Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies - THM S

Decadent. That is the only appropriate word for this dessert. Seriously. This dessert is amazingly delicious.  

This is the first attempt I had made at taking a tried and true recipe that my family loved and turning it into something acceptable for the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating. And do you know what? It wasn't even hard! I couldn't believe how well it turned out.  

Here's the story: it was my daughter's 17th birthday and she wanted Jamie's Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie for her birthday cake. We have made this recipe several times and it is amazing! It is not, however, kind to the waistline! :) Well, I certainly was not going to deny my daughter (who has no weight issues whatsoever) what she wanted on her birthday, but I really didn't want to deny myself such a delicious treat either and I wanted to know if I could make a reasonable substitute. So with Jamie's recipe as a launching pad I headed to the kitchen.

I didn't make a good substitute...I made a GREAT substitute! Everyone was impressed by how good it was and some even preferred the THM version to the original! Glory! So this dessert no longer has to be relegated to a once a year treat. The whole family can enjoy it knowing they are not doing any lasting damage to their health. Here is how you do it:

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie - THM S
Red Velvet Layer
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups xylitol (I know this seems like a lot, but the original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar. You could use 2 c erythritol or 1 1/2 c truvia but I like xylitol in chocolate recipes)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat fiber
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red food coloring gel (you can find this in the cake decorating section of Walmart. This color does not change the flavor so if you don't mind not having the red color you can make these without the coloring)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup sugar free chocolate chips (or chopped skinny chocolate or chopped 85% dark chocolate bar)
Cream Cheese Layer
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup xylitol (you could also use 1/2 cup erythritol or 1/3 cup truvia if you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Let's make it!
Brownie layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put butter, xylitol and cocoa into mixing bowl. Mix until well blended.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg.
  4. Add vanilla and mix.
  5. In a separate, small bowl, stir to combine almond flour, oat fiber, coconut flour and salt.  
  6. Add flour/salt mixture to wet ingredients and mix till well combined.
  7. Add food coloring gel and mix till combined.
  8. Stir in chocolate chips.
  9. At this point you have a couple options. You can either grease a 9x13 pan well if you intend to serve the brownies from the pan (this worked fine for me, they do not stick to the greased pan) or if you want you can line the pan with parchment paper (grease the parchment paper after you line the pan with it) if you want to lift the brownies out of the pan to cut and serve.
  10. Pour batter into greased pan and spread it out evenly. Set aside.

Cream Cheese Layer
  1. Place cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat till fluffy.
  2. Add xylitol, egg and vanilla and mix until everything is incorporated and fluffy.
  3. Drop cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls over the top of the brownie layer in the 9x13 pan.
  4. Drag knife through the cream cheese and brownie layers to create a swirl pattern.

  5. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until brownie layer is set. Make sure to check it at the lowest time to be sure your cheesecake layer does not become too brown.
  6. Allow brownies to cool for at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove them from the pan (whether you used parchment paper or not).
  7. Slice and enjoy!

Make Your Own Raw Apple Cider Vinegar PLUS My Favorite Good Girl Moonshine Recipe

I never thought I would be one of those people. What people you ask? One of those people who drink apple cider vinegar (acv)! I know, it sounds gross, but it really isn't! I promise! In fact this refreshing drink has seriously limited my diet soda intake. In fact, I don't even buy diet soda for my home anymore. I used to drink a 2 liter a day!

Enter Trim Healthy Mama and a wonderful drink they call Good Girl Moonshine. You can find their original recipe in that link and I will share my favorite tweak of that recipe here.  There are tons of benefits to using acv daily, but I won't re-invent the wheel in this post. You can come up with thousands of web articles with a google search.  HERE is one for you to browse.

My Favorite Good Girl Moonshine

  • 2 TBS raw apple cider vinegar (see how to make your own below)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp each of two extracts (these are my favorite combos: cherry/lime, pineapple/coconut, strawberry/orange) I highly suggest Olive Nation for purchasing extracts.  They have excellent prices on pure extracts in large bottles.
  • 2-3 doonks THM Pure Stevia
  • 1 quart seltzer water (I use my soda stream to carbonate water)

Put acv, ginger, extracts and stevia in the bottom of a quart jar or glass. Fill jar/glass with seltzer water.  Enjoy this fizzy, health boosting drink!

~ PIN IT ~

Now that you've had this delicious drink you are going to want it all the time! Now you are mad at me because you need to use RAW ACV with the mother to get all the wonderful health benefits of the drink and well, lets face it, that stuff ain't cheap!  Especially if you want the really good stuff. (AKA - Bragg's ACV ~ below is the price for a quart from a local health food store!)

Well, put your mind at ease! I am going to show you how easy it is to have a perpetual supply of really good raw acv on hand by only paying the price of plain old grocery store acv!

Make Your Own Raw ACV
First you need a little bit of real, raw acv like Bragg's.  Make sure it says "raw" and "with the mother" on the label.  You can use as little as 1/4 cup of this or as much as the whole bottle. (Personally I used about 1/4 cup so I had the rest of this bottle of liquid gold to drink while I was growing my own ACV. DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR BOTTLE!)
Second you need a half-gallon or gallon mason jar to grow your ACV in and a large coffee filter or cheesecloth and a rubber-band.

Third you will need a big gallon jug of the plain ACV from the grocery store. It can be the cheapest brand or the most expensive. (If you want your finished product to be organic you will have to start with organic acv)

Here's how you do it:

    • Pour your desired amount raw acv with the mother into your mason jar.
    • Pour the grocery store acv into the mason jar with the raw acv to fill the jar (leave a couple inches at the top).
    • Cover the mason jar with the coffee filter or cheesecloth and rubber-band and put it in a cool dark place.
    • In about a week you will see a disk starting to form on top of the vinegar. At first it will just look like a film. By the end of two weeks the disk will be more solid. (It is a slimy looking thing, don't be afraid. This is what makes this vinegar so good for you and you aren't going to consume this disk. ) My jar below has about 3 disks in it.  A couple have settled and there is one floating on top.

    • Remember how I told you not to throw away your good acv bottle? Well that's so you will have a place to put your homemade acv that you want to use! Now you can take some of that homemade acv and pour it into your recycled jar. (I used a ladle and a funnel for this job.)  Leave the disk in your mason jar and pour more plain acv into the jar to start the process over again and make sure you always have good acv on hand.  
    • Each time you add more acv to your mason jar it will grow a new disk (the old disks will sink to the bottom).  After a while you will have more than you need.  You can either discard these, use them in your compost, or bless a friend with an acv starter.  Just put part of a disk into a small mason jar with around 1/2 a cup of vinegar. Give this to a friend so that they can start their own vinegar making process! 
~ PIN IT ~

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

Vanilla. Is there a more comforting smell? Just a whiff of it brings a sense of comfort and warmth. It makes you think of cookies and cakes and Christmas... Okay, maybe I am getting carried away, but I love the smell of vanilla. And I use a LOT of vanilla.

It can get expensive buying extracts, but they add so much flavor to recipes! Even the least expensive vanilla I found (Costco brand) gets expensive when you use it a lot and it has added sugar! It is a nominal amount, but still! Who wants added sugar in their vanilla extract!

Real, good vanilla has only two ingredients: alcohol and vanilla beans. That's it. That is all you need. No sugar, no weird preservatives, nothing else. Just alcohol and vanilla beans. And when you make your vanilla yourself you save a lot of money.

Before I go any further with this post I want to put some of your fears to ease. If you did not know that extracts were made from alcohol you may be concerned about this. (Actually some extracts are made without alcohol but they are very expensive!) Please note that when you use extracts you are using teaspoons at a time in WHOLE recipes. You need not fear the alcohol in this recipe. You are not drinking your homemade extract. I just wanted to put your mind at ease if you, like myself, are not a drinker. 

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

  • Large bottle of Vodka or Bourbon (any inexpensive alcohol that is at least 40% alcohol. I use the cheapest Vodka they sell at Trader Joe's.
  • 8-10 vanilla beans (I highly recommend THESE beans from olive nation. They are a great price and they are fantastic quality beans.)
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
That is all you need, seriously! Open the bottle of Vodka (or whatever alcohol you are using).  My bottle has a filter type top that pops off. Pop it off, you can pop it back on later.

Smell it; it smells like rubbing alcohol. Yuck! Seriously, I will never understand how people can drink that. Anyway...I digress... Remember that smell, because, oh boy, is it going to change!

Now take your vanilla beans, cutting board and knife. Slice into the vanilla beans length wise. You are not cutting them in half, you are just cutting them open. Spread them open a little bit and drop them, whole, into the Vodka bottle. Put your filter top back on then put your lid back on.  

Place the bottle in a dark cool place and wait...

Keep waiting...

Okay, so it takes a minimum of 2 months (3 is better) to make vanilla. Your vanilla will never get as dark as the vanilla you buy in the store if you start with Vodka which is clear, so don't think it isn't done just because it is lighter.  Now that your vanilla is ready, smell it again. Ah, happiness! The smell of cookies, cakes and Christmas! You can use your vanilla straight from this bottle but it is really big. I kept my Costco vanilla bottle and just keep re-using it by pouring my homemade vanilla into it.

Whenever I get down to about a 2 month supply of vanilla I buy a new bottle of Vodka. I take the beans out of my old bottle and put them in the new bottle. You can use your beans at least two times if not three! See how much money you are saving! Your initial bottle will save you money, but each additional bottle you get out of the same beans saves you even more! Enjoy!

~ PIN IT ~

Monday, October 27, 2014

Super Healthy Chicken Fettuccine - THM E

Ahhh, pasta! There is nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of pasta. Especially when it is smothered in a creamy sauce. However, there is nothing quite so detrimental to your hips as a big bowl of pasta covered in creamy sauce.  What's a girl to do? If you are following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating you know that traditional pasta is just a blood sugar spike waiting to happen. There is always Dreamfields pasta but that is not good to have all the time either.  

Enter Mung Bean Fettuccine
This slightly strange looking noodle is a wonderful E alternative. Okay, I know, I know, it is GREEN! But you've probably had green pasta before, you know those green, orange, red and yellow noodles that people put in pasta salad thinking it is healthier than regular pasta.... Well mung bean noodles ARE healthier than regular pasta! Like tons better! 

First of all let's talk about how to read the label. This product is not a US product so it does not have a US label. In fact, the bags I have have TWO labels and neither is a standard US label. So, the main thing you have to know is this: The total carb count listed on the label is the NET carb count. On this package one label says 17g carbs and the other says 15g carbs (the difference is because one lists a serving as 56g of dry pasta and the other lists a serving as 50g). That is the amount of countable carbs in the pasta. The label lists 11g of fiber (which is true) but you cannot subtract that total from the carb count. It has already been done. Got it? Okay, moving on....

Now let's talk protein, these noodles have 25g of protein in the noodles alone!!!! Talk about a nutritional power house. And on top of that they taste good!! So, how do you use these strange looking noodles? We've established they are an E, and E meals and creamy sauces just don't go together, do they? Well, I say they do. ;)

Mung Bean Chicken Fettuccine - THM E

  • 50-100g dry Mung Bean Fettuccine (Here is the reason for the size variation on the noodles: 50g only has 15g of net carbs. For a good E meal you need 20g net carbs. If you use this amount be sure to add a piece or two of sprouted bread, or a piece of fruit, etc to round out your carbs.)
  • Cooked chicken breast, cubed (as much or as little as you want, just be sure it is not cooked in oil. Remember, the noodles have lots of protein, so if you want to skip the chicken you can.)
  • 1 Light Laughing Cow Swiss wedge
  • 1 TBS Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS (or more) of almond milk
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp glucommannan or xanthan gum (optional)

Boil Mung Bean noodles according to package directions.

While noodles are boiling put Laughing Cow, Parmesan, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and nutmeg (if using) in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until cheese is fully melted and sauce is smooth.  

{I suggest starting with only 2 TBS of almond milk. I find this amount to be plenty to cover one serving, 50g, of pasta and it keeps the sauce thicker. However, if you are making more pasta or you like more sauce, you should add more almond milk to make up the amount you need. The gluccomannan will help thicken it up.}

Once the sauce is smooth, if you need it to be thicker add in the optional glucommannan, 1/8 tsp at a time, whisking the whole time to prevent it from clumping. Stir chopped chicken into sauce.  

Drain pasta and combine with sauce. This recipe is for a single serving. Feel free to multiply it for more people.  Enjoy!

~ PIN IT ~

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar - THM S

Okay, so it isn't the best picture, someday I will get a better one. In my defense, when I took the pic I was not thinking of putting it on a blog, I was just excited about this cookie bar, now I am wishing I had taken a better picture, but I think you get the idea. Who doesn't love a delicious chocolate chip cookie bar? 

This recipe was a labor of love for me. I had tried several recipes, trying to find the one recipe my whole family would like. You see, these aren't just any chocolate chip cookies, these are sugar free, low carb, chocolate chip cookies! Yeah, you heard me right! These cookies are an S on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

I tried several different recipes and I got votes of approval from some on each of them but none of them were loved by everyone. Finally, I decided to start combining them and this is what I came up with. I hope your family enjoys them as much as mine did!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar - THM S

  • 3/4 cup THM brown sugar (if you don't have this already made up you can just use 3/4 cup erythritol or xylitol and add 1/2 tsp molasses and 1/8 tsp maple or butterscotch extract to your recipe. For the recipe to make brown sugar to have on hand please visit Gwen's Nest.)
  • 1-2 tsp pure stevia extract (Like THM brand.  Your batter should be sweeter than you think the finished product should be because the sweetness will lessen when you bake them.)
  • 2 sticks butter (softened, can be partially melted if making bars)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp caramel extract
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup oat fiber
  • 1/4 c whey protein powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp glucomannan
  • 8-12 oz sugar free chocolate chips OR chopped skinny chocolate OR chopped 85% dark chocolate bar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together brown sugar, stevia and butter. If you are making cookie bars your butter can be very soft or melted. If you are going to make individual cookies do not melt your butter but you will need it to be soft. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Add vanilla and caramel and mix thoroughly. Add all dry ingredients except chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

For cookie bars, spread batter in a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. (Please check these at 15 minutes. You do not want to dry them out by over cooking.)

For individual cookies, drop batter by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. (Please check these at 8 minutes. You do not want to dry them out by over cooking.)

Again, these cookies should not be overcooked so check them at the lowest time. Also, be sure to keep them stored in an airtight container to keep them from drying out. Enjoy!

~ PIN IT ~

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Faux Fotato Soup - THM recipe

About a year ago I started following the Trim Healthy Mama way of life. What is Trim Healthy Mama you ask? Well it is just the most amazing journey to food freedom and good health you will ever take! Trust me, I tried a lot of crazy restrictive diets in an effort to lose weight. Trim Healthy Mama was a blessing to find. One day soon I will share my THM journey, but for now, you should really just check out their website. You can learn all about it HERE and most importantly that is where you can order the book! :)

For now I would like to share a recipe with you that I came up with. I really wanted the Loaded Fotato Soup from the book (page 294) but I was doing a "deep S" day and couldn't have any cheese. (I know, I know, I said food freedom and couldn't have cheese in the same blog post! That is crazy talk! Well, never fear, deep S is a special thing that you don't ever HAVE to do. That is a whole different story so just keep reading!) Anyway...I really wanted this soup, but I wanted it to be creamy and satisfying like it would have been with the cheese, and I wanted lots of flavor, so I experimented with it. Here is what I came up with:

Looks cheesy doesn't it? But there is no cheese! It is a smooth creamy soup that tastes like loaded baked potato, but without the figure killing potatoes. :) Plus, it only takes 10-15 minutes from start to finish! Ready? Here we go!

Faux Fotato Soup -serves 2 - S (Deep S approved)

  • 1 1lb bag frozen cauliflower
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2-4 slices bacon or turkey bacon diced
  • 2 TBS coconut oil (Refined CO will not taste like coconut. I used LouAnn brand)
  • 1 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
At this point you have two options. If you have time, put coconut oil in saucepan and fry bacon until crispy. If you are in a bigger hurry you can skip that step. Frying the bacon first just gives more texture and a little more flavor. I was in a hurry so I didn't fry the bacon. It was still good!

If you fry the bacon first, when it is done to your liking add all of the other ingredients. Do not drain the fat out of the pan! Bring to a boil then reduce heat to med/low and simmer till the cauliflower is tender.

When cauliflower is tender blend the soup till smooth with an immersion blender or by transferring the soup to a blender. The combination of the nutritional yeast for flavor, the paprika for color and the coconut oil for the fat really does make this feel like it has cheese in it even though it does not. This means that even if you have dairy allergies you can enjoy this "cheesy" soup! Enjoy!!

Fellow THM Facebook administrator, Conney Jo Keel tried out this recipe and made adjustments for an FP version of this soup. Here are the adjustments:

  • Omit bacon
  • Use only 2 tsp coconut oil
  • Keep seasonings the same but up smoked paprika to 3/4 tsp (this makes up for the lack of bacon flavor)
  • She also mentioned that to make this soup even quicker to prepare you can microwave the cauliflower for 5 minutes to soften it.
  • Up to half of this recipe is FP
If you are the only one eating this soup you can keep the other half in the fridge till the next day or you can freeze it for later use. That means you can easily multiply the recipe to make multiple servings to freeze for future use!

~ PIN IT ~


I have decided to resume my blog. Not because I feel that I have great and powerful things to say, but because I need a place to put things. :) I may occasionally post my musings, but for the most part this will be a hodge-podge of recipes, projects and ideas. I am just a stay at home mom who is seeking to reach higher daily.  Setting my sight on things above and pressing on toward the goal of knowing Christ better.