Thursday, June 30, 2022

How to Recharge Auto Air Conditioning

Holy heat wave, Batman! On the hottest day of the year so far here in the Desert Southwest, I discovered something I never want to do again: drive for twelve hours straight without A/C (with the temperature right at 100 degrees). There's nothing that will melt your superpowers faster (and I was on a rescue trip at the time).

What's a girl to do? Thankfully, you don't need to call in a superhero, aka mechanic, when you can easily solve the problem with an affordable, easy-to-use A/C Pro air conditioning recharge kit. Best ten minutes and $37 I have spent this summer. Here's a quick DIY tutorial on how you, too, can beat the heat by knowing how to recharge your vehicle's air conditioning system. 
AC Pro for recharging auto air conditioning

Step 1: Purchase the right kind of A/C refrigerant for your vehicle. Most vehicles after 1990 use R-134a (which complies with the EPA Clean Air Act). Check your vehicle's maintenance manual, or find the sticker under the hood, to verify. After reading online product reviews, and watching YouTube videos, I decided to go with the bestselling A/C Pro recharge kit. This kit is sold at automotive stores, Amazon, Walmart, and many other retail locations.

find the low pressure service port on your vehicle

Step 2: Find the low pressure service port in your vehicle's engine. If you're not sure where to look for it, download the A/C Pro app for specific information linked to your car or truck model year. Mine was easy to find (a blue cap with an "L" imprinted on it). 

auto air conditioning controls

Step 3: Start your engine. Set A/C to its maximum cooling level and recirculation mode (with fan on highest setting).

hose coupler

Step 4: Place hose coupler on low pressure service port and press down. It will click into place and lock down securely. 

AC Pro gauge

Step 5: Check gauge to determine if your vehicle's A/C system is low on refrigerant. My gauge reading indicated I needed a major fill (it was on zero).

top of AC pro

Step 6: If low, remove coupler from the service port. Unscrew gauge/hose assembly from the new can of A/C Pro. Unscrew the protective shipping tab on the top of the dispenser. Screw gauge/hose back on the refrigerant can. (Be sure to wear protective gear: gloves and safety goggles.)

Step 7: Affix hose coupler to low pressure service port. Hold can upright. Squeeze dispenser trigger to begin filling A/C system with refrigerant. While squeezing the trigger, move the can from a 12 o'clock position back and forth to a 3 o'clock position (to keep the contents mixed and flowing properly). Release the trigger after about ten seconds.

AC Pro gauge

Step 8: Check the gauge to see if the needle is in the green filled section. Do not overfill! If the level is still low, repeat step seven. If filled to the mid part of the green section, you are done. Check the air temperature coming out of the vents inside your car. My air was perfectly chilled at this point.

Step 9: Remove the coupler from the service port. Replace the port cap. Turn off your engine and close the hood.

I cannot even begin to express the satisfaction I felt to have solved this common air conditioning issue so quickly and so cheaply. You should have seen the big smile on my face. Not only did I save at least $100 with this DIY fix, but I learned how to keep myself out of a dangerous situation in the future. 

It would be smart for all of us to keep a canister of A/C Pro in our vehicles' emergency supply kits. I am totally sold on this product and highly recommend it. It's not just about comfort. Heat kills. I have lost count of the number of heartbreaking articles I have read this week about individuals, especially children, who have died in hot vehicles. Incredibly tragic.

You never know when you might be called upon to provide assistance with something you keep in your vehicle for emergencies. My recent rescue trip was all about rendering aid to a young family broken down roadside in excessive heat (in a remote area without services). With this weighing on my mind and heart, I wanted to share a product that I now consider essential. Let's all be safe out there!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Summertime and Playtime Go Together For the Whole Family

For most of us Summertime is just what we need to get us moving a little bit more!  That being said, it's also a time when family's get together more often for BBQ's and some fun!

We spent the last weekend at my son's cottage and had some really good time with two of our three grandchildren.  The third one was busy at a Horse Show.  

So we made the most of the time we had with the two younger ones!  

Cottage life is so different from everyday life in the city.  It's time to relax, enjoy the outdoors and just reconnect with our loved ones.  

My son makes sure the kids have more outdoor time and less "electronic" time especially when at the cottage.  Plus sometimes the power goes out, so there is no electricity to run those hand held games.  That is exactly what happened when we were there.  No power, so we had to make our own brand of fun.  

Enter Granddad's great idea for a fun time without the need for power.  

We are always looking for things that the kids can do while at the cottage.  Things that make them think, explore, observe and best of all move out into the wilds!  Board games are great, but sometimes you just need to get some of that pent up energy released!  

We found a great way to do just that with a Badminton Set that is so easy to set up and take down again.  

No need to bang in posts or mark out where those posts should go.  Just set it up and you are ready to go! Of course I'm talking about recreational badminton and not professional status.  This is meant for fun only!  

badminton shuttlecock

Do you want to see how easy this set is?  Well I'll tell you I was impressed with how quickly this was done!  Granddad checked out the instructions just to see if there was a hidden surprise in there.  Like some difficulty that was NOT expected.  Well I'm happy to report that there were no hidden surprises of any kind and it was as advertised, easy to set up!


 The net is pressure fitted onto the frame and stands up on it's own in minutes. Just put the base together (everything slides together), attach the net and you are ready to go! Grab a racket and shuttlecock and you are ready to play.  Make up your own rules if you really want to have some fun!  (Like first one to get a rally of 10 or more hits, gets the first popsicle)  You get the idea....

The beauty is that all you need is a flat surface to set up on and when you are done, it goes back into the box as quickly as it was set up or you can make it into a self caddy.   Not only good at the cottage, but if you go camping or to the beach this Badminton set is a great take along.  It comes with 4 rackets and 2 shuttlecocks, the net and the frame.  It has instructions as well, but even a child could put this together in minutes.  

What has us so excited about this set, is that even in our apartment, we could take this set outdoors and play on the grounds around our building.  I bet that when our neighbors see us having some fun, they would be interested in joining us for some great outdoor fun and exercise time.  

Badminton when played at a recreational pace is not so tiresome that us "older" kids can't join in the fun.  It might even do our older bones some good to get them moving about!  Just think about all the stretching and bending to get our joints moving!  Of course after all this playing is done, you can relax with your favorite beverage (you deserve it now)!

Don't let this summer pass you by without making some time for some fun in the great outdoors.

playing  badminton
badminton set

badminton set

playing badminton

Play on everyone and enjoy the summer months!  

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Benefits Of Seatbelt Protectors Reviewed

I recently bought a seatbelt protector for the first time. It has proved to be a very useful and essential item. It is simply attached around the seatbelt in the car to provide more comfort when driving. It can also be used for any other straps on various bags for extra comfort for our shoulders, neck and chest. 

Seatbelt Protectors

The reason I looked into buying a seatbelt protector is that after having surgery a few months ago I got clearance from my surgeon to resume driving. The nurse did however advise me that because of where the scar is and that the seatbelt cuts across it that I may find it a lot more comfortable with some form of cushioning.

She suggested wrapping a towel or small blanket around the seatbelt to protect my skin and the scar tissue, which I initially thought was a great idea.

However, while this is an inexpensive idea I could not get on with it as it kept slipping and felt very bulky and certainly not a great look either. 

Nevertheless, it was clear that I was going to be uncomfortable for a long time if I drove or was a passenger wearing a seatbelt in the car so I had to find something. Here in the UK it is a legal requirement for all drivers and passengers -with very few exemptions- to wear an individual seatbelt. If we do not wear a seatbelt we can be given a hefty fine and penalty points on our license. 

The hard edges of the seatbelt and the hard material hurt my skin now and where it lies is very close to the scar. I do not like to wear a coat when driving so there is not much buffer of clothing between my skin and the hard seatbelt. 

 So when I found this seatbelt protector it seemed an excellent idea! I chose a fake fur one as I thought it would be the softest option. I wanted it to protect my skin from any chafing or cutting from the seatbelt.  

Seatbelt Protectors
Seatbelt Protector Velcro Fastening Side Up 

Factors To Consider When Buying A Seatbelt Protector

What colours and patterns do you like?
Mine is in grey as I thought it would blend in with my car's decor. However, if you wanted to have some colour or make a statement they do come in different colours and patterns. I have seen many in pink and blue and black and different patterns to suit everyone's taste. There are some fun designs for children as well. 

Decide the right size for you. 
I chose a seatbelt protector that is a little longer than average so mine is 13 inches long, many are around 10 inches. I think in normal circumstances 10 inches would be perfectly good but I just wanted to make sure none of the seatbelt had edges touching my body. Extra long seatbelt protectors are readily available to purchase.

Ease of use. 
You do need to slide the seatbelt protector up and down the seatbelt to get it adjusted to fit in the right place but in my experience, it stays there once positioned. 

The one I have is fastened with velcro. It is very easy to fit as you just pull the strong velcro apart, fit around the seatbelt and seal up the velcro again. It takes no time at all. To take off just unseal the velcro. 

I wear it with the edges of the velcro away from my body but you could wear it either way round.

Fabric composition. 
 I chose fake fur as I wanted the softest possible material. They are warm in winter and cool in summer so time will tell. So far I will say it is very soft and for me makes driving a lot more comfortable. I am not finding it too hot even in this mini heatwave we are currently having. Faux Sheepskin Seatbelt protectors are also available if you like the feel of sheepskin.

You can also buy them in a quilted looking fabric, so if you do not like the look or feel of fake fur or faux sheepskin, this is a good option. All these options can be found in a variety of colours to suit your taste or your car decor. 

While they should not need washing all the time, you will want to clean them so it is important to check if it is machine or hand washable.    

Seatbelt Protectors velcro
Velcro Fastening On My Seatbelt Protector 

Seatbelt Protectors Are Comfortable

 As there were two in the pack we fitted the other seatbelt protector one to the passenger seat and my husband has used it as well. He said he wonders why we did not fit them years ago as it makes wearing a seatbelt significantly more comfortable as it provides a cushion between you and the seatbelt hard edges.

I imagine it would also be helpful to fit these for children to make their car journeys safer and more comfortable and encourage them to wear their seatbelts with a fun design.

I think they would be helpful for many people who may find the seatbelt cuts across their necks, shoulders or chest when driving or a passenger. 

Inside Seatbelt Protectors
Inside Of The Seatbelt Protector

There Are Many Uses For Seatbelt Protectors

I bought mine for a very specific reason initially, but now I have it I can see there are many more practical uses for them!

I can see them being very useful and practical protecting us from backpack straps which can often cut in on the shoulders and laptop bags which can cut across the body or shoulders with a laptop and maybe heavier work materials to be carried as well.

Seatbelt protectors may be very handy when carrying baby bags which often have a lot of items inside. They may even be useful when carrying baby close to your body in a baby harness.

Sports bags such as golf bags which can be heavy and awkward would also be more comfortable to move around with a seatbelt protector.

It would be wonderful to make carrying heavy luggage when on holiday easier. Also when we next travel by plane I will take a couple with us for when we wear seatbelts during the flight to make it more comfortable. 

I have even thought of buying another one for my camera bag which has good straps but can cut in when it's around my neck for a while. See The Perfect Camera Strap Cover to Protect Your Neck by Sylvestermouse Cynthia about how to use it on a camera strap.

 Using it on these types of bags will help prevent any strap cutting in on the shoulder, chest, or neck and make carrying heavier or awkward bags more comfortable.

So, in addition to using them for driving and whenever I am a passenger in any vehicle,  I will certainly be using one when we are traveling with bags for day trips or on longer holidays for our luggage. 

Seatbelt protectors are not particularly expensive and in addition to our own personal use, would also make a great and thoughtful gift idea for many people.

Other Useful And Interesting Reviews

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, June 27, 2022

Favorite Utility Gloves Review: Ironclad Gloves

One of my absolute favorite finds for working around the home, lawn or garden are my Ironclad Utility Gloves. When I needed to replace my garden gloves last year I visited my local Ace Hardware store and found these fabulous gloves in the garden/utility glove section.

ironclad gloves

It is pretty rare to pair fabulous with gloves so this is probably an indication of how happy I am to have found these gloves! They have become a go to staple for work around the house, garage, lawn and garden. So versatile, so comfy, affordable and practical.

Comfort And Fit

The Ironclad Gloves are sized which I think make ALL the difference for a comfortable fit. No more swimming in garden gloves. True to fit. The gloves have velcro straps around the wrist to ensure a solid fit and keep out all those stray yard clippings and dirt from gardening.


Yes! The gloves are washable! I used these gloves for gardening with wet spring mud and the gloves washed beautifully. But the gloves must be hung dry!


One of the best features of these gloves is the nimble feel for using with power tools, rakes and shovels. Particularly with power tools that require you to hold down a button while pressing another button to operate the tool. The gloves allow you to easily and comfortably operate small buttons or levers on power tools. 

Strength & Durability

So strong, so durable yet so lightweight. The Ironclad gloves are first and foremost  utility gloves that I happen to also use in the garden. If you have any type of plants with thorns, prickers or sharp edges these gloves work wonderfully.


I highly recommend the Ironclad Gloves for the home and yard. You will not be disappointed in the quality and versatility of these gloves. 

Where To Find Locally

My first stop to shop local is always my local Ace Hardware. This is where I originally found the gloves and their recommendation was spot on.

Ace Hardware Reviews

Ace Hardware Review by Wednesday Elf

My Favorite Local Ace Hardware by The Savvy Age

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, June 26, 2022

How To Get Through All of It - A Personal Diary Entry

How to Get Through All of It
How to Get Through All of It - A Personal Diary Entry Review

Living over six decades, I've gathered some of the tools needed to overcome life's constant challenges. I thought I'd share a few tidbits for those seeking coping mechanisms.

The Most Important Thing I've Learned in This Life So Far

I can definitively say, the most valuable lesson I've learned is that the peace we seek is entirely inside of us, at our core. It doesn't come from anything or any person. 

When the storm swirls around me, I hold onto that which is entirely mine, my soul. 

Our soul is the one thing that is truly ours. Unseen and always ready to be nurtured, it's not the possession of anyone except ourselves and the higher power we believe in.

Five Techniques to Help You Get Through It All

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be an overused, confusing term.

For me, it's when I choose to practice being wholly present in a moment. When being 'present' doesn't come naturally, I use a repetitive mantra or a prayer to bring my mind into the now and away from that rabbit-thinking-hole that leads nowhere. 

It takes practice to perfect, but like any exercise, it becomes easier each time.

2. Prayer

Prayer isn't just for the religiously committed. 

You can create your own prayer to the universe or the higher power that means something to you. For me, it's usually Psalm 23 on repeat in my mind. The beautiful thing about prayer is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. 

As soon as you feel yourself getting upset or thinking thoughts that lead you to a dark place, STOP and begin repeating that prayer or inspirational phrase you decided upon. Repeat it over and over until you bring yourself back to a healthy center. If it takes all day, so what! Repeat it all day, and don't let anything else in.

When I spend time praying for other people, one by one, with specifics for each of them, I feel so much better. Try it; when you're feeling at the end of your rope, start praying for all your loved ones.

I go on prayer bike rides; I get to exercise physically and spiritually. I spend the entire bike ride praying for my friends, family, country, planet, and the universe. The prayers are unique and specific to each of them.

3. Music

For me, I sing. Put your headphones on and listen or sing your guts out. My family is used to me singing full tilt. I'm grateful for that. Depending on the lyrics and message I need, I choose the song for the moment. One of my favorite spiritual groups is Mercy Me. While typing, I'm listening to their song "Say I Won't" (Live from the 2021 K-Love Fan Awards). 

4. Realize You Can't Change People

This is a tough lesson to learn. If you're one of the lucky ones, you'll discover it quickly in your early years. If you understand this as early as your 20s, you might just have the world by the tail! 

What does it mean to understand that you can't change a person? 

It means that they have to walk their walk; you can't do it for them. That goes for spouses, siblings, friends, and children. We can teach with our words, but most importantly with our actions, and be there for them; we can't do it for them. I learned this first hand, it was brutal, but we got through it.

When there's a situation that hurts, that I have no power over (and the older I get, the more there are), I pray over and over. Some days I spend most of the day mentally praying.

5. Let It Go

Holy crap, that's overly simplified, isn't it?  

When I was younger, I used to get upset with people who told me to 'just let it go!' What in the world does that mean! That's how I used to feel.

What it DOESN'T mean is to not have empathy, compassion, and a good heart. Letting go isn't about not caring.

Today, at this stage of life, I completely understand what it means to let it go; it means,

  • practice mindfulness when you're consumed with an issue
  • pray when you're consumed with an issue
  • exercise when you're consumed with an issue
  • listen to music when you're consumed with an issue
  • trust in a positive outcome; see it
  • have faith in those around you
  • always embrace love no matter the pain; love them anyways
  • and finally, only take action to tackle a problem when it's warranted that you do so
HAVE FAITH. Believe in the greater good, and higher solutions, and believe in your prayers. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Killing Season by Faye Kellerman – Book Review

A really good book is one you cannot put down.  An excellent book is one you literally cannot stop reading! In my opinion, Killing Season by Faye Kellerman is such a book. 

Image of a cactus


Sunset in New Mexico
Sunset in New Mexico - Pixabay
The setting is New Mexico – a small town close to Santa Fe.  Benjamin Vicksburg was barely 14 when his 16-year-old sister went missing. Her body wasn't found for a year. She had been kidnapped and strangled. 

Ben, his parents and younger sister had all suffered the anguish of not knowing what happened. Later, the family also becomes friends with another local couple whose teenage daughter Katie went missing and she has never been found.

As the story begins, Ben, now seventeen, has committed himself to finding the monster who abducted and strangled Ellen. The police continue to investigate, but there is nothing new. But Ben, who is a math genius, sees patterns that don't fit and conducts his own investigation. As he gathers data, he discovers clues to other similar unsolved murders. 

As Ben's senior high school year begins, he becomes friends with the new girl in school, Ro Majors. They bond over the fact that Ro lost a sister to cancer around the same time Ben lost Ellen.  Ro ends up helping him with his research, and together they discover 3 other unsolved cases of teenage girls whose murders were almost identical to Ben's sister. And then.... they go on a hike in an area Ben has figured out is a logical place to find where the killer might have buried Katie, and they find her grave.

The police are not happy that Ben is investigating on his own, even though the police detective who was lead investigator on Ellen's case likes Ben and is as anxious as the family to solve her case. 

As Ben gets closer to discovering who the killer is, his obsession marks him as a threat. The police want him to stop investigating, but Ben is worried about Ro and about his little sister Haley and her best friend Lilly. The little girls are now going on 15 and Ro is 17, all in the age-range the killer targets. 

Learning the truth may not be enough to keep Ben and those he loves from this relentless killer. 


Killing Season book cover

I have never been as absorbed in a book to the point of ignoring everything else until I finished as I was with this one. Killing Season is so well written and captures your attention from the beginning. I enjoyed it very much. 

I have been reading books by Faye Kellerman since 1986 when she began the 26 books in her Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series. I've always enjoyed those books, and now am enjoying her stand-alone thrillers. Killing Season is the first one I have read that wasn't in the series I have been following and, as much as I liked the series, I like this one even more. Kellerman has done an outstanding job capturing this mystery fan's attention. 

Note: Faye Kellerman is married to Jonathan Kellerman, also a writer, and together they are the parents of Jesse Kellerman, who has had several books published on his own and has co-authored several other books with his dad, Jonathan.  A real writing family.  

Links to other Kellerman books reviewed here on ReviewThisReviews:

*Killing Season Book Review written by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, June 24, 2022

4th of July Cookbooks - Free on KindleUnlimited

4th of July Cookbooks Reviewed -
Books Above Shown on My Kindle Fire

I was recently seeking inspiration for new 4th of July food to try for our upcoming celebration. 

Grilling burgers and hot dogs are our tradition, plus my mother makes her annual 4th of July cake, which is always colorful and pretty, but I wanted something new to add this year just for a new touch of fun.

I was thrilled and amazed to discover dozens of 4th of July cookbooks that are free with KindleUnlimited, however, I was greatly disappointed to find that most did not have photos. When searching for inspiration, photos are "essential".  

I wasn't really looking for a new recipe as much as I was seeking a new presentation for our standard Independence Day fare. I don't need step by step photos, but I do want to see the actual food prepared.  In the end, I found only 2 cookbooks that met my criteria and included photos. 

Surprisingly, not only did I find presentation inspiration, I also found a few new recipes in these cookbooks that I want to try!


Fourth of July Cookbooks 

Patriotic Recipes: Full Color Version1. Patriotic Recipes: Full Color VersionCheck PriceWe think of outdoor, summertime food for the 4th of July celebrations.. Sides like corn on the cob, potato salad, skewered veggies or kabobs, french fries, etc are the norm and Popsicles are a wonderful cool-down treat.  Of course, the red, white & blue (strawberries, bananas, & blueberries) fruit salad is a necessity.

How about adding Fourth of July jello shots!¹  Simple layered gelatin and condensed milk make a lovely presentation.

Or, perhaps the Patriotic Ice Sandwiches¹ with a cheesecake center or Firecracker Milkshakes¹ would be fun and delicious to serve.

I was also reminded of my grandmother's ambrosia salad¹ . Why have I never considered serving it for the 4th of July? Just because I was raised seeing it served for Christmas doesn't mean it should be limited to December parties & meals.

4th of July Recipes4th of July RecipesCheck PriceI laughed out loud at the idea of serving Fourth of July Toast!¹  Easy to make, yet would be a totally awesome way to start the day.

Cookies, oh, yeah! Red, white and blue cookies¹ or Strawberry Graham Cracker Bites² (with teddy bear mini graham crackers) for an all day, anytime snack. 


Now I have so many new fun food ideas that I need a week's worth of 4th's in the month of July.  Plus, I am purchasing the two cookbooks instead of just borrowing them now that I have discovered them thanks to KindleUnlimited offering them for free.

¹ Patriotic Recipes by Laura Sommers
² 4th of July Recipes by Ann Sullivan

Click Here to See More Cookbook Reviews

 4th of July Cookbooks - Free on KindleUnlimited Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Visit Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park


Betty's Lake at Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto
Betty's Lake at Sunset
St. Charles County Missouri has many wonderful parks to explore.  In this post I will review Broemmelsiek Park.  This park has a delightful history and is a great place for a photographer to explore. On this page I will tell you a bit of the history and the features of the park.  I will also share photographs that I took at the park on a recent trip with my photography club.

A Bit of History

The land for Broemmelsiek park was acquired by the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation department in 2002. The original land acquisition included a partial donation by the Broemmelsiek family whose desire was to save their precious land from subdivision development and preserve the natural beauty of St. Charles County.  The park was then named for Jack and Betty Broemmelsiek who lived on the property for more than 30 years and were committed to promoting conservation activities.  The home where they lived on the farm has been converted into the visitor center.  The lake below the visitor center is called Betty's lake in honor of Betty Broemmelsiek.  

fountain in lake at Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

Park Features

This 494-acre park located at 1795 Hwy DD in Defiance Missouri has many wonderful features for the nature lover.
  • Several large lakes for fishing.
  • 9 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use.
  • A 4.7 off-leash dog park that has been voted "Best Dog Park" in the region.  It features a large pond for the dogs to swim.
  • An astronomy viewing area that is the first of its kind in the area.  Weather permitting it features Friday night public stargazing events.
  • A 4-acre Historic Educational Agriculture area that features crops that are grown in the area.
  • A visitor center that has a meeting room, outdoor patio and deck that are available to rent for meetings or special events.

Photography at the Park

Below are several photos I took has I walked around Betty's Lake.
tree in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

pink flower in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

flowers in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

red wing blackbird in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

lake in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

flower in Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park, photo taken by mbgphoto

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe

In the heat of summer, most of us enjoy eating lighter desserts featuring sweet, fresh summer fruit and would rather spend as little time as possible cooking or baking in a hot kitchen. Some of us also may be trying to get or stay slim to look our best in lightweight, more revealing summer clothing. 

In this review, I'm sharing my yummy, quick & easy low carb keto shortcake cupcakes recipe, which can be whipped up fast thanks to a keto baking mix, is bursting with sweet, ripe berries and topped with a luscious sugar-free buttercream frosting.

Quick & Easy Low Carb Mixed-Berry Shortcake Cupcakes - Keto-Friendly, Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

A Fun Cupcake Twist on Traditional Biscuit-Based Berry Shortcake

I have made delicious keto-friendly strawberry shortcake with biscuits from a low carb baking mix topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. However, since there are only two of us in our household, that means whipping just a few tablespoons of heavy cream and assembling two shortcakes after dinner every time I want to serve them.

Recently, I got the idea to try making shortcake cupcakes, substituting cupcakes for the biscuits and low carb buttercream frosting for the whipped cream, which would let me assemble and refrigerate them in advance. While I'm making dinner, I can just take out two of the refrigerated shortcake cupcakes and set them on the counter so they will be at room temperature when we are ready for dessert.

A Delicious, Quick & Easy, Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free* Summer Dessert

The cake portion of these cupcakes is made with Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix. This healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free and nut-free boxed keto cupcake mix is a real time-saver that minimizes time in a hot kitchen during the summer months.

The baked cupcakes are paired with juicy, fresh berries, keto berry jam and a super simple sugar-free buttercream that takes just a few minutes.

Scotty's Keto Cupcake Mix + Low Carb Buttercream Frosting + Sugar-Free Berry Jam + Fresh Berries = The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes

*Important food allergy note: Although Scotty's Everyday baking mixes are made with no nut flours, their website does not state that their mixes are made in a nut-free processing facility. It is important to contact the company to find out that information if you are thinking about serving these treats to anyone who has a severe nut allergy.

low carb keto shortcake cupcakes batter in silicone muffin pan liners
Just add melted butter, eggs, water and vanilla extract to Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix for the base of these quick & easy low carb shortcake cupcakes, then split, fill, frost and decorate them with sugar-free jam, keto buttercream frosting and fresh berries.

Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix Makes an Ideal Biscuit Alternative for This Low Carb Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe

I have used several keto baking mixes from Scotty's Everyday and like them a lot. Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix is sweetened very lightly, and the baked cupcakes taste a bit like the drop biscuits I sometimes make for shortcake. They are also less crumbly than traditional cupcakes using sugar and wheat flour, which makes them perfect for this recipe.

In addition to the biscuit-like flavor and sturdy structure, each cupcake prepared according to the directions on the Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix package have several other benefits:

  • 0 net carbs (22g total carbs - 14g dietary fiber - 8g erythritol = 0 net carbs)
  • No added sugars
  • Sweetened with erythritol and monk fruit extract
  • 14g dietary fiber
  • 90 calories

This sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free, low carb keto baking mix is also a cinch to prepare. Just add melted butter, eggs, water and vanilla extract. My product review rating for Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix is 5 stars!

My Favorite Keto Buttercream Frosting Recipes

The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe needs a fast, simple frosting to live up to its name. I recommend the Keto Buttercream Frosting Recipe from Wholesome Yum, which has 205 calories, 16.4g of fat and 0g net carbs per serving (3 tablespoons).

If you want to significantly cut the calories and fat and are willing to spend a bit more time and effort, I highly recommend the luscious Sugar-Free Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting recipe from All Day I Dream About Food, which lends itself beautifully to piping and tastes out of this world. A 1/4-cup serving (4 tablespoons) has only 109 calories, 10.7g of fat and and almost zero (0.1g) net carbs.

Use Your Favorite Keto Friendly Berries

Berries are the only fruits low enough in carbohydrates to fit a ketogenic diet. The berries with the fewest net carbs are raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Blueberries have more than twice the net carbs and half the dietary fiber of raspberries or blackberries, but are still low enough in carbs for you to enjoy a few on one of these keto shortcake cupcakes.

For the keto shortcake cupcakes I photographed for this post, I used fresh raspberries and blueberries. I also added a taste of strawberries by pairing my favorite sugar-free strawberry jam with the buttercream frosting for the filling.

cupcakes being split, filled, frosted and decorated
ChocZero Keto Strawberry Jam is delicious, spreads easily and, like the buttercream frosting, helps hold the fresh rasbperries and blueberries in place while reassembling the filled shortcake cupcakes.

The Best Low Carb Keto Strawberry Jam

I have tried several brands and flavors of sugar-free jams. Most were fairly disappointing. Some were sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which I try to avoid for health reasons. Some were too thin and loose or had big chunks of berries that made them hard to spread in a thin layer.

ChocZero is one of my favorite brands of low carb and keto-friendly products. Recently, they launched a keto strawberry jam, which I ordered immediately. Based on my experience with other sugar-free jam products, I was only cautiously optimistic. (I didn't want to get my hopes up only to be disappointed again.)

I was pleasantly surprised by the new ChocZero Keto Strawberry Jam. It has a thick, "jammy" consistency, spreads easily in as thick or thin a layer as you wish, is sweetened with monk fruit, has no added sugars, and has a delicious flavor from real strawberries. Each serving (1 tablespoon) provides a whopping 10g of dietary fiber and has just 15 calories and 1 net carb.

Unlike the other low carb, sugar-free jams and preserves I have tried, ChocZero Keto Strawberry Jam is also sticky enough to help keep the raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries in place when sandwiching them between the halves of the split shortcake cupcakes.

Five filled, frosted and decorated low carb keto shortcake cupcakes
Don't these keto-friendly shortcake cupcakes filled with jam, frosting and fresh berries look yummy, despite my messy piping of my melting buttercream? They're one of the best keto desserts to make for summer holiday gatherings including the 4th of July (especially if you use red and blue berries!).

How to Make the Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes

Recommended Kitchen Tools and Supplies for This Recipe

  • Silicone Muffin or Cupcake Liners
    The Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix package instructions say to "Line one 12-cup standard muffin tin" without specifying the type of cupcake liners to use, I highly recommend Pantry Elements Silicone Baking Muffin Cups. They are made from BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free, food grade platinum silicone and sturdy enough to use on their own on top of a flat baking sheet, if desired, or you can use them as liners for cupcake or muffin tins. They also come in a clear, reusable screw-top container for storage, which keeps them clean and dust-free and lets you enjoy the rainbow of bright, happy colors even when these nonstick silicone baking cups are not in use. I have used mine frequently for several years for both muffins and cupcakes and can attest to their high quality and durability.

  • Stainless Steel Scoop With Trigger or Spring Action Handle
    I have a large assortment of these stainless steel scoops in different sizes and found that my Norpro 50mm stainless steel scoop (3 Tablespoons) was a bit too small and my Norpro 56mm stainless steel scoop (4 Tablespoons) was a bit too large. You can use a rounded 3 Tablespoon scoop of cupcake batter or, if you make a lot of cupcakes or muffins, you might want to get the Solula 18/8 Stainless Steel Ice Cream Cupcake Muffin Scoop (3.4 Tablespoons), which is just the right size and capacity to portion out nicely rounded scoops of batter into standard size muffin or cupcake pans.

  • Cake Decorating Set or Piping Bags With Decorating Tips
    These low carb keto shortcake cupcakes will be just as delicious if you use a small offset spatula to spread the frosting on the tops, but piping the buttercream into decorative swirls makes for a more festive presentation. As you can see in the photos, I had a hard time piping the frosting onto my cupcakes, partly because I'm decades out of practice and partly because my kitchen was so hot that the buttercream quickly softened too much. Even so, I like the look of the buttercream swirls, messy though they turned out! If you are new to cake decorating and would like to give it a try, I recommend starting with a small, inexpensive, basic set, such as the Wilton Beginning Buttercream 20-Piece Cake Decorating Kit to see whether you enjoy using a piping bag and decorative tips.


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 package Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Optional but recommended: Avocado oil, clarified butter or coconut oil for greasing the cupcake liners

For the Keto Buttercream Frosting (Wholesome Yum recipe):

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (Wholesome Yum's recipe recommends Danish Creamery European Style Unsalted Butter, which isn't available where I live; I use Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, a high-quality Irish butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows that are free of growth hormones)
  • 1 cup Wholesome Yum Besti Keto Monk Fruit Sweetener With Allulose 1:1 Natural Powdered Sugar Replacement
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (approximately)

For the Filling:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ℉ / 180 ℃. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper, foil or silicone cupcake liners or place 12 sturdy silicone baking cups on a baking sheet. Although not specified on the cupcake mix package directions, I recommend greasing the liners lightly with a thin film of avocado oil, clarified butter or coconut oil.
  2. Prepare the Scotty's Everyday Keto Cupcake & Cake Mix batter according to the package directions. Use a trigger or spring action scoop to portion the batter evenly among the 12 lined muffin tin wells or silicone baking cups, using approximately 3.5 tablespoons of batter for each cupcake.
  3. Bake for 20–22 minutes, just until they test done according to the standard "toothpick test" (i.e., insert a clean, dry toothpick into to center of one of the cupcakes and pull it back out; if it remains clean and dry, the baked goods are done). Do not overbake! Cool them on a baking rack for 20 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the muffin pan or silicone baking cups.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream according to the Keto Buttercream Frosting Recipe on the Wholesome Yum website.
  5. Rinse the berries and lay them on two thicknesses of paper towel to dry. Set aside the best looking ones to decorate the tops of the cakes.
  6. Slice the cooled keto shorctcake cupcakes in half horizontally and turn the halves cut side up. Spread a layer of ChocZero Keto Strawberry Jam on one half and a thin layer of the prepared buttercream frosting on the other half. Arrange the berries on the bottom half of the cupcake and cover them with the top half.
  7. Frost the tops of the cupcakes with the remaining buttercream frosting. You can either spread it on with an offset spatula or put it into a piping bag fitted with a star tip (or your favorite cake decorating tip) and piping it on in swirls or rosettes. Top each frosted shortcake cupcake with one of the reserved fresh berries.
  8. Serve on dessert plates with knives and forks, like traditional berry shortcakes. (These towering, berry-filled cupcakes are too tall to bite into directly!)

A Perfect 4th of July Dessert

Make these shortcakes with fresh raspberries (or sliced or diced strawberries) and blueberries for a festive red, white and blue 4th of July dessert that everyone at your holiday gathering can enjoy, even if they are on a gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, low carb or ketogenic diet.

The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe by Margaret Schindel

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