Tag Archives: stevia

Four Bean Salad

Four Bean Salad

This traditional four bean salad with a vinegar dressing is welcome at every cookout. I use stevia in place of sugar in the traditional recipe, making this a healthy side dish that goes perfect with all kinds of grilled meat.

Four Bean Salad 2

RECIPE: Continue reading

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Sugar-Free Strawberry Cheesecake

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This sugar-free strawberry cheesecake may have just jumped onto my list of all-time favorite desserts, even those full of sugar.

This is a no-bake cheesecake that is easy to put together. Made with fresh strawberries, it is a fabulous summer dessert that won’t heat up the kitchen.

It is light and airy, not dense like a baked cheesecake. I sweetened it with stevia and erythritol, but you can easily substitute real sugar. But for those watching their carb and sugar intake, this is a wonderfully satisfying dessert. My kids don’t even miss the sugar!

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I made it in a 9” springform pan, and it completely filled the pan for a nice tall cheesecake. You could make it in a little bit larger pan instead if you don’t want quite as thick of slices.

I garnished the cheesecake with some whipped cream and fresh berries. A wonderful light and summery dessert.

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RECIPE:

Sugar-Free Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake

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Crust:
¾ cup whole almonds (roasted and salted)
¼ cup whole pecans
¼ cup rolled oats
3 Tbs butter, melted
10 drops of liquid stevia

Filling:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup erythritol
½ tsp liquid stevia
½ cup cool water
2 (1 oz) packages unflavored gelatin
1 quart (4 cups) whole strawberries, hulled
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish:
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs cream cheese, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 drops liquid stevia
Whole strawberries, and/or other berries (raspberries, blackberries)

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place almonds, pecans, and oats in a food processor; blend until finely ground. Add butter and stevia  and pulse until combined. Lightly spray 9” springform pan with baking spray (I like coconut oil spray for this). Press crust mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, erythritol, and stevia and beat again until smooth.

Place cool water in a separate bowl; sprinkle gelatin over water. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until gelatin has softened. Microwave for 15 seconds, or until gelatin has dissolved.

Place strawberries in a food processor. Blend until very finely chopped (mixture will be slightly liquidy). Add gelatin mixture to food processor and pulse until mixed. Add chopped strawberries to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Taste mixture and add additional sweetener, if needed.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into filling.

Pour mixture over cooled crust in the springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or until firm.

Garnish:
Combine cream, cream cheese, vanilla, and stevia in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto top of chilled cheesecake and garnish with fresh berries.

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Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

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One of the kids’ favorite jams from last year was this Raspberry Nectarine Freezer Jam. This year I played with the recipe a little, to reduce the sugar and to make it a regular canned jam (freezer space is precious!).
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Nectarines and raspberries are a great combination! Be sure to leave the nectarine peels on when cutting the nectarines. They help give the rich color to the jam. They will be strained out later with the raspberry seeds. Pressing pulp through a sieve to remove seeds is not my favorite thing to do. It is a lot of work, and it seems like such a waste to not use all of that good stuff. I don’t mind having raspberry seeds in things, so I save the seeds (and pulp that clings to them) in the fridge and add them to smoothies, or stir some into my oatmeal in the mornings. A little extra fiber is never a bad thing, right?!

RECIPE:

Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

  • Servings: Makes about 5 half-pint jars
  • Print

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3 cups chopped nectarines (do not peel), about 4-5 nectarines
3 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

Combine nectarines and raspberries in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to remove seeds; discard seeds. Place fruit puree in a large saucepan with the lemon juice.

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into fruit puree in the large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 C sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

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Berry Picking and Raspberry Jams

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It is raspberry picking season here in western PA, and Little A & J helped me take full advantage of it last week. While older kids were off at youth camps, we spent a few days picking berries and making jams. And eating lots of berries on things like This:

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And This:

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We also made three different raspberry jams, two regular raspberry ones that I will share today, and a seedless variety with nectarines for tomorrow’s post. The first jam is a low-sugar red raspberry jam. I love how the fresh fruit taste shines in low-sugar jams, but they do have more of a fruit-spread consistency than the jelled set of full sugar jams.

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I make most of my jams with stevia as a sweetener. I use a little bit of sugar to help with the consistency and “sheen”, but most of the sugar I trade out for stevia. Stevia comes in many brands and forms (liquid: plain and flavored, powdered extract, “spoonable”, packets, crushed leaves), so you will need to do a little experimenting (i.e. tasting) to get the amounts just right.

I use the Sweet Leaf brand most of the time. In the past I have always used the powdered extract, which I highly recommend. This year I tried using their Vanilla Crème flavored liquid variety, and I really liked it. When making low-sugar jams, be sure to use the “no-sugar needed” pectin. For the SureJell brand, this is the pink box.

071311 027-1The second jam we made uses red, black and yellow raspberries. Black raspberries are smaller than the other colors, and have more a few more seeds. Their flavor also seems more concentrated. They make for good finger-staining when you are picking them! And teeth staining when you eat them. I actually prefer their taste over the red ones.

I made jam from just the black raspberries a few years ago, and it came out extremely thick (hold the spoon upside-down thick). So now I combine them with the red and yellow berries to get a better consistency.

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I don’t mind seeds in my raspberry jam, but if you prefer to make it seedless, start with about 1/2 cup more berries, and press through a sieve before adding pectin. If you want to make full-sugar jams, use the same amount of berries, regular pectin and 7 cups sugar (some recipes call for as much as 8 1/2 cups sugar).

RECIPES:

Low-Sugar Red Raspberry Jam

  • Servings: Makes 5-6 half-pint jars
  • Print

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5 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

NoEmptyChairs.me

Low-Sugar Triple Raspberry Jam

  • Servings: Makes 5-6 half-pint jars
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5 cups slightly crushed raspberries (3C red, 1C black, 1C yellow)
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

NoEmptyChairs.me

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Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Cinnamon

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Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to start planning your menu. Over the next week, I will share some of our family’s favorites.

We love our cranberry sauce around here, especially on leftover turkey sandwiches the next day. The addition of orange peel and juice, and a hint of cinnamon gives this cranberry sauce a nice tang. The picture above is a Sugar Free version, made with stevia. The recipe below includes instructions for making it with full sugar or a sugar substitute. In the past I have had problems getting a proper gel with sugar substitutes, so I now add a little unflavored gelatin (Knox). I like it sprinkled with toasted finely chopped pecans, but the kids don’t like it as much this way, so I usually leave it plain.

RECIPE:

Cranberry Sauce

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½ cup water
½ cup fresh orange juice (or additional water)
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (Stevia, erythritol, Splenda) **
1 tsp Knox gelatin (only if using sugar substitute)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup toasted pecans, optional

Place water in a medium saucepan. If using a sugar substitute, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand 5 minutes. Heat to a boil. Stir in orange juice, sugar (or substitute), cinnamon stick, and orange peel. Return to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, return to a boil. Boil 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold with toasted pecans.

**NOTE: Sugar substitutes vary a lot in sweetness, especially stevia. I use Sweet Leaf brand powdered stevia and usually use about ½ teaspoon. Start on the low side; taste cranberry sauce and add more to your taste, if necessary. You can also use part sugar/part sugar substitute.

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Low Sugar Peach Vanilla Jam

072610 026-1 Of the five jams that we made last week (maybe of all the jams I have ever made), this is my very favorite. Fresh ripe peaches and flecks of vanilla bean. And low in sugar. What could be better.

Try it mixed into some homemade yogurt, or on top of ice cream.

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It is still too early in the season here for freestone peaches, but there are some good deals at the farmers market on some luscious, ripe non-freestone varieties. And for jam, these are perfect!

072210 035-1 To quickly and easily remove the peach skin, blanch the peaches in simmering water for 15-30 seconds, then transfer to an ice water bath.

072210 041-1 When making jam, the easiest way to crush your peaches, especially non-freestone varieties, is to take the whole peeled peach in your hand (over a large bowl) and squeeze. If your peaches are ripe, which they should be for a good jam, the peach flesh will be crushed through your fingers, leaving you with just the pit in your hand. Kids love this job!

To get as much vanilla flavor in this jam as I could without overcooking the peaches, I combined the crushed peaches with some lemon juice, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp stevia in a large bowl. Then I added the vanilla bean (cut the bean in half lengthwise, then use the tip of a knife to scrape all of the seeds into the bowl with the fruit); stir in both the seeds and the vanilla bean halves. Let peach mixture sit for 2-3 hours, or overnight (in the refrigerator).

Leave the vanilla bean in while cooking the jam, removing it just before filling your jars.

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I love vanilla bean flecks!

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RECIPE:

Low Sugar Peach Vanilla Jam

  • Servings: Makes 5-6 Half Pint Jars
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5 cups crushed peaches (about 4 1b)
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
½ tsp powdered stevia or 1 tsp liquid stevia
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
1 box low-sugar pectin

Combine peaches, 1 cup sugar, stevia, and lemon juice in a large saucepan or bowl. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape seeds into bowl with peaches. Stir in the vanilla bean pod. Let sit for 2-3 hours or overnight (cover and refrigerate if leaving overnight).

Mix pectin with ¼ cup sugar. Stir into peach mixture. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean pod.

Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place jars in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

Yield: 5-6 half-pint jars

Note: Peaches, stevia brands, and personal taste vary. Taste jam after cooking; if needed, add small amounts of additional sugar or stevia until desired sweetness. Return jam to a full rolling boil after adding any additional ingredients.

NoEmptyChairs.me

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