Food · Recipes

How to Make Keto Friendly Sweetened Condensed Milk

Looking through cooking magazines, I run across lots of delicious looking recipes. I then try to make them Keto friendly. This holiday season, I wanted to try making really good fudge, but all of the smoothest looking recipes call for sweetened condensed milk. I looked it up online and, sure enough, you can order it. But, the ingredients looked so easy that I thought that I would give making it a try. Success!

The most important thing to remember is that you must be prepared to stand at the stove and stir for the entire time that it takes for the mixture to condense. In this case, about fifteen minutes. The larger batch that you make, the longer it will take to reduce.

This is what the milk looks like at the 7 minute mark. The cream and butter are starting to caramelize a little. Keep stirring and simmering.
At about the 11 minute mark, the mixture is reducing and browning up a bit more. Keep stirring.
This was at the 15 minute mark. The more you make, the longer it will take to condense of course, but for my 1-1/2 cups cream, fifteen minutes was perfect.

Sugar Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe will yield about 1 cup sweetened condensed milk

– 1-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 2 tbsp unsalted butter or Ghee
– 1/3 cup Swerve confectioners sugar
1. In a medium saucepan, add all ingredients
2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often to prevent scorching
3. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously.

Store in an airtight container if not using immediately. It will harden up a little in the fridge. You can microwave it to bring any remaining milk back to liquid or use the slightly hardened mixture to make frosting or fat bombs. It’s delicious.

Food · Recipes

Cauliflower Coconut Curry Soup

Full of healthy fats, this soup is perfect for a Keto diet. It can also be easily adjusted for vegans or meat eaters. Just cook the soup as the recipe directs for vegans. If you are a meat eater, add whatever you like such as chicken or fish. I like the soup with chunks of baked Alaskan wild caught cod as you will see in the last photo.

Vegan coconut curry soup made with cauliflower, tomatoes and spinach
Coconut curry soup made with cauliflower, tomatoes and spinach

This is one instance that I miss rice in my diet because the curry soup is excellent ladled over it. If you are not on Keto, try adding chick peas to the pot. They are also delicious in curry spiced dishes.

Mixed spices for coconut curry soup
I always mix my dreid spices together before adding to the soup pot or whatever I’m making. That way they disperse better, IMHO

Cauliflower Coconut Curry Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cans (13 oz) full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup water
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
4 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and diced into small pieces
4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp liquid Stevia (or sweetener of your choice- this just mellows the spice flavors a little)

-dried spices-
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp yellow curry powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground ginger
salt to taste

1. In a soup pot, add water, chopped onions and cauliflower. Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure that the cauliflower does not burn
2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes just to begin to soften the cauliflower and onions
3. Add all ingredients except the dried spices. Stir to combine
4. In a small bowl, mix the dried spices together. Sprinkle over the soup and continue to stir to combine. Return to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for another 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork soft.
6. Ladle into a bowl and serve hot.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The soup can also be frozen. I freeze my meals in quart baggies and laid flat for easy storage. That way, it is easy to remove one or two servings for lunch or dinner.

Baked cod in cauliflower coconut soup
Here, I’ve added chunks of baked cod to my soup. YUM!


Food · Recipes

Faked apple pie filling for Keto? Try Chayote as an apple stand-in!

Apples are another no-no on the Keto diet. So how am I supposed to make my apple fritters? How about my cranberry chutney? I love cranberry chutney with diced apples and chopped dried apricots, but both fruits are a Keto no-no. As in NO!

Well, I haven’t figured out an alternative to the dried apricots, but the chayote squash is a success on the apple replacement. I had read about using chayote in Keto “apple” pies so I had to try it out. Score! You would never know that you were eating squash in the “apple pie” filling if no one clued you in.

Chayote squash cut in preparation for faked apple pie filling
You can see how the green skin of the chayote adds to the illusion that you are using granny smith apples in your pie filling.

When you cut into chayote it looks like it has the texture of a cross between apples and pears. It is firm like apples and when you eat it raw, it has a very, very mild squash taste. This is what makes the squash perfect for soaking up the taste of whatever you spice the dish with. In this case, I used McCormick’s apple pie spice. To the mixture I also added brown sugar flavor extract. That worked out perfectly in place of regular brown sugar.

Chayote "apple pie filling" as it cooks and after it's reduced.
The chayote pieces as they are boiling and (left) after reduction. With the apple pie spices and the brown sugar flavor extract boiling, the whole house smelled delicious!

Keto Friendly Faked Apple Pie Filling

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 large chayote squash, (I chopped the squash into small pieces so that I could use some of it in my cranberry chutney also)
1/3 cup Xylitol sweetener (or sweetener of your choice)
1 cup water
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp brown sugar flavor extract
1 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tsp apple pie spice
2 tbsp ghee or butter
1/2 tsp salt

1. Add all ingredients except the chayote and butter to a medium sized sauce pan. Whisk to combine.
2. Add the squash and butter and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling and stirring for about ten minutes.
3. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cook until the squash comes to your desired consistency for apple pie filling. My chayote pieces were fairly small so this step took an additional 30 minutes of simmering.
4. Taste and add sweetener or pie spice if you like.

You can use the faked apple compote over or in whatever you like. Try it over cakes, cottage cheese, yogurt or your keto ice cream. Whirl it into your Keto smoothies for an additional flavor layer to the shakes.

Sugar free Faked apple pie filling over a vanilla mug cake
I made a sugar free vanilla mug cake to do a taste test with the “apple pie” compote spooned over the top of the cake. Yummy, it was delicious. BTW, I wasn’t sure how a mug cake would taste until I made this one. Perfect! It has the texture and taste of a real cake- like a coffee cake. Click here to get the recipe for the sugar free mug cake.
Sugar free trifle with chayote apple pie filling.
To make the individual trifles, I layered the chayote “apple pie” filling with pieces of the mug cake and whipped cream. Then I sprinkled a little nutmeg on top of the whipped cream. Be still my heart! You can see why, with my sweet tooth, Keto is the easiest diet that I ever stayed on.
Keto friendly, sugar free cranberry chutney over a sugar free vanilla mug cake.
I used some of the “ apple” compote in the making of my cranberry chutney.
Sugar free cranberry chutney over vanilla cheesecake mousse.
Here, the cranberry chutney tops a vanilla cheesecake mousse. Also YUM!

Happy Holidays!

Food · Recipes

Sugar Free Vanilla Mug Cake

Microwaved mug cakes? I never thought that they sounded very good, but maybe it was time for a try. I needed a little cake so that I could demonstrate how great the Chayote “apple pie filling” was when spooned over cake. Well, guess what? The super easy mug cakes are awesome! The texture is kind of like a cross between a coffee cake and a sponge cake. And the taste is whatever you make it. In this case, I made a vanilla flavored cake.

Sugar free vanilla mug cake topped with Chayote "faked apple pie filling".
Sugar free vanilla mug cake topped with Chayote “faked apple pie filling”.

Sugar Free Vanilla Mug Cake

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp coconut flower
1 tsp liquid Stevia or sweetener of your choice
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
cooking spray to coat the inside of the mug or ramekin (I used coconut oil spray)

1. Into a small bowl, stir all ingredients to combine.
2. Pour into a greased mug cup or ramekin.
3. Microwave for 90 seconds. Let cool before you tip the cake out of the cup or ramekin.

Keto trifle made with sugar free "apple pie" filling made of chayote squash
Or you can tear the mug cake into pieces and use it to make a layered individual trifle. This one is layered with whipped cream and Faked “apple pie” filling made with chayote squash.

Happy Holiday Baking!

Food · Recipes

Keto Chayote Cranberry Chutney

For years, my cranberry chutney has been a sweet and tangy mix made with whole cranberries, diced apples and dried apricots. Now that I’m on Keto, I wondered what the heck I could use instead of the apples and apricots. Let me tell you, chayote squash fit the bill. Chayote is a very mild flavored squash that looks like Granny Smith apples when you slice or dice it.

Instead of apricots I also added a cup of frozen 3 berry mix (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) to the chutney just for a little added flavor and visual texture.

Chayote squash
Chayote has a texture like apples and is so mild in taste that it absorbs the flavor of the spices that you cook it with.
Sugar Free Chayote-Cranberry chutney heaped over vanilla cheesecake mousse.
Sugar Free 3 Berry-Chayote-Cranberry chutney heaped over vanilla cheesecake mousse.

Keto Chayote Cranberry Chutney

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 (12 oz) pkg cranberries
1 large chayote, diced with the skin left on
1 cup frozen 3 berry mix (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
i cup water
3/4 cup Lakanto Monk Fruit classic granulated (or sweetener of your choice)
3/4 cup Lakanto Monk Fruit Brown (or sweetener of your choice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground dry mustard
3 tbsp cider vinegar

1. In a saucepan, boil the water and sweeteners, stirring until no granules remain.
2. Whisk in the dried spices.
3. Add the diced chayote and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to cook the chayote for15 minutes to soften it up.
4. Add the cranberries and bring back to a slow boil. Stir the mixture occasionally, cooking until the cranberries are popping and the chutney is reducing in liquid – about another 10 minutes.
5. Add the frozen mixed berries and return to a boil. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the chutney has a texture that you like.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

This chutney is excellent over buttered toast too. Additionally, it can be spooned over cottage cheese, yogurt, mousse, whatever you can dream up. Oh! And all of the ingredients are healthy so whirl some up into your smoothies as well.

lemon cookies with cranberry cream cheese
Cranberry chutney over sweet lemon biscuits slathered with cream cheese.
Keto Chayote Cranberry chutney over vanilla mug cake
Keto Chayote Cranberry chutney over vanilla mug cake

Happy Holiday Cooking!

Food · Recipes

Paleo Cauliflower Chili (also perfect for Keto with or without added meat)

This is a story on how to easily make several different chilies for one party of people who has several different diets. Whew!

I had been bragging to my brothers about the Keto cornbread and how there was no cornmeal in the muffins, but that it truly tasted like real cornbread. Well, they decided to drive practically across country to taste it. Uh-oh. Time to put my money where my mouth was. (grin)

Keto cornbread recipe
Click here for an easy cheesy Keto cornbread muffin recipe.

No worries because the little Keto cornbread muffins really are delicious, but what do I want to serve with the bread? Chili of course!

My company included both brothers and one sister-in-law. Then there was Les who HAS to have beans in his chili and myself who is (mostly) staying on Keto. One brother has no diet restrictions, one brother is Keto and my sister-in-law is Paleo-vegetarian.

Vegetarian Paleo Chili served with hot buttered mini Keto cornbread muffins.
Vegetarian Paleo Cauliflower Chili. To make it Keto, just add meat such as browned ground beef. Serve with hot-buttered Keto corn bread mini muffins. I actually forgot to add cheddar cheese and jalapenos to these muffins but they were still delicious.

OK, no problemo, I started with the basic veggies and then altered each pot of chili to fit my guest’s needs. That ended up being three separate, but similar dishes.

All chili versions began by sauteing the peppers, diced tomatoes and onions in butter. Spices were added to the basic veggie mix as it cooked. The cauliflower was riced and thrown into the microwave to soften it, but not to make it mushy. To add a little “meat” to the Paleo chili, I added chopped walnuts.

In a separate skillet, I browned ground beef for all except Debbie, adding a little garlic powder, salt and pepper as that cooked. I used canned pinto beans to add to the boy’s chili leaving the beans out of my Keto beef mix and leaving the cauliflower/walnut mix out of Rich and Les’ chili. Now it was just a matter of combining the foods that matched each person’s diet into separate pots and then leaving them on the stove to simmer for about 1/2 hour.

Paleo Chili- Also great for Keto with or without added meat)

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Note: I used all the colors of bell peppers just because I think that they are pretty, but you can stick with just one green pepper if you like)

3 tbs avocado oil (or oil/butter of your choice)
I head riced cauliflower, cooked in microwave until soft but not mushy
1 small yellow or brown onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped walnuts
2-14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 small can diced jalepenos
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs dried parsley
1/2 tbs cayenne
1 tbs chili powder
2 tbs onion powder
2 tbs garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Into a deep skillet, heat avocado oil and saute all veggies except the cauliflower.
2. Add garlic and all dried seasonings except salt and pepper to the veggies skillet and stir to combine. Continue to saute until the onions begin to look translucent.

Note: At this point, I divided the veggie skillet into two separate soup pots so that Les did not get any cauliflower in his chili. Heaven forbid!

3. As the veggies cook, microwave the riced cauliflower plus the chopped walnuts in about 1/4 cup water- until soft but not mushy.
4. Into a soup pot with the veggie mix, add the tomatoes, sauce and jalepenos. Stir to combine bringing to a boil.
5. Lower the temp and simmer on the stove for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste and possibly more chili powder if needed.

Food · Recipes

Sugar Free Maple Walnut Bon-bons

I sure do miss the See’s Candy stores that used to be in all of the malls in my town. You know the ones that I mean- the ones with an entire collection of the candy line-up and with free samples of whichever candies that you wanted to try. Sadly, all of that is gone now in my little town. But the memories remain – and what sweet memories they are too!

The taste of these maple walnut bon-bons are exactly as I remember them from long ago visits to See’s Candy stores.

The maple walnut bon-bons were such a favorite of mine that I had to try to make a Keto copycat version of that candy. Just in time for the holidays, these delicious bon-bons will be perfect to serve your guests. Even the non- Keto- sugar loving people will love them.

My excuse for the not-too-pretty chocolate coating is that my kitchen was cold this morning. The chocolate kept hardening up as soon as I covered one bon-bon so the look is less than stellar, but they still taste great. Why didn’t I wait until the day warmed up? Ha! What, me wait?

Keto Maple Walnut Bon-bons

  • Servings: approx 24
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar free maple syrup (I used Lakanto Monk Fruit maple syrup)
1 1/4 cups powdered Swerve confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (you can toast them for a deeper flavor, but it’s not necessary)
8 oz Lilly’s chocolate chips (or any sugar free brand that you like)

1. Add the softened butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and maple extract to a medium sized bowl. Use a hand mixer to combine and then beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
2. Stir in walnuts. Chill for 30 minutes or until candy is firm.
3. Scoop balls of candy, roll to shape and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Return to freezer to chill a little more in preparation for dipping.
4. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions. Cover each bon-bon with the melted chocolate and replace onto the cookie sheet.

Let the chocolate coating harden before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Food · Recipes

Easy Keto Penuche

You may recall my post about a caramel sauce using Keto friendly “brown sugar”. Well, the taste of that sauce brought back such fond memories of penuche that I knew I had to make some for the holiday festivities. When I was a kid, I used to spend part of my lunch money to buy it almost every day at the convenience store on the way home from school and I STILL love the flavor. (Don’t tell Mom though.)

Easy Keto penuche
Easy Keto friendly Penuche
(I’m noticing how the bottom looks like a darker layer of something but it is just the shadow from the dish. Sorry about any confusion from the picture. LOL, There is not a second layer of darker caramel or anything.)

Sometimes penuche candy is referred to as brown sugar fudge because of the creamy texture. It can be shaped as a little patty or it can be cut into squares like a fudge, but it is all the same- a creamy, delicious brown sugar flavored confection packed with nuts.

In this recipe, you do not need a candy thermometer or any of the lengthy machinations that were involved in the old directions. Nope. I experimented a little but I didn’t stray too far from a traditional recipe except to make this candy very easy, very fast and Keto friendly.

Brown sugar candy made with Xylitol and brown sugar flavor extract
Brown sugar candy made with Xylitol and brown sugar flavor extract

I used my own “brown sugar” concoction with Xylitol and brown sugar flavor extract. You can find the details in the caramel sauce post. The Swerve Brown sweetener seemed to crystallize on cooling more than the Xylitol, but it works if you don’t want to buy a brown sugar flavor extract to make your own “brown sugar” substitute.

You will need to prepare a foil lined baking dish to make cut squares or a foil lined cookie sheet to make candy patties. I used the baking dish this time. The easiest way to line a baking dish with foil is to first shape it over the back side of the dish and then fit it inside.

how to line a baking dish with foil

Easy Keto Penuche

  • Servings: 90 pcs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


– 1 cup butter, either salted or not
– 2 cups granulated Xylitol
– 2 tsp brown sugar flavor extract
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 1/2 cups powdered Swerve sweetener
– 1 cup chopped walnuts (it’s good with peanuts as well)


Prepare an 8×8 baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray (I use avocado spray)

1. Mix the Xylitol with the brown sugar flavor extract until well combined
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat
3. Add the “brown sugar” and bring to a boil, stirring constantly
4. Pour in the cream stirring for another five minutes or so
5. Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes
6. Stir in the vanilla extract and walnuts
7. Pour into a foil lined 8×8 baking dish, cover with fol and continue to cool in the refrigerator until firm
8. Remove from dish and cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Be sure to cut this candy into fairly small squares. It is SWEET and guaranteed to satisfy even the biggest sweets fans out there.