Banana Muffin Tops

muffintops2I’m in the maintenance phase of Keto, where I have more leeway with the number of carbs I’m eating, which makes me a lot happier.  I’ve missed bread & pizza the most, but don’t want to completely erase my positive health gains by going back to high carbohydrate baked goods.  That leaves me few choices because, frankly, I have been very unimpressed with #KetoApproved recipes for breads.  It’s been really frustrating.

I’m stubborn though, so I keep trying.  I am still working to modify my recipes to create  #KetoFriendly baked goods that don’t taste like cardboard, have a too-dense, unenjoyable texture, and that I’d want to eat more than once.  This one was a win!

Banana Muffin Tops

  • 1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats (they’re Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Stevia
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Medium Ripe Bananas (6″-7″), mashed
  • Chopped Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Chips, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly spray a baking sheet or muffin top pan with cooking spray (TIP: Don’t use an Olive Oil based spray – it will change the flavor of your muffin tops).

Combine oats, flax seed, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in vanilla, stevia, milk, and mashed bananas.  (TIP:  If you are adding unsweetened coconut to your muffin tops, add it into the wet mixture)  Leave mixer on low and slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.  Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.

If you are using a muffin top pan: Divide the batter equally between 12 top-cups.  Make sure you mound the batter – don’t smooth the batter flat. (TIP:  If you are adding nuts or chocolate chips, etc., to your muffin tops, gently press those items on top of your mounded batter)  Bake for 20 minutes and allow to sit in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

If you are using a cookie sheet: Divide the batter into 6 equal mounds per sheet remembering not to smooth the batter flat.  Tops will spread a little bit, so space them out on the baking sheet.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes and allow to sit on the pan to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Store the muffin tops in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  These are great plain, but you can also spread peanut butter or cream cheese on them for an extra decadent treat.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Ham Wrapped Asparagus

asparaguswithhamaf2Talking to friends, I have heard a lot of them losing hope as the months of their dieting, and slow movements on the scale, drag on.  They’re getting bored with the foods they’re eating, or hate the foods that are promised to be the biggest help in losing weight, particularly eggs, on the #KetoDiet.  As one who suffers occasional food boredom as well, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite #MakeAhead snacks and #GrabAndGo meals that make me less tempted to cheat.

Air Fryer Ham Wrapped Asparagus

  • 8 Spears Fresh Asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 4 Large Thin Slices Ham, sliced in half (I use Columbus Brand Apple wood Smoked Ham)
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper
  1. Lay asparagus spears in the basket of your air fryer and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.  Shake the spears in the basket to make sure the spears are coated.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and shake again before closing the air fryer.
  3. Cook spears for 3 minutes at 400° F, and remove from basket.
  4. Wrap each spear of asparagus with 1/2 piece of ham.
  5. Place back in basket, seam side down and lightly spray again with olive oil spray.
  6. Cook another 5-7 minutes at 400° F, shaking once in the middle of the time, until ham is lightly browned.
  7. Remove spears from basket and serve warm with grained mustard, if desired.

This is a great appetizer, light lunch, or even breakfast.  I love to make some of these and put them into the refrigerator to pack for a midday snack at the office!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Avocado Fries II

4

When you get a new #KitchenToy, like the 6 qt, 1700 Watt #DashDeluxeAirFryer you experiment.  My husband said he loved the recipe last week for Air Fried Avocado Fries, but he drenched them in Spicy Ranch dressing, so I’m not sure if he was being objective, and the amount of salt from the almond flour in the main breading component just wasn’t doing it for me, so I decided to give them another shot.  This version wasn’t as heavy, or as salty, and, I think, much better suited to the buttery freshness of the avocado.

Air Fryer Avocado Fries II

  • 2 Medium Avocados
  • 2 TBLS Coconut Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 TBLS Extra Fine Almond Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds (Any Flavor)  I used 4505 Cracklins BBQ

Using a rolling pin, meat tenderizer, or even a rubber mallet from the garage, crush your pork rinds (TIP: I leave them in their bag or use a paper/zip bag to avoid a big mess) until they 1resemble coarse crumbs.  Using a fork, combine with the almond flour in a shallow dish.

Put the coconut flour in a zip bag or shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs.

Slice the avocado in half, remove from the shell, remove seed and slice each half into 4 portions.

Dip each slice in the egg wash then immediately coat with the crumb mixture.  Lay in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.

2

Set the temperature to 400° F and set your timer for 8 minutes of cooking time.  Open the drawer at with 1 minute remaining, and, depending on the thickness of your slices, you may want to add 1-2 minutes if you want them crispier/browner.  When your slices have reached your desired shade of brown, remove the basket from your Air Fryer and immediately move them to a serving dish.  I served with Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch dressing, which has only 2 grams of carbs per 2 TBLS serving, making this a perfect #KetoFriendly treat!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

3

Changing over to a Keto focused diet has meant embracing some foods that I wasn’t a fan of out of necessity, like cauliflower.  But, not having been a prior fan of anything cauliflower related, it’s been a journey making cauliflower my friend.

To be completely honest, without mass quantities of Frank’s Red Hot, Butter, Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, Pesto Sauce, Cheese Sauce or any version of Queso, and plain old Salt & Pepper, I would likely still be struggling with it…

I’ve had buffalo cauliflower at restaurants but never been able to replicate it at home using my oven. It has either come out overcooked or soggy.  Major fail!  Now that I have jumped on the #Airfryer bandwagon, I have finally managed to create a recipe at home that I’d actually serve people I like. 😉

Air Fried Buffalo Caulifower Bites

  • Medium Head Cauliflower OR 1 Bag Fresh Cauliflower Florets
  • 2 tsp Dried Cilantro
  • 2 TBLS (or more to taste) Frank’s Red Hot or other Hot Sauce
  • 2 TBLS Butter, melted

Either cut the head of cauliflower into florets or empty your bag into a medium sized bowl.  Sprinkle the cilantro over the cauliflower and stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s evenly distributed.

Mix the Franks (or other hot sauce) and butter until well combined and pour over the cauliflower.  Toss to coat the cauliflower.

Spray or brush the basket of your air fryer with olive oil.

Pour the cauliflower into the basket and close the drawer of the air fryer.  Set to 400° F and set the timer to cook for 18-20 minutes, depending on how much cauliflower you have.  Shake your basket every 4 minutes.  If, at the end of your cooking time your cauliflower isn’t as browned as you want it (I like mine to be browned at the edges), add some more time in increments of 2 minutes.

Serve with low carb ranch dressing and carrot & celery sticks if desired.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fried Avocado Fries

3

I bought another #KitchenToy and now have a whole new way to cook healthy meals.  Last week Amazon delivered a 6 quart, 1700 Watt, #DashDeluxeAirFryer to my front porch, and my avocados have finally ripened enough to give it a test run!  I’m not sure why, maybe because it was a killer #LightningDeal, but I bought the biggest one they make.  I hope I use it enough to justify giving up my storage space for it, it’s HUGE!

Air Fryer Avocado Fries

  • 2 Medium Avocados
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour (I use regular, not finely ground)
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds (Any Flavor)  I like 4505 Cracklins Spicy Green Chili & Lime
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Paramesan Cheese (I like to use a 3 cheese blend of Asiago/Parmesan/Fontina)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Using a chopper, food processor, or your Vitamix, crush your pork rinds until they 2resemble coarse crumbs.  Combine with the flour and cheese.

In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs.

Slice the avocado in half, remove from the shell, remove seed and slice each half into 4 portions.

Dip each slice in the egg wash then immediately coat with the crumb mixture.  Lay in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.

Set the temperature to 400° F, set your timer for 10 minutes and cook for 5 of the 10 minutes.  Open the drawer at 5 minutes and flip the slices over then continue cooking to the end.  I served with a low carb spicy ranch dressing.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

 

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

 

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