Roasted Pepper and Acorn Squash Soup

What youโ€™ll need:

3 red bell peppers, chopped

1 acorn squash, peeled, chopped

2 pounds organic ground beef(or bulk sausage if not doing GAPS)

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled, chopped

1 parsnip, peeled, chopped

3 celery, washed, chopped

2 tblsp minced garlic

6 c Homemade chicken stock

2 c filtered water

1 tblsp smoked paprika

1 tsp Celtic sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Pinch crushed red pepper

Avocado oil, optional garnish

Directions

Set oven to 400*F. Line sheet pan with baking mat or parchment paper. Add chopped peppers and acorn squash. Toss with avocado oil and sea salt. Bake for 35 minutes. 

In dutch oven soup pot, add beef(or sausage), onions, carrot, parsnip, celery, and garlic. Cook till vegetables are tender. Add homemade stock, water, sea salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper(if using). Simmer for 15minutes and add roasted veggies and simmer for another 10 minutes. 

Serve with a drizzle with avocado oil for some extra healthy fat and enjoy! 

I made this for the family and it is such a major hit! The acorn squash sorta disintegrated into the soup, not that anyone minded really. It flavorful and satisfying! Now, you can make this without meat and use an immersion blender to make it a creamy soup. Serve with some toasted pecans and a little coconut milk on top. Or just eat it as is, itโ€™s a yummy soup no matter how you fix it and definitely a keeper. 

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Maple Turkey Sausage Patties(LC/DF/GF/SF)

Afternoon all, trust everyone has recouped from the after effects of watching the solar eclipse yesterday. I know a lot of folks were complaining of having headaches, eyes were burning, and feeling tired. If you’re still not feeling well I pray for speedy recovery soon, I know how draining those types of headaches can be. 

Yesterday I spent some time, post solar eclipse, making some breakfast meat for myself. I love maple flavored sausage, especially with extra maple syrup drizzled on top…mmmmm, the best! But carb wise it’s like the plague attacking my body, which is why I haven’t had that in quite awhile. I do miss regular sausage though…and bacon, deli ham, spam, kielbasa…๐Ÿ˜‘I’ll stop. (Le sigh)


Most of what’s available in stores I can’t even trust. There are hidden sugars, preservatives, and msg in almost everything. I’m not being as strict with my anti-candida lifestyle as some folks have suggested. I still eat meat whereas others tend to become vegetarian. Nothing wrong with that at all, I personally cannot go without meat, which is why I think such things ought to be tailored for each person. There is no clear cut and dry protocol that will work for everyone. I’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks about the various candida protocols and have taken from each one customizing what I think will work best for me. So far, everything that I’ve been doing is helping and most of the die off on my chest has cleared up. PTL!! Since I have to resort to making my own breakfast meats, desserts, and meals, it does take a little extra time and effort, but the end results are worth it! 

I do want to mention that the maple flavoring is optional, I only added it because I personally LOVE it. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‰ However, you can use maple syrup if the carbs are not an issue for you. Ground chicken can also be used in lieu of ground turkey. Or you can mix ground turkey with ground hamburger, which I’ve done in the past when making meatballs. It’s just as good and the ground beef lends some fat to the mixture since ground turkey tends to be lean. 

What you’ll need: 

1 pound ground turkey

2 tsp poultry seasoning

2 tsp maple extract(optional)

1 tblsp granulated stevia(optional)

1/8 tsp marjoram

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp Cassia cinnamon(purchased from The Spice House)

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp Himalyan pink salt

Coconut oil, for cooking

Heat oven to 375*F, line sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium size bowl mix all the ingredients by hand thoroughly. There are a few methods with which you can make sausage patties. METHOD 1: on a clean work surface place a piece of wax paper down and add half of the meat mixture on it. Cover with another sheet of wax paper, then use a rolling pin to flatten out to desired thickness. Cut into 8 rectangular pieces and repeat with second half of mixture. METHOD 2: skip the wax paper all together and free form patties by hand. METHOD 3: on clean work surface lay down wax paper, place half of the meat mixture down and flatten out with hands to desired thickness. Use a biscuit cutter cut to shape the patties. Repeat with second half of the meat mixture. Cook in coconut oil over medium heat until browned on both sides. 

You can freeze these raw or cooked, I went ahead and cooked all of mine up to help cut down on my time in the kitchen each morning. I used wax paper to keep the patties separated and put them into a quart size freezer bag. 

Depending on the size and how thick or thin you make the patties will determine how many it yields. I was able to get 16 rectangular patties. The carb count for these is basically non existent. Using maple syrup would change that, so keep that in mind. If you decide to make these with maple syrup just remember to omit the granulated stevia. 

I had three this morning with a couple of egg muffins that I made, such a nice carb free meal! 

(Pictured above: Half of the egg muffins are dairy and meat free for me. The other half have ham, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese which are G-Man’s fave!) A simple and easy low carb breakfast that you can customize with any flavor and add ins. These were really fluffy, the almod milk added a nice light texture to these. I used cajun seasoning, turmeric powder, kosher salt, dried oregano, and dried parsley. Gave a good whisking and portioned it out to all the silicone muffin cups. Baked @375*F for 20 minutes, plan to make more to freeze. I love breakfasts that I can grab and warm up. Makes for a hassel free morning. 

Hope you give these sausage patties a try, play around with the seasonings and let me know what you think. I love getting feedback from you all! If you have any questions please email me at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com. You can also follow me on Instagram: @nok_amandagayle, for more recipe ideas/inspirations. 

Have a blessed week! 

My Life with Candida Albicans(Here I Go Again)

Afternoon everyone, hope your Wednesday has been a blessed one so far. Today I want to share an update on my candida detox, plus an article I just found that explains what foods to eliminate when you suspect you have a candida overgrowth, and a recipe that I made a couple of nights ago that was absolutely delicious and dairy free! So this will be a jam packed post, but bear with me! โ˜บ๏ธ Below is a picture that is NOT the most flattering, but it shows just how bad this mess has gotten. 

Picture from Sunday night. It spans from shoulder to shoulder, the worst of it in the center. It’s still creeping slowly up my neck, but for now it’s not as bad as it was last Wednesday. As of today, it only itches around the edges of the rash site. There is a soap I found that I plan to try, it’s designed for these areas so I’ll share more after I give it a go. 

For a while now I have been dealing with this candida overgrowth and die off. Ever since my first die off from a few years ago I have done just enough to get over the worst of the symptoms and once the die off would clear up I would slowly begin to add certain foods back into my low carb diet. I can already hear the clucking of tongues from certain folks ๐Ÿ˜‰, trust me I have been kicking myself since last week for not having realized sooner how detrimental that decision was to my health. Just like low carb/keto is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle, so is eat to keep your candida in check. And yes, EVERYONE has candida in their bodies. It’s a nasty bacteria in your digestive system and when we aren’t eating right, when we are pumping our bodies full of antibiotics(including the animal meats we eat) we are feeding the candida. That’s when things get out of balance and we start having issues with our sinuses, allergies, skin related problems(ie rashes, eczema), flatulence, brain fog, IBS, fibromyalgia, yeast infections, and so on. It just seems to snowball and we can’t figure out why all of the sudden we are having all these issues. 
That’s been my life now since 2011 and quite possibly longer if I think about it. This could explain my most recent issue with the top of my left foot. It was hurting to the point where I could barely walk. Which that has actually started to improve over the last few days! I’m not hobbling around as much and I can stand for short periods of time with minimal issues. This is great news since this means I will be able to get back to my workouts! 

So what is it EXACTLY am I doing to improve my health? What protocol am I following to eliminate the candida overgrowth? It’s not any one thing or method. I spent last weekend reading anything and everything online, refreshing my memory of what needs to be done. The first thing I did was change my diet. Since I am already living a lower carb life, I knew I was going to have to give up more even MORE foods that may have been contributing to the overgrowth. And Saturday night proved to be a near breaking point for me. I was emotionally drained and frustrated by the realization that I would have to give up a lot of my favorite low carb foods for a while(possibly forever) and it all hit me that night. I was hungry and wanting stuffed green olives. My go to snack food when I have the munchies. High in fat, zero carbs, and I can easily eat half a jar! No judging. ๐Ÿ˜’My 13 yr old comes in and asks me what I’m doing. Trying to keep the shreds of emotions in check I tell him I’m hungry and can’t have the things that I would normally go to. At this point I could feels the tears welling up and I absolutely hate crying in front of people. When I cry it’s messy and ugly, so I took a few breaths to calm myself and without skipping a beat G-Man told me “so fix yourself some eggs.” 

I won’t lie, I scoffed at that idea. For one eggs don’t like me. Honestly, they make me sulfur gassy(and there goes any hope for finding a future husband). Before I could stop him, G-Man was already grabbing the container of eggs and asking me what meats and veggies I can have. He was shocked when I told him I can’t have sausage patties, deli ham or turkey, and no more bacon. Pitiful, I know. ๐Ÿ˜” So he grabbed tomatoes(which aren’t EXACTLY a safe thing but it added color to my dish), frozen green beans, and a green onion. He stood there watching me fry a couple of eggs in coconut oil with a handful of green beans, added in a few tomatoes for color, seasoned it all with Himalayan seas salt, black pepper, and turmeric. Garnishing the top with thin slices of green onion. And that was dinner! It was so satisfying, delicious, and simple! 

I know not too many folks like to give God credit these days, but I have to take a moment to. If my son hadn’t come into the kitchen when he did I wouldn’t have eaten such an amazing meal. I would have eaten half a jar of stuffed green olives, maybe some cheese slices, and hated myself later. God intervened by using my son to ground me (meaning forcing me to focus) and get me thinking what I should do instead and kept me from eating the very things that have led to this overgrowth and further the issue more. 

Sunday was even better! I had to make the decision to stay home from church since I was experiencing some IBS issues(again I’m just killing my prospects here lol) and didn’t want to chance anything. I rarely eat breakfast y’all, I take after my Memaw, leave me alone for an hour after I get up and let me enjoy my morning coffee(only for her it was hot tea). Coffee fills me up but I made half a cup instead and fried up two eggs just so I could get something into my system. Lunch came and I was starving! That’s when I made this…


All right, it’s not the prettiest bowl of food, but it was tasy! Stir fry veggies and garlic ginger chicken, it made four servings so I had enough for dinner and some to freeze! Sunday afternoon my detox pills arrived and I was actually excited! Me, I hate swallowing pills, but I was actually excited about having THOSE! I know, crazy. ๐Ÿ˜ With my biggest meal I take my pills every day and haven’t had too many issues with them(mild burping…I’m batting a thousand already who cares anymore?!). And this is what is helping me to combat the candida overgrowth. I still pine for the foods that I used to eat, but I know in the end it’s better that I go without and finally get well after years of neglect. 

So…

Goodbye to : dairy(heavy cream, butter, cheeses, cream cheese), processed meats(kielbasa, spam, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, deli meats), mushrooms, peanut oil, mini sweet peppers, fathead pizza dough and bagels, creamy/cheesy casseroles, homemade ranch dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, low carb brownies(because of the chocolate and butter), pork rinds, low carb protein smoothies(because the protein powder I love has whey in it), mashed cauliflower(I tend to make it with cream cheese, parm cheese, and heavy cream), pickled foods(sliced jalapenos, dill pickles, stuffed green olives), naturally sweet veggies and fruit, and the list goes on. 

Say hello to: dark green veggies(kale, broccoli, chard, romaine), cruciferous veggies(cauliflower, cabbage), organic meats(beef, chicken, and pork…not a fish fan), peppers, fermented foods(soy sauce, sauerkrauts, kimchi), squash, zucchini, green beans, onions, garlic, coconut oil, evoo, safflower oil, avocado oil(and avocados), hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, eggplant, blueberries, unsweetened cranberries, stevia, xylitol, vitamins and supplements, and candida detox pills(two pills once a day). 

Here’s a link to a site I found today that gives a basic outline of what foods to avoid and what foods are safe when killing off the candida. CLICK HERE

A friend recently asked me how my ice cube diet is going. ๐Ÿ˜ I love her cheekiness! If it were anyone else I wouldn’t have laughed. For the most part I am able to maintain my low carb lifestyle while incorporating more of the anti-candida regimen. I don’t feel as bloated, the gas is slowly going away, mental clarity is emerging, I’m not as tired during the afternoon, but I am still battling with cold extremities, that might take a bit longer to get over since I’ve dealt with it for years. Plus I actually dropped a pound over the weekend which I haven’t been able to do for a while! 

Now, what yummy recipe do I have for you?! 


It’s baked chicken legs(you can use breasts, thighs, wings, or the whole chicken, go nuts!!) with oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower, served over a very basic romain salad topped with spicy brown mustard. 

What you’ll need:

12 chicken legs, skin on

No salt added seasoning of your choice(the one I used is pictured below)

Evoo

2 pounds frozen broccoli

1 pound frozen cauliflower

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with non stick foil. Coat the chicken legs evenly with salt free seasoning and place on sheet pan. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered. Crank the heat up to 425 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. 

In a large mixing add frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Drizzle on evoo and season with pink Himalayan sea salt. Spread out on remaining sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes or until it reaches a desired doneness. 

Serve with chopped organic romaine lettuce and use your favorite dressing. It’s simple, it’s easy, and leftovers are great the next day for breakfast with a couple of fried eggs. Leftovers can be frozen or used for those Bento boxes. Just make sure to debone the chicken first before storing. Makes it easier to enjoy later on! 

Below is the no salt added seasoning recipe I used. 


I store mine in a regular mouth glass jar and washed off a screw on lid from a Kraft Parmesan cheese container. This way I can shake on the seasoning on one side or measure it out from the other. I can’t remember if I doubled or tripled the recipe at the time I made this, but it is worth it! I use it on my eggs, veggies, beef, pork, and of course chicken. 

You can make a non-spicy version by leaving out the cayenne pepper. I think the next batch I make I’ll add turmeric and ginger powder since both of those are amazing anti-candida seasonings. 


If you have any questions please feel free to ask me below or email me at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram(@nok_amandagayle). I tend to post a little more frequently on IG these days since it’s quicker. But I hope this post has helped to shed some light on this growing issue. If you suspect you are suffering from a candida overgrowth, here is a link with a list of symptoms. CLICK HERE. This is definitely something you DO NOT want to leave untreated. I will be honest with you, there is a lot of controversial information out there, please be careful with your research and take a majority of it with a massive grain of salt. What works for one person won’t always work for another, there is no one size fits all protocol. There’s a basic outline that we all have to follow, but how I am approaching treatment is not necessarily going to work for the next person. 

In the meantime, take care, happy healthy eating, and hope you all have a blessed week! 

Rosemary Chicken and Veggies

Yesterday I tried to get this post up and my computer crashed on me and I lost the entire post. In this post there are two recipes, one for the chicken and another for the veggies. So here goes…

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Rosemary Chicken and Kale

Serves 2 (can be doubles or tripled)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour

4 chicken thighs, with skin and bone**
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary or you may use fresh
1/2 dried basil
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Kale, chopped
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced and divided
Turmeric

Heat oven to 375*F. I purposely didn’t measure the chopped kale when I placed it in my 8×8 baking dish. I just filled it up to the top, don’t worry it cooks down ๐Ÿ™‚

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Top the kale with half of the sliced onion. Sprinkle with turmeric if desired or other seasoning. I didn’t use any salt or pepper on the kale and onions. But if you choose to then it would be best to not salt or pepper the underside of your chicken. Set this aside.

IMG_0201 ย  ย  IMG_0205(1)

In a small prep bowl combine rosemary, basil, red pepper flakes, onion and garlic powder. You could also add thyme, sweet summer savory, and oregano. Set it aside and prep chicken with salt and pepper. Be sure to get under the skin as well. Place the chicken thighs on top of the onions and kale, sprinkle with rosemary blend and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until chicken is done all the way down to the bone. You can use boneless thighs, just lower your baking time accordingly(20-30 minutes works good for me). Let it rest for a few minutes before serving!

Italian Seasoned Vegetables

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Bake Time: 25–30 minutes

1 16 oz bag frozen green beans
1 16 oz bag frozen cauliflower
Remaining onion slices from chicken recipe above
1/2 pack Good Seasons Italian Seasoning
Pinch of salt
Olive Oil

Prep a 9×13 baking dish with a drizzle or spray of olive oil. Bake in the oven along with chicken.

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Dump the green beans and cauliflower into the pan. Add onion slices and toss together. Add a pinch of salt and sprinkle Italian seasoning over the veggies. Bake for 25-30 minutes until fork tender.

Nutritional Info for 1 serving of Chicken(2 thighs) and kale:

Calories: 269
Fat: 20g
Carbohydrates: 4g
Fiber: 1g
Net Carbs: 3g

Nutritional Info for 1 serving of veggies:

Calories: 42
Fat: 4g
Carbohydrates: 2g
Fiber: 1g
Net Carbs: 1g

Enjoy!!

~Pinterest Celebration~

Afternoon everyone! Happy Hump Daaaaaaay! And just to get it out of my system….

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There, I feel so much better! LOL I hope this Wednesday has been a happy one for y’all! I went walking with my Dad, after several days of being out of commission it felt great to actually get out there. No pain from it until the last stretch and yikes my back was screaming at me to stop. Took us 16:25 to do nearly a mile…we were so close to it gaaah…will try again on Friday ๐Ÿ˜€ Tomorrow though I get to feel a whole different level of pain with my kickboxing.

Today I want to highlight the most popular NOK Pin on Pinterest, it has been re-pinned over 300 times so far! Are you ready? Is the anticipation getting to you?! All right, drum roll please… *drum roll*

TURKEY AND SAUSAGE BALLS

https://nightowlkitchenblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/turkey-and-sausage-breakfast-balls-004.jpg

Click the image to visit original post with recipe

No joke, this recipe has been finding it’s way onto low carb Pinterest boards recently, it’s become my daily update from Pinterest on my iPod. Seriously, I think this recipe is a hit! And if you’ve not tried it yet, go on jump on it!! This weekend is going to be the perfect time for snack/finger food, and this is one that will not add to your waist line. Trust me on this, it’s become a staple in our house, so good! Plus refer to yesterday’s post (<—click there to read) about how fat isn’t what makes you fat…..*taps the side of her nose*

I want to thank everyone for re-pinning this particular recipe, I am blown away ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for making this place a joy to come to each and every day, I love you all!

Hugs-70

How to Heal with Food (PCOS Post)

Afternoon everyone, getting back to a healthier lifestyle has been difficult for me. Especially with all this winter weather and single digit temps, I especially love creamy soups during this time and those are not always the best choices for me health wise. But my body is screaming for nutritious food and today I decided to listen to it.

Choosing to eat the right foods that are not only good for you but will ultimately heal your body of ailments and aches can be difficult in the beginning. Sometimes it can be even harder to get back into if you haven’t stuck with it. This is why I have found a handy website called Heal with Food, there they have a list of 15 foods that help fight against the PCOS symptoms. One such food I enjoyed today was kale and below I have the recipe for you to enjoy as well!

#10:ย  Kale

One of the most interesting health benefits of kale is its broad nutritional profile. This nutritional heavyweight is loaded with a wide range of vitamins, and it is one of the best plant-based sources of calcium. Calcium is important for women with PCOS as it plays an important role in egg maturation and follicle development in the ovaries. The tender young leaves of kale can be eaten raw, for example as a substitute for iceberg lettuce in salads. This beautiful, green leafy vegetable can also be transformed into a hearty warm dish by sautรฉing the leaves and mixing them with chopped onions, crushed garlic and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. When buying kale, it is advisable to choose organically grown produce whenever possible. According to research, conventionally grown kale is among the most contaminated vegetables in terms of pesticide and chemical content.

low carb stir fry 003

Kale Stir Fry

1/2 onion, sliced

2 turkey sausage patties, cooked and chopped

5 slices turkey bacon, chopped

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

2 handfuls of chopped kale

low sodium soy sauce

Turmeric

In a saute pan add sliced onion, chopped turkey sausage patties and bacon with a little pat of butter. Cover pan with lid and cook over medium heat. Give a few tosses with kitchen tongs, add kale and cover again to cook till kale is cooked to desired doneness. Chop hard boiled eggs and add to pan, drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle on some turmeric. Give a few more tosses to coat everything and allow the eggs to warm up. Serve hot!

It’s not your typical wintery afternoon lunch, but it’s low carb, full of protein, calcium, and vitamins. You can add other vegetables such as radishes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus. Try adding kale to a vegetable and lentil soup, to casseroles, or take the young leaves and enjoy them on low carb sandwiches. Kale can also be added to smoothies (click HERE for recipes)!

I know I feel better when I eat this way and the pounds do melt off. If you’ve never had kale before be sure to grab an organic bunch the next time you’re at the store. It’s a tad bitter but it’s not noticeable when paired with other ingredients.

Happy (low carb) Eating!

Low Carb Dinner & Dessert

Good day everyone!! Got a yummy soup that I’ve been making now for over two years. Just a little note, the soup isn’t induction friendly. It’s meant for those who are past the induction phase or are maintaining. The dessert, however, is safe for induction and it’s gluten free! It’s been a while since I have made it and had forgotten just how yummy it actually is, and I’m not a chocolate fan.ย 

Picture by Linda Sue

(The above picture isn’t mine, for whatever reason I couldn’t a decent shot last night so I’ve looked at the recipe that Linda Sue shared and have received the proper link from whom the recipe originates, and it’s not much far off from mine, except Cheri’s soup is creamy. Please click HERE. Mine would be creamy too after adding sour cream to the bowl. Her picture is perfect and her recipe is just as yummy and safe for induction!)

Amanda Gayle’s Low Carb Nacho Beef Soup

2 pounds ground beef
1-10 ounce can rotel tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (additional seasonings I’ve added over the years have been 2 Tblsp chili powder and 1 Tblsp paprika)
2 cups chicken stock or beef broth
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces velveeta cheese
1 15.5 ounce can black beans

Nacho Beef Soup and Chocolate Coffee Cake 001ย ย ย ย  Nacho Beef Soup and Chocolate Coffee Cake 003

In large pot, brown beef. Add remaining ingredients, bringing temp back up till bubbly.ย  Serve with salad or homemade low carb chips. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired!

I rediscovered my recipe on Spark Recipes and compared it to my modified recipe that we keep in our family cookbook. I no longer use xanthan gum because it’s too easy to use too much which will make the dish slimy. Plus it grossed me out after I found out that xanthan gum is the same thing that is on the outside of vegetables as they begin to rot, that slimy coating…ick. This is why I now reduce the liquid and get a thicker soup!

For Linda Sue’s soup, 1/8th of a serving, the total net carbs comes out to 4 grams. That’s why I say it’s safe for induction, it’s a great soup and perfect for the colder months! I always like to cut up low carb tortillas into strips and deep fry them to serve on top ofย  the soup. It’s a nice guilt free addition. For my soup, 1/8th of a serving is 12 net grams of carbs. Big difference between 4 and 12…but that’s the difference in adding black beans and not adding black beans. My family loves this soup with the black beans, can we say spoiled?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We have frozen the leftovers of this soup without any problems. Last night there was still half a dutch oven’s worth of soup that I put into a gallon size freezer bag, labeled and placed flat into the freezer. Next month it can be added to a new batch of Nacho Beef Soup for the family. If you can’t handle beef try making this with ground turkey, it’s delicious and you can’t even tell it’s turkey!

Nacho Beef Soup and Chocolate Coffee Cake 063

Low Carb Chocolate Coffee Cake

Cake Layer:

2 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp good cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup Ideal Brown, or other natural sweetener

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tsp vanilla extract (almond or hazelnut)

2 eggs

Chocolate Cream Cheese Layer:

3 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate

6 ounces cream cheese

1/8 cup heavy cream

1 egg

1/2 cup xylosweet or Stevia in the Raw

Topping:

1/2 cup ground or chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep 9×13 inch baking pan, I like using those disposable pans for easy clean up.

Mix almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and natural sweetener. Set aside.

Blend together sour cream, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.

In a sauce pan over low heat melt chocolate and cream cheese, adding heavy cream to help keep it loose. This can also be done in a double boiler to ensure nothing burns. Remove from heat after completely combined, whisk in natural sweetener of your choice. Let sit for a couple of minutes before adding in the egg. (Reason being you don’t want to scramble your egg in the hot chocolate mix. It helps to already have the egg whisked before adding. And how will you know that it’s safe to add the egg? I can always tell once I can touch the outside of the pan completely with my hand and barely feel any warmth. That’s when I quickly whisk in the egg. The French would then say to strain the chocolate mixture just to make sure you’re not adding in any scrambled egg bits, but this stuff will be too thick to strain.)

Assemble:

Add sour cream mixture to almond flour ingredients. Pour cake batter into prepared pan (I just sprayed my pan with cooking spray). Now with a spoon, add half the chocolate cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with half the ground walnuts. Repeat with remaining chocolate and walnuts. Bake for 30-40 minutes (33 minutes always works for me) until the middle is set and edges are lightly browned.

This is especially good with low carb vanilla ice cream!

Serves 16 @ 2 net carbs per serving

Several folks have asked me over the years what is xylosweet/ideal brown, and where can it be purchased. Quite simply, those two sweeteners are all natural made from xylitol. You know, the sweetener found in most chewing gums. Both sweeteners are safe for diabetics but neither are safe for pets. Please do not share baked goods containing xylitol sweetener with your animals. It could make your fur–babies sick or worse.

Both sweeteners can be purchased online or in health food stores. You could try looking for them at Kroger’s or Publix as well. Both sweeteners measure cup for cup like sugar, takes out all that guess work, and there is not guilt in even eating low carb sweets that use xylitol because it helps to burn belly fat and promote healthy gums!

Bob’s Red Mill has almond flour, a little on the pricey side though. You can do what I do: in a clean unused coffee grinder, grind frozen almonds. Freezing the almonds retards the processing from turning the hard almonds into a paste or butter. I then pour each batch into the measuring cup that I have to use and continue grinding the almonds until I’ve reached the desired amount for the recipe. You’ll have more an almond meal/flour consistency but it still turns out just as nice.

Hope you all enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Eating!

Turkey and Sausage Breakfast Balls

Afternoon, got some time to share this easy satisfying recipe. I don’t know where I found the original recipe, so if you’re familiar with it and know it’s origin please let me know. I would like to give credit where it’s due.

The original recipe:

2 pounds bulk pork sausage

1 pound ground beef

3 eggs

2 tablespoons dried onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly blended (it is best to use your hands or an electric mixer). Form into about 4 dozen 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet or broiler pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Once they are cool, they can be sorted into individual zip bags and frozen for a grab–and–go breakfast. NOTE: for Scotch Eggs, mold a bit of raw meat mixture around a peeled hard–boiled egg (or eggs) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Instead of beef I used ground turkey meat, about 1 1/2 pounds and 1 pound of bulk pork sausage. Reduced the eggs by one and added some garlic powder (1 tsp) and parsley flakes (1tblsp) for added flavor and interest. I used a 1/8 measuring cup to dole out the meat mixture and shaped them into balls. I was able to fit 40 balls to a cookie sheet and had another five that I put onto a smaller pan and baked in the toaster oven. The end results are tasty and will be perfect to have with boiled eggs in the morning.

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Right now they’re still on the pan cooling, hopefully in less than an hour I can get these bagged up and in the fridge. I don’t expect these to last very long ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure they would be great with spinach and you could make them into patties or logs if you like. Plus they are low carb friendly, there’s no bread, crackers, or oats in them.

Hope you enjoy, have a blessed day!

Low Carb Recipes

Evening everyone! Tonight was a night to make a few different meals to appease everyone’s taste. I first made a creamy burrito bake, followed by a steak salad, and finally a chicken salad. For a lower carb dessert I attempted to make a “soft serve” out of whipped cream and mashed strawberries. I didn’t let it freeze till it was rock hard, just long enough to get frosty. It was a pleasant treat, not one I’d want to indulge in too often because of it’s acidity but a guilt free dessert for anyone living a lower carb lifestyle!

I started off with the creamy burrito bake. It was simple, easy to throw together and a hit with the family!

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I found the recipe on Spark Recipes, just one of my favorite sites to get dinner inspirations. The net carbs per serving is 9.9 grams.

What you’ll need:

1 pound ground hamburger

1 packet taco seasoning or 1 to 1 1/2 tblsp homemade taco seasoning

8 oz shredded cheese(monteray jack cheese or any that you prefer)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup sour cream

4 oz mild salsa

8 Low Carb high fiber tortillas (the only ones I keep in the house)

Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning and cook according to package directions.

Mix together the can of soup, sour cream and taco sauce.

Spray a 9 x 12 pan with cooking spray. Spoon 1/3 of the soup mixture into pan. Divide meat mixture evenly between the tortillas and sprinkle cheese in shell before folding and putting into pan.
Reserve about 1/2 – 3/4 cup cheese.

Spread rest of soup mixture onto the shells and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.

This serves 8

General consensus:: It was good. I may substitute the sour cream with cream cheese, it seems to hold up better than sour cream does. You can use any cheese you like, I just used a regular cheddar cheese since that’s what we keep on hand.

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For my Dad I used up the leftover steak from last night’s meal. Warmed it up, sliced it thinly and placed it over a mixed salad with tomato. As for how my Dad seasons it? Salt, pepper on one side and a homemade Outback Steak Seasoning on the other side. He topped them off with some homemade garlic butter and lets them rest before serving. That’s it! He was very pleased to have this tonight. Salads are pretty much a staple when living a low carb lifestyle, how you dress it up depends on your taste!

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For myself I chose to warm up some Tyson grilled chicken strips that I had marinated in a little soy sauce and served it over another mixed salad. It was a nice change, all that was missing was an egg roll (wishful thinking). You can dress up the Tyson grilled chicken however you like, I’ve even seasoned it with my favorite grill seasoning for a little extra kick. I left the tomatoes off my salad tonight and added extra organic cucumber.

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And for a dessert I looked around online for a suitable solution for a lower carb “soft serve”. Everything called for sugar, confectioners sugar, and I can’t use those ingredients. So, I kept it simple. I whipped up a 1/2 cup of heavy cream (which will make 1 cup of whipped cream) with 1/8 cup Stevia in the Raw. It was important to over whip it. Partially thaw 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries and put into a food processor or blender. It almost resembled a puree except for a few chunks here and there, to which I folded gently into the whipped cream. Not completely either, there were pockets of plain whipped cream and strawberry puree. Let it freeze for an hour or two, depending on how firm you like it. I let it sit for an hour in the freezer, it was firm around the edges and frosty toward the center. It was quite tasty, again not something I want to make all the time but a nice treat. It will serve two generously and stretch to serve three if needed.

1/2 Serving: 5.6 net carbs

1/3 serving: 3.7 net carbs

If you are a PCOS cyster looking for a lower carb dessert this may not be for you. Though I’m lactose intolerant I’ve never had any issues with heavy cream. Mostly because I don’t consume it in large quantities, and one must take into consideration that not everyone suffers from the same lactase deficiency. However, I have found that taking one acidophilus pill prior to consuming any dairy does help me with my intolerance.

It’s been a mentally draining day and may even turn in early. Thankfully there’s nothing on the agenda to bake tonight. I am hoping to order some almond flour and coconut flour soon to start baking up some gluten free desserts that have become family favorites! Goodnight ๐Ÿ™‚

Related Article:

http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/l/lactose_intolerance/intro.htm

Bulk Cooking–Part 1

Evening everyone, goodness this has been a busy day. School went longer than expected and I wasn’t able to get started on our bulk cooking project till after 2pm. Much later than I wanted but that’s how life is at times.

Mom and teamed up and set to figuring out what we wanted to do with nearly ten pounds of ground beef. We decided on three meatloaves, meatballs, and two casseroles. Yes, A LOT of cooking and baking! But it was worth it in the end, we were able to create seven meals out of that ten pounds of meat and the savings are through the roof!!

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Meet Chubby. Chubby’s ancestors and my family go way back ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ve made many a meals off these fellas! I can hear you now, Amanda Gayle that is a ton of meat! You’re right, it is, but don’t let that intimidate you. Chubby is just one of many tubes of meat that can be purchased at Sam’s Club. If you figure up the cost per meal and per family member you’re actually saving money per month instead of wasting it.

The first thing I wanted to get going was my homemade chunky spaghetti sauce. It’s meaty and thick, a perfect blend of seasonings and spices.

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Since I was doing a double batch of sauce I needed to double up my veggies. My Dad bought a bag of red onions a week ago, it was all he could find that looked decent. You can use yellow onion or whatever you have on hand. Chop them up. Remember the green bell peppers I chopped up a couple of weeks ago? Yep, I used two bags.

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Now, I normally use fresh mushrooms and prefer them. But in a pinch canned mushrooms are ok. I went a step further to chop them up even more.

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Here’s all my lovely veggies ready to be cooked up. Once on the stove I added a couple of healthy pinches of salt, pepper, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat.

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BEHOLD! The tower of beef!!! Weighing in at a mere four pounds…

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Once the beef and veggies cooked down and I drained off most of the liquid I added two cans of tomato sauce and two cans of diced tomatoes. Purty, purty, purty!

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You can use your favorite Italian seasoning or just use dried oregano and basil to taste. In the first photo I was adding in one tablespoon of our homemade Italian seasoning and in the second photo I added two teaspoons of sugar. Eventually I had to add a touch more Italian seasoning and salt to help balance out the sweetness. To help tighten it up a bit I added a little tomato paste, reduced the heat and let the sauce cook down. At some point I do believe my Mom added in a few bay leaves…I love cooking with her ๐Ÿ™‚

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With the sauce cooling down, I set about making the cheesy filling of the casserole. This is similar to the stuffed shells cheese filling that my Mom makes. It’s simple to throw together! Cream cheese, Ricotta cheese, Cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, eggs, heavy cream, some black pepper, and parsley for color.

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Into two pans dole out some of the meat to cover the bottom. On top of the meat layer spoon on the cheese filling and top with remaining meat. You can add noodles into the meat if you want or use lasagna noodles. I chose to leave out the noodles to help cut the carbs for the family. When it comes time to bake this up I can make them some Dreamfield’s pasta on the side.

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Before covering with foil sprinkle more Mozzarella cheese over the top; spread out evenly. Cover with a heavy duty foil and label accordingly along with date.

Cheesy Italian Casserole

(To make one casserole)

2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces mushrooms, canned or fresh, chopped

1 can tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes

1–2 ounces tomato paste

2 Bay leaves

Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper to taste

7 ounces Ricotta cheese (or more if you like)

8 ounces Cottage cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 c Mozzarella cheese

1 egg

1/4 c heavy cream

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 Tblsp dried parsley

Mozzarella cheese

1 pound noodles, optional

Brown ground beef with onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onions are transparent. Add in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, season with your favorite Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (trust me you’ll need to reseason) and bay leaves. Stir in tomato paste and let sauce cook on low to thicken without lid. Stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl combine Ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, egg, cream, black pepper and dried parsley.

If you are using noodles, cook according to directions. Either stir into meat mixture or layer within the casserole.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with just enough meat mixture, followed by cheesy filling, top with more meat, and finish with Mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25–30 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly around the edges. Serve with favorite garlic bread and salad.

Doubling this recipe is a cinch and should you decide to make an extra casserole reheating instructions are the same as above. Just be sure to completely thaw the casserole first. Hope you enjoy!!