Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake

We had a great Thanksgiving this year and lots of great food. The menu included two fried turkeys, a honey spiral ham, macaroni & cheese, sausage stuffing, corn, green bean casserole, and of course, desserts, which included this Ginger-Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake. I am told it was quite delicious. Of course, I tasted it my self, but, it is always good to hear feedback on a dessert you made yourself. My daughter contributed an Apple Pie, and Michele, another of our clan made the traditional Pumpkin Pie.

We had a great celebration. It’s always great to be with family on the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s sure to be a big hit at your next special occasion.

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:
12 ounces gingersnaps
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Dash of kosher salt
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese softened
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Whipped cream, for serving (I used canned whipped cream)
Chopped pecans, for serving

Directions:

For the pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake: In a food processor or blender, grind the gingersnaps until fine. Pour into a bowl and stir in the pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until soft, scraping the sides once. Mix in the pumpkin, scraping the sides once or twice. Add the eggs 1 at a time, allowing them to mix in, then add the sour cream and mix. With the mixer on low, add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Thoroughly scrape the bowl and mix to ensure everything is smooth and mixed in.

Pour the filling into the pan, smoothing the top. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is no longer soupy but still slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the door just a hair and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes, then cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the salted caramel sauce: Mix the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook, while whisking gently, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slice the cheesecake and top with the salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, and chopped pecans.

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Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones

First, the picture above is not mine. The link leads to the source of this recipe. Scones are considered a quick bread, like a biscuit. In fact, they are made same way. Before I began my Culinary studies I didn’t know what a scone was. And since I changed my diet I can’t eat them anymore, but, that doesn’t mean you can’t! These are great for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee. They’re easy to make. So let me know how you liked them.

SCONES

11-1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2-3/8 ounces granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
4 ounces cold unsalted butter
2-3/4 ounces chopped fresh apple, in 1/2″ pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
4 ounces cinnamon chips
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces applesauce, unsweetened preferred
TOPPING
3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.
  2. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
  3. Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
  7. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5″ to 5 1/2″ circle about 3/4″ thick.
  8. To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.
  9. Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
  10. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2 inch space between them, at their outer edges.

*For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  • Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.
  • Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.

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Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl

Here is another recipe that sounds like a great keto dish. I will be making this one tonight and will let you know how it turns out. With dishes like this, you can see why it is not hard to be satisfied on the keto-diet. Keep checking back for more recipes. This one comes from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork sausage
6 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often to crumble, until cooked through. Do not drain.
  3. Add the coleslaw mix, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to the skillet with the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until cabbage has softened a bit.
  4. Remove from the heat and top with the green onions and drizzle with sesame oil.
  5. Serve immediately.

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Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Old Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound  Cake

Ingredients: You need a food scale to weigh ingredients.

12 oz Butter, dice & softened
12 oz granulated sugar
2 grams salt
3 lemons, zest only
12 oz eggs, room temperature
4 grams vanilla extract
12 oz Ap flour
10 grams baking powder

Lemon Flat Icing:

6 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1 oz lemon juice

Directions:

1. Spray pans and set aside on a flat sheet pan
2. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter until the texture is smooth and even.
3.Add the sugar, salt, and lemon zest to the butter and paddle on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, approximately 4 minutes.
4. Add the eggs two at a time, occasionally scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. It is important that the mixture is beaten for a couple of minutes after each egg is added ( this ensures proper emulsification). Blend in the vanilla after extract.
5. Sift together flour and baking powder.
6. With the mixer off, add all of the sifted ingredients. Paddle on low just until the mixture is completely combined.
7. Portion the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
8. Bake at 360ºF for 20 minutes.
9. Remove the cakes from the oven and run a paring knife down the center of the surface of each loaf.
10. Return the cakes to the oven and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
12. Untold and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

For the Icing:

1. Carefully stir together sifted confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice. Adjust the consistency as needed. For thicker icing, add more sugar. For thinner icing, add more juice or water.
2. Glaze the cakes with flat icing
3. Allow icing to set.
4. Store the cooled cakes, tightly wrapped in plastic film, refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to one month.

Posted in food

Discovering Miracle Noodle

Miracle Noodles

I was turned on to a new product (new to me), called Miracle Noodle. Miracle Noodles are “translucent, gelatinous Japanese noodles, which are made from the konjac yam, are low in calories and carbohydrates and can be substituted in a variety of recipes that call for pasta” (Kate Bratskeir, Huffington Post). I don’t know if the “Miracle Noodle” brand is made the same way,  but, the idea is to be able to have something like pasta or rice without all the carbs. It is also known by another name, Shirataki Noodles.

I ordered mine from https://miraclenoodle.comSo far I have used the angel hair to make Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, one of my favorite Italian dishes. It is a dish of pasta with garlic and olive oil. You have probably had it at some time or another. The taste is the same. The difference is they feel different. The texture is different. There is sort of a crunchiness to them. Actually, they kind of “pop” when you chew them.

That’s it. That’s the only difference that I’ve noticed. They really do take on the flavor of whatever sauce or seasoning you use on them. The second sauce I used with the angel hair version was an Alfredo sauce. Outstanding! Well, it all depends on how good your sauce is. The noodle only contributes a vehicle to get it into your belly.

Shirataki Noodle Recipes

The great thing about the noodles is that somehow they have no calories, and are very low in carbs. So they are a great addition to any low carb diet. They are very filling and have quite a bit of fiber. There are also several recipes at miraclenoodle.com, and, another great resource for Shirataki Noodle recipes is,  PositiveHealthWellness

The package I ordered came with noodles that look like fettuccine, ziti, and even one to be used as rice and several others. Also, there were a couple of flavored kinds of pasta, like spinach and garlic herb.

If you are trying to make a low carb diet work, this product may be one that you can use. I think it will be a great help to me. I hope you find it useful as well.

Posted in Cooking, Favorite Recipes, food

Spaghetti Marinara

Pasta? With Miracle Noodles

Pasta is one of my favorite foods, especially after living in Italy for 3 1/2 years. Being on the ketogenic diet, however, has made pasta a once in a long while treat. That is until I found MiracleNoodles.com.

There is absolutely nothing hard about preparing Miracle Noodles themselves. It’s quite easy. Open the packet, drain, rinse, boil for two minutes, drain and dry them by placing in a dry pan on medium heat. Then add them to whatever sauce you’ve made.

The pictured dish is one I made, using the fettuccine style Miracle Noodles. The chicken legs are just regular baked chicken.

In this case, it is Italian Marinara Sauce (makes 2 cups)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 can 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
Salt to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste
10 fresh basil leaves, sliced very thinly

Directions

Heat olive oil and lightly saute the garlic.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes.
Add sliced basil and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.

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Posted in food

Breakfast

Waffle House
Amber

To me, there is no place that does breakfast better than Waffle House (for the price). And this morning was even better because one of my friends from Culinary school is working here. Her name is Amber.

Though she has completed her classes at Trident she has not graduated. That is because she is planning to get her 4 year degree. If she applies for graduation she would lose financial aid. She intends to get her degree in hospitality and management.

I am 4 classes away from completing my associates degree. I have no desire to go any further though. I am not even sure I want to work in the food industry.  It’s hard to get paid what I think I am worth. But I’m in too far not to do finish the degree.

Being 53 also makes it hard. I have applied for several jobs in and about the Charleston area, and have received no calls. And sometimes I think it is because of my age. I can’t believe that no one is hiring.

That in turn makes me feel old. It also makes me not want to try anymore. The other thing is (and this is scary), I don’t feel like I have the strength to do it, at least not for very long.

Anyway, it was good to see Amber working. She is young, motivated, and she has a plan. If only I could be young again.

Posted in Cooking, food

Upgrading the Way I Cook

Thus far on this health journey, I have been keeping things really simple. The foods I have been eating have been kept as close to their original form as possible. I chop, slice, or dice my veggies and or meat, add some light seasoning, and sauté, bake or steam, and I’m done.

It is getting pretty boring though. That’s what I get for being lazy. So lazy that I’ve only fired up my smoker once since summer began, and I love BBQ. I do have lots of great recipes, and I need to start using them. Boredom has the potential to stop this great head of steam I have going. With a little more effort I can make my meals a little more interesting.

I don’t know what I will try first, but there are lots of recipes to choose from. One thing I have been thinking about is creating a cauliflower tortilla, using the same recipe for the crust I used to make my hamburger last week should work; just modified a little bit. I’m thinking I can press it thinner and toast it on the griddle. From this point, I could make fajitas, or enchiladas, or soft tacos.

I think I may try that this weekend. I’ll be sure to take pictures of it and let you know how it comes out.

I don’t know if that’s considered an upgrade or not, but it sounds good. I love fajitas. There are hundreds more recipes online. Some require ingredients I have never heard of. That’s mostly why I haven’t tried them yet. It’s time to do something new though.

Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Kickin Collard Greens

Kickin Collard Greens

As a kid, collard greens was not one of my favorite dishes. My grandmother made them at least once or twice a month. She was also one of those grandmothers who was no stranger to cooking raccoon, possum, or a rabbit. With a coon, the side dishes were usually collards or mustard greens, and spicy roasted sweet potato.

Since growing up I have come to like both collards and mustard greens very much. I don’t do any possum or coons though. This is a pretty good recipe for collards, and a great side dish on the ketogenic diet, as it is very low in carbs. I found it on www.allrecipes.com

To make Kicken Collard Greens

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh collard greens

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2) Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan.
3) Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
4) Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant.
5) Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.
6) Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
7) Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.

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Posted in Cooking, Favorite Recipes, food

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Icing

This particular cupcake does not offer a healthier choice. I’m not even interested in modifying it to make it more healthy. It would be ruined. Sometimes food IS about pleasure, strictly for our eating pleasure. And this chocolatey, banana, cream-cheesy treat will knock your socks off.

I learned to make this one at the Culinary Institute of Charleston (Trident Tech). The recipe makes 12 cupcakes. When you taste them you will be tempted to eat them all. So, make sure you have others over to share them. Enjoy!

The Cupcake

Warning: All ingredients should be weighed, NOT volume. In other words use a food scale, not a measuring cup.

7 oz granulated sugar
4.35 oz Flour
1.35 oz Cocoa powder
4 grams baking powder
2 grams baking soda
2 grams salt
1 whole egg
4.25 oz bananas mashed
4.25 oz water (warm)
2.15 oz milk
2.15 oz vegetable oil
2 grams vanilla

Directions:

1. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2.  In a second bowl, whisk together egg, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla.
3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine using a spatula.
4. Divide into paper lined muffin tin.
5. Bake at 360 degrees until the cupcakes spring back to touch.

Whipped Cream Icing

4 oz cream cheese (softened)
4 oz granulated sugar
.10 oz vanilla
8 oz heavy cream

Directions:

1. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla
2. In a separate bowl whip up heavy cream to medium peaks.
3. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
4. You can whip the final mixture to a pipeable consistency but do not overwork the mixture.

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