Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake- THM (S)

pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake has become a staple in my house in the fall, especially around Thanksgiving. What a lot of folks don’t realize is just how easy it is to make cheesecake! How easy is it? Well, I have a friend who doesn’t know how to cook. Really, she doesn’t know how to cook. I taught her how to cook eggs without burning them. She has a son who is 18. Well, she wanted to surprise her mother with a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving, so she came to my house and I walked her through making this cheesecake, and it turned out lovely! I’ll try to give clear enough directions to make it easy enough for anyone to be successful with this cheesecake!


Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake

     Pecan Crust:

1 1/3 cup pecans

2 Tbsp almond flour/meal

1/4 cup butter

pinch cinnamon

1 tsp THM Super Sweet Blend (or Pyure organic stevia mix– cheaper at WalMart than Amazon, though. But this is what I use.)

  1. Put pecans in food processor and process until they are finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it is well combined.
  2. Prepare a 9 or 10 inch cheesecake/springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and spraying with coconut oil spray.
  3. Press crust mixture into the bottom of pan and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Set it aside to cool.

(OPTIONAL CRUST IDEA IF YOU DON’T LIKE OR ARE ALLERGIC TO PECANS: Follow the directions for the shortbread-type of crust in this recipe.)

     Filling:

24 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)

1/3 cup THM Super Sweet Blend (or Pyure organic stevia mix)

5 large eggs

1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons of THM brown sugar (or extra 1 tablespoon sweet blend plus 1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses)

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp glucomannan

  1. Beat all of your cream cheese until it is creamy. Add the sweetener and beat until it is all well incorporated.
  2. Add your eggs one at a time, mixing well on low until each egg is well incorporated. Scrape the bowl after each egg as well. (At this point you want to keep the batter as smooth and creamy and free of air bubbles as possible.)
  3. Add the pumpkin and sour cream and mix well on low (scraping the bowl well a couple of times.
  4. Add the spices and mix again.
  5. While the mixer is running, very slowly add the glucomannan (sprinkle a little at a time on top) and run the mixer for another minute on low.
  6. Very gently pour your cheesecake batter on top of your crust.
  7. On the bottom rack of your oven, place a 9×13 baking dish and fill with boiling (or almost boiling water). This will keep your oven nice and moist while your cheecake is baking.
  8. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300 and bake for another 40 minutes.
  9. Turn your oven off and let sit for another hour (don’t open the oven!).
  10. After the cooling hour, take your cheesecake out of the oven, wrap in plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator (at least overnight, but it can be made two or three days ahead of time and still be just perfect!).

Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

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Pumpkin Pie Squares- THM “S”

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So, this picture really doesn’t need a description, does it? Other than MAKE THIS NOW!


 

Ingredients:

1 cup THM baking blend  (or another homemade alternative such as Run Amok Mama’s Quick Mix or Raye’s Place Easy Mix)

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

3 Tbsp homemade brown sugar mix (Simple! Mix 1 cup of THM sweet blend or Pyure organic stevia mix with 1 tsp of blackstrap molasses. Bingo! You have low-carb brown sugar! Or, you can follow the recipe for Gwen’s Nest brown sugar found here)

1/2 cup butter

2 cups pumpkin (A 15 or 16 ounce can is just right)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 eggs

1/4 cup THM Sweet Blend or Pyure sweetener

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 Tbsp homemade brown sugar mix (as described above)

1 Tbsp butter

 

Directions:

  1. Toss the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and process until crumbly. Or, if you’d rather do it the hard way, a fork or pastry blender works, too. Press into a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, cream, eggs, sweetener, and spices. Beat well and pour on top of your crust (it doesn’t matter if it’s still hot). Bake 25-30 minutes until until filling is nearly set.
  3. Mix pecans, brown sugar blend, and butter until well mixed, then sprinkle on top of pumpkin. Return to oven to complete baking (10-15 minutes). The pie filling should be set by then.
  4. Serve chilled and topped with whipped cream.

 

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Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

Crepes- THM “E” or “Crossover”

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My kids LOVE crepes! My oldest asked for them for her birthday breakfast, and I made them that time with the last little bit of sprouted spelt flour I had on hand. So, when the asked today for crepes for lunch, my mind turned to the THM pancakes that use ground oats, and I had an AHA! moment. A few minor tweaks to my tried and true crepe recipe, and voila! The only thing I had a bit of trouble with was that I had 2 small frying pans going at once, and one pan didn’t have the heat turned up quite as high as the other one, so they cooked slower and wanted to rip when I was flipping them. I turned the heat up just a smidge, and it was much better. I’ll give you the ingredients for the E version as well as the crossover version. The directions for making them are the same.

If you are unfamiliar with the Trim, Healthy Mama plan, you can read a book review here. Basically, if you are in weight-loss mode or want to eat healthy carbs without too much fat, use the “E” ingredients. If you are at your goal weight or want to gain weight by eating as many crossovers as you can, or if you have children who need both healthy carbs and healthy fats, use the “Crossover” ingredients.


Crepes- E or Crossover

“E” ingredients

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 tbsp Pyure or 1 tsp THM Sweet Blend

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups unsweetened almond milk (vanilla is fine)

1 tbsp melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup egg whites

Toppings (really, any fruits or berries without added fat. No nuts or cream cheese if you want to keep it an E.):

Slim Belly Jelly (Trim Healthy Mama book p. 411)

Any other chopped up fruits or berries

“Crossover” Ingredients

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 tbsp Pyure or 1 tsp THM Sweet Blend

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups unsweetened almond milk (vanilla is fine)

2 tbsp melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 whole eggs

Toppings (really, whatever you want!):

Slim Belly Jelly (Trim Healthy Mama book p. 411)

Any other chopped up fruits or berries

Cream cheese whipped in the food processor with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream, plus a bit more sweetener (also really good if you mix in some strawberries!)

Chopped nuts
Directions for making crepes:

Put oats in your blender and blend until finely ground. (Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy blender- my almost 15 year old Oster works just fine!) Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and pulse a couple of times to mix it up a bit.

Add your wet ingredients and blend some more until it’s well mixed. I need to scrape the side of my blender pitcher at least once or twice.

If you have a crepe pan, good for you! I don’t, so I use 2 small frying pans. (I think they’re 6 inch pans, maybe?) Don’t turn the heat on too terribly high or they will cook too quickly and burn. Lightly spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray). Pour about 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and swirl it around. Cook until it looks dry on the top, then carefully use a spatula to flip and cook about another minute or two on the other side. (I use a silicone spatula that you use for scraping a bowl to loosen it up first, then a pancake turner to flip them the rest of the way.)

When they are done, spread what you want inside, then roll up and enjoy!


Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake

 

Summery deliciousness! Wait, it’s February… I don’t think you really need to wait for summer to make this! In fact, if you need a bit of a sunny pick-me-up, this is perfect! I included all the components to this cheesecake, but you could take bits and pieces of this recipe to make it your own. For instance, you could just make the cheesecake plain with no blueberries. Add the lemon curd to have a lemon cheesecake. Or if you like strawberries, replace the blueberries with strawberries, and you have a strawberry cheesecake. Really, if you like cheesecake, make this recipe!

(The secret to a good cheesecake, by the way, is time. Once you mix the cheese and sweetener, turn your mixer to the lowest setting, and just go slow. It might take several minutes, scraping after you add each egg, but it will result in a smooth and ultra creamy cheesecake.)


Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake

Crust:

1 cup THM Baking Blend

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 Tbsp THM Sweet Blend (or Pyure Organic Stevia mix or 3 Tbsp

Truvia)

1 large egg yolk

Heat oven to 400. Line bottom of 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil spray. Mix all crust ingredients with fork until dough forms; gather into a ball. Press crust into the bottom of the pan and about 1-2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool.

Cheesecake Filling:

3 packs reduced fat or regular cream cheese

4 eggs

5 Tbsp THM Sweet Blend (or Pyure Organic Stevia mix, or Truvia)

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup heavy cream

Dash salt

Blueberry compote mix (recipe below)

Beat cream cheese and Sweet Blend until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and mix on low until each egg is incorporated. Add vanilla, sour cream, salt, and cream and mix until completely blended. Pour into prepared crust. Carefully spoon small blobs of blueberry compote onto the top of cheesecake mixture, then use a knife to swirl the blueberry mixture into the cheesecake, being careful not to cut into the bottom crust. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then 300 for 35 minutes. Turn oven off and let sit for an hour. Transfer to refrigerator.

Blueberry compote:

1 cup blueberries (fresh would work, but I used frozen because that’s what I had, and it worked just fine)

2 Tbsp THM Sweet Blend

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp lemon juice

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan, and heat to boiling. Use potato masher to mash up blueberries. Boil on low for 5-10 minutes or so until it is thick. Take off heat and let cool. (Best to do this step before the cheesecake step, or you’ll end up sticking it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it down faster, like I did!)

Lemon Curd Topping

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp butter

1 cup egg yolks (it took me 15 yolks… yes, I made Trim Healthy Pancakes the next morning for breakfast!)

1 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp lemon zest

5 tbsp THM Sweet Blend (or more, depending on how sweet you like it)

dash salt

Combine butter with lemon juice in saucepan over medium heat. Mix yolks and sweetener and temper with hot butter/lemon juice mixture. Put back on heat and whisk until it starts to thicken (DO NOT BOIL!). Add lemon zest and salt. Let cool in refrigerator. Top blueberry cheesecake with lemon curd topping .

You can adjust this lemon curd by adding more egg yolks to make it thicker, fewer yolks to make it thinner, water or heavy cream to make it thinner. You can also fold the lemon curd into whipped cream to make lemon mousse… That’s a dessert in and of itself! Even though I have been following the Trim Healthy Mama plan for about a year and half, I haven’t yet put whipped cream on this cheesecake, simply because it is so decadent and such a heavy S without it! I feel it would definitely be way too calorie dense to eat, although I might make an exception if it were my birthday or something special like that! Happy eating, and hopefully I can make this again so I can eat it again, um, I mean, take a picture of it just for this post! 🙂


Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

Just Like Mom’s Chocolate Cake!

Yes! Finally a Trim Healthy chocolate cake that actually looks, feels, and tastes just like an old fashioned chocolate cake! And it’s all thanks to Trim Healthy Mama’s baking blend. It really is THAT GOOD!

From the time I was about 13 or 14, I was baking cakes in my mom’s kitchen. You know, the old fashioned, full of white flour and sugar kind of cakes. I wasn’t diabetic then, so I didn’t give any thought to how (un)healthy it really was! Since Trim Healthy Mama came along, I haven’t had a lot of success making a cake that I really like. I mean, they have mostly been *pretty* good, but it was just too crumbly (too much almond flour), too dense (too much coconut flour) or just not very sweet.

My husband’s birthday was today, and I had a strawberry amaretto cake recipe printed and ready to try, but he asked for chocolate. I almost panicked, because I wanted to make him a really good chocolate cake! And I hadn’t found a good recipe yet! I went so far as to pull out my favorite pre-THM chocolate cake recipe and thought I’d just make it the old way and just cheat. And then I read the recipe. And realized that I could probably actually pull this off without too many changes! And I was right! It was so good!

One final note about the finished product- it’s slightly more crumbly than the old sugar and flour cake I used to make. I did two- 9 inch round cakes, let them sit for about 10 minutes in the pan after taking them out of the oven, and then flipped them upside down onto a cooling rack without any problems. The bottom layer made it onto the plate without too much trouble, but the top half of the cake actually broke in half while I was setting it on top of the middle layer of frosting. Thank goodness for the top layer of frosting to hide it! I’ll have to be more careful next time I do it!

I’ll say right now that I used Serene’s version of the Icing for Cake recipe in the Trim Healthy Mama book, and I can not quite get it to turn out right! It says to use your blender to mix coconut milk, coconut oil, sweet blend, and eggs. And I don’t know exactly the problem yet, but more times than not, I think I have over-blended it, and changed the structure of it somehow, because even refrigerating it with the coconut oil mixed in doesn’t make it any more solid than a chocolate pudding. A tasty chocolate pudding, but not quite solid enough to frost a cake with. Perhaps she meant to use coconut cream instead of coconut milk? Not sure, but I’ll have to try that and see if it works better, because I really want it to work! Anyway, the point is to say that I’m not sharing the recipe for the frosting. Just the cake. So, here it goes! (And yes, it really is a nice chocolate-y color. I don’t currently own a decent camera, just my smart phone, which had a low battery and therefore wouldn’t flash while I was taking this picture. Hence the weird color. But, it’s probably the best picture I can get before it’s all the way gone!)


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Just Like Mom’s Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup coconut oil (solid)

1/2 cup THM Sweet Blend (or Pyure Organic Stevia- a stevia/erythritol mix)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 cup THM Baking Blend

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup unsweet almond or cashew milk

1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Cream butter, coconut oil, and sweet blend until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

In separate bowl, combine cocoa, baking blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In measuring cup, combine yogurt or sour cream and almond or cashew milk and mix well (it should be the consistency of about buttermilk).

Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk mixture to the creamed mixture.

Pour into well-greased pans.

Bake at 350 as follows: 3- 8″ round pans (or 2- 9″ round pans)- 30-35 minutes; 9×13 pan- 55-60 min; 1-10″ tube or Bundt pan- 55-60 min; For 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes- bake 20-25 minutes at 375.


Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

THM Lemon Cake

It’s spring! And what better way to celebrate than with lemon goodness! I was super excited to see Trim Healthy Mama’s new Baking Blend, so I wanted to bake a cake! (Affiliate link to THM Store: https://store.trimhealthymama.com/#_l_e4) The Luscious Lemon Cake is fantastic, too, but it’s just a single serve cake, and I wanted one that I could share with my family. So, I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it more do-able for a large cake. (Please excuse my plastic plates! We aren’t fancy around my house!) There’s probably the exact same recipe for the frosting around somewhere else on the internet, but I didn’t look one up, promise! I just threw things together until they tasted good in my mixer!

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Lemon Cake

3 eggs

2 T butter

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 cup Baking Blend

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Sweet Blend

1 Tbsp baking powder

Directions:

1) Cream butter and Sweet Blend in mixer.

2) Add eggs and mix until well incorporated.

3) Mix Baking Blend and baking powder in separate bowl.

4) Alternate adding Baking Blend mix and lemon juice until it is all added and well mixed.

5) Pour into a greased cake pan (I used an 8″ round pan sprayed with Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray.)

6) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

7) Let the cake sit for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto rack to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 Tbsp butter

4 oz cream cheese

2 Tbsp Sweet Blend (ground in coffee grinder)

pinch salt

Directions: Cream butter and cream cheese, then add Sweet Blend and salt. Mix until nice and creamy, then frost your cake!

*I made this a second time for our Bible study group, only I doubled both the cake and frosting recipe and made a 2-layer cake. It was double delicious! (And I had a bit of frosting left over that I just couldn’t resist eating with a spoon!)


Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

(Really) Easy Alfredo Sauce

20160219_194814My family is a really cheesy family. Really, really, really cheesy. In more ways than one. But, we do love cheese! And we do love a really good homemade alfredo sauce, too. Store bought alfredo sauce just isn’t worth the money, taste wise. And I can tell you that as far as yummy sauces, you really can’t get any easier than this!

Just for reference, a single recipe of this sauce makes about what you’d get in a jar at the grocery store. (In other words, a little more than 2 cups.)

So, here it goes in all of its 5-minute glory! (And since I haven’t figured out yet how to do a printable recipe button on here yet, I’ll just make it fairly easy to copy the text and print it.)


(Really) Easy Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

1 cup milk (or almond milk or combination of cream/water- I, personally, use 3/4 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup cream)

6 oz grated cheese (parmesan, swiss, white cheddar)

⅛ tsp black pepper

 

Melt butter and cream cheese. Add garlic. Whisk well so that the cream cheese and butter are mixed together really well, or you’ll end up with lumps.

Slowly whisk in milk.

Add cheese and stir until melted. Add pepper.

 

 


Add to your favorite veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach) or noodles. I love zucchini noodles! Dreamfields also works for those who are on the THM plan. My T1 son and I benefit from konjac noodles. I ordered a case of Not Naughty Noodles from Trim Healthy Mama. They have zero impact on my blood sugar! They are a bit chewier than regular pasta noodles, but don’t really have much of a taste by themselves. Add some chicken, shrimp, or sausage to this sauce, toss with your noodles, and you will be in alfredo heaven!


Affiliate note: I did include some affiliate links on this page. If you order from Trim Healthy Mama, it won’t cost you any extra, but it will give this stay-at-home mom a bit of commission!

The many aspects of who I am

Who am I? Well, that could be answered many ways, depending on who is asking me and in what context.

I think first and foremost, I shall proudly state that I am a daughter of the Most High King who saved me and redeemed me through the blood of his precious Son, Jesus.

I grew up in Maine, went to college in South Carolina and married my sweetheart, and we still live here with our 3 precious children (13, 9, and 4). So, I’m a daughter, a sister (with 7 siblings), a wife, and a mother.

I volunteer as a small group leader in my 13 year old daughter’s group with my church’s youth group (that would be 6th and 7th grade girls. Am I a bit crazy? I suppose I have to be, especially since I spent 8 1/2 years of my life as a classroom teacher to middle school students (teaching pretty much every subject at some point or another to students between 4th and 9th grades). That definitely involves being a little bit of crazy, but I think that’s what makes a good middle school teacher!

After 8 1/2 years of classroom teaching, God called me to stay home with my own children. My oldest was in the middle of 4th grade, my middle was in the middle of kindergarten, and my baby was 5 months old. It wasn’t an expected calling, to say the least, and it wasn’t an easy year, but we made it through. And continued the next year and the next and the next. We’ve completed 4 full years of homeschooling now, and we are about 7 weeks away from finishing another school year for the summer!

Another t-shirt I wear to identify myself is that of Type 1 diabetic. I’ll tell my story in another post, but I was diagnosed when I was 21, so it’s only been 14 years. (Yeah, you can do the math to figure out how old I am!)
Also, not only am I mom to 3, but my middle child, my only son, was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 2 years ago when he was 7. So, Type 1 diabetes has been a great big part of my life in recent years! Lots of blood glucose test strips lying around the house where my not-so-tidy son drops them when he’s done with them. 2 am blood sugar checks. Adjusting for highs and force feeding some fast-acting carbs when his sugar is low. Yes, I take care of all of these things with little more than the blink of an eye!
(I suppose I could add zookeeper to the list of the hats I wear, too, if you’d like to include our 3 cats, 3 dogs, 2 bearded dragons, guinea pig, and green snake… Plus crickets and cockroaches as feeders… But that might be going overboard, to include all that, no?)

Another thing, and I think I’ll wrap up this post with this, is that I am a Trim, Healthy Mama. (Also will be another separate post!) Related to my diabetes, I wasn’t taking care of myself as well as I should, and I wasn’t comfortable with the 30+ extra pounds I was wearing after bearing 3 children. I was introduced to the Trim Healthy Mama book by some dear friends of mine in our Wednesday night Bible study, and I will be brief and say that Trim Healthy Mama has not only helped me to lose 30 pounds (and a few sizes!), but it has really done wonders for my diabetes! My A1C was pretty consistently in the 8.something range (most recent before starting THM was 8.2), and it is down in the 6.4-6.5 range today! I think it could still be better, but I have not yet been blessed with an insulin pump. Simply changing my eating habits alone has been enough to bring me much better control.

All in all, I will say that I am blessed!