05/23/18

Low Carb Escalloped Cabbage and 17(ish) truths!

Here are a few truths about me:
1. When I graduated from high school, I chose teaching children as a profession because I thought it was the only thing I would be good at. 

2. I LOVE teaching children. And teenagers. And adults. And friends. And you guys. And everybody! 

3. Pizza is, and will always be, my favorite food of all time. Period. Cliche, who cares. Pizza is FANTASTIC.

4. I’m loyal, and sentimental, love to feed a crowd and bring people together. I honor the idea of building people up, checking in, speaking my truth, helping others, and passionately protecting my joy. I believe in self-improvement, self-worth, self-love, positivity, growing, learning, evolving, and never, ever pretending to be someone I am not- especially for approval. And I have a mutual expectation of these qualities from family and friends. If I ever drift apart from you (yes, even if we are tied by genetics), it’s because I no longer feel that those qualities are mutually shared, and I will walk away in order to honor my own peace and my own healing. Being negative and toxic is not good for your health. Instead, give others, and yourself, authentic strength and love. Try it. It’s never too late. 

5. I love soapboxes. 

6. Did I already mention my love for pizza? 

7. We took a lot of road trips when I was a kid, and I still prefer them over flying anywhere to this day. 

8. I don’t like sports. Well, only baseball. 

9. My husband is a sports enthusiast.

10. We’ve got that whole “have separate interests” thing down pat. 

11. We do share a love of police shows. 

12. And Dave Matthews Band concerts. 

13. And pizza. 

14. And chickens. 

15. I am still on a grief journey, but there are days when I forget I even HAVE a grief journey. Life is so rich, and full of zest and love that there is no more room for daily grieving. I think of my mom everyday- the memories, the fun times, the traditions- but I don’t grieve for her anymore. Thinking about her is much different than grieving for her, because I feel as though grieving means I’m longing for what once was. Now, I understand that things are different, and that it’s OK to be different than it was. It’s OK to not feel a longing or a huge gap in my life. It’s OK to just LIVE, and to walk onward, and to be lifted by her spirit and by her memory. It’s OK to be reinvented after loss. It’s OK to create your new normal. It’s. All. OK. I promise. 

16. Still here? Yippee! I’ve got a recipe for you. Are you ready?

17. Bonus truth- I love, love, LOVE The Pioneer Woman. I loved her blog before she started her Food Network show. I want to visit The Merc and #buyallthethings. I love her family, her outfits, her recipes, her dish ware, pans, and knives! I want to cook with her, and chat with her, and be her 2nd best friend (I think Hyacinth will let me in). I just adore Ree! 

18. I wonder if Ree will ever read my blog?

19. Maybe.

20. I was watching her the other day and she made a delicious looking recipe from her aunt Edna Mae’s archives that I couldn’t wait to whip up: Escalloped Cabbage! 

21. Then I remembered: I hate cooked cabbage. 

22. Crap.

23. I’m going to make it anyway. It has cheese and jalapeños on it.

24. I love cheese and jalapeños. 

25. And I could easily make this low-carb and keto friendly! Done. Making it. 

26. Flash forward to today: It was SO good. Not as good as pizza, but GOOD. You should try it. All you can taste is the cheesy goodness and the cabbage just melts in your mouth! I served it alongside this recipe for chipotle slow cooked pork loin (minus the honey the recipe calls for- you won’t miss it!). 

27. Here’s the recipe!

28. Happy Wednesday! 

Low carb, keto friendly Escalloped Cabbage
Serves 8
A low-carb take on Ree's delicious escalloped cabbage from her aunt Edna Mae's original recipe!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whole head of green cabbage sectioned into 8 wedges, leaving the core on
  2. 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  3. 2oz. full fat cream cheese
  4. 1 cups of heavy cream
  5. 1 cup of freshly grated Monterey jack cheese
  6. 1/4 cup jalapeno pub cheese (I buy mine at Trader Joe's)
  7. 1/4 tsp. salt
  8. 1/4 tsp. pepper
  9. 1/2 whole jalapeno pepper, sliced into rounds, seeds removed
  10. paprika for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9in x 9in baking dish.
  2. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Parboil the wedges of cabbage for about 3 minutes. Drain very well, slice off the cores, then arrange in the buttered dish. (You could also steam them in a steamer basket for 4-5 minutes).
  3. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt and stir the butter, cream cheese, and pub cheese until melted.
  4. Whisk in the heavy cream and cook for a minute or two. Turn off the heat.
  5. Stir in the shredded cheese, salt and pepper, and let it melt until smooth.
  6. Pour over the cabbage. Dot with the jalapeno slices, and sprinkle on some paprika.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Notes
  1. 4.5g total carbs per serving (2.3g net carbs per serving deducting the fiber)
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
http://orangespoken.com/

 

05/16/18

The best grilled wings ever

There’s just no way else to describe these.

They are, in fact, the best grilled wings ever. 

They’re crispy and juicy.

They’re super flavorful.

And they literally fall off of the bone.

In my opinion, they are everything a wing should be. 

The best part? They are PERFECT if you’re following a low carb or ketogenic way of eating, they’re super easy to make (even if you say you don’t know how to cook), and they’re damn delicious. 

The start off swimming in an ah-may-zing marinade overnight (or for at least 2 hours if you’re short on time)…

Then, they get slow baked in the oven for 45 minutes…

Finished on the grill for a few minutes on each side…

And served topped with carmelized mushrooms and onions! 

This wings are EVERYTHING and they don’t need any sauces or dips to cover up their natural flavor. Enjoy them as is, hot off the grill! Here’s the recipe! 

The Best Grilled Wings- EVER
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Ingredients
  1. 20 chicken wings and drumettes (with tips removed)
  2. 1/2 cup mayo (I use Duke's brand)
  3. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  4. 1 tbsp. coconut aminos (you can also use Worcestershire or omit)
  5. 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  6. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  7. 1 tbsp. hot sauce of your choice (I use Crystal brand)
  8. 2 tsp. onion powder
  9. 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  10. 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  11. 1 tsp. dried thyme
  12. 2 tsp. sea salt + extra for sprinkling as they come off of the grill
  13. 1 tsp. black pepper
  14. **Carmelized onions and mushrooms for serving with the wings- optional, but SO delicious (see recipe in the Notes section)
Cooking instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange wings on the sheet in a single layer (no need to remove excess marinade).
  3. Bake the wings for 45 minutes, and then remove from the oven, keeping them on the pan.
  4. Preheat a gas grill (or grill pan) on medium-high heat.
  5. When the grill is hot, grill wings for 2-3 minutes on each side until the skin is crispy! I love char on these wings, so feel free to leave them on a little longer if you like char too!
  6. While the wings are still sizzling, top them with a sprinkle of sea salt, and serve them topped with the onions and mushrooms!
Notes
  1. To make the onions and mushrooms: https://addapinch.com/mushroom-and-onion-saute-recipe/
http://orangespoken.com/

04/22/18

1 year

We said “I do” exactly 1 year ago today!

What a beautiful year it has been. 365 days of adventure, travel, giving back, quiet moments at home, markets, projects, growth, friendship, fun times, challenges to overcome together, and so much love- more love than we could have ever imagined. 

People say marriage is hard work. But after waiting so long to find one another, after loss (we have both lost a parent), after previous heartaches, there is just no time for anything less than joy. 

Everybody should feel like that. Everybody should feel deep, authentic, joy in their hearts from a partnership. Everybody deserves to love that fully. 
I thank my lucky stars every day that we found each other. And I’m even more thankful for the experiences we had to go through before getting here. Without them, our paths might have never crossed. 

When you share more than just a marriage certificate- when you share a friendship, when you deeply honor and respect one another, when your love is true and unconditional, when you lift one another to achieve great things, when you release anger and baggage from the past, when there is kindness and forgiveness, you’ll find that problems are short-lived, troubles come and go like waves in the ocean, and good times are abundant and overflowing. 

And to us, that is what marriage is all about. 

It was so fun looking back at pictures taken during our first year as husband and wife. We have made the best memories not only in and around our home here in Tampa, but also in the places we have visited this year- Chicago, New York City, Boston, the beach, and the mountains of north Georgia!

And we cannot wait to discover what’s next. 

Cheers to a lifetime of more sweet moments of love and joy! 

04/15/18

Low carb, keto friendly blackberry lemon muffins

It’s berry season here in Florida!

From December-March it’s strawberry season.

And from about March-May is blueberry and blackberry season (with blackberry season starting a little later than blueberry season)! 

All throughout those months you can find the BEST berries around Tampa by venturing out just few miles to surrounding cities like Odessa and Plant City for both berry buying and berry picking!

I love berries, let me tell you.

They’re sweet, juicy, flavorful, versatile, AND low carb/low sugar!

You can enjoy them as is, toss them into you favorite mixed green salads, puree them with stevia and freeze them for sorbet, serve them with a bit of whipped heavy cream, or make (my favorite) muffins! I love berries and picked up some blackberries and raspberries this weekend from my local farmer’s market (pictured above). Aren’t they just gorgeous?! 

Before I started the clean ketogenic way of eating 7 months (and 50lbs) ago, I made muffins all of the time. With a few modifications, I’ve created an awesome crumbly, moist, and delicious blackberry muffin that will make even the non-low carbers in your life smile! 

This recipe makes 8 moist, tender, crumbly, and delicious cupcake sized muffins, or 24(ish) mini muffins. And if you don’t like blackberries, no worries! You can use blueberries or raspberries! I’ve used this recipe with all three berries and they were a hit each time. The lemon zest, however, is a MUST. It just takes these muffins to new heights and is certainly missed if it’s not there! So zest away!

At just 4g total carbs (2g net carbs) per muffin, you can enjoy one of these with butter for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! I was able to reduce the carbs in these little guys by using oat fiber to replace some of the flours in the recipe. Oat fiber has no effective carbs and works really well in keto baking! It’s not a 1:1 substitute, however, so be careful when experimenting with it. If you don’t have oat fiber, you can still make these! There are a few tips and modifications in the recipe to guide you.

If you’d like to purchase oat fiber for your low carb, keto life, you can snag a 1lb bag of the keto-friendly brand “Lifesource” for  $3.99 at Netrition.com!

Here is the recipe!

Low carb, keto friendly blackberry lemon muffins!
A quick and easy from-scratch recipe for low carb, ketogenic diet friendly blackberry muffins!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/8 cup coconut flour
  2. 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  3. 1/2 cup oat FIBER (not oat flour)
  4. 1 tsp. gluten free baking powder
  5. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  6. 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  7. 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
  8. 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil or butter
  9. 3 large eggs
  10. 1/4 cup cold water
  11. 2 tbsp. zero calorie, keto approved sweetener (I used Swerve)
  12. 1/4 tsp. liquid vanilla stevia (if you don't have it, it's ok to omit- they will just be a little less sweet)
  13. 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  14. 1/2 cup fresh blackberries (if they are super big, cut them into halves)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together coconut flour, almond flour, oat fiber, baking powder, sea salt and ginger until just combined.
  3. Add eggs, melted coconut oil or butter, water, sweeteners, vanilla extract, and lemon zest into the bowl. Use a spatula or spoon to stir until well combined.
  4. Gently stir in blackberries.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon the muffin batter equally into 8 the cupcake pan. Smooth the top of each muffins with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula so that there are no "peaks". Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick placed inside a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let cool and enjoy!
Notes
  1. At just 4g total carbs (2g net carbs) per muffin, you can enjoy one of these with butter for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! **If you don't have oat fiber, use 1/4 cup coconut flour and 1/2 cup blanched almond flour. The carb count for these will increase since oat fiber, as oat fiber has no effective carbs. You can purchase a 1lb bag of Lifesource oat fiber for $3.99 at Netrition.com!
http://orangespoken.com/
04/10/18

Til’ we dance away…

In the fall of 2012 I was at the eye doctor’s office getting an annual exam. 

I love my ophthalmologist, Dr. C. If you’re like me, going to ANY doctor is an uncomfortable situation, but Dr. C always calms my fears (of my eyes being poked out) with his gentle touch. 

But what I love most about Dr. C is his demeanor. As a physician, he is very careful and calm in his actions, which to me is especially important when it comes to an eye exam. And what I appreciate most about him, is his straightforward and honest, yet kind and sincere approach to discussing eye health with his patients. He has truly mastered the art of balancing being thorough, direct, and positive. 

At that appointment a few years ago I decided to bring up something that had been bothering me for quite some time. 

Sometime during my late 20’s I developed what looked like a burst blood vessel along the circumference of the iris of my eye. It hugged the edge of the circle and branched out and away from it, almost like a solar flare. It didn’t hurt, and it didn’t impede my vision, but it never cleared up. So at my next annual eye exam I asked about it to make sure it wasn’t something more serious. Back then I wasn’t seeing Dr. C yet, and the only thing that the eye doctor I was seeing said to me was “don’t worry about it, it’s not harmful, it’s totally normal, you will be fine.”

Other appointments through the years have brought much of the same message- “don’t worry about it, it’s not harmful, it’s totally normal, and you will be fine” or they’ve said nothing at all (unless I’ve asked). Some years I figured “no news is good news” and just let it be without bringing it up.

At that appointment a few years ago, however, I had decided that I wanted more than just a “don’t worry about it” response to what this was and I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do to get rid of it. What prompted this yearning to know more approach was that I had developed a self-consciousness about this “thing”.

I became hyper-aware of it’s presence. I would notice it in pictures. I would see it in the mirror. I even started noticing behaviors I had picked up along the way to conceal it-like slightly squinting the affected eye when getting my picture taken or when speaking face-to-face with someone. I realized that I had even gone so far as positioning my bangs over the effected eye to create a shadow that would help to hide the flaw.

Well, I was more than disappointed when my favorite eye doctor in the whole wide world responded the same way as all of the other eye doctors had regarding my issue: “don’t worry about it, it’s not harmful, it’s totally normal, and you will be fine.”

I remember thinking to myself “was this some kind of standard response doctors learn to say in medical school? Was I in the middle of some hidden camera show? Is he seriously saying the same thing other doctors had told me? Am I the victim of an eye doctor conspiracy?” I was more than dumbfounded. This was my kind, gentle, thorough, and straightforward eye doctor! This was someone I knew would have a better and more detailed answer than just “don’t worry about it, it’s not harmful, it’s totally normal, and you will be fine!” I wanted an explanation! I wanted options! 

Since he was literally looking at me straight in the eyes, he must have seen my pupils go bananas, or some type of eye-twitch to signal him that his answer must have struck an (optic) nerve. 

He moved the exam machines aside, rolled his chair in front of me, and told me exactly what this was. Apparently, people with dark eyes sometimes develop pigment “spots” outside of the iris. There is no cause for concern as long as there are no significant changes to the eye or my eyesight. He assured me that because I make an eye exam appointment every year, that I would be fine, and that he would be the first to notice and respond to an issue if there was one. 

I thanked him for explaining all of this to me and then asked him if there was anything I could do to remove it and he told me there wasn’t with this particular type of spot. 

“So I guess I just have to live with it?” I replied. 

“Well, yes, I don’t see any other option that you have than to live with it” he stated, in true Dr. C matter-of-fact form. “Don’t worry about it, it’s not harmful, it’s totally normal, and you will be fine, so go live!”

His words were so simple and basic, yet so profound to me. 

You see, this conversation happened in the fall of 2012. I lost my mom in the spring of 2012.

At the time of the appointment, I was deep within my grief journey, on the cusp of the holiday season, trying to figure out this “new normal” I had been shoved into without my permission. When Dr. C said that he didn’t see any other option other than I’d have to live with it, that message meant so much more to me than just the living with the imperfection in my eye. 

I realized that my grief was also an imperfection.
Losing a parent was an imperfection.
My life was literally an imperfection. 
Grief is nothing to worry about, it’s not harmful, it’s totally normal, and I AM fine. 
And I had no choice other than to live with it. And so I did. 

I didn’t tell Dr. C that I was grieving that day. But somehow I think he knew. I think in some way, shape, or form he delivered that message to me differently than I had ever heard it before. He said it to me with purpose and hope. And as I reflect on those words today, 6 years after losing my mom, I can truly say that I have embraced his message. 

I have lived fully and authentically in spite of this imperfection. My mom’s death has become a significant part of my life. A part of my DNA. A part of my being. A part of my soul. I am who I am right now because I have embraced and lived beyond any expectations I had about grief and losing a parent 6 years ago when it happened. Because of my grief, my imperfection, I live. 

And although I miss my mom every second of every day, I see the bigger picture. I see my part in her story, and her part in mine. I recognize and respect grief’s purpose in my life. I recognize my responsibility in helping others in their grief journeys. And above all else, I understand why it happened. 

And I’m forever grateful. 

Until we meet again, Mom.

 

 

 

Other posts about my grief journey and my mother, Judy:

Be Merry

5 Years

#TeamJudy

Grief to Joy

Happy Birthday Mom

Be Better, Not Bitter

Holiday Lessons

Be Brave

Mother’s Day

03/28/18

Pull apart keto cast-iron rolls & other keto friendly Easter dishes!

Happy spring! Happy Easter!

The weather has been GORGEOUS here in Tampa, FL- lows in the 50’s and 60’s, highs in the 70’s and 80’s. Literally the epitome of spring! It’s been the perfect weather for having the windows open and letting the springtime breeze air out the house. Last weekend we went camping to celebrate Brian’s birthday and man-oh-man, it was just lovely. I wish it would stay this way all year long!

And of course, gorgeous weather like this means it’s also the perfect time for spring cooking, spring picnics, and spring get togethers with friends and family! When I think of my springtime kitchen, I picture gorgeous trays of deviled eggs, thin slices of sweet and salty baked ham, fresh salads made with spring greens, roasted vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms, and refreshing desserts made with citrus flavors and floral notes. 

Spring also makes me yearn for freshly baked bread. I know some people associate bread with fall or winter, but for me, the intoxicating perfume of a loaf of baking bread wafting out an open window on a sunny spring day is just heavenly.

Maybe it’s because I associate scents with good memories. For me, the scents that remind me of Easter and this time of year are all from when I was a kid- the pastel colored artificial grass from the Easter baskets my mother would make for my brother and I (what WAS that scent anyway? Whatever it was, it was glorious!), the sweet smell of malted milk and chocolate robin’s eggs (my favorite!), and the delicious aroma of pull-apart rolls baking in the oven for Easter dinner. 

I LOVED these rolls growing up.  Do you remember them? They were a party and holiday dinner staple around our house. I don’t think they make them anymore, but man were they GOOD! With every holiday, my cousins and I would steal a pack to sneakily snack on, hoping that no one would notice the missing package from the stack. They were JUST irresistible!

As I was thinking about upcoming plans for an Easter gathering with family and friends, I thought about these rolls and how I might recreate them to fit in with my clean keto, low carb way of eating. 

I already had a tried and true recipe for all-things-bread (I use this recipe for everything from pizza crusts and biscuits, to crackers and bagels!), and so I wondered how the dough would work for pull-apart rolls. I decided to try a batch out cooking them in a hot buttered cast iron skillet. I took golf-ball sized pieces of dough and rolled them in my hands until they were smooth. I was able to fit 7 into my cast-iron skillet, topping each with a brushing of melted Kerrygold butter, and some flaky sea salt. I baked them at 400 degrees F for 14 minutes, and VOILA! 

OH. MY. GOSH. YOU. GUYS. These are incredible. 

They are crispy on the top, and fluffy inside, and the butter and sea salt are just enough to make these satisfying, indulgent and just about PERFECT!

I will definitely be whipping up a batch of these for Sunday’s Easter activities along with a few more keto friendly, low carb dishes: 

Rosemary and mustard ham

Roasted radishes with fresh herbs

Lemon roasted asparagus

Strawberry butter

Deviled eggs with bacon

Greek wedge salad

Low carb Cadbury creme eggs

What is on your Easter menu?

03/10/18

What clouds your success?

I posted this picture today on my social media accounts (ignore the bed head and workout clothes!): 
I found this jacket on a clearance rack last night at the mall. I had been looking for a blazer and was SO excited to find this deal for just $15 at one of my favorite clothing stores. Not only does it fit me perfectly, but I also have the matching pants AND it is THREE SIZES SMALLER THAN WHAT I WAS WEARING LAST AUGUST. I was pretty psyched about the deal AND the success!
 
That jacket post prompted me to do a updated before/now progress post. Working to create the healthiest version of yourself isn’t always easy- especially when you have a belly, a booty, rolls, or anything else that you (or society) associates with being “a fat person”. Those associations can really cloud your perception of the hard work you are putting in, the strength you have gained, the progress you have made, and the passion you have for taking care of yourself and your health.
 
You see yourself in the mirror everyday and don’t always notice positive changes because they are clouded by all of those judgements and associations that we carry with us. It’s not until you try on something that you once thought was too small and it fits, decide to run on the treadmill and realize that your knees aren’t hurting, or look at old pictures as a comparison and realize that things ARE, in fact, changing.
 
I especially struggle with the belly “cloud”. I look at my body in the mirror and immediately focus on my belly- how far it sticks out, how many rolls it has, etc.- completely negating EVERYTHING else that has changed (like legs, hips, face, neck, shoulders, waist, arms). One view of my belly in the mirror can make me lose that glow in my face that eating healthy and exercising has helped me develop. It can stop me in my tracks on the treadmill at the gym and make me doubt myself and my abilities. It can make me feel self-conscious while dressed up and out on the town, or with my husband at home. I have to consciously make a decision to give myself visual, verbal, and physical reminders that I’m on the right path for me, and that what my belly looks like is NOT the only success indicator. I cannot let one fixation with a body part cloud my truth. And I challenge you to do the same.
 
When you get discouraged with those dreaded numbers on the scale, or by fixating on those triggers that make you doubt yourself and your hard work when you look in the mirror, I encourage you to look deeper- look at the other parts of your body that are changing. Pay attention to how you FEEL. Notice the changes in energy, endurance, and strength. Look beyond that one spot that causes you frustration, and celebrate all of the changes that come with the decision you have made to prioritize your health, fitness, and well-being.
 
When we see this path of working towards our healthiest self as a life long journey, instead of a “quick fix”, “a diet”, or a temporary “phase” in our lives, we begin see how what we eat, how we move, the relationships we keep, and what our inner voice sounds like, all fuel us to be strong, healthy, happy, confident, and comfortable in our own skin. If you decide to love yourself now, belly and all, the successes that come next, as you begin to make changes to your daily habits and routines, are going to improve, enhance, and strengthen that love.
 
And when we truly, deeply love ourselves no matter what, when setbacks happen (and they will), we will be able to bounce back and stay on the path, because we know how to provide support and encouragement within ourselves to keep moving forward.
 
xoxo Steph
 
PS- The picture on the left was taken at my bridal shower last March (2017). The picture on the right was taken today (without the jacket). I was deliriously happy and in love then (with life, with my soon to be husband, with myself), and am still deliriously happy and in love now…but x100.
02/24/18

My favorite low carb, keto friendly dough recipe!

I’ve been following a clean, whole food way of ketogenic eating since August! I feel great and have experienced so many great changes happening to my body which make me SO glad I chose to dive in and try it.

My long term plantar fasciitis has completely healed, I’ve lost over 40lbs, I’ve gone from a size 24/26 jeans to a size 18/20, and I just FEEL awesome all around. I still have more milestones to hit (and smaller clothes that I hope to fit into!), but so far so good! 

In these past 6 months, I’ve definitely made a few mistakes, tried recipes that crashed and burned, eaten things with sugar and hidden carbs I didn’t know about, and, as in all weight loss adventures, the scale has gotten either gone up, or gotten stuck (thank goodness for non-scale victories like shrinking pant sizes and slack on an airplane seatbelt vs. needing an extender!). But, the show must on go, and luckily things have started moving in the right direction again. With some small tweaks, more practice in eating for hunger, instead of boredom, and getting my Orangetheory workouts in more consistently, I’m back on track and ready to see what’s next!

                                                                           February 11, 2018

People always ask me “What’s your favorite go-to keto friendly meal?” My answer is usually a few things: bunless burgers, omelettes, and anything made with my favorite low carb dough.

If you have heard of the ketogenic diet, then you have probably heard of “fathead dough.” Basically, fathead dough is a low carb dough base made with a couple of things: cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, a low carb flour, eggs, and seasonings. It first appeared a few years ago on the Fat Head blog, and low carb followers around the world have been using it help curb carby cravings ever since. Fathead dough can be used for SO many keto-friendly treats: crackers, biscuits, flatbreads, focaccia, bagels, breadsticks, pizza crust, croutons, avocado toast, empanadas, and even low carb cinnamon rolls- all with one recipe! Once you find a fathead dough recipe that you love, just do a Google search for recipes and you’ll see all of the yummy things you can make with a batch of this dough! 

I’ve tried a lot of fathead dough recipes out there, but I always go back to this simple, yet delicious recipe that is so versatile, I use it for everything. My recipe uses blanched almond flour for tenderness, olive oil for a golden crunchiness, my rich and delicious backyard eggs (good, organic eggs are a must for this dough!), and something called oat fiber, which is a flour type substance that has no calories, no fat, and no effective carbs! Not only do I love to bake with oat fiber, but it’s also great as a binder for meatloaf and meatballs! Not to be mistaken for oat FLOUR, oat fiber is the only insoluble fiber out there. 

Here’s the 101 on oat fiber:
From this website: Oat fiber is 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.

My dear friend Kristen is the one who introduced me to oat fiber. She has been following a ketogenic way of eating for over two years now and has seen great success- not only in weight loss, but also in managing her MS! She is my go-to for all-things-keto and has patiently been there every step of the way in helping me get my footing. She has cooked up some amazing low carb goodies, including some things using oat fiber!

I’ve been experimenting with oat fiber for a few months and have learned that it’s a great ingredient to use to reduce the amount of coconut or almond flour a recipe calls for, but to not completely use it to replace it as a 1:1 substitute. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of blanched almond flour, you can use 1 cup of the almond flour and 1 cup of oat fiber to reduce the carbs in the recipe. It’s practically tasteless, so it will take on any flavors you pair it with. 

A few days ago I made a batch of my favorite fathead dough and turned it into a few individual-sized pizza crusts, 2 flavors of bagels (everything and onion), and some buttery biscuits! This crust is my favorite because it’s crispy, but also has a great chew to it- just like real bread/pizza dough/bagels! The oat fiber gives the dough some bite, and the addition of xanthum gum gives it its chew. I turned the pizza crust into a delicious pepperoni, tomato, and parmesean pizza for dinner! It was DELICIOUS! 

I topped the crispy and chewy pizza crust with freshly grated parmesean cheese, a couple of sliced tomatoes, pepperoni, italian seasoning, and cracked red pepper. You’ve GOT to try it! 

So are you ready for this dough recipe yet? Well here it is! 

My favorite fathead dough
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  2. 3/4 cup oat FIBER (you can get it at Netrition.com (search for Lifesource brand)
  3. 1 tbsp. baking powder
  4. 1 tsp. sea salt
  5. 2 cups freshly grated full fat mozzarella cheese (from a block- not fresh mozzarella) (I have also had success with monterrey jack cheese!)
  6. 1/4 cup finely grated parmesean cheese
  7. 2 oz. full fat cream cheese
  8. 2 large whisked eggs
  9. melted butter for biscuits or olive oil for pizza crusts/bagels
  10. toppings for bagels (everything but the bagel seasoning, dried onion flakes, parmesean cheese, pretzel salt, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Stir together the almond flour, oat fiber, salt, and baking powder- set aside.
  2. Combine the shredded mozzarella and cream cheese in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring with a spatula halfway through the cooking process.
  3. Remove from the microwave and stir until the cheeses are well combined. Set aside to cool just a little bit (if you put the eggs in right away, they will scramble- so wait just a few seconds!).
  4. Stir the flour mixture and eggs into the melted cheese mixture. Oil your hands with butter or olive oil, and while the mixture is still warm, knead it until a ball of dough forms (adding extra grease to your hands if the dough begins to stick to your hands).
  5. At this point you can use the dough for a variety of creations!
  6. >>>To make bagels- divide the dough into 8 sections, form a cigar shape by rolling and pulling the dough in your hands, then form bagels by pressing the two ends together. Brush with melted butter or olive oil, top with your favorite topping (I love Trader Joe's everything but the bagel seasoning!) and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes on a greased baking sheet, or until the bagels are golden brown.
  7. >>>To make biscuits- divide the dough into 8 sections, form biscuit shaped discs, brush with melted butter, top with a sprinkle of sea salt, and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes on a greased baking sheet, or until the biscuits are golden brown.You can also place these in a small hot cast iron skillet coated in butter for pull apart biscuits/rolls!
  8. >>>To make pizza crusts- place the warm dough on a floured (use a little oat fiber) cutting board and roll out to desired thickness, size, and shape. Brush with a little olive oil. For thin individual sized pizzas, bake at 350F for 10 minutes on a greased baking sheet then add toppings and broil under high heat for 1-2 minutes to melt toppings. For a large pizza crust, adjust the baking time to 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness.
Notes
  1. Remember to search for other fathead dough recipes! There are TONS out there! Have fun exploring and experimenting!
Adapted from Inspired by all of the fathead recipes out there!
Adapted from Inspired by all of the fathead recipes out there!
http://orangespoken.com/
Enjoy!

02/13/18

Hassleback Baked Envy Apples for your Valentine! {low carb}

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

I love any reason to celebrate- especially when it involves whipping up sweet treats for family and friends. 

I’ve been thinking about what to whip up this year for this day of love, and of course, thought of all of the regular go-tos: brownies, cookies, cheesecakes, truffles… 

But then, THESE gorgeous gems arrived at my doorstep courtesy of Envy Apples and Allan Brother’s Inc. Continue reading

02/11/18

VOLTA Cirque du Soleil comes to Tampa!

Disclosure: Because of a partnership with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was given tickets to attend the premiere of VOLTA in exchange for promotion of the show here on my blog and on my social media channels. All opinions are my own. 

Back in the day (circa 1999), the “it” thing to do was to travel the 60 mile drive from Tampa to Orlando to hang out at Downtown Disney (it’s former name… you kids these days call it Disney Springs) 😉 Continue reading