Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing

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For those who make them, the time to set your resolutions for 2019 is quickly approaching.  If you’re one of the many vowing to lose a few pounds, why wait until after the first of the year to start?  You can get a head start on your goals quite easily.

It’s not hard at all to cut carbs and sugar from your diet while still enjoying the things you like, and making just that small change can make a big impact on your scale quite quickly.  A great place to start, where even guests at your holiday parties won’t notice a difference: Dips & dressings for vegetables or salads.

Avocado Lime Ranch Dressingavcadodipdressing

  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBLS mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1+1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • juice from 1 medium lime (about 2 TBLS)
  • 1-2 TBLS shallot finely minced

Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, take a taste.  Adjust your seasonings then scrape all contents into a container with a tightly fitting lid and store in your refrigerator.  Use up within a week.

**TIP:  If the dressing is too thick, pour some into a smaller bowl or cup and add a TBLS or two of milk to thin it down to a better consistency.

This is great on salads, over steamed vegetables, as a dip for fresh vegetables or tortilla chips, and even with Mexican food.

Nutrition information:  Calories 80; Fat 9g; Protein 1g; Net Carbs 1g  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Sweet Holiday Gifts From Your Kitchen – They’ll Never Know They’re Keto!

truffleboxOnce we get into December the invitations to holiday celebrations, cookie exchanges, progressive dinners, cocktail parties, office parties, and the like start rolling in and that means there will be many times you’ll need to bring a dish, a treat, or hostess gift.

It’s easy to go with a stand by recipe full of sugar and all of the ingredients that many are trying to consciously avoid, myself included, but wouldn’t it be fun to be the person who brings the treat that secretly isn’t quite as #badforthehips as all the others?  Here’s one that’ll let you tuck that secret into a hidden recipe card as the real #giftthatkeepsgiving:

Chocolate Mint Truffleschocolateminttruffles

  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 drops (safe to ingest) peppermint essential oil OR 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 10 drops liquid Stevia
  • 1/3 cup granulated Stevia (Swerve or the like)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s)
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and both sweeteners until light & fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and peppermint.  Beat again until well incorporated.  Add coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until a dough forms.
  2. Spread dough out onto your lined cookie sheet.  It should be about 1/2″ thick. Bake for 15 mins or until set up and starting to get firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.   Once cookie has cooled, break into chunks and put into your food processor.  Pulse until cookie is well crumbled.
  3. In the cleaned out bowl of your stand mixer, put 8 oz block of softened cream cheese and the crumbs from your cookie.  Using the paddle attachment, stir until cream cheese and crumbs form a sticky dough.
  4. Roll dough into about 3/4″ balls and put onto wax paper lined cookie sheet.  When all of the dough is rolled, put into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes while you prepare the chocolate coating.
  5. In a 2 to 4 Cup, microwave safe, Pyrex (glass) measuring cup, combine 2 TBLS Heavy Whipping Cream and 1-12oz bag of Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate ChipsMicrowave on HIGH for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir between each 30 seconds until chocolate chips are melted.
  6. Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate and put back on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar free cookie/candy sprinkles if desired.  Refrigerate until chocolate sets.  Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container between layers of waxed paper.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

You should be able to make 24 truffles and the nutrition information for each is:

  • Calories:  109
  • Fat:  10.45g (Sat fat 6.5g)
  • Net Carbs:  2.5g
  • Protein:  2g

 

Peppermint Mocha Latte – Keto Friendly

starbuckPMLatteI love my Starbucks® and my normal latte is #KetoFriendly, but once the holiday peppermint drinks come out it’s really hard to stay away.  Instead I experimented in my kitchen until I got close enough to not feel completely deprived.

Keto Peppermint Mocha Latte

  • 2 – Medium to Bold K-Cup Coffee Pods (Brewed so you have 20 oz of coffee) OR 2+1/2 Cups Bold Brewed Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Stevia® Liquid Sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract OR 1-2 drops #SafeToIngest Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 1 Square (about 1/2 oz) Bittersweet 70% Dark Chocolate
  • Canned Whipped Cream (If Drinking as a Mocha)

peppermintmochalatte

To drink as a Mocha:  In a small saucepan, combine the brewed coffee, the whipping cream, the milk, and the cocoa powder.  Stir until the powder is incorporated.  Add the square of chocolate and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the Stevia® and peppermint.   Divide evenly between 2 oversized coffee mugs that hold at least 16 ounces and top with whipped cream.

To drink as a Latte:  In a small saucepan, combine the brewed coffee, the whipping cream, and the cocoa powder.  Stir until the powder is incorporated.  Add the square of chocolate and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the Stevia® and peppermint.  Divide evenly between 2 oversized coffee mugs that hold at least 16 ounces.

I have a milk steamer that foams as well, but if you don’t there is a very easy solution that I found online:  Place the cup of milk in a microwave-safe 2 1/2 cup container with a lid. Shake vigorously for 1 minute or until milk is frothy and doubled in volume. Remove lid; microwave milk at HIGH for 30 seconds. Top each coffee cup with a dollop of milk froth. Divide any remaining hot milk evenly between the cups.

**TIP  You can make this recipe as fat or thin as you want it based on the milk you choose.  If you don’t need as much fat for your day you can eliminate the whipping cream and use Whole or 2% milk instead.

#ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

Mexican Meatloaf – Keto Friendly

slicedmexicanmeatloaf

Another day – another discovery of a #KetoFriendly main dish that your family won’t miss the carbs in!  You can satisfy them by throwing potatoes into the oven while this is baking and throw some cauliflower into a pan to steam for yourself to mash up for a simple meal.  The best part is that this one is SO low carb that you can easily have your wine PLUS it makes enough for leftovers.  #EverybodyWins #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Keto Mexican Meatloaf

  • 3 pounds ground sirloin (90/10) – if you need more fat you should use 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup medium chunky salsa – or whatever heat level you desire
  • 1-2.25 oz can sliced olives
  • 2/3 cup crumbs from saltine crackers (I processed the crackers in my Vitamix)
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1+1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2+1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-10 oz can enchilada sauce – I used Las Palmas (<1g carbs per serving)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 ripe medium avocado diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream

Heat your oven to 350° and line the inner grease catch tray of your broiler pan with foil.  Place the top portion of the broiler pan back on top after spraying it with olive oil spray.

In a small bowl, combine all of the dry spices with your cracker crumbs.

In a large mixing bowl combine your ground beef/sirloin, eggs, salsa, 1/2 the can of olives, and cracker crumb/spice mixture using your hands.  Form the meat into one long loaf or two smaller loaves.  Cover with 1/3 of the can of the enchilada sauce and put into the oven.

After 30 minutes pull far enough out of the oven to pour another 1/3 of the can of the sauce over the meatloaf and put back into the oven for another 30 minutes then put the rest of the enchilada sauce over the meatloaf.  Cook for another 15 – 20 minutes and take out of the oven.

Let the meat loaf sit for 5 minutes before slicing.  Serve by adding the as little (or as much) of the cheese, avocado, tomatoes, olives, cilantro as you want to the sliced meatloaf.  Drizzle sour cream and additional hot sauce or salsa on top as desired.

platedmexicanmeatloaf

It tastes just like a taco!  Now I’m really looking forward to the leftovers.

 

Turkey Day Prep: Chunky Bacon Creamed Spinach

SpinachThis is the recipe made famous by the Southern California prime rib institution, Gulliver’s, with the barest of modifications to take away the baby food consistency and make it meatier.  There is also a seamless modification to make this a perfect Keto side dish.

Chunky Bacon Creamed Spinach

  • 2 – 16 oz packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 12 pieces thick cut bacon (Usually a 12 oz pkg) I buy from the butcher so it may be more than 12 oz
  • 3 cups milk (I recommend whole milk)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (1 1/2 tsp if jarred minced garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour  (for Keto use 1/3 cup almond flour)

Thaw spinach and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.

Cut bacon into about 1″ pieces and cook in a large saucepan or medium dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat until it’s brown but not yet crispy.  You want as much fat to render as possible so it’s not too chewy. Using tongs, remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.

Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  While onions are cooking, microwave your milk on high for 4 minutes.  Stir in pepper and flour, stirring continuously for about 2 minutes.

TIP: Pre-packaged bacon tends to be fattier, so you’ll have more grease and a better roux.  You may need to add a little butter (olive oil if you used almond flour) to the pan to give your mixture a better consistency if it’s too dry, if you used bacon with less visible fat.  If your bacon gave off more grease than whichever flour you used could absorb, add more a teaspoon at a time, thoroughly stirring in between additions until your roux is holding together and not too wet or dry.

Add milk and whip until smooth. TIP: If you don’t like the consistency of your almond flour, at this point you can use your immersion blender to smooth everything out, including the onions and garlic.

Stir and cook another 2 minutes, or until a slow boil starts.  Add bacon back in, then add spinach  Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  TIP: I like the creaminess of adding an additional 1/4 cup of heavy cream when it’s done cooking, but before the next. step, especially if you are doing the Keto version.  Cover top with 1/2 cup melted butter and lid until ready to serve.  If you can make this the day before, it is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator.  Just warm it up slowly in the oven.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Friendly, Low Carb Baked Cauliflower Au Gratin

Tomorrow’s all about talkin’ turkey, but tonight I wanted to look at an alternative to the usual sides and came across this recipe for baked cauliflower au gratin.  Anyone who is doing Keto or trying to avoid the bread and potatoes will definitely appreciate your (very limited) effort on this comforting side dish.

Baked Cauliflower Au Gratinlow-carb-baked-cauliflower-au-gratin-photo

  • 1 pound cauliflower cut into florets (or precut/bagged florets) 4 cups +/-
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp almond flour
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp coconut flour
  • 1+1/2 cups 2% or almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Preheat oven to 375° F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook 5 to 7 minutes until just tender.  Drain well and spread out on paper towels.  Using another layer of paper towel on top, gently press out as much moisture as you can.

While the cauliflower cooks, melt the butter in a medium pan over medium/high heat. Once melted, add in the almond and coconut flours and whisk, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown, about 1 minute.

Whisk in the milk, salt, garlic and onion powder and pepper until smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, until VERY thick, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheese until smooth.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan. Pack the cauliflower into the pan on top and then spoon the rest of the sauce over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. OPTIONAL: broil for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Buttermilk Brined Turkey Breast

bmilkbrinedtbreast

The biggest gripe I have about roasting a turkey is that, when roasting the whole bird, to get the thigh to come up to the optimal temperature of 170° you often will end up with a dry, overcooked breast that only needs to reach about 150° to be perfectly done.

This afternoon I came across an article on lifehacker.com that solves the problem!  Cook the breasts separately and brine them first in a buttermilk based brine that infuses the meat with an incredible amount of moisture and flavor while also adding some very needed fat to help retain both.

Word to the wise: buttermilk promotes browning so watch your breast carefully as you start to get into the latter stages of roasting.  The breast in the picture had foil on it for the last 15 minutes of roasting.

Buttermilk Brined Turkey Breast

  • 4-5 pound bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 quart of buttermilk
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 5 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns (white are ideal)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Citrus fruit slices (A couple of lemons and oranges is plenty.)

Pour the water into a sauce pan, along with the salt, sugar, garlic, pepper and bay leaf. Bring everything to a boil, then remove from the heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, combine it with the buttermilk, then pour the mixture over the turkey breast in a brining bag or small bucket. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375℉, remove the turkey from the brine, and let drain on paper towels, blotting to remove excess moisture from the skin. Scatter your fruit in the bottom of a roasting pan or large skillet, place a trivet or rack on top of that, then set the turkey on top. Roast uncovered until the skin is well-browned, covering with foil towards the end if it starts to look dicey. Continue to roast until the thickest part of the breast reads 150℉, about 90 minutes to two hours. If your breasts are Dolly Parton sized 😉 cook them a little longer. Remove from the oven, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Sprinkle with some sea salt and citrus zest before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat