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Blueberry-Lemon Snack Cake

Blueberry-Lemon Snack Cake

I was trialing a new bake mix and this was my first experiment with it.  Boy was this ever good!  Smooth texture and great taste!  I only had on hand 1/2 cup dried blueberries left in an open bag in my freezer and I needed to use them up.  Fresh berries would have been healthier and tastier, but the dried is what I had and not many of those.

My husband was out of town all weekend and this was hot out of the oven when he walked in the door. He really liked it, too, and downed a second slice.  Any berries, chopped fruit or nuts you can fit into your daily carb limits will work in this basic batter.   This recipe isn’t suitable until you are near goal weight at the grain level of carb-re-introduction of the Atkins program.  The carbs are low on the basic lemon cake batter (4.02 NC per slice).  With 1/2 cup dried berries added, it jumps to 9.02 NC per slice.

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 T. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

½ c. egg whites (I used from carton), but 4 whole egg whites will work

Zest of 1 large lemon

Juice of w large lemon (2 T.)

1½ c. Buttoni’s Low Carb Bake Mix

½ c. each Splenda and erytrhritol (or 1c. sugar equivalent other sweetener)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Butter the inside of an 8×4″ loaf pan.  Or you can butter the ends only and line sides & bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment, which is what I like to do. Set aside while you prepare batter.

Soften the cream cheese on counter or in microwave.  Whip until smooth with a whisk.  In a separate medium bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy.  Add the 2 whole eggs to the egg whites and beat the two well together a couple minutes.  Add sweeteners.  Add melted butter slowly and beat until you have a smooth mixture.  Add the bake mix next and beat by hand with a rubber spatula until batter is smooth and well-blended.  Add your berries (or chopped fruit/nuts) and stir to distribute berries throughout batter.  Scrape the batter into prepared pan and pop into 350º hot oven for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick stuck in center comes out clean/dry.  Slice into approximately  ½-5/8″ thick slices to make 12 nice portions.  After serving, wrap remainder in plastic wrap or place in plastic bag.  Refrigerate as with all low-carb baked goods that lack the preservative quality of real sugar.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 12 slices, each contains: (using ½c. dried berries).  You must recalculate if you use other berries/fruit/nuts

166 cals, 11.1g fat, 11.44g carbs, 2.42g fiber, 9.02g NET CARBS, 7.21g protein, and 84 mg sodium

 

 

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Buttoni’s Low-Carb Bake Mix

I’m so pleased to share a low-carb bake mix I’ve put together.  It only has 4.83 net carbs per ¼ cup of mix!  That’s fewer carbs than my Einkorn Bake Mix!  Regular Pioneer Bake Mix has 25 net carbs per ¼ cup; Bisquick has 27 net carbs per 1/3 c. (or about the same as Pioneer); Carbalose Flour has 4.8 net carbs per ¼ c.; Carbquik has only 2 net carbs per 1/3 c. but has a funny background taste to me, even their new and improved product.  So the difficulty when chosing ingredients based on flavor and carb count is indeed very delicate balance.

My inspirational recipe was a low-carb flour mix I saw over on Pam’s Low Carb and Delicious blog (she links to the mix inside the bread recipe).  Hers has 18 NC per 1/2 cup; mine has 9.66 NC per 1/2 cup.  So a nice carb drop, don’t you think?  But isn’t her bread photo a thing of beauty? My goodness, the rise on that loaf in the pic!  I plan on trying her bread soon, but with her original flour mix recipe, nothing tweaked, the first time I bake it.  Then I’ll turn around and bake it again with my new bake mix so I can readily compare the two loaves.  🙂

I modified considerably both what ingredients I chose to use for my mix as well as the amounts of those ingredients.  I have also added several additional ingredients to her original recipe.  The final bake mix has produced two baked items for me already that I am quite pleased with:  a 2-serving vanilla microwave quick cake

Vanilla MW Cake made with mix

Vanilla Microwave Cake

and an oven-baked Blueberry-Lemon Snack Cake (I’ll be posting that recipe soon).

Blueberry-Lemon Snack Cake

Blueberry-Lemon Snack Cake

Both the hubs and I found them delicious, with a very smooth texture.  Best of all, neither had a funny taste that many low-carb breads have.  My next tests will be in my Fluffy Pancakes recipe and I’ll try it in my fav RWS Biscuits recipe. After those, I’ll be trying this mix to make a pie crust eventually, perhaps for my Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie.  Then I’ll know this mix is a keeper.

I think this mix is going to prove to be a good one, so stay tuned for me to be posting new recipes I use it in successfully.  This recipe makes a big batch of nearly 11 cups of mix, so you might want to make up just 1/2 this recipe and play around with the mix in 1 or 2 of your favorite, tested recipes and see  what you think.  I would love your feedback/findings in the comments section below.

INGREDIENTS:

4 c. almond flour

1 c. out flour (I grind mine from rolled oats)

½ c. oat fiber

½ c. Einkorn Flour

1 c. vital wheat gluten

2 c. Carbalose Flour

2 c. unflavored whey protein isolate

1 T. glucomannan powder

4 tsp. baking powder

DIRECTIONS:    If grinding your own oat flour (my 2 local grocers don’t carry oat flour that is pre-ground), do this step first, letting your food processor or blender run a pretty long time for the finest grind possible.  This will lead to better texture in your final baked goods. When you have 1 cup of oat flour ground, place in large mixing bowl.  Measure all other ingredients into the bowl.  Stir well.  Then stir well at least 4 more times!  You want the ingredients uniformly mixed.  Spoon mix into lidded container and store in your pantry for use whenever you want to bake.  Since there is no fat or sweet item in this, you will, of course, have to add butter/oil/fat and and naturally, sweetener if making a dessert recipe.  Eggs and possibly cream/liquid will be needed for binding and moisture to achieve the correct batter thickness.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes about 11 cups bake mix.

1 cup mix: 443 cals, 24.9g fat, 33.78g carbs, 14.44g fiber, 19.34g NET CARBS, 34.4g protein, 223 mg sodium

¼ cup mix: 110 cals, 6.22g fat, 8.44g carbs, 3.61g fiber, 4.83g NET CARBS, 8.61g protein, 55.7 mg sodium

Tarte Tatin

Gluten-Free apple Tarte

Holidays always make me remember desserts my mother loved to serve at this time of year.  The well-known French apple Tarte Tatin is one of those.  My low-carb version has a much thinner cake layer than is typical of this famous dessert.  My husband and I really liked this conversion.  I serve mine with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  I apologize for the photo quality, but this picture was taken with my very first digital camera, in the evening when natural light just isn’t there.  I’m going to have to bake this again and get a prettier picture next time.  But the photo can’t take away the fact that this recipe is absolutely delicious!  If you decide to give this one a go, you’ll be glad you did!

VARIATIONS:  Although Tarte tatin is only made with apples, this basic concept can be made with strawberries or raspberries and carbs will go down.  Pear or peach slices also do well in this but carbs will go up with those choices.

This recipe is not suitable until the higher carb fruit rung of the Atkins Phase 2 OWL carb re-introduction ladder, as you approach Maintenance.  This dessert would be acceptable for a Paleo-Primal liefstyle provided you substituted REAL honey for the sugar-free honey and subbed in REAL maple syrup for the Cary’s sugar-free maple syrup called for below.

Our latest three volumes of LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS cookbooks are calling you.  Volume 8 and Volume 9 are almost exclusively comprised of my recipes!  Included in both editions are a few tasty new creations of my dear friends George Stella and Jennifer Eloff.   Volume 10 is hot off the press with more delectable goodies.  Early orders can be delivered by Thanksgiving.  EARLY BIRD SECRET SALE!!  Special pricing and limited-time free shipping so hurry and place your order today.  You can order these or any of our cookbooks at https://amongfriends.us/Secret-SALE.php.  When you purchase our books, we would sure appreciate you stopping by Amazon to leave a review at this site

INGREDIENTS:

For the Apple filling:

4 T. total unsalted butter or ghee

11 oz. apple, peeled and sliced thin (I used 1 large JonaGold)

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

2 T. sugar-free maple syrup (I used Cary’s)

¼ tsp. grated lemon zest

For the bottom Cake Layer:

½ c. almond butter

2 T. coconut milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 T. sugar-free honey (I buy at Walmart)

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ c. almond flour

1 T. coconut flour

¼ glucomannan powder (for best texture)

DIRECTIONS:  Grease bottom and sides of a non-stick tarte pan with 1 T. of the butter and set aside.  Melt remaining 3 T. of the butter in a non-stick skillet.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg to the skillet and stir.  Add sliced apples and saute them for 3-4 minutes until apples begin to soften.  Turn off heat. Using a fork or small tongs, remove apples and layer them in the bottom of the tart pan.  You should have enough apple slices for a single layer of apples in a standard tart pan.  with the help of a spatula or heat-proof rubber spatula, scrape out and drizzle any buttery juices left in the skillet over the apples.  You don’t want to wast any of that rich flavor.  Grate lemon zest over the apples and finally drizzle the maple syrup over the apples.

Now to make the cake.  Preheat oven to 350º.  In a medium bowl, measure out the almond butter.  Add the coconut milk, imitation honey and stir with a rubber spatula until fairly smooth. Add the vanilla and beaten eggs.  Beat a minute or two to achieve a smooth liquid batter.  Measure the almond flour on top, then the coconut flour and finally the baking powder.  Beat with the spatula until smooth.  Evenly pour the cake batter over the apples, gently coaxing it out to the edges of the pan.    Pop into 350º preheated oven for about 20 minutes.  This does not rise very much and it will be completely dry to the touch in the center when done. Toothpick test will come out clean at the center.  Remove tart from the oven and cool for awhile.  While still a little warm, invert your serving plate over the tart pan or pie plate and using two hands, holding tightly, flip tart pan and serving plate over and the tart should fall neatly onto the serving plate.  Gently re-place any apples that may have stuck to the pan.  Cut into 8 slices and serve with sweetened whipped cream if desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 servings each contains:  (does not including any whipped cream topping)

235 calories, 19.5 g  fat, 11.6 g  carbs, 2.76 g  fiber, 8.94 g NET CARBS, 5.1 g  protein, 125 mg sodium

Click to enlarge

Southern “Cornbread” Dressing/Stuffing

I made, baked and froze my Thanksgiving dressing today.  Just have to do those things ahead that do well being frozen.  If you’re looking for a low-carb version of Mom’s cornbread stuffing, you need look no further.  Southern girl that I am, I’m pretty fussy about cornbread dressing!  I had about given up on finding a way to make it with low-carb breads and get MY definition of stuffing heaven. However………. this recipe is a great imitation of cornbread heaven for me.   It will grace your holiday bird, baked chicken, roasted pork or stuffed chops and make you PROUD!  The cornbread brings a slight corn taste to the stuffing (even if made without the corn flavoring!) that none of my previous trials have been able to achieve.  This is so close to my traditional buttermilk cornbread recipe, I’ll never make the higher-carb version again,……………not even for guests!  This can be stuffed in your holiday bird, but I have always preferred the top to get brown and not stuff the bird. 🙂

This recipe is NOT acceptable for Atkins Induction. If you are still in the Induction Phase of Atkins, or on an ultra-low-carb phase of Keto diets, try instead my Induction-friendly Eggplant-Jicama Stuffing.

TIP:  When baking and freezing stuffing ahead, slightly under-cook it so that when it is reheated and browned, it doesn’t dry out too much.

Our latest three volumes of LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS cookbooks are calling you.  Volume 8 and Volume 9 are almost exclusively comprised of my recipes!  Included in both editions are a few tasty new creations of my dear friends George Stella and Jennifer Eloff.   Volume 10 is hot off the press with more delectable goodies.  Early orders can be delivered by Thanksgiving.  EARLY BIRD SECRET SALE!!  Special pricing and limited-time free shipping so hurry and place your order today.  You can order these or any of our cookbooks at https://amongfriends.us/Secret-SALE.php.  When you purchase our books, we would sure appreciate you stopping by Amazon to leave a review at this site

INGREDIENTS:

1 recipe of my Jalapeno Cheese Bread

6 oz. chopped onion

6 oz. chopped celery

1 stick unsalted butter (8 T.)

1 c. chopped parsley

4 tsp. Dad’s Poultry Seasoning (or whatever poultry seasoning you prefer)

½ tsp. black pepper

2 c. chicken broth, preferable homemade (best if 1 cup of this is pan juices from your turkey roasting pan)

DIRECTIONS: Cook the cheese bread (omit jalapenos if you prefer, but I don’t) exactly as instructed in that recipe.  When completely cooled, coarsely break it up into a large bowl  Add the parsley and stir. Set aside for now.  When ready to put stuffing together, preheat the oven to 350º.

Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the celery and onion until very tender.  I do NOT like crunchy bits in my stuffing! 🙂  Add the sauteed veggie mixture, butter and all, to the dry ingredients in the bowl.  Add seasonings and finally the broth.  You may have to add more broth if the resulting mixture is not fairly wet (but not soupy).  Stir well to blend all ingredients.  Pour into a buttered 9×13 baking pan or two round pans.  I personally like to drizzle 1-2 T. more melted butter on top, but that isn’t necessary or included in the numbers below. Bake at 350º for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 12 servings (approximately 3/4 c. each).  Each serving contains:

282 calories, 26 g  fat, 7.16 g  carbs, 3.16 g fiber, 4 g NET CARBS, 9.1 g  protein, 190 mg sodium

New England Clam Chowder

This chowder is super yummy and ever so easy to whip up.  We drove over to Killeen to a big Asian grocery this week and I picked up a couple daikon radishes.  They make a wonderful potato sub in soups.  A cold front is moving through today so soup just sounded good for lunch.  I always keep a couple cans of clams around, so a no-brainer.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and other Keto diets if the macros will work for you.

Our latest three volumes of LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS cookbooks are calling you.  Volume 8 and Volume 9 are almost exclusively comprised of my recipes!  Included in both editions are a few tasty new creations of my dear friends George Stella and Jennifer Eloff.   Volume 10 is hot off the press with more delectable goodies.  Early orders can be delivered by Thanksgiving.  EARLY BIRD SECRET SALE!!  Special pricing and limited-time free shipping so hurry and place your order today.  You can order these or any of our cookbooks at https://amongfriends.us/Secret-SALE.php.  When you purchase our books, we would sure appreciate you stopping by Amazon to leave a review at this site .

INGREDIENTS: 

4 oz. bacon, coarsely chopped

3 oz. onion, chopped

10-oz can of clams, with juice

1 c. daikon radish, peeled and chopped

½ c. parsley, chopped

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper

1/2 recipe Jennifer Eloff’s homemade Condensed Mushroom Soup

½ c. heavy cream

1 cup water (more if too thick for you)

DIRECTIONS:  Make Jennifer Eloff’s homemade Condensed Mushroom Soup recipe by her instructions at the link above.  Reserve half in your refrigerator for some other use and use just half the batch for this chowder recipe.

Chop bacon, onion, daikon and parsley and set each aside.  Brown bacon over medium high heat in a 4-quart saucepan.  When it is brown, add the onion and black pepper and saute to allow it to begin to brown/caramelize.  Add the clams, daikon radish and parsley.  Stir well.  Add the mushroom soup concentrate, the cream and water.  Bring to low boil and lower heat to a simmer about 30-40 minutes or until daikon is tender.  Stir occasionally during cooking to prevent scorching on bottom of the pan.  Add more water if it gets too thick for your liking.  Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes five 1½c. large bowls (as shown above).  Each bowl contains:

274 cals, 20g fat, 7.38g carbs, 1.08g fiber, 6.3g NET CARBS, 13.9g protein, 434 mg sodium

Moo Shu Pork

Under Construction

The filling

I was introduced to Moo Shu Pork by a friend in Houston many years ago.  I fell in love with my first bite!  There’s something about the  unusual ingredients and the sweet, tangy plum sauce that is a flavor marriage made in heaven, in my opinion.  As with any Chinese food, more time is spent in the preparation than the cooking, but this one is so worth the time!

I line up paper plates by my stove and get each ingredients chopped and onto a plate, ready to dump into the wok at the right moment.  I soak the Tiger Lily Buds and mushrooms first.  Make the marinade next.  Scramble the eggs and chop next.  Chop/slice my veggies last.  Then I’m ready to cook!

This recipe is slightly higher in carbs than many of mine and not suitable until you are closer to goal weight, but again, it’s a treat not meant to be indulged in often.  Moreover, I consider any recipe below 10g net carbs a serving to be A-OK, as that is so much lower than the average fare on the Standard American Diet (SAD) of my past.  🙂

NOTE:  Shitaake mushrooms, Cloud Ear Fungus (also called wood ear mushroom) and Tiger Lily Buds are essential to traditional Mu Shu Pork classic flavors.  If omitted, you aren’t eating true Moo Shu.  Asian groceries will all carry these items.  I order mine on-line.

Our latest two LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS cookbooks, Volume 8 and Volume 9 are almost exclusively comprised of my recipes!  Included in both editions are a few tasty new creations of my dear friends George Stella and Jennifer Eloff.   Volume 10 is coming out soon with early bird orders set to delivery by Thanksgiving.  EARLY BIRD SECRET SALE!!  Special pricing and limited-time free shipping so hurry and place your order today.  You can order these or any of our cookbooks at https://amongfriends.us/Secret-SALE.php.  When you purchase our books, we would sure appreciate you stopping by Amazon to leave a review at this site

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

4 T. my homemade Hoisin Sauce

1 T. rice wine vinegar

1 T. fish sauce (I use Thai Kitchen brand) [or use oyster sauce]

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. Sambal Oelek chili sauce

¼ tsp. xanthan gum or preferred thickener

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs, scrambled

1 T. butter (to cook eggs in)

8 oz. lean only pork loin, slivered thin

3 T. peanut or olive oil (or your preferred oil)

½ c. cabbage, slivered thin

4 large dried shitaake mushrooms, soaked

3 large green onions, slivered thinly lengthwise, cut 1″ pieces

1 c. fresh bean sprouts

¼ c. canned bamboo shoots, julienne  slivered

½ c. dried Cloud Ear Fungus strips, soaked (if using whole, slice them)

½ cup (small handful) Tiger Lily Buds, cut in half, soaked

8 low-carb flour tortillas (I use La Banderita at 5 n.c. per piece)

Extra hoisin sauce to “dress” before eating (not calculated into stats, as amount used varies)

VARIATION:  Use slivered chicken in lieu of pork for a Moo Shu Chicken version

DIRECTIONS:  In 3 small bowls, soak mushrooms, Tiger Lily Buds and Clour Ear in very hot water until soft.  You want to save the mushroom liquid and just lift them out of that “stock”.  Cut out the tough mushroom stems and slice the mushroom flesh.  Place on paper towels to dry off for now.  Discard water off the Cloud Ear Fungus.  If using whole ones, chop or slice and paper towel dry.  If using pre-cut strips just set them on paper towel to dry.  Discard water off the Tiger Lily Buds and chop them in half.  Dry on paper towels.  Set these 3 ingredients near the stove.

Mix all marinade ingredients in the small bowl.  Add ¼ c. of the mushroom soaking water.  When well-mixed, pour half the marinade into medium bowl and add the sliced meat.  Toss the meat with your hands to coat meat well and let it marinade while you continue your prepping.  Remaining marinade will be added to the wok at the end of cooking.

Scramble the eggs over medium in the butter until set.  Remove from heat and chop into medium bits (but not too fine).  Set those aside by stove so they are at-the-ready.

Now you’re ready to cook.  Heat a dry wok or large skillet.  Chinese cooks have a saying:  “Hot Wok; Cold Fat.”  If you do it this way, the meat does not stick to the pan.  If you heat the oil as you heat the wok,  the meat almost invariably sticks to the pan!  When the steel is VERY HOT, quickly dump in the oil and promptly the meat into the cold oil.  Don’t worry, the oil will get hot quick when it hits the hot metal.  Stir-fry with spoon until meat is no longer pink.  Add in cabbage and Cloud Ear Fungus next.  Stir-fry until they just barely begins to go limp.  Next add the bean sprouts & scallions and cook those just 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms, bamboo shoot slivers and Tiger Lily Buds next, cooking the mixture 2-3 minutes.  Pour in the remaining marinade and stir well so all filling is now moistened.  Cook another minute or so for the thickener in the marinade to do its job.   Add the egg to the wok last, during the final minute of cooking, and stir just to mix.  Remove wok from heat.

Serve the filling at the table (I like to do t right in the wok so it stays warm) with low-carb tortillas and more hoisin sauce.  I haven’t gotten around to creating a Chinese-style pancake, but give me awhile and I may do that one day.  Place about ½-3/4 c. filling on the tortilla down the center.  Dab a little extra hoisin sauce down the filling edge (as shown above) and fold the bottom edge up (to catch juices as you eat).  Then fold the sides of the tortilla inward like a burrito and pick up and eat it with your hands, like a burrito.  Moo Shu Pork is traditionally eaten with hands and is rather messy to eat with a fork, quite honestly.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 servings, each contains:  (does not include added hoisin when rolling)

216 cals, 12.4g fat, 24.35g carbs, 13.72g fiber, 10.63g NET CARBS (plus any added hoisin), 13.7g protein, 814mg sodium (and that’s using low-sodium soy sauce!)

 

Hoisin Sauce (low-carb)

I made some Moo Shu Pork for dinner tonight.  We love the stuff!  But I needed some Hoisin Sauce to go with it and had none in the pantry.  All the commercial stuff either has sugar, high fructose corn syrup or molasses in the ingredient listing.  I checked my several recipes for this sauce (gathered around the net over the past 9 years) and the only two I had actually tried before were annotated “not so good” and “nothing special”.  :{

So I set about creating my own instead.  Since Hoisin is basically a seasoned plum jam/sauce, and I had an open bag of no-sugar-added prunes (which is just dried plums) in my pantry, I started with 10 of those.  Then I added a few ingredients that store-bought brands mention on their labels, guessing the amounts for those items, tasting as I went along.

Well, I’m here to tell you the final sauce came out pretty darn good!  Not exactly like the high-sugar stuff right out of the jar at the store, but I suspect it will taste much better and closer to that flavor when it has “aged” a bit.  We ate it while it was still warm tonight, so the cloves flavor in the Chinese 5-Spice Powder was pretty pronounced. The aroma and taste of the cloves is already mellowing, after just a few hours, actually.   All in all, not bad for my first shot at a low-carb version of this essential Chinese condiment. Most commercial hoisin sauce has around 8 carbs per tablespoon, so this number is trimmed down in mine.  Using liquid Splenda lowers carbs a tad, but not that much.

I’ll post the Moo Shu Pork recipe as soon as I can calculate nutritionals and get it typed up.  That dish I have been cooking for years, using Gloria Bley-Miller’s marvelous cookbook The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook  as my “Bible” for Chinese cooking.  I can cook Moo Shu pork blindfolded but have been holing off to obtain a couple ingredients I can’t get locally.  This sauce is suitable once you get to Phase 2 of Atkins, since it is used in such small amounts on the “pancake” that you will use to roll up the Moo Shu Pork.  This sauce is totally unsuitable for Primal or Paleo due to the soy beans, as all legumes are eschewed in those food plans.

INGREDIENTS:

10 large dried prunes, Delmonte brand has no sugar added (around 4 oz.)

½ c. water

1 T. rice wine vinegar

3 T. low-sodium soy sauce (use regular if you prefer)

¼ tsp. Chinese 5-Spice powder

3 T. granular Splenda (liquid Splenda will lower carbs a smidge)

2 T. Eden soy black beans, well-mashed to a paste (or fermented black bean paste)

DIRECTIONS:  Place prunes in small saucepan with about ½ c. tap water.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until they are soft, or about 5 minutes.  Mash well into the water with a fork until pretty smooth.  You can puree in a blender or food processor if you like, but I did not think this necessary.  Remove from heat.

Mash the beans on a paper plate to as smooth a paste as possible and stir into the prune mixture.  Add vinegar, soy sauce and 5-Spice powder to the pot and stir well.  Spoon into a serving dish or lidded jar and store any not used immediately in your refrigerator.  I do not know how long this keeps yet, and it sure has no preservatives in it.  But since it’s just made from dried fruit+vinegar (a preservative by nature)+soy sauce (fermented), I suspect a pretty long time.  Perhaps 2 weeks?  Maybe longer?  Just don’t know.  The soy beans will be what spoils first in this combo.  I’ll try to remember to post back my findings on that when mine no longer seems to smell/look right to me and I toss it out.  🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes about 1 cup (16 Tbsp.).  Each tablespoon using granular Splenda contains:

17.2 cals, 0.1g fat, 3.65g carbs, 0.51g fiber, 3.14g Net CARBS (2.89 NC with liquid Splenda), 0.45g protein, 101 mg sodium