Peanut Butter Cookies {4 ingredients; GF; low carb option}

When I discover a recipe that allows me to make cookies by only messing up 1 bowl, 1 spoon and uses 4 ingredients…I’m so in. This is a great recipe for the kids to make for the same reasons – super easy, and not so messy! In fact, my kids made at least 3 batches of these cookies in one week! (One batch was included in the end of the year teacher gifts.)

You can make them with the traditional criss cross markings on top, which for whatever reason is my favorite.
You can make them as drop cookies or roll them into balls, AND you can add chocolate chips – if you want to make it 5 ingredients. Chocolate makes everything mo’betta.
You can also make these with regular peanut butter, natural peanut butter, or peanut butter replacements (WowButter, Sunflower butter). You can also make them with sugar substitutes, like Splenda, for a low carb, low sugar version. {and yes, I’m aware that some people are totally against Splenda. I personally prefer Stevia as a sugar sub, but Splenda seems to work better in baking. When you have a diabetic in your family, sugar substitutes are going to be a part of your life.}
We tried different versions, and the best texture comes from regular peanut butter and powdered sugar. The ones with Splenda were a little crumbly, with a slight artificial sweetener aftertaste, but were still good and a treat when you need something low in sugar and carbs. The ones with the natural peanut butter were also good, they are just a little greasier than when using regular peanut butter, but I always buy natural peanut butter (the no-stir kind with no hydrogenated oils), so this is how we will usually make them. When made with peanut butter replacements, they are going to taste like the replacement used, and depending on which one is used, they may be a little greasy or crumbly. I like the flavor of Sunbutter best (I have an easy homemade version here), but WowButter is cheaper and easier to find around here. *There are a couple of other cookies on the blog using PB replacements here and here*  These cookies are flourless, so they make a great snack for anyone who is following a gluten-free diet too! (Just make sure other ingredients used are gluten free.)
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar (or Splenda for sugar free)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner.
Add all of the ingredients to a medium size mixing bowl, and stir until combined and smooth.
Take about a tablespoon of dough and (1) roll in a ball, then use a fork to press down in one direction, then the opposite direction to make your criss cross markings on top OR (2) drop onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes. *The original recipe said 10, ours only needed 8-9 minutes*
Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Have any low carb dessert recipes? I’d love to hear about them!
 

Low Carb Pizza Crust (that you can pick up, hold and fold!)

I’m not a newbie to low carb, and I’ve experimented with different low carb pizza crusts before. There was the egg and cream cheese crust and a previous cauliflower pizza crust attempt. The cauliflower crust had potential, so I decided to give it another try after I saw ‘The Secret to Perfect Cauliflower Pizza Crust‘ by The Detoxinista.  The key, she said, was to really squeeze all the liquid from the cauliflower before mixing your other ingredients.  I gave it a try.

Tip: Make your crust thicker than you think you need bc it will flatten out quite a bit once cooked (because of the moisture drying out.)  Once you bake your crust, add toppings and bake a few more minutes.
We had a little meat lover’s action going on.
But check it out!  Low carb pizza that you can pick up, hold, and fold, just like regular pizza!  Pretty cool.
It is also pretty tasty.  The only thing I will do differently next time is to add more spices to the crust.  The cauliflower has a little natural sweetness to it once baked, so I think adding more spices would help.

 Cauliflower Pizza Crust 

adapted from The Detoxinista – my changes in italics
{makes 1 large crust}

4 cups raw cauliflower ‘rice’*
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
pinch of salt

*pulse cauliflower in a blender or food processor to achieve a rice-like consistency

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Cook your cauliflower ‘rice’ by boiling about an inch of water in a large pot.  Add the cauliflower, and cover. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, then drain with a fine-mesh strainer.
  3. Place your drained cauliflower ‘rice’ on a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, and squeeze all the water out! This is the key to having a crust that will hold together! Be careful, the cauliflower and water is hot, but squeeze it good (rubber gloves are handy for this step!)
  4. In a large bowl, mix your strained rice with the beaten egg, cheese, and spices. Mix well.
  5. Press the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed aluminum foil (mine still stuck to the foil a little, but not bad) into your desired pizza shape. Keep it about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in thickness.
  6. Bake crust for 35-40 mins in preheated oven. The crust should be firm and golden brown when done.
  7. Remove crust from oven and add toppings of choice.  I used pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, turkey sausage, Canadian bacon, and real bacon bits, and cheese, of course!  Return the pizza to the oven, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
 **There are excellent step by step pics in the original post.

 

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa

I’m sorry, didn’t that Groundhog say something about SPRING coming soon?  I think maybe he was wrong. It’s cold. And raining. And I’ve been without heat for ELEVEN days.  Yes, 11 – I’m kinda pissed about it.  I’m fearful the heat repair man will not even come back since I pretty much went off at the without-heat-for-a-week mark.  Thankfully, I live in eastern NC and not Alaska, or Minnesota or places where people have to shovel out of their house.  And, at least I can eat stuff like this to help keep me warm…

After I made the Blueberry Pecan Breakfast Quinoa, and realized I actually like quinoa, I started playing around with different variations.  Since I have this obsession thing for pumpkin and oats (as evidenced by my Overnight Pumpkin Oats, Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats,  and Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal), this was obviously the next breakfast quinoa to try!  Good call.  Good call.  It’s delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa adapted from Veggie Converter & Blueberry Pecan Breakfast Quinoa

1 cup raw quinoa, rinsed (and toasted if desired)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk or water)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
 Topping – anything you like (or plain) I added dried sweet and tart cherries, and pecans
Bring the quinoa, and milk to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer (covered) for about 15 minutes or until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spices and chia seeds (if using) and stir until combined.  Heat through.  Remove from heat, divide into 4 servings. Top as desired.
 
Verdict –  {warm!}comfort food. It’s delish, and healthy!  I divided mine up into individual servings, then placed the remaining 3 in the fridge to eat on for the rest of the week.  It was nice having breakfast already prepared, and all I had to do was give it a nuke in the microwave.  Just add a little milk if it is too thick.


Linking this recipe up at Eat at Home, and the Gooseberry Patch Blog

Blueberry Pecan Breakfast Quinoa

Yes. Quinoa for breakfast.  Weird, I know.  However, it is January and all, and I am *supposed* to put on a bathing suit in 3 months. Yikes.  Let’s not talk about that right now.  Let’s talk about breakfast.  I love breakfast food…pretty much anytime of day.  I also love grains…regular oats, steel cut oats, cous cous, you name it.  Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah” for whatever reason) – not my fave (and I read that technically it is a seed, not a grain, but whatev.)  I have made it a couple of times before and it just tasted….earthy.  Which is my nice way of saying it tasted kinda like dirt.  I figured it was because I wasn’t cooking it correctly – and I was correct.  
When I saw this recipe for Quinoa Porridge from Closet Cooking, I knew I had to give quinoa another try.  It is really good for you and I have been determined to incorporate it into our diet.  And by “our” I mean “mine” at the moment.  I’m working on winning everyone else over.

Blueberry Pecan Breakfast Quinoa

adapted from Closet Cooking

 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond-Coconut milk (can use any milk you like)
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  •  
  • Toppings – Pecans, Sprinkle of turbinado sugar, more Almond-Coconut milk (optional)

Bring the quinoa, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer (covered) for about 15 minutes or until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat, stir in blueberries.  

 For serving – add choice of toppings.  I added pecans, turbinado sugar and more milk.  (Makes 2 servings)
 
Verdict?  Yummy-licious.  A warm, filling breakfast, that doesn’t taste earthy. You can reduce the calories by using a low fat, low sugar milk (The Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk is only 45 calories per serving); sugar free syrup, and skip the raw sugar on top or use Stevia or something instead.  It just depends on how sweet you like it.  I am glad that I have found a way to enjoy quinoa, and I have been experimenting with other breakfast flavors too.  Like Pumpkin Pie!