Three Pepper Cacio de Pepe

Recipes like this are why it’s so damn hard to stay Keto. 😂😂😂 Food & Wine Magazine just keeps enticing me to #TheDarkSide!

Three Pepper Cacio e Pepe

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground Tellicherry pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan pepper
  • 12 ounces uncooked bronze-cut fusilli col buco pasta (such as Giusto Sapore) or bucatini pasta
  • 1 1/2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated with a Microplane grater (about 1 cup), plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated with a Microplane grater (about 1 cup)

Turkey Day Prep: Pumpkin Hummus

You know you need something to let people snack on before the big meal, but you don’t want them to be too full to eat the meal you’ve been slaving over for days…

This recipe, from November 2015’s Food & Wine Magazine, takes the edge off but won’t ruin anyone’s dinner! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

How to Make It

In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the chickpeas with the pumpkin, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper and serve with pita chips or crudités.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberries

SmoothandWholeZCB

A few years ago I created a cran-blueberry sauce that was bursting with flavor and incorporated my favorite thing: wine!  Since then I have tried to limit my sugar consumption and been eating a modified Keto diet, so this year I’ve adapted my recipe, by #CookingWithStevia, for the Keto crowd.  No matter what, I use a good Zinfandel.  The taste matters.  This year it’s a 2015 #TobinJames #FatBoyZinfandel

Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Steviadon’t use Truvia, it has an after taste when not cooked
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring Stevia, wine and cinnamon stick to a full rolling boil in a medium saucepan.

Add remaining ingredients and return to a full boil (cranberries will start to pop), stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure nothing sticks.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop.

Turn off heat and, if all cranberries didn’t pop fully, press with the back of a large spoon if desired.  I use my meat mallet and gently press down until all are popped.

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.  To save time, and stove space, this can be made ahead and kept refrigerated in a tightly covered container.

*If you want it jellied:  Strain out the berry solids and skins by pressing them using a rubber spatula and fine mesh strainer before refrigerating.  To get the most of the strained pulp, I run it through my mini-chopper (or a food processor / blender) after the first pressing, then run that through the strainer again.  Sauce thickens as it cools and should be stored in a sealed container if not serving immediately (after the 2 hour chilling).

Nutrition Information: (Makes 3 CupsServing Size 2 TBLS)

  • 33  Calories
  • <1 g  Fat
  • 2.2 g Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

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Instant Pot Spicy Tomato Bisque

TomatoBisque

I bought some organic tomatoes on the vine and a pint of grape tomatoes that I hadn’t finished but didn’t want to go to waste.  Tomato soup is my favorite, but the canned variety is SO full of carbs…enter the #InstantPot and, 20 minutes later, viola #LowCarbTomatoBisque!

Spicy Tomato Bisque

  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion (1 Small to Medium Onion)
  • 3 Ribs Celery, Chopped (About 3/4 Cup)
  • 2 Medium Carrots, Peeled & Cut into 1/2″ Slices
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 4-6 Medium Tomatoes, Quartered (I used 4 + 2/3 Pint of Grape Tomatoes)
  • 1/2 TBLS Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 TBLS Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 TBLS Dried Basil
  • 1 – 10.5 oz Can Beef Consommé (or Vegetable Broth for Vegetarian) + 1/2 Can Water
  • Dried Red Pepper Flakes (if desired)
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (if desired)

Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the oil to warm.  Add onion, celery, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, oregano, basil and parsley cook for about 3 minutes.

Add Consommé/Broth and red pepper if using.  Mix well.  Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing and set to cook for 9 minutes.

When cycle is complete, set valve to quick release, open the Instant Pot, and puree the soup using an immersion blender.  I prefer mine a little bit chunky.

Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode.  Stir in cream and adjust spices with salt & pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition Information:  Serves 6

  • 152.5  Calories
  • 13g  Fat
  • 6.5 g  Carbs
  • 2 g  Protein

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to:  recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Low Carb Fruits & Veggies

#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Keto Friendly Anytime Smoothie

AnytimeSmoothieDeciding how you spend your carb allowance, when you are following a #KetoLifestyle, presents you with many options, depending on what stage of Keto you are at.  When you are in your induction and weight loss phase, smoothies are generally not the way to spend your day’s allotted carbohydrates, but this one tops out at 9 Net Carbs so it can be included from day 1.  This light and frothy smoothie a great #PickMeUp for that late afternoon slump plus it gives you a big protein, vitamin and fiber boost without piling on the calories.

Once you’ve hit maintenance phase smoothies packed with a higher berry to spinach ratio are a great way to get your fruits and veggies in with relatively little impact on your carb count.

Keto Friendly Anytime Smoothie

  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • 1 Cup Halved Strawberries
  • 2 Cups (packed) Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 Scoop No Carb Protein Powder (I use Isopure Zero Carb Creamy Vanilla)
  • 1 Cup Ice Cubes

Starting with your water, put all of your ingredients, except your ice, into your blender or Vitamix.  If you have a smoothie setting, like I do on my Vitamix, include the ice, switch to that mode and hit start.  Your Vitamix will stop when it’s ready.  Otherwise, start on a low setting until ingredients are combined then turn your machine up to medium high and blend until smooth.  Without turning your machine off, Open your ingredient addition port (hole in top of blender lid) and add in the ice until desired consistency.

Nutrition Information (Serves 1)

  • 162 Calories
  • 0 g Fat
  • 8 g Carbohydrates
  • 28 g Protein

Cheesy Keto Cauli-Grits

I like a big breakfast and thought that living a Keto Lifestyle limited my breakfast choices.  A little experimentation corrected that notion.

1

Truth be told, I failed miserably on my first attempt at this recipe.  I envisioned a perfectly browned patty that resembled hash browns on the outside but inside had the creamy deliciousness of cheesy grits.  Not so much.  The ingredients were fine, it was that I thought using a lightly oiled cast iron pan would give me the results I wanted.  Instead I ended up with a burned mess that was impossible to turn.  Strike One!

The second attempt though nailed it!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cheesy Keto Cauli-Grits

  • 2 Cups Shredded Cauliflower
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt

Tip:  I used my Vitamix to pulse the cauliflower down to rice sized crumbles.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, blender, or Vitamix, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt & pepper, and cauliflower.  Process until combined but not completely smooth.

Scoop the mixture (about 1/4 cup) into mounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Lightly press each mound down to about 1/2″ thickness.

Bake in 350° oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tops turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet to cool for 5 minutes.

Serve alongside scrambled eggs and bacon for a perfect Keto breakfast, or alongside beef, chicken, or fish for a perfect dinner side dish.

Nutrition Information per Patty (8 Servings)

  • 83.25 Calories
  • 7.2 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 3.32 g Protein

Foolproof Cauliflower Crust

If at first you don’t succeed…listen to the experts and get a pizza stone if you don’t have one.  I got mine at Pampered Chef, but this Weber 8836 with the carrying tray is a great one too:

Next, find a video how-to on Epicurious.com.


Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup finely ground almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella (about 5 ounces), divided
  • Vegetable oil (for brushing)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Arrange a rack in middle of oven; place pizza stone or inverted (if rimmed) baking sheet on rack. Preheat to 425°F.
  2. Working in batches if needed, pulse cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the blade, or grate using the medium holes of a box grater, until fine crumbs form and are rice-like in texture. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and tightly squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Mix cauliflower, egg, Parmesan, almond meal, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl until mixture holds together when pinched.
  4. Line pizza peel or second baking sheet with parchment paper; generously brush with oil. Form cauliflower mixture into a 12″ circle with your hands on parchment. Using a rolling pin, make thickness as even as possible. Carefully slide parchment onto preheated pizza stone or baking sheet.
  5. Bake cauliflower crust until golden brown and firm to the touch, rotating halfway through, 20–22 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups mozzarella. Top with sauce, using the back of a spoon to spread over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella.
  7. Slide pizza back onto pizza stone or baking sheet and continue to bake until bubbly and browned in spots, 5–7 minutes. Top with basil and red pepper, if using. Let sit 5 minutes, then cut into 6–8 wedges.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Low Carb & Gluten Free Brownies

avocadobrowniesAlthough I’m not a daily dessert eater, I do have a wicked love of anything chocolate.  These #KetoFriendly brownies satisfy that love without ruining my diet goals.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Keto Avocado Brownies

  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 6 TBLS Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Mix
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2/3 cup Xylitol (Sugar Substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract, pure
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 8”-x-8” square pan with parchment paper. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  3. Bake until brownies are soft but not at all wet to the touch, 40 – 45 minutes. Let cool 25 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

sweetpotatochipsI’m a savory snack girl, but don’t want to completely derail my hard earned Keto gains by cheating with a bag of store bought potato chips.  What’s a snacker to do?  This snacker chooses to spend her carbs on a healthier version of sweet potato chips, without the store bought preservatives and additives.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes (or yams)
  • 1 TBLS Corn Starch
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • 4 Limes
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425° and place oven safe cooling racks on 2 baking sheets.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes and thinly slice with a very sharp kitchen knife or mandolin.
  3. Place sweet potato slices in a bowl and cover them with warm water and corn starch. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the water and dry very well with a paper towel.
  5. Lay a single layer of potatoes on each rack and spray each side of the potato slice with olive oil spray.
  6. If you have a small spray bottle, fill it with your lime juice & spritz top side lightly with the lime juice.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, drizzle the lime juice lightly over your potatoes.
  7. Lightly salt the tops then bake for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on thickness of slices), flipping the potato slices half way through the baking process. Check the potato chips frequently, it may take less time if your chips are sliced extra thin, to make sure that they don’t burn! Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 oz):

  • 24 Calories
  • 0 g Fat
  • 4 g Carbs
  • <1 g Protein