Yes, I said Blondies…I promise, it’s a real food thing…no kidding!
I finished an episode, scheduled for tomorrow, so I decided to make a dessert. Blondies are kind of like brownies, except not made with chocolate. These are particularly delicious and seasonal, thanks to the pumpkin in the batter. They just happen to be both low carb AND gluten-free!
Here’s the recipe:
Low Carb Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Banana Blondies with Walnuts
1 stick unsalted Butter, softened slightly
1 ¾ C. Splenda
1 small can Pumpkin Puree
2 very ripe Bananas
1 ½ tsp. Blackstrap Molasses
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla
2 ¼ C. Almond Flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp. Pumpkin Pie spice
¼ tsp. Salt
½ C. or more of Walnuts (or chopped dried plums or dark chocolate chips or anything else that sounds good!).
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees and use convection fan.
Butter a square 9×9 baking pan. Parchment paper in the bottom of the pan can help prevent sticking.
Beat Butter and Splenda together. Add eggs and blend in. Add Molasses,Vanilla, Pumpkin and Bananas and mix well.
Combine Almond Flour, Baking powder, Spice, and Salt. Add to wet mixture and blend well. Add Walnuts if desired.
Pour batter into square baking pan and smooth it out.
Bake in a 300 degree convection oven for 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean. Since ovens vary in temperature, be sure to check every 5 minutes or so starting at 45 minutes into the baking time.
Cool on countertop, then cut in squares and store in refrigerator…if there are any left!
Having gotten this recipe done to my satisfaction, all that remained was to win the highly coveted “Hubby Award”. To get a nomination for the Hubby Award, a low carb desert recipe must not elicit a comment such as “tastes like sawdust” or “maybe it will be okay with ice cream”. This low carb brownie recipe underwent 4 iterations, all of which either ended up in the trash or will actually be eaten with ice cream at a much later date (when we are desperate!). The final and Hubby Award winning version of Low Carb Brownies succeeded by being “full of oozing chocolate chips” and “dense and chewy like real brownies”. There you have it. Try my recipe and collect your own Hubby Award!
Here it is:
Low Carb Brownies
4 oz. Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chocolate chips or bar, melted and cooled
10 oz. cream cheese, slightly softened
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 C. Splenda
6 large lightly beaten eggs
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 C. Almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 C. Vital Wheat Gluten protein powder (Bob’s Red Mill)
6 Tbs. Dutch-processed dark cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
6-8 oz. Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chocolate chips for stirring into batter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with convection fan running. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan (lining the bottom with parchment paper is optional, but works well if it is also buttered). In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the melted, cooled chocolate and fold in the Splenda. Beat in I/3 of the eggs at a time, scraping the bowl well after each addition. Add the coffee and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. In a medium bowl, mix the almond meal, VWG protein powder, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add 1/2 the dry ingredients mixture at a time and beat well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 minutes on convection until the top is firm (ovens may vary). Cool before cutting. Store brownies covered, in the refrigerator. Note: these brownies are low carb but not gluten free. If you want gluten free just use only almond flour (1 1/2 c.).
Chopping a Low Carb Broccoli-Cauliflower salad and pounding the keyboard!
I’m writing another script, getting my daughter packed up for college, and making a traditional treat for tonight’s dinner. This salad has been a favorite in our family for many years. It just “says” summertime, with it’s crunchy elements and sweet-tangy dressing. Years ago we made the dressing for this salad with sugar. We didn’t have a clue about low carb eating. In recent times, we started using splenda as the sweetener and, with that one change, the Low Carb Broccoli-Cauliflower salad was born. This recipe makes enough to serve a whole bunch of people, or to use as a light dinner by adding some fish or chicken.
Here’s the recipe:
Chop up these ingredients and put in a large bowl:
1 Cauliflower (cut in small pieces)
A matching amount of Broccoli (cut in small pieces)
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms (can be chopped a bit)
1 small purple onion (chopped)
1-2 stalks celery (sliced and chopped)
2-3 Tablespoons golden raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Make this dressing:
1 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Splenda
1 T. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
Pour dressing on salad and toss to coat the pieces.
Chill for 3 hours.
I’ll explain the picture of roasted butternut squash in a minute. But it has to do with this being NOT an unusual day. Every day that I am scheduled to shoot a College Money Mom video, there are three or four problems that crop up…just when I have gotten my hair to behave and my make-up is not yet a hot mess!
So I’ve almost come to look forward to the unique little problems each and every time…precious little problems like the dog didn’t get walked in time and left a form of doggie hate-mail in the middle of the foyer. Hubby tracked it around, of course. I had to clean it up. But then, I offered.
After putting myself back together, we dared to start recording. BOOM! Thunderstorms, plural, repeating every ten minutes or so. With driving rain announcing itself on the windows between the lightning and thunder, we soldiered on, recording small parts of the video whenever things died down a bit. And then the frogs started. Ewww, Ewww, Ewww! They actually sounded like birds shouting their disapproval of the terrible weather. But even the frogs had a predictable pattern, making it possible to sneak a little recording into the margins of nature’s scheduled events that we can never control.
Food distracts one from the problems of the day, so it was imperative to bake something warm and yummy and low carb, of course! Having a butternut squash on the counter provided the raw material for my spicy roasted butternut squash. Peel, cut up, toss in a foil-lined baking pan with olive oil and a dusting of Tony Chachere’s or Emeril’s (best for this dish) and bake at 350 until tender.
This week I am writing a script about repaying your student loans. This is for a few weeks from now. Needless to say, this is a stressful subject. So much to explain in under 3 minutes! It just makes me want to eat a giant bowl of PASTA! What’s a low carb College Money Mom to do? Why, cut up a spaghetti squash, of course! Voila! Low Carb Pasta!
You know you want some! Do this:
Cut a spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds and other goopy stuff, leaving the rind intact.
Cut it in quarters and put it in a microwaveable cooking bowl. Put in an inch or two of water. Cover and nuke for 10-12 minutes on high.
It’s done when you can poke a fork through the rind material and it starts to shred easily. Drain and put the pieces aside to cool a bit. When you can hold them comfortably, remove all the shreds of cooked rind. Guess what it looks like? Yup, spaghetti! Yay!
You can eat it plain or with spaghetti sauce. I like to add melted butter (real butter please), salt , a little garlic powder, and a generous crank of my favorite black pepper. Back to work now…see you on Youtube!
Just sit down and watch this video. You might just feel a whole lot more confident and ready to tackle this infamous government financial aid form. After all it’s the most effective way to get money for college! It’s hard to believe, but the FAFSA is the gateway form to just about all the college financial aid there is. The Federal Government takes the information you enter in the FAFSA form and computes your Expected Family Contribution or EFC. Almost all colleges take their cue from the EFC when it comes to handing out grants, scholarships, work-study funds and federal student loans. Compared to the much more invasive CSS Profile form used by about 250 elite private schools, the FAFSA is a comparative snap. But stay vigilant and do your homework. This is your chance to get your fair share of the Federal student aid pie.