Super Stay At Home Mommy!

Adventures in the life of a stay at home wife and mom

Gluten Free Pie Taste Testing

I am the official Thanksgiving pie baker in our family. Every year, I like to try out a few different recipes. This year, we have several family members who, for various reasons, have gone gluten-free. It has been my mission to find a gluten-free pie crust recipe, so that everyone could enjoy some tasty dessert! To have a little fun, we decided to gather everyone together and have a little taste test of 4 different gluten-free options. It was a totally blind taste test, and then we all rated the pies based on taste, texture, how it held together, appearance, and how we like the pie overall. We certainly had a blast, and now I am excited to share those results with you!! Hopefully this will help you choose the perfect gluten-free crust for your holiday pies!

1st Place: Paleo Pie Crust

I filled this one with a dark chocolate and coconut pudding.

I filled this one with a dark chocolate and coconut pudding.

This pie crust is made with just 4 ingredients- the main component being almond flour. It is pressed into the pie pan, and I found that it was probably the easiest overall to make. It cut apart easily and held together incredibly well. As an added bonus, with the right filling this would work as a low carb crust as well!

Here’s our score breakdown (A total of 35 points possible in each category):
Taste: 33/35 points, 94%
Texture: 30/35 points, 86%
How it held together: 34/35 points, 97%
Appearance: 33/35 points, 94%
Overall: 34/35 points, 97%
Altogether, that brings this pie crust’s official score to: 94%!!

2nd Place: Gluten Free Pie Crust

This pie was filled with canned cherry pie filling.

This pie was filled with canned cherry pie filling.

This crust was made using gluten-free flour. The main ingredients in gluten-free flour include rice flour and tapioca flour. It was the only crust that was rolled out with a rolling pin, and, therefore, could have both a top and bottom. To me, it was the one that most resembled a typical pie. We did find that it was a little difficult to cut, which lead to difficulties scooping it out of the pie pan (and therefore lowering its’ score for “how it holds together”). That could, in part, have to do with the fact that the recipe did not include a cook time, so I sort of had to wing it. I ended up cooking it for 30 minutes, which may have been a touch too long, making the crust a little tough.

Here’s our score breakdown (A total of 35 points possible in each category):
Taste: 28/35, 80%
Texture: 29/35, 86%
How it held together: 31/35, 89%
Appearance: 28/35, 80%
Overall: 28/35, 80%
Altogether, that brings this pie crusts official score to: 86%

3rd Place: Paleo Pecan Crust

Cheesecake!

Cheesecake!

This crust is also just 4 ingredients! Its main ingredient is ground pecans. Because of the crumbly nature of the crust, it did not hold together as well, but the flavor is great (as long as you enjoy pecans). I found it to be the perfect crust for a cheesecake. This is also a great low carb option!

Here’s our score breakdown (A total of 35 points possible in each category):
Taste: 26/35, 74%
Texture: 28/35, 80%
How it held together: 19/35, 54%
Appearance: 30/35, 86%
Overall: 25.5/35, 73%
Altogether, that brings this pie crusts official score to: 73%

4th Place: Gluten Free Sugar Cookie

For this one, I used a canned lemon filling

For this one, I used a canned lemon filling

The fact that this came in last place was honestly no surprise to me. It was sort of an experiment after I failed to find my original 4th option in the store. Ideally, I wanted to get the Pillsbury refrigerated gluten-free pie crusts. However, I could not find them anywhere in the store. So, as a Plan B, I went with a gluten-free sugar cookie baking mix by Betty Crocker. There were extreme mixed reviews on this pie. Some loved it, others (myself included), not so much. I’ll let the number speak for themselves…

Here’s our score breakdown (A total of 35 points possible in each category):
Taste: 28/35, 80%
Texture: 21/35, 60%
How it held together: 18/35, 51%
Appearance: 24/35, 69%
Overall: 24/35, 69%
Altogether, that brings this pie crusts official score to: 66%

Now, to take these results and figure out what I’ll do for Thanksgiving…

And if anyone finds one of those Pillsbury gluten-free crusts, I’d love to know how it tastes!

***Because this was solely for the purpose of crust tasting, I took the easy way out on the filling…. If you’re looking for a great homemade filling for your pie, here’s a few of my favorites!
Pineapple Upsidedown Pie
-Cranberry Cherry Pie
-Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

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Low Carb Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner!

Alright, I know we’ve already passed up Thanksgiving, but it’s not too early to start thinking about some healthier option for your Christmas dinner!

Traditionally, most people have ham or turkey for Christmas (at least in my family we do!) Turkey and ham are both carb free, however, to keep it that way do not use any sort of sugars to cook your meat it– this means no honey ham! We don’t need to really add any more sugar to the holiday season anyways, do we? :)

Here’s so recipes for low carb sides to go with your meal:

Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower

And top those off with this low carb gravy

Who doesn’t love green bean casserole? HERE’s an alternative recipe

We can’t forget the cranberry sauce!

And deviled eggs are always a great, low carb go to.

With THIS recipe, you can even enjoy rolls!

And don’t forget my broccoli salad recipe! I made this for Thanksgiving, and used dried cranberries instead of grapes. It was a huge hit!

For dessert, try out these– Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pecan Pie

And the Atkins diet website has some great recipes for low carb COOKIES, too!

It IS possible to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about gaining those dreaded extra pounds!

thanksgiving-dinner

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Chicken Mango Kabobs

This whole summer has flown by in the blink of an eye!! I can’t believe it’s Fall already! But, if you’re still able to find some yummy looking mangoes at the store, then you MUST try this recipe! My husband is doing P90x and is subscribed to the email newsletters. A few weeks ago he received an email with this recipe in it, and we just had to try it. I can only describe them in one word– DELICIOUS!! They are spicy, sweet, tangy, a great mixture of flavors that will leave you craving more!

Chicken Mango Kabobs

  • 1 tsp. lime rind, grated
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (plus extra to grease grill surface)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 small red or sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Medium bowl
  • Large bowl
  • 8 skewers
  • Brush for marinade

Light charcoal grill or preheat gas grill. In a small bowl, create marinade by whisking together lime rind, lime juice, oil, garlic, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Place chicken chunks in large bowl. Pour half of marinade over chicken, toss to coat, and let stand for 20 minutes. Stir honey into remaining marinade, cover, and refrigerate until needed. Cut mango flesh from each side of pit. Cut mango flesh in a grid pattern of 3/4-inch squares down to but not through the skin. Gently push skin to turn inside out and cut off the flesh. Alternately thread mango, pepper, onion, and chicken pieces onto each of 8 skewers. Brush with half of the reserved honey marinade. (Discard marinade that chicken soaked in.) Lightly grease grill surface and place kabobs on it over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning and basting kabobs once with remaining honey marinade until fruit is softened and chicken is browned and cooked through (with no pink inside) and juices run clear (about 8 minutes). Makes 4 servings (2 skewers each).

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 minutes

And even better, they are high in protein and low in calories and carbs. Nothing like a delicious meal that’s healthy too!
**Note** Don’t forget- if you use bamboo skewers, you MUST soak them in water first! Otherwise they will catch fire on the grill… Guess who forgot to soak the skewers– yep, that would be me. Ours still turned out tasty though, our skewers where just a touch burned. lol.

 

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Broccoli Salad- With Walnuts and Grapes

I’m back!! We finally got all the kinks worked out, and I’m back to blogging. I have a SUPER yummy recipe to share with you today.

While we were visiting my parents in Missouri, we had this delicious broccoli salad. I have been trying to recreate something similar to it (with my own twist) since we got back home. What I ended up with isn’t exactly like what we had, but it is pretty darn yummy! Here’s what I did…..

Broccoli Salad

1 large head of broccoli
1 cup mayo
2 Tbsp spicy mustard (I actually use a little more because I like the taste of mustard)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
A dash of Cayenne pepper
1/4 Walnuts, chopped
Red grapes
 
Finely chop the broccoli. I run mine through the food processor- fast and easy! Pour into bowl. Add mayo, mustard, lemon juice, and cayenne. Mix well. Add walnuts and grapes, mix again. Serve.
 
***Please add to, or take from, this recipe as you wish. I am not 100% positive on all the measurements I used because I sort of add things, taste, add some more, etc. I will edit the post next time I make this salad to get more accurate measurements- I was just too excited to share it with you all! Enjoy!!
 
 
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Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies!

I needed a quick fix for my sweet tooth, and these cookies hit the spot! They are a bit crumbly, but taste a lot like a real peanut butter cookies. I used stevia instead of Splenda, but I imagine they’d taste great either way. Enjoy!!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda or Stevia
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Extra granular Splenda for fork

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl; beat well with a spoon until it becomes a thick dough. Gently roll into 20 balls and place on a baking sheet. Or, use a 2-teaspoon cookie scoop to evenly measure the dough. Dip a fork in granular Splenda and make a criss-cross design by gently pressing into the balls of dough in alternating directions. Be gentle and dip the fork into Splenda frequently because the dough is very sticky. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Cool before removing from the baking sheet. Store in the freezer and do not thaw before eating.

Makes 20 small cookies
Can be frozen

With granular Splenda:
Per Cookie: 81 Calories; 6g Fat; 3g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 3g Net Carbs
Per 2 Cookies: 162 Calories; 12g Fat; 7g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 7g Net Carbs

With liquid Splenda:
Per Cookie: 75 Calories; 6g Fat; 3g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; .5g Dietary Fiber; 1.5g Net carbs
Per 2 Cookies: 149 Calories; 12g Fat; 7g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 4g Net Carbs

** I definitely recommend freezing these cookies after you make them. When frozen, they hold together much better.

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Low Carb Recipes

This is going to sound a little strange…. after much research I have finally found a low carb substitute to use in place of MANY things. I know, you’re all anxiously waiting on the edge of your seat to find out what this miracle ingredient is. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s nothing you’d ever expect. The one thing that you should always have in your house (to help make your low carb diet successful) is…… PORK RINDS!!

Crazy, right? They have zero carbs and virtually zero flavor, and they make for a great secret ingredient in some unexpected places.

Here’s just a few of the recipes we’ve tried using pork rinds–

Breading Chicken- Crush your pork rinds and use as you would use breadcrumbs on chicken

Meatloaf- Use in place of breadcrumbs

Pancakes- Yep, I said it, pancakes. It’s tough to get past the idea of eating pork rinds in your pancakes, but it’s actually quite yummy. I follow this recipe.

Pizza Crust- I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect low carb pizza crust, and I think this one may be it! I use this recipe

And there’s many more that I haven’t tried yet. Cheesecake crust, nachos, bread pudding, believe it or not the list goes on and on. Let me know what you’ve tried and how you like it!!

Here’s the pork rind pizza I made. It was tasty!

 

***We’re leaving for Missouri tomorrow and will be gone for a week! I’ll be taking a break from blogging, but will do a post on “traveling with a toddler” when we return! Everyone have a wonderful week!

 

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Sugar-Free and Low Carb Chocolate Souffle!

The hardest thing about dieting is my sweet tooth. So, I have been looking for alternatives so that I can “indulge” every once in a while. Here’s one we found that was a real winner!

 

Low Carb Chocolate Souffle: Via Low Carb Desserts

8 oz sugar free chocolate chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons coffee (rum or water can be used)
6 large eggs (divided into 6 egg whites and 6 yolks)
¼ teaspoon cream of tarter, heaping
½ cup Splenda

Fill a sauce pan 1/3 with water and heat until water becomes hot but before it simmers. Preheat your oven to 375˚F.

Combine chopped chocolate, butter and coffee in heatproof bowl and place over the hot (but not simmering) sauce pan of water and stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat, let cool for ten minutes and then whisk in the egg yolks. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites on medium speed until the eggs are foamy then add in the cream of tarter and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the splenda until the peaks are stiff but not dry.

Using a large rubber spatula, stir in 1/3 of the egg whites into the low carb chocolate mixture, and then gently but thoroughly fold in the remaining mixture. Butter 6 (10 oz) ramekins and sprinkle with Splenda and arrange on a baking sheet. Divide the batter equally among the 6 ramekins and bake to risen and set, about 20 minutes. Once you remove it you have one minute maybe two to get the low carb soufflé to the table before it falls!

The low carb soufflés can also be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 before baking.

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza- LOW CARB!!

Jason and I have been working on losing weight. I gained 60 lbs when I was pregnant (Ugh, I know!), and now that she’s 1.5 I guess baby weight is no longer an excuse for why I’m overweight. lol. Anyways, we have cut out all junk food, sugar, bad carbs, etc and have both lost quite a bit of weight. One thing that I’ve struggled with is finding healthy recipes to replace some of our not-so-healthy cravings. Pizza is a bad one for me. I LOVE pizza. So, I’m trying out a few different low carb variations. The one we tried this week was the cauliflower crust pizza from Spark Recipes. It was actually pretty good. Not sure if I’d really call it a pizza, as you can’t pick it up and eat it with your hands. Although, if you read the comments, some people suggest using raw cauliflower and say that it comes out better. I’ll have to remember that for next time!

Here’s the recipe for you to try at home!

 

Minutes to Prepare: 15
Minutes to Cook: 20
Number of Servings: 4

Ingredients

Cauliflower, frozen, cooked, riced, 1 cup
Egg, fresh, 1 large
Cheddar Cheese, 1 cup, shredded
Fennel, 1/2 tsp
Oregano, ground, 1 tsp
Parsley, dried, 2 tsp

Directions

Rice or finely chop the cauliflower. Beat egg, add the cauliflower, and shredded cheese. Mix, then press into a greased pizza pan then sprinkle with the spices. Bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes. If you double the recipe cook 15 to 20 minutes.

Add desired pizza topping such as red sauce, mushrooms, green pepper, onions, cheese, etc. Bake until brown and cheese is bubbly.

This makes four pieces.

Number of Servings: 4

**Thought I’d add…. When the recipe says to “rice” the cauliflower here’s what it means:  How to rice cauliflower

I prepared ours in a cake pan, and topped it with cheese and turkey pepperoni. YUM!

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Grilled Romaine Salad

I had seen this recipe on a show on Food Network, and thought it sounded a bit strange. But then my in-laws tried it and went on about how delicious it was…. So, curiosity got the best of me, and I just had to try it to. Let me tell you, I am in LOVE! This is how I want my salad every night for dinner :)

Mmmmm..... Grilling it brings out so many flavors in the romaine. You have to try this, so tasty!

Here’s the recipe via Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions:

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Rinse and pat dry the lettuce. Cut the 2 heads in half lengthwise. Brush surface with olive oil and grill about 4 to 5 minutes total, turning occasionally. Place each wedge on a salad plate and drizzle with your favorite Caesar dressing. With a vegetable peeler, shave some pieces from a wedge of Reggiano-Parmigiano over each salad and serve.

**I add some salt and pepper to the lettuce after brushing it with olive oil, and we use just plain old Parmesan cheese. I do drizzle mine with a little Caesar dressing, but it actually tastes delicious without any dressing at all. Enjoy!

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Bacon and Egg Risotto

My husband and I are big fans of Hell’s Kitchen. On the show, one meal Gordon Ramsey always has the chefs make risotto. It looks so yummy that I just had to try to make some. Well, after one meal we fell in love with it. Now I make my own little additions and changes to recipes, and this is one rendition that we LOVE. Bacon risotto with a poached egg on top. YUMMY!!!!!

Here’s the recipe!

Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced (optional, the hubby isn’t a fan of onions so I don’t include them in mine)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon and reserve.
  2. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to low to keep the chicken stock hot.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion begins to turn golden brown at the edges, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the rice and stir until the rice is coated in butter and has started to toast, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; stir in white wine and stir until rice has absorbed it. Continue by stirring in one-third of the hot chicken stock and stir constantly until the rice has absorbed the liquid and turned creamy. Repeat this process twice more, stirring constantly. Stirring in the broth should take 15 to 20 minutes in all. When finished, the rice should be tender, yet slightly firm. **Stirring is VERY important, it’s what gives risotto that creamy consistency
  5. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Meanwhile, poach your eggs. If you don’t know how to poach eggs, you can check it out HERE
  7. Serve topped with 2 slices of bacon and poached egg. (Jason prefers the bacon crumbled and mixed into the risotto, you can do that too!) Slice your tomatoes and serve alongside the risotto. The perfect bite consists of a little risotto, a crumble of bacon, and a bit of tomato. Mmmm. Enjoy!!

**For extra bacon-y tasting risotto, you can substitute the 2 tablespoons of butter in step 3 for some bacon grease. I’ve done it this way before, and while it ends up a little greasy, it is REALLY tasty!

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