If it’s Halloween, it must be Pumpkin Bread

Image: Pumpkin Loaf

I can’t believe I haven’t published a pumpkin bread recipe since pumpkin is one of my all-time-favorite flavors. This recipe is so delicious and really easy. The cream cheese adds flavor and texture to the loaf. I seldom specify a low carb flour, but in this case, I do recommend using Dixie Carb Counters All Purpose Flour to make a wonderful bread loaf. It will still turn out well using other flour replacements, such as almond flour, soy flour, or coconut flour, but not textured as beautifully.

Note if you use coconut flour, halve the amount it is replacing (1 cup of flour = 1/2 cup of coconut flour) and add two eggs or two egg whites since the rise will come from the eggs. Of course, other flour choices might change the net carb count.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf

4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Butter
1 Sugar Substitute
1/4 cup LC Foods Sweet Brown or more sugar substitute
2 tablespoons Swerve Brown sugar blend
2 Eggs
1 cup canned Pumpkin
1 1/4 cup DCC All-Purpose Flour or other low-carb flour
1/2 cups Almond Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 cup chopped Pecans or Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Prepare a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. I prefer using a layer of parchment paper on the bottom to prevent sticking, then spray with cooking spray over the bottom and up the sides.

In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, sugar, brown sugar, and Sweet Brown (if you are using) in mixing bowl. Beat until creamed together. Beat in eggs, adding one at a time, then add the pumpkin.

In another bowl, mix the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Whisk until mixed. Pour the dry ingredients into the egg and cream cheese mixture and stir together until the flour is mixed in and evenly moistened, but don’t over mix. Stir in the nuts. Spoon into the loaf pan and spread it evenly.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove and cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan. If the sides are stuck, use a plastic knife or thin blade to go around the edges of the pan, then invert over a plate. Let cool on a rack.

Makes 12 slices.

Image: Nutrition Info for Pumpkin Loaf

Celebrate the Harvest with this Meat-free Quiche

Image: Harvest Quiche

For many years, I’ve made my quiches with ricotta cheese. It adds firmness and texture to the mix so the egg doesn’t seem so much like custard.

This crustless, meatless quiche has plenty of fall vegetables, including a nice serving of mushrooms, to satisfy your hunger. Nearly every plant I used came from my garden in the almost last harvest of the year, and you can find them all in grocery stores now if you don’t have an outdoor source of your own.

I used Bakesquick for my flour to give the quiche a little more body and fill in for the missing crust, but it is optional. The recipe works quite well without it. Likewise, chili spices are optional, but I like a little kick in my food.

Feel free to substitute other vegetables if you don’t like one. Just be aware some vegetables may be a little higher in carbs, but most will come in close to the same amount. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Photo: Harvest Ricotta Pie, top view

Harvest Spinach, Zucchini, & Ricotta Quiche

3/4 cup Spinach, fresh and torn (about 2 handfuls)
1 cup Zucchini, sliced
1 1/2 Tomatoes, ripe, 6 slices
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese, whole milk
2/3 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Irish Cheddar Cheese (Or other sharp cheddar), shredded
4 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
3 Mini-Peppers, sliced down the middle
1/4 cup Low Carb Flour (optional)
1 teaspoon Garlic and Herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Chili Spices (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F.) Prepare a 9-inch deep dish pie plate by spraying with cooking spray.

Slice all the vegetables and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, the beaten eggs, and seasonings and whisk together until well mixed. Stir in the low carb flour if you are using it and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Line the bottom of the pie dish with sliced zucchini. This should make a fairly solid base for the pie. Top with mushrooms and spread them evenly. Put the torn spinach over the top and press it down a little.

Pour the egg mixture over the top, using a spoon to spread it evenly over the spinach. Place a slice of tomato at equal intervals around the edge to mark each slice. Place one-half chili between each tomato slice.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the pie is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes six servings.

Image: Nutrition Information for Harvest Quiche

Thai Coconut Soup Bring the Flavor

Photo: Thai Coconut Soup

This week’s “Meatless Monday” recipe isn’t entirely without “meat,” but as I understand it, seafood isn’t included in the ban. I’m using shrimp in this tasty and slightly-spiced soup, but if you’re vegetarian or don’t want to eat seafood, then you can leave it out or replace it with cubes of firm tofu.

The base recipe came from the Atkins web site; however, I added more to it to make it a heartier soup. While it is delicious, it isn’t completely filling, so maybe you can add a salad and/or a low carb roll or even make a grilled cheese sandwich to accompany. Although the recipe makes six one-cup servings, it is low enough in carbs that you can make four servings and gain another half cup of yum. You can also increase the amount of shrimp in it.

Thai Coconut Soup

3 cups Chicken Broth
13.5-ounce can Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 piece fresh Ginger, 1-inch, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
1/2 cup Spinach or Bok Choy, chopped
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce
1 Jalapeño Pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated Lime Zest
1 teaspoon Sugar Substitute
1/2 pound medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces Mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup Daikon Radish, cubed
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice

Peel and chop or slice all the vegetables before you begin to cook. Cut the daikon into  small cubes so it will cook quicker.

In an eight cup pot, add the chicken broth, coconut milk, ginger, jalapeño, fish or Worcester Sauce, lime zest, and sugar substitute. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring a few times, then reduce the heat to low, partly cover the top, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the ginger slices and discard. Add the daikon and cook another 10 minutes to soften the daikon.

Add shrimp, mushrooms, and bok choy or spinach, Stir well and cook until shrimp are cooked, about four minutes. Stir in the green onions, cilantro if using, and the lime juice.

Spoon into bowls and enjoy.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Info: Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp

Nutrition Info for Thai Coconut Soup


Quick Vegetable Stir-fry

Photo: Vegetable Stir Fry

Ready for “Meatless Monday?” Here’s a quick to make rice-less fried rice. This replaces the starch with a variety of crumbled or riced vegetables to give you a deliciously satisfying Asian-flavored vegetable stir-fry. To make this even easier, you can start with a bag of Green Giant’s Cauliflower Crumbles “Fried Rice” Blend, which is cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and onions. If you are on phase 1, you might want to make your own riced vegetables and omit the carrots.

If you can’t find the mix at your grocery, you can use your food processor or grater to process cauliflower, broccoli stems, carrots, and onions to make your own mix. You’ll need three cups for the recipe with about 2 cups of it being cauliflower with the rest split between the broccoli, carrots, and onions.

I added in mushrooms and my adapted recipe adds in fresh spinach, but I didn’t have any in the house. I’ve listed even more possible add-ins at the end of the recipe.  Even on Monday, you can add any seafood to the stir fry. Shrimp is a great option. Any other time you want to make this, you can add chicken, beef, or pork to it.

For my friend and others who are trying to keep sodium low, I’ve included a recipe for a substitute soy sauce. It doesn’t taste like soy sauce, but it brings flavor to the dish without a lot of sodium.


Vegetable Stir Fry

3 cups (1 package) California Crumbles Fried Rice Blend (GG)
2 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Ginger paste
1 cup Spinach, fresh (optional)
2 stalks Green Onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Oil

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and ginger and stir for a minute or two. Add in the fried rice blend and mushrooms. Stir them in. Cook and stir for about 5 to 7 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender.

Stir in the beaten eggs and mix them into the vegetables, continuing to stir until the eggs are cooked. Add soy sauce or Non-Soy Sauce, which is much lower in sodium. Stir to mix. Top with chopped green onions if you wish.

Makes four servings.

Optional add-ins: peanuts, almonds, cashews, shrimp, any greens chopped, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, chopped celery or chopped peppers. Add Hawaiian flare on a non-meatless night by stirring in 1 cup of diced SPAM and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh pineapple. (The pineapple will boost those carbs a bit, but it really adds the island vibe.)

Just add in the carb counts for the additions.

Nutrition Information for Vegetable Fried Rice

Non-Soy Asian Sauce

For those with worries about low sodium or gluten or soy allergies, here’s a soy sauce substitute that adds flavor to the stir fry or anywhere else you might use soy sauce.

1 Beef Bone (sometimes butchers have these under soup bones)
3 cups of Water
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
A pinch of garlic powder, ground ginger, and white pepper
Or Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning

Put water in a small pot and add the beef or soup bone. Bring to a boil, then lower to a low simmer. Cook for about one hour for the bone to flavor the meat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Continue to simmer until the mixture is reduced to about two cups.

Let cool, then pour into a jar. If you have more than you can use within 10 days, pour the rest into an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen remove the blocks to a plastic bag to store until you need them. Each cube will be about one tablespoon.

Makes 32 1-tablespoon servings.

Nutrition information for Non-Soy Asian Sauce

Easy Pumpkin Pie – Regular and Heart Healthy

Photo: Easy Pumpkin Pie

Hey, it’s Autumn… and that means Pumpkin Pie season! Actually, I love pumpkin year ’round, but it’s definitely a Halloween treat in my book.  This recipe is the easiest one I’ve found for making a rich, tasty pumpkin pie.

But there’s a twist… I have a friend who is on a limited-sodium, low-cholesterol  diet for her heart, so I wanted to adapt this recipe to make a crustless pumpkin pie that is within her range. What a revelation learning how much sodium is in almost everything. I trimmed this down as much as I could, and it still tastes delicious.

So I am printing the regular recipe and the heart-healthy recipe. The instructions are basically the same, only the ingredient list changes a little.

If you use a baking mix such as Bisquick, Bakesquick, or Carbquick, it will make a thin crust that adds just a little more support for a pumpkin pie. If you just make it as a crustless pie, you can put it in 1/2 cup ramekins or cups for a pumpkin pudding. If you use Bisquick, it will add many more carbs as that isn’t a low-carb flour.

This recipe is super-easy to mix and cooks in about 45 minutes to an hour. It’s rich and creamy. I’ve used a couple of specific brands to make this since they are the lowest I could find in both carbs and sodium. Swerve Brown Sugar Blend is 0 carbs and 0 sodium, which is the only brown sugar substitute I’ve found that meets that criteria. It is optional in the recipe. If you omit the brown sugar, then add 2 more tablespoons sugar substitute.

Easy Mix Pumpkin Pie Regular

1 cup canned Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup Bakesquick or similar low carb flour mix (optional)
6 tablespoons Sugar Substitute
2 tablespoons Swerve Brown Sugar Blend (optional)
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 eggs
Pinch Salt
1/4 cup Pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Prepare a 6-inch square baking pan or an 8-inch round pie tin by putting parchment paper on the bottom. (This will prevent it from sticking to the pan.) Lightly grease the pan’s side with a little butter or a baking spray.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and stir until it is well-mixed. Add chopped pecans, if you wish. These will add 0.4 net carbs to each serving.

Pour into pan or pie tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The pie tin will be closer to 45 minutes, while the baking pan will be closer to the hour since it is deeper. Check with a toothpick. It should come out clean when inserted in the middle.

Remove from oven and let cool about thirty minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours before serving. Top with a little whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Makes six yummy servings.

Photo: Nutrition Info for Pumpkin Pie

Photo: Pumpkin Pudding

Easy Mix Pumpkin Pie Heart Healthy

1 cup canned Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
6 tablespoons Sugar Substitute
2 tablespoons Swerve Brown Sugar Blend (optional)
1 cup Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk
1 tablespoon Butter-flavored Crisco, softened
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup Liquid Egg Whites
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Prepare six 1/2-cup ramekins or cups by lightly greasing with Crisco.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and stir until it is well-mixed. Add chopped pecans, if you wish. These will add 0.4 net carbs to each serving.

Pour into ramekins and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out clean when inserted in the middle.

Remove from oven and let cool about thirty minutes. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours before serving. Top with a little Cool Whip.

Makes six servings.

Photo: Info for Pumpkin Custard with Coconut Milk

Info: Pumpkin Custard with coconut milk & Egg Whites