Thursday, May 28, 2015

Scotch Scotchy Scotch... Eggs

This was my first time ever making OR eating Scotch eggs, and I have just one question to ask:


Holy shitballs, they were fantastic! They tasted like a sausage-egg-and-cheese McMuffin. Only better!

I saw them a few weeks ago on the I Breathe I'm Hungry blog, and I was really excited to try them. My only issue with the recipe was the deep frying - it yields delicious (and in this case more authentic) results, and I have nothing against the cooking method, really... but it's messy, wastes a lot of oil, and mostly I'm just too lazy to want to bother with it.

I decided to give oven-roasting them a try, and I figured it would work nicely with the high fat content of the sausage I used... hooray for being right! They had a light crisp texture on the outside that wasn't greasy at all. If they weren't so filling, I seriously could have eaten the whole batch!

Oven-Fried Scotch Eggs

These babies lend themselves perfectly to a make ahead meal. Giving them a chance to rest/set in the refrigerator after assembly really makes the "breading" process much easier. At a minimum, I'd refrigerate them for 30 minutes before coating, but a day would be even better.


1 tube pork sausage
7 eggs, soft-boiled and shelled
1 egg white, whisked
2 Tbs grated parmesan
2 Tbs coconut flour
salt and pepper

Line a large plate with plastic wrap. Separate the sausage into 7 equal portions. One by one, flatten each portion into an oval shape on a piece of plastic wrap. Place an egg in the center and use the wrap to help you mold the sausage around the egg, then carefully peel it off and gently press together any gaps. Make sure there's no egg peaking out. Set aside on the prepared plate and repeat for the rest of the eggs. Store the prepared eggs in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to a day or two.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a sheet pan with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Prepare 2 wide, shallow dishes (like a couple of paper plates or 2 pie plates). In one mix the coconut flour, cheese, and a little salt and pepper. In the other, whisk the egg white, adding a little water if necessary to make it cover the bottom of the plate. Coat each egg first in the egg white, then in the flour mixture, gently tapping off any excess, then set aside on the lined sheet pan. You should have just enough coating for all the eggs without much leftover waste. Leave a couple of inches between each egg on the pan, something like this.

Bake at 425F for about 20 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked and the eggs are golden brown. They're great hot, at room temperature, and even cold!

Makes 7 eggs
Approximate nutrition per egg ~ 285 calories, 27.2g fat, 0.6 net carbs, 
14.1g protein

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Little White Lies Are a Great Source of Calcium

Since going ketogenic, I've been feeling less and less hungry during the morning/early afternoon hours. I've never been much of a breakfast person - just give me my coffee - and since I've been blending coconut oil and grass-fed butter intoto my coffee for the last few weeks...

aka Bulletproof Coffee

my hunger levels just haven't been rising until closer to 3 or 4pm. I believe we should eat when we're hungry (as long as we're getting a safe amount of calories daily/weekly), so I've been following my hunger cues and eating my calories mostly during the hours of 4pm-8pm. This is sort of intermittent fasting, but not technically since I'm having the calories from the coffee. Honestly it's just what works for me, and I feel like it's my own version of intermittent fasting... I.F. police, don't arrest me, please.

Anyway, by the time dinner rolled around, I wanted something easy that would also provide plenty of fat and protein. And of course be DELICIOUS. The problem was that the fridge was looking pretty bare in the protein department. I found my answer in the pantry. Canned salmon.

Don't vomit on me, people! I have a very sympathetic gag reflex!

Good quality canned Alaskan salmon is a great (and frugal!) source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and calcium (from the bones that are super-soft and mashable/edible from the canning process). And combined with the right flavors, it's downright delicious! 

Anyone still here? Bueller? Bueller??

If I haven't scared you off, thanks for sticking around. You won't regret it. (I hope.)

I decided to make carbonara (Italian pasta dish with a rich egg yolk sauce, bacon, and black pepper), but with the salmon added and with squash noodles instead of real pasta. And because I was feeling SUPER lazy, I decided to turn that into a frittata (instead of whisking egg yolks into the pan and praying they don't scramble).

Salmon Frittata alla Carbonara


12 oz yellow squash or zucchini squash (or a combo of both), julienned or spiralized
salt and pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped
6 large eggs
2 egg whites (or use more whole eggs if calories aren't a concern)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
optional spices - garlic powder/onion powder/cayenne/nutmeg
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 small can Alaskan salmon (about 8oz), drained and flaked

Put the squash noodles in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle liberally with salt and toss to combine. Let sit for about 10 minutes (no less).

Preheat the oven to 400 F, set a nonstick, oven-safe pan over med-low to medium heat. Fry the bacon until crisp. While the bacon cooks, combine the eggs, whites, parmesan, cream cheese, dill, and any other spices you'd like (except the red pepper) in a blender and blend well. Reserve.

Once the bacon is crispy, add the crushed red pepper and the flaked salmon. Use a wooden spoon to mix the salmon into the bacon, mashing up the bones as you do so. They will disappear into the final product. Trust.

While the salmon cooks up, put your salted squash into a clean kitchen towel or strong paper towels and wring out their liquid. Don't be a pansy here - wring that shit out. Unless you're a fan of watery frittata, in which case, GROSS.

When the salmon has begun to break down/brown a bit and is well combined with the bacon, crank the heat to high and add the squash noodles. Mix well to combine. Once they're mixed in, turn off the heat and immediately pour in the prepared egg mixture. Top with lots of black pepper, then move the pan to the preheated oven and cook until the mixture is set, about 10-15 minutes. Remember that the handle of the pan will be meltyourhandoff hot when it comes out of the oven, so don't forget the oven mitt, yo. Let rest in the pan for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

I served mine with roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

Serves 4
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 336 calories, 24 g fat, 2.2 net carbs, 30.6 g protein

I would NOT recommend bragging to your fellow diners about how well the salmon bones mashed into the dish. Some info is best left in the kitchen, and not at the dinner table.

If you DO happen to mention this fact, and your husband momentarily turns green and puts down his fork, make a quick recovery by assuring him that you picked all the bones out of his portion. 

What's a little white lie (or a whole can of them) when it comes to your family's calcium intake??

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vegging Out

There are certain days that I just can't get enough meat (that's what she said), but those days are usually followed by a day or two of not wanting to touch a piece of meat with a 10 foot pole.

My husband can attest.

After eating alllll the pork for dinner and then again as leftovers a couple days later, I was really craving something lighter. The Pinterest Machine FTW, again. I did a quick search of vegetarian-keto recipes, and in the piles of cauliflower, fat bombs, and desserts, I stumbled upon a middle eastern dish called Shakshuka and knew it had to happen. I'd made Italian baked eggs, or eggs in purgatory (my version similar to the one here), so I knew it was a flavor profile I'd like. All I had to do was adjust the recipe to make it a bit less carby.

The rest of my inspiration came during my weekly shopping trip to Trader Joes. I stood before the wall o'cheese, waiting for one (or three) of them to yell "PICK ME! PICK ME!" when a cheese marked halloumi seductively whispered my name. Halloumi is a Mediterranean cheese with a very high melting point, similar to Indian paneer and Mexican, that I've been wanting to cook with but haven't yet. Because it doesn't melt when you cook it, you can actually grill/saute it for added flavor, and it keeps it's chewy-cheesy texture in sauces - YUM! And NO CARBS! I immediately pictured little grilled cubes of cheese dotting the spicy tomato sauce of the shakshuka and couldn't get that halloumi into my cart fast enough!

Mediterranean Style Shakshuka
(Baked Eggs In Spicy Tomato Sauce)


7 oz halloumi cheese (or paneer or queso fresco), diced
1 Tbs coconut oil or red palm oil (or other fat of choice)
6 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper

optional spices - according to your taste/preference -

curry powder
garlic powder
smoked paprika
chili powder
crushed red pepper
pinch of sweetener (to balance the spice/acidity)

4 eggs

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over med-high to high heat. Add the cheese cubes to the hot pan and allow to brown. It will take a couple of minutes for the excess liquid to cook out, but just be patient and let it evaporate. Once the cheese dries out it will begin to brown beautifully. Stir occasionally to promote even browning. When done, remove to a bowl and reserve for later. Try and resist the urge to just stop here and have cheese for dinner. Because part of you will want to.

Add the oil to the hot pan (med-high heat) and add the mushrooms. Saute until they begin to brown, then add the onions and jalapeno and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until they begin to soften, then add your preferred spices and toast for a minute to bring out their flavors. Add the tomatoes and cheese and season as necessary with salt. Let the sauce simmer a few minutes to meld the flavors. One egg at a time, crack an egg into the bowl of a ladle, then pick a spot on top of the sauce to nestle the ladle down into, then pour the egg into the divot created by the ladle as you remove the ladle from the pan. This creates a little niche for the egg to poach in without spreading egg white all over the top of your beautiful rosy sauce. Repeat the process with the remaining eggs, then cover the pan with a lid. Simmer gently until the eggs aren't snotty. If desired, top with a sprinkle of something fresh and green like cilantro, parsley, chives, celery leaves, basil, chopped spinach, arugula, or whatever you have on hand. It adds a layer of flavor but mostly just looks real purdy.

Serves 4
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 314 calories, 22.4 g fat, 2.7 net carbs, 20.8 g protein

This dish is traditionally served with some kind of bread, but I went a different direction...

I'm continually inspired by Mellissa over at I Breathe I'm Hungry, and her recipe for low carb falafel (FAUXLAFEL! Yay puns!) sounded amazing, so I decided to give it a go. Except my calorie restrictions said NO to fried fauxlafel AND cheesy shakshuka, so I improvised a bit with the method of cooking...

Fauxlafel Waffles

Whaaaat?!?! I'm not sure what happened first... the adapted recipe or me just wanting to SAY "fauxlafel waffle" and adapting the recipe to make it so, but here it is! No frying necessary to enjoy the full fauxlafel flavor!


1 cup cauliflower, chopped into medium sized pieces
2 oz almonds (about a half cup) crushed (mealy texture but still with some crunchy bits)
3 Tbs coconut flour
2 eggs
salt and pepper

optional spices/herbs - to your taste and preference -
curry powder
garlic powder
lemon zest

Microwave the cauliflower in a covered dish until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain excess water, then mash. Combine well with the other ingredients.

Spoon the mixture onto a preheated, greased waffle iron and cook until browned and crisp (about 4-5 minutes per waffle). I like to underfill the grid for more free-form, crispy edges, but that's just personal preference. Remove from iron carefully.

I served mine over a simple salad with tomato and cucumber and my Easy Tahini Dressing, alongside the shakshuka. Such a comforting meal!

Friday, May 15, 2015

oMEGA-Delicious Dishes

It may be fun (and delicious) to imagine, but we cannot live on bacon alone. A nutrient dense diet is essential to staying healthy, and I'm a proponent of EATING my nutrients whenever possible (as opposed to taking them in via supplement form). Since fats are the main nutrients we ingest on a ketogenic diet, it's important to eat enough of each kind of fat to keep our bodies performing well. I try to eat a good balance of saturated (from coconuts, avocado, and animal/dairy sources) and unsaturated (from seeds, nuts, and oils) fats every week.

I'm trying to consume more omega-3 fatty acids than I have in the past - they're great for our bodies and brains and are highly anti-inflammatory. The main sources of omega-3s are from oily fish and from plant sources such as chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds, and walnuts. I'm actually not a huge fan of oily fish, but they're the only natural source of DHA and EPA - essential omega-3 fatty acids we can't get from seeds and nuts - so I eats them anyways. 

I recently found smoked sardines in harissa (a spicy north African seasoning), and they're the best sardines I've ever had (not that I'm some sardine connoisseur). And at less than $2 per can, they're easy on the budget! I like them dressed simply with a little squeeze of lemon. Taking a minute to transfer them from can to plate actually does wonders for the mental aspect (sardines - harf!) for me. We eat with our eyes first, and a few delicate filets on a plate is much more appetizing to my eyes than forking them straight from the can like cat food. Another great option is to mash them up with some tuna into tuna salad. They blend right in.

At least I hope they did... 


Love you, honey!

Anyway, I fixed an avocado-baked egg to go with my 'deens. I just plopped a whole egg into half an avocado and baked it in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the egg didn't look like snot.

S'not so bad, right?

I've also been missing steel-cut oats since going keto, so I decided to experiment with a grain free version. I did a little research online, and the consistent ingredients seemed to be flax meal and chia. I had both of those things, so I decided to try my own. The result wasn't oatmeal, but it was YUMMY. Warm and comforting with a steel-cut-oat-esque texture. I'm going to play around with it some more in the coming weeks to see what else I can do with it. 

For now I just enjoy saying Fauxtmeal. 

Because I'm a giant pun-nerd and not ashamed of it.


I used flaked coconut, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric to flavor this bowl, but you can use whatever combo of flavors you like. If you're not carb restricted, feel free to use coconut sugar/maple syrup/honey/dried or fresh fruit/jam/chocolate chips for sweetness. I'll be sitting over here with my stevia/erythritol/xylitol sweetened fauxts... hating you. (Because jealous.)


1 Tbs chia seeds
1 Tbs flax meal
pinch of salt (optional but recommended)
boiling water (or other hot oatmeal-friendly beverage)

Add the seeds/meal/salt to a small bowl and stir to combine. Add enough boiling water to cover. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the chia to gel and the flax to absorb the liquid. Flavor as you wish.

You could also throw in some hemp seeds (don't actually throw them - they'd get EVERYWHERE). I didn't because they have kind of a, well, hempy flavor that I enjoy more in a salad or smoothie setting. But if that's your fauxtmeal jam, then go on, girl.

Serves 1
Approximate nutrition per serving (without flavorings) ~ 100 calories, 1.5 net carbs, 7g fat, 5g protein


Later that day I texted with the hubby...

I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pigging Out Without Looking Porky

A ketogenic lifestyle isn't for everyone, and there is plenty of skepticism from mis-informed people about the safety of such a way of eating. I have done my research (and continue to do so), and I believe (and my body tells me) that the lifestyle is not only perfectly safe (when done correctly), but that my body is thriving on it! 

Maria Emmerich wrote a great post this week that clears up many of the misconceptions about ketogenic diets. I highly recommend you give it a read! 

As for my own results... 

The picture on the left was taken 10 days after I started. I'd lost 6 lbs at that point. The picture on the right was taken 2 weeks later. I'm only 2 lbs lighter than in the first pic, but I can see A LOT of change in my body. My waist, abs, hip bones, and neck are more defined, and my jawline is tighter (hallelujah!). I exercised very little over these two weeks, so I heavily credit the changes to my well-formulated ketogenic eating habits!

Three cheers for a nutrition plan that lets me skip my workout, lose weight, feel great, and...

Eat like dis.

Pork Loin & Tenderloin With Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin and Braised Cabbage With Green Beans & Bacon 

The perfect meal for when you want something to feed your soul and stick to your ribs.

ALL the pork. Two half-pound, 2" thick porterhouse chops, and two baby chops (stacked, for the kiddos). 

Get in my snout.

*For chops this size, it's important to season them generously with salt the day before you plan to cook them - this will act kind of like a dry brine and help season the pork all the way through the thick cut. 


for the pork

1 1/2 - 2lbs bone-in pork chops
coconut oil
steak seasoning

Preheat the oven to 425F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat. Also, preheat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Rub the chops down on both sides with coconut oil, then season all sides with your favorite steak seasoning.  Working with 2 chops at a time (so as not to overcrowd the pan), sear the chops well on each side, about 5 minutes for the first side and 4 for the second. Remove from skillet and reserve on prepared sheet pan. Repeat for remaining chops. When all the chops are seared, place them in the preheated oven and continue cooking until the meatiest parts of the chops register 155F. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes (the carryover heat will bring them to 160F). 

for the cauliflower gratin

1 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into medium-sized pieces
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs mayo
1 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheese, divided

Prepare a large microwave-safe dish with a cover by layering two paper towels in the bottom (and up the sides) of the dish. Place the cauliflower in the paper towels, season generally with salt, then put a a third paper towel on top. Cover with the lid, and microwave for about 18 minutes (or until fork tender). Carefully remove the lid and top paper towel, then remove the cauliflower to another vessel. Remove the wet paper towels and any excess liquid from the bowl. Add the butter, mayo, cream cheese, and half of the shredded cheese to the bowl and mix well. Add the cooked cauliflower to the mixture, and mix/mash to combine. If your bowl is oven safe, you can spread the cauliflower evenly and top with the rest of the cheese, otherwise transfer it to an oven safe casserole and follow the same steps. Bake in a 425 degree oven until bubbly and the cheese is melted, or just broil for a couple of minutes to brown the top. (Or skip the oven completely and just microwave until the cheese melts.)

for the cabbage

1/2 a head of cabbage, stemmed and chopped (about 4 cups)
4 thick slices bacon, chopped
couple handfuls of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Place the bacon in a deep skillet or in a soup pot. Turn on the heat to med-low and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Add the chopped cabbage and the green beans, and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper if desired. Cover the pot and cook on med-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves 4 (plus leftovers - *see notes)
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 890 calories, 6 net carbs, 61g fat, 79g protein

*To keep the protein portions a little reined-in, I chose to serve some of each side of the porterhouse (about 7.25 oz per plate - more protein than I normally eat in one meal [or even on most days], but fine for my weekly macros) on each plate. I saved the rest of the meat for leftovers.

**The cauliflower made 2 extra servings; I saved the extra two for leftovers.

I feel like it's missing something... 


Much better.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Heaven On a Cloud

I'm constantly finding inspiration on ways to make some of my favorite non-keto dishes keto-friendly. Sometimes I don't even know I'm craving something until an image pops up on Pinterest, but once the seed is planted, I can't NOT make it!

Thus was the case with this image from Maria Mind Body Health. It's her eggs benedict with avocado hollandaise. YES, PLEASE. After a quick scan of her recipe, I knew this was a must for brunch.

I'd also been wanting to try the "cloud bread" or "oopsie bread" recipes that are all over the pinterest. Maria's recipe called for her own dairy-free version, but since I already had cream cheese on hand, I figured I go the oopsie route. I loved Maria's idea of the avocado hollandaise, and I couldn't wait to try it.

Bacon & Eggs Benedict On Cloud Bread


2 oz cream cheese
6 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (pasteurized if you're skeered of raw egg)
8 slices uncured bacon
1 hass avocado 

Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Separate 2 of the whole eggs, placing the whites in a clean bowl and the yolks in a blender. Add the cream cheese to the blender and blend well. (You can also add any seasonings you'd like.) In the bowl, whip the whites on high for several minutes until very stiff and glossy. Add 1/3 of the whites to the blender and blend. Very gently fold the yolk mixture into the remaining egg whites until combined. Spoon the mixture into rounds on the prepared baking sheet. You should have enough batter for 4 "clouds." Bake them for 25 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

They look kind of like sugar cookies, but while they're substantial enough on the outside to act as a bread/bun replacement, they're soft and fluffy on the inside.

While they cook, make the avocado hollandaise. I added the avocado, 2 egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, the zest and juice of one small lime, and a splash of apple cider vinegar to my blender (I didn't even rinse out the residual cloud bread batter, because lazy). Blend well (add a little water to thin it if you want). Taste for seasoning/acidity and adjust as necessary.

Fry up your bacon and poach your eggs. (See this post for how I poach my eggs.)

Top each cloud bread with 2 slices of bacon, a poached egg, and a big dollop of hollandaise. I served mine over a bed of spinach that I wilted with some leftover hot bacon grease and a splash of vinegar.

Serves 4
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 300 calories, 2.7 net carbs, 23g fat, 18.7g protein

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Feed Your Mom's Face

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who grew a human, and also to those who didn't and mom anyway. You bitches rock! Hope your families spoil your faces off!

My sweet lil fam' presented me with this gold bracelet to commemorate the year I painted allllll the things gold. (I may have gone a little nuts with gold spray paint and my gold leaf pen when it came to styling the new house this year... ) I love it, and I love the memories it evokes every time I look at it.

We have a lovely, lazy day at home planned for today... a "nothing" day, as we call it. My absolute favorite! I don't even have to put on pants! 


I have a couple of recipes I want to try out later today, and I'm already drooling just thinking about them. If they taste as good in my piehole as they do in my brain, I'll share them this week. One of them might include avocado hollandaise...

For now, I'm sharing last night's simple dinner, which in its own right would be a fantastic and flavorful Mother's Day meal. We had a fun, busy day yesterday (went to a birthday party/cookout some friends had for their twin toddlers) and were pooped by the time we got home. I didn't want a complicated dinner, but I also needed it to be on the lower end of the calorie scale.

Because I ate all the chicken wings at the party. And I may have dipped said wings into a cream-cheese-chorizo-Rotel concoction that was referred to as "man dip." (I'm pretty sure the "man dip" was supposed to go with crackers or chips, but since I can't has the carbage, I got creative.) 

Anyway, I had leftover breakfast sausage and part of an onion, plus a head of cauliflower and some greens in the fridge. I contemplated making some kind of soup out of it, but it was hot as balls in our house (because I'm turning into my grandmother and refusing to turn on the A/C until it's 1000 degrees outside), so I wasn't in the mood for soup. I decided on a deconstructed hash kinda deal, and Oh. My. Yum.

Roasted Cauliflower Steak With Sausage, Baby Kale, and Poached Egg


1 head cauliflower, trimmed of bottom stem and leaves
coconut oil spray (or other cooking spray)
salt and pepper
sprinkle of smoked paprika or cumin (optional)
1/2lb ground sausage
1/4 cup diced onion
4 eggs
12 cups baby kale
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp red wine (or other) vinegar, divided
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat. (You could totally grill it instead!) Slice the cauliflower lengthwise into about 1" thick steaks. (Leave a little more stem on the cauliflower when you trim it to help the steaks stay together when slicing.) Some of the florets will fall off - just roast them alongside the steaks. Spray one side of the steaks with the cooking spray, then season with salt, pepper, and a bit of cumin or smoked paprika. Carefully transfer them (a spatula helps), seasoned side DOWN, to the sheet pan. Spray and season the other side. Roast them in the oven for about 25 minutes, until tender and browned with lots of crispy (kurspy) edges.

While the cauliflower cooks, sauté the sausage in a skillet until brown and kurspy, then add the onions (and/or any other veg you want) and cook until softened and browning on the edges. Sprinkle with a little cumin or smoked paprika if you want.

Meanwhile, fill a nonstick skillet with a couple inches of water and bring to a low boil. Add 1 Tbs vinegar to the water. Crack an egg, pour it into a small bowl and then gently pour the egg into the simmering water (start at the top of the pan and add them in a clockwise pattern to remember which order the eggs entered the pan - first one in is first one out). Repeat the process for the remaining 3 eggs. Once all the eggs are added, cover the skillet and turn off the heat. Let the eggs poach for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on how firm you like your egg). Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the eggs from the water, and drain them on a paper towel before serving.

*If you ain't got time to poach a damned egg, feel free to just fry some up in the sausage drippings in the other skillet. Save's some dishes, nerves,  and would be just as (if not MORE) tasty. 


Toss the greens with the remaining vinegar, the olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. They don't need to be super dressed, because the toppings will add tons of flavor to them.

Top the greens with a cauliflower steak, a big spoonful of sausage, and an egg.

Serves 4
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 347 calories, 4.3 net carbs, 26g fat, 20g protein 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cheese. Stuffed. Bacon. Wrapped. Chili. Dog.

Dinnertime is creeping up, the fridge is looking bare, and I have NO idea what I want to feed the family. I DO know that it can't involve cauliflower, because

a) I don't have any,


2) They're cauliflowered the hell out for awhile.

All of a sudden I remember a foodporny pic I saw of a chili-dog the other day (not sure where), and at the time I remembered thinking that I could totally make that low carb if I ever had the urge to do so. And since I haven't had a chili dog in forever, tonight seems like a perfect opportunity to try! I did a quick Pinterest search for keto hot dog buns and read through a few. This one was helpful, especially with the tricks for creating a mold, but it seemed super heavy on the cheese. So I decided to take some of my experience with baking other paleo breads/buns (like this and this) and create my own version.

And they worked out great! 

Keto-Paleo Hot Dog Buns


2 whole eggs, separated
3 egg whites
2 oz cream cheese
1 Tbs ground psyllium husks
1 Tbs coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar, divided
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
optional - garlic powder, onion powder, other seasoning of your choice

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grab a cylindrical kitchen object, a little bigger than the shape of a hotdog bun (I used a jar of salsa), and form a piece of foil (around 10"x10" in size, and preferably the nonstick type) halfway around it. Repeat 3 more times. You should have 4 bun molds. (You'll see what I mean in a minute.) Set them on a baking sheet.

In a blender (or just mix in a bowl or food processor), combine the 2 egg yolks, cream cheese, and a little water (maybe 1/4 cup) until blended. Add the psyllium, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices (optional) and blend well. Add 1/8 tsp of the cream of tartar and all the vinegar and blend again. If the mixture looks really thick (like it wouldn't pour out if you tried), add a little more water at a time until it looks about like pancake batter.

In a separate - and very clean - bowl, whip all of the 5 egg whites until foamy, then add the remaining 1/8 tsp cream of tartar. Whip until stiff peaks form and the mixture looks glossy. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the egg batter and mix thoroughly. (This will lighten the texture of the batter for the next steps.) Take another third of the egg whites and very gently fold them into the batter, trying not to deflate them as much as possible. Then fold in the final third of the egg whites and mix very gently again. 

Immediately (don't wait, or the egg whites may fall) pour the batter evenly into the prepared molds. (At this point you could also sprinkle seasonings, seeds, or other topping on top of the buns, if you wished.) Place the baking sheet with the filled molds on top in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. They should sound a little hollow if you lightly tap the top. Remove them to a cooling rack for about 10 minutes, then de-mold and cool completely.

The buns WILL deflate pretty much immediately upon leaving the oven.

Because SCIENCE!

(Actually because I don't know... chemistry class was a long time ago.) If you'd like to experiment with the ingredients/leavening agents I used to make a bun that doesn't deflate, then GET ON with your bad self! I'd be happy to hear your tricks! I was totally winging' it, y'all.

When ready to fill, use a serrated knife to gently split the rolls. If they look a lil soggy inside, feel free to toast them for a couple of minutes under the broiler (I did). 


Fill to your wittle heart's content! My heart said BACON. And CHEESE. And CHILI. And PICKLES. And MAYO. And MUSTARD. And SAUERKRAUT. And MORE CHEESE!

I preheated the oven to 400 F. Then I took some good hot dogs...

(and by that I mean uncured, organic, grass-fed beef dogs - but organic lips and buttholes are still lips and buttholes... #LipsAndButtholesAreTotesPaleo but probably only if you skin them yourself) 

...and slit them lengthwise down the center, about a 1/4" deep (not all the way through). I filled the slit with small slices of smoked Dutch gouda (aka BACON CHEESE!). 


I wrapped each dog with a slice of uncured bacon. Because duh, BACON! I put them on a lined baking sheet and baked them until kurspy and cooked and oozing cheese.

While they cooked, I made a quick chili with about 10 oz of lean ground beef, olive oil (browned in a skillet), half cup of onions and one jalapeño (sautéed with browned beef), various chili spices (ancho, smoked paprika, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cocoa, clove, cumin, coriander), and a half cup of crushed tomatoes. Just simmered it until it looked "like the good chili do."


Assemble yo' masterpiece!

And if you feel like a fat ass for making this entree (even though it's totes legal low-carb fare), put a salad next to it. 

Makes 4 buns
Approximate nutrition per bun ~ 117 calories, 7.3g fat, 1.8 net carbs, 8.5g protein


 Smoked Gouda Cheese "Chips"


1 oz cheese of your choice, sliced into triangles
8"x8" piece of parchment paper (not wax paper) or a silpat

I used Dutch smoked gouda, because it's muh fave. I've also found that the thin, edible, smoked rind helps keep the cheese from oozing errywhere while it cooks.

Lay the triangles out in a circular patter on the piece of parchment paper or silpat, leaving about a thumb's width of space between each piece. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Listen to the bubbling sounds - it's kind of like making popcorn. When the noises die down, it's about ready to come out. Depending on how browned and kurspy you like yo' chips, you can continue cooking them in small intervals, but keep an eye on them. When they're to your liking, remove from microwave and let cool on the parchment for a minute.

Then eat! Or dip!

I made an avocado egg salad to go with mine (avo + eggs + mustard). If you're using a more melty-cheese like monterey jack, etc., the cheese probably won't hold its shape while it cooks and will kind of meld together. But no worries, just break into pieces and schwack away. The browner and kurspier you cook the cheese, the more it will taste like a Cheeze It. No joke.

Here's another cheesy chip idea. And if you really want your mind blown, get on the Pinterests and search "cheese taco shell."

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stuff Yourself (Some Chicken) and Play Dress Up (With a Bonus Recipe)

We have some company this week - my great friend from our Hawaii days and her little son are in town - and it's been fun trying out some ketogenic recipes on her. She's loving them, and she's even thinking about adopting the way of eating soon to see if it helps with some of her inflammatory health issues - yay! For now she's following up some of the keto meals with a spoonful (or three) of oreo-cookie-butter, but hey - baby steps, right?? (Maybe I need to experiment with a making a low-carb oreo-cookie-butter? YASSS.)

I made this chicken dinner the other night for us, and even my mushroom-hating girlfriend thought it was fab! 

Gruyere Stuffed Chicken With Mushroom Sauce


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6oz each)
2 oz gruyere cheese, chopped or shredded
4 Tbs olive oil
20 oz mushrooms (I used half bellas, half button), sliced
1/2 cup red or white wine (I used Apothic White because I had it leftover from another recipe)
2 tsp tamari soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
1/2 Tbs steak sauce or worcestershire

Preheat a large skillet over med-high heat, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, silpat, or foil (for easy cleanup).

Use a small knife to cut a slit in the top (thicker, meatier part) of each chicken breast. Using your flat palm (placed on top of the breast *teehee*) as a guide to feel what's going on, carefully move the knife slowly back and forth inside the chicken to create a pocket for the cheese. Try NOT to cut all the way through the top or bottom surface of the breast, as this will create an escape hatch for all your melty cheese. 

Carefully stuff the pockets you created with about 1/2 oz of cheese per breast. Use a toothpick to help close up the slit at the top to secure the cheese inside. (You can also use an extra toothpick - or THREE, in my case! - to help close up any whoopsies on the surface of the breast you may have made with over-zealous knife skills.) Remember how many toothpicks you used so that you know how many to remove at serving time (or at least warn your diners about them... LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, PEOPLE!).

Coat your chicken in about a tablespoon of olive oil, and any seasonings you'd like (salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, whatevs). Sear the breast for a few minutes on each side, then move them to the prepared sheet pan and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through (165 F internal temp). Let rest a couple of minutes before serving.

While the chicken cooks in the skillet, slice your mushrooms if they didn't come that way. Once you've removed the chicken from the skillet, add the other 3 Tbs olive oil to the pan along with all the mushrooms. Let them cook/brown for a few minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper. Give them a good stir every few minutes to promote even cooking. Once they've cooked down and browned nicely, remove about a quarter of them from the pan and place in a blender along with the wine, tamari, and steak sauce. Puree until smooth. Add a half cup of water or so and blend again if the mixture seems too thick. Pour the mixture back into the skillet with the mushrooms, and simmer a few minutes to let the alcohol evaporate. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. 

Serve the sauce with the chicken, along with any other sides you love. I chose roasted asparagus and eggplant (which I roasted alongside the chicken).

Serves 4
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 437 calories, 23g fat, 6.3 net carbs, 43.9g protein


Dress up your boring old salad routine with a rich and creamy and NUTRITIOUS salad dressing (that also makes a great dipping sauce for all kinds of foods).

The star of this simple dressing is tahini, which is the sesame seed equivalent to peanut butter. (It's also the ingredient that takes hummus from chickpea-puree to something really yummy.) Sesame seeds are so much more than those little things they sprinkle on burger buns and Chinese takeout - they're little super foods! 

Health Benefits
Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

Easy Tahini Dressing


1 Tbs tahini
2 tsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
big pinch of salt
sugar substitute to taste (about 1 tsp sugar equivalent)
optional - garlic powder, cumin, paprika, or any other spice you love

Whisk all ingredients except the water in a small bowl. Add water a little at a time until it reaches a consistency you prefer. Feel free to adjust the amounts of the ingredients to suit your tastes.

Serves 1
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 105 calories, 9.5g fat, 1 net carb, 3g protein

The tahini dressing was delish on my lunchtime salad of spicy Italian chicken sausage, hard-boiled egg, peppers, greens, and hemp seeds! I'd love to hear what you dress up with yours!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baaaack In the Saddle With BACON-Wrapped Chicken Legs

Hey all, I'm back. The past year has been stressful. We moved from Hawaii to Maryland (ya know, just 3000 miles... no biggie), bought a house, began renovating, and hubby started a year-long specialized training that has him working 15 hour days. I've had the tireds, the sads, and the brokes, no job to help with reno-costs, and lately no motivation for anything. Except to watch ALL the Netflix. And eat all the things. And my wardrobe hates me for it!

What to do?

Eat the feelings (because they're DELICIOUS) and watch more Netflix.

And glare at the scale when it tells you you've gained 10 pounds (12 pounds). LIES!! (Not lies. Sad-face. With extra chins.)

What to do? 

Whine. Then eat. Then wine. Then cry.


Because this isn't your first rodeo, and you know the only way to get results is to put in the work.

Personally, I've always had more luck with weight loss (esp as I get older) when I restrict my carbohydrate intake. But I've never stuck with a low carb diet, mostly because I love fruits and veggies, and I always felt like I was being deprived of them when I was low-carbing. I felt like the "right" way to low-carb was to brush my teeth with bacon, floss with cheese, and gargle with butter. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE all those foods, but not 24/7. I get that that's an exaggerated view of the lifestyle, but it's how I had come to associate the lifestyle, and it was putting me off. 

I wanted a lifestyle of limited carbs WITH the colorful, fresh produce I've come to love. Interwebs to the rescue! After browsing some recipes on Pinterest, I stumbled upon the ketogenic/keto-paleo lifestyle. It's basically a high fat, low carb, and moderate protein way of eating. 


"A ketogenic diet isn't something new that has been recently formulated; people have been on a ketogenic diet for virtually three million years in which our brains were nurtured and evolved. Now the human brain is not only shrinking, but brain atrophy is the norm as we age and get plagued with diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
People mistakenly think that they need to eat less and exercise more to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. This is not how diet and exercise helps with weight loss. A well-formulated keto-adapted diet along with proper exercise builds muscle and muscle builds mitochondria. It is in the mitochondria where fat is oxidized so you can keep your cells and liver insulin sensitized. Weight loss and health is about healthy mitochondria and about controlling hormones and specifically insulin. 
This is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. By eating this way, you will begin to heal your cells and will keep evolving your body into the happy and healthy person you want to be."
From the book Keto-Adapted by Maria Emmerich

Basically (i.e. "I Cannot Brain Today" terms), when you limit your daily carbohydrate intake (I try to keep mine at or under 20 net carbs, but under 50 per day can work for some), your body stops using the sugar you eat as its main energy supply, and it begins breaking down fats (and stored body fat) to fuel its functions. 

For an expert explanation, read something like this.

I've been keto for just over 2 weeks now, and not only have I lost more than 6 pounds, but my skin is breakout-free and glowing (even during Shark Week), all my bloating/puffiness has disappeared, my moods have been awesome (I haven't gone She-Hulk on my kids all week!), I've felt super-focused, had tons of energy, and felt satiated all the time!

I've been cooking up a storm, and I can't wait to post some of the recipes for you! But one in particular just HAD to be shared. 

Guys. THIS. 

Bbq bacon-wrapped chicken legs with pimenta'-cheese cauliflower gratin and sweet & tangy coleslaw. Whaaaaaat???

Shut yo' face.

Bacon-Wrapped BBQ Chicken


(All my ingredients are Trader Joe's brand - use what you like)

12 chicken legs
6 slices bacon
12 toothpicks
2 tbs ketchup
2 tbs steak sauce
2 tbs apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, foil, or a silpat.

Soak the toothpicks in a bowl of water, then prep the chicken while they soak. If desired, trim up the legs "lollipop" style, and remove the skin. I watched this video to learn the process, and it was quite helpful. Removing the skin is definitely easier if you trim the chicken as pictured. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, or with whatever seasonings you prefer. Cut the bacon slices in half (across the short side) so that you have 12 short, fat pieces. Wrap one slice around each drumstick, securing the bacon to the chicken where it overlaps onto itself (don't skewer yourself in the process).

Stand the drumsticks up on the sheet pan, leaving some space between each one so the heat can circulate around them. Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes, or until the bacon looks like good bacon do. 

While it bakes, whisk up the ketchup, steak sauce, and vinegar. I mixed them up in a small diameter bowl with taller sides (like a ramekin or a drinking glass - just has to be wider than the chicken leg) so that I could just dunk and swirl the chicken in the sauce without having to make more sauce than I needed for the recipe. Alternately, you could brush on the sauce. 

Remove the chicken from the oven, and raise the heat to 450. Coat the chicken in the sauce, then bake again for another 5 minutes or so, until your sexy little legs look glazed and schticky. Let cool about 5 minutes so you don't melt your face off. 

Serving size: 2 drumsticks
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 315 calories, 20g fat, 34g protein, 0 net carbs

Pimenta' Cheese Cauliflower Gratin

It tastes like a loaded baked potato. Maybe better. #forreal 

And I think I've found a way around soggy cauliflower!


1 head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into medium-sized pieces
3 paper towels (for extra fiber - JUST KIDDIN')
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 Tbs butter
5 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded 
3 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 Tbs mayonnaise
6 queen green pimento stuffed olives, chopped or sliced
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper

In a large microwave-safe bowl with a lid, place two sheets of paper towel in the bottom (the excess will run up the sides and out of the bowl). Place the cauliflower on top, sprinkle with a big pinch of salt, cover the dish with another paper towel, and then top with the lid. Microwave for 10-15 minutes (depending on your microwave) until the florets fall apart easily when forked (tee-hee), but not to the point of mush. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (450 will work, too, if your oven is already there for the chicken).

Carefully remove the lid and top paper towel (no steam burns, please) and remove the cooked cauliflower to a plate (or other temporary holding area), taking care not to shred the wet paper towels on the bottom. Once the cauliflower is out, toss the paper towels and any liquid left in the bowl. Add the cauliflower back into the now empty bowl, and smash it lightly with a fork. I like mine on the chunky side (that's what she said).

To the smashed cauliflower, add the heavy cream, butter, half of each cheese, the mayo, half of the olives, and the spices. Mix well and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (8"x8"-ish) and then top with the rest of the cheese and olives. Bake until bubbly and browned to your liking.

Serves 4 (Big Ass Servings)
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 306 calories, 25g fat, 15g protein, 4 net carbs

Tangy Coleslaw

If you're a fan of KFC's coleslaw, you're gonna like it! If you're not a fan of their coleslaw, we can't be friends. Ugh, okaaaaaaay. Maybe we can.


1 bag broccoli slaw (about 5 cups)
1 bag shredded cabbage (about 4 cups)
1 cup sauerkraut (preferably raw, but whatevs)
2 Tbs sour cream
2 Tbs Mayo
1 1/2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
zero carb sweetener (your brand), to taste (about 2 teaspoons of sugar equivalent)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sour cream, mayo, vinegar, celery salt, and sweetener (if desired). Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Refrigerate until needed. 

Serves 6
Approximate nutrition per serving ~ 80 calories, 5g fat, 2g protein, 5 net carbs