Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Recently, I wrote about my successful experience with growing microgreens, using Hamama Seed Quilts. I thought it would be helpful to also review both the decorative accessories and most helpful extras I use and love for growing these delicious and extremely nutritious microgreens indoors, in the comfort of my living room.

Although the Hamama's bamboo grow tray frame, seed quilt label holder, and other decorative accessories are designed specifically for the company's innovative, patent-pending growing system, the other recommended products I'm reviewing here would be both useful and beneficial to anyone who enjoys gardening, cooking, or both!

Photo of bamboo accessories and other supplies for Hamama micgrogreens growing system, overlaid with title text, "Hamama Seed Quilt Microgreens Growing Accessories"
My favorite accessories and useful supplies for growing microgreens with Hamama's seed quilt growing system
Microgreens are a delicious, nutritious way to add essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes for those of us who try to live a healthy lifestyle. Since health was my primary motivation for losing nearly 60 pounds on a keto diet, my new healthier lifestyle focuses quite a bit on healthy eating, and especially on getting more nutrition from food and relying less on supplements, something that is especially important when following a ketogenic approach to eating.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Growing System Accessories and Helpful Supplies

As I shared in my previous post, the Hamama microgreens seed quilt growing system is so easy, even this “brown thumb” gardening amateur is successfully growing delicious, healthy, nutrient-dense microgreens throughout the year, even here in New England. Now that my husband and I are no longer are at the mercy of the unpredictable and often scant selection of packaged microgreens at our local stores, we use our fresh, home-grown microgreens for more than just garnishes. In fact, they make up half the dark, leafy greens in our large, nightly dinner salads!

Along with Hamama's seed quilts and grow trays, the core of their unique container gardening system, I've also purchased a few accessories and supplies that have made the process of growing my own fresh, nutritious kale, broccoli, clover, daikon radish, zesty salad mix, and other varieties of microgreens more enjoyable and convenient. 

Hamama's Custom Growing System Accessories

Bamboo Grow Tray Frames and Seed Quilt Label Holders

Photo of two side-by-side Hamama seed quilts with decorative bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders
I love the way the bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders dress up my microgreens growing setup by our living room windows
Since counter space in our small kitchen is at a premium, I grow my microgreens in our living room, which has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows (although Hamama microgreens seed quilts don’t require a lot of light). So, I successfully harvested a few different varieties of microgreens using this unique growing system, I decided to spring for Hamama’s proprietary bamboo frames and seed quilt label holders. The bamboo frames fit either style of the company's grow tray. I started with Hamama's white ceramic tray. See how nice the bamboo frame looks with it?
Photo of microgreens growing in white ceramic Hamama grow tray with bamboo frame
The white ceramic grow tray is thicker (and heavier) than the black plastic tray.
Not long after, I decided to switch to the black plastic grow trays, which weigh very little and are much easier to carry back and forth to the kitchen (on the other end of our house) for cleaning. Although I try to avoid buying plastic for disposable items, these trays are reusable, and I plan to be using them for the foreseeable future. The walls are much thinner, allowing a narrow margin around the seed quilt, so it's much easier to check the water level in relation to the coconut coir mat (and to add a bit more water, if it's evaporating faster than expected). The marked fill line is also thinner than on the white ceramic tray, so it's easier to gauge how much water to add for soaking the seed quilt.

Whether you prefer the black plastic or white ceramic grow tray, the simple, sleek and stylish bamboo frames make them much more attractive and blend well with any style of home décor. There is a Hamama logo in the lower left corner of one side of the frame. Usually, I'm not a fan of displaying brand names, especially on decorative items. But in this case, I think the logo has been done quite tastefully and doesn't detract from the look. However, it can easily be hidden by facing that side of the frame toward the window, if you prefer.

Photo of Hamama microgreens germinated seed quilt in tray with decorative bamboo grow tray frame and seed quilt label holder
The Hamama bamboo grow tray frames and matching seed quilt label holders give my microgreens growing setup a more attractive, "finished" look.
The matching bamboo label holders are great for displaying the coated cardstock labels that come with each seed quilt at an easy-to-read angle. These labels provide a useful reminder of which type of microgreens I’m currently growing, as well as the approximate number of days until the paper cover should be peeled, and the total number of days until harvest. Before I got these label holders, I used to tape the cardstock labels to the grow trays. The tape left a sticky residue and wasn’t very attractive. Now, my bamboo seed quilt label holders coordinate perfectly with my grow tray frames.

Each holder is a nicely finished, rectangular block of bamboo the exact length of a Hamama seed quilt label, with a thin slot for the label. Whenever you start a new seed quilt, simply slide the label that comes with it into the slot, which holds it upright and angled slightly back for easy reading. When you finish harvesting your microgreens crop, just remove and discard the label from the holder, so it’s ready for the label from your next seed quilt.

More Matching Bamboo Accessories

Hamama makes a matching seed quilt holder for storing your extra seed quilts, but since I don’t store mine out where people can see them, I didn’t need one. The company has just announced its brand new bamboo "grow shelf," a gorgeous self-standing, five-shelf, open shelving unit to current customers, who can preorder one now. I expect it to be added to the Shop section of the website soon, so everyone who wants will be able to order one.

Extra Hamama Grow Trays

Once I knew I was going to be using this unique microgreens growing system regularly, I ordered two additional grow trays. As of this writing, the price of two black grow trays is only four dollars more than the price of just one. And, since it’s essential to clean each grow tray thoroughly after harvesting one seed quilt and before starting another, it’s nice to have an extra tray so there’s a clean one standing by to start my next microgreens seed quilt as soon as I harvest the previous one. I can soak, scrub, and disinfect the used tray at my leisure (it’s also safe to clean in the top rack of the dishwasher).

Hamama Microgreens Harvesting Kit

The company offers a convenient set of three tools for harvesting the microgreens grown with their proprietary seed quilts and grow trays. The kit contains:

  • 1 reusable Stasher silicone bag (sandwich size)
  • 1 pair of scissors (with the Hamama logo)
  • 1 bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (for thoroughly scrubbing your grow tray)

It's a very useful kit, particularly if you prefer to harvest your microgreens by trimming them just above the top of the seed quilt, rather than pulling them out, roots and all. Alternatively, you can purchase a Stasher silicone food storage bag, a pair of sharp, stainless steel scissors, and a bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (or use equivalent items you may already own) to create your own customized microgreens harvesting kit.

Save Money on Your First Hamama Grow Kit, Seed Quilt, or Accessories Order

Helpful tip: Don't miss my Hamama shopping link and discount code at the end of this article to save 10%!

My Favorite, Practical Products for Growing, Harvesting and Storing Fresh Microgreens

Stasher Silicone Food Storage Bags

You don't have to grow microgreens to fall in love with these fabulous food storage and cooking bags

In August 2019, I wrote a review of my favorite silicone kitchen tools and accessories, including silicone food storage bag. But, after trying the Stasher silicone bag in my Hamama Harvesting Kit, I fell in love with it. I purchased three more in larger sizes, and I definitely plan to add more over time. Although they cost more than other silicone bags, they're totally worth the price!

These Stasher silicone bags are a cinch to open and close, unlike any other brand of silicone food storage bags I've tried. Yet, they're also airtight and watertight. Many people use them for sous-vide cooking, placing the sealed bag of raw food in a pot of boiling water. And since these bags are leakproof, They're also perfect for marinating meats, poultry, seafood, fish, or vegetables to infuse them with extra flavor.

Photo of four Stasher silicone food storage bags
The Stasher silicone food storage bags I have purchased to date

The Stasher bag that came with the Hamama Harvesting Kit is the sandwich size (7.5" x 7.5" x 1"), which has a 15 oz. capacity. (It's the smallest one in the photo of my current Stasher bag collection.) However, since I wrap my harvested microgreens loosely in a paper towel before placing them in the bag to store in my refrigerator, I find that I need a larger size if I want to harvest all (or most) of a seed quilt at one time.

The sizes I use to comfortably contain an entire crop of paper towel-wrapped microgreens from a Hamama seed quilt are the tall Stasher Silicone Reusable 1/2 Gallon Food Storage Bag (10.25” x 8.25” x 1.5” with a 64.2 oz. capacity), and the Stasher Silicone Reusable Stand-Up Food Storage Bag (7.75" x 7" x 3" with a 56 oz. capacity) that, true to its name, stands up on its own for easy filling and removal of the contents.

Dedicated Scissors

If you prefer to harvest your microgreens with scissors, it's a bad idea to use your general-use utility scissors that are also used to cut paper, crafting materials, etc. I highly recommend dedicating a pair of scissors exclusively to harvesting microgreens and herbs, and cleaning the blades scrupulously before each use. They don't need to be fancy kitchen shears, but they should be sharp and comfortable and have stainless steel blades. (Who wants specks of rust in their microgreens or herbs?) 

If I were putting together my own harvesting kit, it would include the Fiskars 01-004761J Softgrip Scissors with 8-inch stainless steel blades (or something similar), which are backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Bamboo and Natural Fiber Bristle Scrub Brush

It's important to clean Hamama grow trays very thoroughly before starting each seed quilt. Although the trays are top-rack dishwasher safe, the top rack or our modestly sized dishwasher is usually filled to capacity with glasses, cups, bowls, long-handled spatulas, cooking tongs, etc. So, I prefer to scrub my grow trays by hand.

It can be challenging to clean between the ridges inside the black grow trays, particularly at the corners and around the perimeter. That's why the Hamama Harvesting Kit includes the small, round, bamboo handled scrub brush with natural fiber bristles, which I find invaluable for this purpose.

When I looked for a similar brush, most of them had either synthetic bristles or components made of plastic or other non-biodegradable components. After considerable searching, I finally found a palm-sized, mildew-resistant round bamboo scrub brush with organic, natural fiber bristles, very similar to the one in the Hamama Harvesting Kit. As a bonus, it comes with soap dish that can also be used to store the scrub brush out on the counter, if desired (just make sure both the brush and the dish are completely dry first). 

This versatile brush has medium-hard bristles that can also be used to clean even non-stick pots and pans, dishes, vegetables, and more.

3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and Fine Mist Spray Bottle

Only one of my Hamama seed quilts has ever developed mold, back when I was still a seed quilt "newbie." It was hot and humid in our living room, since we don't have central air conditioning and only turn on each room's A/C unit when we are actively using the room. I made the common rookie mistake of over-watering that one seed quilt, so that the paper covering was wet. When, unsurprisingly, about a third of the sections failed to germinate. I then compounded the problem by covering those water-logged sections with strips of newspaper for two days, after reading a troubleshooting tip for a different problem. (I did say I had a brown thumb!) Of course, when I pulled off the newspaper strips at the end of two days, there were signs of mold, and unfortunately, the seed quilt was unsalvageable at that point.

Before throwing away the moldy seed quilt, I took a couple of photos and shared them in the Hamama Friends group on Facebook and asked how I could prevent a recurrence. The answers were very instructive. One of the best recommendations I got was from a woman who recommended that spraying the surface of the water in the grow tray with food-grade 3% hydrogen peroxide before soaking future seed quilts. She also said she mists the leaves with it after peeling off the paper cover, and hasn't had any mold issues since she started doing that.

I immediately ordered a bottle of food grade 3% hydrogen peroxide. A while ago, I had purchased a dozen small, cobalt blue glass mister bottles. I filled one of them with the 3% hydrogen peroxide and labeled it (since the rest of my cobalt glass misters are also filled with clear liquids), and it now lives next to my Hamama grow trays to remind me to spritz the water before soaking each new seed quilt. And, like the helpful person who suggested I use the 3% hydrogen peroxide for this purpose, I haven't seen a speck of mold since I started following her excellent advice!

I find these pretty and practical cobalt blue glass spritzer bottles useful for many different purposes. They spray a very fine mist, which makes them ideal for evenly and lightly moistening metal clay with distilled water, since this material dries out very quickly when exposed to air while working with it. I keep another filled with isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing makeup brushes, tweezers, manicure implements, etc. in between full soap-and-water cleanings. I also find that they don't leak, so I'm considering keeping another bottle filled with a CDC-approved alcohol-based disinfectant in my purse for when I leave the house. The cobalt glass isn't just pretty; it also helps protect the contents against UV rays.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

If you haven't ordered directly from the Hamama website before, you can use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total. And if you're lucky enough to have receive a Hamama grow kit as a gift, you can use this link and discount code to save 10% on the beautiful bamboo accessories made exclusively for the Hamama seed quilt and grow tray system.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories by Margaret Schindel

Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Gardening Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review

Image: collage of Hamama microgreens photos with superimposed title, "The EASIEST Way to Grow Your Own Microgreens"
With a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and the company's proprietary seed quilts, growing and harvesting fresh, delicious, and nutritious microgreens is nearly effortless!

Fresh, crisp microgreens are colorful, refreshing, and extremely nutritious. Since last year, when I committed to making healthy lifestyle changes, including a special focus on healthy food choices, I have been adding microgreens to salads, sandwiches, soups, eggs, and other dishes as often as possible.

Although buying packaged microgreens at our local Whole Foods is an expensive and frustrating proposition, growing my own hadn't seemed like a viable option, given my poor track record with keeping even healthy plants alive, much less growing them from seed.

Then, four months ago, I found out about an innovative microgreens growing system from a company called Hamama, which was designed to be as as simple, effortless, and low-maintenance as possible, so that even container gardening newbies like me could grow these healthy, tasty, nutrient-dense greens year-round.  

The proprietary, patent pending Hamama Seed Quilt Growing System is the brainchild of co-founders Camille Richman and Daniel Goodman, who met when they were mechanical engineering students at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following their graduation from MIT, they worked together full-time at the MIT Media Lab, researching high tech indoor agriculture. After growing food both in the lab and at home for several years, they wanted to make it possible for more people to experience the benefits of growing healthy food at home.

In May, I decided to order a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit, including three seed quilts and a reusable grow tray. I was surprised and delighted by the results, and a few weeks later,  I ordered two more growing trays and 18 more seed quilts. Although I've skipped a week here and there, I've successfully grown and harvested around more than a dozen seed quilts at this point. Now, I'm anxious to share my experience, and perhaps inspire others to try growing their own healthy, delicious, superfood microgreens, even if they have never had any experience, or luck, growing vegetables in the past.

P.S. Make sure to read all the way to the end of this review to find out how to get a 10% discount off the purchase price of your first order of a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kits, Seed Quilts, or other microgreens growing accessories!

Microgreens Are Superfoods That Pack a Powerful Nutritional Punch

Increasing our consumption of nutritious, dark leafy greens is an important part of healthy eating. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens. For those of us who have chosen a low carb, ketogenic approach to eating, dietary restrictions make it even harder to get enough nutrients from the foods we eat, rather than from supplements.

Adding more microgreens to our diets, in particular, provides even greater health benefits. A 2012 research study found that microgreens contain between four and 40 times higher concentrations of essential nutrients than their mature counterparts!

These nutrient-dense, immature plants can be excellent sources of key vitamins such as C, E, K, and also carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A aka retinol), two important antioxidants provide a wide range of health benefits, including helping to protect our eyes against macular degeneration. 

Photo of a large, colorful, salad topped with Hamama microgreens
We enjoy a large, colorful, salad with a generous helping of freshly harvested microgreens every day!

Why Not Just Buy Packaged Microgreens Instead of Growing Them?

Unfortunately, many supermarkets and grocery stores either don't sell them, or run out of them quickly. Even when I've been lucky enough to find one or two containers, those commercially grown microgreens have cost a pretty penny. Far too often, the expensive organic microgreens we've bought at our local Whole Foods Market have become not just limp but slimy and inedible after just one or two days in the vegetable drawer of our fridge. Most are also sold in single-use, plastic clamshell packaging, which is bad for the environment. 

Finding organic microgreens or ones that have been grown from non-GMO seeds can also be a challenge. 

Unfortunately, since March, these problems have been further exacerbated by the widespread negative impact of the current, unprecedented health crisis.

The Pros and Cons of Using Hamama Seed Quilts vs. Growing Microgreens From Seed

Buying packets of loose seeds and growing them on a bed of moistened potting mix, soil, or coconut coir is, without question, the cheapest way to grow microgreens at home. However, it also requires watering the seeds once or twice a day, and monitoring their progress daily, from the the time they are planted until they are ready to be harvested, usually takes somewhere between 9 days and a few weeks. And they do best with 4–6 hours of direct sunlight, or natural light supplemented by a grow light(s).

While this may be a good option for experienced container gardening enthusiasts, not everyone was blessed with a "green thumb," or enjoys growing things from seed. Some of us just want to have convenient and consistent access to a variety of microgreens and enjoy them when they are at their freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious, and are happy to pay more for an approach that requires significantly less time and effort than growing these immature greens from seed.  

That's why Hamama developed its proprietary seed quilt system, which makes growing fresh, delicious, nutrient-rich microgreens indoors as easy, effortless, and care-free as possible. 

Anatomy of a Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt

Each seed quilt consists of three layers (excluding the seeds):

  1. The bottom layer is a loosely woven coconut coir mat (aka coconut fiber mat or coconut husk pad).
  2. The middle layer is a thin sheet of white felt
  3. The top layer is some type of unbleached paper.

The seeds are sandwiched between the white felt layer and the light brown paper cover, divided into 20 long, narrow, rectangular, "quilted" sections that hold the seeds in place in a fairly even distribution.

Key Benefits of the Hamama Seed Quilt Grow System for Microgreens

  • By combining the seeds, the growing substrates, and the papery cover into a single, compact unit and pairing it with a perfectly-sized growing tray, Hamama has removed as many variables as possible.
  • The Hamama Starter Kit contains everything you need to grow microgreens, except the 24–26 ounces of water for the initial soak. (Depending on the quality of your tap water, I recommend using filtered water.)
  • Starting a new seed quilt takes as little as 1–2 minutes! After that, you can basically ignore it for the next 4–6 days, until the seeds have germinated.
  • This bottom-watering and self-watering growing system is the closest thing to "set-it-and-forget it." Once you pour water inside the grow tray up to the fill line and briefly submerge the seed quilt to get all 20 sections evenly moistened, you shouldn't have to mist the seeds quilt or seedling, or top up the water. (Toward the end of the growing period, I try to check the water level every couple of days, if I remember. just in case it drops below the midpoint of the coconut coir mat.) 
  • The brown paper cover helps to filter the ambient light during the initial 4–6 day germination period, then it peels off easily to provide the seedlings with full exposure to the ambient light.

Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilts Are So Effortless, They Practically Grow Themselves!

Growing a Hamama microgreens seed quilt is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Do the brief initial "soak." Add water to the growing tray's marked fill line (no higher) and submerge the seed quilt for 10–30 seconds, just until all 20 sections have uniformly changed to a darker shade of brown.
  2. After 3–5 days, when the seeds have germinated, pushing against the paper cover and causing the sections to puff up or balloon, peel the paper cover.
  3. Approximately 7–10 days after the initial soak, harvest your microgreens!

You can harvest the entire seed quilt at once and store whatever microgreens you won't use immediately in the refrigerator, if you wish, or harvest a few sections at a time over the next few days. 

Photo of Hamama Earthy Clover and Super Salad Mix seed quilts and are puffed up and ready to peel
I often grow more than one Hamama seed quilt at a time

What's Included In the Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit?

  • One reusable Grow Tray.
    • Black plastic or white ceramic
  • Your choice of three Hamama Seed Quilts (choose all one variety, or mix and match up to three different types) 

  • Easy growing instructions.

Choose From 10 Different Types of Microgreens Seed Quilts

Hearty Broccoli, Refreshing Cabbage, Spicy Daikon Radish, Super Salad Mix, Sweet Wheatgrass, Zesty Mix, Energizing Kale, Earthy Clover, Hot Wasabi Mustard, and Fragrant Fenugreek. All the seeds in Hamama's microgreens seed quilts are non-GMO Six are also organic (Energizing Kale, Fragrant Fenugreek, Hearty Broccoli, Spicy Daikon Radish, Earthy Clover, and Sweet Wheatgrass). The company is working on making the switch to an all certified organic line.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

Use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total.


Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review by Margaret Schindel


Posts Related to My Keto Diet Journey

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read more Gardening Reviews from our Review This Reviews Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

If you have been following my ongoing series of posts here about my successful keto diet weight loss journey, you’ll know that I love baked goods and desserts. You’ll also know that finding ways to indulge in keto desserts has helped me maintain a fairly strict ketogenic diet approach to eating since May 2019, a very low carb, healthy lifestyle that I continue to follow now that I have achieved and surpassed my original weight loss goals. 

I also enjoy baking, but I don’t always have time to do low carb baking from scratch. That’s why I keep a selection of high quality keto baking mixes in my pantry, so, I can enjoy fresh-baked sweet treats in just minutes. In a recent post, I shared my favorite low carb baking mix brands and keto recipes for low carb keto muffins. In this post, I'll share the excellent Good Dee's Cookie Mix low carb baking mix line.

Introductory image photo collage of Good Dee's low carb keto cookie baking mix flavors
Bake fresh keto cookies in just minutes 
with Good Dee's low carb cookie baking mix

Good Dee's Low Carb Cookie Mix

Fresh Baked Keto Cookies in Minutes!

All Good Dee's Low Carb Cookie Baking Mix flavors are sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and wheat-free. Some (but not all) are also manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility. Anyone who either has a food allergy or bakes cookies for someone who does will appreciate the allergy information on the packaging and the brand owner's efforts to accommodate multiple common food allergies.

A Changing Flavor Selection

Good Dee's continues to expand their low carb baking mix line for keto cookies and other products. Not every flavor is available year round, and some are considered seasonal. I recommend checking on both Amazon (free shipping for Amazon Prime members) and the Good Dee's website (free shipping for orders over $50) to see which flavors are currently in production and in stock. Occasionally, these products also go on sale, another reason to keep an eye out on both websites, and also to sign up for the Good Dee's mailing list for exclusive offers.

Last week, I used the three Good Dee's low carb baking mix flavors I had on hand to bake the three dozen cookies I photographed for this post. I've also tried a fourth flavor (double chocolate chip) that I didn't have in my pantry at the time. Today, I'll share my product reviews of the four low carb baking mix flavors that I've purchased and made into keto cookies.

Good Dee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Side by side photos of Good Dee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and baked cookies
These thick, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies 
are also low carb and keto diet friendly treats

It's not surprising that the first keto cookie mix Good Dee's introduced was chocolate chip. After all, chocolate chip cookies are the most popular cookie in the United States, and the second most popular cookie in the world, after French macarons. 

I tried Good Dee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix for the first time shortly after I discovered it on Amazon and, truthfully, I was a bit underwhelmed. Fortunately, the "new & improved recipe" lived up to its promise, and the second batch I made, using the mix with the new recipe, was much better. Like all the Good Dee's cookie mixes I've tried to date, the improved chocolate chip version produced cookies that were large, thick, soft and chewy. That's how I prefer my "chippers," but if you like thin, crisp cookies, you probably won't be a fan of the Good Dee's mixes. 

As you can see, they certainly weren't the best-looking chocolate chip cookies I've ever baked. Both times I've made them, the batter underneath the chocolate chips seemed to pull away from them, resulting in small, chocolate-filled craters after baking. However, I don't care that much about how pretty they are, since they meet my much more important criteria for being tasty, satisfying, and keto-friendly.

The other thing to know about this mix is that the chips are very dark chocolate and not very sweet. I rather like the contrast of the barely sweet chocolate chips and somewhat sweeter cookie dough. 

Good Dee's Sugar Cookie Mix

Side by side photos of Good Dee's Sugar Free Cookie Baking Mix and plate of cookies
A different texture than traditional
sugar cookies, but a similar taste


Like all this brand's products, Good Dee's Sugar Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix is actually sugar free. Although the texture is coarser and chewier than conventional sugar cookies, the taste is surprisingly similar. 

These also make a great base for adding your own flavor mix-ins. I'm thinking of adding some tiny wild Maine blueberries and chopped walnuts or pecans to my next batch. Yum! 

Good Dee's Butter Pecan Cookie Mix

Side by side photos of Good Dee's Butter Pecan Low Carb Cookie Baking Mix and baked butter pecan cookies
If I had to pick my favorite, it would have to be this
awesome Good Dee's butter pecan cookie baking mix

Of the four keto cookie mix flavors I've tried so far, the Good Dee's Butter Pecan Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix has definitely turned out to be my favorite. To me, they have an awesome flavor and a less coarse texture than the other flavors, making these extremely similar to old-fashioned butter pecan cookies made with white flour and cane sugar. 

My husband, who eats conventional cookies or cake daily for dessert, likes these low carb butter pecan cookies a lot, too—the ultimate compliment for keto baked goods!

Good Dee's Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

If you're a chocolate lover, Good Dee's Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix would be a good flavor to try. These are rich, not-too-sweet, dark chocolate cookies studded with dark chocolate chips. Since there are no golden brown edges to tell you when these are done, I suggest keeping a close eye on them and pulling them out of the oven as soon as the edges appear set.

Other Good Dee's Low Carb Cookie Mix Flavors

I haven't had a chance to try the Good Dee's Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix or Peanut Butter Cookie Mix yet. But since I love both those types, I'm definitely looking forward to picking up a bag of each.

About Good Dee's Low Carb Baking Products

The Dee behind Good Dee's is owner and founder Deana Karim, who finally succeeded in losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle after embracing a LCHF (low carb, high fat) approach to eating. She knew that thinking of this way of eating as a diet (and, by implication, temporary), and feeling deprived because she could no longer enjoy cookies and other baked goods, would be a "recipe" for failure. At the time, there weren't any baked goods that met her requirements for being healthy, low carb, and delicious — so she started developing her own low carb keto recipes for brownies, cookies, muffins, and cakes. 

Understanding that there were many other people following a low carb diet who, like her, had an unmet need for easy-to-make, healthy, and delicious sugar free baked goods, Deana invested her $5,000 savings into launching her Good Dee's low carb baking mix business. A month later, her low carb, gluten free, sugar free chocolate brownie mix was the number one brownie mix (not just low carb) on Amazon! 

She continues to expand her line, and has listened to customer feedback to improve several of her baking mixes. She now offers Good Dee's allulose-sweetened sugar free chocolate chips (currently out of stock on Amazon, so check back to see whether it's available), sugar free just add water frosting mix in cream cheese, dark chocolate, and white chocolate flavors, and even sugar free rainbow sprinkles and naturally colored sugar free edible glitter for decorating cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and ice cream sundaes. 

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Tips for Baking With Good Dee's Keto Cookie Mixes

All low carb baking mixes behave differently than their traditional flour- and sugar-laden counterparts. Here are my tips for baking successful keto cookies from a Good Dee's low carb baking mix.

Line Your Cookie Sheets With Baking Parchment

Even if you have a Silpat or other nonstick baking pan liner underneath, I recommend lining your baking sheets with baking parchment, as directed when using these low carb baking mixes. The cookies are extremely fragile when they come out of the oven, and the parchment paper helps them release without breaking. I have switched to using unbleached baking parchment exclusively, and my high quality Fasmov Non-Stick Parchment Paper Baking Liner Sheets are shipped flat, so the edges of the paper don't curl (which I love!). 

Prepare and Measure the Wet Ingredients

Photo: Bag of Good Dee's chocolate chip cookie mix next to beaten egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract
Setting out and measuring all the ingredients, the mixing bowl,
and a mixing spoon keeps your work space organized

As with any type of baking, ingredients should be at room temperature unless otherwise specified (for example, using chilled fat in pastry dough or biscuits). 
  • To bring the egg to room temperature, you can either set it out on the counter or, if you want to start baking sooner, gently place the whole egg (still in its shell) into a bowl of warm (not hot) water and leave it for 5–10 minutes. 
  • Either butter (preferably unsalted) or coconut oil will work for any of the Good Dee's cookie mixes. I prefer the taste of unsalted butter for most keto baking. When I've been low on butter or baking dairy free cookies to accommodate another person's dietary requirements, however, I've substituted my favorite unrefined, cold-pressed, organic virgin coconut oil, which adds a very subtle hint of coconut flavor that I quite enjoy. If you prefer a more neutral flavor (or just don't like the taste of coconut), you can use refined coconut oil, but it doesn't offer the health benefits that unrefined, cold-pressed, organic virgin coconut oil does.
  • I find it easiest to melt the butter or coconut oil in a Pyrex measuring cup, covered with wax paper, microwaving it in 15-20 second bursts, and stopping when most, but not all, of the fat has melted. After removing it from the microwave, I gently swirl it in the glass measuring cup, letting the hot melted fat finish melting the remaining solids. If you prefer, you can melt it over simmering water in a double boiler. Set the melted butter or coconut oil aside to cool while you preheat the oven and prepare the cookie dough.
  • In any baking recipe, I always recommend using the best quality, pure vanilla you can find (and afford). Penzeys pure vanilla extract is my favorite.

Stir Dry Mix Before Adding Wet Ingredients

Photo of cookie baking mix in bowl, next to the wet ingredients on countertop
Getting ready to add the egg, butter, and vanilla extract
after stirring the dry cookie mix in a mixing bowl

The directions for all Good Dee's cookie mixes call for pouring the baking mix into a bowl and stirring with a spoon before adding the wet ingredients. I'm guessing the reason is that nut and seed flours are heavier than wheat flour, so they may tend to separate out and settle to the bottom during shipping. If that's the case, they might need to be stirred back into the rest of the mix to redistribute them evenly. 

After stirring the dry mix in the bowl, add the egg, melted butter or coconut oil, and vanilla extract, then mix thoroughly.

Use a Cookie Scoop to Portion the Dough Evenly

Image of 12 scoops of Good Dee's low carb chocolate chip cookie dough on baking parchment lined cookie sheets
I used a medium cookie scoop to divide the prepared
keto chocolate chip cookie mix into 12 equal portions

Dividing dough into 12 equal portions with any accuracy can be a pain. I could weigh the prepared dough in grams, divide the total weight by 12, and then weigh out each portion of the dough. But if I'm using a baking mix, I'm not interested in spending that amount of time and effort just to portion out the dough equally. 

Since I still track my daily keto macros and calories, ensuring that dough is divided as evenly as possible is important to me. Most of the mixes call for dropping 1½ to 2 tablespoon portions of dough onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to make 12 cookies. However, the butter pecan cookie mix package says to use 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie to make "approximately" 12 cookies, yet when I did that, I had used up only slightly more than half the dough. By trial and error, I found that 1/12 of my prepared butter pecan cookie dough measured out to slightly less than 2 tablespoons per cookie.

So, if you track your daily keto macros and calories (for example, on the Carb Manager app), I recommend using a 1.5 to 2 tablespoon stainless steel scoop with a trigger mechanism to help release the sticky dough, such as the Solula Professional 18/8 Stainless Steel Medium Cookie Scoop #40 (with a 1.7 tablespoon capacity) to help you measure out 12 equal portions of cookie dough. You'll quickly find out, through trial and error, whether you need to use a level scoop, a scant scoop, or a slightly rounded scoop of dough for each cookie.

Don't Overbake

I've noticed that keto cookies I've made using a Good Dee's Low Carb Baking Mix tend to progress from underbaked to overbaked fairly quickly. Since every oven is different, I recommend setting your timer for one minute less than the package directions' shortest baking time and then keeping a close eye on the cookies so you can pull them out as soon as the edges turn golden (or, in the case of the double chocolate chip cookies, until the edges have just set). 

Let Baked Cookies Cool Completely Before Removing From the Baking Parchment

These keto cookies have a much softer, somewhat coarser, and chewier texture than conventional cookies made with flour and sugar, and they are also more fragile, even after they have cooled. If you try to lift them off the baking parchment before they have fully cooled, they are likely to fall apart. So, don't let the scent of freshly baked cookies tempt you to try to eat one, or even move them to a serving plate, while they're still warm.

In fact, I find that both the flavor and texture of these low carb baked goods are even better after a day or two!

Consider Freezing Some (or Most)

If you think it might be hard to resist eating more of these cookies than will fit within your daily calories and keto macros, or if you don't plan to eat one every day and want to enjoy them as a sweet treat from time to time, you may want to freeze some or most of them, after snugly wrapping them individually in plastic freezer wrap and then placing them inside an airtight freezer-safe food storage container (or, if necessary, inside a heavy, zippered freezer food storage bag). 

Wrapping each cookie securely in plastic freezer wrap not only provides another layer of protection against freezer burn, it also makes it easy to remove just one or two cookies, which will thaw fairly quickly after being unwrapped.

Keto Cookies vs. Conventional Cookies

Photo: small plate of three different types of low carb cookies
Gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, butter pecan,
chocolate chip, and sugar cookie keto cookies,
made with Good Dee's low carb baking mix

Unless you're just starting a keto diet, you've probably discovered that ketogenic cookies, cakes, pies, etc., have a different texture and, often, a somewhat different taste than conventional baked goods made with high carbohydrate ingredients that can spike your blood sugar levels and cause inflammation. So, it's important to have realistic expectations of any keto baking recipes or low carb baking mixes. 

That said, I found that my taste buds gradually adapted after several months on a fairly strict ketogenic diet, and since I no longer eat conventional sweet treats, my palate no longer compares very low carb desserts to traditional baked goods. My experience is pretty typical of people who stick to a fairly strict keto diet for at least 8–12 weeks. 

So, while these cookies don't taste like my grandmother's cookies (or mine, prior to last May), they make yummy, satisfying keto desserts for those of us following a very low carb lifestyle.

Why Use a Keto Baking Mix Instead of a Low Carb Recipe? 

Ease of Use, Time Savings, and Convenience


Baking is based on chemical reactions between ingredients. And the chemistry that makes conventional baking recipes work involves interactions between ingredients that aren't keto friendly. Even for those of us who have decades of experience as excellent home bakers, there's a significant learning curve in converting old, beloved family recipes for low carb baking. That's a challenge I haven't had an interest in tackling (at least, not yet!), so I prefer to let low carb baking experts do the work of developing delicious, foolproof recipes for keto cookies and other baked goods. 

Sugar free, gluten free keto baking also requires stocking the pantry with different ingredients than the ones we're accustomed to using. For example, instead of white and whole wheat flour and cornstarch, we might need to buy almond flour, coconut flour, sunflower seed flour, watermelon seed flour, and xanthan gum. (And it's not as though any of these ingredients can be simply substituted 1:1 in a keto baking recipe!) 

So, although I keep those and other low carb baking ingredients in my freezer and pantry, and enjoy making a number of keto baking recipes for rolls, buns, muffins, etc., when I have time and inclination, I also appreciate the convenience of having keto baking mix varieties on hand. I try to buy ones that contain the same high-quality, low carb ingredients I use in my scratch low carb baking, and that produce keto baked goods that taste as good as the ones I bake from scratch (or close enough).





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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

In my previous post in this series about my successful keto diet weight loss journey, I shared some of my favorite baking mixes and recipes for low carb keto muffins and cupcakes. I’ve decided to continue the theme of low carb, keto-friendly treats with my quick and easy, no-cook recipe for a scrumptious chocolate pudding that’s high in protein, dietary fiber, and calcium, and fairly low in net carbs.

Photo collage main image - Keto / Low Carb / Sugar Free Chocolate Yogurt Pudding with Granola and White Chocolate Chips
My no-cook keto chocolate yogurt pudding or parfait recipe
is luscious, healthy, and high in protein, fiber, and calcium

A Rich, Decadent Chocolate Yogurt Pudding That's Nutritious as Well as Delicious!

I've always enjoyed cooking for other people. But since our household consists of just my husband and me, and he doesn't follow a low carb diet, I'd rather spend time doing things other than cooking meals just for myself. Like most people who follow a ketogenic diet, I'm always looking for more quick and easy, tasty, healthy, low carb breakfasts and lunches to add variety to my meals. And, since I don't eat fish or seafood, and trying to get enough protein just from meat, poultry and eggs can get boring pretty quickly. 

When I was researching keto-friendly foods, I had discovered that many of the sources of protein I used to eat frequently, such as Gardein plant-based crispy "chicken" tenders, are too high in carbohydrates and/or contain wheat or other grains that aren't compatible with a ketogenic eating framework. 

One important exception was plain, full-fat yogurt, with no added sugar or artificial ingredients. (Reduced-fat yogurt tends to have more sugar and/or other ingredients added to make them thicker and creamier, to compensate for the reduced fat content.) After a bit more online research, the consensus seemed to be that Fage (pronounced "Fah-Yay") Total 5% Milkfat plain Greek yogurt had the least tangy taste, creamiest texture, and best nutritional profile in terms of keto macros (low carb, high protein, high fat). 

I bought a container and found it had a much milder taste and smoother, creamier mouthfeel than the low-fat and no-fat plain Greek yogurts I used to buy to use as a lower-calorie, lower-fat, higher-protein alternative to sour cream before I switched to keto. In fact, I was surprised to discover that, unlike the reduced-fat varieties or even plain full-fat Greek yogurt from other popular brands, the Fage Total 5% Milkfat Greek yogurt was good enough to eat straight from the container, if I wanted to toss some into a lunch bag for a quick, on-the-go snack or light meal and didn't have time to add anything to it. But, since I much prefer flavored to unflavored yogurt, I started experimenting with different low carb mix-ins to make it more interesting.

Luckily, one of my first experiments turned out to be my favorite (so far): mixing the full-fat, plain Greek yogurt with my favorite unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli Majestic Premium) and keto-friendly sweetener (Bocha Sweet), plus a touch of pink Himalayan salt and pure vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of the cocoa. 

The first time I made this cocoa-flavored yogurt dish, I couldn't believe how luscious it was. It tasted like a rich, creamy, delectable chocolate pudding. In fact, if I hadn't known that the main ingredient was Greek yogurt, I never would have guessed. 

In addition to the fabulous taste and texture, it was high in protein, fat, and calcium, and low in net carbs and calories—a low carb or keto dieter's dream!

Making This Indulgent, Low Carb Chocolate Pudding Recipe Even Yummier and Healthier

After a few months, it occurred to me that a crunchy topping might provide a nice contrast to the creamy consistency of this chocolate yogurt pudding. I decided to try sprinkling it with my favorite Livlo chocolate hazelnut keto granola, which did, indeed, make this heavenly sweet treat even better.

Delighted as I was with this new twist, however, I still hadn't quite finished tinkering with the recipe. For most of us who follow a ketogenic diet, one of the challenges is how to get enough dietary fiber from the food we eat while staying within our net carbs macro limit. So, I wanted to increase the dietary fiber in my chocolate yogurt pudding, preferably in a way that would further enhance its deliciousness.

I decided that topping it with some ChocZero sugar free white chocolate chips as well as the chocolate hazelnut granola not only would boost the fiber content significantly, but would also add another layer of texture and flavor.

One taste, and I was in heaven. I could just hear an announcer's voice in my head, preceded by three rings of the bell: (ding, ding, ding) "We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen!"

Sometimes, I layer one-third of the cocoa-flavored Greek yogurt, one-third of the chocolate hazelnut granola, and one-third of the sugar free white chocolate chips in a small drinking glass, then repeat those layers two more times for an elegant pudding parfait.  

A Nutrition Profile That Fits Easily Within My Daily Keto Macros

Even though this rich, creamy pudding/parfait tastes positively sinful, it's actually a nutritious, guilt-free indulgence. In fact, this healthy, filling, protein-rich dish makes a great breakfast, lunch, dessert, or snack!

Even after reaching my goal weight a few months ago, I still track everything I eat or drink in the Carb Manager app. So, before I prepare a new recipe—my own or someone else's—I always enter it into the app so it can calculate the keto macros and other nutrients I track, such as dietary fiber. According to Carb Manager's calculations, each serving of this sumptuous, low carb chocolate yogurt pudding or parfait contains just under 15 grams of fat, roughly 13 grams of high quality protein, 6.4 grams of dietary fiber (a little less than 25% of the FDA's daily value (DV), based on a 2,000-calorie diet), 5.5 grams of net carbs, and 236 calories, if it's made with the ingredient brands and amounts specified in the recipe. It also provides 137.1 mg of calcium, or 10% of the FDA's 1300 mg DV.

As you can see from this iPhone screenshot after I entered it into the app, Carb Manager gave this recipe a "Keto Grade: A" rating. 
Image: screenshot of keto macros for recipe on Carb Manager app
Carb Manager calculates the macros for this low carb keto pudding

Note: Substituting different brands or amounts of the ingredients for those specified in recipe will alter both the taste and the nutrition of this chocolate yogurt pudding.

Eating a bowl of rich, creamy, chocolate yogurt pudding topped with chocolate hazelnut granola and white chocolate chips for breakfast is an incredibly luxurious treat!


Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding or Parfait (No-Cook Recipe)

Prep Time:

5 minutes

Cook Time:

0 minutes

Makes:

1 serving


Ingredients


Directions

  1. Measure and set out all the ingredients. (I like to lay them out on a sheet of wax paper.)
Photo of Livlo keto granola, pink Himalayan salt, Bocha Sweet sugar replacement, Ghirardelli Majestic Premium cocoa powder, Penzeys vanilla extract, ChocZero sugar free white chocolate chips, and Fage Total 5% Milkfat plain Greek yogurt
Keto chocolate yogurt granola chip pudding/parfait
ingredients measured? Check!
  1. Add the Greek yogurt, cocoa powder, Bocha Sweet, pink Himalayan salt, and vanilla extract to a small bowl. 
Photo: bowl with chocolate yogurt pudding ingredients before mixing, with granola and white chocolate chips to be added later
Chocolate yogurt pudding ingredients, ready to stir together
before adding the granola and white chocolate chip toppings
  1. Stir well until the mixture is smooth and creamy, and the color is a uniform, medium cocoa brown.
  1. To serve as a pudding: Spoon the chocolate yogurt into a small serving dish. Sprinkle the top with the Livlo Granolō keto granola and ChocZero sugar free white chocolate chips.
image - bowl of prepared keto chocolate yogurt pudding topped with sugar free granola and white chocolate chips
My delicious, nutritious keto chocolate yogurt pudding recipe
is high in protein and fiber, and low in net carbs and calories
  1. To serve as a parfait: Spread 1/3 of the chocolate mixture into an even layer in the bottom of a clear juice glass (or similar small, narrow glass). Top with 1/3 of the granola and 1/3 of the white chocolate chips. Repeat these layers twice more. Garnish with an organic fresh raspberry or blueberry, if desired.

    Note: We don't own any juice glasses, so I had to make my pudding parfait in an 11-ounce Old Fashioned whiskey glass. If you layer the parfait components in a smaller, narrower, 5- to 6-ounce glass, the banding layers will be more distinct and result in a more attractive presentation.
Photo of prepared keto chocolate yogurt granola chip parfait recipe, served in a small glass
Layer the chocolate yogurt, granola, and
white chocolate chips in a small glass
to turn this pudding into a parfait

Optional Additional Toppings 

Organic Fresh Raspberries

I adore organic fresh raspberries, and I try to include them in my daily menus as often as possible. As you can see, I garnished the pudding and parfait in the recipe photographs with a ripe, red raspberry for a pop of bright color. And one of my favorite ways to enjoy my low carb keto chocolate yogurt granola white chocolate chip pudding is topped with 1/4 cup of fresh raspberries, which adds 0.2 grams of fat, 0.3 grams of protein, 1.8 grams of dietary fiber, 1.3 grams of net carbs, and just 13 calories.

Freshly Whipped Heavy Cream

Whether you're eating a bowl of freshly-picked berries or a slice of sugar-free, grain-free, low carb pie or cake, nearly everything sweet tastes better with a dollop of homemade, freshly whipped cream! Fortunately, heavy cream is very low in carbohydrates, so those of us who eat keto can enjoy a spoonful or two.

Look for organic heavy cream with the highest butterfat content you can find, preferably from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows that have never been given antibiotics or synthetic hormones. In the US, this usually means heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream (aka HWC), which typically has a 36-38% butterfat content. If you can find it, double cream (48% butterfat), sometimes sold at gourmet food shops, is even better. (Avoid regular "whipping cream," which has a butterfat content of only around 30%.) Cream with a higher butterfat content whips more easily, usually has less lactose (natural milk sugar), and is extremely low in carbohydrates.

For the best results, make sure the cream is very cold, and chill a small mixing bowl by putting it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes. Pour the cold cream into the chilled bowl and stir in a little pure vanilla extract. If you wish, sweeten the vanilla cream lightly with a little powdered aka confectioner's style keto-friendly sweetener. My favorite by far is Bocha Sweet Powdered Sugar Replacement. Using an electric mixer with a metal whisk attachment, whip the flavored cream on medium-high speed until it forms soft, billowing, medium peaks.

The Ultimate Keto Chocolate Yogurt Pudding Parfait

For an ultra-decadent dessert, top your serving of chocolate yogurt granola white chocolate chip pudding or parfait with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, if it fits within your macros or you want a small splurge to celebrate your birthday, anniversary, Valentine's Day, or another special occasion.

How Much Is a Pinch, Dash, Tad, Smidgen, or Drop of a Recipe Ingredient?

Even though I'm an experienced home cook and baker, I learned only recently that "tad," "dash," "pinch," "smidgen," and "drop" weren't simply vague approximations for ingredient quantities used by lazy recipe writers or people like my Russian grandmother, who learned to cook and bake at the knee of her own mother and grandmother as they showed her how to make their family's traditional recipes. These delicious, old-world recipes, passed down through the generations from mother to daughter, were rarely, if ever, written down, and the ingredients were measured by eye or, in some cases, by the feel of the dough, rather than with measuring cups or spoons.

 For modern cooks and bakers, each of those old-fashioned recipe measurements has become associated with a specific fraction of a teaspoon. A tad is 1/4 teaspoon, a dash is 1/8 teaspoon, a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon, a smidgen is 1/32 teaspoon, and a drop is 1/64 teaspoon. (Who knew?)

Image of set of five mini measuring spoons
These mini measuring spoons take the guesswork
out of measuring small amounts of seasonings
Unfortunately, knowing that you need 1/32 teaspoon of salt isn't much help if your smallest measuring spoon is 1/4 of a teaspoon (or even 1/8 teaspoon, depending on the set you have). I've run into this problem when often I've tried to cut down a recipe to make only half, a third, or a quarter of the original amount. 

Is it a big deal? It depends on what you're making. 

Guesstimating very small quantities of salt, pepper, herbs or spices may be fine if you're making a stew, for example, since you can easily adjust the seasoning to taste. But if you're baking, which is based on creating and controlling chemical reactions to product the desired result, measuring small amounts ingredients like baking powder, baking soda, yeast, and salt precisely can be essential to ensure a successful outcome. 

So, when I found a well designed, well made set of mini measuring spoons to complement (and supplement) my conventional-size measuring spoon sets, I didn't hesitate to order it. 

I looked at several different sets of mini measuring spoons before ultimately choosing the New Star Foodservice 42924 Stainless Steel Mini Measuring Spoons Set, for several reasons:

  • It has more than 6,000 5-star ratings and glowing reviews on Amazon.
  • The handles are stamped with measurements in both words and fractions of a teaspoon, and these permanent markings are large and easy to read, even for my aging eyes. 
    • Most of the other mini measuring spoon sets I found were marked with word measurements (tad, dash, pinch, smidgen, drop) only.
  • The spoons have oval bowls that fit easily into even the narrowest herb and spice container openings.
  • These sturdy stainless steel mini measuring spoons are dishwasher safe.
I've been using them for several months and couldn't be happier with my choice.

The Right Ingredients Make a Big Difference 

This quick and easy, low carb chocolate yogurt pudding recipe consists simply of plain Greek yogurt, stirred together with unsweetened cocoa, sweetener, salt, and vanilla extract, and then sprinkled with keto granola and sugar free white chocolate chips. And, because none of these components is transformed through cooking or baking, the flavor of each ingredient really comes through.

Of course, you certainly can use alternatives to the brands and products I recommend for this recipe, if you wish. However, they may not be as keto-friendly, and may have a negative affect on the pudding's taste, nutrition, or both. If you do choose to make any ingredient substitutions or other changes, I highly recommend that you use Carb Manager or a similar app to calculate the recipe's nutrition based on your changes, so you can track your macros and other nutrients accurately.

Full-Fat, Plain Greek Yogurt

Fage Total 5% Milkfat Plain Greek Yogurt has a mild flavor, a smooth, rich, creamy texture, and fewer carbs than most other full-fat Greek yogurt brands. The 1/2 cup of Fage Total 5% Milkfat Plain Greek Yogurt used in this recipe has only 3.5 grams of net carbs, 0 grams of fiber, 5.5 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 105 calories.

Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan salt is mined from massive salt beds that formed in a region of Pakistan where large seas dried up during the Jurassic era, more than 250,000,000 years ago. Through the ages, the salt flats became embedded deep in what is now the Himalayan Mountains, where over time, local weather events, erosion, and water leached minerals into the buried salt, giving this highly prized salt its characteristic taste and pink color. 

I've been enjoying The Spice Lab's Fine Pink Himalayan Salt, which has a deeper pink color than many of its competitors, indicating its superior quality and high mineral content. It's also available in finer and coarser grinds.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

As a chocolate lover and avid baker, I've tried many brands of high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder over the years, and keep both natural (non-alkalized) and Dutch-processed (alkalized) varieties on hand for different uses. A couple of years ago, I tried a canister of Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder and was instantly wowed! This high-quality, nib-alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder imparts a deep, rich flavor unlike any other unsweetened cocoa powder I've used, including those from much more expensive brands, including high-end chocolatiers such as Valrhona. 

The biggest surprise was discovering how versatile it is! I love using it for baking, in recipes that call for Dutch-processed rather than natural cocoa powder. It dissolves well in hot almond, cashew, or macadamia milk to make low-carb hot cocoa. And in a recipe like this one, where it isn't being heated, it mixes into the Greek yogurt beautifully and tastes amazing!

Keto-Friendly, Plant-Derived Sweetener

Since May 2019, when I started my weight loss journey and committed to a very low carb lifestyle, I've purchased nearly every type of keto-friendly sweetener or sweetener blend on the market. Allulose is excellent, but Bocha Sweet Sugar Replacement is far-and-away my favorite. Bocha Sweet sugar replacement is a zero-calorie, zero-glycemic sweetener derived from organically grown, non-GMO kabocha, a Japanese variety of winter squash similar to pumpkin. Unlike most keto-friendly sweeteners, it tastes almost exactly like cane sugar and can replace it spoon-for-spoon and cup-for-cup when baking, cooking, or sweetening beverages such as coffee, tea, or cocoa. Like most high-quality, keto-friendly counterparts to inexpensive, nutrient-poor, highly processed ingredients, Bocha Sweet costs significantly more than white table sugar. But since even my husband, who loves addictive, high carb, nutritionally bankrupt sweet treats, agrees that the way it looks, acts, and tastes is virtually identical to regular cane sugar with none of the drawbacks, the higher price is well worth it to us.

Pure Vanilla Extract

I'm definitely a purist when it comes to vanilla extract, and have always try to buy the best I can afford. When the price of vanilla started to skyrocket a few years ago, I stocked up several large bottles of Penzeys delicious pure double strength vanilla extract. Unfortunately, the Penzeys vanilla extract contains a little added sugar, and since I'm now trying to minimize foods with added sugar in my diet, when I eventually finish going through my current "inventory," I'll probably be replacing it with another high-quality pure vanilla extract that has no sugar added, such as Nielsen-Massey No Sugar Added Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract or Rodelle Gourmet Pure Vanilla Extract.

Low Carb Granola

I've purchased several different brands and flavors of low-carb granola over the past few months. So far, my favorites are Livlo Granolō Chocolate Hazelnut Keto Granola and Livlo Granolō Cinnamon Almond Pecan Keto Granola. Either flavor, or a 50/50 mix of both, is wonderful in this chocolate Greek yogurt pudding or parfait recipe. I also like putting one to two tablespoons in a small custard cup or saucer and nibbling them very slowly, which makes a sweet, satisfying, high-protein snack. And a small topped with nut milk or heavy cream stays crunchy as you eat it. 

Keto-Friendly White Chocolate Chips

I love ChocZero No Sugar Added White Chocolate Baking Chips, which not only taste great but also are high in fiber, so I use them often in many different ways. Unfortunately, the demand for these creamy white chocolate chips is so high that they're often out of stock. I've learned to order multiple bags at a time and keep some in the freezer so I don't run out.

Lily's Stevia Sweetened White Chocolate Baking Chips, while not as tasty in my opinion, can be used instead in this recipe if you can't get hold of the ChocZero white chocolate chips.

If You Could Have Any Greek Yogurt Pudding or Parfait, Which Flavor(s) Would You Choose? 

I hope this post has helped to spark your imagination and interest you in experimenting with other ingredients and your own flavor combinations for transforming plain-Jane, full-fat Greek Yogurt into a tasty, low carb, high protein, sweet or savory pudding, dip, topping or spread. If so, please come back and share your favorite discoveries in the comments.

Also, if I've inspired you to try making my recipe for this healthy, nutritious and sinfully delicious Keto Chocolate Yogurt Pudding Parfait topped with chocolate hazelnut granola and white chocolate chips, I'd love to know what you think, and whether you love it as much as I do. 


Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding or Parfait Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Contributors




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