Category Archives: Side Dishes

cheese and cashew-free queso ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Cheese-Free Queso

I would never guess that this queso had absolutely zero cheese in it. Totally amazing! Give it a try.

This recipe starts with half an egg plant. Simply slice it into rounds, salt them, and place them in a strainer to pull out some of the moisture from them.

Draining Eggplant ~ Lifeofjoy.mePat dry with a paper towel. (I do not rinse because I figure that will just put back in moisture I worked so hard to remove. ;) )

Dap Eggplant dry ~ Lifeofjoy.meI spray once side with oil and place that side down on my air fryer rack, which is a bit different than how Dana does it, since I have it available and spray the other side too.

spray eggplant ~ Lifeofjoy.meI then air bake it until golden. I actually did this part the day before we were going to eat it, just because I could, no other reason. ;)

roasted eggplant slices ~ Lifeofjoy.meWrap them loosely in foil for a bit to get the skins to let loose. Then peel the skins right off.

peeling eggplant ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made a double batch this day but it was not necessary. This makes soooo much! It really does feed 6. :)

Add almond milk, eggplant, and garlic ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the milk, garlic, eggplant, and seasonings in blender.

queso seasonings ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd slightly drained salsa.

add salsa ~ Lifeofjoy.meBlend away. :)

queso in blender ~ lifeofjoy.me

Now, I have a Vitamix, so I use the soup setting and let it heat up. Takes just 5 minutes total. At some point, I sprinkle in a bit of glucomannan to thicken it rather than the cornstarch Dana uses. I’d say it’s probably about 1/8 teaspoon for a single batch but adjust to your liking.

Check out Dana’s site, Minimalist Baker, for the complete recipe and directions here. I’ve had this with baked Tostitos and loved it. Hubby eats it with blue corn chips.

cheese-free queso ~ Lifeofjoy.mequeso ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Here are the changes I made to keep it usable in a THM E setting:

  • only used a light spraying of oil
  • used about 1/8 teaspoon glucomannan in place of cornstarch

I believe the queso itself is actually a fuel pull. :) Yummo!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Broccoli Salad

This is a salad with a twist. :) The flavors meld together nicely and this is a family favorite here. I am met with cheers when it is announced as a side dish for dinner.

One day I was looking for a bit of a different salad to have with dinner. I was tired of regular lettuce salad and was looking for a broccoli salad similar to the one I’ve had before–broccoli, red onion, and cheese with a mayonnaise dressing–when I came across this gem.

I had to change some things up a bit because of my picky family members and because I don’t keep pesto on hand most of the time. So, because of these tweaks, I can share it with you rather than just sharing a link and procedural pictures. ;) But do go over to LivingChirpy and see her version of the recipe.

So, star by cooking 2 cups of broccoli. Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli ~ Lifefojoy.mePasta Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meSteaming this is the best option. I have heard that you should never eat broccoli raw as it can slow the thyroid; also, cruciferous veggies can cause an inflammatory response, so don’t eat them daily.

When the broccoli has steamed to your desired level of doneness, about 5 minutes or so, remove it and let it cool off.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon. I’m using turkey bacon because the hubs cannot have pork at this time.

Cooked Turkey Bacon ~ Lifeofjoy.me

And begin chopping the other ingredients:

Lettuce

Lettuce in salad bowl ~ Lifeofjoy.meBell Pepper

Dice bell pepper ~ Lifeofjoy.meCheese: I slice about 1/4″ slab off my block of cheese

slicing slab of cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meCut it in half

cut cheese in half ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd cut into cubes.

Cutting cheese into cubes ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow it’s time to make the dressing. Here’s where I make some significant tweaks. Since Tiffany doesn’t like mayonnaise, I use heavy whipping cream and whip it a bit so that it is the consistency of mayonnaise. :)

Now, if you have pesto on hand, then you can simply slightly whip up the heavy cream and add the pre-made pesto to it. I, however, do not have any on hand but I keep pinenuts in the freezer for just such a time as this. ;) OH! I should also admit that I do not have any fresh basil on hand either and use dried in a pinch. So here we go.

Place a few pinenuts and a bit of Parmesan cheese into a mini food processor.

Pinenuts and parmesan cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.me(Upon re-reading the original recipe, I realize that I used a bit too much. ;) ) But we still liked it. Ultimately you only need a tablespoon of pesto. There will not be exact measurements because I just grabbed bits of this and bits of that. ;)

Add a good bit of dried basil.

Added dried basil ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen drizzled in some olive oil.

Olive oil, basil, pinenuts, parmesan ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then about two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream . . . yep, just poured some in.

Creamy Pesto dressing ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow, give it a good whirl, until it is the desired creaminess.

creamy pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd all of this creamy loveliness, to the salad with all the rest of the ingredients.

Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine and serve! :)

Creamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI do need to say that I do not include the peas in this salad, that the original recipe called for because of the amount of fats here. On Trim Healthy Mama, we separate our fats from our carbs, except at specific times ( s helper and crossover meals) but if you are at the point in your journey where you can have this type of meal, I’m sure the peas would be a tasty addition.

Creamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meCreamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
  • about 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • about 2/3 cup small cheese cubes
  • 2 cups or so of lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • about 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine lettuce, broccoli, bacon, bell pepper, and cheese cubes in a salad bowl.
  2. Whip the heavy whipping cream and add the pesto or combine ingredients for pesto and the heavy whipping cream and whip together. 🙂
  3. Add dressing, salt, and pepper.
  4. Combine and serve.
http://lifeofjoy.me/broccoli-salad/

Here is my recipe to make easy pesto.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Baked Okra ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Baked or Oven “Fried” Okra

Don’t like slimy okra? Then this is for you. :) Okra has so many benefits that it is worth trying.

Yep, you read that right. AND I’m going to go ahead and say it, these pictures aren’t that great. The okra probably looks overcooked to you but let me just say, that’s how we like it, at least Tiffany and I. :) There are some vegetables that just need to be DEAD when I eat them. :) I like them better that way. Generally speaking, over time, I can enjoy them less dead.

The thing about okra is that I don’t like the sliminess of it when it isn’t completely cooked. It has to get dried out. :) Now, that level of “dried out” is different for each person. So, just adjust this picture to see it how brown YOU like it.

One thing I’ve learned with recipes is that people like quick and easy. This is one of those recipes. But like many of my recipes, it isn’t really a recipe. ;)

So here’s what we do.

Line a pan with foil. Because we like ours well done and that leaves its mark on the pan, so for easy clean-up we line the pain with foil.

Line pan with foil ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext, dump on desired amount of frozen okra pieces.

Frozen Okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meDrizzle with some coconut oil.

Add coconut oil ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd seasoning of choice, we use a generic Mrs. Dash kind of seasoning.

Season Okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meSprinkle with salt.

Add salt to okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meStir it all around to get it evenly coated. Tiffany likes to just get in there and use her hands but you could use a rubber spatula if you so desire. ;)

stir to coat evenly ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut in air fryer, toaster oven, convection oven, or regular oven and bake until desired browning has occurred. Ours takes about 20 minutes on 450º. It would probably be a toastier brown if we weren’t always so impatient and baked it on like 350-400º for about 30 minutes or so. (We use air bake–which is convection–in our toaster oven/air fryer.)

baked okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou see that green part on the edges? Yeah, that went back in after we removed the nicely burnt ones to our mouths. ;)

It really is easy. If you are trying to time it for a meal, give yourself 30-45 minutes depending on amount and method of baking. You can always keep it in the oven, with the heat turned off while the other things finish cooking.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Caulirice ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Caulirice

When fresh cauliflower is inexpensive, make ‘rice’ from it yourself instead of paying over $2 for a 12 ounce bag. It’s easy!

It can be frustrating to have to make so many things just to make dinner, so the convenience of having riced veggies in the freezer is tempting. But I have a hard time paying ($2.48 for 10 oz and $2.48 for 12 oz.) $3.31 a pound for it when I can make it so easily at home. Lately I’ve been able to get a whole head of cauliflower for only $1.69 at Aldi or 98¢ a pound at Sprouts.  At 98¢ a pound, I can get nearly 3 times the amount of cauliflower for the same price.

When buying fresh cauliflower by the head, I get the biggest head I can find. But it’s really important when buying by the pound to get the best trimmed heads so that there is very little going into the compost bin. ;) When buying by the head, it isn’t as important to get the best trimmed head because you’re not paying for the leaves and such per pound, it’s just part of the head.

Making riced veggies is soooo easy and takes a really short amount of time. I break or rough cut the cauliflower into similarly size pieces and then give it a quick whirl in the food processor. Then simply put it in a pot with some water and cook it for a few minutes or sauté it in a pan either with water or good healthy fat.

So here we go. I got a head with little leaves.

Cauliflower Head ~ Lifeofjoy.meRemove the leaves.Remove leaves ~ Lifeofjoy.meGreen removed cauliflower ~ Lifeofjoy.meRough chop into similar size pieces.

Rough chop cauliflower ~ lifeofjoy.meThis was a large head, so I could only do half of it at a time.

Cauliflower in Food Processor ~ Lifeofjoy.mePulse 5-10 times until it is broken into rice size pieces.

Processing Cauliflower ~ Lifeofjoy.meCaulirice ~ Lifeofjoy.meCauliflower Rice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI then put about an inch of water in my pot and add the riced cauliflower. Cook until desired softness is achieved.

Cook Caulirice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI put a lid on it and cook it about 10-15 minutes. Serve with salt and butter or sauce.

I hope this helps you save some money. I know it helps my budget.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

 

Low carb Homemade noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Homemade Noodles the THM Way

Low carb, low fat, low calorie homemade noodles. These are made from glucomannan, which is from the konjac root.

There are noodles that you can buy that are good for a low carb lifestyle. Mind you, they smell very fishy but if you rinse them enough and cook them they aren’t bad. One brand is Miracle Noodles. They tend to be a bit rubbery tasting but when used with the right sauces, are wonderful on a low carb way of eating.

Those noodles are made from the konjac root. More precisely they are made from the fiber extracted from the konjac root or elephant yam called glucomannan. In THM circles it is frequently referred to as “gluccie.”

Trim Healthy Mama has their version of these noodles but they are not always in stock. Plus they are not very much like homemade noodles. Enter Judy from Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved who made a homemade noodle recipe using gluccie and oat fiber. Now, a word about oat fiber: not all are created equal. My first experience with oat fiber was with Anthony’s and the resulting product tasted like playdoh–yuck!!! Then I was told to try Lifesource and since it wasn’t very expensive, I gave it a try. Night and day difference!

Recently I tried the THM version because we order from them monthly and I only bought the oat fiber from Netrition, so the the shipping costs are prohibitive but since we already place an order with THM monthly, it doesn’t really add much more.

When I started making this recipe the other day, I didn’t realize that I was going to blog it, so I missed taking a picture of the first step. I’ll try to remember to take a picture next time I make these noodles and add it to this post then. The family loves these, so I’ll probably me making them again before long.

I make a double batch every time I make them. I tried a triple batch but found out that my food processor cannot handle it. :D

So you process the eggs in the food processor. Then add the dry ingredients and whirl to combine. Then add the broth.

Homemade miracle noodle dough ~ Lifeofjoy.meLet it rest for a few minutes to allow those very thirsty ingredients absorb the liquid.

Noodle dough ~ Lifeofjoy.meI bought the noodle press that Judy recommends so it makes quick work of making the noodles but the first time I made this recipe I rolled it out on parchment paper and used a pizza cutter to cut it into noodles.

Make low carb noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut on the size noodle you want and twist and cut.

Homemade low carb noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meMaking noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen let them sit in the refrigerator for a bit. Then add them to your recipe. This day I pan fried them in butter so they kind of reminded me of gnocci. I have also quickly boiled them in ham or chicken broth but must keep it short in the water.

cooking noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn just a few moments they are done. :)

Low carb Noodle dinner ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, hop on over to Judy’s site and grab the recipe. It’s a keeper in my house. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Broccoli Slaw ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Broccoli Slaw

Simple to make and saves money. Use in stir-fry or a salad, or make it into a slaw.

Okay, I know I called this Broccoli Slaw and it really isn’t slaw. What it is though is the main ingredient in broccoli slaw made at home from what you would normally throw away.

You know when you have fresh broccoli, you don’t want all that stem?

Broccoli crowns and stems ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell don’t just toss that stem. Cut it to a size that will easily fit in your food processor chute.

Cut broc stems ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut the grater side of your slicing blade up on the food processor and be sure to remove the s-blade from the bottom of the bowl.

grater blade ~ lifeofjoy.mePut the top on and remove the plunger. Put cut broccoli stems in chute and process away.

broccoli stems in chute ~ Lifeofjoy.meTurn it on and plunge it down; refill as needed.

grated broccoli stems ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen grated, if you are not ready to use it, put it in a freezer bag and freeze. If you actually want to make a broccoli slaw (like cole slaw but uses this instead of cabbage), use it right away or refrigerate it, as I don’t think it will be good raw after frozen.

Bagged Broccoli slaw ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt may be a bit more finely cut than what you purchase in the store, but it works the same. ;) I like to use mine in stir-fry.

This gives you a bit more food from something you already bought–free food, yay!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Onion Rings ala Bacon ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Onion Rings ala Bacon

Satisfying side dish to a sandwich-style dinner. The onion melts in your mouth and the bacon is tender but could be cooked a bit longer to crisp up even more.

I used to love onion rings. Yep, I would get them at most restaurants at least once but then the hard part was remembering which ones I loved and which ones I disliked.

Love the tower of onion rings at Cheddars! Mmmm mmmm! But the ones at Burger King taste fishy but so do their french fries much of the time; I think they must cook fish fillets in the same grease and then don’t clean it often enough. :(

Enter the ketogenic diet and I don’t eat onion rings any more because of the breading. I saw the ketogenic cookbook by Jimmy Moore and Maria Emmerich at Sprouts one day and decided to check it out of our local library. There were so many recipes in it that I could see me using, that I put it on my birthday list and received it. One of the recipes is for rings of onion wrapped in thin strips of bacon. It was very intriguing.

I bought a package of thin bacon specifically for this purpose and some sweet onions, which happened to be on sale at Aldi that week. I kept putting it off and putting it off and finally Sunday evening was the day! My dinner plans were all amuck because I changed my mind about what to cook at the last minute (without consulting a recipe) when I went to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw Saturday night. Then Sunday when it was time to think about getting dinner going, I consulted the recipe and found I was missing a key ingredient and did not want to have our first taste of this new recipe be less than the way it was intended. So . . . we punted and everyone willingly fended for themselves. Well, I made Michael a fried egg sandwich.

I was up in the air with what to make for myself but had these onion rings tempting me. So I mentioned it to Tiffany and she wholeheartedly agreed!

It is soooo simple to do.

Cut a sweet onion into slices a bit thicker than a half in but not quite three-quarters of an inch. You want them to be as even as possible but don’t stress about it. Tiffany didn’t cut ours very even and they turned out just fine.Peel and Slice Onion ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Separate the onion slices into rings and wrap one piece of bacon around one onion ring. That’s it!Bacon Onion Rings ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Lay it down on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bacon Onion Rings ~ Lifeofjoy.meBacon Onion Rings ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, we had already used this once to bake bacon this morning. Poured off the grease and reused it. :)

Ours didn’t need toothpicks to hold the bacon on but use them if you need to.

Bake in a 375º oven for 25-35 minutes or until the bacon is as crispy as you desire.

Onion Rings ala Bacon ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese are crispier than they look in this picture. ;)

The onion gets nice and soft and the bacon . . . mmmmm, delicious! I wish we had taken more pictures, but we were hungry folks! Maybe next time. ;)

Onion Rings ala Bacon

Ingredients

  • About 1 pound of thin cut bacon
  • 2-3 sweet onions

Instructions

  1. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Peel the onion and slice into rings about 1/2"-3/4" thick.
  3. Wrap one slice of bacon around the onion ring.
  4. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 375º for 25-35 minutes, or until bacon is done as desired.
http://lifeofjoy.me/onion-rings-ala-bacon/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Cheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Cheese “Bread”

Nice little cheesy breadstick kind of thing. ;)

This reminds me of the appetizer available at pizza places where they cook a pizza crust with some cheese on top and serve it with marinara. It is not as thick but it resembles it all the same.

I saw this on facebook and have no idea who created it. I took a screenshot of the nice graphic but I keep having a hard time retrieving it from my computer. I decided the best way to be able to find it was to put it on here. Plus it is good. :)

I cover a pizza pan with parchment paper.

Cheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.meCheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine 1 cup of shredded mozzarella with 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, an egg, and a little sprinkling of garlic powder.

Cheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.meFlatten it out to an even layer.

Cheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.meBake at 350º for about 15 minutes (it really depends on how thick or thin you spread it out on your pan.

Cheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.meCut into strips and eat. You could have it with some marinara but that would add more carbs. I just eat it plain with whatever else I am having.

Cheesy Breadsticks ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Cheese “Bread”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and spread on parchment paper on a baking sheet (I used pizza pan.)
  2. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes
http://lifeofjoy.me/cheese-bread/

Enjoy!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Seasoned Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Seasoned Green Beans

Green Beans, regular cut or french cut, seasoned with ham and minced onion. If slow cooked, you might even think they were from Cracker Barrel. ;)

Are your green beans boring? Here’s how to make delicious green beans. All it takes is some canned green beans, bacon or other ham pieces, onion powder or minced onion, salt and pepper. You could use fresh or frozen green beans but you’d have to cook them a LOT longer.

Empty a can of green beans into a pot, french cut style or regular cut style. Pour out some of the liquid, about half of what is in it.

Seasoned Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add a piece or two of bacon (or ham of some sort), depending on how thick it is. I used one piece of turkey bacon.

Seasoned Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeasoned Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd a sprinkling of dried minced onion, onion powder, or a bit of fresh minced onion. I used dried minced onion last night.

Seasoned Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meBring it to a simmer and cover. Simmer for a bit. You can serve them as soon as they are hot, if you used onion powder. Otherwise, cook for about a half an hour. You can also put this in a slow cooker and cook for several hours.

Seasoned Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Seasoned Green Beans

Ingredients

  • Canned green beans
  • minced onion
  • piece of turkey bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in pot or slow cooker.
  2. Simmer on stove for about 30 minutes or several hours in slow cooker.
http://lifeofjoy.me/seasoned-green-beans/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Zoodles ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Zoodles

Julienned strips of small zucchini, sautéed in oil or butter.

Today’s recipe is so simple that it isn’t really a recipe. ;)

This is made from zucchini but I think you could use yellow squash too.

I wish I had one of those spiral veggie slicers because it seems like it would be a bit easier than the julienne peeler I have.

Basically, all you need to do is wash the zucchini and then slice.

Zoodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meUnfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the next steps. You could steam it or boil it, which I have tried and did not like. What we have found we do like though is to season it with salt and cook it in a skillet with butter or coconut oil, until it is done to your liking.

See? It’s that simple. Serve with your choice of sauce. We’ve had this with Meatballs Parmesan, Pesto Meatballs, and pictured here with Spaghetti sauce.

Zoodles ~ Lifeofjoy.me

We have found that we prefer to use the smaller, thinner zucchini rather than the larger, fatter ones. Michael had liked these every time I made them except this last time when I used the larger zucchini; he said it had a stronger taste that he did not like. So be forewarned. ;)

Zoodles

Ingredients

  • zucchini
  • tablespoon of oil or butter
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Julienne the zucchini.
  2. Heat a drizzle of oil into a skillet.
  3. Add zucchini
  4. Salt, as desired, (this helps it cook quicker)
  5. Serve in place of spaghetti.
http://lifeofjoy.me/zoodles/

Enjoy!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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