Pumpkin Pie Cake – THM (S)

First things first, this post contains more links than I typically use. I do not participate in affiliate programs and the links are included only for your convenience.

I know, I know. I claimed I’m not a chef and I’m not. I’m not a baker either (despite it being my late great-grandfather’s occupation). So what’s with another recipe, you ask? Well, it’s all things pumpkin season and my mother makes this pumpkin pie cake that our entire family loves. It’s an upside-down cake of sorts–pumpkin pie-type filling on the bottom with a crust on top. The problem? Besides calling for 1 cup of suger (Yikes! I can just feel the blood sugar spike reading the recipe.) and sweetened condensed milk for the pumpkin filling portion, it uses a boxed yellow cake mix, which has more sugar and refined flour, to make the crust topping. Since beginning THM four years ago, I’ve counted her pumpkin pie cake as one of those once-a-year “cheat” things I have at Thanksgiving and call it an “off-plan personal choice” in moderation. But this year, I got a wild hair to see just what would happen if mixed two recipes from a couple of food blogs together. I used the cake (pumpkin) portion of the Pumpkin Cream Cake* from Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen (which you should also make because it is AWESOME!) and used Sheri Graham’s Vanilla Cake Master Mix* in place of the boxed cake mix. I keep a double batch of Sheri’s Vanilla Cake Master Mix in the pantry because I make my Fun-Sans-Fetti Cake Batter Dip with it, but in the recipe below I’ve just included the individual ingredients in case you don’t have the mix on hand. Well, the results were exactly what I had hoped for! Since my kids tasted it and proclaimed it to be as good as the real thing, I wanted to share.

With homemade THM-compatible ice cream

I do want to add a caveat though, while this is a health-IER recipe than the original due to removing the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and cake mix, it is still pretty calorie-dense. There are over 2-1/2 tablespoons of butter in each serving. And, as THMers know, counting calories isn’t necessary, but you don’t want to abuse them either. You won’t want to make this a frequent dessert so as to avoid calorie abuse, but it is a great sugar-free treat for special occasions like Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pie Cake Recipe – THM (S)

Ingredients

For the pumpkin pie “filling”:

  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2/3 cup THM Super Sweet Blend
  • 2 cans of pumpkin, 15 oz. each (or one 29 oz. can)
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups THM Baking Blend (or 1 cup coconut flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the crust topping:

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray 9×13 cake pan with coconut oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sweetener. Stir in pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Add baking blend, baking powder, and spices, stirring to combine thoroughly. Pour this mixture into prepared 9×13 pan and spread out.

In a separate bowl, combine oat fiber, coconut flour, whey protein powder, sweetener, salt, baking powder, and glucomannan. Mix well. Sprinkle this dry mixture over the pumpkin. Drizzle 1 cup of melted butter over dry cake mix. Bake at 350º for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving. Serves well with homemade whipped cream or THM-compatible ice cream.

As written, this recipe serves 12-15. It can easily be halved and baked in a 9×7 pan for 45 minutes to serve 6-8.

Click here to print this recipe

* Many thanks to Sarah Criddle and Sheri Graham for letting me share all or portions of their recipes in this post. Please visit Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen at https://mrscriddleskitchen.com and Sheri Graham at https://sherigraham.com for more great recipes.

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Fun-Sans-Fetti Cake Batter Dip – THM (FP or E)

First things first, this post contains more links than I typically use. I do not participate in affiliate programs and the links are included only for your convenience.

My apologies. This post is very long for what is effectively a recipe equivalent to boxed mac & cheese. There is a good reason for that and if you follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating you’ll want to read the whole post.

For her recent birthday, my 14-year-old daughter requested Funfetti Dip instead of a traditional cake. As she and her friends whisked the bowl of goodness off to the basement with a box of Aldi-knockoff Nilla Wafers, I started some wishful thinking. Funfetti Dip is YUM but not very healthy. Boxed cake mix, frozen whipped topping, vanilla yogurt, and vanilla wafer cookies are a simple carb recipe for blood sugar disaster. But what if… I recalled a THM-friendly cake mix recipe. Hmmm… Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt is on-plan. I wonder… Good old-fashioned whipped cream is an S… Sprinkles for the ‘fetti are tricky but I can worry about that later… Off to the kitchen I went.

My first attempt involved THM-compatible versions of all three ingredients: Sheri Graham’s Vanilla Cake Master Mix*, a single-serve container of Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and some homemade whipped cream.

Pretty, it wasn’t since the ‘fetti’s main job is decoration and I still didn’t have a sub for that. But it did not disappoint in flavor! However, who wants to make whipped cream every time you want a quick snack and the fat in the whipped cream was probably bordering on crossover territory. So I tried it with just the yogurt and cake mix. Viola! Quick. Easy. No fat to be troubled by. I wouldn’t even really call it a recipe. Once you have a batch of cake mix made up and stashed away, it’s about as simple as a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Now, what to eat it with… Obviously not vanilla wafer cookies. Needs to be something FP… I gaze into the fridge. Not my standby chip substitute of sliced cucumbers or celery. Hmmm… Eureka! Strawberries, of course!

And I’ll confess, sometimes I just eat it straight up with a spoon. Tastes like cake batter. For a snack, I stick to eating half the batch with berries. The other half gets put in the fridge for a snack the next day. Sometimes though, I have it for breakfast. In that case, I eat the entire batch with 1/2 cup of berries and about 1/4 cup of homemade granola.

Breakfast Version

This categorization of this “recipe” is going to be a little touchy for some THMs. Here’s why: it doesn’t really fit neatly into S, E, FP, XO categories and you can start numbering yourself right into the looney bin. HOWEVER, I believe it will illustrate the very concept of food freedom you can embrace as part of THM. If you’re not a follower of THM and are just after a yummy and healthy snack feel free to skip all this and go straight to the recipe section. If you are a “mama”, take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and let’s break this down.

The base of this recipe is Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla Greek Nonfat Yogurt. It’s considered an FP food. The other main portion of this is Sheri Graham’s Vanilla Cake Master Mix. It is also considered FP. So, the question in the back of a THM’s mind is, “When combined, do the carbs or fat in them push them into E or S territory at all?” Since there is no fat to speak of in either part, it wouldn’t go into S. That leaves the carb question. And here is where I will push some “mama’s” buttons and open myself up to some criticism. I don’t care how many carbs are in it combined. <GASP!> How can I be that blasé about it? Won’t all my progress on THM be lost and I’ll end up back at 225 pounds? Maybe, IF I were that indifferent to the status of everything I ate. But here’s the deal: most of what I eat fits nicely into S, E, and FP boxes, so this one thing that doesn’t isn’t a big deal. All the ingredients are on-plan. I know that there are carbs in the yogurt and cake mix and that together the amount of carbs may push it close to E territory but because there is no healthy carb source it can’t really be E by itself. If I add a cup or more of berries (or 1/2 cup or more of blueberries) it could be E because now I have healthy carbs. When I have it for breakfast with berries and granola it is certainly an E. As I said, there is no fat so I know it’s not S and therefore can be a crossover. Because I know these things that are the basics of the THM way of life, I make sure I keep it at least 3 hours from any other meal or snack to avoid crossing over or fuel stacking. And, I don’t eat it every day. It’s a good treat, but as with all things, moderation is key. Therefore, no problem not knowing exactly what it is or what its numbers are. I know it doesn’t mix fuels because of the lack of fat, and that’s all I need to know. (To those THMs cringing at this because I’m not singing “pure” THM doctrine, I get it. I do. This type of thinking is scary. It can easily lead to adopting such an attitude with everything and derailing into old unhealthy habits–see note below. I understand. No need to give me lectures or nasty comments.) If I were really pressed to give it a letter designation, I’d say it’s FP if eaten on its own because there isn’t really a healthy carb source without the berries to make it E. It’s probably E if you add berries. Those are just my personal leanings on the categories though. And again, if you add berries and granola to eat it as a meal, it’s definitely E because of the healthy carb sources in the berries and oats.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ALL THMers: If you are following a THM lifestyle, one should always attempt to identify foods as S, E, FP and pair them appropriately, as I have done with this snack. I’m NOT telling you to throw caution to the wind. I do not want to cause anyone to use this explanation as license to adopt this philosophy with all foods. My purpose in the above explanation is to give an example of food freedom within the framework of THM guidelines. If you know you have a tendency to “let an inch turn into a mile,” to paraphrase my mama, then stick to things that are more concrete in classification. You have to know your personal issues and work THM within those boundaries.

Fun-Sans-Fetti Cake Batter Dip Recipe – THM (FP or E)

Ingredients
Preparation

In a cereal-size bowl, mix the Greek yogurt and Vanilla Cake Master Mix. Add berries and/or granola on the side. Enjoy!

For a snack, eat half the batch with or without berries. Put the remaining half in the fridge for a snack the next day. For a meal (Yes, you can eat this as a meal. I give you permission—food freedom, baby!), eat the entire batch with 1/2 cup of berries and about 1/4 cup of homemade granola. On its own, with no berries, this recipe is FP. If you add more than 1 cup of berries (or more than ½ cup of blueberries), it will be an E. When adding granola, it is also an E.

Click here to print this recipe. Printed recipe includes Vanilla Cake Master Mix recipe.

To make a batch of Vanilla Cake Master Mix, mix the following ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Give the container a good shake or two before using to remix ingredients.

* Many thanks to Sheri Graham for letting me share her Vanilla Cake Master Mix recipe here. Visit her blog at https://sherigraham.com for more great recipes.

superfood salad photo

Super-Easy, Super-Versatile Superfood Salad – THM (FP)

I’m the laziest chef. In fact, I wouldn’t even go so far as to call me a chef. I’m not even a cook. I taught my kids how to cook right about the time I started Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and haven’t really cooked since. They were 10, 13, and 15 at the time and after about a year of cooking dinners with me, I turned them loose. Each cooks twice per week with no supervision. As homeschoolers, we call it home-ec (or I guess family and consumer science as it is known these days). In fact, as I write this, my youngest, now 14, is whipping up some Fifteen-Minute Focaccia Bread from the Trim Healthy Table Cookbook to go with our dinner salad. But I came up with this salad a few weeks ago and wanted to share. It’s my kind of cooking–minimal ingredients, nothing special, and very versatile–not even actually a recipe.

Part of the beauty is that this salad can be used as either a side dish or as a meal itself. In the amounts shown, this recipe easily serves five as a meal and goes even further when used as a side dish. It is very filling. When using as a side dish, stick to adding things like additional veggies or berries with extras in garnish amounts. If wanting it as a meal, add a protein source like lean deli meat, steak, pre-cooked or canned chicken breast, or a hard-boiled egg or two and then pile on more veggies and extras. At our house, we mix up the salad with the base ingredients and whatever other veggies and garnishes we have on hand and let each person use the dressing of their choice. However, I’ve come up with some variations below that are excellent meals and make good dishes to take to pot-luck type gatherings. It also feeds at least 8 people as a side dish and 5 as a main dish, with enough for a couple meals of leftovers.

And just a little side note: When people say THM is too hard to understand, I tell them hogwash. If my 10-year-old could learn what ingredients make S, E, and FP so can you. I’m not saying that to make anyone feel bad but to encourage them. You can do it.

Okay, now back to business. The base recipe here consists of only three ingredients: cauliflower, kale or spinach, and cucumber. I know, it sounds boring and way too healthy to be considered good, but work with me here. The other thing we should get out of the way before starting is that I tend to cook with handfuls and piles poured into my palm rather than cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons. The written recipes include standard measures in case handfuls and piles make you break out in a rash but if you’re not much on measuring feel free to eyeball things.

chopped cauliflowerThese days, cauliflower is being used as a substitute for all kinds of things like mashed potatoes, rice, and pizza crust. You’ll notice that the things it is being subbed for are the filler items of meals. It functions the same way in this recipe; it’s filling. I use 2 bags of pre-cut cauliflower florets because, well, I’m lazy. Hey, I warned you. But, you can use a regular old head of cauliflower and cut it up yourself if you don’t mind the extra work. That way is more budget-friendly and allows you to use organic or homegrown cauli if those are important for you, but it takes away a bit of the super-easy aspect. You could also use 2 bags of frozen cauliflower florets and just let them sit in the fridge overnight to thaw if you’re so inclined. I take my cauli florets and chop them up to the size of about a quarter using a rocking method seen here. You could also throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. The size is a personal preference thing. They can be as big or as small as you want. I find that when they are smaller the salad mixes up better, but you do you on size.

chopped kaleNext comes the kale. If you’re not a big kale fan, you can use spinach. Sometimes I use a mix of both. It largely depends on what we have in the fridge and what is coming out of DH’s garden. If you’re not a big spinach fan either, use whatever salad greens float your boat. I grab 3-4 handfuls of kale, give it a good rinse, shake it off well, and maybe even pat it dry to prevent the salad from becoming watery. Throw it in a large bowl, grab a kitchen shear (scissor) or a clean regular scissors, and go to town chopping it up. Again, how small is a personal preference thing. Add the chopped cauli to the kale bowl.

Finally, the cucumber. I use English cucumbers because they are seedless and less watery than regular cucumbers but either is fine. If using a regular cuke, you will probably want to seed it. You can also use zucchini or again a mix of the two. As with the kale, at our house it sometimes happens that we have one and not the other or a small amount of each. (And yes, this is the way cooking goes when DH or I cook–whatever’s in the fridge ends up in the pot. The kids follow recipes.) Don’t peel it. The peel has lots of good vitamins and fiber and peeling just takes up time. Give it a good rinse and dry. Cut the cucumber in half from end to end. Take each half and cut it in thirds from end to end, then cut the strips into chunks (yes, it’s a technical term). Mix the cucumber in with the kale and cauliflower.  That’s it!

base salad mixture

Now comes the fun part, dressing it. If you’re THM you can dress the salad as either an S or FP. Remember, stuff from the FP list is also acceptable in an S setting but S items do not belong in FP. If you’re not THM that means nothing to you and that’s okay. You can pile on whatever strikes your fancy.

S Options FP Options
Low-sugar dressing of choice
(less than 2g carbs per serving)
Lemon Juice or Vinegar for dressing
(can add up to 1 teaspoon olive oil or
2 teaspoons MCT oil, if desired)
Cheese, any variety Onion
Olives Roasted Red Bell Pepper
Nuts (palmful per serving) Diced Bell Pepper
Steak Tomato
Hard-Boiled Egg Sugar Snap Peas
Mushrooms
Other Non-Starchy Veggies
Berries
(up to 1/2 cup blueberries per serving
or up to 1 cup of other berries)
Chicken Breast (pre-cooked or canned)
Lean Deli Meat
Tuna (packed in water)
Salmon

 

 

Super-Easy, Super-Versatile Superfood Salad Base Recipe – THM (FP)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. You can pat them dry to help ensure your salad doesn’t end up watery. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  You can serve the salad as is with your favorite dressing, try one of the variations or additions listed below, or create your own variation! Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

Superfood BLT Salad Variation

Superfood Italian Salad Variation

Superfood Greek Salad Variation

Nutrition Facts (based on side dish serving size of 1 cup, a meal serving size is more like 2 cups)

superfood salad base recipe nutriton label

Superfood BLT Salad photoThe BLT version of this salad was born out of me happening upon a BLT pasta salad at our local supermarket. It sounded so good but pasta isn’t very healthy, so I set out to see what I could do with my base recipe. In this application, I blanch or parboil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes to give it less of a crunch and more of a pasta texture. And, I know kale isn’t exactly lettuce but we’re going to call it close enough. If you really have to, I guess you could call this BKT Salad or B”L”T Salad.

Superfood BLT Salad – THM (S)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1-1/2 pounds thick-cut bacon
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and toss the cauli in. Boil for about 5 minutes so florets are firm-tender, similar to an al dente pasta. Drain, rinse with cold water and allow to drain further.

While cauliflower is boiling, cook bacon using your preferred method. In this application, I like to bake it on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Start checking on it after 15 minutes to avoid burning. You want it fairly crisp so it will crumble but not overdone so it doesn’t taste burnt. Set strips on paper towels to absorb grease and cool. When cool, crumble.

As bacon is cooking, prep the remaining vegetables as follows.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve the salad with your favorite creamy dressing. Our family particularly likes homemade Dill Pickle Ranch Dressing on it, but even a plain mayo-type dressing or bottled creamy dressing like ranch or blue cheese would be great. You can also use the salad wrapped in a low-carb tortilla with some dressing or mayo. Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

 

Italian Superfood Salad – THM (S)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1 cup small pitted black olives or sliced black olives
    • 1 cup cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. You can pat them dry to help ensure your salad doesn’t end up watery. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Dress this version with an Italian vinaigrette or creamy Italian dressing. Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.

 

Greek Superfood Salad – THM (S)

Ingredients
    • 2 (10 oz.) bags fresh cauliflower florets (or 1 head cauliflower florets)
    • 3-4 cups kale or spinach (or a mix of the two)
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
    • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preparation

Rinse and drain cauliflower florets. You can pat them dry to help ensure your salad doesn’t end up watery. Chop the florets into small bite-size pieces or throw them in a food processor and pulse once or twice. You can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and drain kale. Again, pat dry if necessary.  Take a kitchen scissor (or even clean regular scissors will work) and chop the kale into smaller pieces. Like the cauli, you can leave them as large or small as you like.

Rinse and dry the cucumber. Slice it in half along its length. Take each half and slice again along the length twice so each half ends up in 3 long strips. Cut the strips into bite-size pieces.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Dress this version with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing with 2g or fewer carbs per serving or even just a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Feeds 8 as a side dish or 5 as a main dish.

Click here to print this recipe. Includes base recipe and all variations in one document.