The Best and Worst Alcohol for the Keto Diet

Today, for my alcohol enjoying #Keto followers, I’m sharing an excerpt from an article in #HealthMagazine from November of 2018. #ThisGirlLovesHerDrinks

The best (and worst) alcohol for the keto diet

No matter what proof (80 through 100), gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey all have 0 grams of carbohydrate in a jigger (or 1.5 ounces). Have your drink neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of plain soda water. And it’s best to pour your own rather than cracking open one of those pre-made spiked seltzers; one can deliver anywhere from 1 to 5 grams carbohydrate.

If you’re craving a glass of wine, budget for it, and keep the pour size in mind. A glass of white wine ranges from 3 to 6 grams of carbohydrate per five ounces. (The sweeter whites—think riesling versus chardonnay—typically have more carbohydrates.) At home, you’re likely to pour more than five ounces, especially if you have larger wine glasses. And a standard restaurant pour is six ounces. Red wine has a tighter range of carbohydrates, at 2.5 to 4 grams per 5-ounce pour, with little variation between varieties.

Skip beer: It’s essentially bread in a bottle. A can of beer has around 12 grams of carbs. Though if you must have a beer, seek out a light beer, which comes in at around half that carb load per can.

Two other no-nos: mixers (they’re all pretty much sugar-laden) and sake. A 6-ounce pour is fairly common for sake, and it delivers nearly 9 grams of carbohydrate.

An unexpected perk of going keto

In any trendy diet, there are always nuggets of wisdom buried somewhere—and keto is no exception. Because it involves such a tight carb budget, the diet doesn’t leave much room for regular alcohol consumption. And when you do imbibe, quantity is limited, so you’re likely to stay within the recommended limit. (That’s one drink per day for women, and two for men.) Considering that more and more research suggests moderate drinking may be more detrimental to our health than experts previously thought, the keto diet’s booze restrictions could be a really good thing in the long run.

Valentine’s Day Quick Carnitas Tacos

fullsizerender-3On a whim, I decided to make carnitas tacos for Valentine’s Day dinner at home.  I didn’t have to worry about not thinking ahead because my pressure cooker would cook the meat even if it wasn’t all the way thawed in time.  Whew!

Thankfully I’d thrown a pork shoulder in the freezer when they’d been on sale at the grocery store, so I’d just have to rummage through the refrigerator and cupboard to see what I could cobble together to make a meal.

Appetizer:  Spicy Pickled Carrots & Jalapenos

  • 6 Carrotsfullsizerender-4
  • 2 Large Jalapenos
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp Whole Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water

Boil the water and apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  When at a full rolling boil shut off the flame and immediately add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir once and let stand for about an hour.  Serve at room temperature, or if you have time, refrigerate to bring out even more flavor.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and eat within a week.

Now on to the main course.

Pressure Cooker Carnitas

  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Pounds Pork Shoulder
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Sliced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Peeled
  • 4-6 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Large Fresh Lemon
  • 1 Jalapeño Sliced in Half
  • 1 1/3 Cup Chicken Broth

Preparation

  1. Set the pressure cook to brown setting
  2. Pour the oil into the pressure cooker
  3. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and cloves on all sides of the pork
  4. Place the pork in the pressure cooker and brown on all sides
  5. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the pork, add the onion, garlic, cilantro, halved jalapeño, the squeezed lemons and the chicken broth
  6. Cover the pressure cooker, lock on the lid, and bring to high pressure
  7. Cook pork at high pressure for 45 minutes
  8. Turn off and allow pressure to release naturally
  9. Transfer pork to a baking sheet
  10. Preheat the broiler to high
  11. Shred pork with two forks on baking sheet
  12. Broil until the pork starts to crisp, about 3 minutes.
  13. Serve with warm corn tortillas, sliced avocado, shredded cabbage, pepper jack or cojito cheese, hot sauce and wedges of lime

A can of refried beans, a couple of street tacos and a beer and it’s a meal!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake

There is just something amazing about chocolate cake that’s made with beer!

This recipe from the archives of Bon Appétit (October 2009) looks like something I can throw together for a day of Super Bowl munching without investing too much time hunting down out of the ordinary ingredients.


Bon Appétit says, instead of cold milk, to serve this cake with glasses of the same beer you used in the cake batter. They even suggest making the stout into a float by dropping a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream to the beer for a grown-up float.  Yum!

Unless we just want to skip the cake and drink stout floats, we’d probably better get to work making the cake. 😉

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup chocolate stout, regular stout, or porter
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

Bittersweet – Espresso Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Preparation

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper round; butter and flour parchment. Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 11/4 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee. Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in 2 additions just until incorporated.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide batter between prepared cake pans (about 3 cups for each); smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper and cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.

For frosting:

Place chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Combine whipping cream and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Bring cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Pour cream mixture over chopped chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Chill chocolate frosting until slightly thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (or for quick chilling, place frosting in freezer until thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes).

Using a serrated knife, trim rounded tops from both cake layers so that tops are flat. Place 1 cake layer, trimmed side up, on 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round, then place on rack set over baking sheet. Drop 1 1/4 cups frosting by large spoonfuls over top of cake layer; spread frosting evenly to edges with offset spatula or butter knife. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours before serving.

Ingredient tip:

If you can find it (try Total Wine they have a great selection), use a chocolate stout (Brooklyn Brewery and Oregon’s Rogue Brewery for example) in the cake batter. The chocolaty flavors in the beer come from dark-roasting the malts. Some brewers even add a little chocolate to the beer as well. If you can’’t find chocolate stout, use another stout, such as Guinness. Sierra Nevada Porter and Samuel Adams Honey Porter would also work well in this recipe.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Food Network’s Can O’ Beer Cake


The named the recipe didn’t entice me, but the picture sure did!  The tiny air pockets in the cake, the luscious glaze and the dark cherry compote look too good to pass up, so this is definitely gracing my next dinner party table!

Can O’ Beer Cake

Ingredients

  • Nonstick baking spray, for preparing the pan
  • One 15-ounce box yellow cake mix (I am substituting a chocolate cake mix)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • One 12-ounce can lager, such as Budweiser or Sam Adams
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • One 12-ounce bag frozen cherries, thawed
  • Whipped cream for serving, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 10-cup plain Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

Whisk the cake mix, oil, eggs and 1 cup beer in a large bowl until smooth and well-combined, at least 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula, then bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons beer in a heatproof glass bowl and microwave until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until dissolved.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Using a toothpick, poke several holes over the cake, then drizzle the beer syrup evenly over the cake until it soaks in. Let the cake cool completely.

Stir the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons beer together in a bowl until smooth. Add more beer, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed to form a thick glaze. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake and let stand until set, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining beer and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with the cherries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the cherries are warmed through and the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cherries to a bowl and let cool completely.

Serve cake slices with the cherries on the side and a dollop of whipped cream, if using.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Tailgating on Thursday Night Sucks!

uscwthursAny true college football fan knows that spending all day Saturday tailgating is as much a part of the experience as the game is.

Whoever decided to add Friday night games (the traditional high school game night), then compounded that mistake by adding Thursday night games to the schedule, took away a lot of the fun of hanging with old and new friends and getting hyped up on game day.  That marketing “genius” should go down in the football hall of shame.

HELLO! People work and a 6:00 PM weekday/workday kickoff in a downtown location like USC in Los Angeles makes for a much shorter, less fun pre-game experience – not to mention the traffic nightmares that face people who can’t get off early meaning seats look empty on the national TV broadcast.

Even worse, in a non-college town (unlike most of the towns around colleges in the South) game day is just another day in the week when it’s not a Saturday.  The stadium isn’t as full as it would be on a weekend (especially one that holds 90,000 + when sold out) and, no matter how good or bad the team is doing, more and more people are skipping the game and/or giving away their Thursday night game tickets.  The excuses are varied yet all some version of the same: unable to face the traffic, hate the rush to get there, and need to get up too early for work the next day.  I am part of the working world, we are more than an hour from the stadium on a good day, but we only get 6-7 home games a year, so we’re blazing ahead!

Weeks like this are great opportunities to cut down the usual prep time, combine ready made foods in grocery stores with easy snacks, save setup and eliminate the need to cook on site, so we can enjoy our shortened time together!

IMG_4227[1]Needless to say it won’t be like our Week 1 Lobster boil, but I’ve huddled with our fellow tailgaters and we’ve come up with a total no-cook pre-game plan:

  • 2 Buckets of Grocery-Deli Fried Chicken
  • Deli Potato Salad
  • King’s Hawaiian Rolls
  • BBQ Sauce (for making chicken sandwiches on the rolls)
  • Chips & Sour Cream Onion Dip (OK we will have to add the envelope to the container)
  • Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies and various no-cook, grab & go snacks
  • Beer/Wine/Cocktails & plenty of Water for re-hydrating

If you are on Facebook and are 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, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood