Inside: Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, perfect excuse to indulge in this rich and creamy, simple low carb fudge. But this recipe is so easy to make you won’t want to wait for a holiday!
This post comes later than I wanted. Life. It has a way of getting in the way. Sick kitty and bad days. Winston is better now, though. Me, too.
Back to the subject–simple low carb fudge.
This recipe has a different history. It has masqueraded as an icing in one of those chocolate cakes you poke holes in and let the fudgy goodness sink down into the heart of the dessert. Excellent with a tall glass of milk! And appropriately named–“Grandma’s Chocolate Cake.” No, not one of my grandmas. You wouldn’t have wanted either of them to bake you a cake. Trust me.
But I digress. . .
So it occurred to me one day this wonderful icing could possibly be converted to low carb. Worked like a charm on one of those black bean low carb cakes. (Yeah, you really can make a cake from black beans. And it’s not bad.) But one day I had a craving for fudge, something quick and easy to put together, and I decided to make the icing minus the cake. That worked welll, too, though the fudge needs to be kept in the fridge. Such is the life of most low carb desserts. They need to be refrigerated.
Another thing I love about this recipe–if you are a low carber, you probably have the ingredients in your house already. No baking chocolate is needed–cocoa powder will do, and you don’t sacrifice taste by using it. Have I sold you on simple low carb fudge?
Okay, then. Let’s get right to the recipe.
- ¾ cup of cocoa powder
- 1½ cups of an erythritol stevia blend, like Truvia
- ¾ cup of heavy cream
- 12 tablespoons of butter
- 1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of pecan pieces
- Prepare an 8 x 8 inch pan by lining with parchment paper that has been greased. (Greased side up.) Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, quickly whisk the cocoa powder and erythritol stevia blend together.
- Add the cream and butter, continue stirring, and bring the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat.
- Boil two minutes and remove from heat.
- Mix in the vanilla and pecans and let cool slightly. (About two or three minutes. Don't wait too long or it will get hard.)
- Pour into pan and level out.
- Cool overnight and cut into 36 pieces. Store in the refrigerator.
A few notes on the recipe. For those without dietary restrictions, you can replace the erythritol with sugar and try it. I think it would be fine. The parchment paper can be tricky to get into the pan. You can try cutting it into shape, but I buy the flat sheets designed for cookie baking and push it in there. The weight of the chocolate mixture will hold it in place.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Tell us about it in the comments.
Inside: Too much time away from soulful pursuits will have us parched and searching for water. Finding time to read is a great way to replenish our reserves. The trick is how to make it happen.
It’s no mystery. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’ve barely plunged a toe into February and–you guessed it–still busy. Likely that’s not going to change.
So how do we find time for the things we really want to do? We always seem to have room for the things we must do, but too much time away from soulful pursuits will have us parched and searching for water. I’ve been in that place before, too many times. I’m betting you have, too.
This year when I set out to write my goals, I almost didn’t add one in for reading. I’d placed this on my list so often before but to no avail. Not that I don’t read, mind you. Just that my fodder tends to be information coming from emails and websites as well as my day job editing books. (Editing books makes it difficult, at times, to read for pleasure.) But I wasn’t tackling my bookshelf. Books I’d handpicked and purchased for a reason.
Last year’s goal was fun and perky: “Read 17 books in 2017.” Clever, right? Well, I didn’t come close. When I reevaluated unfinished goals, I decided to try a different tack. This year I’d focus on finding time to read, creating a reading habit of 15 minutes. I also added in finishing 12 books from my bookshelf, though I consider it secondary to the habit goal. Ideally, if I can establish a daily reading practice of at least 15 minutes, then the 12 books will take care of themselves. Likely more.
I’m sure you’re dying to know how it’s going for me. Pretty well, actually. Here’s what is making the difference–tacking the new goal onto something I already do on a daily basis. Michael Hyatt calls it an “activation trigger.” But guess what? It’s working! I already spend time reading my Bible, devotionals, and praying, so when I’m finished I’ve added in a slot for my bookshelf reads. Too simple, I know. Why didn’t I think of that before?
But does this little trick work for other things? Absolutely! Because I’m concentrating on goals quarterly, I put all of my habit goals upfront. Fitness is another big one for me, also having made the annual appearance on my list, but I never tackled it. What’s different is that I’m using a fitness device that reminds me to get my steps–also working! Photography is a skill I wish to master, and I have my own “activation trigger” for that, too. Emily reminds me that my assignment is due, which in turn helps me recall how much I really want to learn to take breathtaking (or at least beautiful) photos.
And that’s another good motivation–remembering why I chose these goals in the first place and keeping those reasons in front of me when I might want to give up. (Also from Michael Hyatt.)
So far, so good. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going for me. Which is another powerful motivator. I don’t want to fail and have to write about it!
Have you kept up with your goals? Tell us about it in the comments.
Inside: Celebrating a birthday at the Riverlands, learning to see beauty through a lens, and what I’m reading lately.
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Celebrating at the Riverlands in Pictures
Last Friday Emily, Mom, Mike, and I headed to Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary to celebrate Emily’s birthday. She had requested spending the morning there to photograph birds after which Mike had a restaurant lined up for our lunch. The weather was cold but not unbearable, even sunny. Pleasant skies.
We had a wonderful view of the Clark Bridge, which connects Missouri with Alton, Illinois.
My first view of a trumpeter swan.
On the left, Mike trying out Emily’s camera. Occupational hazard! On the right, Mom, Emily, and me posing for a shot.
Emily doing what she loves. She takes after her dad!
Learning to See Beauty Through a Lens
For Christmas I asked Emily to give me photography lessons, and so far I have turned in two assignments. They have not been easy, by any means. When Emily gets in teaching mode, she expects much from her pupils, be they her fencing students or her mother wanting to learn a skill. She is also not one to pass up a teachable moment.
Before we left Friday, she told Mike to make sure the battery in the camera was charged and ready to go. (Read: You will be taking pictures today, Mom.) Mike is also a talented photographer, so he ended up taking many shots that morning. But as we walked along a trail near the shoreline, Emily spotted a field of foxtails, the sun casting a warm glow upon them. She called me over and instructed me in what to do, and she did likewise.
Who knew weeds in the right light could be a thing of beauty?
She graded my first assignment, and I got a 93 percent. (Woo hoo!) Please be patient with me as I learn to take better photos for this blog.
What I’m Reading
One of my goals this year is to read at least 12 books off my bookshelf. At the moment I’m reading two–Possum in the Pawpaw Tree: A Seasonal Guide to Midwestern Gardening by B. Rosie Lerner and Beverly S. Netzhammer and Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The former is a gift Mom’s friend and fellow plant lover Ellyn had given her years ago. Mom had given it to me not long after Ellyn passed away, and I cherish it, as I had for so many years been the recipient of Ellyn’s gardening wisdom, usually secondhand–“Mom, ask Ellyn what I should do about . . . (Insert gardening dilemma here.) It brings back fond memories of gardens past and Ellyn’s kindness and extreme generosity to our family. The dark purple cover of Possum makes me smile.
The other book, Simple Abundance, caught my eye before the end of last year. Upon sizing it up for possible reading material for my goal, I noticed it had an entry for each day, so I’m glad I was able to start the year off with it. (It’s not too late if you’d like to do the same.) Years ago I picked it up at a book fair, lured by the title, but then promptly filed it away on my shelf. But I’m glad I did because it’s one of those situations where it’s the right book for the right time in my life. In an nutshell, the book focuses on looking at life in a different way, counting blessings, being thankful, seeing the beauty in the ordinary. If I have one small peeve, it’s the occasional reference to “the Universe,” which I think is a way to say “God” without offending some people. I’d much prefer credit goes where credit is due. That said, she does mention God, and so far I’ve even seen a scripture as well as phrases taken from the Bible, though non-Bible readers would likely not recognize them.
All in all, I love exploring the topic of simplicity. But I’m guessing you probably noticed that by now. (Grin.)
Wherever you are, take in the simple, abundant beauty around you.
What are you reading? What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Tell us about it in the comments.
Inside: What’s better on a cold day than a bowl of classic broccoli cheese soup? Not many things, I’ll tell you that! Check out my version. You don’t even have to wait for a cold day.
*This post contains affiliate links.
You know how it is. You go into a restaurant and see the “soup of the day” sign. You’ve got a hankering and ask the waitress. She says, “Broccoli Cheese,” and you’re definitely in. . . Or maybe I’m just talking about me.
I’ve been a fan for a long time, but I must confess I never made it until I went on a fat fast. (In an nutshell, eating 80 – 90 percent of your calories from fat for a few days to lose weight. . . Yes, it works. Seriously.) My inspiration for this recipe comes from the Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, and Rebecca Latham.
My version differs in that I use chicken bone broth instead of the water. I also use sharp cheddar and more of it, increase the heavy whipping cream, and add a few garlic cloves to the broccoli florets cooking in the pot. I don’t bother to steam the broccoli, as it’s easier to simmer it and the garlic cloves in the broth.
A thought or two on kitchenware and gadgets. . . I raved on and on about how much easier making soup is with an immersion (stick) blender, and it’s so true! But you can use a regular blender for this recipe, too. I’ve also fallen in love with the stainless steel stockpot I got for Christmas. It has measurements inside the pot so you know how many quarts of something you’ve made. (I can’t wait to use it for canning this summer!) Again, not necessary, but quite useful if you’re shopping for a good stockpot.
Okay, now back to the soup recipe for day 3 of our soup series. Enjoy!
- 5 cups of chicken bone broth or chicken stock
- 4 cups of broccoli florets
- 2 - 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 - 8 ounce brick of cream cheese
- 3 cups of sharp cheddar
- 1 cup of heavy cream (or half and half for lighter soup)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put chicken broth into a large stockpot with broccoli florets and peeled garlic cloves and bring to boil.
- Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, then puree vegetables with immersion or regular blender. (You can leave some small pieces of florets for a more rustic soup.)
- Add cream cheese and sharp cheddar, cooking over low heat until melted.
- Add cream and seasonings and simmer for a few minutes.
Are you a broccoli fan? Confess in the comments.
Bonus – Links to a few tried and true recipes from a favorite website:
Lynn’s “Split Pea” Soup. A good soup, but I omitted the water. Always easier to add more water if a soup is too strong than to add more ingredients to a weak, bland soup.
Mock Potato Soup. If you read yesterday’s post about the soup standoff, this is the recipe that changed the course of soup events in our household. Don’t skip the optional garnish of green onions and crumbled bacon. It really adds to the recipe.
Sausage Pumpkin Chili. Pureed pumpkin in chili? Sausage instead of hamburger? Definitely! All I can say is try it–particularly if the acid from too many tomatoes bothers you. (It does have a small can of tomato sauce.) This recipe is good regardless.