Category Archives: Desserts

Chocolate Fix

So, after conference last week, I’m a bit tired. I’m not feeling like doing much of anything today. (Truth be told, I’m writing this Monday afternoon and I’m hoping Tuesday will be better since we have to prep for Michael’s birthday this week.) I’m also craving some chocolate and we are out of sugar-free chocolate chips. :(

In my desperation, I opted to make something chocolatey. We had two options: 1) make skinny chocolate with cocoa powder, coconut oil, and sweetener or 2) melt down some unsweetened chocolate and add some sweetener. Tiffany looked at the calories of the coconut oil versus the unsweetened chocolate and deemed the unsweetened chocolate the winner.

So Tiffany was a sweetie and made the sweets, melting down the chocolate in a double boiler.

If you don’t have a double boiler, you can put a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add sweetener to taste,  to the melted chocolate. Keep it over the water until the sweetener dissolves. (Taste for sweetness.) We used about a third of a cup of xylitol but I think I would have preferred it a bit sweeter. ;)

Then we spread it out on parchment paper and put it in the freezer to firm up quickly.

Remove when firm and break off pieces.

I decided it could benefit from a bit more sweetness and a little salt, so I put some powdered sweetener and salt in a bowl and dipped the chocolate in it before eating it. :)

This cured my chocolate craving without adding too many calories to my day. :)  I hope it helps you too.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Jello: Easy, Homemade, and From Scratch

When I made that delicious healthified version of Strawberry Pretzel Salad for Independence Day, I remembered that I really like Jello and gelatin desserts. Thing is that I don’t want the bad-for-you sweeteners and bad-for-you ingredients, so I hadn’t considered making it. But part for part of that dessert you use plain gelatin (which is very good for you) and fruity tea to make a gello to pour over the strawberries. That’s when this idea was born.

My biggest struggle was to get the amounts of ingredients right. I did a little search to find other people that made homemade gello and found some that used fruit juice. Well, that will not do for me, as I need this to be low calorie and low glycemic. :)

I decided to go with the Wild Berry Zinger tea from Celestial Seasonings for my flavor. When I make something, I like to make enough that I’m not going to be having to make it or something else again the next day. :) I started by boiling a pot of water.I placed four tea bags in a measuring cup and added four cups boiling water.Meanwhile, I put 1/4 cup cool water in a bowl, added two tablespoons of plain gelatin and stirred to soften the gelatin.

I was doing two batches: one wild berry and the other peach.

Then added 1/4 cup just-off-the-boil water to dissolve it.

When the tea is as strong as it is going to get or as strong as desired, remove the tea bags and add sweetener. I used 1/2 cup Gentle Sweet. Stir to dissolve it in the tea.

I did not get a picture adding the sweetener to the wild berry one. ;)

Then add the dissolved gelatin to the tea. Just pour it in and stir it to mix it all together. At this point you can pour it into individual containers. When it is cool enough, put it into the refrigerator to firm up. It will take a few hours to do so.

Jello: Easy, Homemade, and From Scratch

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of boiled water
  • 4 tea bags, desired flavor
  • 1/2 Gentle Sweet or sweetener preference
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • 2 Tablespoons plain gelatin
  • 1/4 cup just-off-the-boil water

Instructions

  1. Steep flavored tea bags in the 4 cups boiled water (about 15 minutes or so)
  2. Put 1/4 cup cool water in a small bowl
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons plain gelatin to cool water and stir to soften
  4. Add 1/4 cup just boiled water and stir to dissolve gelatin.
  5. Remove tea bags and add sweetener
  6. Stir in gelatin and cool about 15-30 minutes
  7. Refrigerate until set (a few hours)
http://lifeofjoy.me/jello-easy-homemade-and-from-scratch/

This is a nice sweet snack that will help cool you off a bit during the brutal heat of summer. ;)

What is your favorite fruit flavored tea?

Thanks for stopping by,

Michele ºÜº

Healthy Fruit Pizza Cookies

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor the rest of this month, in honor of Christmas in July, Tiffany is putting her book on sale! If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February. If you like ebooks, grab that as it is a better deal for both you and her. ;)


Earlier this month I promised to share the yummy desserts I made for Independence Day and I had forgotten about it, until the other day.

I remember, years ago, someone made a fruit pizza and I really enjoyed it. It had a sugar cookie base. I don’t remember what the frosting was but then it was covered with a variety of cut up fruit. It was really good.

Well, I saw this Healthy Fruit Pizza Cookie on facebook and it looked so good, I was willing to make a second dessert on the fourth.

It was really easy. It’s a quick cookie base, which can be made up ahead of time (think: in the cool of the day). Then it is just a matter of mixing up the cream cheese frosting and adding the fruit.

This one is definitely a keeper here, even though some of our cookies didn’t make it. :D The tray of freshly baked cookies slid off the pans it was resting on when it first came out of the oven and most of them became a crumbled mess.

Of course, that didn’t stop us from eating them. They just weren’t nearly as pretty and couldn’t be eaten by hand but they were still just as good.

So, hop on over to Taryn’s website and get the recipe to make these very soon. I’ll probably make these again soon myself, especially with the plethora of delicious fresh berries available right now. But I’ll be making the cookies in the morning when it isn’t so hot.

I hope you’ll enjoy this dessert as much as we have.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Summer Dessert We’ve Loved

For a while now, I’ve been craving the Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I never had this when I was young but loved it several years ago when I had my first taste. The saltiness of the pretzels really paired well with the sweetness of the rest of the dessert.

Well, I saw a keto version of this deliciousness several months ago and decided I needed to make it. Independence Day seemed like a good excuse to make it. ;) The creator said the pretzel layer was her favorite in the original dessert and so she had to get it just right. I believe she nailed it! We loved it!

My Tweaks

I made two tweaks to her recipe.

  1. I used Wild Berry Zinger Tea because I don’t like raspberry. I know, sad but true. However the Wild Berry Zinger Tea worked great for me. This has some raspberry in it but it isn’t blaringly obvious, thus tasted great.
  2. I used Neufchatel, which is a lower fat cream cheese, because I am desperately trying to lose weight and appreciate a few less calories where I can manage it.

That’s it. This deliciousness is easy to make. I made the crust early in the day because it does require baking the three ingredients in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

The cream cheese layer is no-bake and very similar to my no bake cheesecake recipe. Very simple ingredients. Just remember to get the cream cheese (or Neufchatel) out when you make the crust so that it softens by the time you are ready to make the cheesecake part.

The top layer is just sliced strawberries with a small amount of ‘jello’ to hold it all together. I refrigerated my bowl of jello and set the timer to stir it after five minutes and then forgot to reset the timer for the last five minutes and it was a solid mass. So I had to do that part over again but I just reused the same two tea bags from before. (There’s something to be said for not cleaning up after yourself immediately. :D )

I hope you’ll give this dessert a try. It really tastes great! Hubby said, “I think I know what I want for my birthday dessert.” :) My 26yo son said it kind of tasted like a pecan pie wanna be. :D He has a sweet-tooth and added more sweetener to the top of his piece the next day and liked it better; he said the strawberries were too tart/bitter. He’d never had Strawberry Pretzel Salad before so had no idea ‘context’ for what this dessert was trying to recreate. However, in the last couple of years we’ve found that we love pecan pie thus his pecan pie comment. ;) We all loved it! Kudos to Jacinda.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Cinnamon Trifle Cake

For Tiffany’s birthday last year she requested THM’s Tiramisu recipe for her birthday dessert. I don’t like coffee, so I made myself a smaller one using Cinnamon Cuffin mixes and eliminating the coffee extract from the pudding or cream, whichever it was in. She tasted both and loved both. So this year she made it easy on me and said I could just do the cinnamon version.

I used 5 cuffin cinnamon cuffin mixes for the cake. We’d gotten several boxes on sale and it is nice to have them for quick things or to make a longer recipe shorter. :)

I fixed up the pudding layer making it vanilla and then the cream layer adding vanilla and butter extracts following the directions in the THM Trim Healthy Table for tiramisu trifle cake on page 387.

Then I simply layered them in the bowl and added a few chocolate chips on top for decoration. Well, that and the fact that Tiffany loves chocolate chips and adds them to so many things. ;)

She loved it! Which is what is important, since it was her birthday dessert. I think I may use either cinnamon butter bundt cake or a pound cake next time though.

This is a nice, light, refreshing dessert. I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Planning for Easter

Preparing for Easter ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, Lent is nearing its end which means that Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday as we sometimes call it, is nearly upon us. Lent is about preparing for Easter. I’ve been reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) this month, filling my thoughts with the deeds of Jesus. I just finished Matthew a few days ago and feel really good having the historical account of what Jesus did in the forefront of my mind as we approach Easter.

There are a few activities you can do with your children, on top of reading the Bible with them in preparation for Easter. I’m sharing today, so that you can buy the ingredients to make the rolls and cookies and be prepared. :) The first takes the most prep work and the last is the easiest.

I may make these Easter Cookies with my grandson when they are up around Easter. I believe that I can easily modify them to be sugar free and everything else in them works on THM, keto, and other low carb eating plans. Of course the Resurrection Rolls will take a bit more work because of the marshmallow. ;) Maybe next year I’ll figure that one out.

I hope this helps you prepare for Easter,

Michele ºÜº

No-Bake Pie Crust (low carb)

The biggest difference in this crust and the graham cracker crust I used to make for my No-Bake Cheesecake is the flour and sweetener. Well, considering there are only 3 ingredients in the crust, I guess that is a big difference. :D

I opted to do as suggested on Gnom-Gnom and lightly toast the almond flour. I also went with the two cups she suggested for a full pie rather than the 1 1/4 cups I used of graham crackers. I have to admit that I preferred this thicker crust.

Toasting Almond Flour ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt started pale in color, which you cannot tell by the lighting of that first picture. This one shows it  a bit better.

ready to toast almond flour ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was afraid to toast it too long, so I stopped when it was only lightly golden but probably could have toasted it even longer. Toasted Golden ~ Lifeofjoy.meI put my stick of butter into the hot skillet to melt it quickly and not dirty yet another thing on this busy cooking day. :)

Pie Crust prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis time I used Sukrin Melis because it is supposed to measure the same as sugar. However used in the strawberry cheesecake too, we found it to be a bit too sweet and I will cut the sweetener back a little in the filling next time.

The crust is simple. Combine the sweetener and almond flour and then add the melted butter. (That’s easier than what I did. ;) )  Combine well and press into pie pan. (As you can see, I put all the ingredients in the pan and then combined it all . . . not the best way but still doable.)

combine crust ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.mePie Crust ~ LifeofJoy.me

Low Carb No-Bake Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup - 6 Tablespoons Melis or Gentle Sweet
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Toast the almond flour (or almond meal) for 2-5 minutes, until golden/toasty. 🙂
  2. Place in pie pan with sweetener and combine.
  3. Add melted butter and combine well.
  4. Press into pan evenly and up the sides.
  5. Fill and enjoy. 🙂
http://lifeofjoy.me/no-bake-pie-crust-low-carb/

Almond flour crusted no-bake cheesecake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI hope you enjoy this recipe. The family really really loved how toasting the almond flour increased the flavor of the pie. I have realized that I’m not really a fan of almond flavor (as the experience with almond extract taught me, although I thought it was just the extract ;)). So I think I’d prefer it with a mix of other nut flours like walnut or pecan.  But let me know how you like it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Peanut Caramel Candy ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Pay Off Day Candies

Michael loves Payday candy bars. So every now and then I make him these candies. The first several times I made them I followed the directions and tried to spoon it out into circular candies, which did not turn out well for me. However they tasted delicious. So I got creative and decided to let laziness take over. ;) I put the candy mixture into a loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper to make it easier to remove. Then I just cut it into pieces/bars. :)

So here’s how you do it.

Put the butter, gentle sweet, and stevia into a pan and begin stirring as it melts.


butter to melt ~ Lifeofjoy.me
melt butter and sweetener ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Sweeteners ~ Lifeofjoy.me

While it is just starting to heat up get your other ingredients ready to go: nuts, peanut butter, heavy cream and caramel extract.

Add caramel extract to heavy cream ~ Lifeofjoy.me

When the butter and sweeteners are melted, add in the heavy cream and caramel extract.


melted butter and sweetener ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Add cream and caramel ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Whisk as it slowly boils.


Whisk away ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Keep whisking until it becomes a nice caramel color.


Nearly caramel colored ~ LIfeofjoy.me

Watch it carefully once it begins to brown because it goes from that to this in just a few seconds, it seems.


Right colored caramel ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Now we add in the tiny bit of natural peanut butter and the slightly chopped peanuts and combine.


Adding peanuts and pb ~ Lifeofjoy.me
pay off day candy ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Here’s where I cheat and just put it in a parchment lined loaf pan. Since I made a double batch today, I’m putting it in a parchment lined 8×8 pan.


Put in pan ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Then I put it in the refrigerator and let it harden up. I’ll cut this in half and then each half into 8 strips/bars. The recipe is supposed to make 16 pieces, so I reckon each of our bars are two pieces. ;) It doesn’t last long around here.

DIY Payday Candy ~ Lifeofjoy.me

The full recipe is on page 381 of the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook and can be found online if you search for it, especially if you have a THM membership.

I hope this helps you make this delectable candy.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Slice Zucchini Chocolate Cake ~ lifeofjoy.me

Mostess Bundt Cake

Think Hostess cream filled cupcakes but bigger. :)

So, I took the Mostess Cupcake recipe from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook page 395, doubled it, and baked it in a fluted pan.

Mostess Bundt Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe reason I doubled it is because it makes twelve cupcakes and I know that a usual cake batter that can be baked as cupcakes, bundt cake, or two layer cake makes 24 cupcakes, so I figured it would be a very short bundt cake. Doubling it made it the right height. :)

I made the cake one day and then the next day I made the cream filling and ganache, combined it and refrigerated it to eat the next day. It was scrumptious! :)

Inject Cream in Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI shared a video about filling it with the cream on my instagram account on Saturday. The next picture shows the injector I used. It was a cheap one but it has a tip that allows you to inject the cream in the cake without removing any cake bits. :) Then it has other tips for decorating.

Cream blobs on top ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany’s is better but we couldn’t find hers. They can be found rather inexpensively. We found her nice one for $2 at TJMaxx, I think. Mine was a little bit more at Walmart. Mine holds more cream but isn’t all that great. ;)

Every time I make the ganache, it is too thin and I have to add more chocolate chips. It thickens nicely at first but it is like I pour it the cream too slowly and it gets too warm to thicken after that. Hmmm, I may be on to something here . . . I do mine in a double boiler . . . maybe I need to turn the burner off when I add the cream so it doesn’t get too warm.

Well, anyway, just be aware that you may need to add more chocolate chips or not add all of the cream but it is worth the effort. :)

Mostess Bundt Cake ~ lfieofjoy.meCut Mostess Cake ~ Lifeojfoy.meSince my ganache is so thin, it makes a bit of a mess. ;) But we eat it anyway. :)

Slice Zucchini Chocolate Cake ~ lifeofjoy.meWell, I hope you enjoyed my spin on the Mostess Cupcakes.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Holiday Desserts

Usually for the holidays, I make Apple Cake,
Slice of Apple Cake ~ LifeofJoy.me
Pumpkin Bars,

Pumpkin Bars ~ Lifeofjoy.mePumpkin Pie,Pumpkin Pies ~ LifeOfJoy.meand Apple Crumble Pie.Yummy Apple Crumble Pie ~ LifeOfJoy.me

I had it down pat, getting it all baked in the shortest amount of time. Bars first because they mix up quickly and bake quickly too. Then the pumpkin pie. It is another quick mix recipe but takes a bit longer to bake. So up next is the apple crumble pie, which takes a bit longer to prep because of the peeling and chopping of apples. Ending finally with the cake.

But this year is way different! We are on Trim Healthy Mama (THM) which means none of these recipes are on plan. So I made Cinnamon Butter Bundt Cake Cinnamon Butter Bundt Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.mefor breakfast in place of the Apple Cake. Let me tell you, it was delicious! Usually I bring home three-fourths of the cake but this year I only brought home about 1/3 of it and it was all gone the next day. Scrumptious! (Don’t let this not-so-good picture fool you. It is really great.)

Cinnamon Butter Bundt Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is a recipe from the recently released Trim Healthy Table cookbook but is also available at the link above the picture of the slice of cake.

Either my parents or my sister gets some donuts usually, so I decided to make some donuts. Blueberry cake donuts are a favorite of mine, so that’s what we made. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of them. :( I guess we’ll have to make them yet again. ;) Yes, Tiffany made some more Saturday night so we’d have some Sunday morning. And yes, they are all gone with nary a picture. Consumed in one sitting. Needless to say this recipe is a keeper. :)

I also made a pecan pie with sukrin gold fiber syrup. It is a keto pie and delicious. I never had pecan pie growing up. There were a few times when I thought about making one but the corn syrup always hindered me. So when I saw this pecan pie, I had to try it and I’m so glad I did. This is the same one I made for the Holiday Bash at church a few weeks ago.

Sukrin Gold Pecan Pie ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe has added a revised recipe to the video description for people that cannot have the Sukrin Gold Fiber Syrup because it spikes their blood sugar. So, if you cannot use or simply don’t have or prefer not to use this marvelous syrup, you can still try her recipe.

I also found a pumpkin bar to substitute that was pretty similar to what I used to make. It had some extra spices that I didn’t care for but my kids did. Tiffany made it again Saturday night for our dessert because it too, was gone by Friday night. ;) I had her use only cinnamon and I liked it better BUT I made an addition I’ll share on a future Tuesday. (Aren’t I mean? :D )

Pumpkin Bars ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese pumpkin bars are really good though. They are nice and moist, just like they should be. When I took them out of the oven, I wasn’t sure they were done, but I just trusted the recipe and am glad I did. :) They were so moist. They weren’t overly sweet either.

We are so used to bringing home so much dessert and eating it over the weekend that we ate all these up before the weekend was even over. I had intended to give our sweet mail carrier some sweets but the pigs in this house didn’t give nobody a second thought. :D So, now we need to make more goodies to share. :) Yeah, that’s the reason! hee hee (In our defense though, we were so busy and noisy in here, decorating and stuff that I didn’t even hear when she came on Friday. I’ll make it up to her but it’ll have to be after I buy groceries again. :D )

I’ll be sharing pictures of making these recipes, as I make them again (and link back to the original for the written recipe then too). I’m going to be trying some more recipes over the next few weeks, allowing myself to have some “s” desserts instead of mostly “fuel pull” desserts this month. I’ll be happy to just maintain my weight this holiday season and work on losing again come the first of the year. :) (For those that don’t know, “s” desserts are more like keto, low-carb desserts and Fuel Pulls are both low in carbs and fats, better for eating at the end of the day.)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We sure did!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº