Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics: Favorite Recipes, Part IV

Getting your body into ketosis is easy.  You don’t need any special diet supplements or drinks or anything crazy.  You don’t need to pay for classes to learn about keto.  What you need is access to free resources and food.  It’s that simple.  The resources help you learn more about the specifics of what to eat and when.  The food is what you need to get your body into a healthy, fat burning machine.

There are tons of Keto recipes online, in cookbooks and shared among friends.  And yet, it is still so hard to find a great recipe that actually tastes good!  It shouldn’t be that hard, but it is.  If I’ve learned anything about cooking Keto over the past year, it’s that difficult recipes are rarely worth the effort.  Complicated recipes are time consuming, require a lot of (sometimes) usual ingredients, are difficult to follow properly…and, after all of this, the taste doesn’t reflect the efforts and resources.

If you’re looking for a few great recipes, you’ve come to the right place!  Here are a few recipes that my family and I all love, are easy to make, are keto-friendly to help you stay with your macros, and above all, taste great!

FYI: This blog got really long.  So I’m splitting it up by Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks & Desserts (here).  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but I think it’ll be worth it because I have some great recipes and information which include eating out!

Snack Ideas:

Cucumbers w/ Ranch

Cucumbers are amazing!  They’re easy to find at the store, they can be eaten raw with or without the skin (I buy organic and eat the skin), they can be used as something crunchy and even as a cracker replacement.  Am I crazy enough to think a cucumber is a crack?  NO!  But you can use cucumber slices as a vehicle to put other things in your mouth, like tuna salad or dip.

Ranch can be tricky.  You need to monitor the nutritional information and ingredients label to make sure you don’t get something with ridiculous sugar and whatnot.  I’m in love with Bolthouse Farms’ Yogurt Ranch dressing.  It’s 2g carbs per 2 tbsp and it totally worth it.  You can buy this just about everywhere, including Walmart, but it’s in the salad section and cannot be found on the shelf with other dressings and condiments.

1/2 cup of cucumber slices:

  • 7.8 calories
  • 1.6g net carbs
  • 0.1g fat
  • 0.3g protein
  • Lots of vitamins, minerals, sterols
  • 49.5g water

2 tbsp ranch dressing:

  • 45 calories
  • 3g net carbs
  • 3g fat
  • 1g protein

Note: I can eat a cucumber straight.  I love to just cut 1/2 of an Organic English/Hothouse cucumber and munch on it with or without any sauce or dressing to dip it in.  I love it!

Salted, Roasted Almonds, Pecans and Macadamia Nuts

I like to keep an eye out for a good sale on keto-friendly nuts that have high fat, moderate protein and low carb.  Macs (macademia nuts) seem to be the most expensive but have the best macros, so I go crazy when I see them on sale on Amazon or my local market. 

At my home, I like to keep a good stock of roasted, salted almonds, pecans and macadamia nuts to just grab and go.  Sometimes life happens and we need a quick and easy go-to food.  The reason I prefer them salted is because on keto you need to add more salt to your diet and if it’s already salted that is less for me to think about!

We do keep other nuts in the house like walnuts, cashews and peanuts.  But these don’t have such idea macros, so we enjoy them sparingly…or if we want nuts and I’m out of the previously mentioned variety.

Note: I’m not generally a fan of pecans or walnuts on their own.  I usually use them for cooking and baking.  A great idea is to melt some sugar-free chocolate, like Lily’s mentioned below, mixed with some coconut oil and cover the nuts you don’t love on their own.  That is a really tasty, chocolatey treat!  It’s okay to spoil yourself once in a while!

Quest Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips

I’m a crazy huge fan of these Quest Protein products.  I have yet to try the protein powder, but I have tried the chips and cookies.  Well, most of them.  Their newest creation are tortilla chips and they have great crunch and mouth feel.  The flavors are insane.

While my husband and I liked the flavor of the Ranch Tortilla Chips, it has some sugar in it.  So our actual pick is the Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips.  Oh my gosh.  These are both like eating Doritos!!

I haven’t found these at the store, not even the specialty stores.  But you can buy them directly from QuestNutrition.com with 8 single serving bags per box.  It’s a bit pricey at about $2 per bag, but the macros are great (140 calories, 4g net carbs, 4.5g fat and 19g protein), and it’s a wonderful treat on occasion!

Dessert:

Fresh Berries w/ Whipped Cream

Need dessert but want something fresh, simple and satisfying?  This is a favorite in my home and can be customized with crunchy bits of nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes.

Base ingredients include: heavy whipping cream HWC), Swerve or Lakanto, vanilla extract, and fresh berries of choice.

Put very cold HWC in a cold bowl with vanilla extract and sweetener (I prefer Lakanto), and whip until you get stiff peaks.  Put fresh berries in a serving bowl.  Top with your whipped cream…and if you would prefer, add sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, shredded or flaked coconut.

Crap.  This is so good!  It’s high in fat and isn’t too crazy on carbs as you’ll be getting most of the carbs from the fruit.

The macros really vary based upon the ingredients and types of berries you use.  Just put what you’re making for yourself into your digital tracker, like Carb Manager, and it will tell you the macros.

I generally have 1/4 cup of mixed berries, 1/2 cup of whipping cream, a 1 tsp salted sunflower seeds and maybe a sprinkle of hemp hearts.

Lily’s Chocolate Bar or Choc Zero Almond Bark

It’s necessary in my home to always have some low-carb sugar-free chocolate on hand.  I like Lily’s Creamy Milk chocolate bars as they’re easy to get (Sprouts and Whole Foods).  They taste amazing but I get horrible gastrointestinal issues when I eat my 1/2 of a bar.  It’s so sad because I love them so much!  I get this reaction from the erythritol.  My husband, like most people, don’t have any issues at all.  I seem to do fine with the baking chips, but that might be because there aren’t that many.

The ChocZero chocolate is also amazing.  Instead of being sweetened with erythritol, they use mink fruit.  It tastes great and I don’t have any smells farts after.  I have to buy these from Amazon, so it’s not always as easy to get them.  I’ve also dried the milk chocolate and dark chocolate almond bark.  I’m usually a fan of milk chocolate, but hands down, the dark chocolate almond bark is my favorite!  I buy 2 orders every time we are running low (so I get 4 boxes with 6 bars each…24 servings) for about $35.  My only problem with the ChocZero is that is has to be mailed, which some times means the chocolate can melt in transit and resolidifies.  If this happens, just contact Amazon or ChocZero and they’ll gladly refund your money or replace them.  I totally think it’s worth getting a replacement…it’s worth the trouble, trust me!

Both of these bars are great options if you’re looking for low-carb, sugar-free chocolate that will satisfy your sweet tooth.  My husband and I both love them a great deal and definitely recommend trying them both.

Quest Protein Cookies

I mentioned the Quest line earlier in this post under snacks.  And let me tell you, I love these cookies.  I don’t have to bake any thing this summer because I can enjoy a peanut butter, chocolate chip or double chocolate chip cookie with little to no effort.

These cookies taste amazing, have decent macros (though high in protein) and will meet your need for a cookie.  It tastes like a real cookie to me.  A real, big cookie with good density and flavor.  My favorite depends upon my mood.  Sometimes it’s either peanut butter or chocolate chip.

I buy these from Amazon or QuestNutrition directly.  You get 12 in a box and it costs about $25 per box.  I try to keep a box or two in the house so we can grab and go.  In addition to these being a great sweet treat, these cookies also make a decent meal replacement if you’re in a pinch.  Obviously it’s better to eat real food, but life happens and that can’t always happen.  Extra tip: don’t leave it in your purse too long or it will get crushed at the bottom and become a crumby mess.  It’ll still taste good but doesn’t feel like a cookie anymore.

There are so many great recipes.  I’ve given you a few ideas and hope you find this helpful.  If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, please share in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and meal ideas.  There are more, but I wanted to give you three for each category so I didn’t overwhelm you.  You’ll probably notice that none of it is some crazy bread alternative…that’s on purpose.  Keto Bread isn’t bread, so don’t waste your time.  The only one that has worked for us is the Cheesy Bread/Keto Bagel Loaf.

Be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of blog postings by clicking on the Follow button.

I always recommend having a support group of fellow Keto’ers to help you.  You can even check out my group Beck Does Keto…And, So Can You! on Facebook.  We all share a lot of helpful information, encouraging messages and recipes!

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Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics: Favorite Recipes, Part III

Getting your body into ketosis is easy.  You don’t need any special diet supplements or drinks or anything crazy.  You don’t need to pay for classes to learn about keto.  What you need is access to free resources and food.  It’s that simple.  The resources help you learn more about the specifics of what to eat and when.  The food is what you need to get your body into a healthy, fat burning machine.

There are tons of Keto recipes online, in cookbooks and shared among friends.  And yet, it is still so hard to find a great recipe that actually tastes good!  It shouldn’t be that hard, but it is.  If I’ve learned anything about cooking Keto over the past year, it’s that difficult recipes are rarely worth the effort.  Complicated recipes are time consuming, require a lot of (sometimes) usual ingredients, are difficult to follow properly…and, after all of this, the taste doesn’t reflect the efforts and resources.

If you’re looking for a few great recipes, you’ve come to the right place!  Here are a few recipes that my family and I all love, are easy to make, are keto-friendly to help you stay with your macros, and above all, taste great!

FYI: This blog got really long.  So I’m splitting it up by Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (here), and Snacks & Desserts.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but I think it’ll be worth it because I have some great recipes and information which include eating out!

Dinner:

Bacon-wrapped Pork Chops w/ Riced Cauliflower

My brother, who is a culinary genius, taught me how to make this amazing bacon-wrapped pork shop recipe.  It tastes so good and is actually pretty simple.  I like to pair it with all kinds of veggies or salad, but I’ll focus on riced cauliflower for now.  FYI, the pork chops were eaten way before Keto and it just happens that they fit the lifestyle perfectly 😉

Directions for Pork Chops:

Preheat oven at 400 degrees and put butter in a skillet to allow it to melt while preparing the pork chops.  Stretch the bacon and wrap a piece of bacon around the side of each pork shop, securing with a toothpick or two.  Season one side of the pork chop with Steak Seasoning and the other lightly with dried, crushed rosemary.  Place in the skillet to sear both sides (it usually takes about 5 minutes or so on each side) and then put in the oven to cook until it reaches whatever temperature pork should be to be safe.  I kind of eyeball it but it’s better to use the temperature gauge so you don’t accidentally overcook it.  When it reaches the proper temperature, remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before plating and serving.

Ingredients for Pork Chops:

  • Thick cut, boneless pork chops cut in half to make them slightly thinner
  • Bacon, at least 1 per pork chop
  • Toothpicks 1-2 per pork chop to secure the bacon
  • 2-3 tbpn butter
  • Dried rosemarry
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning

Directions for Riced Cauliflower:

I recently discovered riced cauliflower.  Honestly, I’ve known about it but I just didn’t know what to do with it or how to make it.  My taught me and it’s so delicious and easy.

Put as much cauliflower as you’d like to make into a microwavable bowl.  (Sorry, I haven’t figured out how to make it without the microwave yet.)  Microwave until warm.  I generally start with it as it’s beginning to defrost, so it’s about 5-7 minutes on High, stopping every few minutes to stir and check progress.  

Once the cauliflower is warm, add in the remainder of the ingredients.  I believe this to be a flexible and forgiving recipe, so feel free to have fun and customize your rice.  Nuke it again until it’s all nice and hot, mix it together and serve.  Yes, it’s that easy.

Ingredients for Riced Cauliflower:

  • Riced, frozen cauliflower (I get a huge bag from Costco and use about 1/2 for 4 adults and leftovers)
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Dried parsley
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (I have a baggy from Trader Joe’s that works out really well)
  • Butter

Note: This recipe is very flexible and I’ve been eyeballing the ingredients.  I think I used 1/2 huge bag of riced cauliflower, 1 tbsp dried parsley, a bunch of salt and pepper, 1/4-1/2 cup of cheese and maybe 4 tbsp butter.  Taste your creation and make some adjustments as needed.

Fathead Pizza

After we first started Keto, my husband was dying for pizza.  The man loves pizza.  And, to be honest, I really like pizza too.  It was a little bit into Keto before I discovered Fathead Pizza which is now a family favorite for Keto and non-Keto eaters alike.

The dough is simple and can handle regular pizza ingredients like sauce, cheese and a few toppings.  I discovered a few things to share with you: #1-Keep the dough thicker as it doesn’t hold together well when it’s too thin and may not satisfy your pizza needs, #2-I like mixing herbs and spices into the dough because it’s rather plain.  Our favorite is adding Everything But The Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s or Italian seasoning.

Directions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put shredded mozzarella, cream cheese and almond flour into a microwavable bowl (I generally use my 4-cup liquid measuring cup from Pyrex)  and give it a mix.  If you’re adding extra seasoning to your dough, this is the time to add it in.  Nothing serious will happen here, you’re just trying to get a little of everything around so it makes it easier later in the process.  Microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and check for meltiness.  You’ll want to microwave it again for 1 minute, stir and check it.  After that, you’ll want to nuke it 30 seconds at a time.

When the cheese is all melted and stirred (it’s not going to be liquid cheese, so don’t cook it that far), you’ll want to mix in an egg and stir, fold, etc. until everything is incorporated.  Trust me, it will get incorporated into a dough.  I don’t know how it all works, but it does.

Once combined, transfer dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and cover with another large sheet of parchment paper.  Use your hands or anything you’d like to smooth out the dough to the desired thickness and size.  It’s usually really hot, so if you’re using your hands like I do, you may want to have a kitchen towel on top of the top parchment paper so you don’t cook your hands too.  Take everything off the top of the dough and transfer your dough with the bottom parchment to your cookie sheet/baking pan.  Poke holes with a fork all over the dough so you don’t get big bubbles.

Put the dough in the oven for 10 minutes.  It should be getting brown and delicious.  At this point, remove the dough, carefully flip this over and bake for another 5-10 minutes.  During this time you’ll want to be cleaning up the kitchen mess and getting pizza ingredients ready to go.

When the pizza dough is done remove it from the oven and place on either your stove or a heat safe counter…no need to burn your counters and wreck them in the name of good food!  Add a little low-carb pasta, pizza, or marinara sauce, top with more mozzarella cheese and other low-carb toppings.  Put the pizza back in the oven on the top rack for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown (that’s my favorite way pizza cheese should be enjoyed).

Remove the pizza from the oven.  It’s really hot and looks like pizza.  Cut into pieces and enjoy.  It does well as leftovers, if there are leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg

Optional ingredients:

  • 3-4 tbsp sauce of choice…I use Victoria’s Marinara from Costco
  • 2 tsp Everything But The Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • High quality pepperoni
  • Mushroom slices
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Note: This recipe is very forgiving.  There are many postings and recipes online for Fathead dough.  Some say to include baking soda or powder but I’ve found that it isn’t totally necessary.  Enjoy this pizza!!!

Claim Jumper

I love eating out.  And I love a good steak!  Claim Jumper is a restaurant that has really good American Steakhouse food that is carby and delicious.  Did you think I would give up good food just to get healthy?  Heck no.  I just request changes to my order and I rarely have any issues.  In regards to budget, it doesn’t break the bank because one meal is split between 2 adults, so it’s pretty good, especially for eating out and a nice restaurant.  I guess you should know that I’m not a fancy-pants kind of lady.  So, Claim Jumper is about as nice a restaurant as I want to go.

We order a medium-rare porterhouse steak with lightly steamed vegetables (what they have, but it’s usually zucchini and squash), an extra order of the veggies and a salad with ranch dressing.  To be honest, it doesn’t give us much salad each, but it’s no big deal because we have plenty of veggies and steak coming right after.

This meal is so filling and delicious, it’ll make you feel like a King (or a Queen).    Could you make this at home?  Yes.  I have.  But if you’re the one person in your home that cooks, it’s nice to go out and not have to do the cooking and cleaning for the evening.  What a treat!

If you need a date-night idea, this is a good place to go eat.  If you don’t like steak, you’re a monster.  JK!  Claim Jumper actually has some really great options that are keto-friendly with a few modifications.  Ask questions, trade out some foods and watch the sauces…and you’ll be golden!

Note: About date-night.  You might not want to go to the movies after dinner because that buttery popcorn smell is so crazy enticing!  However, it’ll be tolerable because you just ate so well and won’t actually be hungry.

Click here to read Part II (lunch ideas) or Part IV (snack & dessert ideas)!

There are so many great recipes.  I’ve given you a few ideas and hope you find this helpful.  If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, please share in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and meal ideas.  There are more, but I wanted to give you three for each category so I didn’t overwhelm you.  You’ll probably notice that none of it is some crazy bread alternative…that’s on purpose.  Keto Bread isn’t bread, so don’t waste your time.  The only one that has worked for us is the Cheesy Bread/Keto Bagel Loaf.

Be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of blog postings by clicking on the Follow button.

I always recommend having a support group of fellow Keto’ers to help you.  You can even check out my group Beck Does Keto…And, So Can You! on Facebook.  We all share a lot of helpful information, encouraging messages and recipes!

Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics 2018

New to Keto?  You’ve come to the right post.
An old Keto pro?  You’ve also come to the right place.

Sometimes we find ourselves getting comfortable and lax with our health.  I know what Keto is and how to follow it.  But that doesn’t mean that after a year I’m still as strict as I used to be.  This blog is dedicated to the basics of Keto success, which you are either learning now or refreshing and reminding yourself of now.

What is Keto?

Your body needs fuel.  It can use either carbohydrates (carbs) or fat for what it needs.  Carbs and excess protein turn into glucose, which is what your body uses as fuel very easily (in most cases).  When your body has glucose to use it stores the fat for later.  When glucose is used up or is unavailable, your body switches to fat for the energy it needs.  The fat is turned into ketones naturally and is then used by your body.  When your body burns ketones for energy, you are now in a state of Ketosis, or Keto for short.  The fat can come from what you consume or what your body has stored, but it will take from the stored fat last, so that is important to keep in mind.

The Keto lifestyle is basically consuming a very small amount of carbs (20 grams or less daily) so that your body is forced to be in ketosis.  In the beginning you have to train your body to make this change and you will see and feel many changes, including rapid weight loss, which is mostly water weight in the beginning.  Keto’ers, or those in ketosis, do not retain water like they did before.  After the initial weight loss and you’re keto-adapted (used to fat for fuel), you will see real changes in fat loss and improved health.

That was a really long way of saying that your body is a machine that runs off of fat…either the fat you feed it or the fat it has stored around your body.  To do this, you should eat 20 grams or less of carbs daily.

There are a few more tidbits, such as foods to avoid and whatnot, like grains and sugar.  But you can learn about that another day.

black and grey casio scientific calculator showing formula
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Macros…What Are They & How Do I Figure Out Mine?

Every body is different.  What my body needs is much different than what your body needs.  A simple calculation of where the calories are coming from is a ratio of 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein and 5% carbs.  I did say simple though, right?  Using apps and macro calculators help a great deal in identifying your specific keto macros.  I particularly like the Keto Calculator on Ruled.me.  It’s easy to use and understand.

Example:

I’m a 38 year old woman who is 5’7″ weighing 266 pounds.  When I calculate using the Keto Calculator on Rules.me to reach my goals, my macros look like this: 1799 calories, 126g fat, 146g protein, and 20g net carbs.

(Carbs are total.  Net carbs are carbs minus fiber.  Some Keto’ers use carbs and some use net carbs.  I use net carbs and am happy.)

Try a macros calculator and see what you come up with for yourself.  This is super important information, so be sure to write it down or add it to your app.

Modifications:

You may find that the ratio is not good for you.  For instance, some body types are better with more protein, while others seem to do well with way more than 75% fat and zero carbs.  You will want to make adjustments based on your own body and how you feel.

You will want to keep carbs low.  Most people do well on 20g carbs daily, but if you’re pregnant or have other needs, perhaps aiming for 50g is better until you are well enough to drop down to 20g.

Intermittent Fasting:

There are a lot of great resources and medical professionals who support Keto as a healthy lifestyle.  One of which is Dr. Eric Berg.  While many of us believe intermittent fasting (IF) are helpful, Dr. Berg is a true believer who strongly believe Keto and IF got together to improve and maximize your health.

Fasting is when you go without eating for a long time and is usually seen as suffering.  IF is a small fast that can be done multiple times during the week and isn’t generally very much of a struggle at all.

When you eat anything your body has an insulin spike (just smaller when on keto) and stops or slows ketosis.  But when you’re IF and in ketosis your body has time to rest and heal…and the more time you have between meals, the longer your body has to heal itself.  The reason its easy with keto is because you don’t get very hungry when you eat a lot of fat…you feel full and satisfied.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone until after they are fully keto-adapted.  And you should start off slowly, gradually increasing the length of each fast.  It doesn’t work well for everyone, but most people do quite well.  And remember, you aren’t starving because your body will consume the stored fat if it needs more.

Usually you will skip breakfast and have coffee, pushing your first meal of the day back a bit.  Then you will eat your second meal and that’s it for the day.  Go to sleep and wake up to do it again.  The most common fast is 18:6 IF, which means you fast for 18 hours and eat during a 6 hour window (1 or 2 meals).  Most of the time during a fast you’ll be sleeping anyway, so you will hardly notice you aren’t eating.

A typical day of IF:

  • 6 A.M. wake up and have a cup of coffee (some say butter is okay, some say it isn’t…I do butter and am very happy)
  • 1 P.M. eat a good lunch
  • 6 P.M. eat a good dinner
  • 9 P.M. go to bed
steak food
Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com

Great Keto Meals/Snacks: (I’ll work on updating all of these recipes so you can click on the links to find more information.)

  • Magic coffee
  • Taco salad with nuts and seeds for crunch, your favorite taco meat, shredded cheese
  • Bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, zucchini and squash, and a side of avocado
  • Crack chicken over steamed broccoli
  • Porterhouse steak, creamed spinach and mashed cauliflower
  • Chicken wings and bacon with ranch
  • Kalua Pig (pulled pork) salad with ACV dressing, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, cucumbers and fresh bacon crumbles
  • Bacon wrapped pork chops with roasted cauliflower and guacamole
  • Baked salmon with pesto butter over a pile of parmesan and herb cauliflower rice
  • Fathead pizza or cheesy bread
  • Chocolate peanut butter cups (fat bomb)
  • Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs
  • Chocolate chip protein cookies
  • Keto chocolate frosty
  • Blackberries and whipped cream

 

Best Advice:

  • Be kind & forgiving to yourself!
  • Get a Keto-Buddy!  You don’t want to go through this alone.  Having the support of family, friends or even a new Keto Facebook Friend will make all the difference in the world.
  • Salt everything!  You need to keep up your electrolytes and since you’re not retaining water, you lose electrolytes way faster than before.
  • Check labels, ingredients lists and nutritional information on all packages.
  • Stop and figure out why you’re hungry.  Are you upset or bored?  Or are you really hungry?  If you’re hungry too soon…did you eat enough fat?
  • Figure out your macros and keep track of what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Pay attention to how you feel!  There is a reason you feel a certain way.  Are you missing something nutritionally?  Maybe you need to change your diet a little or add a supplement.
  • Track your progress and successes in many ways, not just by the number on the scale.  I wish I took real before photos so I could see the difference (I just thought this would be like everything else I tried and failed.)…and I wish I took measurements too!  It’s also important to do your blood work before starting, so you can see how that improves as well.

Please comment below any questions or suggestions you may have.
Also, be sure to follow my blog to get notified as soon as I post a new recipe, update, or encouragement by clicking on the Follow button.

Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Stretching 1 Chicken to 5+ Meals

It’s Magic Time…

Cooking several extravagant meals per week really take a lot of energy and time.  By nature, I am lazy and I’d like to share with you a few tricks on how you can minimize the time and still create several great meals without too much effort.

Using a whole chicken you can make several delicious meals for the week.  This can be done with several chicken pieces, but I find it’s usually cheaper to buy the entire chicken.  I would recommend, if you have the space, buy more than one chicken when you find a great sale and freeze the excess for another week.

#1-Chicken Broth

  • Put the whole chicken into your Instant Pot (IP) with some garlic and onions, spices, and pink Himalayan sea salt with 1/2 cup of water
  • Cook on Manual High for 45 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release
  • Remove chicken and let cool in a bowl leaving the liquid in the IP
  • Debone the chicken, putting the meat in a ziplock baggy or storage container of choice…but put everything non-edible back into the IP (ie: skin, bones, cartilage)
  • Put the chicken away for meal creation later
  • Add water to the IP to the 4L mark, seal and cook on Manual High for 60 minutes with whatever kind of release you feel like…remember, I’m lazy so I do the NPR for an hour or two
  • Let broth cool to touch for a couple of hours uncovered (unless you’re ambitious, but I am not)
  • Strain “goodies” from broth and store broth in 1 large gallon sized mason jar or several small jars.
  • You can store this broth for a month from my experience
  • Good to drink straight, especially when fasting, adding to meals that ask for water or broth, and makes an excellent soup base when it’s cold or you’re sick

#2-Chicken Tacos

  • Heat up shredded chicken from Step 1
  • Put taco ingredients in small bowls, shredded cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc.
  • Get yourself some tortillas substitutes, like cheese tortillas (it’s melted cheese you make yourself) or almond tortillas (I’m loving Siete Almond Tortillas from Whole Foods/Sprouts)
  • Let everyone make their own tacos and enjoy!

#3-Chicken Salad

  • Make a salad (lettuce of choice, cucumbers, celery, a little tomatoes, avocado slices, salted sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, shredded cheese, hard-boiled eggs, etc.)
  • Add shredded chicken and dressing of choice (we love a good ranch)
  • Easy, filling meal on a hot day

#4-Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

  • Mix the creamy stuff
  • Mix in the shredded chicken, ham and cheese
  • Put everything on a casserole pan, crumble some pork rinds on top and bake until cheese is melted and top is golden in color
  • I mentioned the recipe in my previous blog

Do you even have any chicken left?  I would be well out by now!

#5-SOS (A Troyer Family Recipe Ketofied)

  • Heated, shredded chicken and homemade gravy using the chicken broth and xantham gum over a pile of warm mashed cauliflower with a side of steamed (or lightly microwaved), salted broccoli
  • So good! And, so easy!

#6-Broth for Fasting

  • Heat up some of the chicken broth, add salt to taste and enjoy
  • This is a great way to add more fat and extend a fast

So, there you have 4 meals to make with a single chicken, 1 meal replacement and enough broth for anything else you’d like to make.

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As always, please add suggestions, comments and questions below!
I’m here to help in any way I can.

Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

When it doesn’t go according to plan

I’ve been talking about meal planning and prepping for weeks now.  But it doesn’t always go according to plan.  The good news is, a few bumps in the road don’t wreck everything!

You might know by now that I’m tapering off my anxiety medication.  It’s causing some problems, but I’m going slow and have the full support of my doctor.  I’m currently on half dose and surviving.  I feel like I have a sinus infection, the flu, body temperature issues and have weird body aches.  It’s normal and it helps me to feel better that what I’m feeling is just my body detoxing from the medication.  I know this will all pass, but I’m dropping the ball on the meal planning because I don’t always feel good enough to prep and cook the meals I planned.

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay if you mess up!  You might end up throwing some food away, eating out or modifying your meal plan, but it’s survivable and forgivable.  Tonight I planned to cook steaks and enjoy it with steamed veggies.  It sounds so nice to eat, but I am feeling my worst in the afternoons and evenings lately.  So instead, I am using the chicken I deboned yesterday to make this Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole today.  I already have all of the ingredients, all I have to do is put it together before I feel crummy…then put it in the oven to cook before dinner.  I can quickly microwave steam some broccoli and cauliflower to go with it.  Now everyone is happy because I feel like I accomplished something, we all get to eat dinner, and it doesn’t become a burden to ask my husband to bring home dinner on his way back from work.

I’m hoping this casserole will leave us with enough for lunch tomorrow because then we don’t have to do anything extra like eat out or cook another meal (which isn’t going to happen).  Unfortunately, I’ve made this before and there wasn’t anything left at all!  It’s a good sign that the meal was delicious, but not great for having leftovers.  What a problem to have!

Whatever your reason for not following the meal plan and preparations for yourself (and family), it’s going to be okay.  You can put the steaks in the freezer for another day.  You can cook two meals in one day so you have future meals ready.  You can eat out.  Don’t punish yourself.  Do your best.  Remember, any changes are improvements in the right direction.

Have a wonderful day!

PS-I know you’re wondering what that image has anything to do with this blog.  Get back on that horse when you’ve fallen off.  It’ll be okay.  You can still achieve greatness and success!

Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Meal Preparation

Take the time to plan ahead!

Taking the time to plan ahead regarding your meals can really save you so much time, money and frustration.  There are a few different ways to do meal planning depending upon your situation and I’m going to review them in this blog.  If you have a method not mentioned in this blog, please share with us all, especially since we’re here to help one another!

Method #1: Cooking and freezing for the week

My sister-in-law (SIL) does this and I think many of you follow this method too.  Pick 1-2 meals for the week.  Get all the ingredients you need and cook both meals in large quantities in one day.  I admire my SIL, she cooks everything on Sundays ahead of the work week for her and her husband.

This is the quickest and most efficient method of meal planning.  It takes a good amount of time when you do this, but it’s only once a week and you have lunch (and possibly dinner) for every single day.  This saves you money from going out to lunch or wasting food.

In addition to getting the ingredients for this meal planning method, you will need proper storage and space in your fridge.  I recommend getting some of these handy containers and lids on Amazon.  They’re microwave and dishwasher safe, cheap, and stack well in the fridge and in the cupboard.  You can also get similar containers at Costco…I have both and they get used regularly.

The down side of this meal prep method is that you spend a lot of time one day a week and are eating the same meal several times.  However, if you don’t mind eating the same meal several times in a row, this really is a great way to meal plan for yourself and your family.

Note: I’ve always wanted to do this.  I would need a huge freezer though because I don’t like the same meals too often.  Also, when I don’t feel well, I just don’t want to spend an entire day cooking and there really isn’t anyone else to pick up the slack.

Method #2: Meal planning

I recently wrote about Meal Planning and shared an example of my weekly meal plans and a downloadable template that you could use.  It’s probably obvious that this is the method I regularly follow.  And if I don’t create a formal meal plan, I generally follow something similar in my head.

Meal planning allows you to decide what you want to eat and when.  There are notes to remind you of when you defrost certain items…which is really nice, because I like to buy meat in bulk when it’s on sale and freeze it.  It even includes a shopping list of the items you will need to buy for the week.

The best part about my plan, and if you’ve seen the plan you probably figured it out, is that I generally make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day.  This means that when I cook I am making 6 meals instead of 3 (my husband, dad and I).  I have a constant struggle in life that you probably don’t yet know about me.  I love cooking and tend to cook enough for an army.  By making adjustments and putting leftovers in the containers mentioned in Method #1, I end up using food that I bought before it goes bad, save time and money, and get a good variety of food in our diets.

The downside of this plan is that I have to cook 5-6 nights per week.  I know, don’t be crazy…we plan to eat out because we want to eat out anyway.  I’m realistic here about our actual eating habits.  It’s really not so bad of a downside as some meals are easier than others and don’t take too much time.

In regards to eating the same meal even twice, many meals can be changed slightly so it’s practically a new meal.  For instance, tonight I’m making New York Strip steaks (they were on sale a couple of weeks ago, so I froze them).  Between the three of us, we won’t eat the 3 whole steaks that I defrosted.  I’m planning to slice the leftover steaks and make steak salads for us all tomorrow.  A steak salad is easy…make a salad with keto-friendly veggies and lots of mixed greens, add sliced meat (steak for this example), and include a small side container of salad dressing (usually ranch).  My husband will eat like a king tomorrow and I will be happy knowing he’s eating vegetables!

This method also doesn’t leave me with too many leftovers.  I don’t have space for lots of leftovers.  If we lived in a house we could get a deep freezer and freeze the meat and leftovers in there, but I don’t.  I just have a regular fridge with a tiny bit of freezer space.

Method #3: Make what you want, when you want it

This is the method that literally is a no-plan plan.  What do you feel like eating?  Go to the kitchen and make it.  Don’t have the ingredients?  Make something else.  Did you cook enough for leftovers?  Uh oh.  Now you have to cook another meal for lunch tomorrow.

This is obviously not a real method, but I think many of us feed ourselves this way and wonder why we’re cooking so much, going to the grocery store so often, and throwing so many groceries away because it’s going bad.  I know I fall into this habit on occasion.  Do you?

I like to eat what I’m in the mood for.  Fortunately, I don’t really have cravings too often any more since I began Keto.  This is good because I can make just about anything I want…but if I wasn’t paying attention, that avocado I was going to eat is now dead, the cheese has mold (I’m allergic to mold, but I’ll cut it off if I get a block of cheese and can salvage something), the meat is slimy.  Seriously, what a waste to spend the time to buy the groceries and the money to pay for them just to throw them away and leave yourself hungry!

This is not a very good plan, in my experience.  It could leave you eating out more, eating processed foods (even if it is keto-friendly) and fairly unsatisfied.  Your dinner could end up being a string cheese, some almonds and a cup of chamomile tea because that’s all that is left in the house that’s currently edible.

Save yourself from this method!  It’s okay once in a while, but in generally, you really don’t want to do this to yourself.

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Health Progress, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Menu Planning

I’m on Summer Vacation and relaxing, but technically I have begun my journey as a Homemaker.  It didn’t go well last time, but that was forced due to illness.  This time it was a decision that was well-thought out, discussed and planned.  I’m still sick, but that is not the primary factor in my new career choice.  It is time.

Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the vehicle maintenance, supporting my husband and family, hoping to babysitting my nephew (he’s expected in late October), and preparing for family expansion are all very exciting to me.  I will also be working on my BeckDoes projects, so I don’t have to worry about losing myself in the mundane.  I’m actually quite excited!

I’d like to be as fiscally responsible as possible, particularly when it comes to food costs.  I find that a huge chunk of our income goes to food and I think I can cut costs by planning better.  In addition to saving money, I think we should eat out less often and be a bit better on our food choices…and that leads me to my Food Planning Menu.

I had created something similar in the past but generally only lasted a few weeks before ignoring it and going back to old habits.  I hate taking out food to defrost and then having to throw it away.  It’s fiscally irresponsible, I hate that an animal died for nothing if we don’t eat it, and I particularly don’t want to hear my dad complain about wasting food anymore (it’s super annoying and find that I try to hide it now because I don’t want to hear about it).

Food Planning Menu

I like that I can plan ahead with what to eat, include special notes like when to defrost some meat, and a shopping list for each week.  Below is a PDF version of my newest Menu.  But if you’d like a Word doc template to make your own food plan, Blank Weekly Menus.

Menu Clip

If you’d like to see this menu for the entire month, click on the link for the entire PDF file of my August Weekly Menus.  Enjoy!