Keto Lemon Cheesecake Bars

withberriesA light lemony cheesecake dessert on a buttery shortbread-like crust with a sweet-tart lemon layer covered by creamy cheesecake layer.  You can enjoy this guilt free because #ItsKeto!

Keto Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly butter a 13 x 9 Pyrex baking pan.

Using a pastry blender, forks, or your blender/Vitamix, combine the ingredients for your crust until coarse crumbs form.  TIP:  I like to use my Vitamix 750 Pro on the 2 setting, after pulsing to start, so that, instead of coarse crumbs, a light, fluffy dough forms.

  • 1+1/2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Swerve Confectioners Sugar Substitute
  • 3/4 Cup Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut into Cubes

Press the crumbs into the bottom of the baking dish.  Bake until golden brown, 18-21 minutes.  Don’t under cook the crust!  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the lemon layer by combining, in your blender:

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Xylitol or Erithritol (Sugar Substitutes)
  • 1+1/2 TBLS Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 2 TBLS Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice

Pour lemon mixture onto the baked crust.  Skim off any large bubbles from the surface of the lemon layer.

Prepare the cheesecake layer by combining, in your stand mixer or cleaned blender container:

  • 2 – 8 oz Packages Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Granulated Xylitol or Erithritol
  • 2 Large Eggs

BEWARE:  If you use Xylitol in this recipe, which I prefer because there’s no aftertaste or cool sensation, Xylitol IS NOT PET SAFESo, no sharing with your furry babies.

When well combined, pour and spread over the lemon mixture.  It’s ok if the lemon layer peeks through, the cheesecake layer rises to the top during baking.  Bake until the filling is set about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack before putting into the refrigerator to chill.  Cut into 24 Bars and top with a couple of fresh berries if desired.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (24 Servings):

  • 131 Calories (Savings of 125 Calories without real sugars & all purpose flour)
  • 1 g  Fat (Savings of 13 g Fat from traditional recipe)
  • 4 g  Carbs  (Savings of 27 g Carbs from traditional recipe)
  • 3 g  Protein

Low Carb Spinach Wraps

spinachwrapsSince going Keto, I’ve missed sandwiches and wraps, so I’m always on the lookout for a low carb replacement.  Today I tripped across a simple recipe I could adapt for spinach based wraps that I can use for lunches or even burritos! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick & Easy Spinach Wraps

  • 1/2 – of a 16 oz bag of Frozen Spinach (defrosted)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Psyllium Husk Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  1. Defrost spinach, then squeeze out all of the water.
  2. Put the spinach and all other ingredients in your blender or Vitamix.
  3. Process for 1-2 Minutes, gradually increasing your speed, until all ingredients are combined and very smooth.
  4. Add in 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese.  Blend another 15-30 Seconds.
  5. Lightly spray a small skillet with the olive oil spray (I used a 6 1/3″ Le Crueset Skillet) and put on stove with flame set to medium-high heat.
  6. After about 30 seconds, lower heat to medium and pour about 1/2 of the batter in the middle of the pan.
  7. Using a spatula spread the batter out to make a tortilla shape – the mix will be thick but not unspreadable, just keep spreading until you have created an even, thin disc.
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes, you should see bubbles popping like when cooking a pancake, or until the edges start to shrink away; check if cooked by lifting the edge: if it lifts easily, you can now flip your tortilla over and cook the other side for about another minute.
  9. Remove from pan, cool on a wire rack, and fill with your favorite sandwich or wrap fillings.

Cool completely and make sure wraps are dry before storing in a sealed container, between pieces of parchment or waxed paper, in the refrigerator.  Can be frozen in zip bags as well.

Nutrition Information per wrap (makes 3 large wraps):

  • 168  Calories
  • 6 g  Fat
  • 3 g  Carbs
  • 9 g  Protein

Garlic Cauliflower Gnocchi

4I’m all-in on my #KetoLifestyle, but there are certain things I enjoy, like bread and pasta, that I miss incredibly.  I love zucchini, but I can’t accept zoodles as a legitimate replacement for pasta.  Trader Joe’s makes a great cauliflower gnocchi, but it’s not Keto friendly, so I set out to adapt a regular gnocchi recipe to one that fits into my Keto lifestyle.  It’s also a great recipe for anyone following a Gluten Free diet.

Garlic Cauliflower Gnocchi

  • Medium Head Cauliflower
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 TBLS Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • Olive Oil Spray

Combine the flour, salt, garlic powder and basil in a bowl and set aside.

Remove the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into florets. You want 5 cups of florets.  Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor (I use my Vitamix) and pulse until it’s riced into crumbles.

SistemaLargeSteamerUsing a microwave-safe steamer (I use the Sistema 6 Cup [Large] Microwave Steamer) cook the cauliflower 7+1/2 to 10 minutes on high – you want the cauliflower done but not soggy.

TIP:  If you don’t have a microwave steamer:  Place all of the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower and spread it on a towel to cool.  Once cauliflower is cool enough to work with, wrap in a towel and squeeze the water out.

Place the cauliflower back in the food processor (Vitamix). Blend until creamy.

Put the drained cauliflower into a large bowl (I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment) and add the dry ingredients.  Mix together until your dough comes together.  TIP:  Do not add more flour – it’s OK that the dough is sticky at this point.

Transfer the dough to a floured bread board or counter top. To make the dough easier to work with, you’ll want to add an additional tablespoon or two (no more than that) of flour as you roll the dough. Shape it into a ball, then wrap it in a piece of waxed paper and refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator and slice it into 4 equal sections.

Roll each section out until you have a rope about 1-inch thick.  Slice the dough into 1/2″ squares with a sharp knife.

I do a two part cooking process.  First I boil the gnocchi in rapidly boiling, salted water for 6 minutes.  Next you have the choice of how (if at all) you want to brown up your gnocchi.  I prefer to brown it to give the gnocchi a nice seal – you can decide on the degree of brownness you like.

To Sauté the gnocchi:  Using olive oil cooking spray (for the least added calories and fat), generously spray a skillet and, working in batches, place a single layer of gnocchi in the pan and then give them a light coating of olive oil spray on the exposed side.  Cook about 5 minutes per side if you like them crisp and deep brown.  You can reduce the time for lighter brown, less crispy, more traditional gnocchi.

To Oven Roast the gnocchi:  Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray it with olive oil cooking spray.  Place your boiled gnocchi down in rows, spray the tops with olive oil spray and lightly season with salt & pepper.  In a preheated 425° F oven, bake for 12 minutes then turn the gnocchi over, return to the oven and continue cooking for an additional 10-12 minutes.  This will give you a nice, crispy, medium brown gnocchi.

To Serve:  I melt some butter in a skillet and add some freshly chopped basil and garlic to the butter and sauté for about 3 minutes over medium heat until the butter just starts to brown a bit.  Drizzle the sauce over the piles of gnocchi and serve immediately.  Alternatively, these hold up great in a spicy marinara sauce with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese too.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories   100
  • Net Carbs 6.75 grams
  • Fat             2.5 grams
  • Protein    5 grams

Kumquat Margaritas

Kumquat-Margaritas

We have a Kumquat tree in our backyard and I honestly never know what to do with them!  Now I do.  As they say about lemons, when life gives them to you, make lemonade…well, apparently kumquats and tequila are a thing too!  Who knew?

Kumquat Margaritas

  • 1 Pint Kumquats (About 40)
  • 2 Medium Limes
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Silver Tequila
  • 1/4 Cup Grand Marnier
  • 3 Cups Crushed Ice
  • 3 TBLS Kosher Salt
  • 4 wedges of lime (for serving)

Pressing down, roll the limes on your counter, or a cutting board, to release the juice.  Cut your limes in half, remove the seeds, and put 3 of the halves in your blender container.  Cut the remaining half in half again, then use the wedges to wet the rims of your margarita or old fashioned glasses, dip the rims in the salt, and set aside.  Drop the lime wedges into the blender container.  Slice the kumquats in half, remove the seeds, and add them to the blender container.  Add water to the blender and puree until mostly smooth.

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium saucepan, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard skins and pulp.  Add sugar and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, 20-25 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes, then refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Mix tequila and Grand Marnier with 1/3 Cup of the kumquat reduction.  Serve over crushed ice in the salt rimmed glasses with a wedge of lime.  Makes 3 Drinks (about 2/3 Cup each)  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick Cream of Mushroom Soup

Every once in a while you just need a hearty, comforting bowl of soup, especially one that can be put on the table in under 30 minutes!  The great thing about this soup is that it’s #LactoVegetarian and #KetoFriendly so you can keep it as a #GoToRecipe for when you are hosting friends or family who may be making those lifestyle choices.

Once you’ve seen how quick and easy this soup is to make, and how great it tastes,  you’ll never stress about hosting Keto or Vegetarian friends for lunch or dinner again!

creamofmushroomsoup

Keto Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 24 oz Sliced Cremini Mushrooms (681 g)
  • 4 TBLS Butter (1/4 Cup)
  • 4 TBLS Olive Oil (1/4 Cup)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 3 Green Onions (Scallions) Chopped – Reserve 2 TBLS for garnish
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Brandy
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon (Cooked), Chopped – Leave out for Vegetarian
  • Sour Cream or Crème Fraîche (optional)

In a 5 qt Dutch oven, or large saucepan, heat the oil and butter until melted.  Add the garlic and  all but 2 TBLS of the chopped green part of the scallions to the pan.  Sauté for about 3 minutes.

Add all of the mushrooms and stir to make sure they are well coated with the oil/butter.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their moisture and are softened.  Add the vegetable stock and cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until soup reaches a boil.

Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender, process the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  I like mine to have pretty good texture, so I leave it kind of chunky.  If you like it really smooth, you can process the mushroom/broth mixture in batches, in your Vitamix or blender and return the blended mixture to the pan.  Make sure that you don’t over fill your blender container and watch your steam build up.

Once you’ve processed your soup, stir in your whipping cream and chopped, cooked bacon (if you’re not keeping it Vegetarian) and heat soup over low heat, but do not let it reach a boil.  Stir in the brandy for the last minute of heating and then turn off heat.  Keep covered until ready to serve.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Serving suggestions:

  • Top with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Top with chopped chives or scallions
  • Top with additional chopped bacon

Pomegranate Cosmopolitan

1985domwboxWhile we all love a bottle of something bubbly on New Year’s Eve, I’m a girl who likes to start the evening’s festivities off with something fun.

It’s even better when I can make that something fun by the pitcher to share with my like minded girlfriends, so I don’t have to pause during the fun of the evening to play bartender!

The fun of this big batch Cosmopolitan / Martini is that it gets made in the blender (my Vitamix) and strained into the pitcher.  No messy cocktail shaker to deal with and no sticky counter from prying the shaker lid on and off for each individual drink!

Pomegranate Cosmopolitanpomegranatemartini

  • 1 Cup Vodka (I prefer Grey Goose L’Orange)
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier / Cointreau / Triple Sec)
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 2 limes, peel removed in strips and retained.  Fruit cut into quarters, seeds (if any) discarded.
  • 1/2 Cup Ice Cubes

Peeled lime, close-upScrape the lengths of lime peel so that no bitter white pith remains.  Slice into 1/2″ wide lengths and wrap around a straw to shape in a curl and put into the refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes.

Put everything, except the lime peels, into the blender (or Vitamix) container, and blend on High (10) for about 30 seconds.

Pour through a fine sieve into chilled martini glasses or into a chilled pitcher to serve later.  Recipe makes 3 large drinks and can easily be doubled to make a pitcher.

pomfruitsUse the lime strips to garnish the glasses and drop a few pomegranate arils, coated in sugar, into the bottom of the glass if desired.

**TIPTo coat the pomegranate arils, in sugar, put a tablespoon or two in a zip bag with a tablespoon of pomegranate juice and a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar.  Close the zipper on the bag and shake vigorously until the arils are well coated.

**TIPIf you like your martini sweeter, add a tablespoon of simple syrup (a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water – I make a cup at a time in the microwave to keep on hand).

**TIP If you like your martini with no evidence of the muddled lime in it, pour it through the sieve again when you pour it from the pitcher to the chilled glass.  #ThisGirlLovesHerCocktails

Adapted from the Vitamix Cookbook

Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing

indexyresolutions

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