The Wonders of Keto Cocktails

Woman (and) man cannot live on low carb food alone!  This woman needs, what my daddy used to call, a 5 O’Clocker when the stressful day is through.  Be it a lovely glass of red wine, a bubbly glass of Champagne, or a down and dirty cocktail, there is just something comforting about that time when I finally get to sit and pet my labs while I throw off the stresses and worries of the day.

vanillaoldfashioned

Thankfully, there’s no reason I have to ruin my diet while doing so.  There are no carbs in a 1+1/2 ounce pour of straight spirits like whiskey, rum, and vodka; a 5 ounce glass of red wine has 2.5 grams of carbs, and the drinks below, adapted from Lowcarb-ology, have 0-3 grams of carbs, so those of us who actively participate in the #KetoLifestyle can imbibe guiltlessly, as long as we also remember that frequent consumption of alcohol while dieting can stall weight loss (if that is our goal).

Vanilla Old Fashioned

  • 1″ piece of orange peel
  • 1″ vanilla bean, split in half
  • 2 ounces good quality bourbon (I prefer Maker’s Mark/Maker’s 46)
  • 1 tsp sugar free vanilla syrup (I use Torani)
  • Club Soda or Zevia sparkling water mandarin orange (I get it at Whole Foods) – optional

Rub the inner part of the orange peel around the inside and rim of the glass, then muddle the peel and vanilla bean at the bottom of the glass.

Add the bourbon and vanilla syrup.  Stir, add a single globe or block cube of ice (for slow melting) & top with an ounce of club soda (give a quick stir) if desired.  130 Calories / 0 Carbs

Arctic Mulearcticmule

  • 1 ounce Pineapple Vodka (I like Skyy Infusions Pineapple)
  • 2 ounces Vodka (Grey Goose is my preference)
  • 1 drop peppermint oil (it needs to be for ingestion) or 1 ounce sugar free Torani peppermint syrup (optional but for the minty taste, you need one or the other)
  • 1-2 drops blue food color or, if you have it, you can use blue zero calorie water enhancing drops like Zio blue
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 6 ounces sugar free ginger beer (I like 0 carb/0 calorie Zevia – I found it on Amazon)

Add all ingredients, except the ginger beer) to a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled.  Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with a wedge of lime & sprig of peppermint.  194 Calories / 0 Carbs

And, as always, my #MomReminder, anyone who drinks alcoholic beverages please do so responsibly.  Always designate a sober driver, pre-schedule the very inexpensive option of Uber or take a taxi. #DontDrinkAndDrive.

Low-Carb Coconut Macaroons

I’m a total carb girl, which is why I need to go Keto occasionally to make my jeans less tight, but my carbs of choice trend toward the savory: breads, chips, and salty snacks.  But, even a #SaltyGirl needs something sweet & #KetoFriendly once in a while. 😉 #ThisGirlLovesToEat

coconutmacaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Low-Carb Coconut Macaroons

  • 2 Large Egg Whites (Cold)
  • 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Stevia Sweetener (like Swerve)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups (loosely packed) Baker’s Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (I use Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 tsp Crisco Solid Shortening

**Note – Because the coconut is sweetened, you can cut the amount of the sweetener down to 1 or 2 TBLS.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add your egg whites and lemon juice to your stand mixer bowl (with the wire whip attached).  Beat the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form.  Make sure you beat the whites until they barely move in the bowl if you shake it – it makes a difference in the end result of your cookies.  Gradually add the sweetener, sea salt, and vanilla while continuing to beat at medium-high speed.

Gently fold in the coconut a little bit at a time.  Be careful not to break down the whites, you want a fluffy batter. Caution: Your cookies will spread out if you break down your egg whites too much.  They’ll taste the same but be flatter and take less time to cook.

Use a medium (About 1 TBLS) cookie scoop to drop the batter onto the lined pan.  I got 15 cookies from my mixture.

Baker for 20 minutes, or until a nice golden brown around the edges and tops of the cookies.  Remove from the oven and leave sitting on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes then move to wire rack to cool.

Melt chocolate chips (with the shortening) in a small bowl or mug in the microwave, in increments of 30 seconds on high until smooth enough to drizzle.  I use a fork to drizzle lightly across the cookies then move them to a plate to finish cooling in the refrigerator so the chocolate is completely set before serving.

Cookies can be stored in a sealed container on a cool counter for a few days, the refrigerator (if they last) for about 10 days, and can be frozen for longer term storage.

Nutrition Information Per Cookie:

  • Calories   –  65
  • Fat   –  3.75 g
  • Sat Fat   –  2.93 g
  • Sodium   –  31.33 mg
  • Carbs   –  2.66 g
  • Protein   –  .53 g

Oven Bacon Wrapped Omelettes

FinalProduct

When I don’t have the time to pull the pressure cooker out, and want to make more than the 7 egg bites that my silicone insert allows, I turn to my oven to make a big batch of breakfasts for the week.  Prep is quick and cleanup is a breeze.

Prepared as is, this breakfast is #KetoFriendly.  Take out the cheese and it becomes #PaleoPerfect.

Oven Bacon Wrapped Omelettes

  • 10 – 12 Pieces of Thick Cut Bacon (I buy mine at the meat counter – it’s less expensive, meatier and thicker)
  • 11 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (Any Type)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut your raw bacon so your strips just overlap at the edges when you line each muffin cups.  I use the small cut pieces to fill in any spots where pieces are short.  Divide the bell pepper and cheese evenly between the 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl or 8 cup measuring cup, crack open your eggs and whip them up.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture evenly between the muffin cups – fill just below the level of the bacon – you don’t want them to overflow when they cook.

Put your muffin tin on a cookie sheet and put into the oven.  You want to make sure that any bacon grease that may drip doesn’t end up in your oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Step3

Remove from oven then immediately use a knife to slide around the edges of each cup to loosen the edges.  Remove each omelette to drain off the grease on a cooling rack with a paper towel on top, set on a baking pan.

Step4

Store uneaten omelettes in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  Easily reheats in the microwave for quick hot breakfasts all week.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information Per Omelette:

  • Calories  197
  • Fat   15 g
  • Protein  14 g
  • Cholesterol  22.5 mg
  • Carbohydrates  < 1 mg

Fiery Spinach Artichoke Dip

chileartichokedipporkrindsA friend complained that she was spending #SuperBowlSunday at the home of someone who “only eats Keto,” like that was a fate worse than death for her snack choices during the game.  To me that sounded like heaven.  She had no idea what to bring, so I suggested she bring this #KetoFriendly dip with plenty of celery sticks and a couple of bags of pork rinds and she’d be the hit of the party.  I haven’t talked to her today, but she didn’t end up beside me on my couch, so I assume she wasn’t booted from the party. 😉

Fiery Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1 – 4 oz Can Diced Chiles (Any type and heat level) I used Mild Green Chiles today.
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Green Onion (white and green parts)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Spinach, chopped
  •  1 – 14 oz Can Artichoke Hearts (in water) drained & chopped
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter.  Combine the shredded cheeses in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add green onions to the butter and saute for 2-3 minutes then add the diced peppers.  Cook another 2 minutes then layer the spinach on top (do not stir in) and continue cooking another 2 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and garlic to the pan and stir to combine the vegetables and spices thoroughly.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine chopped artichokes, cream cheese, and mayonnaise, and mix.  Stir in the vegetable mixture from the pan and 1 Cup of the combined shredded cheese (reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top). Stir until completely combined.

Pour mixture in the greased baking dish and spread evenly.  Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm with zero carb pork rinds or low net carb veggies like cucumber slices, celery sticks, florets o broccoli or cauliflower, or slices of bell pepper!

This dip also doubles as a great topping for chicken breasts, pork chops, and even steak!  I’ve even rolled it into slices of deli turkey breast, I’ve had sliced extra thick, for a different take on lunch.  Let me know what you think or how you make it your own! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

Rainy Day Keto Veggie Chicken Soup

bssoupWhile veggies are admittedly limited during the most strict part of Keto, there are many ways to incorporate very flavorful options in moderation.  This soup, that serves 4 is one of them.  The higher #GoodFat to calorie percentage, from the olive oil, is perfect for Keto followers!

Keto Carmelized Veggie Chicken Soup

  • 1 Carrot chopped (About 1/2 Cup)
  • 1/ 2 Cup (about 3)  chopped Green Onion (green & white parts)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 8 TBLS Olive Oil, divided
  • 10 – 12 Raw Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
  • 6 Raw Asparagus Spears, chopped into about 1/2″ chunks
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Cooked Chicken Breast either shredded or cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 TBLS Italian Parsley, chopped

In a 2 quart saucepan, heat 2 TBLS olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add carrot, green onions, and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add another 2 TBLS olive oil and cook another minute while stirring.  Remove carrot mixture from the pan.

Add 2 TBLS olive oil, Brussels sprouts and asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes.  Add last 2 TBLS olive oil and return the carrot mixture to the pan.  Cook an additional 3-4 minutes, or until green vegetables start to brown.

Stir in broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the cooked chicken.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Garnish each serving with chopped parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese (if desired).  We spiced ours up with Frank’s Red Hot sauce, but you could also add dried red pepper flakes if you like your soup spicy.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

** Vegetarian option:  Omit the chicken and swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Nutrition Information:  330 Calories  40.5g Fat  21g Protein  1g Carbs

Chocolate Cheesecake Fat Bombs

chocolatecreamcheeseI am a Keto believer, but I have paid little attention to the addition of the fat bombs, touted by Keto experts as a necessity, thinking of them instead as desserts I didn’t need.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Scientists say that, no matter what diet plan you follow, at least 20% of our calories should be from #GoodFats.

  • We need fats to absorb fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E & K
  • Research suggests that monounsaturated fats (from avocados, peanuts & olives) can lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol
  • Fats take longer to digest, keep blood sugar levels stable, and help us to feel fuller for longer.

While I have lost all of the weight I wanted to initially, and quicker than I thought I would, as I came up on my goal weight I realized that I was starting to lose some of my hard earned muscle tone.  If I was burning so much fat with Keto, how was this possible?  Turns out I was wrong about that as well.  Without adding the required amount of fat to my diet, when my body ran out of fat to burn it was turning to sugars/carbs, of which there are few in a Keto diet, and once those are depleted what’s left to burn?  Muscle!  The same applies to those on any other type of carbohydrate restricted diet, like Atkins.  So, this is me jumping on the #FatBombBandWagon!

Chocolate Cheesecake Fat Bombs

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 oz Confectioners (Powdered) Stevia (Erythritol / Swerve)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 7 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 5 oz Sugar Free Chocolate

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until smooth when stirred.  Set aside.  Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl, mix on medium speed until smooth.  Add powdered Stevia and Vanilla.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Add the heavy cream.  Mix on medium speed until smooth and beginning to thicken.  Add the melted chocolate and continue mixing on medium speed, until all ingredients are completely combined and the mixture is firm enough to spoon or pipe into small/mini paper lined mini muffin pans or prepared silicone candy molds.  Once all of the liners are filled, cover and chill for at least 3 hours.  The longer they chill the better.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and freeze for up to 3 months.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Creamy Bacon-Mushroom Meatloaf

baconmushmeatloaf

Our electrician came by to install a new #Ring camera-light-siren unit on the front walkway today, the one where you can yell at people (I’m so excited), and whistled appreciatively at the smells coming from my kitchen.  As soon as I told him I was making a meatloaf, his attitude changed and he was disappointed.  Why does meatloaf get such a bad rap?  I loved my Mom’s meatloaf…

I’d have no problem serving this meatloaf to guests.  It’s not your Mom’s fatty ground beef, ketchup on top meatloaf at all.  I use high quality ingredients, the sauce is #ToDieFor, the flavors and ingredients pair well with red wine, and it is #KetoFriendly to boot!

Smothered Creamy Bacon-Mushroom Meatloaf

  • 3 Pounds Ground Beef (No leaner than 85/15)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 6 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon (Cut into 1/2″ Chunks)
  • 2 TBLS Butter
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 12 Baby Bellas, Thick Sliced
  • 2 TBLS Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, eggs, onion powder and a generous amount of salt, and pepper well with your hands and set bowl aside.

In a Dutch oven that will be large enough to hold your meatloaf (5 1/2 Qt), over medium heat cook your bacon until brown and crisp but not overdone.  Remove bacon from pan to drain on paper towel and drain the grease from the pan.  Return pan to medium heat.  Add butter to pan to deglaze.  When butter is melted, add garlic and mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes until mushrooms become just tender and reduce slightly in size.  Add Worcestershire sauce and bring just to a boil then remove from heat.  Stir drained bacon back in until well coated.

Pour mixture into mixing bowl with meat and then, using hands, incorporate the bacon and mushroom mixture into the meat until it’s well distributed.  Return the meat mixture to the Dutch oven and shape into a rough loaf.

Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the very center of the loaf reads 145°F .  Remove from the oven and tent with foil for about 10 minutes.  This will give you medium-well ends and medium in the center.  You can adjust your cooking time for the degree of doneness you like your ground beef/meatloaf.

bmmeatloafplated

Creamy Bacon Mushroom Sauce

  • 4 Slices Thick Cut Bacon (Cut with kitchen shears into 1/8″ strips)
  • 8-10 Baby Bella Mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 TBLS Butter
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp Dried Marjoram
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

In a small heavy gauge sauce pan, fry the cut bacon until browned, but not over crisp.  Remove bacon from pan to drain on paper towel and drain the grease from the pan.  Return pan to medium heat.  Add butter to pan to deglaze.  When butter is melted, add garlic and mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes until mushrooms start to become tender.  Add the beef broth to the pan and bring to a boil.  Return the bacon to the pan, add the marjoram and cook for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally.   Add the cream and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring constantly.   Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Spoon Sauce over sliced meatloaf.

This sauce is also great over pork chops and chicken.   #ThisGirlLovesToEat