11/20/17

How to have a low carb, no sugar, keto-friendly Thanksgiving!

Since I started living a low carb, no sugar, high healthy fat (ketogenic) diet back in August, I have had the holidays on my mind. 

I. Love. Holiday. Foods.

Dressing (or do you call it stuffing in your part of the world?), buttered rolls, green bean casserole, pie, cookies, sweet potato casserole… the list goes on and on.

However, I don’t want to lose sight of my goals, or reverse the progress (35lbs lost!) that I’ve already made. I’m feeling way too great to trade that success in for a scoop of mashed potatoes, so I’m going all-in, planning a keto-friendly Thanksgiving meal from start to finish!

My family is holding a casual pot-luck this year, so my plan is to make a sampling of some of the recipes listed below so that I have options, and family and friends can sample these recipes if they’d like! All of the recipes below are low carb, no sugar, and ketogenic diet approved

Appetizers
Two cheese sausage balls
Eggplant stuffed mushrooms
Spicy, crispy, cauliflower (you can also make this using broccoli!)

Main protein
Ina Garten’s perfect roast turkey (this turkey recipe has made an appearance on our Thanksgiving table for 15+ years. It is simply the BEST!)

Side dishes
Mac and Cheese with Zeroodles!
Creamed kale 
The best creamy mashed cauliflower 
Buttery drop biscuits with no sugar strawberry butter! (recipes coming soon!)

Dessert
Pumpkin cheesecake bars
No apple apple and pomegrante crisp (recipe coming soon!)
Pecan pie bars (recipe coming soon!)

Additional tips and tricks for having a satisfying Low Carb Thanksgiving:

  • Pack some snacks! Olives, pickles, cheese and salami are all things that can ensure you have some healthy snack options if Thanksgiving dinner runs later than planned.
  • Fill up on fat! Add butter to veggies and those slices of turkey, go for that creamed spinach (or kale!) that’s made with full fat cream cheese, enjoy a cup of coffee with heavy cream after your first helping, and most of all, listen to your body as it becomes full. It’s easy to overdo it with all of those yummy things to eat, so pay close attention to how you feel as you dine!
  • Have some fun! Start a game of pickup football, go for a walk before or after the feast, play a game of checkers or cards with family or watch a holiday classic with family- there are lots of fun things to do during a Thanksgiving celebration besides eating! 
11/20/17

Low carb Mac & Cheese!

Yes, you heard that correctly!

MAC AND CHEESE BABY!

And just in time for your low carb Thanksgiving table!

The best part? There’s not a cauliflower floret in SIGHT!

Not that I have anything against good ol’ cauliflower (they’re not a Brussels Sprout after all), however, do a Google search and you’ll find that most low carb or ketogenic mac and cheese recipes use our old friend the cauliflower.

But not this recipe! Because this recipe uses something even better: Zeroodles!

I was recently introduced to these little 0g carb gems and all that I can say is WOW! Not only are they delicious and satisfying, but this brand really brings it with a great noodle-like texture and NO stomach-turning smell (I’ve read some horror stories about other brands!). I was really impressed with the quality of this product, and even more excited at the fact that these are made with oat fiber, which has no calories, no fat, and no effective carbs! 

Here’s the 101 on oat fiber:
From this website: Oat fiber is ONLY the insoluble fiber (lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose)- it’s made from grinding the non-digestible oat hull… It’s made from the hull or husk that the oat was harvested from. Nutrition wise, oat fiber is really more akin to sawdust than to oatmeal. It does contain some nutrients, but because it’s essentially non-digestible, it does not provide any nutrients or carbs for the body to burn. But that’s OK, because it’s not used for its nutritional properties. It’s used in low carb baked goods as a flour sub either on its own or in a blend of other lower carb flours. It’s very affordable and very absorbent-oat fiber is capable of absorbing a lot of liquid in a recipe and can be used to add moisture to baked goods. Since oat fiber doesn’t break down in the digestive track it also helps to prevent constipation by bulking up the stool.

Winner winner, mac & cheese dinner! And at only 3.2g total carbs per serving, you can feel good about adding this to your Thanksgiving spread!

Here’s the recipe. 

Low carb, keto mac and cheese
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 14oz bag of Zeroodles Oat Fiber Penne
  2. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  3. 2oz full fat cream cheese
  4. 8oz shredded colby or cheddar cheese
  5. 1 tbsp. butter + extra for greasing the dish
  6. 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  7. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  2. Open the package of zeroodles and rinse well. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
  3. In medium sized pot, bring the heavy cream to a rolling simmer.
  4. Lower the heat to medium low, and add the cream cheese, butter, and shredded cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the seasonings and stir to combine.
  6. Add the dry zeroodles to the cheese sauce and fold to coat, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a small (8in x 8in casserole pan would work well, or a round soufflé dish) buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with extra shredded cheese, cover with foil, and then bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and broil on high for the last 2-3 minutes to achieve a crispy, cheesy crust! (Just keep an eye out on the mac & cheese while broiling- it can go from zero to burnt in a matter of seconds!).
  8. Let it cool for 8-10 minutes, then enjoy!
http://orangespoken.com/
Enjoy!

11/5/17

Low Carb Two Cheese Sausage Balls #KetoFriendly

Last night I had a group of my nearest and dearest over for a little pre-Thanksgiving celebrating! 

(Isn’t that table cloth the cutest! It was an instant hit, and we had no kids at this party! LOL. Get your own here before they sell out!)

The goal of this early Friendsgiving-style pot luck gathering was to taste, swap, and share some healthy appetizer, side dish, and dessert recipes to bring to our holiday tables this year! We all know the holidays revolve around FOOD. And in just a few weeks, we’re going to be surrounded by Candy, Stuffing, and Holiday Cookies. So because I’ve been on this low-carb, healthy fat, no sugar (keto) adventure for the past 10 weeks, I thought it would be a great idea to get together to share some delicious and healthy options for this holiday season! 

And boy did my friends and family come through! We had SO many amazing concoctions to sample and I want to share each and every recipe with you! Look for a post in the near future with recipes for the dishes pictured below. 

So while you must wait a little bit longer for the recipes to all of the delicious goodies you see above, I will give you a sneak peek at something that I just HAD to make again today! 

My friend Kristen (who’s been keto for 2 years and has had AMAZING results- check out her progress pic below!), brought a tray of low-carb, keto friendly sausage balls to the potluck last night. They were SUCH a hit, and were pretty much all gone within 30 minutes. 

I was bummed that there weren’t any leftovers because I just HAD to have them again today. So, of course, I whipped up a few! I was missing one of the ingredients the original recipe called for, so I improvised, and ended up making a few small batches, trying out a little of this and that (including a little spice to kick things up) and eventually landed on the version in the recipe below as my favorite! 

These sausage balls will NOT have you craving the real thing because they are SO deliciously moist, flavorful, and chewy- soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and oh-so-cheesy! They’re perfect to take to a work potluck because they’re just as yummy at room temperature as they are fresh and hot out of the oven. They would also make a great appetizer to take to a party, or to serve at Christmas eve! 

Here is the recipe: 

Low carb two cheese sausage balls
Yields 25
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lbs of ground pork sausage (make sure the carb and sugar counts are 1g or less)
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 1/2 cup finely ground plain pork rinds (use rolling pin, mallet, or food processor to grind into a fine dust)
  4. 1 cup of freshly grated mild cheddar cheese
  5. 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesean cheese
  6. 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  7. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  9. 1 tsp. dried parsley
  10. 2 tsp. baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir to combine (I have found that a mixer with a paddle attachment works best). Mix until just combined (over mixing=gummy and tough sausage balls!)
  3. Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let cool a bit and then enjoy!
Adapted from Cooking Keto with Kristie
http://orangespoken.com/
Happy Holidays!

10/22/17

The New Earth Fare in Oldsmar (and a fall recipe!)

Disclosure: As a local member of TBB, I was invited to attend this event at Earth Fare for free, and receive compensation in the form of a gift card in exchange for my honest review of the store. All foodie-inspired opinions are my own. 

Hey friends! I hope things are well with you and that you had a super weekend! My weekend was a restful one, which was a welcomed sight after a few whirlwind work trips last week. I worked out, grocery shopped, did some cooking, and spent quality time with my main squeeze my husband (still love saying that!) Continue reading

09/1/17

This is YOUR REMINDER

September 1st marks the beginning of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, followed by October, which we all know is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Have you had your annual well-woman exam this year? 
Are you doing monthly breast self-exams? Continue reading

08/26/17

Flourless Cherry Almond Muffins

It’s no secret that I love to cook. But my heart is really attached to all things baking related. 

It’s why I started this blog back in *gasp* 2009. 

The first name of this blog way back in once upon a time-time was “Stretch: Stretch your Budget, not your waistline”. It was a way for me to share the healthy sweet recipes I was creating, and to document my journey as I attempted to start exercising and train for 5k races to lose weight.  Continue reading

08/23/17

The Grief to Joy Project (& Grief Awareness Week!)

When I first lost my mom  it was difficult to look into the future and envision a normal life. I was 31 going on 32, and could not believe that my time with my mom was over; just like that.

For weeks and months my mind was littered with worry and sadness, and until I learned to cope with it all, it would turn out to be one of the most challenging times of my life. 

If you had asked me about how my mind, my present, and my future would be on afternoon the of April 11, 2012, you would hear words like “hopeless”, “unsure”, “sorrowful”, “lost”, and “anxious” fall lifelessly out of my mouth. I had just said goodbye to my mom after a year long battle with breast cancer, and it truly felt as though my world, and my future, were collapsing around me.  Continue reading

08/21/17

Greek Wedge Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

Two years ago I visited my cousins at the beach house they were renting for summer vacation.

We were having a little lunchtime potluck, and so I decided to whip up a healthy and refreshing Greek quinoa salad since we’d be in the hot sun most of the day.

Well apparently, my cousin Ryan has been thinking about that simple side dish since that day, and so for this year’s beach trip repeat, I made that same salad.  Continue reading

08/16/17

What’s holding you back?

Change is an important part of life.  

My 20th high school reunion just passed a few months ago and that milestone got me thinking about all of those messages high-schoolers write to each other in yearbooks: “Keep in touch!”, “Call me over the summer!” and the probably the most infamous jotting- “Never change!” Continue reading