All posts by Jana Snyder

Recipe review: Coffee Ice Cream (with Heath Bar)

coffee ice cream - our favorite!

For me, living a low carb life means that the majority of the time, I stay away from sugary foods. But it also means that it’s okay to splurge once in a while. (If “once in a while” turns into “pretty much every day,” then it’s not working!) Also, if I’m going to compromise my healthy habit by eating something sugary, I will only do it for things I really, really love! Grocery store cake or cookies? Nah. Homemade carrot cake or cinnamon rolls? Worth it!

This coffee ice cream is one of those things that’s worth it.

This ice cream recipe from Simply Recipes originally caught my eye as something to make for my husband. He LOVES coffee, and his favorite candy bar is Heath or Skor. But once I tasted it, it became one of my favorites, too!

We served it at Christmas dinner. It goes great with pumpkin or pecan pie!

By the way, we don’t have an ice cream freezer. (Well, we have a vintage hand-crank one, but that only gets used if there are young children around, eager to take their turn at cranking!) We just put it in a shallow container in the freezer, and stir it every 30-60 minutes. I’m sure it would be even more amazing made in an ice cream freezer, but if you don’t have one, don’t let that stop you from enjoying this totally-worth-it treat!

You might also like:
Peanut Butter Pie
No-bake Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

“Get Well Soon” with this simple soup

Simple Soup

This soup is so simple, it’s really just a dressed-up broth, but that’s the beauty of it. Even when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, it’s easy to make for yourself. Or to ask a cooking newbie in the house to make for you!

Of course, if you like, you can add any number of things to it and come up with a more substantial soup: cooked noodles or rice, diced carrots, peas, celery… But when I’m not feeling quite up to par, I like the simplicity of the broth and just one or two additions.

“Get Well Soon” – a Simple Soup

2 c. good quality chicken broth (such as this one)
1 white mushroom
1 green onion
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth just to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

Thinly slice the mushroom and add it to the broth. Thinly slice the mushroom and green onion; set a few slices of the greenest part of the onion for garnish, if you like. Add the rest to the broth.

Continue to simmer until the mushrooms are done to your liking. If you like them just barely cooked, pull it off the heat then. Or you can leave it on the heat till the ‘shrooms have reduced in size by about a third. They may also turn a little darker; that’s okay.

Once the mushrooms are done to your liking, taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your taste. (Pepper is optional.)

Serves 2

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Pizza bites – gluten free, low carb, tasty!


Earlier this week, I made myself Kalyn’s Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices for lunch. Yum! But I wanted to experiment with the broiler method she suggested, since not everyone can or wants to grill. Also, I thought it would be kinda cute to make bite-sized versions.

I went with summer squash rather than zucchini. They’re close cousins and nutritionally about the same, but I thought the yellow color might be more attractive to people who would be scared off by the green of zucchini. I want to set realistic expectations: no one is going to think they’re eating pizza crust; the texture is completely different. But all the flavors are there, and it’s a quite satisfying snack.

I made some with pizza sauce and pepperoni, and I made some with pesto and grape tomatoes. I slightly prefer the pepperoni version, because there’s a little more punch to the flavor, but they’re both really good. And if you or your guests are vegetarian or Paleo, the tomato option is a nice alternative.

I love how they came out! They are cute, but they’re also the perfect size to pop in your mouth whole. Which would also be perfect finger food, for say, super-bowl. I haven’t tested the method, but if you wanted to make a large quantity for a party, I bet you could make them ahead of time, up to and including the toppings, then cover and refrigerate them till serving time, and run them under the broiler for a minute or two.

Low-carb Gluten-free Pizza Bites

I’m not listing amounts, because this is one you can totally just wing.

summer squash
olive oil
shredded mozzarella
for the pepperoni version:
spaghetti sauce (preferably sugar-free)
pepperoni (turkey, if you like)
for the veggie version:
grape tomatoes

Preheat your oven to 450. Place the rack in the center.


Slice the squash into 1/2″ slices. If using tomatoes, slice them about 1/4″ thick and set aside.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the squash and toss. You just want enough for all the pieces to have a thin coat of oil.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the squash slices out on it. You can place them closer together than what I’m showing here. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and inspect the underside of the squash. It should just be a bit brown in places. Return it to the oven for a minute or two if it’s not yet there.

Switch your oven setting to broil. Top the squash slices with your choice of toppings. I used the larger diameter slices for pepperoni, the smaller for tomato. I put the sauce or pesto on first, then the pepperoni or tomato, then sprinkled a small mound of cheese on top of each one.

Move the oven rack up so it’s about 4″ under the broiler. Return the pan to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and done to your preference of golden-brown-ness. This will probably be somewhere around 3 to 5 minutes, but watch it closely.

Let them cool somewhat before serving; that tomato sauce will be hot!

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Super easy shredded chicken tacos

easy shredded chicken tacos

You gotta love a recipe that calls for throwing three ingredients in a crock pot and walking away for six hours!

The original recipe is sized for a family household plus leftovers. (The recipe on Tasty Kitchen also includes an easy recipe for Tortilla Soup.) I’ve sized it down for two. We had yummy tacos for dinner tonight, and plenty leftover for a couple more meals worth. We’ll probably be having Chicken Taco Salad for lunch tomorrow!  🙂

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. your favorite salsa (preferably sugar-free)
1 package taco seasoning;
better yet, 5-6 t. homemade mix

Pour a bit of the salsa into a 2.5 qt. crock pot; just enough to thinly coat the bottom. Trim the fat off the chicken breasts and add them to the pot. Stir the taco seasoning into the remaining salsa, and pour that over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for four hours or low for six hours. Shred the chicken using two forks.

Serve in your choice of crispy or soft shells, top with your favorite taco toppings.

Oh, and here’s a great side dish: Slightly spicy slaw.

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DIY taco seasoning (sugar-free, gluten-free)


Did you know that the packaged taco seasoning you buy may contain milk solids, sugar, maltodextrin, corn starch or potato starch? The labels pictured here are from a name-brand seasoning mix and the store brand of a major grocery chain. The latter has more salt in it than it does chili powder!

Whether you’re trying to avoid salt, sugar, or allergens, the great thing about making your own seasoning mixes is that you can control exactly what goes in it.

Here’s a taco seasoning mix I make and keep on hand. It works great in ground beef tacos and shredded chicken tacos. I also use it mixed in with the sour cream layer in my seven layer dip.

It does contain salt, but if that’s an issue in your house, you can leave it out or sub a lower-sodium alternative.

I’ve included two versions: The first will generously season 1 lb. of hamburger; the second gives you plenty to keep on hand.

Taco seasoning mix, single use

1 T. chili powder
1-1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. kosher salt    (if using table salt, use half this amount)
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
1/4 t. dried oregano

Taco seasoning mix, big batch

1/4 c. chili powder
2 Tb. ground cumin
4 t.  black pepper
2 t.  kosher salt    (if using table salt, use half this amount)
2 t.  paprika
1 t.  garlic powder
1 t.  onion powder
1 t.  crushed red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
1 t.  dried oregano

Amost-Panera’s Asian chicken salad

Almost-Panera's Asian Chicken Salad

I love the Asian Chicken Salad at Panera, so I experimented and came up with the recipe that comes pretty darn close. Just this week I discovered that you can get the actual Panera recipe online, but I actually like this version better.

And it’s so, so simple! Instead of finding a source for the won ton fries (or frying them myself), I just use Ramen noodles. So much easier, and probably lower fat, too. If that’s too many carbs for you, you could just leave them off and put on extra almonds.

Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad

4 hearts-of-romaine heads
2 handfuls cilantro leaves, chopped
4 cooked chicken breasts, sliced thin (grilled, roasted or poached)
4 green onions, chopped
1 pkg. ramen noodles
1/2 c. sliced or slivered almonds

optional: sesame seeds for garnish

3 packets of Splenda OR 2 T. sugar*
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Prepare the dressing 30 minutes ahead of time by combining the first three ingredients in a food processor or blender. With the blender running, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Set aside.

How to chop romaine: 
This is how I like to do it: Start by making one slice down the length of the head, starting about 5” from the stem, going all the way to the loose end. Rotate the head one quarter turn and make a second slice in the same manner. (I like to slice right down the center of the rib.) Then chop perpendicular to the first slices, starting at the loose end and working toward the stem end. Stop 4 or 5” from the stem, and save the uncut part for another use.

Slice the green onions. You may leave the cilantro leaves whole or chop them, whichever you prefer.

In a large bowl combine the lettuce, cilantro, and green onions. Let chill at least 10 minutes. (Longer is better; the lettuce absorbs someof the cilatro and green onion flavors.) Break up the ramen noodles into bite-sized pieces and set aside. At this point, you may hold everything till serving time, if you wish.

To serve, add the chicken, almonds and ramen noodles. Serve in salad bowls and offer the dressing in a pourable container so your guest can add as much dressing as they want. You can also pour the dressing over the top of the salad, toss, and serve immediately.

*You can use either Splenda or sugar with no compromise in taste, but using sugar makes it cling to the greens better.

Garlic herb cheese spread or dip – low carb!

garlic-herb cheese dip
Garlic herb cheese spread

This is such a simple dip, I keep some in the fridge almost constantly. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a knock-off or copy, but it’s kinda like Alouette.

It’s tasty spread on just about any cracker, but for a low carb, gluten free snack, try it with celery or romaine dippers. These are simply the small end of a heart-of-romaine leaf. When I’m chopping romaine for a salad, I always leave the last 4 to 5″ and stash them in the fridge for just this purpose! They’ve got a perfect dipping shape, and I like them so much better than celery; no stringy stuff!

Garlic herb cheese spread or dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. sour cream OR Greek yogurt
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. granulated onion
1 heaping t. dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
1/4 t. salt (if serving with veggies)

Stir together the cream cheese and sour cream (or yogurt) until pretty evenly combined. Add the other ingredients and stir till well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Note: if you are serving this with crackers that are salted, you may leave out the salt.

Tomorrow: What to do with the rest of the romaine — Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad!

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