Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easy Decadent Fruit Salad (Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free & Reduced Carb)

The BEST Fruit Salad
- Great for spring, summer, or anytime you can get your hands on sweet juicy fruits!

Decadent Fruit Salad

This is our favorite fruit salad. 

This wonderful fruit salad is much lower in carbs than any other fruit salad out there, which is a bonus. I kinda don't care though because this salad is so awesomely delicious. I like that is uses NO pudding mix, NO non-dairy whipped chemical toppung, NO Jello, and NO chemical sweeteners or artificial food coloring.

It is so easy and delicious...You'll see.

We like the almond extract flavor to be pretty pronounced here. Peaches, apricots, raspberries, and cherries are also incredible in this salad. I'm not a fan of marshmallows in salad, especially this salad, but do what moves you. I'm going to try it with my newly made sugar-free marshmallows, just for kicks & giggles. Probably just a one-time thing...

For whatever reason, I have actually lost weight when including this salad in my menu. Weird, but I'm going with it :)

Decadent Whipped Cream Fruit Salad Recipe:

1 c. cold heavy whipping cream
1/8 t. cream of tartar
1 t. real vanilla extract
1/4 c. powdered xylitol, powdered Lakanto white zero-cal sweetener, raw honey, or powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 t. stevia glycerite, to taste (see recipe on blog)
1 1/2 to 2 t. almond extract, to taste
2 c. sweet red or green seedless grapes
3 c. diced sweet pineapple
3 c.ripe strawberries
4 sweet  tangerines
2 ripe bananas


Wash and cut up the fruit into bite-sized pieces. You want a total of about 12 cups of assorted sweet, ripe fruits, in season.

Whip the very cold whipping cream with the cream of tartar. The cream of tartar stabilizes the whipping cream. I like to freeze the beaters while I am preparing the fruit.

Add the vanilla, almond extract and  sweetener of choice.

Taste for sweetness and add stevia glycerite to kick up the sweetness a notch, to taste.

Mix the fruit into the finished whipped cream and serve immediately.

Whip heavy whipping cream with the cream of tartar for stability.

Wash and cut up fresh ripe fruit into bite-sized pieces.

Mix the fruit gently into the finished whipped cream.

Fruit salad ready for serving. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl.

Fruit salad ready to eat!

I'm thinking that some homemade sugar-free marshmallows could be good in this salad too - If you are into that sort of thing.



P.S. I just tried this salad with my sugar-free marshmallows and it was pretty good...

Easy Chicken Chile Verde Soup (with 2 variations) PLUS How to Caramelize Onions Faster!

Here is another EASY pantry meal: Chicken Chile Verde Soup. Iv'e been doing a lot of sugar-free candy formulating lately (like marshmallows and caramel), so I have needed quick meals for the family, preferably ones that make great leftovers!

Creamy Chicken Chile Verde Soup

I felt like creating a new Mexican-style soup using the batch of home made chicken stock I just made. We like to buy rotisserie chickens from Costco for a quick meal. I then usually make chicken stock from what ever is left of the chicken. Having so much freshly made chicken stock on hand, I am always seeking new ways to use it because we like variety at our house.

Today I felt like Mexican, but I didn't want a black bean soup, or a tortilla soup, or even a red Mexican soup. So tomatillos came to mind, and roasted green chilies...and I was off!

The recipe posted here is what I came up with. I am pleased with the results, especially when my husband said it is now one of his top favorite soups ever. The rest of the family really enjoyed it too.

I like to stock my pantry with some Mexican staples, which makes putting this soup together very quick and easy.

This soup has a lot going on. It is loaded with goodies. It has a nice tang and brightness from the tomatillos and lime, and is accented with a touch of sweetness to balance out the flavor of the roasted peppers. It also has an appealing smoky depth from the chipotle and smoked paprika. And we always love what caramelized onions bring to the party, right?

Here is a tip about caramelizing onions more quickly and creating a more flavorful result: 
Add a pinch of baking soda, and for the best flavor a pinch of salt while you are sauteing the onions. They will brown faster and have superior flavor this way. The baking soda changes the pH in a way that affects something called the Maillard Reaction (the browning process). Now you know.

I created 2 soup varieties.: A dairy-free version and an extra creamy version. I served the extra creamy version.

Leila's Easy Chicken Chile Verde Soup (2 ways):

1-2 T. coconut oil and/or butter
A pinch of baking soda
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. Mexican oregano
25 grinds black pepper, to taste
A pinch ground chipotle pepper, to taste
1/4 t. granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1 4.25-ounce can chopped pitted black olives
1 7-ounce can Fire Roasted Diced Green Chilies  (La Victoria brand has the best roasted flavor)
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatillos (like Hatch brand)
1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans (white beans), undrained
1 28-ounce can green chile enchilada sauce (like El Paso brand)
1 29-ounce can Mexican Style Hominy (like Juanita's brand), drained
1 quart home made chicken stock, or organic boxed chicken stock
1/4 c. good quality white wine, optional
2 t. BioSalt or sea salt
1/2 t. onion salt
Shredded chicken meat (about a pound), to taste
1 lime, juiced
3 T. Brown Just Like Sugar and/or raw honey (I used 2 T just Like Sugar and 1 T. honey) *

1 block (8-ounces) Neufchatel or cream cheese, optional for the creamy version of this soup


Minced cilantro
Avocado slices
Mexican cheese
Diced ripe tomatoes
Sour cream
Smoked paprika


Saute the onion in the oil, adding a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of BioSalt to caramelize the onions faster.

Smash the garlic with some of the salt called for and add to the almost finished onions. Saute.

Add the smoked paprika, cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper, and chipotle powder. Saute until fragrant to bloom the flavors of the spices.

Add all of the canned goods and chicken stock and let the soup simmer about 30 minutes or so. The soup will thicken slightly.

Add the cooked and shredded chicken meat.

To make the creamy version of this soup: Cut up the block of Neufchatel or cream cheese into cubes and stir into the soup, and let simmer a few minutes to let the cheese melt, stirring to speed the melting process. Turn down the heat so that the soup doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the rest of the BioSalt called for and the juice of 1 lime.

Add the Just Like Sugar and/or raw honey. If using honey, add just before serving so that you don't boil the honey. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve hot with garnishes of choice.

Note: You may also use Lakanto's golden zero-calorie granular sweetener instead of Just Like Sugar.

Tip: I think a lovely appetizer would be my Chili"s Copy Cat Salsa recipe and corn chips!

Get your ingredients ready.

Caramelizing the onions.

Adding the canned ingredients to the soup.

The finished Dairy-Free Chicken Chile Verde Soup (not the creamy version).

The Dairy-Free Soup Version garnished and ready to eat.

The Creamy Chicken Chile Verde Soup is finished (with the cheese added).

The Creamy chicken Chile Verde Soup is served.

How I like to smash my garlic, releasing the maximum amount of flavor oils.

Brown Just Like Sugar (a healthy sugar-free brown sugar replacement).



P.S.   In case you were curious about how my sugar-free candy testing is coming out...

Sugar-Free Hand Wrapped Vanilla Caramels.

Fluffy Sugar-Free Vanilla Marshmallows.

Author, Leila.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The BEST Waldorf Salad (Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free)

Delicious Waldorf Salad - 
Perfect for a light lunch or as a sassy side to almost any meal.

Waldorf  Salad

This recipe is more than just the boring mayo stirred into diced celery and apples. This salad has a well balanced dressing that is a bit tangy, a bit sweet and a bit savory. It's perfect. it has been a classic in our homes for a long as I can remember. there is room for some unusual add-ins, like avocado, which tastes amazing. I like to add a touch more seasoned salt to the dressing if I'm using avocado.

When I was pregnant with my 3rd child, this salad got me through the long period of morning sickness. I'm glad it wasn't ice cream or chips that I craved! this salad has a nice balance of  healthful ingredients that my body must of needed then. Anyway, I still love this salad and I think you will too.

Perfect Waldorf Salad Recipe:

2 large red crisp apples, diced (about 2 cups)
4 large celery ribs, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 to 1 cup crispy pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 to 1 cup organic raisins or sweetened dried cranberries
2 large ripe avocados, diced, optional


1 cup mayonnaise (you can mix 50/50 regular and diet mayo)
1/2 c. sour cream (try Kitchen Cheetah's Sour Cream Blend on this blog)
2 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 t. seasoned salt, to taste
2 T. raw honey, xylitol, Lakanto zero-cal sweetener, or raw sugar to taste
A pinch of cayenne powder, optional for a bit of heat


Mix up the dressing ingredients to taste in a medium sized serving bowl.

Wash and dice the produce, add to the dressing and mix well.

Add the avocado if using. Gently mix and check for seasoning and adjust as desired.

I like to sprinkle the nuts and dried fruit on top at serving time.

Make seasoned salt available at the table for sprinkling on top of the salad as well.

Serve immediately.


You can make the dressing in advance and store in the fridge until needed. I will even make a bigger batch of dressing to use in multiple salads.

This salad is best eaten immediately once made.


Leila & Nancy.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

BEST Easy Spaghetti Sauce recipe and how to prepare spaghetti squash (Low Carb)

Bake some spaghetti squash while you make this delicious sauce.

We all need easy and quick dinner options made from items we stock in our pantry, right? I know I do. This spaghetti sauce fits the bill nicely. I also show you an easy way to prepare spaghetti squash, which is delicious served with this sauce.

Toss the store bought sauce!

This is my go-to recipe for a fast spaghetti dinner, using items I keep handy in my pantry. This sauce is SO much better than any prepared store-bought sauce you can find, and it is very kid-friendly. everyone loves it. It is a full bodied sauce, but it doesn't require hours of simmering. 

This spaghetti sauce is great reheated too. I have also used it as a delicious base for Italian casseroles. We also love it over steamed summer squash for a lower carb version. You may also use gluten-free or regular pasta of course!

Easy & Healthy Spaghetti Dinner Menu:

Baked and seasoned spaghetti squash
Easy Pantry Spaghetti Sauce
Fresh green salad
Fresh cut up fruit of choice

Leila's Easy Pantry Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

1 T. deodorized coconut oil
1 large onion, minced
1 pound organic ground beef, buffalo meat, or 2 diced raw chicken breasts.
4 large garlic cloves
2 large bay leaves
2 T. whole fennel seeds
1 T. dried basil leaves
1 pinch rosemary leaves
1 pinch dried oregano leaves
25 grinds black pepper, to taste
2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed diced tomatoes (plain or Italian)
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce (or 1 can tomato paste)
1 can cream of tomato soup (choose a healthy brand)
1 to 2 soup cans water, as needed to thin
2 t. organic beef or chicken base
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. brown 'Just Like Sugar", or regular brown sugar, or Golden Lakanto zero-cal sweetener
2 to 3 t. BioSalt or sea salt, to taste
1 to 2 T. extra virgin olive oil


Pre-measure all the spices. Smash the garlic cloves in a mortar & pestle with 1 t. of the salt.

In a large pot, heat  the coconut oil. Add the onion, meat, and garlic and saute until the meat is cooked through (and crumbly if it is hamburger). Season meat with seasoned salt if desired.

Make a well in the center of the pot and pour in all the dried spices. Stir and saute the spices about 30 seconds to bloom the spices (bring out their flavor), then stir into the meat mixture.

Add all the tomato products, along with the water and stir. Add the beef or chicken base, and let sauce simmer about 15 to 30 minutes. Put on a splatter shield to make cleanup easier.

Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar of choice, and BioSalt to taste.

Just before serving drizzle some olive oil over the top of the sauce.

To Bake Spaghetti Squash:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash.

Split the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out just the seeds.

Lay the squash cut side down in a baking pan and pour in about 2 cups of water (this will help steam the squash and keep it from sticking to the pan).

Bake about 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the strands of squash with a large kitchen spoon. Place in a serving dish.

Season with fresh ground pepper and onion salt, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss well.



Photos Of The Cooking Process:

The baked spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash tossed with seasonings and olive oil (garnished with Parmesan cheese).

I find it easier to mash peeled garlic with BioSalt added to the mortar (1 t. was added here).

Added salt helps the garlic become a paste more quickly and keeps the garlic from jumping out of the mortar & pestle.

Garlic ready for sauteing.

Saute the meat, onions, and garlic together.

The meat is now browned and ready for the other ingredients to be added.

Add all of the pre-measured spices.

Saute the spices before mixing into the meat.

Organic beef base used in this sauce.

A sugar-free low-carb brown sugar replacement.

Adding all the tomato ingredients.

Adding the balsamic vinegar and other seasonings.

The finished sauce, before drizzling with olive oil.

Sauced spaghetti squash with salad and fresh pineapple on the side. YUM.

Dinner is on.

Author, Leila.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015



This healthy and delicious hot cocoa is one of Nancy Glazier's (my mom) formulas that she made especially for a wonderful company called Deep Cocoa. +http://www.deepcocoa.com/ 

This rich and creamy cocoa appeals to a niche market, those of us who want a rich and satisfying hot chocolate that is actually good for us!

Fortunately for my family, we got to enjoy this hot cocoa is it evolved in it's creation process. A perk of being my mom's daughter.

It truly is guilt-free. It's great with breakfast (or for breakfast at times). It chases away the chill of cold evenings, and of course is yummy any time of day when chocolate is called for (when is chocolate not called for?). I love to pour some of this hot cocoa in a thermos for outings and camping trips. I let my children drink it without worries and they love it.

We drink this beverage all year long. It is not seasonal at our house. In warm weather I prepare this cocoa mix as milk chocolate! To help the mix dissolve easily, I pour into a glass a little warm water, add the cocoa mix and stir until dissolved, then I top off the glass with cold water or cold almond milk or organic milk, to taste. YUM.

Another thing I love about this beverage is that it is good for those of us who want to slim down and remain slim. It has a satiating quality that really helps to curb cravings - and you don't feel treat deprived. I found it really works.

Shortly after the launch of Deep Cocoa, I volunteered to help out at the Deep Cocoa booth at some expos. It was really fun to see people's response to this beverage. As they would sample it, their eyes would brighten and a smile would spread across their face. And when they heard it was sugar free, they would exclaim "NO Way!" I enjoyed telling the public about all the health benefits of this comforting drink.

What felt the best to me was knowing that what I was sharing with people, was actually good for them. The world needs more healthy comfort foods. That is why I am sharing this with you now.

I hope you will go to www.deepcocoa.com and support their business endeavor. This company is doing a good thing in providing for us a terrific healthy chocolate drink that is:

Artificial sweetener-free

In other words, this drink is awesome! Good job mom!



For many the words “sugar free” and “chocolate” don’t belong in the same sentence. But times are changing and with the advent of new and innovative natural 0-calorie sweeteners, it’s now possible to create a truly great tasting sugar free hot chocolate without resorting to artificial sweeteners. Possible, but not easy and that’s where Deep Cocoa Hot Chocolate comes in.
Deep Cocoa was three years in the making. That’s how long it takes to create something really special. Understanding how to combine multiple natural sweeteners in a way to duplicate the taste of sugar is no easy task. We’re out to prove that Deep Cocoa Hot Chocolate tastes as good or better than sugar sweetened hot chocolate mixes and is superior to “no sugar added” varieties that utilize artificial, chemically produced sweeteners. We use only the best natural cocoa powder, plant-based natural sweeteners and other top quality ingredients. Deep Cocoa not only tastes great without sugar, it’s also a good source of protein and fiber.

Where else could you find a satisfying cup of hot chocolate with only 35 calories, less than one gram of fat and only four net carbs? We’re confident you’ll agree that Deep Cocoa Hot Chocolate is the best sugar free (or no sugar added hot chocolate) that you’ve ever tasted. We back up every purchase with a 100% money-back guarantee.


On a cold, gray day in February 2011, I was working in my office at Amber Lyn Chocolates in St. George, Utah. We were a small chocolate company specializing in sugar free Belgian chocolate. My phone rang and one of the ladies in our retail store asked if I would walk over to meet with a customer who wanted to talk to the boss.
I walked across the alley separating the store from the factory and through the bustling shipping area to the storefront. There I met Nancy for the first time. She was a very nice lady, probably in her early 60's, thin and brimming with energy. She told me how much she and her husband appreciated our chocolate since they didn’t eat sugar and both were gluten intolerant. We received compliments like that all the time from our online customers and it was especially nice to hear one in person. Then she asked me a very strange question.
"What do you want to do next?"
"Next?" I repeated.
"Yes, what are you working on? What are you doing in the way of new products?"
That’s the first time a customer had ever asked me that. Over the almost four years that I had been running the company, lots of people came to us with the next “big thing” in chocolate that they wanted us to make. I thought that I was in for another not-so-great suggestion.
"Well, actually, I’ve been thinking about developing a sugar free hot chocolate that doesn’t use artificial sweeteners and tastes as good or better than Swiss Miss or Hershey’s.”
Without a moment’s hesitation she said, "I can do that."
Nancy went on to tell me that she was a food designer. She said she’d have something for me to try in a week or two– and she did.
We’re not going to beat Thomas Edison’s tries at inventing the light bulb (1000 failures) but we have been persistent about creating as perfect a sugar free hot chocolate recipe as is humanly possible.
Edison is reported to have said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Here at Deep Cocoa we’ve spent nearly two years and we’ve found nearly a hundred different iterations that weren’t quite right. So we kept on working, searching and formulating.
Deep Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix is the finest, highest quality sugar free hot cocoa mix available today. It costs a little bit more than the “major” brands you’ll find in the supermarket aisle, but that’s because we refuse to compromise. You won’t find any artificial sweeteners, preservatives or anything else that’s not good for you. You will find the highest quality cocoa powder, all natural, non-caloric sweeteners and other natural flavors and ingredients. We think you’ll like it as much as we do.


"It's really good.  We promise.  So get shopping so you can get sipping as soon as possible."



Leila & Nancy

Friday, March 20, 2015

An improved way to make Fried Rice (Gluten Free)

Got Rice? Use your leftover cold rice in this easy to prepare dish. That's what I did tonight.

This is a super quick and easy one skillet meal (unless you want to get all ambitious and make walnut Shrimp or something). Hmmm, that sounds good. I should make that too and post it.

My mom taught me this method of making fried rice. The secret is to toss the hot sizzling rice with the beaten egg so that the egg coats the rice as it cooks. This is so much better than those rubbery chunks of eggs that are usually in fried rice! This version is good and fast, and is really a new kid on the block compared to the ragged run-of-the-mill fried rice that's out there.

My mom also dislikes the generic frozen peas & carrot blend that is thrown into fried rice. "Why do people do that?", she asked me. She's right, it isn't very good that way. Water chestnuts are way more awesome! I did add peas this time though, sorry mom., it's what I had on hand.

O.K., my mom just texted me and let me know baby peas are cool (her words were "Mom approved"), especially with water chestnuts and BACON. Oh, how could I forget to tell you about adding bacon?! I'm fired for sure. Save yourselves from "tough ol peas and rubbery carrot cubes", and try this new version of fried rice.

Easy fried Rice Recipe:

3 T. coconut oil (can include a little bacon fat)
1 t. toasted sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, smashed (or more, to taste)
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 large sweet red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 c. Frozen baby peas, or 2 c. fresh sugar snap pea pods
1/2 c. frozen sweet corn, optional
1 can sliced water chestnuts
3 extra large eggs
2 T. water
Bragg's Aminos, to taste
about 4-5 c. cold leftover cooked rice
1/4 t. onion salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 scallions, diced

Variation: Add a generous amount of crumbled fried bacon!


In a wok or large skillet, place 1 T. of the coconut oil. Place pan over medium-high heat.

Add half of the smashed garlic and stir-fry 30 seconds.

Now add the minced onion and red bell pepper. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes.

Add all of the other vegetables and stir-fry a few minutes, until hot and sizzling.

While the vegetables are cooking, quickly crack the eggs into a 2-cup measuring cup.

Go stir your veggies! Now add 2 T. water and about 2 t. Bragg's Aminos to the eggs and mix well.

Pour the stir-fried vegetables into a bowl and set aside.

Add the last 2 T. coconut oil to the hot skillet and add the rest of the smashed garlic.

Give the garlic a quick stir and then add the cold rice and toss well. Stir-fry until sizzling hot.

Mound the rice in the center of the pan and pour part of the beaten egg mixture over top.

Quickly toss the rice to coat with egg well. Add more of the egg mixture and quickly toss again.

Repeat this process until all the egg has been added, tossing the rice well to coat thoroughly.

Let the egg cook onto the rice while stir-frying.

Add the toasted sesame oil and onion salt and toss well.

When it is cooked through, add the vegetables back into the pan and toss well.

Add fresh ground black pepper and more Bragg's Aminos to taste.

Garnish with the chopped scallions and serve.

How easy was that?


Use any vegetables you want in this dish. I often just use what I have on hand.

We use Bragg's Aminos because it doesn't make the rice dark like soy sauce does.

Make sure you use cold rice for best effect.

First saute the vegetables.

Add the water chestnuts - YUM.

Add more coconut oil and garlic to the pan.

Add the cold cooked rice.

Toss rice with 2 spatulas.

Adding the beaten egg to the sizzling rice and tossing quickly to coat.

See the nice fluffy egg-coated rice?

Add the cooked vegetables back in - Watch out for falling peas.

Season to taste, stir-fry to mix, then serve hot.


Leila & Nancy