Sugar-Free Crème Brûlée

This sugar-free diet is becoming easier as I discover better ingredients and learn new methods of baking and cooking. After many attempts in making sweet treats that are keto-friendly, I have finally discovered and now praise Swerve sweetener.

Truvia and Stevia have a terrible aftertaste and Splenda (sucralose) is straight up rat poison. Not to mention, things like xylitol, sucralose, and aspartame all just cause you to crave more sweets. The whole point of this diet is to strictly limit food intake and to cut cravings.

Swerve sweetener is erythritol, which has a glycemic index of zero. Therefore, it does not cause insulin spikes nor cravings after consuming it. My favorite part of using this sweetener is that it tastes amazing and measures just like sugar, though I prefer to use a little less than the recommended sugar measurements.

Amazingly, Swerve sweetener crystalizes like sugar. After accidentally making this discovery, I decided that sugar-free crème brûlée was a must.

To make this recipe happen, be sure you have six-8 ounce ramekins and a torch.

ramekins

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Ingredients:

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with pulp scraped out
  • 1 cup granulated Swerve sweetener
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • hot water

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add the cream, vanilla bean, and pulp.
  • Once it starts to boil, remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with (just under) 1/2 a cup of Swerve sweetener.
  • Remove the vanilla bean from the cream. Then add the cream to the eggs a little at a time, continually stirring.
  • Pour the liquid into six-8 ounce ramekins.
  • Line the ramekins in a glass baking pan and add the hot water half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the mixture sets.
  • Remove from the baking pan, and refrigerate for at least two hours (no more than 3 days).
  • 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, add about a tablespoon of sweetener and distribute evenly on top of the crème brûlée, torch the sweetener until light brown.
  • Put it back in the refrigerator and let it sit for 25 minutes.
  • Then, enjoy! It’s amazing how the top resembles real torched sugar.

IMG_7845Before Torching

Pumpkin Dip

When I first discovered pumpkin dip, it changed my life. Of course when I had it for the first time, the pumpkin came from a can, which I did not approve of. Though the dip was tasty, I knew it would be so much better if I used freshly cooked pumpkin. Also, when I had this dip in the past, it was prepared with cool whip. Since I am also not a fan of cool whip, I use the real stuff. Therefore, this recipe is simply a pumpkin whipped cream.

Like all of my other pumpkin recipes, I follow the Pumpkin Basics to cook the fairytale pumpkin (my favorite). The color of the pumpkin meat is a bright orange and the flavor is so delectable. This recipe is so easy, that it only took about 10 minutes to prepare it for a party (that is, if your pumpkin meat is already cooked).

Once you whip this pumpkin dip up, serve it with graham crackers. It is definitely a crowd pleaser. Happy pumpkin eating!

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Pumpkin Dip Recipe

pumpkin-dip

[I borrowed this photo from another website, since I forgot to take a photo with the graham crackers. For the photo & another version of this recipe, please click here.]

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

I realize that this is probably a beverage that I should have posted in the summer, so my apologies for just getting around to it. The good news is, I live in Texas, where it is almost always hot enough to make this refreshing beverage.

To spice things up, try this lemonade with vodka. This last time I made it, my friend Natalie mixed it with a little bit of white wine and it tasted very similar to Sangria. Both great ideas, if you feel that this beverage is a little too virgin for you.

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SBL Recipe

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Model Citizen-don’t leave home without it. Another way to devirginize your lemonade.

Mustard-less Potato Salad

I have tried so many kinds of potato salad in my life and I didn’t like many of them. I simply find it painful to enjoy a potato salad that is overwhelmed by mustard. You will never see me buy potato salad from the store either, especially when it’s really yellow. I just can’t help but think it’s going to taste like straight mustard, yuck! Store bought potato salads just aren’t made this way.

Growing up, my family made potato salad with mayonnaise, pickles, boiled eggs and maybe just a couple of teaspoons of mustard. Once my palette became a little more refined, I decided to try mine without the mustard and pickles. To make it a little fancier, I like to use shallots and olives.

Try this out for your next BBQ and just wait and see, it’ll be a hit! Some people have found it interesting that I don’t use mustard. Don’t get me wrong, I like mustard, but my potato salad can live without it. I have been asked for this recipe a few times, so I decided it was time to post it for the virtual world to try out.

Happy cooking, Friends!

Picture 1

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

This is a recipe that will definitely aim to please. I typically only do this baked macaroni and cheese for special occasions. There is a lot of work involved in creating this decadent dish, but well worth all of the love and effort. This recipe requires some Dutch Oven Lovin’. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, this can be done in a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan and it can be covered with foil while it bakes.

1 Mac

Mac & Cheese Recipe

2-Mac

This is what the pasta should look like after it has been tossed in butter.

3-Mac

This is what it should look like after you have incorporated the creamy cheese sauce,  pre-garnish. 

4-Mac

This is another completed version without the parsley. Note: The lack of color doesn’t make it pop as much, though it was still very tasty!

Other ideas for this recipe:

1. I have added sliced/cooked venison sausage to this before and served it as a full meal.

2. To make it vegetarian, take out the bacon and use just a little more butter.

3. Play with the cheese, you don’t have to use the ones listed. Just make sure to utilize cheeses that melt well. Mozzarella, cheddar and gruyere are nice alternatives.

Enjoy!

Turkey Egg Rolls

These are the lightest version of egg rolls that I have come up with.

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Turkey Egg Rolls RecipeClick on the photo to enlarge the recipe. 

Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries

It’s that time of year again, when you walk through the grocery store and there is a station for fresh hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. They smell great, they look great, you can’t help yourself because you know they are going to be amazing.

However amazing they are, they can get quite expensive! Let’s face it, 4 might not be enough, especially if you have to share. The steps of making these hand-dipped, decadent goodies are very simple, much less expensive than purchasing some, and can be a treat to more than 2 people.

These are great for parties or work well as gifts for family and friends. I also like to do these around Mother’s Day, as Moms are usually suckers for chocolate and strawberries. The upside of knowing how to do this is that you can have them year-round and not just for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions.

pretzels and strawberries

As pictured, you can do this same thing with pretzels. I prefer to use honey wheat pretzels.

Chocolate Strawberries

A similar version of this was originally posted by Sous Me Alchemy on 2/19/2012.

Halloween Cake Balls

Happy Halloween! I made these in honor of Halloween and they came out pretty tasty. The coolest thing that I like about cake balls is that you can change the type of cake, frosting, and coatings for different combinations. These can be made for all sorts of occasions/holidays. Cake balls are really easy to make, but the eyeballs were a little time consuming because of the decorating involved. 

[Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

I also did little pumpkins with a homemade pumpkin cake (recipe coming soon). These were a whole lot more complicated because the cake was made from scratch and the coating required food coloring. I learned the hard way that you cannot add the dye to the coating after it is melted. You must add liquids (i.e. liqueur, food dye, vanilla extract, etc.) to the bark before it starts to melt down. Otherwise, the chocolate will break and become clumpy. The second time was the charm on these and it was well worth it.

Once again, Happy Halloween! I hope these have inspired you to do some for your next party.