Christmas Baking Already! Yes!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..well, I usually don’t think that way about this time of the year, but this year I do!  A friend of mine got a Kitchen Aide at a fraction of the price and decided to invite some ladies over to her place to make Christmas cookies the first weekend of November. At first I thought it was crazy, but then I really got into it.

So I decided to make some of my own since I am trying real hard to be on a lower-carb and no processed sugar diet. Also, I figured out that I can make the cookies in stages, so it is not so hard on my body.

Another friend and I have looked for Bob’s Red Mill low-carb mix in most the local stores but it is nowhere to be found. I also looked on-line for different ideas for low-carb flour. Almond flour is awfully dense and most everything tastes almond-like. I was going to add some soy or whey protein powder since I heard that was good too. Then I went to a local Asian store to see if they had any kind of low-carb flour and I found yam flour which is more of a starch. I wanted to see what would happen when I mixed Almond Flour (Trader Joe’s), soy protien powder and the yam flour…the result??? A low-carb “flour” mixture that tastes almost like white flour and it has a very similar texture to flour too so I can use it one to one! Yay!

The other challenge was that I didn’t just want to look on-line for low-carb, no processed sugar recipes because I have a few recipes from some of the clients I had when I was a senior caregiver, so I decided to just see what would happen if I made some changes.  The results???? Yummy cookies! Yay!

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Here are some recipes. I hope you all enjoy them!

LP’s Pfeffernusse Cookies (low-carb, processed sugar-free)

  • 1/2 C Molasses
  • 1/4 C Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C Butter (can also just use 1/2 C butter or 1/2 C Coconut Oil)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 t Anise Extract (I used 1 t Anise Extract and 1 t ground Star Anise)
  • 4 Cups Low-carb flour mixture
  • 1/4 C Stevia (or other processed sugar substitute)
  • 1/2 C Raw unprocessed brown sugar (or other processed brown sugar substitute)
  • 1 1/2 t ground Cardamom
  • 1 t Garam Masala (she recalled this over ground nutmeg but she might have been thinking of Lebkuchen???)
  • 1/2 t ground Cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 t ground Ginger (I like Ginger so I use more)
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t white Pepper (they are pepper cookies…just not the same without it!)
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda

Mix together the wet ingredients (I like to just use a whisk). In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Combine the ingredients from both bowls and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough into small meatball sized balls. Place on a cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes. (Some people dust these with powdered sugar but I think they are sweet enough as is.)

AR’s Twice-Baked Italian Cookies (Biscotti)

  • 1 C Stevia or sugar substitute
  • 1 C Olive Oil
  • 4 T Anise Seed (I reduced this and added some ground Star Anise – it makes it extreme if you taste the dough, but finished product is delicious!)
  • 4 T Anise Extract or Anise flavored Liquor (Annisette or other)
  • 3 T Bourbon Vanilla or Bourbon (or 1 T Vanilla & 2 T Water) I added some Almond Extract
  • 2 C coarsely chopped Almonds
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 5 1/2 C Low-Carb flour mixture (1 used 4 C LC Flour mix and 1 1/2 C Almond meal but then ended up having a lot of oil coming off when baked so I will probably reduce this down in the future.)
  • 1 T baking powder

Mix first 5 ingredients, beat in eggs. Combined flour mixture and baking powder. Combine all the ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

On lightly floured board, shape cookie dough with your hands to form flat loaves that are 1/2″ thick, 2″ wide and as long as the cookie sheet. Place no more than 2 loaves per sheet parallel and well apart. Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to touch. The cut loaves at an angle to form slices that are about 1/2″ wide. Lay slices on cut side close together on the cookie sheet and return to oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool on wire racks.

My client used olive oil and not butter and it really tastes better that way.

I do have other cookie recipes, but I am tired tonight so I will add those another time. You’ll just have to check back another time. Please leave me comments if you try making these cookies. I’d love to know what others think.

Challenge: What recipe(s) would you like to see low-carb and processed sugar-free??? How would you change it? Please share your ideas with me!

 

 

 

Up for a Baking Challenge

I enjoy a good challenge every once in a while. Do you?

Around November of last year a friend and I were out shopping when we came across a kit to make a pineapple upside down cake. I looked at the ingredients and didn’t know what a lot of them were so I put it back on the shelf. I’ve made a pineapple upside down cake before and I don’t recall it having unknown ingredients. Anyway, as I was putting it back on the shelf, I said, “Wouldn’t a coconut and pineapple upside down cake taste good?”  I got a, “Uhhh Yah!” out of my friend.

Well, I had just had surgery a little less than a month before that conversation and I was no where ready for a baking challenge.  I shared my idea with several ladies at church and they all agreed that a coconut pineapple upside down cake would taste good.

Between not feeling up to baking and not feeling creative, I kept putting off looking to find a recipe. Then one of the ladies told me that she was having to go on a low-potassium, low-sodium diet and she was having a hard time finding recipes.  Actually, several of my friends have been placed on the same diet, so I felt a challenge to help them come up with something yummy to eat.

I looked online to see if I could find any recipes and was surprised that I couldn’t find any…well until today when I actually thought of looking up “pina colada” muffins…Go figure, I have already made my own recipe! Haaa Haaa!

Here it is: Low-potassium, low-sodium, Processed sugar-free, Coconut Pineapple upside down muffins! (long name!)

1 C Quick Oats

1 Cup Shredded Wheats (or other low-potassium/low-sodium cereal) Shredded/broken up

1/2 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

1/2 C Coconut Sugar

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt (optional)

1 C Butter Milk *(See notes)

2 T melted unsalted Butter

2 T melted coconut oil (Or use 1/4 C Butter or 1/4 Coconut oil if you don’t want to mix them)

1 – 2 t vanilla

1 egg


Topping

1/4 – 1/2 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

1 C Unsweetened Pineapple (or 1 1/2 C Frozen pineapple – Trader Joe’s brand is good)

*If using canned pineapple, reserve the juice and use it as part of the liquid and reduce the amount of buttermilk. Also, if you don’t have buttermilk, mix regular milk in with the pineapple juice and allow it to sit for 3 to 5 minutes. The acid in the pineapple will curdle the milk to make buttermilk.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grease or butter your muffin tins (this makes 12). Distribute the coconut from topping as evenly as possible between 12 tins. Brown the coconut in the oven for 2-3 minutes (watching it so that it does not burn). Once you pull the muffin tins out of the oven, distribute the pineapple evenly on top of the coconut in the 12 tins (2/3 ring fits perfectly or 4 pieces if cut up).

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add the egg and the rest of the wet ingredients mixing well. Once combined, add the mixture on top of the coconut in the 12 tins. Bake for 18-23 minutes watching to make sure they don’t burn.

When you take them out of the oven, let them sit in the pan for about 15-20 minutes before taking them out.  I had to scoop some of the coconut from the tins onto the muffins, but other than that, they looked delicious!!!

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It was worth the challenge. I hope my friends will enjoy the special treat.

Have you been given a challenge that you have not completed for some reason? I encourage you – no, challenge you – to complete it.  Please share with me how it turns out.  Do you have a challenge for me? Let me know.

God bless you!

Attempt, not success but not failure!

I am not sure why I named this what I did. Interestingly, I had a Bible verse come to mind as I typed the title: Proverbs 24:16 “For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity.”

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to MyCupCakeAddiction. (Hi Elise, just in case you happen to stop by!) It is so much fun to watch all the videos Elise Strachan puts up on YouTube. She is so creative and just fun to listen to as well as to watch. Even Bebe the cat has started watching the videos with me.  The hard part, is that I am trying very hard to get off of processed sugar and of course, on the videos, everything is loaded with sugar.

However, last night I was watching some older videos and I saw Elise making homemade fondant. I wondered if I could make a processed sugar-free version so I started looking on-line (of course I have no clue what I need fondant for since I haven’t made any cakes in a while!) Looking for a sugar-free fondant recipe caused me to look for sugar-free marshmallows, which ended up causing me to look for a sugar-free marshmallow recipe because sugar-free marshmallows are expensive!

Well, I made my first batch of homemade sugar-free marshmallows. They look like they were a success from the top, but they weren’t. I knew they were iffy when I was making them because it never fully combined and only started to whip and thicken when I added some tapioca powder. It never doubled in size or began to peak. Well, I will blame the age of the gelatin because otherwise it tasted quite yummy!

I was going to save the attempted marshmallows, but decided that it has been way too long since I had rice krispie treats, so I attempted to make some out of the attempted sugar-free marshmallows. img_20160914_190537749

Again, the picture makes it look like I had success. They did set and they were sooooo yummy! But they had too much moisture in them. Attempt, not success but not failure!

How many times do we do something and it doesn’t work out, so we don’t try again?

I can think of many times that I have felt like I failed at something so I didn’t try again. This time however, I really don’t feel like this is a failure but rather a trial. Those who succeed are the ones who try and try again until they make it. Abraham Lincoln is a great example.

Even in the Bible verse above, the Righteous man doesn’t fall and stay down. He falls, repents and rises again.

So what things have you down??? Have you tried, failed and refused to get up again? Maybe you’ve made a recipe that just didn’t work out?

Encouragement for the day: I encourage you to get up and try again in an area where you feel like you have failed. And if you fail or it doesn’t turn out as you thought it would, try again….even if it takes seven times, I encourage you to try again.  And please share your stories with me!

 

 

Making Kingdom use of the time

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Today I was reminded of something I prayed the other day. I am so tired of wasting my time on Facebook, playing games, looking at the guys on Christian Mingle, reading the funny pages…etc! I want to be using my time for Kingdom purposes! Today as I was studying Ecclesiastes with a friend, she mentioned Psalm 90:12. We talked about the difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom of God. We are to ask God for His wisdom.

After my friend left, I was reminded of the prayer I prayed that I might use the time I have here on earth for Kingdom purposes. YES! This is what I want. I want to number my days and use them wisely.

So I thought it odd when I felt like I was supposed to walk to the Post Office taking a route that led me past Target. I found myself questioning the LORD. I have too many things. Why do I need to go to Target?img_20160831_160559 “Cookie Cutter”. Ok, I am supposed to look for a cookie cutter – which kind of makes sense since the package I was taking to the Post Office was cow gingerbread cookies for my Step Mom Belva Kay (well and for my Dad too! But Kay is the cow person.)

I like to surprise people and God will occasionally show me who to surprise and how to surprise them. (I ought to ask more Him more often!)

I thought about my timing. It was already 1:11pm and we have been going through a warm spell the last couple of days. I would be going in the heat of the day, but knowing God is my shelter, I ventured out.

It was very warm, but there was a nice cool breeze, so it wasn’t too bad! I got the package sent and then headed to Target. I looked and looked for a cookie cutter. Finally I found a set of 3 but I really did not feel like that is what I was to buy. So, I questioned if I was hearing the LORD correctly. Then as I was about to give up, I decided to look into the Halloween section. As I passed the first aisle of Halloween, I noticed a very nicely dressed middle aged woman. She was beautiful, but I thought she might think I was strange if I walked up and told her that. So I went to the baking section. I was intently looking at the cookie cutters when the woman stopped right next to me.  I told her, “you are beautiful!” She blushed and thanked me then told me that I am beautiful too. Then she moved her hand and I saw a very fancy cross on her necklace. Then I said, “oh that makes sense – the light and joy of the LORD are on you.” She again blushed and told me that she tries to walk in that. “Oh I know how that is,” I said, “I have to say, ‘Less of me and more of You LORD!'” She agreed and then told me that her children and grandchildren all lived out of state. She was thinking about sending them something for Halloween but wondered if she should bother. I told her I was looking at the cookie cutters but that I no longer celebrate Halloween, instead I celebrate the harvest. She liked that very much. She told me that she had many pumpkin things at home that she could use but couldn’t find anything she liked at the store. I decided on the 4 different sized pumpkin cookie cutters instead of the fancy pumpkin cookie cutter with a bat. The lady then told me to have a good harvest. I said, “God bless you!”

As we parted, I almost cried. I used to ask God for Kingdom appointments but have not asked Him in a long time!  All I could do was praise God for allowing me some Kingdom work.

As I walked toward the cash register, I thought I would check the price of cereal. One that I used to buy was a decent price. I checked the sugar content because I am trying real hard to get off processed sugar. “Wow, 8 grams of sugar!”, I thought. As I put the box back on the shelf a woman was reaching for it. I said, “I didn’t think it had sugar in it, but it does!” The woman said, “I don’t think so,” as she looked for herself. “Wow! That’s crazy that this company gave into the sugar fad. This is supposed to be a healthy cereal!” I told her that one of the cereals that I eat which is sugar-free is “Uncle Sam”. After we talked about it, she told me that she was glad to have bumped into me so that she would know the new info.

After she thanked me, I went on my way. “Thank You LORD for another appointment.” I really want my life to matter. I want to encourage people, to surprise people and to see people walking in their God given gifts. I want to make the most of the time I have. Yes LORD, Yes LORD, Yes, Yes LORD, AMEN!

Today’s encouragement: I encourage you to ask the LORD to help you to make the best use of the time you have been given. Ask God to help you use your time for Kingdom purposes. Then please share what God has you do with your time.

Psalm 90:17May the favora of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.