Get Thee to Whole Foods!

Food & Wine Magazine shared the tip that, today, Whole Foods announced it’s bringing back its popular 12 Days of Cheese promotion. Because Whole Foods loves us and wants us to be happy, 😉 from December 12 to 23, we can eat our way through a choice of high-quality artisanal cheeses at ridiculously prices!

Each day from December 12 to 23, Whole Foods’ will make a different one of its “highest-quality cheeses available at a generous discount, from artisans like 2019–20 World Cheese Award–winner Rogue Creamery.” That discount: 50 percent off—with an additional 10 percent off if you’re a Prime member. This is reason enough to renew my #AmazonPrime membership! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Here’s a cheat-sheet of the 2019 sale lineup – bonus, Whole Foods loves to let you sample:

Dec. 12: Roth Pavino
“Rich, earthy, medium-firm Alpine cheese with notes of sweet hazelnut. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 13: Istara P’tit Basque
“Aged a minimum of 70 days, this creamy and smooth sheep milk cheese has a mild, nutty flavor with a subtle, sweet finish.”

Dec. 14: Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve
“A cow’s milk Alpine-style cheese modeled after favorites like Le Gruyère and Beaufort, with flavors ranging from milky to nutty and grassy. The Pleasant Ridge Reserve is America’s most awarded cheese.”

Dec. 15: Neal’s Yard Dairy Keen’s Cheddar
“This cheese is dense yet creamy with complex flavors ranging from fruity to sweet butterscotch. Each wheel has been hand selected by our experts.”

Dec. 16: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog
“A goat’s milk soft-ripened American original with a beautiful ribbon of edible ash through the center. Floral, herbaceous overtones, buttermilk and fresh cream flavors.”

Dec. 17: Emmi Cave Aged Le Gruyère
“A firm, almost crumbly Alpine cheese. Robust, deeply flavored, with tangy fruit notes and classic nuttiness.”

Dec. 18: Sweet Grass Dairy Thomasville Tomme
“Raw cow’s milk, handcrafted cheese with a semi-firm texture. Rich, earthy flavors with a finish of light salt, grass and tangy cream.”

Dec. 19: Mitica Cordobes
“Made with Castellana and Merino sheep milk from Spain. Rich and buttery flavors balanced by bright acidity and nutty undertones. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 20: Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue
“Aged at least 90 days in Roquefort modeled caves, this organic cheese has briny, earthy flavors with notes of sweet cream and huckleberry. Rogue Creamery recently made history by producing the first American cheese ever to win top honors at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy.”

Dec. 21: Klare Melk Truffle Gouda
“Rich, flavorful, semi-firm cheese. Velvety notes of sweet cream and butter, generously laced with earthy truffles.”

Dec. 22: Cellars at Jasper Hill Harbison with Prosecco
“Soft-ripened, buttery, woodsy and sweet with balanced tones of mustard. A wash in Presto prosecco brings out bright citrus flavors. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 23: MonS Mary dans les Étoiles
“Stunning, ash-coated geo-rind goat cheese. Creamy and grassy, finished with light citrus notes. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

chickbaconranchmb2

Ground chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to build a base for a #Keto meal!  It’s so versatile, mixes so well with most of my favorite ingredients, and is so easy to meal prep for the week ahead, that it’s become my go-to for creating new #KetoRecipes

This recipe for #ChickenBaconRanchMeatballs is fun because you can eat them all alone or pop them on a skewer between a piece of lettuce and 1/2 a plum or cherry tomato and drizzle with some ranch dressing for a fun lunch, light dinner, or appetizer.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

  • 2 Pounds Ground Chicken Breast
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon
  • 3 Pieces Thick Cut Peppered Bacon
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 4 TBLS Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 Cup Panko
  • Olive Oil Spray

 

Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed.

Spray the basket in your air fryer lightly with olive oil spray, place a layer of meatballs, with space between for the air to flow around, set the temperature to 380° F, and set the timer for 8 minutes. Cook the meatballs, shaking them to turn them about halfway through so they brown evenly.

Quick, easy and oh so tasty!

 

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

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

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.

Keto Banana Muffin Tops

bananamufftopsGetting rear-ended by a #TextingTeenager in my Shiny Red Porsche has left me incredibly sore, unable to exercise, do most things with my hands, lift just about everything, go just about anywhere, and, worst of all for my followers, type my blog. 😦  Unfortunately, for my hard earned weight loss gains, it has allowed me to, once again, sit on my butt and eat. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Thankfully I have good Keto recipes, a stand mixer to stir for me, and a good friend willing to fix my one fingered typing errors, so I’m kind of back.

Keto Banana Muffin Tops

  • 6 TBLS Egg Whites
  • 1 Whole Large Egg
  • 3 VERY Ripe Small to Medium Bananas
  • 1+1/2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 2 TBLS Butter Melted
  • 2 TBLS Truvia
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts or Pecans (if desired)

In medium bowl combine your baking flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In stand mixer combine your egg whites and truvia.  Beat on medium/high speed until stiff peaks form then turn off.

In a third bowl combine the whole egg, bananas, butter and nuts (if using).

Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until well combined then fold in egg whites.

Spoon mixture into muffin top pan and bake at 350° F for 14 – 16 minutes or until bottoms are browned.  You can also line mini-muffin pans with parchment paper and bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Nutrition Information

  • 56  Calories
  • 1 g  Fat
  • 4.5 g Carbs
  • 3 g Protein

 

Mushroom Soup 3 Ways

There’s nothing else like a hearty mushroom soup to make my tummy super happy. #ThisGirlLovesToEat. Thankfully, mushroom soup is easy to make, and can be #KetoFriendly, as these three recipes, adapted from #RecipeIdeas, prove!

Basic Mushroom Soup 

Ingredients 

8 ounces of mushroom
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tbsp of onion (chopped)
4 cups of milk
½ tsp of salt
2 cups of boiling water
¼ tsp of pepper
3 tbsp of flour

Instructions

Put the mushrooms in a saucepan. Pour in the bouillon and water. Add the onion. Boil this and let it simmer for half an hour. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Stir in the flour and add the milk. Cook and stir this simple mushroom soup recipe mix until the sauce gets thick. Pour this in the mushrooms. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Mushroom Soup with Sausages 

Ingredients 

16 ounces of sausages (cut thin)
4 TBSP of flour (reduced to make this #KetoFriendly)
4 tbsp of butter
10 ounces of cheddar cheese (grated)
1 clove garlic (minced)
4 green onions (sliced)
16 ounces of mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/8 tsp pf ground black pepper
½ tsp of parsley
1 cup of heavy cream
½ tsp of onion tops

Instructions 

Begin by cooking the sausages at medium heat. Set the sausages on a plate. Toss the mushrooms in the pot where the sausages were cooked. Keep stirring until the mushrooms become tender. Toss in the garlic and onions.

Sauté this for a minute. Transfer this mushroom soup recipe mix in a bowl. Put butter in the pot. Add the flour and stir until the concoction turns bubbly. Add the broth and keep stirring. Toss in the cheese and heavy cream.

Pour the mushrooms and sausages in the pot. Add some pepper. Heat it. Serve with the parsley and some onions.

Mushroom Soup with Tomato Paste 

Ingredients 

4 cups of water
2 cans of condensed beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 lb of mushrooms (fresh)
6 tbsp of butter
2 celery leaves
1 cup of onion (chopped)
4 sprigs celery
1 ½ cups of carrots (chopped)
2 cups of celery (chopped)
1/8 tsp of ground black pepper
4 tbsp of dry sherry
½ cup of sour cream

Instructions

Start this mushroom soup recipe by chopping the mushrooms and set them aside. Melt the butter (4 tbsp) in a saucepan. Throw in half the mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes. Place it in the cooker. Add the tomato paste, celery and broth.

Pour in the water and pepper. Add the celery and bay leaf. Cook for 4 hours. Take out the celery, bay leaf and parsley. Puree the mix in a blender.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the other half of the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Put this on the soup. Add sherry on top. Serve with the sour cream.

Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs

Today I found this great recipe for Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs on #SweetCsDesigns.
Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs are the most delicious, juicy, and super crunchy chicken thighs you’ll ever make!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs

  • 1.5 lbs chicken, medium-large bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
  • 2 tbsp butter, ghee/clarified
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Lay chicken thighs out on a cutting board, and using sharp kitchen scissors, cut out bone from thigh.
  2. Remove bones (save them for chicken stock if you make your own!)
  3. Pound chicken flat and make sure they are very dry, pat with paper towel if needed.
  4. Generously salt and pepper meat side of chicken (don’t salt fat side, as it can easily burn).
  5. Heat a cast iron (or heavy) pan on high heat, so it is scorching hot (but not smoking).
  6. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  7. Add ghee/butter to pan, and let melt.
  8. Add chicken to pan, starting with the fat side down.
  9. Let fat crisp and chicken brown, about 7 minutes.
  10. Flip chicken and cook until 165 degrees internal temp – about 6 minutes.
  11. Let rest 2-5 minutes and pat off any excess butter softly with a paper towel.
  12. If desired, cut chicken into strips.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Amount Per Serving

Calories277 Fat7g Cholesterol95mg Sodium113mg Protein21g

What’s the White Stuff on Cooked Salmon?

The white stuff on salmon is called albumin. Albumin is a protein that exists in the fish in liquid form when it’s raw that coagulates and becomes semi-solid when you subject the salmon to heat when cooking. As the meat cooks, the coagulated albumin gets squeezed out and becomes a white coating.
The more aggressively you cook your salmon the more albumin will appear on its surface.

Think of what happens when you wring out a wet towel. The water inside the fibers of the cloth is pushed out as you squeeze the fibers closer together. The same principle applies to salmon. As salmon cooks, the flesh contracts, pushing out albumin to the fillet’s surface. The higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible.

To have as little albumin as possible visible on your finished dish, follow these guidelines:

  • Cook your salmon at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. It’s gentler on the fillet, resulting in a super-tender piece of fish with less nasty white stuff.
  • If you are searing salmon (and fish in general), always do so with the skin side down. The skin acts as a protective barrier between the fish and the hot metal pan. **TIP: Even if you plan on taking the skin off, cook your fish skin-side down for 90% of the way, turn off the heat, and then flip the fish so the skinless side cooks on the pan’s residual heat.
  • Don’t overcook your salmon. You want it medium to medium-rare in the center, still a bit translucent. Overcooking salmon is the easiest way to get albumin everywhere. **TIP: When you can push on the top of your salmon with a fork, and the the layers of flesh separate easily and seem moist, your fish is finished cooking.

Thanks to my friends at Epicurious for the cooking tips! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Protein Packed Meatballs

proteinpackedmeatballs

I am guilty of not getting enough protein in my diet and need to take every chance I can to pack extra grams in where I can.  These #KetoFriendly meatballs can be served as an appetizer, between meal snack, light lunch main with a salad or vegetables, or even added to a sauce with zoodles for a perfect #KetoMeal.  Of course, if you aren’t Keto, feel free to add them to any rice, potato, or pasta dish you choose!

Protein Packed Meatballs

Combine everything except the ground beef in the container for your blender, food processor, or Vitamix.  Set your speed to the lowest, or start with a pulse, to begin chopping your spinach up.  Once the spinach is broken down, turn the speed up to medium to make sure your ingredients are combined but not liquified.  It should only take about 15 – 20 seconds.

Put your ground beef into a medium mixing bowl and pour/scrape the blender contents on top.  I put on rubber gloves at this point and use my hands to mix everything thoroughly.

Give the bottom of the basket of your air fryer a very light, quick spritz with olive oil spray.  Roll balls with about 1 TBLS of the meat mixture (doesn’t have to be exact) and set them into your air fryer basket.  Leave a bit of space between them, you want the air to circulate around them so they cook evenly.

When you’ve filled your basket with 12-15 about 1″ meatballs (that’s how many fit in my Dash Deluxe 6 Qt Air Fryer basket), set your timer for 9 minutes at 375° F.

Shake your basket at about 6 minutes to make sure the bottoms release and get browned.  When they’re lightly browned all over, remove them from the basket and cook the rest of the meatballs.  You should end up with about 30.

If desired, serve with your favorite low-carb / sugar free marinara sauce.  Some good ones are Rao’s, Newman’s Own and Yo Mama’s.  You can see all of them (and their nutrition information) at this link#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 5 Meatballs)

  • 231 Calories
  • 15 g Fat
  • <1 g Carbs
  • 18 g Protein

 

Crispy Keto Taco Shells

Tomorrow is #CincoDeMayo and, if you’re Keto like me, you can feel left out. This recipe for Keto taco shells changes that in a flash! Most people just make a taco shell from cheese, much like the #FatBomb cheese crisps I love, but Sugar Free Londoner made a shell that’s crispy and more like a hard shell, with 1.1 net grams of carbs per shell, that I’m pretty excited about. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Crispy Keto Taco Shells

  • 2+1/4 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour (25 g)
  • 2 tsp Ground Psyllium Husk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit.

  2. Mix all ingredients in a food processor or with an electric mixer until they resemble small crumbs. 

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw circles of 6 inch / 15 cm diameter on the parchment. I traced around a small saucepan lid, but you can use any round object that size. 

  4. Scoop 1/4 cup of the taco shell mix onto each circle and spread out inside the circle.

  5. Place a second parchment paper on top and press down the dough with your hands or use a rolling pin. Press down well – you want it nice and compacted

  6. Remove the top parchment paper and bake in the oven for 7 minutes or until the edges of each taco have browned. 

  7. Remove from the oven and hang each taco shell over the side of a large saucepan until cooled. I like to use something a little bit wider than a pan edge, like a piece of sanded, clean 1/2″ dowling, so that there’s more room inside to stuff with fillings.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving 1 Taco Shell (23 g)

Calories 103 Calories from Fat 57
Total Fat 6.3g Saturated Fat 4.1g
Total Carbohydrates 3.3g Dietary Fiber 2.2gSugars 1.1g
Protein 8g