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Easy Breezy Gluten Free Low Carb Strawberry Pie

Easy Breezy Gluten Free Low Carb Strawberry Pie

Hot Summers Call for Cool Desserts

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been pretty impossible to live with if I get hot. My parents didn’t even bother to get an air conditioner until I came along. And to keep the house (and my bratty self) cool in the summer, my mother had my dad build an outdoor kitchen so she could cook and keep the heat outside.

Fast forward 30 years.

When it’s hot and humid here in Florida, the last thing I want to do is cook. The bad thing is, I still want dessert. AND I want a dessert that will help me cool off.

I don’t exactly want an outdoor kitchen like my mother, but I do want recipes that are easy and going to keep me cool. That involves using the oven as little as possible. That’s why I love this easy low carb strawberry pie.

Anatomy of a Low Carb Strawberry Pie

I was never a pie baking person because I never could get the crust to come out right. Icebox pies though were another story. I loved being able to throw it together, refrigerate, and enjoy a nice cool slice of pie in the summer.

I wondered if I could make an icebox low carb berry pie work. My old recipe had all of three ingredients. Jello, Cool Whip, and strawberries. Easy breezy!

I kept the strawberry jello, albeit I used sugar free.

Cool Whip is great and all, but I don’t want fake food. Who wants basically eat oil and corn syrup? Especially when the real stuff tastes sooo much better! I decided to use heavy whipping cream in place of the Cool Whip.

I’m so glad that strawberries are relatively low carb. They’re my favorite fruit, and I think I’d die if I couldn’t have any. A cup of chopped strawberries has roughly 10-12 carbs. That’s not bad when you break the pie up into servings.

How I Made a Low Carb “Graham Cracker” Crust

Time saving convenience foods like a pre-made graham cracker crusts are a thing of the past when you’re low carb and gluten free. But making a low carb nut crust takes only minutes, and you can have it done and ready to go in less time than it take you to go to the store and buy one.

You can find recipes for low carb crusts all over the internet. They’re quick and easy to make. All you need are pecans, walnuts, or whatever your nut of choice is. But I add something a little different to give it a darker flavor to kind of mimic the “graham cracker” look and taste.

I add Golden Lakanto monkfruit sweetener to my crust. This is a new sweetener to me. I bought it because I read it tastes like brown sugar. I’ve only used it in my low carb “graham cracker” crust, and it does give it a darker flavor just like brown sugar would.

Oh, and by the way, each slice of pie only has 3.5 net carbs!


First, the Low Carb, Gluten Free “Graham Cracker” Crust Recipe

gluten free graham cracker pie crust recipe

Add 1 1/2 cup of nuts and 1/2 cup Golden Lakanto monkfruit sweetener  to your mini food chopper. (I couldn’t live without my Ninja Chopper!) Pulse until it’s ground.

low carb graham cracker crust


Mix 4 tbsp melted butter to nut mixture and combine well. Press the dough to the bottom and sides of an 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and set. Remember to let it cool completely before you add your pie filling!

Now Let’s Make a Low Carb Strawberry Pie!

strawberry pie recipe easy

Chop enough strawberries to make 1 cup. (About a half a pound) Set aside.

recipe easy strawberry pie

Add enough ice cubes to 1/2 cup of water to make 1 cup.

low carb berry pie

Dissolve a box of sugar free strawberry jello in 2/3 cup boiling water. When there’s no granules left, pour in the ice water. Stir until the ice cubes completely melt and set aside to thicken.

low carb strawberry pie recipe

Beat 2 cups whipping cream on high until extremely stiff. It should be able to stick to your spoon when you hold it sideways.

gluten free berry pie recipe

Add the thickened jello mixture to the whipped cream and fold gently until thorough combined. Gently mix in chopped berries. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

low carb strawberry icebox pie

Remove from fridge and mound the pie filling into the nut crust.  Refrigerate for six hours or overnight. Top with sliced fresh berries and whipped cream and enjoy your cool low carb strawberry pie!

Variation: This also makes a pretty parfait. In tall parfait glasses, layer filling and fresh sliced strawberries and top with homemade sweetened whipped cream.

Products to Make Your Low Carb Strawberry Pie Even Better:

GF Low Carb Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole

GF Low Carb Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole

I Just Wanted a Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole with No Pasta!

There’s a reason they call casseroles comfort food, because they have stuff like pasta and potatoes and carb-y goodness like that. They make us all warm and cozy inside.

And fat.

So where there’s a will there’s a way when it comes to this girl and making low carb gluten free casseroles.

I had a lot of cooked chicken leftover the other day from when I made my fast and easy low carb Mexican chicken casserole, and I needed to find a creative way to use it up. So I went to Pinterest to find a recipe.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole after casserole started popping up in my feed. Oh, my gosh, it all looked so good. But then I clicked on them and every single one I found had pasta in it. I was bummed.

So then I decided to get creative and find a way to make a bacon chicken ranch casserole that was gluten free and low carb.

Anatomy of a Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole Recipe

I know I could have done the obvious and substituted zoodles for the pasta noodles, (you totally could!) but I didn’t have any zucchini on hand. Plus, I didn’t want to put a whole lot of effort into getting dinner on the table. I only had a small window of time before I had to go back to work.

So I decided to up the amount of chicken and bacon, and add broccoli as my filler in place of the pasta. I didn’t want to skimp on the sauce just because there was no pasta, so I made an extra creamy ranch-y sauce for everybody to swim in.

You’re seriously going to have to exert some self-control during the prep phase. I nibbled on the bacon and sucked down I don’t know how much ranch sauce.

It was good from beginning to end. Tonight as I’m writing this, there’s not even any leftovers and my son wants me to make it again tomorrow.


Let’s Make us Some Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole!

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Steam 2 cups of broccoli florets until tender. Set aside.

chicken bacon ranch casserole recipe

Fry one pound of bacon until extra crispy. I’ve found the best way to get the crispiest bacon and keep it from curling is to use a cast iron bacon press. It also keeps the grease from spattering everywhere. Best invention ever!

chicken bacon cheese casserole

Crumble the bacon while trying not to eat any of it. I failed miserably on this step. 🙁

P.S. Don’t get rid of that grease! Pour it into a measuring cup and save it for the next step.

chicken ranch casserole recipe

Add 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp bacon grease, 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1 tsp parsley, 3/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder and 1/8 thyme and mix well. Next, stir in the bacon.

bacon chicken ranch casserole

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Add broccoli and four cups cooked chicken and stir.

chicken bacon ranch recipe

Pour in the ranch mixture and stir well. Bake for 2o minutes. Remove from oven, and top with 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

bacon ranch chicken casserole

Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy the bacon-y ranch-y goodness!

Protein 30.5, Fat 41.8, Fiber 1.8, Carbs 5.1

Versatile GF Low Carb Muffins Recipe

Versatile GF Low Carb Muffins Recipe

One Low Carb Muffins Recipe=A lot of Possibilities

A lot of work and failure comes into play when it comes to developing gluten free and low carb baking recipes. So when I do come up with a success, I like to get a lot of bang for my buck. I try to use it as a base to make different flavors of things. Thus, how my versatile GF Low Carb Muffins Recipe was born.

The Backstory of My Easy Low Carb Muffins

I’ve always liked to get in the kitchen and invent new recipes, even way before I was gluten free and low carb.

I remember being about five or six and getting in the kitchen and just mixing different ingredients together. Most of the time it tasted nasty, but I remember a few times it actually tasted good. My mother must have had the patience of a saint.

Since then, my family has gotten used to my concoctions – for better or for worse! But my little hobby became useful when I went low carb and gluten free.

After I’d had a few months of making healthy desserts under my belt, I decided to get in the kitchen and come up with my own low carb creations.

Who knew? Maybe I’d start whipping out tasty creation after creation and publish my own cookbook.

Or maybe it would just taste like junk. Which it did. At first.

Eventually I did get the hang of having the right proportion of ingredients in a recipe and my muffin/cupcakes were born. I’m not bragging, but they’re pretty tasty. I’ve taken them to several potlucks, not told anyone is was GF or low carb, and I haven’t come back home with a single muffin.

Since mastering my muffin recipe, it’s given me the confidence that I can still get in the kitchen and whip out some awesome low carb creations.


How to Make Easy Low Carb Muffins (Chocolate Version)

Low Carb Morning Muffins

Preheat the oven to 325 F. To a medium sized mixing bowl, add 1 cup almond flour, 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tbsp cocoa, 1/2 cup your preferred natural sweetener, (this is my favorite brand) and a pinch of salt.

easy gluten free muffin recipe

Next add  3 eggs, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, and 1/2 cup coconut milk. Depending on what flavor muffin you’re in the mood for, you can add 1/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips or chunks and/or 1/4 cup chopped nuts. Mix well. (See below for other flavor combinations)

gluten free muffin recipe easy

Line a 6 cup muffin pan with paper liners, or use a silicone muffin pan. I don’t know how I baked before I bought mine. I’ll never go back to paper liners!

best low carb muffins

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You can use this low carb muffins recipe as a base for a lot of variations. Just use your imagination!

*To make vanilla chocolate chip muffins, omit cocoa and use 2 tbsp of coconut flour. Add 1/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips.

*To make banana muffins, add one mashed banana and decrease coconut milk to 1/4 cup. (Keep in mind the banana will increase the carb count)

*For blueberry muffins, omit cocoa, increase coconut flour to 2 tbsp, and add 1/2 cup blueberries.

Healthy Natural Sugar Substitutes: Baking Low Carb 101

Healthy Natural Sugar Substitutes Baking 101

Baking with Sugar Substitutes is a Whole New Ballgame for Low Carb Cooks

A few years ago I began a gluten free, low carb way of eating and eliminated sugar completely from my diet. It was hard at first, because I love my sweets and did without them for about two months.

My craving for sweets came in ebbs and flows. Then I thought why am I depriving myself? There has to be a way to eat healthy and indulge in an occasional dessert that’s not going to blow my carb count. Just because I’ve changed the way I eat shouldn’t mean I can’t eat sweets, right?

In my pre low carb days, I was a baking fiend. I loved to make desserts of all sorts. From homestyle country desserts, to more upscale complicated dishes, I didn’t care. It was one of my favorite hobbies. (that tasted amazing!)

Low carb baking is a whole different animal because the flour and especially the sweeteners completely change the taste and texture of traditional recipes.

The sweetener issue was one I really struggled with. There’s plenty of artificial sweeteners on the market, but I didn’t want to turn to chemical sweeteners like Splenda or Equal. I felt I would just be trading one harmful substance for another.

In doing research, (I’m a big researcher!) I learned there are a lot of natural alternatives to sugar out there. I found out through trial and error that some sweeteners really taste like sugar, some are okay depending on what you use it in, and others are just plain horrible.

Consider this your guide to natural substitutes: baking 101 for low carb cooks. I will give you my honest review of a few of the natural sweeteners I have baked with and had success with, as well as one that is not worth your hard earned money.

Best Baking Sugar Substitute Requirements

I had a few requirements in my search for the best tasting sugar substitute I could cook with. When baking for a low carb diet, any sweetener you use has to be low on the glycemic index.

In my case, it also has to be safe for diabetics because I have many diabetic friends that I feed on a regular basis. I want them to be able to enjoy my treats without worrying that it might hurt them. As a result, all sweeteners I’ve listed in this post negligibly raises blood sugar levels, and are low carb and gluten free.

Another requirement I have is the sugar substitute cannot change the flavor of my goodies. There’s nothing more I hate than a funky aftertaste. My goal when I make desserts is for people to not be able to tell the difference between my dessert and one made with sugar.

Steviva: The Best Tasting Sugar Substitute Hands Down

natural sugar substitute for bakingSteviva Blend stevia sweetener – 5 lb Bulk Bagnatural sugar substitute for baking

Steviva closely mimics sugar in my baked goods. Low carb baking requires alternative flours and sweeteners that seriously alter taste and texture. I thought I was just going to have to trade taste for carbs.

A lot of natural sweeteners have an off flavor that’s not necessarily bad, but different. Most natural sweeteners don’t work well in baked goods either because they don’t have the molecular properties of sugar.

I’m so happy I found Steviva, because it’s the closest thing I’ve found to real sugar when it comes to low carb baking. It sweetens without a funky aftertaste, a must in my book.

Steviva is a blend of powdered stevia and erythritol that bakes and, to me, tastes just like sugar. Steviva is more expensive than sugar, but it’s comparable to the price of other natural sweeteners. But I find it’s more economical than the others I’ve tried.

For every one cup of sugar required in a recipe, 1/3 cup or less of Steviva can be substituted, so my one-pound bag lasts for a very long time.

Steviva doesn’t have any aftertaste or cooling effect. This sweetener is even teenager approved. My son has noticed no difference between baked goods I’ve made with Steviva and baked goods I used to make from sugar. (I didn’t tell him he liked something healthy, shhhhh!)


  • Works well in cakes, muffins, cookies
  • Has no aftertaste or cooling effect
  • Doesn’t have a
  • bitter flavor if too much is used
  • Less can be used for the same sweetening effect, making it more cost effective
  • Has 0 carbs

 Stevia Glycerite: Works Well with Others

list natural sugar substitutesStevia is probably the most natural sweetener you can use, aside from honey. But unlike honey, it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Stevia is really a South American herb that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. A little dab will do you when it comes to stevia.

My father was always a natural living/food fanatic. Looking back, I think I’d consider him a borderline hippie. I remember him first talking about stevia when I was about 12. He thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, and it became the only sweetener in our house for a long time.

Even then I loved to bake. But low quality stevia, combined with me not knowing how to use it, resulted in utter nastiness. No matter how little of it I tried to use in my dessert recipes, it resulted in bitter and just plain yucky baked goods.

Sometimes it’s all in what you know and how you use it.

I wanted to give stevia a second chance, because I know it’s a healthy sweetener that’s diabetic and low carb friendly. I did a little research and learned how to cook with a certain formula of stevia that works best with baking.

Stevia glycerite has completely changed the way I bake. It doesn’t get as bitter as quickly as it did when I used to use the stevia powder back in the day. I can use stevia glycerite all alone in my baked goods, or I can use it in conjunction with my other sweeteners. Either way, it tastes great.

I like to use stevia with other sweeteners in my recipes, though. Even the best tasting sugar substitutes can have an off taste if you use too much. Too offset that, I use a minimum amount of granulated sweetener and add a few drops of stevia to sweeten it to my desired taste.

Also, be aware than when you use only stevia in your recipe, it’s going to alter the texture of your baked goods because of its chemical properties. If you plan on using it as the only sweetener, you’ll need to use a recipe that’s designed just for stevia.

A warning though, even stevia glycerite can become bitter if you add too much to your batter. The key is to remember to add only drops, not teaspoons, and always taste it before you add more.


  • Tastes like sugar if used sparingly
  • Some baked goods’ texture will be different if used alone
  • Stevia enhances other natural sweeteners
  • Has 0 carbs

Swerve Sweetener: Gets by with a Little Help from Friends

I have mixed feelings about Swerve. Overall, its taste is really close to sugar, but once I use too much I’ve found it has a weird aftertaste that gives me a weird cooling feeling in my mouth that leaves me thirsty.

Swerve is available in granulated and confectioner’s form. The granular does a pretty good job sweetening my baked goods and I haven’t noticed any texture problems. The powdered version I just love. I use powdered Swerve like I would powdered sugar. It makes a great frosting that’s indistinguishable from a powdered sugar version. As a result, I can still frost my Christmas cookies and no one’s the wiser.

However, a little bit of Swerve can go a long way. When I use too much, it doesn’t taste too sweet, but rather leaves a cooling effect in my mouth and an odd taste, and also makes me very thirsty.

I’ve been able to get around this problem by adding a minimal amount of granular Swerve to my batters and then adding a few drops of Stevia. I’ve also had success by using half Swerve and half another natural sweetener in recipes. I very rarely use Swerve only in a recipe.

For my frostings, I pretty much stick to using powdered cocoa or another strong extract flavor because it masks the cooling flavor and thirsty feeling Swerve can give.

natural sugar substitute for bakingSwerve Sweetener, Bakers Bundle, 16Oz Granular and Confectionersnatural sugar substitute for baking


  • Tastes like sugar if used sparingly or with another sweetener
  • Baked goods have a texture that resembles sugar-sweetened baked goods
  • Confectioner’s Swerve can be used like powdered sugar for frostings
  • Swerve comes in individual packets to sweeten drinks
  • Has 0 net carbs

Xylitol Sweetener: Good for You, Good for Your Teeth, and Makes Some Mean Muffins


natural sugar substitute for bakingXlear Xylosweet Bag, 5-Poundnatural sugar substitute for baking

With a name like Xylitol, you wouldn’t expect it to be natural, but it really is. Xylitol is actually a sugar alcohol that is extracted from plants such as birch trees or corn.

I use this sweetener on a pretty regular basis because it has no aftertaste and it closely mimics the molecular properties of table sugar. I’ve had great results in my low carb quick bread or muffin recipes, and most anything with a coarser texture because of this.

Because xylitol’s molecular properties so closely resemble that of table sugar, you can use xylitol to make candies. Yes, it can even go to the hard crack stage. Mmmm….homemade low carb cinnamon disks or root beer barrels, anyone?

Aside from being a great sweetener, xylitol has some amazing benefits, too. Did you know that xylitol actually prevents tooth decay? Brands like Orbit, Trident, and Icebreakers contain xylitol. Dentists actually recommend candy and gum made from xylitol because it’s so good for your teeth.


  • Tastes like sugar
  • Works great with coarser textured breads and muffins
  • Can be used to make low carb candies
  • Has 0 net carbs

CAUTION: Xylitol a natural substance, but it is poisonous to dogs. Use with care if you have dogs in your home. If you are concerned about your four-legged friend accidentally ingesting food made with xylitol, then I would recommend not using it.

Is There a Natural Sweetener I wouldn’t Recommend?

There is one natural sweetener on the market that I have tried that was horrible and a waste of my hard earned money.

natural sugar substitute bakingJust Like Sugar is pretty darn natural. It’s made from chicory root and has nearly 0 carbs per serving. Unfortunately, it has absolutely no sweetening power whatsoever. I’ve tried to give it a shot and use it in different recipes, but I always get the same result. No sweetening power. Nada.

I used it an a muffin recipe I use often and have good results with. After adding the amount called for in my recipe, I tasted the batter. It tasted as if I hadn’t added anything.

Now, I know when it comes to natural sweeteners, you may have to use an amount more or less than what’s called for. That’s just the way it is. So I added a little more. A little more. Still more.

It still just tasted bland and horrible.

So I decided to experiment. When I bought Just Like Sugar for baking, I also ordered some individual packets to try in my tea. I made a cup of hot tea and added one packet.


I added seven more packets of Just Like Sugar and my tea still tasted the same.

I know a lot of low carb cooks swear by this stuff, so maybe they know something I don’t know. But I’ve tried to like Just Like Sugar, I really have. We’re just not meant to be together.

In my opinion, don’t waste your money on Just Like Sugar.

Finding the Natural Sugar Substitute for Baking

This list of natural sugar substitutes are the ones I’ve had the most success with. These are the most popular, but just a fraction of the low carb natural sugar substitutes baking experts use. In the end, natural sweeteners are kind of a personal thing. Some may prefer the taste of one over another. They might work in one recipe, but not produce stellar results in another.

Hopefully, this guide will help you decide which ones have the most success in the majority of recipes, and how to use them to their fullest potential.


Zesty Stuffed Gluten Free Meatball Recipe

Zesty Stuffed Gluten Free Meatball Recipe

My Journey to the Best Stuffed Gluten Free Meatballs Recipe

Whether you eat them for dinner or for appetizers at parties, every foodie needs a amazing gluten free meatball recipe in their back pocket.

Until a few years ago, I never realized how much gluten was used in just about every family recipe I had. As a result, I am constantly finding myself redoing old recipes in my Momma’s recipe collection. But that’s okay, it gives me a chance to blend old and new and add my own personality to my family favorites.

I was scrolling through Pinterest a couple weeks ago (big time zapping rabbit hole right there!) and I saw an awesome looking stuffed meatball recipe. I thought, yeah, baby, having meatballs tonight! Then I read the ingredients and it used breadcrumbs.


So I started looking at ways to remake it into a low carb and gluten free meatball recipe, and it didn’t take long until I figured out a way to make deliciously stuffed gluten free meatballs.

How I Make Gluten Free Meatballs

Breadcrumbs are the key to making traditional meatballs stick together, so what to use in place of it? I decided to fall back on a low carber’s binding staple: Parmesan cheese.

I wanted a little to give the meatballs a boost of flavor and moisture. I added finely chopped onions to my gluten free meatball recipe. The key, though, is to make sure they are chopped extremely fine or else you just end up with lumps of onions in hamburger meat.

When my husband and I got married, he brought his Ninja Chopper with him. I’m knife challenged and, oh, my gosh, I love that thing. It chops vegetables finer than I could ever do by hand, plus it does it in less than 30 seconds. It makes the onions just the right consistency to add moisture and flavor to the meatballs.

I wanted my meatballs to be zesty, but not so hot I couldn’t stand it. I added just enough of Frank’s red hot to give it a little kick, and then stuffed them with cubes of pepper jack cheese.


Use them for Dinner or Gluten Free Meatball Appetizers

I made these into two to three inch meatballs because I was having them as the main course for dinner. But if you made them into one inch balls instead, these would make awesome gluten free meatball appetizers for New Year’s, a Superbowl party, or potluck dinner.

I always like to bring something like this to parties and get togethers when I’m asked to bring something, because it gives me at least one thing I know I can eat. The bonus is that these meatballs taste so great, everyone else can enjoy them, too, and not even know they’re gluten free.

Remember those yummy BBQ crock pot meatballs that everyone always brings to parties? (that you can’t eat!) Make these gluten free meatballs, add some low carb barbecue sauce, and let simmer in the crock pot for awesome low carb meatball appetizers.

Let’s Make My Gluten Free Meatball Recipe!

gluten free meatball appetizers

First, cut pepper jack cheese into 24, 1/4 inch cubes. If you’re making gluten free meatball appetizers, cut 40 cubes. Set aside.

recipe gluten free meatballs

Place two pounds of ground beef into a mixing bowl. You can use all beef, or half ground beef/half ground pork. I actually found a hamburger/ground pork mix at Wal Mart so I used that. It’s so much more convenient and economical!

gluten free meatball appetizer

Add the egg, Parmesan cheese, Frank’s Red Hot, garlic paste, salt, pepper, and spices to the ground beef/pork.

low carb meatball appetizers

Peel a medium sized onion and finely chop half of it. I used my Ninja Chopper for this.

gluten free meatballs recipe

Okay, I’m lazy. But why would I ever chop onions by hand when I can get this result in less than 30 seconds?

meatballs gluten free recipe

Add chopped onions to the bowl and blend everything together well, but being careful not to over mix. You don’t want tough meatballs!

easy gluten free meatballs

If you’re making dinner-sized meatballs, form into two inch balls. For appetizer sized meatballs, form into one inch balls.

make gluten free meatballs

Form an indention in the middle with your finger.

best gluten free meatballs

Place a cube of cheese in the middle of the meatball, and reform the meat around the cheese. Be sure to seal the cheese in really well, otherwise it will leak out during cooking.

low carb meatball recipe

Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until done. Serve and enjoy!