Holiday, S, Snack

Cheese-Ball Wreath ~ THM S

So many Christmas parties and events with so much food! And often those party and event tables are full of holiday sweets. You are probably making your fair share of healthy sweet treats to indulge in over this holiday season as well, I know I am! But sometimes you don’t want another sweet. Sometimes you just want something savory. This cheese-ball fits the bill perfectly! Of course, you can always make this into the traditional cheese-ball shape, but for a holiday party, this wreath shape is easy and festive!

Cheese-Ball Wreath ~ THM S

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 4-5 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Items for dipping such as raw veggies or the Crunkers recipe 

Instructions

Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl or food processor and mix until smooth. Add cheese, chives, Worcestershire sauce, parley, garlic powder, oregano and pepper and mix well to combine. 

Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and place the mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap and  your hands, form the mixture into a log shape.

Form the log into a wreath shape and press ends together. (Alternatively you could press the mixture into a small wreath mold that is either greased well or lined with plastic wrap for easy removal.)

Remove stems from fresh parsley and chop the leaves into small pieces. Press the fresh parsley onto the outside of the wreath. Slice tomatoes in half, squeezing gently to remove some of the liquid and seeds. Press the halves around the top of the wreath to resemble ornaments.

Cover the cheese-ball wreath in cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with celery sticks or I highly recommend the crunkers recipe on page 452 in the THM Cookbook.

Dessert, Recipe, S

Pie Crust Two Ways

I have made several pies this holiday season and I have settled on my two favorite pie crusts. One is no-bake necessary (meaning, it can be baked but it does not have to be) and the other is a more traditional roll and bake pie crust. No matter what pie you are making, one of these will probably work! They are both delicious and both fall into the THM S category.

The No-Bake crust can be used the same way a graham cracker crust would be used, covering the bottom and sides of a pie plate or it makes a nice thick crust for a cheesecake in a spring-form pan so instructions are given for both.

The traditional crust can be par-baked for baked pies or fully pre-baked for no bake pies. Instructions are given for both as well as doubling instructions.

No-Bake Necessary Pie Crust ~ THM S

Ingredients

Directions

  • Grease a pie pan or spring-form pan with cooking spray.
  • In a food processor, add all crust ingredients and process until well combined.
  • Press crust into bottom and up sides of pie pan or just onto the bottom of a spring-form pan. I like to use plastic wrap or parchment paper to help me get a good even crust without getting my hands all messy!

Roll and Bake Pie Crust ~ THM S

Ingredients 


Directions

  • Place oat fiber, baking blend and butter into freezer for 15 minutes before starting crust process.
  • In a large food processor, pulse oat fiber, baking blend, Gentle Sweet, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form. With the machine running, add vinegar, then ice water into feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough starts to come together and is moist but not wet and sticky (test by squeezing some with your fingers). Mixture will be crumbly.
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  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, form into a ball, and flatten into a disk (making sure there are no/minimal cracks).
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  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is very cold, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (Allow me to come clean here…If you follow the refrigeration instructions in this part of the recipe it will result in a slightly flakier crust. This is because of the steam created from the cold dough in the hot oven. HOWEVER,  if you are short on time, or just lazy like me, you can skip all the refrigeration steps and go straight to rolling out and baking. You still get a delicious crust!)
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  • Preheat oven to 425º and lightly grease a 9”-x-1.5” pie dish with cooking spray.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12” circle. I highly suggest rolling this out on parchment paper. That way you can turn it over onto the pie plate and peel off the paper. Drape over pie dish and gently press to fit (don’t stretch). Prick bottom with a fork. Remove any excess pie dough.
  •  Bake 10-12 minutes and remove from oven.

This pie crust can now be used for your favorite pie. The 10-12 minutes is just to par-bake the crust. If your pie will not be baked and you need a fully baked crust let it bake 18-20 minutes, checking often to make sure it does not burn. This recipe is for a single crust pie. Double the recipe for a double crust pie.

As always, I appreciate it when you choose to shop through my affiliate links. It costs you no extra but provides me with a small compensation that helps me keep adding valuable content to this blog.

Favorite Things, FP

A Few of My Favorite Things ~ Oat Fiber

I am going to start sharing with you some of my favorite products for making a healthy eating lifestyle so much easier! Each week I will pick another item to highlight. I will tell you where I get it and how I use it.

This week’s star is often overlooked. It isn’t as flashy as other ingredients, but boy do I love it. Oat Fiber! Now don’t confuse this with oat flour which is just ground up oats. Oat Fiber does not have any countable carbs. It is straight fiber making it great for any recipe, even low-carb recipes! 

One of the benefits of oat fiber is how inexpensive it is! I am going to give you a couple of options here for where to get it. You can google oat fiber and find multiple brands but I am a bargain shopper! For the most part, THM wins the bargain price on Oat Fiber unless you are a bulk shopper, then you may be able to find a “slightly” lower price on Amazon. Click on the links on the  following pictures to shop these products.

So how do I use Oat Fiber? Oat fiber is a great flour for baking. It is fine and light so it gives a great texture. I actully like to cut my THM Baking Blend with oat fiber. Now, the baking blend actually includes oat fiber. But I have found that often times I can cut my baking blend use in half by adding oat fiber. That is why you will often see a 50/50 use of baking blend and oat fiber on my recipes. Please note, oat fiber is a “thirsty” flour because of all the fiber. You don’t want to convert a recipe that calls for a cup of flour by using a cup of oat fiber. Start with half the amount. You can always add more if it is needed. But you don’t want to dry out a recipe by using too much. A fantastic recipe that uses only oat fiber as the flour is the Guilt Gone Cranberry Pie from the THM website.

Oat fiber can also be used in place of small amounts of flour used as thickeners in recipes. So if you are making a soup or sauce that calls for a couple tablespoons of flour, try using oat fiber in place of the flour.

I truly hope that you will consider giving the humble oat fiber a place in your pantry. It is a great, inexpensive addition to your helathy way of cooking and eating! 

As always, I appreciate it when you choose to shop through my affiliate links. It costs you no extra but provides me with a small compensation that helps me keep adding valuable content to this blog.

Motivation, Words of Encouragement Wednesday

Words of Encouragement Wednesday

Today I just want you to think about this. Food amazing. We get lots of enjoyment from it. But food serves a purpose as well. It is our fuel. It keeps us going and it either keeps us healthy or damages our health.

Think about that! You can sustain life with just about anything. It just takes a certain amount of calories to keep you “living”. But the things you choose to fuel yourself with can do more than just keep you alive. They can cause you to thrive! They can fight disease. They can heal systems that have been damaged! Our bodies are designed by God to heal and we have nutritious food at our fingertips to make that process go even better.

But often we choose foods that don’t do anything for us but keep the motor running. And in the process of putting those calories in, we also do damage to our bodies. We cause our system to not work efficiently. We feed disease. Suddenly that “fuel” that is keeping us alive is draining us of the ability to live well!

As you choose your food think about this. Choose items that will give you both pleasure AND health. It can be done! I’d love to show you how.

Dessert, Makeover Monday, Recipe, S

Makeover Monday ~ Gooey Butter Cake

It is  Monday, so it is time for another recipe makeover. I love to take favorite recipes and make them THM friendly. One of the biggest hurdles people have to overcome is thinking that healthy eating means never having their favorite foods again. The truth is that you can make a healthy version of almost any meal. And most meals don’t require that much work to re-make!

As a St. Louisan, there are some things that you just have to have. Gooey butter cake is one of those things! Do you know that recipes for gooey butter cake call for up to 4 CUPS of powdered sugar in the filling alone!?!? Well, obviously that is never going to do. Is it possible to make a reasonable, no sugar substitute for this amazing cake? Let’s find out, shall we? Original recipe can be found HERE.

Gooey Butter Cake ~ THM S

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

Filling:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 8 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup powdered sweetener like xes sweetener or gentle sweet (if your sweetener is not powdered you can use a coffee grinder or blender to powder it, powder first, then measure)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
INSTRUCTIONS
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Combine the dry cake ingredients with the egg, melted butter, water and vanilla and mix well with an electric mixer. This will be crumbly, not wet like a regular cake batter.
  • Press the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, softened butter and vanilla and beat together then add the powdered sweetener and mix well. Pour over cake layer.
  • Bake for 40 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey. When you take the cake out of the oven it will not look like gooey butter cake but rather it will look like cheesecake. Don’t worry, just let the cake cool.
  • When the cake is cool you can sprinkle a little more powdered sweetener over the top if you’d like. Slice into squares, serve and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like me to THM’ify? Comment below and I will see what I can do!

As always, I appreciate it when you choose to shop through my affiliate links. It costs you no extra but provides me with a small compensation that helps me keep adding valuable content to this blog.