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I don't crave sweets very often, I'm more of a savory/ salty snacker, but one sweet treat that I almost always crave is ice cream. I don't have an ice cream maker, but since getting my Ninja blender (powerful enough to make ice cream), I've been having fun experimenting with different ice cream flavor combinations. I really wanted to do something using lemon and/or mint leaves, and thought I'd give those flavors a try with blueberries. I think it came out great, though I will probably come back and tweak it at some point. So if you have a blender that can make ice cream (Ninja, Vitamix, etc.) this recipe will work for you. I don't know how this would work out in an ice cream maker, but I guess it's worth a shot!
I used a basic blender ice cream recipe as a starting point, just to get the ratio of cream to frozen fruit correct. Next, I chopped up some fresh mint leaves and zested a lemon. For the lemon juice, I just had squeezed about a teaspoon of juice from one half of the lemon I zested into the blender pitcher. I've been trying to avoid artificial sweeteners lately, so I used just a little honey to add sweetness rather than adding Splenda or stevia. I wasn't sure how that would work out, since I didn't know how much/ little sweetness it would add, but I liked the end result.  You can add more if you want it sweeter.

After adding all the ingredients, all you have to do is continuously pulse the blender (scraping the sides occasionally if needed) for about a minute, or until the mixture is well blended and has a thicker, ice cream consistency. You can serve it right away, but I always think it's a little too soft fresh from the blender. I stick it in the freezer for about an hour before serving.

The recipe is below, give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
What you'll need:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
3 mint leaves, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. raw honey
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Total time: 10-15 minutes
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Number of servings: 4
Nutrition info.: 11.3 g fat (6.9 g saturated fat), 144 calories, 11.1 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 7.6 g sugars, 1.1 g protein 
Directions:

  1. In a high powered blender (capable of making ice cream), add the ingredients in the order listed below.
  2. Blend all ingredients for approximately 1 minute, or until well blended and has a thick ice-cream consistency (scraping sides a once or twice if necessary).
  3. Remove from the blender and serve immediately or put in freezer for extra hardening. Enjoy!
 
 
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Lately I've been craving some kind of Buffalo chicken casserole, and I haven't had a lot of success finding a recipe I like. Only one has kind of come close, and that was a Betty Crocker recipe involving (very not-low-carb) Bisquick.  Obviously, that wasn't going to work. Since I've been experimenting with different uses for oopsie bread, I decided to try using that as sort of a "pastry" topping for the casserole I was building in my head. By the way, if you haven't tried oopsie bread yet, you really need to. It is a low carb must have for me to keep on hand, especially if a sandwich craving hits.
So, rolling with this oopsie "pastry" topping idea, I decided to try out my own Buffalo chicken casserole, loosely based on the Betty Crocker recipe. The original called for celery, which I don't care too much for in recipes. So instead, I opted to use diced green peppers, which worked out pretty well if I do say so. It also used scallions, which I didn't have on hand, so I chopped up a shallot instead. Overall, I think this came out great, and hit the spot for the Buffalo chicken craving. The topping browned faster than I hoped, so I ended up finishing the cooking time with a sheet of foil on top. I would recommend starting the first 20 minutes of cooking time with a foil tent (to prevent sticking in the "pastry" batter). The recipe is provided below, try it out and let me know what you think!
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What you'll need:

1 lb. cooked chicken (chopped)
11 oz cream cheese, softened, divided
3 large eggs
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. psyllium husk
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Nutrition info.: per serving:  34.9 g of fat (17.8 g saturated fat), 473 calories, 7.2 g of carbohydrates, 2.5 g of fiber, 34.4 g of protein
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine one (8 oz.) package of softened cream cheese, hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing. Spread mixture over bottom of a greased 9 inch square baking dish (or pie plate).
  3. Layer the chicken, peppers, shallot, and then shredded cheese over the cream cheese mixture.
  4. For the "pastry" topping, first separate the egg whites from the yolks, setting both aside in separate bowls.
  5. Add the salt to the bowl containing the egg whites and beat until the egg whites are stiff.
  6. In the bowl containing the egg yolks, add the remaining 3 ounces of cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add in the psyllium husk and baking powder and stir. Fold in the egg whites, being sure to keep the light, airy consistency. 
  7. Pour the "pastry" mixture over the casserole and lightly spread.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.  For the initial 20 minutes, cover the dish with a foil tent in order to avoid over browning of the "pastry" topping.
 
 
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So I bought a spiffy new Ninja blender/ food processor the other day and was itching to try it out.  The first thing I decided to try was making some cauliflower rice because I've wanted to try it for a while now. Well, it came out awesome, and now there are so many recipe options that I'm excited to try with this excellent rice substitute!

First up, one of my favorite foods, baked stuffed peppers. I really had trouble finding a recipe online that matched how I like stuffed peppers to taste, not to mention that a lot of them call for tomato sauce, which has extra sugar in it.
So instead, I decided to make my own recipe up as I went and I have to say it came out pretty well! For starters, I have red peppers in the picture, but you can use any color pepper. I also used grass fed ground beef, which I think is a lot more flavorful.
The cauliflower rice was super easy to make, it just took about 6 pulses in the food processor to get the right consistency. Some recipes call for cooking the cauliflower after it's been processed, but I left it raw for this recipe to allow it to cook inside the stuffed peppers.

Instead of using a tomato sauce, I threw my own together in the food processor, and it came out as kind of a chunky tomato sauce, almost salsa-like in consistency. 

The stuffing for the peppers was made from ground beef (browned with garlic and onion), the cauliflower rice, the tomato "sauce" and some grated Parmesan cheese.
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I decided to slice the peppers in half to stuff them rather than stuffing the whole pepper and trying to get it to stand up while baking.  The peppers were stuffed until a bit overflowing, and I pressed it all in with the back of a spoon.  Next, I added the mozzarella cheese on top and baked it for just under an hour. After about 30 minutes or so, the cheese had started to brown, so I placed some foil over the dish for the remaining cooking time.  All-in-all, I really liked how these came out, although next time I might try doing a ground beef/ sausage combination to add some extra flavor. Check out the recipe below, and let me know if you try it! Enjoy!
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What you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef
4 small tomatoes (halved)
1 1/2 cups riced cauliflower (uncooked)
2 tbsp. garlic, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 peppers, halved lengthwise
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serving size: 2 pepper halves
Servings: 4

Nutrition info.: per slice:  21.9 g of fat (11.9 g saturated fat), 483 calories, 15.1 g of carbohydrates, 56.5 g of protein, 3.7 g of fiber
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brown the ground beef with the garlic and onions and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, pulse chop the tomatoes for a couple of pulses. Add the basil, oregano, parsley and sea salt to the tomatoes and continue to pulse until you have a chunky "sauce".
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the browned meat and the tomato sauce. Add in the cauliflower rice and Parmesan cheese, and mix.
  5. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place the halved peppers in the dish.
  6. Fill the peppers with the hamburg mixture and pack with back of spoon. Add about 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella to the top of each pepper and spread over the stop/ press in slightly.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes.