Friday, April 6, 2012

Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Eggs In a Post-Apocalyptic World

What a difference a year makes…

One year ago on Good Friday at 2:00PM, the telephone rings.

The face of cancer. Dead eyes. Profoundly grey in weeks.
Mid-stage of hair loss. Sick to death. No eyebrows. Few lashes.
And a moon face. Sweet. Cancer disfigures literally
and emotionally.
I’m pooped and don’t know why. I’ve been pooped for months with no clear reason other than being 48, post-menopausal, fat, eating poorly again (yep, another episode of The Days of A Backslider’s Life), and not exercising.

I pick up the phone, “Hello? This is Susie.”

“Hi Ms. Gibbs. This is Natalie from Dr. K’s office.”

“Hi Natalie and Easter blessings to you,” I said.

“Thank you,” she said. “Ms. Gibbs. Um. Well, Ms. Gibbs, we received the results from your mammogram today. I wanted to let you know I’m writing an order for you to have a biopsy on
Monday at S Diagnostics. Is there a time that’s better for you?” She paused, waiting for my answer.

I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach. Figuratively of course. My heart didn’t really drop, but I almost felt like it did. It felt like at that precise moment, the earth shifted on its axis or that a rollercoaster had just made an abrupt dip. The room dimmed as if a cloud had passed in front of the sun.

And I heard myself calmly reply, “What did the mammogram show?”

I heard her voice soften and waver slightly and I could tell she didn’t want to say the words she was about to say, “Ms. Gibbs, we need you to have a biopsy as soon as possible.” She cleared her throat and continued, “The mammogram shows there is a strong probability that you have breast cancer.”

Buzzing in my ears.

Quick breathing.

Watery eyes.

Stinging in my nose.

Room going dark. Was it really dark or was it sparkles at the edges of my vision signaling impending blackout? I don’t know. It was a moment freeze-framed in memory – timeless.

“I see. So um, could you fax the pathology report to me, please?” I asked her. I couldn’t believe my voice was so calm.

Inside I felt a crazy woman screaming at me to shout or show some emotion. This wasn’t just some “nothing” I could ignore. But outwardly my words continued with logic and calm.

It feels like I get this slow motion calmness in the face of crisis. I go into robot mode and dial-back. I did it when Mom passed. I did it before that when we lost Daddy. And now…here it was for me. Never saw that coming.

“Sure,” she replied. “But Ms. Gibbs I really need to get this biopsy scheduled, what time is best for you?”

“If you could, could you please fax the order for the biopsy as well?” I interrupted. “I need to figure out where I’m going to have it and do a bit of research.”

I didn’t tell her, but I also had to figure out how to afford to have cancer and how to pay for a biopsy I knew would cost a minimum of a couple grand. I couldn’t afford insurance – so didn’t have any. I was an “uninsured motorer” driving my body at freak speed and praying for the best. Well sometimes you run out of luck and crash. Happy Good Friday to Susie.

“Please don’t leave this too long, Ms. Gibbs. You really need to get the biopsy as soon as possible,” Natalie insisted.

“I won’t take long, I just have to figure a few things out first and then I will schedule it next week,” I promised.

She asked, “Will you please call us to let us know your decision and where you will have the biopsy? We will fax over the orders and make sure everything is scheduled.”

“I promise. Natalie, thanks for calling to let me know the results so quickly. I thought the results wouldn’t be back until next week sometime?”

Natalie said quietly, “The radiologist saw the results and felt that this needed to have high priority.”

“Does this mean I have cancer?” My voice broke.

“Only a biopsy will confirm whether or not you have breast cancer, Ms. Gibbs. But the report shows that it’s quite likely that the mass is…well, it’s showing that there is great reason for concern.” She ended. “I’m sorry to have to bring you this news.”

“Me too,” I said.

“I’ll fax the orders and lab report over now. Try to stay calm this weekend. We don’t know anything for certain at this point, ok? There is still room for hope. But call us on Monday and let us know where to send the orders for the biopsy.”

“Ok,” I promised.

Click. Call ends. Life changes. It will never be the same. I will never be the same. As often happens, in one split second, one phone call, life as I know it suddenly shifts and changes beyond recognition. WTF do I do next?

I’m sick to my stomach. I want to cry, but I can’t even squeeze out one tear. I want to scream but have no voice. I inhale sharply because Denny is at a client’s and I don’t want to tell him over the phone. It’s Good Friday and my sissies are both out of town. I don’t want to tell them over the phone either. We’d buried our mom only a year and a half previously, from complications due to lung cancer. My brother is at work and my sis-in-law has lived with liver cancer for the last 8 years, so I didn’t want to call her. My other sis-in-law was widowed and raising our 2 nephews, so I didn’t want to tell her either.

I am alone. I don’t hear God with me. I don’t feel His presence or support in those early fear-packed moments. It’s just me. And overwhelming fear and dread.

I saw my death. I automatically went to that dark place and saw it. I wondered what it would feel like to see my parents and grandparents again on the other side - all my aunts and uncles and friends who preceded me.

I actually can conceptualize how it would feel to be the only survivor in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world. The deadly, eerie silence, unearthly even, creates a presence that you can feel on the back of your neck – a hot breath pressing against your skin.

It’s just me left on earth. And the cancer. I know it’s cancer. I knew the second I heard Natalie’s voice on the end of that phone, an entire week early, that it was going to be malignant. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt more alone in my entire life than at that one precise moment when Natalie told me it was likely I had cancer.

The fax rang. I could hear the sheets printing. I walked in slow motion, the walk of a somnambulant. The words on the page blurred and my eyes refocused. I read and re-read them, worked out the key words and googled my way through the worst news of my life.

It didn’t take long to figure out that a Birads 5 is bad news bears. That’s radiologist-speak for “Oh Shit!” There’s only one level higher than a Birads 5 – a Birads 6. And you only get one of those after a biopsy confirms you have a malignancy.This was termed a solid body. So that meant it was a solid tumor. Most breast cancers are solid tumors.

So that was Good Friday a year ago. And suddenly, the post I originally meant to write today, Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Eggs, took a big ol’ Texas-sized back seat to ghosts of Good Friday Past.

Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Eggs
on Limoge china. A present from Mama & Daddy.
No worries though, Mon. I won’t rip you off. You still get the recipe. Drool-worthy photos with slurptitude shall prevail. These eggs could make a big sinner out of me. I will strictly ration them. They shall be locked up in the chest freezer and roll will be called daily for each of these tasty little morsels.

I saw the high sugar inspiration for this recipe on that cute site I told you about in the other candy egg post made yesterday – Instructables(dot)com. (No I don’t get anything for mentioning them. I didn’t even know they existed until this week!)

There are tons of recipes for Low Carb Sugar Free Reese’s Cups and Eggs on the internet. Two really great ones are from Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal and Lauren’s Healthy Indulgences. There’s also the peanut butter fudge recipe from someone at LCF and another peanut butter egg recipe there as well.

Apologies if I subconsciously ripped off anyone’s recipe. I sure “felt” like I was making up this recipe on the fly. I poured in a cup of this and a ¼ cup of that and wrote it all down on my trusted pad of paper that’s kept on the side as I develop a recipe. But just in case I was influenced by those great cooks and writers, apologies in advance!

Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Eggs
Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Eggs
taste as good as high carb, sugar filled, soy soaked Reese's
Yield – 52, ¾” Eggs
Prep Time – 10 Minutes
Freezer Time – 2-24 Hours
Shaping & Dipping Time – 20 Minutes
Difficulty – Easy

1 c Peanut Butter (Laura Scudder’s or Organic)
¼ c Unsalted Butter, softened
3 Tbsp LC Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
3 Tbsp Erythritol, granular
1 Tbsp Xylitol, granular
1/16 tsp Stevia Glycerite Powder
2 Tbsp Truvia, granular
2-4 drops EZ Sweetz (liquid Splenda Concentrate)
2 Tbsp Sugar Free Vanilla DaVinci Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
6 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Ghirardelli 60%Cacao)
½ Tbsp Coconut Oil

Blend granular sweeteners to a fine powder in coffee grinder.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and coconut oil with an electric mixer. I used a hand mixer with ease.

Mounds of Low Carb
Sugar Free Peanut Butter
Portion peanut butter dough onto plastic wrapped cookie sheet in approximately ¾ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon size.

Cover and freeze peanut butter dough mounds for 2 to 24 hours.

After dough freezes, roll each mound between your palms into egg shapes. Refreeze after shaping for a minimum of 30 minutes. The dough should be very cold prior to dipping.

Get ready to dip. Work in small batches
and using a dipping fork and table fork
help keep your workspace tidy!
Melt chocolate with coconut oil in small glass mixing bowl. Melt in microwave on high power in 30 second increments. After each time segment, stir chocolate well to mix and incorporate melted chocolate with the remaining solid chocolate. This takes about 1 minute – 30 seconds in my microwave.

When chocolate is melted, pour some of the chocolate into a coffee cup so that the chocolate is about 3 inches deep. This helps submerge the frozen peanut butter eggs without misshaping them during dipping.

Keeping the eggs frozen and working in small batches helps maintain their shape.

Dad's Barbeque Fork repurposed!
Here is my trusty dipping fork. It's actually a legacy from my dearly departed Daddy. The fork in its glory days was used for carving and barbeque tending! Forged in fire and made of carbon steel, this fork has seen action in the kitchen trenches like you would not believe!

Dipping peanut butter eggs is easier
with dipping forks!
Dip peanut butter eggs and remove, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Place back on the plastic wrap sheet pan. Continue until all eggs have been coated in chocolate. Refill cup with chocolate as necessary. I actually had some of the chocolate left over. Cover remaining chocolate with plastic wrap and refrigerate until next use.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter

Eggs back into the freezer until ready to serve. Wrap eggs in gold foil paper for a cute presentation. Gold foil is available at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby in the candy section.

Nutritional Information

Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Coa ted Peanut Butter Eggs – Full Recipe
Only 98g Net Carbs for a Full Recipe

Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Eggs – Single Egg
Only 1.9g Net Carbs per 1 Egg

SusieT’s Notes –There aren’t enough forks on this planet to convey how much I love these peanut butter eggs. And dangit! I am not even that much of a sweet freak! I’m a salty, crunchy addict. Not a sweet addict. Until today. Hello Reese’s? Sorry, you wish you’d made these! My preciouses…

Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Dipped
Peanut Butter Eggs in a Post-Apocalyptic World
still taste as sweet.
There’s a method to my madness in using E-X-S in the recipe and then using Truvia and EZ Sweetz on top of that. Artificial sweeteners work synergistically to give you greater sweetening power when used in combination with each other.

Truvia is more expensive than the generic E-X-S formulation I use in many of my sweet recipes. It also gives a slight vanilla, marshmallow flavor to dishes, so I knew the peanut butter eggs needed that note and added it.

Adding the EZ Sweetz increased the sweet level without increasing the texture – something I needed to happen cuz the peanut butter balls were as solid as I wanted them at that point.

And there you have it! My reasoning and thoughts for why I sweetened as I did and yeah it is SWEET! But the semi-sweet chocolate shell balances it out so go ahead and over sweeten!

(Important Breast Cancer Note - And if like me, you must avoid all soy, please know that semi-sweet chocolate chips have soy lecithin in them...a minor source but soy none-the-less! In that case, I would use 2-1/2 bars of Lindt 85% dark chocolate bar and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to it. Dark chocolate on sweetened peanut butter takes some getting used to because we are so inclined towards milk chocolate in America. But it tastes very delicious. Give it a try and it's worth it to know you are maintaining your soy-free status!)

Yeah, so I’m sure as shootin’ happier to be here with you today on Good Friday, making Low Carb Sugar Free Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Eggs, instead of takin’ a bullet to the breast like last year. Jasus, Mary and Joseph. What a day that was. (Oh yeah I did. I ended that sentence with a preposition. Call the grammar police and sue me whydoncha?) Whoooooooo doggy!

So, yeah. A year later. I’m battered but not beaten, broken but not forsaken. Breastless but not breathless. Living and breathing and walking and talking, kicking and screaming, and dancing. And dating NED (no evidence of disease). And being self-indulgent in memories and prose. Forgive me, please.

God carried me throughout this past year and His presence made a huge difference in my outcome. To Him goes the glory! He was the master of my ship and still is and thanks to His blessed son for the greatest sacrifice – which is truly the most momentous Good Friday on record - ever.

Our great niece, EJ's Low Carb Sugar Free Easter Basket.
There is life post-apocalypse.
I hope to get back here for one more post before Easter Sunday, but in case I don’t. God’s Blessings to each of you!

(This post is dedicated to those among you who are fighting cancer right now or know someone fighting cancer, or know someone who has lost the battle. It is dedicated to my sweet friend M, who has been fighting the good fight in Stage IV for the past 14 years and who found out yesterday there were two new tumors in her liver. She goes into chemo again for the upteenth time on Tuesday.

Prayers to you Sweet Ms. M! I'm here and ready to help!)


  1. Your story is making me sob. I am so happy you have gotten through this, but what a horrid ordeal. I needed a shake up today. I will not take my life for granted. Thank you. Happy Easter and thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hugs to you my friend.

      As Joni Mitchell once sang:

      "Don't it always seem to go? That we don't know what we've got till it's gone. We pave paradise to put up a parking lot."

      Here's the U-Tube Link:

  2. How true that is....we take so much for granted.

    Tears are flowing here. Tears of sadness that you had to indure this. Tears of thankfulness that you are here with us today.

    Thanks for reminding us not to take life for granted.

    Big hugs and prayers.

    1. :hugs: Sweetie! Sorry to make you sad. But gosh yep, life is precious. I was thinking woe is me the other day, then I remembered my friend M and so many other wonderful ladies I know that we've lost in just this past year and think, "Wow, I'm so blessed!"


  3. My prayers go out to you, Susie. What a year. Like you said, could not have done it without God. Not sure how anyone does. I am going through a separation right now, marriage of 24 years. Without God I can't make it. I have a friend who just had a double mastectomy (last Monday). She talks about karma and good vibes. No good vibes in my life. I have to have someone to lean on and carry me when necessary. So thank you for the postings, recipes, and thank you SO much for your humor. Hugs and prayers, Nancy

    1. Nancy - {{hugs}} and Easter Blessings to you sweet lady! I know you don't necessarily believe it yet, but you will make it. God will see you through if you simply rely on him beyond all human understanding.

      It also helps not to get ahead of yourself. Put blinders on and only look one step - the step you are on at the moment. Don't look down. Don't look up. Just keep focused on doing - on taking action for that one moment in time.

      Before long, you will be able to see clearly defined progress. The other thing God taught me is that I could choose each day. He gave me the power to choose to make that day successful and Spirit-filled with light and joy, or to let the dark prevail. And usually - even in the face of deep sickness, he blessed me with my choice for the day.

      Praying for days filled with light and peace for you and with blessed reasurance that our Savior lives and works in our life for the better at all times. Even when fear keeps our knowledge of his presence obscured from our perceptions.

      Much love in him.

  4. I had no idea it has been this recent. I cannot imagine what you have and are going through. In reading your posts and especially the one you wrote to Vanessa not long ago, it was then I realized how much you have been and are going through. Since then I have stopped reading her posts. You are in my prayers.

    1. Nancy for 3 years I truly don't feel like there has been closure. I've had surgery every year for the last 3 years and have on-going complications from everything from chemo, to radiation and surgeries. It's grueling and although I've been dating NED, there doesn't seem to be a day I don't "live" the "new normal" of cancer treatment.

      I'm sorry you've stopped reading Vanessa's blog. I do think she has a lot of helpful information. But coming from someone in the front lines who really knows what it's like and has had to live the power of my convictions...these conspiracy theorists against western medicine do more harm than good. I've seen two friends go the natural route in the past 3 years. They are both dead now. They both had a lesser grade than I. I don't discount there are things we can do to help ourselves holistically. I'm saying that the answer lies in integrative medicine. A combination of conventional and holistic therapies that address the body, heart and spirit.

      I will continue to be vocal in calling bullshit to the conspiracy theorists. I know I will rock boats. But I will tell you the truth. With all the things I face today. At least they enabled me to have 3 more years with the people I love. I would not be here today. I had an extremely aggressive high-grade tumor and had 14 positive lymph nodes at the time of surgery (after chemo). I probably had less than a year untreated. I ask you...if it were you. Would you really want to be the life-or-death Guinea pig testing the holistic practitioners anti-establishment rhetoric? I think not.

  5. Blessings and continued good health to you. As someone whose closest friend did not live long enough to see this year's Good Friday, I understand what a beast the big C is. Let's all pray this is the year a cure is finally found.

    1. Rita, I mourn with you for the loss of your sweet friend. :( . I join you in your prayers for a cure. Unfortunately, I'm reliving a 3 year experience in today's life. We are testing to see if I am having a recurrence. The preliminary opinion is not so good right now. But I again, will know more on Good Friday next week. So weird. Again. so sorry for your loss!!! ((Rita))

  6. Susie, my heart dropped like a stone reading this today.I praise God along with you that you are here, sharing this wonderful recipe today, and sharing hope and love and faith and joy! You are the best, and I will make these and toast to your full and utter recovery! Hugs and love,

    1. Arlene, the take-away from all of this is Praise God, Praise Him in His Mighty Glory! :D I am just a very humble, very human, very flawed child of God. To Him goes all the glory!! Hallelujah!


Hey guys! Comments keep us going! Leave your thoughts, please? XOXO!