Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!


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Dough Balls – sounds unappetizing, but they aren’t too bad

It has been a bit since I posted a recipe. But I thought I would try making some “dough balls”… I wasn’t too sure about it though.

I’ve seen a few recipes popping up and the last one looked decent. But I didn’t have the specific ingredients, and decided that I would alter the whole process.

So… while they are “doughy” when fresh out of the oven, they are tasty dipped in melted butter. Once they are completely cool they are more bread-like in consistency.

As I hate using just part of something in a recipe I used probably more cheese in this than necessary, but it still worked out.

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Cheesy Dough Balls

Pre-heat oven to 350F, and line a pan with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

One 340 gram (or thereabouts) package of Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup of butter

2 eggs

2 tbsp each of fresh herbs of your choice – I used chives and thyme. Add as many as you like. These hold up to strong flavours.

3/4 cup of coconut flour

2 tbsp psyllium husk powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Measure out the dry ingredients into a small bowl and combine.
  2. Chop or shred the mozzarella into a microwave safe bowl and put in the microwave on high for 30 seconds or so. Take out and stir. Keep nuking it in 30 second bursts until it is completely melted.
  3. Add the butter and herbs to the cheese and mix in as best you can. You might need to nuke for another burst.
  4. Add the eggs and work in until reasonably mixed in.
  5. Add all the dry ingredients and stir to combine as much as possible, then you need to start working it with your hands. Knead it as you have to work the dry into the cheese mixture really well. It will form a fairly even dough. This may take several minutes of kneading.
  6. Pinch off the dough and roll into ping-pong ball sized balls. Line up on the parchment close together in a rectangle.
  7. Bake at 350F for approximately 20 minutes – they should be browning on top.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

I dipped them in melted butter to eat while warm. I then brushed melted butter over the remaining balls.

These are definitely better the second day!  The flavourings take over the coconut flour taste which make them much more tasty.

I think the next time I do this I will amp up the flavourings – more herbs, maybe pepper or other spicier things, maybe onions or green chillies. And maybe reduce the mozzarella bit and add in a strong cheese.

Also, it might work to wrap the dough around something – like a piece of cheese or meat, or an olive… would make a nice appetizer or snack.

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Easy Ice Cream, literally – it is frozen cream

I really have missed ice cream.  But last week saw a recipe for Mason Jar Ice Cream so I tried it… O.M.G.  (Here is that recipe… Low Carb Chocolate Mason Jar Ice Cream)

I changed things a tad (of course) and used a quart jar instead of a pint, but I found the jar to be annoying to eat out of.

I substituted dissolved saccharine tablets for the sweetener called for.  This was the first time I used artificial sweetener in anything – I don’t get an aftertaste with saccharine, so decided to try.  I used too much so scaled it back a lot when I did this second version.

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I decided to make a bigger batch and use a hand mixer, and to freeze in a container that was convenient to scoop out of!  I also changed the proportions of ingredients a bit to suit me.

So this is the way I made it today…

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LCHF Chocolate Ice Cream

Put your bowl and the beaters in the freezer while you assemble your ingredients – you’ll get quicker results when you start beating!

You’ll need a lidded container of at least one quart capacity to freeze this in.

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp of SIFTED unsweetened cocoa (I will be increasing this for future batches to probably 1/3 to 1/2 a cup – I like rich dark chocolate.  But this batch was made with 3 tbsp.)

5 saccharine tablets completely dissolved in less than 1/2 tsp of BOILING water

2 cups of whipping cream (33% or higher m.f.)

Add all the ingredients to the cold bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer (or use a stand mixer.) Start low as the cocoa powder will want to fly around, once mixed in put on high and beat until it has doubled in volume and is stiff.  Add any extras at this time and mix just enough to blend through.

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OPTIONS:  finely chopped 85% cocoa dark chocolate, toasted nuts, unsweetened peanut butter (drop into the cream in tiny bits), etc.  You could also skip the chocolate and use other flavour extracts or, if you aren’t worried about sugar content, you could add fruits.

Using a rubber spatula transfer to your quart container and smooth out the top, put on the lid and freeze for at least three hours.

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You could also put into a popsicle mold to make fudgesicles!  That’s my next batch.

I’m not sure how long this keeps in the freezer… I haven’t let it stay in there long enough to figure out.

I don’t have an ice cream scoop so dug it out with a teaspoon and made a bit of a mess! Could have waited for it soften a bit… but, well…  I had it with one of my Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes that I made on Saturday.

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YUM!

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Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes! Oh yes I did!

It has been a while since I posted a recipe.  I do have a couple to share but will start with the cupcakes I made today!

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As always… a recipe caught my eye, but I changed it a lot.  Added, removed, increased, etc. until it bears no resemblance to the original version.

The recipe that I saw was for a cake with walnuts… I hate walnuts.  Also, didn’t want a cake, cupcakes keep and store easier in the freezer.  I also don’t use powdered sugar substitutes.

Up until last week I wasn’t using ANY sugar substitutes at all, but I discovered that saccharine is available in the pill form here.  My granny used to use it and as kids we would try it… never had an aftertaste for me.  So… I bought a bottle of Hermesetas tablets.  The only thing I’ve used it in so far has been ice cream I made last week (I will post about that later!) and this recipe.

I just dissolve a few tablets in about 1/8 tsp of boiling water and add to the recipe for a touch of sweetness. Each pill is equal to a teaspoon of sugar.  I am not adding the amount called for in the recipes as I don’t need it to be really sweet, but felt the ice cream could use a some, and then this recipe was an experiment to see if it would work.  It did.

So here is the recipe I came up with today for Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes.

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Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes – LCHF, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

Makes 6 large cupcakes (or one 8″ cake if you prefer.)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cream cheese

1/4 cup coconut oil

3 eggs

4 saccharine tablets dissolved in 1/8 tsp of boiling water (you can substitute whatever sweetener you want and increase to make this more of a regular sweetness level.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 cup almond flour

1 tbsp coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup cream

1/4 cup of chopped pecans (or any kind of nut you like) – completely optional BTW.

Topping: Lindt 85% Cocoa Chocolate bar – 6 pieces.

Instructions:

  1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease an 8″ cake pan in your preferred manner.)
  2. Measure all the dry ingredients together and stir, except for the nuts.
  3. Cream the coconut oil (I did not melt it first) and the cream cheese with an electric mixer, add the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla, and dissolved saccharine, and continue mixing on high.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and the cream about a third at a time, alternating between additions.  If the batter is too thick add a little more cream.  It should be thick but pourable like regular cake batter.
  5. Add the nuts and mix until combined.
  6. Divided batter between the six cupcake liners.
  7. Bake at 350F on the centre rack for 20-25 minutes.  They are done when a toothpick comes out clean. Ovens vary so it might take a few minutes more or less.
  8. Take them out of the oven and immediately place a piece of the Lindt chocolate on top of each cupcake, when it has melted spread it around.
  9. Let cool completely.

I like to freeze them once cool and eat them frozen!

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I am very pleased with how these turned out!  Ate one and the rest are in the freezer. Tomorrow I am making more ice cream and intend to have cake and ice cream!  Who said you have to give up treats when you are a diabetic who follows LCHF/HP??? Not this girl!

 

 


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Cake… Chocolate Cake… I’m in Heaven

I am sitting here trying NOT to have a third piece of my happy accident of a chocolate cake.

It actually started out as a recipe for Brownies – I saw a recipe for Almond Butter Brownies that was described as Paleo and I had the main ingredients so figured I’d throw it together as there was nothing really on television I was interested in.

Of course I left out the maple syrup that was in the original recipe (I don’t use any sweeteners) and then misread and used baking powder instead of baking soda, also added marscarpone cheese to add some level of sweetness.  I was also a bit short on the almond butter  so figured the cheese would compensate for that.

O.M.G.  I did not make brownies… I made a moist, tender, fluffy DELICIOUS chocolate cake!  When the toothpick came out clean I took it out – it had risen quite a bit more than I expected but I anticipated it would fall as it cooled.  It didn’t.

When I cut a piece to try, the texture was perfectly cake like, not brownie like at all. It was so good!  The marscarpone and the almond butter had a sweetness and the added 70% chocolate chips also added some.

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LCHF Gluten Free Almond Butter & Marscarpone Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Butter

1/3 cup Marscarpone Cheese

2 tbsp Coconut Oil

1/2 cup Whipping Cream (33% fat)

3 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/8 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Chopped Pecans or other nuts (optional)

1/2 cup 70% Cocoa Chocolate Chips (or higher if you find them) (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the Almond Butter, Marscarpone Cheese, Coconut Oil and blend them together till they are smooth.
  3. Then add the Whipping Cream, Eggs and Vanilla and mix well with an electric hand mixer.
  4. Sift the Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder and Salt together, then add a bit at a time to the wet ingredients mixing well before adding more.
  5. Continue to mix, increasing to the highest speed on the mixer for a minute or so – ensure there are no lumps in the batter.
  6. Stir in the Pecans and Chocolate Chips by hand.
  7. Spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick spray and dust with a teaspoon of coconut flour, shake the flour around to coat the pan and then knock the excess out.
  8. Scoop the batter into the pan and spread out evenly.
  9. Put on the centre rack of the oven for approximately 15 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre, if it comes out clean it is done.
  10. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

I didn’t top it with anything but I’m sure a drizzle of melted chocolate and/or whipped cream would be awesome.

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p.s. It is great for breakfast too!


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What the Fudge?

Last night I was having a craving for peanut butter cups.  I don’t often have cravings, and if I have one for something I usually just have one square of a Lindt 85% Cacao bar and that takes care of it.  But just smearing P.B. on the chocolate wasn’t doing it for me.

So I decided to see if I could make fudge.  I don’t use sweeteners and sugar substitutes by personal choice (no sugar due to my diabetes and no artificial sweeteners/replacements as I find them horrible – aftertastes, headaches, etc.)

I decided to use 85 & 88% chocolate bars, unsweetened peanut butter, butter and peanuts. Pretty simple.

I had Lindt and Purdy’s chocolate on-hand (a staple in my cupboard!) so broke them up into a microwave safe bowl, added 1/4 cup of butter and nuked on high for 35 seconds, then removed and stirred until the chocolate was almost completely melted.  I had to stick it back in for another 20 seconds to get the last of the lumps melted.  Then I stirred in 3/4 cup of peanut butter and stirred briskly until it was completely blended.  Then tossed in about a cup of roasted peanuts.

I poured in into a parchment lined square pan and put in the fridge overnight.

This morning I took it out and it sliced easily into small squares and tastes great!  I might increase the peanut butter ratio next time.

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I can only eat one square at a time as a treat (to avoid blood sugar spikes) so I am storing in a sealed container in the cold part of my fridge.

Shannon’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

125 grams of dark chocolate (85-88% cacao – or whatever you prefer, any chocolate will work) broken up into small pieces

1/4 cup of butter

3/4 to 1 cup of unsweetened peanut butter

1 cup of roasted peanuts (optional, or use different nuts, or add dried cranberries!  There are lots of options)

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl on high for about 35 seconds, remove from microwave and stir until it is melted – may need to put back in microwave for a few more seconds if the chocolate isn’t completely melted.
  2. Stir in the peanut butter.  It needs to be completely blended in.
  3. Add the nuts, stir.
  4. Pour into a parchment or foil lined square pan, and refrigerate for a couple hours (overnight is good).
  5. Remove from pan by lifting out the parchment or foil, and cut into pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Vegetable and Sausage Hash

I really hate it when I buy something that sounds really tasty and it is totally tasteless and the texture is unpleasant.  Even more when I bought the package at Costco and have more of it to deal with!

Case in point:  Sausages.  I bought a pack of three vacuum sealed packages of sausages (brat or smokey sized style) at Costco, and I separated them from each other to put in the freezer, in the process I threw out the cardboard sleeve that was wrapped around them.  The individual packages of four sausages have no label.  So… I can’t remember what they were supposed to be.  I would not have bought something that didn’t sound like it would be good.

Last night I decided to have sausages and salad for dinner.  They were awful.  I baked them in the oven and there was a lot of red oil coming out of them, and they were quite red colour (I suspect “sun-dried tomato” may be involved?)  I cut them up and inside were green bits of something I couldn’t identify.  There was no discernible flavour to any of it.  The stuffing was quite loose and the meat crumbled out of the casing.

I ate part of one and stuck the rest in the fridge to figure out what to do with them.  I hate wasting food.

My sister suggested they might be mild Italian sausage.  Possibly, but I normally don’t buy Italian sausage – so maybe it was a flavoured version?  Whatever it is I hope I NEVER buy it again.  I do remember the packaging at least, so I should be safe.

So, what did I do with it?  I made Hash!

Hash is easy and is a great Sunday brunch.  And seeing as my fridge is full of all sorts of vegetables I had lots to choose from.

I  diced up some celery, green pepper, onion, cauliflower, pattypan squash, mushrooms, and chopped up all the leftover sausage.  I had about a half a cup to a cup of each vegetable and three chopped up sausages – it is hash, the amounts don’t really matter.  This amount made two meals for me.  One this morning and leftovers for tomorrow.

I heated up my pan and added peanut oil then started with the onions, peppers and celery with a teaspoon of diced garlic (I have a big jar of diced garlic in the fridge).

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Once they were sweating down I added the sausage meat and cauliflower.  I let that start to brown a bit and put a lid on to get the veggies cooked.

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Then I added the mushrooms and squash, and some Montreal Steak Spice and salt, stirred and put the lid back on.

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It needed quite a bit of salt actually.  I added it three times!

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I topped it off with a fried egg (fried in butter of course.)

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It was good.  And thankfully the sausages didn’t ruin it, so I have a way to use up the rest of them

It would be even better with sausages that taste good, or left over roast, chicken, etc!

 

 


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Summer Squash & Bison Taco Soup

I had to turn the furnace on yesterday… in August!  Yikes.  Last year August got damp too.  And it has been raining quite a bit this year.  Definitely feels like Fall is here even though there is still a month of Summer left.

They are cute, but these pattypans aka sunburst squash are plentiful right now, and best to use them when still fresh!

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I had a package of ground bison thawing in the fridge so when I got home tonight I decided the two could go together to make a nice meal.  I hadn’t intended it to be soup to start with but part way through decided to add some homemade stock and other things.

I am allergic to beef so I use ground bison (which is extremely lean) or pork or lamb when I want ground meat.  I watch for the 50% off stickers at the store and grab the bison and lamb when it is marked down and freeze it.  It is pretty expensive otherwise.

I just grab things and toss them into the pot.  No measuring.  Aside from the squash – I had five of them – I had fresh onions, green onions, green pepper and in the freezer diced celery and homemade stock.  And a can of diced tomatoes from the pantry.  I also used my homemade taco seasoning mix.

Soup is a great way to use up vegetables that are left over or getting a little limp, or just stuff that you need to use before it is time to throw it out.  The green onions were pretty dead looking that I used.

The celery in the freezer was the diced scraps from cleaning stalks of celery – the leafy ends and centres that weren’t “stick” material for my munching.  I have bags of it in there!  I put it in soups, stews, casseroles, in the bottom of the roaster to set the meat on, etc.

I also freeze chicken carcasses and bones from roasts and steaks – I just keep adding to a large Ziploc freezer bag.  When I have a substantial amount I roast them until they are well-browned (much better flavour that way!) and make stock in my crock pot to freeze.

I used my dutch oven for this soup but you could do it in a crock pot if you wanted.  I browned the bison in some peanut oil, then added the chopped onions, green onions, green peppers and the frozen celery and let them sweat down a bit.  Then added the cubed squash.  Even though the squash were still fairly small I needed to remove the seeds before cutting them up.

I stirred it a few times and once the squash was starting cook I added about three to four tablespoons (well, I dumped about a third of what was left in the bottle in actually) of my taco seasoning mix.  Then I added a 12-ounce can of diced tomatoes and approximately two cups of stock (I’m guessing – it was a frozen container that could have been three cups.)

Once the pot was starting to boil, I put the lid on and put in the oven at 350F for about an hour and a half.

I find finishing soups in the oven works really well, and you don’t end up with a splattered stove top.

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It turned out great!  A bit spicier than I was expecting due the amount of the taco mix I’d added, but still excellent. I am developing a taste for spicier things lately.

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Eat it as is, or garnish with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.  I added shredded cabbage to the bowl and put the soup on top!  It was very good that way.  I’m all about getting in as many vegetables as I can in a meal.

The rest will be frozen in serving sizes for quick meals.  I like having things ready to grab and heat once theatre season starts – which is in less than a month – as I don’t have much of a break between work and call times.

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I make my own spice mixes – that way I know I am only getting what I want in them.  Commercial taco seasoning mixes usually contain flour or cornflour and sugar in some form – so I don’t use them.

Shannon’s Taco Seasoning

I make big batches (this makes around 2 cups) and store in recycled spice jars – those industrial sized ones from Costco.  It keeps a very long time.

1/2 cup of chilli powder

1/3 cup of dried minced onion OR you can use 2 tablespoons of onion powder instead

2 tablespoons of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of salt (your choice – table salt, sea salt, etc.)

1.5 tablespoons of ground cumin

1.5 tablespoons of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons of ground coriander

Combine all of the ingredients either directly into your storage container, or in a bowl.  Shake or mix well.  Put in sealed container and store with your spices in a cool, dry, dark place.