavor. I haven't done much cooking this week with everything that went on. So, tonight when I got home, I decided it was time for a comfort Friday night meal. I had a large 2 pound container of multicolored tomatoes; red, green, yellow, orange, maroon, etc. I halved about half of them (about 1 pound) and tossed them with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper, then spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and roasted them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. After they had roasted for about 10 minutes, I added 2 thinly sliced large shallots that I tossed in olive oil and spread them out with the tomatoes to roast along with them. I diced some pepperoni and sautéed it in a small skillet on the stove to begin crisping it and rendering off some of the excess fat (I don't care for greasy pizza). Rather than use traditional pizza sauce like I usually do, I spread my freshly baked Cheese Head Pizza Crust with half of a jar (about 3 ounces) of Mezzetta's Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, then topped it with shredded mozzarella cheese, then the roasted tomatoes and shallots, then scattered the pepperoni on top and popped it back into the oven for about 7 to 8 minutes. The flavors were unbelievable. There is just something about roasting vegetables that brings out their deep intense flavor. The shallots crisped like mini onion rings. Hubby who had initially turned his nose up when he found out I added shallots (he hates onions so I convinced him these technically were not onions), ended up loving it and saying it was one of my best pizzas ever! I snapped some photos below and included the easy peasy recipe for my Cheese Head Pizza Crust. If you haven't made it yet...what are you waiting for? Try are going to like LOVE it!  Enjoy!

Topped and ready to go into the oven for 7 to 8 minutes



8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
Dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked peppers, onions, mushrooms, additional cheese, etc.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet. Press dough out with oiled hands or pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of dough to help press and smooth dough out using the rubber spatula into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheese, and any desired toppings. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through. 


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chocolate Chip Biscotti - Throwback Thursday

Today I'm re-sharing my recipe for Chocolate Chip Biscotti. I absolutely LOVE these biscotti. A couple of years ago, I tried my hand out at making biscotti after one of my sons gave me a biscotti pan (by USA Pan) for Christmas. One of my favorite flavors of biscotti is cranberry pistachio, but since it was my first run at making biscotti, I decided to go with chocolate chip, not to mention it's a more popular flavor. A few weeks after making these biscotti, I actually made my favorite Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti. They turned out amazing as well.

I was so excited at how these biscotti turned out and surprised at how easy they were to make. Even if you don't own a biscotti pan, you don't need to have a special pan to make yours; a simple cookie sheet will work just fine (although I really do love my pan)! If you've never had biscotti before, they are a dry, crisp, twice baked cookie that originated in Italy and they're not too sweet. They are baked the first time as a loaf, then sliced and baked on a cookie sheet the second time until they are dry and toasty. I think they're best dunked in coffee. The commercially made biscotti that I used to eat contained 18 grams of carbs and 10 grams of sugar each. My grain free version made with almond flour and sweetened with Swerve only contain 3.7 net carbs and 1.8 grams of sugar each which is a huge difference. Check out my recipe and photos below. Enjoy!

Dunking beauties!

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Makes approximately 18


5 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup granular sweetener (I used sugar free Swerve Sweetener)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Equal Exchange 70% cacao bittersweet chips)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 12” x 5-1/2” biscotti pan or 18” x 13” baking sheet (or line with parchment).

In a medium bowl, cream butter and granular sweetener together. Add vanilla and beat in the eggs. Add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt, stirring until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips. 

Scoop dough into the center of prepared biscotti pan. Using wet hands, shape dough into a log shape mounded slightly higher in the center. Leave approximately a 3/4” space around the edges of the pan to allow room to spread during baking. If using a baking sheet, place dough in center of prepared baking sheet and shape into a log approximately 10-1/2” x 3”, mounding slightly higher in the center.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool for about one hour.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice biscotti crosswise into 3/4" slices (they can also be cut diagonally, if preferred).  Lay slices on sides on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until dry and golden; cool completely. Biscotti continue to dry and crisp as they cool. Store in airtight container.

*Notes: If biscotti slices begin to brown too quickly, reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F. If desired, biscotti can be dipped into or drizzled with melted dark chocolate.

*Nutrition Information: Each serving contains approximately 3.7 grams net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and 1.8 grams sugar.