Low Carb Panna Cotta – Sugar Free & Sinfully Mmmmy Goodness

Panna Cotta, coffee flavored with dark unsweetened chocolateSugar Free. Carb-less.  That’s my life these days.  I’m experimenting with a lot of things I had not tried before, which has been a lot of fun.  But I’ve missed having something dessert-ish.  We did some searching and found a low-carb, sugar free quick panna cotta recipe and woot!  Oh, baby!

(Update: Pictures are below) I would have taken pictures.  And I will put some up.  But apparently, in my excitement about making creamy goodness, I didn’t even think about it.

This recipe takes less than 3 minutes to prep, and a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

Panna Cotta – Sugar Free

Serving size: 5 servings of 1/2 cup each

1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons unsweetened gelatin powder (This is a single Knox Gelatin envelope).
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract (
sugar substitute equal to 3 tablespoons cup sugar (I used splenda, my boyfriend used stevia).* See note below
Pinch of Salt (just a tiny bit!!)
1 1/2 teaspoons shredded unsweetened dark chocolate

Sprinkle the gelatin powder on the warm water and set aside to soften for several minutes. Stir completely to dissolve any remaining bits. In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. With a whisk, stir in the gelatin. Mix well but don’t over mix or it will become foamy. Put into custard cups, ramekins, or one single bowl, and chill for 2-4 hours. Sprinkle the shredded chocolate on top just prior to serving. This is softly gelled, but no where near as firm as a jello would be.

Sprinkle the gelatin powder on the warm water and set aside to soften for several minutes. Stir completely to dissolve any remaining bits. In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. With a whisk, gently stir in the gelatin. Mix well but don’t over mix or it will become foamy. Put into custard cups, ramekins, or one single bowl, and chill for 2-4 hours. This is softly gelled, but no where near as firm as a jello would be.

Note:  For any panna cotta, start with a bit less sweetener, and then sweeten to taste.  I use less when making the Orange Creamsicle below, but more when making the coffee flavored as above.


A few upcoming ventures and variations will include adding and then a “key lime” flavor with zest of key lime, and the juice of 1 or two (depending on size).

“Orange Creamsicle” 2 teaspoons orange extract and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. The zest of 1/2 an orange would be great with this as well.

Oh, the possibilities!!!

Just as a side note — if you don’t want this sugar free, replace the sugar substitute with sugar.

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Chicken Fried Steak (aka Schnitzel), with Milk Gravy

I made “Chicken Fried Steak”, with milk gravy today.  Big deal, you say.  Well, for me, it was.  It was the first time I’ve ever made gravy that didn’t seize up into an inedible mass of flour-y greasy goo.  It made me way too happy.  Giggly, even.  Haha!!

I haven’t made Chicken Fried Steak in 15+ years (and never had the gravy turn out edible).  But I’ve made other schnitzels many times, but never the recipe my family made. “Schnitzel?”, you ask.  Why, yes,  Chicken Fried Steak is just schnitzel.

Schnitzel can be any meat, that is pounded out thin, dipped in flour, dipped in egg, dipped in a breading, and then fried.  Pork, chicken, veal, beef, alligator, kangaroo or squirrel, if that’s your thing.

A conversation I had with my ex-mil even before I was married:

Me: “Ah.. you are making chicken schnitzel.”

MIL:  “Schnitzel?”

Me: “Yes, it’s the German word for what you are making.  It’s just any meat that’s dipped in eggs, dipped in breading and then fried.”

MIL:  (in a very high pitched voice) “I don’t eat German food.”

I think Americans forget that foods we make, foods we love, and foods we grew up with are not always American.  Schnitzel being one of them.  In New York, we make “chicken cutlets”.  Meat, dipped in egg, dipped in seasoned bread crumbs, fried.  If I say I’m making “chicken cutlets”, everyone knows what I’m talking about.  If I say I’m making “chicken schnitzel”, only Europeans know what I’m talking about.

This recipe is what I grew up eating.  Instead of bread crumbs, it uses crushed saltine crackers.  My family alsways called this “Chicken Fried Steak”, but it’s also called “Country Fried Steak” as well.  I’m sure there are other names out there in the world, too.

Eggs, flour, crumbs, cube steak, salt & Pepper

Eggs, flour, crumbs, cube steak, salt & Pepper

Chicken Fried Steak

1/2 a pound cube steak
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 sleeves of crushed saltine crackers (240 grams or 8.5 ounces)
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dip the cube steak into the flour, removing any excess.  Dip into the egg and then lay in the cracker crumbs.  Cover the top and press the crumbs onto the steak.  Set the pieces to dry for about 10 minutes.

Allow to dry for about 10 minutes

Allow to dry for about 10 minutes

In a large frying pan, add in 4 tablespoons of oil.  Add in the tablespoon of butter.  Heat to medium-high.  Allow the oil to get nicely hot, and add in the steaks.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until the crackers are golden brown.  Drain on a rack or paper towels – whichever you have.

steaks in the frying pan perfectly cooked steaks


If you cannot get cube steak at your market, use a thin piece of steak.  Round or London broil sliced lengthwise thin.  Pound out to make the pieces very thin.  Starting from the outside edge, pound away from the center to get an even piece.


OMG I can make Milk Gravy!!!

OMG I can make Milk Gravy!!!

OMG I Can Make Milk Gravy

Gravy is supposed to be simple and easy to make.  I can make a pan sauce to die for, but have never succeeded in making milk gravy.  Yesterday was a first!! And it really was an “OMG, I can make milk gravy” moment!

2 Tablespoons or so of the drippings
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Cup milk
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan you used to make the steaks.  At medium heat, sprinkle in the flour and whisk quickly.  Mix well and continue to whisk for about 1 minute.  After the minute is up, add in the milk, continuing to whisk.   Allow to cook on medium  heat for a couple of minutes, until the gravy begins to thicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately.

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Simple Enchilada Sauce

I wanted a simple and easy Enchilada sauce. This is it. All the ingredients found in my cupboard, with a 20 minute cook time.

Simple Enchilada Sauce

3 Tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon flour (or low carb baking mix, just to thicken)
3 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/3 teaspoons ground cumin
10 ounce tube tomato paste
1 teaspoon dry oregano
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste

In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add flour (or low carb mix) and stir in well. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for another minute. Add in the tomato paste, oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once at the boiling point, reduce heat down to low and cook for about 15 minutes. This will reduce and thicken. Stir often (I use a whisk). Salt to taste. Either use immediately, or refrigerate for up to a week. This also freezes well.

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap..and I missed it!

pbcookies.jpgDarn it.

Arrgh!  (Pirate’ease for “Well, hell!”)

I had heard about “The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap” last year — when everyone posted their goodies.  I thought “Oh, fun fun — I want to do this next year”, and then, being me, promptly forgot about it.  (I’ve fixed that for next year by signing up for their notification – so smart am I, I am, Said I).

So, since I didn’t participate, I thought I would list here all the cookie recipes I have created.  I hope you find something that you enjoy.

Maple Walnut Blondies

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies (Spritzgeback)

The Best Sugar Cookies

Pecan Butter Cookies

Coconut Macaroons

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies (Flourless)


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Christmas & Holiday Recipe Collection


Time flies when you are busy!  I just moved, and hopefully will get back to cooking and creating recipes once the holidays are over.  Until then…..

I’ll be making some Peppermint Bark candy this weekend and The Best Sugar Cookies ever.

A few more holiday treat recipes to entice you:

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies (Spritzgeback) – Simple and easy recipe

Easy Cherry Almond White Chocolate Fudge – wosa yummy

Crunchy Nutella Hazelnut Chocolate Bars – these are like heaven in your mouth

Peanut Butter Fudge – A childhood favorite — When I make these, I have to give 3/4 away, or I’ll eat it all

Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread – this is just amazingly lovely

 Roosamanna (Semolina Pudding)  – A great Estonian pudding and one I will make for Christmas Eve


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Lemon Custard Cake for Two


Lemon Custard Cake for Two

1 egg, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest (reserve 1/4 teaspoon of zest)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 325F (163C).

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolk until light and fluffy.  Add in sugar, milk, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt.  Mix until smooth.

In a second mixing bowl, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form, and then gently fold into the lemon mixture.

Pour the mixture evenly into two ungreased custard cups (6 ounce size).

Using an 8 inch baking pan, place the custard cups into the pan, and then pour boiling water into the pan to until the water comes up on the cups about 1 1/2 inches.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean, and the cakes are golden.  To serve, place a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with the remaining lemon zest.

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Lies Lies Lies!! Caramelized Onions, 5 vs 40 Minutes!

A fantastic article on caramelizing onions and how long it REALLY takes.  5 minutes (which all the recipes say) and the 40 minutes it ACTUALLY takes!



Layers of Deceit

Why do recipe writers lie and lie and lie about how long it takes to caramelize onions?

By Tom Scocca

Browning onions is a matter of patience. My own patience ran out earlier this year while leafing through the New York Times food section. There, in the newspaper of record, was a recipe for savory scones with onions, currants, and caraway. Though I wasn’t particularly interested in making savory scones, one passage caught my eye:

“Add the onions to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until they begin to turn dark brown and somewhat soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and a pinch of the fine sea salt; continue cooking until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes longer.”

Soft, dark brown onions in five minutes. That is a lie. Fully caramelized onions in five minutes more. Also a lie.

There is no other word for it. Onions do not caramelize in five or 10 minutes. They never have, they never will—yet recipe writers have never stopped pretending that they will. I went on Twitter and said so, rudely, using CAPS LOCK. A chorus of frustrated cooks responded in kind (“That’s on some bullshit. You want caramelized onions? Stir for 45 minutes”).

Read the remainder of the article here at Slate

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