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CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

I love dark chocolate!  And in my sugar-free life I still need it.  These little beauties will satisfy that urge in a creamy-dreamy way.  Using the flavored syrups will give you unlimited flavors, also.

I created this recipe (specifically for use with the Valor sugar free chocolate) long before I realized they were now putting in green or black tea, chipotle powder, cocoa nibs, or any number of other things in truffles and calling them Gourmet.   So I am unearthing this recipe this Holiday season and experimenting with the ‘exotics’!  

These are definitely a TREAT food, as they are not low-fat.  But as a sugar free alternative for us during the Holiday season, they are fine.

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1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar free flavored syrup – Davinci or Torani for instance
4 ounces high-quality sugar free solid dark chocolate  (see photos below for suggestions)

Unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened coconut, ¼ cup almond flour blended with ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and/or Nature Sweet Powder to roll truffles in.
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Stir together the butter, cream, and sugar free syrup in a medium glass bowl. Microwave 30 to 40 seconds until hot, but not boiling.

Add chocolate to warm mixture and allow mixture to sit for 3 minutes. Stir until melted and very smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occastionally. Chill mixture in refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Should be firm, but not hard.

Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, measure teaspoon size mounds and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.

Carefully roll or form into irregular balls and roll in unsweetened cocoa powder and then in other coatings. Each truffle may be placed in an individual candy cup for presentation. These are best kept in the refrigerator until just before serving.

Stats will vary depending on the type of chocolate, and the size.  But…it’s CHOCOLATE.  Good for you in small pieces!

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PINEAPPLE CRISP

The inspiration for this recipe came from that old favorite side dish Baked Pineapple…a sweet, bread cube-topped, butter drenched goodie that is scrumptious, yes…but not very figure-friendly!

I turned it into a dessert, instead…and for those of you who love pineapple, this will be right up your alley.

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Vegetable Cooking Spray
One 20-ounce can crushed pineapple – in it’s own juice, undrained
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Splenda Granular
2 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups Murray’s sugar free Pecan or regular Shortbread cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1 quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the pineapple, eggs, Splenda, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into prepared dish.

In a small bowl stir together the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Spread over the pineapple mixture and gently press into fruit, slightly. Bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 8 dessert servings.

Per Serving: Calories 178; Protein 5 g; Fat 6; Carbs 11 g; Sugar 2 g; Sodium 119 mg

WHAT’S in that cake?!

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FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

When I saw this recipe I was very skeptical…usually these kind leave a LOT to be desired.

But this is one moist and delicious dessert!  And unless you told someone they would never, in a million years, guess what the secret ingredient was.

It’s very flavorful and rises well…not eggy or too dense…just right.  It has a very nice texture and a tender, moist crumb.  (I thought it got better the next day – the flavors more intense and when stored in the fridge it’s nice and fudgey, almost.)

It’s beans and eggs with a little cocoa powder thrown in – it’s very good for you.  (The carbs are complex one and come from the beans.)  Seriously!  Do try this, you won’t be disappointed.

I have to give credit to Lauren from Healthy Indulgences for the inspiration.

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One 15-ounce can unseasoned black or kidney beans – drained and rinsed (I prefer S&W kidney beans for this)

1 tablespoon water or coffee (the coffee will bring out more intense chocolate flavor)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup Whey Low granular or maltitol

5 eggs

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(I recently made the WHOLE thing in the blender.  Gets pretty thick, so you need a fairly powerful machine, but it works great. I pureed the beans first with the water/coffee and an egg…then added the rest of the eggs…then the remaining ingredients.  Processed till smooth.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat a 9 or 10 inch cake pan with vegetable cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a blender, food processor or with a hand held blender wand, puree the beans, water/coffee, and vanilla until smooth.  Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and the Whey Low for one minute with an electric mixer.  Beat in the eggs for two minutes, or until very light and fluffy.  Beat in the bean mixture, just until combined.  Beat in the cocoa mixture for one minute, until very smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or frost and cover.  Makes 10 servings.

Per Serving: Calories 171; Protein 6 g; Fat 11 g; NET Carbs 10 g; Sugar 5 g; Sodium 155 mg

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CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD

Never enough variations on this theme…

This one is not spicy, just mellow and sorta sweet with the crispy almonds, and succulent grapes.  The flavors get more pronounced as it rests, so making it ahead is always nice.

Wrapped up in some buttery lettuce leaves or on a whole grain roll for you family, it’s very filling and full of protein.

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1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Curry powder (I use the sweet yellow from Penzey’s)

Zest and Juice of half a lime

2 teaspoons sugar-free honey, agave nectar, or honey

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste

2 cups diced, cooked rotisserie chicken

1/2 cup quartered grapes

1/4 cup diced red pepper

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

1 stalk celery chopped

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In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, lime zest and juice, sugar-free honey, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken, grapes, red pepper, almonds, and celery. Mix well, cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving: 208 Cal; 23 g Protein; 10 g Tot Fat; 6 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 167mg Sodium

BLOG41SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

No-Sugar-Added

I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at a luscious recipe with adoration, only to discover that it’s main ingredient is sweetened condensed milk.  AKKKK

In the weight-loss surgery lifestyle there is no room for so much sugar – or in a diabetics meal-plan, or for those who just don’t want the sugar-coma that comes from eating it!

Recipes for homemade are all over and it’s very easy to make it no sugar added.  (It will never be sugar free…simply because there is lactose (milk sugar) in the milk powder.  But that is fine…those hit our system slowly and shouldn’t cause a problem.)

This recipe makes just barely shy of a standard can of the gorgeous stuff…so use it in any recipe calling for the real-deal and you’ll be just fine.

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1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water

4 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup Splenda Granular or Whey Low Powdered

1 cup powdered nonfat milk (dry) *see note

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

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In a small bowl beat with an electric mixer the water, butter, Splenda, milk powder, and vanilla.

This is best if you use it right away because it gets very thick as it sits.  You can store it in the fridge and gently reheat to bring to pouring consistency.  If it’s still too thick add a tablespoon or so of boiling water.

Per TABLESPOON:  Calories 25; Protein 1 g, Fat 1 g, Carbs 1 g, Fiber 0 g, Sodium 25 mg

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**I use a generic brand (Walmart’s Great Value) of dry milk powder and it always works great.  However when I used the Milkman brand (in an orange box) it was way too thick…and got THICKER when I microwaved it to make it thinner!!

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ROASTED GARLIC

A photo guide!

This has to be one of the most gorgeous things you can eat…if you love garlic!  Sweet, fragrant, creamy-smooth, rich, and intense…slow roasted to golden perfection.  Fabulous!

So many uses – blended into butter or emulsified with olive oil.  Spread, alone, on steak, chicken, or fish.  Folded into hummus or cream cheese for an out-of-this-world dip.

Or just as aromatherapy!!

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Start with 1-1000 whole heads of garlic.

(Hello!  It’s not anymore work to make lots!)

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Cut off the pointy end just enough to expose all the cloves…

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Lay in a baking dish, or on a heavy-duty piece of foil.

Drizzle with a few teaspoons of olive oil per head,

letting it soak into the nooks and crannies.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you wish…

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Wrap tightly and place into a preheated, 400 degree oven for an hour

or more…however long it takes to get very soft and golden.

When you squeeze the bulb the pulp of the cloves will squish out.

The longer you roast it, the sweeter and creamier it gets.

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Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  DON’T throw away the oil!  It’s wonderful in so many ways…salad dressing, to fry or roast veggies in, or baste for the grill…drizzled over popcorn…

Thick and filling…

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WHITE BEAN & SWEET ITALIAN TURKEY SAUSAGE SOUP

This soup is creamy, slightly spicy and full of nutritious goodies. With lots of protein and complex carbs, it’s the perfect lunch to pack or an easy week-night meal.

Serve to your family with a crisp green salad and some crusty, warm whole grain rolls.

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, diced
1/2 pound Sweet Italian turkey sausage, bulk or if using links, casings removed
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Two 15-ounce can Cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and divided
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup fat-free half & half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a stockpot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper and sauté until onions are tender. Stir in sausage and cook until no longer pink. Add basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

With a fork coarsely mash the beans from one can. Add to broth mixture. Stir in remaining can of beans, spinach, and fat-free half & half. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Makes approx. 8 one-cup servings.

Per Serving: Calories 280; Protein 17 g; Fat 10 g; Carbs 16; Sugar 3 g; Sodium 893 mg