Recipes

Keto Cannoli Cream

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One of my favorite treats ever is a nice cannoli from an Italian Pastry shop, preferably in Connecticut! (Shout out to Libby’s!) You might think that you’ll say good bye forever to cannoli once you embark on a low carb high fat diet- but it doesn’t have to be the case. Try this recipe for a cannoli without the shell- and be sure to let me know what you think about it!

Keto Cannoli Cream

  • 16 oz Mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Swerve*
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp coarsely chopped 90% Lindt dark chocolate*

Combine Mascarpone and Swerve in the bowl of your stand mixer and mis on low speed until combined. Add the cinnamon & vanilla extract. Mix well. Slowly add cream and whip until light & fluffy. Dust with a little unsweetened cocoa powder & top with dark chocolate, then ENJOY!

*This blog will occasionally utilize affiliate links, for which I receive credit. It doesn’t cause anyone to pay more for the item in question, but it helps me be able to create content for this site. You are in no way obligated to use my links, and I will only link to the exact products I use myself, to help you achieve the same results I achieve with my recipes

Way of Eating

Sweets for the Sweet

I think one of the major game changers with the way we are eating now is that we found a way to satisfy our sweet tooth that doesn’t detract from everything else we are doing.

We were always able to be moderately successful doing a typical low carb diet- similar to Atkins. We’d lose a few pounds, but we could never really stick to it for more than a couple months. I think what really held us back using that way of eating was the amount of fruit and yogurt we were eating to satisfy our dessert cravings. Our bodies treat fruit in much the same way as they treat candy!

I was never able to find a sugar substitute that was pleasant tasting, and honestly, the chemical based ones always made me uneasy- se we’d default to eating lots of fruit, because the net carbs seemed ok.

When I began trying out keto, my friend Nora taught me a lot to get me started and one of the first things she introduced me to was Swerve! It is the most sugar-like sugar substitute I have ever encountered! It is natural, since it is stevia based, and does not cause cancer in laboratory animals. (big win!). It doesn’t have the unpleasant aftertaste or bitter flavor that some stevia products have. It just tastes sweet!

We can now stay away from fruit and indulge in creamy desserts like my Crustless Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, homemade ice cream made with heavy cream + my homemade keto cannoli cream.

If you have struggled with finding a sugar alternative that is palatable, give Swerve a try! This week, I am experimenting with a cake that is sweetened with Swerve- stay tuned for a report in a future post!

* This blog will occasionally utilize affiliate links, for which I receive credit. It doesn’t cause anyone to pay more for the item in question, but it helps me be able to create content for this site. You are in no way obligated to use my links, and I will only link to the exact products I use myself, to help you achieve the same results I achieve with my recipes

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Nora, my keto buddy!
Recipes

Keto Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels-Sprouts

This side dish is a weekly staple for us. It’s great alongside ribeye or salmon. See bottom of post for my pre-packaged salmon dinners- so easy to grab when you’re in a hurry & don’t have time to cook, or to bring along to work for an on-plan meal. I dare you not to eat half the tray of these Brussels sprouts when they come out of the oven. The little crispy individual leaves are irresistible!

Ketogenic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 16 ounces Brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed & halved
  • 3 crushed fresh garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt &pepper to taste (salt carefully- the butter + cheese add enough salt for me)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat the Brussels sprouts with the butter, garlic & cheese mixture. Spread on a foil lined & greased cookie sheet, then bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until done to your liking.

Salmon-dinners
Use your roasted Brussels sprouts alongside a keto friendly protein & create easy to grab meal packs. I used salmon here.
Way of Eating

Seeing is Believing

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This week marks 25 pounds officially GONE!

Not gonna lie- I’ve tried a lot of diets, and ways of eating. No, I have never been morbidly obese, but it has always been in the back of my mind that there is a propensity for obesity in my family- and I don’t want to go there! When you pair that with the fact that I love food (I mean, I really love it!), I’ve always been nervous that I was heading down a dangerous road! I love to cook, bake, grill, create, and I love to eat the results! Decadent desserts are my specialty, but in all honesty, I cook good food! People like to come and eat at my dinner parties. I’m not a food snob. I like a cheeseburger combo at McDonalds as much as I like the most elegant plating at a 5 star restaurant.

There were two things that were consistent struggles with every diet I tried, from the Cabbage Soup Diet, to Weight Watchers, to Slim Fast, to the Atkins Diet: a sense of deprivation and just flat out HUNGER! Those two things together are a lethal combo that will have you buying a huge crusty loaf of Italian bread, slathering thick slices of it with butter, and realizing that cabbage soup isn’t so bad after all!

Once the initial adjustment period of entering our new way of eating abated, I found that it’s not hard to stay on this lifestyle! It really is a lifestyle, not a diet. The amount of fat in the foods that you eat prevents hunger, and once your body adjusts, hunger really becomes a very different feeling, if you feel it at all. I wouldn’t believe this if I hadn’t experienced it myself.

In the past, it seemed that we would go on a diet before a vacation- because doesn’t everyone do that? I mean, we want to look good in our beach pictures, right? We’d limp along and lost 10 pounds or so, and then get on vacation and go off whatever plan we were on. We’d get back home and that would be it. We’d just go back to whatever we were doing previous to the pre-vacation diet.

True story- we went to Disney for spring break this year, and we went off plan on our current way of eating. (If you’re interested in our family vlogs through the Disney vacation, check out our YouTube Channel). I’ve shared my thoughts previously about taking breaks from our way of eating. This practice may not be for everyone for a number of different reasons, but I don’t judge other people’s choices, and I appreciate the same courtesy!

We indulged in a number of treats at Disney- but one of the craziest things is that Mark and I REALLY loved getting the salad from the food court at our resort, that with the exception of a few peas and chickpeas, is essentially on plan for our way of eating. It was the thing we came home saying we wish we’d had one more of! We kind of quested through Disney in search of that one treat that would really make us say, “YES!! This is what I’ve been missing!” And while we did enjoy a number of the things we tried, we just couldn’t find that thing that made us even consider giving up our new lifestyle permanently.

When we arrived home after vacation, we didn’t even give it one extra day of being off plan. We both were actually looking forward to getting back into our pre-vacation routine. We had each gained back a few pounds, but found that we were back to where we started pre-vacation at about mid-week of our first week back. We did not go back through any of the withdrawal symptoms, or carb flu symptoms that we experienced when first embarking on our new way of eating.

So, since hunger hasn’t been a challenge for us, what about deprivation? 100% NOT A THING! This lifestyle is nothing like a meal replacement diet where you are drinking an unpalatable shake instead of eating food, or you’re restricted to one food, or restricted to a small list of acceptable foods.

We eat delicious grilled meats, savory casseroles, awesome salads, ridiculously good roasted veggies with lots of butter and parmesan cheese, and we have REALLY good desserts!  Yes, I said desserts!!

Stop back next week to learn how we were able to tackle the challenge of craving sweets in a way that works with our lifestyle- and my Keto Cannoli recipe!

Recipes

Ketogenic Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed-Mushrooms

I’m known as a pretty good cook, and my non-ketogenic stuffed mushroom recipe is a popular one. I tweaked it to be ketogenic by removing the breading. I was worried that the stuffing might not hold together, and was prepared to use almond flour as a binder, but I discovered that it works just fine without a binder!

Ingredients:

  • 2 16-ounce packages of mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed & reserved
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 16 ounces crab meat
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Place mushroom stems in food processor and pulse until finely grated. Add lemon juice & zest, Parmesan cheeses, butter, garlic & seasonings. Pulse to combine. Remove to a mixing bowl and add crab meat. Toss to combine. Stuff the mushroom caps with the stuffing mixture. Place in a greased baking dish. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with shredded mozzarella. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Cool slightly and enjoy! (This recipe makes plenty to share! Halve it if you’re just making it for a few people. You can re-heat these, but they are best fresh out of the oven!)

If you try the recipe, leave me a comment & let me know how you liked it!

 

 

Way of Eating

The Sweet Spot

March was when I found my sweet spot with our new way of eating. It was when I developed the basic daily outline that I am still following to this day & that I anticipate being able to continue to follow indefinitely.

I was a little nervous that after a month without dairy, I would re-introduce it & find that I could no longer tolerate it, but thankfully, that was not the case. I also worried that because dairy has carbs in it, it would throw off my progress. This also proved not to be the case.

Here are a few of the reasons why I do not refer to the way we eat as following the ketogenic diet, but rather refer it to it using the cumbersome description of low carb high fat diet with elements of the ketogenic diet:

  • The ketogenic diet follows very strict guidelines for macronutrient percentages, and we do not calculate them
  • We do not test our blood sugar or blood ketones regularly, or at all
  • We occasionally cheat. We have chosen to adhere to this way of eating to lose weight, to feel better & to make sure that we enter our older years in good shape. We do not have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Neither of us currently has diabetes, heart disease, chronic high blood pressure or any of the things that we hope to avoid in our later years by eating this way.
  • I respect those who adhere to the ketogenic diet 100% all the time & understand that they find it frustrating to encounter people who aren’t as devout as they are.
  • Basically, I don’t want anyone to call me out for not being keto enough. I’m ok with not being keto enough for someone else. I’m keto enough for ME!

In finding my daily dietary flow, I needed to find recipes that could be made ahead. With my work schedule & the boys’ after school activities, I just don’t have time to stand at the stove every night. While we love to sit down at the table to a dinner as a family, the truth is that we rarely seem to find ourselves all at home & eating at the same time during the week at this phase in our lives.

The other factor I needed to consider is familiarity. Yes- I could make all kinds of ketogenic recipes that require obscure ingredients & lots of prep time- but that’s just not for me. I tried a number of recipes during 28 Days in Hell. I learned that ketogenic substitutes for starchy foods are just disgusting to me. I grew up on New York style pizza, delicious pasta & Italian pastry. I’m sorry, but a muffin made of coconut flour tastes like some kind of poison & a horror movie procreated, and that muffin is the demonic spawn. The lining of my stomach continued to taste those horrible creations even after I managed to get a bite choked down. It’s easier for me to just abstain from starchy foods- and their not-quite-up-to-par substitutions.

Each weekend, I choose 2 make ahead recipes & a meat to grill, plus a ketogenic dessert. I prepare these things on Saturday, and keep them in the fridge. During the week, it’s quick & easy to heat up a portion and eat an on-plan meal. This also helps avoid grabbing something that isn’t on-plan in a fit of hunger. If what you are supposed to eat is all ready for you to just grab & eat- why bother cheating?

One aspect of the ketogenic diet that we adhere to pretty completely is the concept of intermittent fasting. Google it if you are unfamiliar with it, as there are many interpretations. It’s also important to know WHY you are doing something- so don’t start intermittent fasting without an understanding of what it does to your body & why you should bother doing it. We confine all of our calorie consumption to an 8 hour window in the day. Consuming anything that has more than 50 calories will “open the eating window”.

Here is how my day goes:

  • Upon waking, I make a small cup of coffee and sweeten it with a drop of Stevia Glycerite Liquid Extract* and about a teaspoon of Swerve*. This combination is the perfect amount of sweetener for me. It took some experimentation to find the right combo, and to find a sweetener that doesn’t have an unpleasant aftertaste, or just an unpleasant taste in general. I add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream to my coffee, as this has 50 calories and does not open my eating window.
  • At any time after 11 am, I make a large cup of coffee and sweeten it with 2 drops of Stevia Glycerite Liquid Extract and about a tablespoon of Swerve. I top it off with heavy whipping cream. I do not measure the heavy whipping cream. I just add it until I like the color of the coffee. I like my coffee like I like my man- strong and sweet! This is what I consider my first meal of the day. 
  • Around 2 pm, I have my second meal of the day, which is either a portion of something I have ready in the fridge, a salad with meat on it, or a plate with some deli meat, cheese & a handful of almonds.
  • Between 5 & 6, I have my final meal of the day- a portion of something that is ready in the fridge and a portion of whatever ketogenic dessert I have in the fridge for the week.

For some, this routine might become too boring or predictable. For me, a lover of plan & routine, it is what works!

Stop back next week to learn more about how hunger & cravings changed when we adapted to our new way of eating.  

* This blog will occasionally utilize affiliate links, for which I receive credit. It doesn’t cause anyone to pay more for the item in question, but it helps me be able to create content for this site. You are in no way obligated to use my links, and I will only link to the exact products I use myself, to help you achieve the same results I achieve with my recipes

Recipes

Ketogenic Broccoli Salad

Broccoli-SaladFeeling deprived is a common reason people “fall off the wagon” when they embark on a new, healthier lifestyle. As we continue this journey, it has been important to me to make sure that we have delicious options to eat and that we don’t feel like we’re missing out on the things we used to love!

Broccoli Salad was one of my cookout staples before we were eating the way we currently do. It was full of craisins and cashews- 2 ingredients that are not conducive with a low carb lifestyle, and the dressing was made with sugar.

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer & of cookout season, so I decided to try my hand at a ketogenic version of broccoli salad- skip the craisins, use almonds instead of cashews & stay away from unhealthy sugar! If I say so myself, it’s a win! Please leave me a comment & let me know what you think if you give it a try!

Ketogenic Broccoli Salad

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 drop stevia glycerite*
  • 1 Tablespoon Swerve Confectioners Sugar Substitute*
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely diced
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced, cooked until crisp, drained & cooled
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 large broccoli crowns, trimmed into bite sized florets & rinsed

In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, stevia glycerite, Swerve, onion & seasonings. Whisk together until well combined and smooth. Add broccoli, almonds & bacon. Toss to coat. Allow to rest in refrigerator for an hour of so to allow favors to blend & develop, then serve alongside your favorite ketogenic or low carb cook out entrees!

* This blog will occasionally utilize affiliate links, for which I receive credit. It doesn’t cause anyone to pay more for the item in question, but it helps me be able to create content for this site. You are in no way obligated to use my links, and I will only link to the exact products I use myself, to help you achieve the same results I achieve with my recipes