Black Bottom Cupcakes

I discovered this morning that I am only 39 views away from the goal I had set for the end of 2015. I’m only 2 months behind…oh, well. I guess I shouldn’t have set such a lofty goal of 20,000 total views! This year I will be a little more realistic! Oh, and this is post #375! I guess that’s not bad for 5 years of blogging.

I also saw this recipe today and thought I would share it here with you. It looks so amazing!! I definitely need to give it a try. I think you all will enjoy it too!

Taryn over at Joy Filled Eats has created this dessert. I am new to following her blog, but if this recipe is any indication of her creativity in the kitchen, I will be making quite a few of her others!

Riced Cauliflower

I am sure that title is causing a few of you to cringe a little! Riced cauliflower? Yes! It is very easy to make and can be used instead of rice or quinoa…not in a casserole, though!

I heard about ricing cauliflower over on the THM Facebook page and decided to give it a try last week. The hubby enjoyed it. That is saying a lot since he loves his rice, potatoes, or quinoa. Obviously, the flavor is not the same as rice, but once you add a little gravy (low-carb, of course), it makes a great side for our Sunday dinner pot roast.

Before I share the recipe, let me show you what I harvested from our garden this morning. Yes…this morning…February 6! Last summer and fall, Tim would plant new veggies after harvesting some others so that he could see if he could grow crops year-round. The radishes were planted in the same bed where he grew our sweet potatoes. The carrots grew in the bed where he had the yellow squash. Even though we did have a few days of sub-freezing temps and a brief snow/ice storm, these grew well! I will add them to the crockpot for our Sunday dinner tomorrow!

Ok, now for the cauliflower recipe!

1 large head of cauliflower

2-3 tbsp. coconut oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and other spices to your own liking

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and put them into the bowl of your food processor. Don’t overload the processor. I did mine in 2 batches. Chop the cauliflower into fine, rice-like pieces.

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add the riced cauliflower and seasonings. Stir gently until all the cauliflower is coated with oil and the spices are well-mixed. Keep stirring as the cauliflower cooks. Once you notice that the cauliflower is shrinking in size, remove it from the heat and serve immediately. It will get mushy if you over-cook it. It should still be crispy when you serve it.

This makes for a great side dish for a pot roast or chicken. Enjoy!

15 Low-Carb Recipes

We are going to end this old year right by sharing a blog post by Carolyn over at http://www.alldayidreamaboutfood.com. She has compiled 15 mouth-watering recipes that were favorites on her blog during 2015. From breakfasts and snacks to lunches and dinners, she has a little bit of everything!  I, for one, can’t wait to give some of these a try!

You can read them here! Go ahead! What are you waiting for?  🙂

Ranch Dressing

 

10579969_1458679077732150_2232507119026160296_n

Trying to stay calm here! My 2Lt comes home on Friday for at least 10 days!! We missed him at Thanksgiving, so we are glad that he will be here for Christmas!

Last week I shared a DIY ranch dip which we really enjoyed. Today another blogger has shared ranch dressing. This sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to give it a try.

I’ve been following Nana’s Little Kitchen blog for several months now. She shares some great recipes! Click on the link above to try the ranch dressing. Then scroll down through her other recipes. You won’t be disappointed!

DIY Ranch Dip

Here we are already with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas fast approaching! I had all but one of my kiddlets around my Thanksgiving table this year! We had fun just being together, playing games, eating, and then hiking on Friday. Barbi and her man wanted to go hiking while they were in town for their brief visit. We headed up to Table Rock and tried the Table Rock Trail. It is a 3.6 mile hike up a very steep trail! The hubby and I desperately wanted to make it to the top, but after 2 hours of hiking and still only half-way, we decided that we should head back down. The five 20-somethings all made it to the top along with our sweet little grand! I really can’t complain, though, because if we had tried this hike a year ago, neither the hubby nor I would have gotten very far at all! Actually, the hubby probably would not have even tried it! All of us have tired and achy muscles today!

This was our view from the half-way point:

015

This is how Mia hiked most of the way:

006

At this time last year, I was about 1000 views to this blog over the goal I had set for 2014. This year I am about 1000 views behind! Such a bummer! Many thanks to you who have stayed with me and supported me so far in this blogging venture! I do appreciate you!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was definitely more traditional than THM. But that’s ok, because we will get right back on THM next week. I love that this eating plan is so forgiving!

I was trying a few new things to go with some snacks this year and found a ranch mix in the new THM cookbook. I modified it and then realized that I could add some to sour cream and have my own ranch dip for raw veggies. It was really pretty good! Next time, though, I think I will go a little easier on the garlic. It was strong!

1-1/2 tbsp. garlic powder (can use dried sliced garlic)

3 tbsp. dried chives

3 tbsp. dried parsley

1-1/2 tbsp. dried minced onion (can use powdered onion)

1-1/2 tbsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until mixed and the larger pieces are much smaller. Add about 2-3 tbsp. of this mix to 1 cup sour cream and stir well. Give it a taste test to see if you need to add anything else. Enjoy with raw veggies like carrots and broccoli!

Twice Cooked Sweet Potatoes

I can’t believe we are at the end of June already! Summer has officially started, the days are getting shorter and the year is half over! Seriously, time truly does fly when you get older!

Since sweet potatoes are allowed on our THM eating plan, we eat them often and I needed to come up with a way to use any that we might have left over. Usually I bake one medium-size potato for each person who will be eating. Last week I ended up with an extra one since son #2 didn’t eat dinner at home.

This recipe is really easy to make and tastes very good!

baked sweet potatoes

1-2 tsp. coconut oil

seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. Whatever you might like!

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut up into bite-sized cubes. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the potato cubes. Gently turn them as they brown until they are golden crispy on all sides. Sprinkle with seasonings as they get crispy. Serve with your favorite meat and a salad! THM friendly!

Pickled Eggs

A few weeks ago my hubby asked about fixing him some pickled eggs. I had never made pickled eggs before, so I had to do some searching to find a suitable recipe. Unfortunately, the recipes I found all use sugar. Sugar is not on our eating plan, and I wasn’t sure if they would taste ok if I used a sugar substitute. He assured me that he would eat them without sweetener. So after reading various recipes, I came up with this one for him. I hoped he would like them because I don’t eat pickled eggs. I don’t eat anything pickled! Yuck! He liked them, so they are now on the menu list to make again! Without sweetener, they are THM friendly!

1 can sliced red beets (15oz)

6 eggs, hard cooked and peeled

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

Place the sliced beets and eggs in a 1-quart Mason jar. Combine the beet juice, water, and apple cider vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.Pour over the beets and eggs in the jar. Let cool.

Cover and refrigerate for about 24 hours before serving. My hubby said that 24 hours wasn’t enough time for the eggs to pickle well. He liked them better after waiting for about 48 hours.

Salsa Verde

May 1, 2015! Can you believe it is May already? Or maybe you are thinking that it is finally May! Either way, the year is passing quickly. One week from today my college senior commissions in the AF, and one week from tomorrow he graduates! How is that even possible?  My 3rd child is old enough to graduate from college?? It seems like only yesterday when we dropped him off, a scared knob at a military college. Today he is a confident senior, sure of his calling in life, and ready to do it.

May 1 is the 5th anniversary of The Cookbook Experiment!! We have had almost 17,000 views to the blog (just need 90 more!) and this post is #333!

May 1 is the 9-month mark since the hubby has been eating healthy and exercising. As of this morning, he is down 48 pounds! He has gone from a size 58 suit coat to a 46!! He will be in that uniform for the commissioning next week!!!

And just a bit of fun family trivia…we always made May 1 the birthday of the very first pet to join our family. We knew her birthday was around that date, so that was the date we chose for the vet records. Today is the 16th birthday of the first cat we ever had. Barbi wanted a calico kitten for her birthday that year. By the time we found one and went to get it, the owner had already given it away to another family. But they still had a solid black one which we took home that afternoon. Properly named Blackie, she has been a faithful pet for all these years.

Today’s recipe is a new one for me.  I often make fresh salsa during the summer when tomatoes are in abundance. However, when I realized that the 2 tiny cilantro plants that I put into the garden 2 years ago have become so prolific that I now have over 15 plants, I knew that I had to come up with some new recipes for cilantro! This recipe happened to be in our local paper this week. It is wonderfully easy! And the article written with the recipe gives lots of ideas for additions to the basic recipe as well as ways to serve it. So if you like green salsa, give this recipe a try!

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp. salt (the hubby said it needed more)

zest and juice of 2 limes

1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed

5 oz. fresh spinach leaves, stems removed

1/2 c. olive oil (I used less)

Put the garlic, salt, lime zest and juice into a food processor and process until garlic is chopped finely. Add cilantro, spinach leaves and part of the olive oil. Process until smooth, adding more oil as needed.

001

And that’s all there is to it!  I added a small onion and some peppers in with the garlic. Hubby thought it wasn’t quite hot enough for him, so he added some ground red pepper and some ground white pepper.

Other ideas can be using kale instead of spinach and adding tomatillos, capers, or jalapeno peppers.

This salsa can be served as a dipping sauce for chips or spooned over grilled chicken or fish.

4-Cheese-Bacon-Ranch Cheese Ball

Last weekend we took a whirlwind trip to see my sister and her family for Easter. I don’t know when my sis and I were last together on this special day! I do know it has been years.  She was blessed to have had ALL 5 of her children, their spouses (the 4 who are married), and all 7 of her grands with her!!  Isn’t this a beautiful family?

11082311_10155442666860541_9177978979415858436_o

 

Yes, I do realize that the name of this recipe is quite a mouthful! I was trying to figure out the best name for my cheese ball and didn’t want to leave any part out. So, this is what I came up with!

Believe it or not, I had never made a cheese ball until this week. Not ever. My mom never made one, as far as I know, and we only ate them during the Christmas season, so I usually bought one.  However, a few weeks ago, a friend asked me to make one for a bridal shower. I did some searching on Pinterest and on the internet and found several that I thought would do, but none of them seemed to be just right.  So, as I often do, I created my own! This is the Cookbook Experiment, after all, you know!  Anyway, the ball was a hit at the shower (and the hubby gave it his approval, too)!

16 oz. softened cream cheese

3 wedges of spreadable garlic & onion cheese (I get mine at Aldi)

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

8 oz. finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 to 2/3 c. crumbled  cooked bacon

1 pkg. ranch dressing mix

powdered garlic and onion to taste if you want a little more flavor

1-1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheeses, bacon, ranch dressing, and spices. Mix well until very creamy.

Spread chopped pecans on a piece of plastic wrap.  Shape cheese into a ball and roll in the pecans until fully covered, pressing the nuts into the cheese.  Gently lift ball and place into a bowl about the same size as the cheese ball. Cover and refrigerate at least 2-1/2 hours.  Serve with your favorite crackers!

004

This recipe is fine for my hubby to eat on his diet plan as long as he uses the Wasa crackers instead of traditional crackers. Yay!!

 

On-the-Plan Peanut Butter Cups

As most of you know I’ve been trying to help the hubby to lose weight and exercise ever since September. I am delighted to tell you all that he is just one pound away from 30 pounds lost!! Believe me when I say it has taken lots of hard work!! He has been swimming laps, lifting weights, and walking. We even completed a 5K last weekend!! We didn’t run it or even jog it, but we power-walked it and jogged a little of it. Here we are crossing the finish line:

10675706_10206257338015389_6709119569269508034_n

We all know that Valentine’s Day is a day for candy and flowers, right? Well, since the hubby has been working so very hard to lose the weight, I did not dare purchase his favorite peanut butter cups for Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, on the Trim Healthy Mama face book page, someone shared a recipe for peanut butter cups that are permitted on the plan. I was so excited to see the recipe!! I knew that I could give my man his favorite treat but not give him a sugar high. I don’t remember who shared the recipe or if it came from a blog, so I apologize in advance for not giving credit where credit is due.  And of course, these don’t taste completely like the name-brand candies that can be purchased at the store, but they still give the delicious peanut butter/chocolate flavor that most of us love.

3/4 c. coconut oil, solid but soft

1 tbsp. natural peanut butter

3 oz. 85% chocolate (I got it at Aldi)

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 pinches of sea salt

1/2 c. sweetener (I used a powdered Stevia and needed a bit more)

1-2 tbsp. heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all these ingredients together in the top of a double boiler. Bring water to a low boil in the bottom part of the double boiler. Whisk until melted and smooth.

Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. Drop about 1 tsp of the chocolate mixture into each liner. Freeze for about 10-15 minutes. Keep the remaining chocolate at room temperature.

While the first layer of chocolate is hardening, mix all these ingredients together until well-blended:

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted, but not hot

1/3 c. natural peanut butter

1/4 c. full-fat cream cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. powdered sweetener

1-1/2 scoops vanilla whey protein isolate

Once blended well, drop about 1 tsp on the top of each muffin paper and smooth it out a bit over the chocolate. Stir the remaining chocolate and pour about 2 tsp. on top of the peanut butter mixture. Make sure to cover the peanut butter. Return pan to the freezer or refrigerator for about 30 minutes. When set, remove paper liners of peanut butter cups from the pan and store in a plastic freezer bag in the fridge. They soften easily at room temperature, so be sure to keep them in the fridge.

You may have extra chocolate and peanut butter mixtures. I lined a glass pan with foil and spread the extra peanut butter blend in it, and then drizzled the remaining chocolate over the top of it. Once it set, I broke off pieces to enjoy!

004