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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
Well whew! This morning marks the close of another Acker Night, a family friendly musical feast in downtown Prescott that is not to be missed. Accented with flashing Christmas lights in their hair, hats and clothing, the fun loving crowds make this annual event crazy and infectious. Even I, a self proclaimed antisocial, reclusive person, was persuaded to attend as my husband’s videographer for his band Famous in Denmark . It turned out that I had a great time people watching. Unfortunately, I did not get to go out to photograph other bands and people because I did not want to leave all of our cameras and equipment unattended, so you will have to bear with photos and a video of just Les’ band this time. (grin)
I can happily attest that the gathering last night was fun, festive and loving. I say loving because, with these crowds, patience is required. I don’t know if it is just because of the season or if it is because we live in a wonderful town with very kind people. Whatever it is, last night was so incredibly enjoyable and, yep, this is coming from me – a lady who does not like crowds at all.
Acker Night is free. It is kind of like a walking studio tour through all of downtown Prescott. Instead of artist’s studios though, you will walk into a huge variety of cute and cool stores to watch musicians perform. The stores stay open late and judging from the multiple bags of goodies that many people were carrying, it is also a great time to come downtown to do your Christmas shopping as well. Each store features select performers where the music ranges from classical, to folk, to soul to funk to rock and, well, to EVERYTHING music.
Each location has donation bags where people leave “tips” if you will. It all goes to the Acker scholarship fund to be collected at the end of the night. In fact, the entire non-profit event is put on by volunteers. From the administrators to the store owners to the musicians to the performers, everyone pitches in for free to make this a night to remember.
The fun starts early in the day with shopping and eating, of course. 5:00 PM marks the opening ceremonies including a performance from the Prescott High School Choir. Then, all night long, Santa roams the streets to take pictures with you. Hmmm…the roaming Santa sounds kind of creepy, LOL, but it was fun seeing some comedic type folks posing and taking selfies with him. At 5:30, the musicians promptly start the rest of the evening’s fest. They play continuously until 8:30PM. Then they get to break down while the guests get to continue their shopping and partying.
How the heck did Acker Night start anyway? Here is a quick run-down on the history from the Acker Night Facebook page.
“When Mr. Acker died in 1955, he left a number of parcels of land to the City of Prescott, to be used for parks and music programs for children.
In 1988 Prescott resident LaVon Anderson who was a strong advocate of children’s music programs herself, had a dream to mesh music and Prescott’s historic downtown together in a memorable event. Music and the Christmas holidays was a natural pairing and she used that marriage to spearhead the J.S. Acker Musical Showcase in December 1988. The J.S. Acker Musical Showcase was quick to take off. The December event now features over 135 Prescott downtown businesses with over 400 musicians and performers donating their time, talent and businesses for this event.
From 8 performers in 8 shops in 1988 to over 400 performers in over 130 shops today, Acker Night has become one of Prescott’s most beloved events. “
Suggestions for when you visit Prescott for Acker Night next year:
Dress in layers. It can be chilly to freezing here in December.
Be patient. It will be crowded.
Check out the Acker Facebook page. They have programs and schedules so that you can mark off in advance what you want to see.
Prescott has lots of bars, bakeries, food and coffee houses that stay open late for the event, so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything if you don’t want to. I did bring two bottles of water, but that’s it.
Come early enough to find parking. We have a new, large parking structure downtown, so check that out as well as street parking. If you do not want to park downtown, there are shuttles running from Augie’s at Frontier Village where there is a ton of parking.
Bring cash in case you want to donate to the non-profit.
Finally, enjoy yourself and clap loudly and enthusiastically for the bands who donate so much of their time and energy to further the cause of musical scholarships and instruments for the youngsters.
Merging the past with the present is what I’m all about this year. Previously I have tried to make each holiday as different from the last as I could. Each season would be bustled in with new ideas, themes and decor. This year, however, I seem to be searching for calm and caring re-connections. As I peered into each storage tub, it occurred to me that I had many old, forgotten treasures from which to choose. In time, it became clear that I did not want to choose a vivid color theme. I wanted all of my old slightly worn friends on display and so this year’s sentimental theme began to take shape.
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 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.
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.
Approximately one year ago I decided that I was getting tired of seasonal decorating. Next year, I thought, there would be no more garlands all around the front porch- no more gigantic, overly decorated trees- no more little Christmas elements stuck on every shelf. I was as beat up as an old bat trapped outside of her cave.
Well… fast forward to this year – a lot can happen to one’s psyche in a year don’cha know. Maybe it’s the Keto lifestyle kicking in. It really does punch up the energy factor to sky high. Or, more likely, it’s retirement from the post office. Whoot-whoot! This year is the first time in many that I also decorated the bedroom for Christmas. Come along then – let me show you what I did.
Merry Christmas everyone! No matter what holidays you celebrate, I wish you and yours the very best season and all the new year to come.
Can you believe that it’s almost Christmas? Again?! I’m so excited to show you my Christmas decorations reveal, but first, take a look at what the living room looked like before the Christmas transformation.
After the hoopla of my Halloween decorations, autumn looks very understated. To make a fast transformation I took away all things that were strictly Halloween and added a few fall touches to complete my living room in time for Thanksgiving company.
And now, just like that, the next post will be to share my Christmas decorations. It is the first time that I decorated even the bedroom. I usually just do the kitchen and the living room for company, but this year… well, you’ll see.
Crochet in fall and winter? Oh yeah! What better craft to keep you warm while you are constructing it?
I wanted to make an afghan for my Mom that would be super soft against her frail skin but that would still keep her warm and cozy. I used a supposedly baby blanket yarn from Bernat. I say supposedly because when I was finished with the afghan, I realized that it would be too heavy and would smother my bed-ridden mother let alone an infant. The finished afghan is way heavier than expected. I’ll confess though, that was probably my fault since I used a heavily textured crochet pattern called the “Wave” stitch and a size 10mm crochet hook.
There are seriously thousands of free crochet patterns on the web. The variety of styles and difficulties of pattern can be mind boggling. Talk about spending hours cruising the web. This pattern comes from a square that was used in a patchwork sampler afghan. I liked the square so much that I decided to make a whole afghan out of that “Wave stitch” pattern.