Monday, February 17, 2020

Keto Nanaimo Bars

You guuuuuuuys! 
These Nanaimo Bars are going to change your life! Okay.... maybe not... but they might. You don't want to not try them and take the chance you're missing out. 
They taste like "normal" Nanaimo bars, they look like "normal" Nanaimo bars, and the texture is totally like "normal" Nanaimo bars. You'd never know they were keto/gluten free/diabetic friendly. 
I even had some taste testers say they preferred these over "normal" Nanaimo bars because they weren't quite as overwhelmingly sweet. 
I wanted to keep some of the Bird's Eye pudding powder in the recipe because that is what makes a Nanaimo bar a Nanaimo bar. It adds the most carbs to the recipe but also adds the authentic flavor and color. Per bar (recipe makes 24) the nutritional counts are: 191 calories, 17.5 fat, 5.9 carbs, 3.2 fiber, 2.7 protein. That's 2.7 net carbs per slice.
Doing keto you often can feel like you are missing out. Not with these bars. These keep well in the freezer so you can just pop one out whenever you need a keto friendly sweet treat!

Keto Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup Swerve brown sugar 
1 egg
5 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup almond flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

Middle Layer
3/4 cup butter, room temp
2 Tbsp Bird's Eye custard powder
1 cup Swerve icing sugar
4 Tbsp whipping cream

Top Layer
3 Tbsp butter
6 oz (scant 1 cup) sugar free milk (or dark) chocolate chips
2 Tbsp Swerve icing sugar

Prepare bottom layer - In a heat safe bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar Swerve, and egg. Place over a pan of simmering water over medium heat (or in a double boiler). Stir until well mixed. Stir in the cocoa powder. Stir until thickened. 
Remove from heat and stir in walnuts, almond flour, and coconut until well mixed. Press into a 10 X 10 pan lined with tinfoil. Set aside. 

Prepare middle layer - beat together butter, custard powder, and Swerve icing sugar. Beat in the whip cream until smooth. Drop by the spoonful over the crust.

Use the back of a spoon to spread the layer evenly. Note - it helps to dip the spoon in water and shake it off, then spread to prevent sticking. You can also use your fingertips dipped in water to help spread it out. 

Chill the two layers for at least half an hour before doing the last step - or pop in the freezer for 20 minutes. It is very important you do not skip chilling it!! Spreading the chocolate layer on top will be almost impossible if the bottom layers are not chilled. 
Prepare the last layer - Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring well in between, until smooth. Stir in the Swerve icing sugar. 
Working fairly quickly, drop the chocolate in spoonfuls over the yellow layer and then spread it with the back of a spoon. This can be a little tricky because the chocolate starts to melt the middle layer, making it difficult to spread. Don't worry if your chocolate isn't completely even - just do the best you can. 

Chill until set. 
Use the tinfoil to remove the bar from the pan - this will make it much easier to cut. 
Cut into 24 pieces. You can keep these in the fridge or on the counter. I tend to leave them in the fridge in a lidded container and take them out about half hour before serving them. 

Only 2.7 carbs per slice!!

Look me in the eye and tell me that doesn't look EXACTLY like a "normal" Nanaimo bar. 

I love one of these with my keto coffee for those days I'm craving sugar. Totally satisfies the need for sweets. 

Texture is a big thing for me when it comes to replicating recipes to a keto friendly format. The texture of these, IMO, is spot on. A healthified, gluten free, keto friendly, diabetic friendly treat that I guarantee everyone will enjoy. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Keto Mocha Brownie Cheesecake

Maybe it's just me, but I find a LOT of keto friendly desserts just terrible. I mean.... they have that weird sugar-substitute aftertaste that seems chemically to me. Ooooor.... the texture is off because you've subbed out ingredients with low carb ingredients (ie: flour for almond or cocout flour). 
This cheesecake though.... none of the above. 
It's as cheesecake-y as cheesecake can be. Even the brownie bottom is very brownie-y. I was very excited that it turned out so tasty after only 2 tries at tweaking my recipe. It makes 4 servings but can be doubled easily. FYI - you can freeze pieces of this very well for a later date so you are not tempted to eat it all at once! Although, for only 3.3 net carbs per serving, you'd have nothing to feel bad about if you did! 

Keto Mocha Brownie Cheesecake

Brownie Base
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp baking cocoa powder
3 Tbsp almond flour
3 Tbsp powdered Swerve
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp walnuts

8 oz cream cheese, room temp
3 Tbsp powdered Swerve
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325. Spray the sides and bottom of a 7 inch spring-form pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
Prepare brownie base - stir together the melted butter, cocoa, almond flour. Stir in Swerve, coffee granules, egg, vanilla, and walnuts. 

Spread into the prepared 7 inch spring-form pan. Place in preheated 325 oven while you prepare the cheesecake layer. Bake for 8 minutes.
Prepare cheesecake layer - Beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in Swerve, sour cream, vanilla, and egg until smooth. Gently spread evenly over the brownie layer.

Place back in oven, reduce heat to 300, and bake 30 minutes more (until cheesecake is set). Turn off the oven and crack open the door a little. Leave cheesecake in the oven another 30  minutes to cool gradually. This will help prevent it from cracking.

When cheesecake has cooled completely, run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the sides of the pan. 

Chill at least 3 hours before serving, up to overnight. 

Cut into 4 pieces. 

Serve as is or add your own favorite toppings. 

I went with a little whipped cream and a strawberry to keep the carb count pretty much at 3.3 net per piece.

I love the simplicity of this recipe and that, other than the Swerve and almond flour, the ingredients are all "regular" baking ingredients. I was able to find the powdered Swerve online and am so happy I did! It definitely makes a difference what sugar substitute you use. I don't find the powdered Swerve nearly as chemical tasting as some of the others out there. The texture is bang on too. Just like icing sugar. 
Do you have a favorite keto dessert that you swear by? We'd love to hear about it! Drop us a comment below so we can check it out! :) 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Orange Cranberry Pie

I initially made this pie for Christmas because the color and flavors seemed Christmas-y to me. Thing is, once we tried it, we fell in love with the flavor! It's tangy and refreshing and rich-yet-light, making it perfect for so many things. The color also works for Valentine's Day or Canada Day - if you're thinking about holiday desserts. Orange and cranberry may seem to be Christmas flavors but I'm thinking they also scream Springtime. 
You can make this pie the night before you plan to serve it, or the day of, you just want to let it sit for at least 4 hours or so to let it set completely. It will last for a couple of days in the fridge before your crust will start to be a little soggy. I topped it with fresh cranberries and orange slices but you may want to warn your guests NOT to eat the cranberries. Raw, fresh cranberries, while totally safe, are very bitter/sour. You could sugar them, if you wanted to, but I always just tell people not to eat them unless they want to give their taste buds a shock! 

Orange Cranberry Pie

1 baked, 9 inch pie shell

2 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

3 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Whipped cream
1 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
2 Tbsp instant vanilla pudding powder

Optional Decorations
orange slices
fresh cranberries

Prepare filling - In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook, stirring often, the cranberries, sugar and water. Boil about 10 - 15 minutes, until moisture is gone and cranberries have broken down. 

Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Puree until smooth, about 3 - 4 minutes. 

Add the puree to a double boiler. Add in the eggs, egg yolks, orange rind and juice, salt, and sugar. Cook in a double boiler (or in a bowl over gently simmering water - see pic below), stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Strain the thickened curd through a strainer into a bowl. Beat the warm curd, adding a little of the butter at a time. Beat until lighter in color, about 5 minutes.
Pour into the baked pie shell. 

Let cool completely. 
Prepare the whipped cream - whip the cream with the vanilla pudding powder until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto the top of the pie as desired. (Can also just be spread on top.)

Top with oranges slices and cranberries to decorate, if desired. 

Chill until ready to serve - at least 4 hours. 

The lighting is Sue's house is a little odd so the color does not appear as bright in these photos as it really is! 

The texture is a little like a lemon meringue..... but thicker and not quite as smooth. 

A refreshing option after a heavy meal. 
If you don't have a double boiler then you can use a bowl over a pot - as I did in the photo up above. It works just as well - just make sure you use precautions when lifting the bowl out; it will get fairly warm over the simmering water. 
Also, the vanilla pudding powder in the whipping cream helps to stabilize it. If you want to leave it out and just use plain, sweetened whipping cream, that will work too. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Hearty Brunch Bowls

We decided to call these hearty brunch bowls but they work equally as well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Potatoes, bacon, and eggs are pretty much the trifecta of deliciousness. 
The Little Potato Company ran a recipe contest where they were looking for 30 minute meals using their little potatoes. I entered this recipe (didn't win but it's still fabulous). This recipe only takes about 15 - 20 minutes from start to finish. I'm all about quick, easy, inexpensive, and delicious meals. 
This recipe is for 1 serving but can easily be sized up for more people. 

Hearty Brunch Bowls

1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp mayo

(note - if you can't find Little Potato Company potatoes just use new potatoes)
2 pieces of bacon
1/4 cup green onions
1/4 cup smoked cheddar
1 egg
salt & pepper

Prepare sauce - whisk together BBQ sauce, honey, mustard, lemon juice, and mayo. Set aside. This can be made up to a few days ahead of time, if desired. 
Quarter enough potatoes to fill a serving bowl (you can also use a plate but a bowl is more fun, just sayin'). Place in a microwave safe container and microwave the potatoes for 5 minutes. 
While the potatoes are in the microwave, chop 2 pieces of bacon and cook in frying pan until crispy. Chop the green onions and shred the cheese. 
When potatoes come out of the microwave, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Top with the cooked bacon, green onions, and cheese. 

Broil in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. 

While the potatoes are broiling, in the pan you cooked the bacon in, fry up an egg. I like to leave it sunny side up so the yolk can break and add a bit more sauciness. 
Assemble your bowl - Place your cheesy potatoes in a serving bowl. Drizzle as much sauce as you would like over the potatoes. 

Top with the fried egg. Add salt & pepper to taste. 

Dig in!

So fast and easy and tasty! 
I like to make up a good sized batch of the sauce as it goes really well with so many other things! (Burgers, chicken, fries, etc...) 
I might not have won the recipe contest but I did find a great go-to meal for when I am super busy and just don't have time to do any prep. Little Potato Company potatoes work great for quick meals like this one, but if you can't find them near you I would suggest using new potatoes or fingerling potatoes - they should work just as well! 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Keto Chaffles

If you've been following a keto eating plan for any length of time you have most likely heard of chaffles. The magic 2 ingredient dish that can sub for bread, waffles, tacos, pizza base, and the list goes on. Of course, there are a million variations of a chaffle but I prefer the simple, 2 ingredient version that takes about 2 seconds to make. 
If you are new to keto then you will want to invest in a mini waffle maker (I use a Dash Mini Waffle Maker) - just Google them, they are everywhere and go from about $10.00 to $30.00 depending on what you are looking for. You will use it, I promise. 
You can add 1 Tbsp of almond flour and 1/4 tsp baking powder for a fluffier chaffle but this will affect the carb count. You can also add sweetener and cocoa powder for a kind-of chocolate cake dessert. 
Chaffles have become a staple in my keto journey and once you give them a try you will see why! 

Keto Chaffles

1 egg
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Whisk together the egg and cheese.

Scoop half onto your heated mini waffle maker. 

Close lid and cook for 4 minutes - or until cooked to your preferred level of darkness. Repeat with remaining half of mixture. 

Recipe above is 1 serving (2 waffles) and, according to MyFitnessPal, is 252 calories, 16.8 fat, 2.4 carbs, 0 fiber, and 20.3 protein (2.4 net carbs). This will vary according to size of egg and brand of cheese so be sure to enter into your own nutritional counter to be exact.) 

If you are eating them as waffles then top with sugar free syrup, berries and whipped cream, peanut butter, or whatever your favorite keto topping is. 

The waffles made with this recipe can be used as a bun for a burger, a taco, a base for pizza, anywhere you want to use bread. You can use any kind of cheese you like: cheddar, marbled, jalapeno jack, etc... I find the mozza is the mildest flavor and best to use if you want a "plain" flavor. 
Double, triple, quadruple the recipe if desired. Make the waffles up and freeze them - they freeze and thaw very well. (I pop them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and then the toaster on low and they are perfect.) 
I will update with more photos of dishes I have made with them as I go! 

EDIT: By folding the chaffles gently in half and letting them cool you can make keto soft tacos!

Hint: use jalapeno jack cheese for a little bit of spice in the chaffle tacos. Chacos? 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Strawberry Lemon Pie

I don't know about you but I love pie. It used to be pretty low on my dessert favorites list but I am slowing coming over to the pie side. This one is a really different pie that usually confuses people at first. It has the fluffy and creamy lemon filling and then the gooey strawberry layer. People tend to need a few bites before they know what's happening. 
I had one sampler tell me that the first bite she had she thought it was awful and thought maybe I had lost my mind. Then she took a few more bites and was like 'this is the best pie I have ever eaten". 
Need a dessert that will make a statement at your next gathering? Try this one. It's no-bake, easy to whip up, and will definitely start a conversation. PLUS, it's super pretty. So.... there's that. 

Strawberry Lemon Pie

1 9 inch baked pie crust (Find our recipe HERE) 

Strawberry Layer
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 pkg strawberry Jello powder
3 cups diced, fresh strawberries

Lemon Layer
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup prepared lemon curd
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp strawberry Jello powder
lemon slices, cut into triangles

Set baked pie crust aside while you prepare the strawberry layer. 
Prepare strawberry layer - In a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring water, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the 1/2 pkg of jello powder and let sit for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, stir in the strawberries and spread in the pie crust. 

Chill while preparing lemon layer. 
Prepare lemon layer - beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Beat in the lemon curd. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in to the lemon mixture.
Spread the lemon mixture on top of the strawberry layer. 

To decorate - whip the 1/2 cup whipping cream with the 1 Tbsp Jello powder until stiff peaks form. Pipe on top of pie. 

Top with the lemon slices cut in triangles. 

Chill until ready to serve - at least 3 - 4 hours, up to overnight. 

See.... so purdy. 

And it just keeps getting better..... 

As I mentioned above, the flavors and textures are a bit of a shocker at first but everyone comes around! So. Much. Yum.
Rich, creamy, fruity, beautiful. Perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving... you see where I'm going here, right? ALL the occasions. Every one.