Monday, February 16, 2015

THE PERFECT VEGGIE FRITTERS

Ok, these things are awesome.  AWESOME.  They're like crack.  Seriously.  You will not be able to eat enough of them.  I've been eating them for weeks. They go with everything. They reheat for lunches.  They're better than potato pancakes, better than french fries.  Even people who don't like veggies enjoy them.  They just might be the perfect food.

Go easy on the flour if you want to keep them low carb.  This recipe will work with gluten-free all-purpose flour as well as traditional.  Try them.  Tonight.  You will thank me for it.

Oh, and don't skip on the dip.  Seriously, DON'T.

VEGGIE FRITTERS
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Nature's Seasons
1 tsp onion powder (or chopped chives/green onions)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour (gluten free or wheat)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 - 2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan (can be freshly grated, or use the stuff you buy in a can in the store)
Frying oil (vegetable oil is fine)

1) Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized chunks.  This is a great time to use the more stemmy parts of the plant, as they work very well in this recipe.  Steam or boil for 5 minutes; drain and add in carrots.  Let sit a few minutes.

2) Now you need to coarsely chop the steamed veggies.  You can do this with knives, or you can use a pastry cutter.  Be careful not to mash the veggies; they should still be somewhat firm and maintain their shape.

3) Add in the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Now this part is important: TASTE the mixture before adding the eggs.  The flour and the veggies can really absorb flavor, so you may need to add more seasonings before you add the eggs.  You will need 1 - 2 of them, depending on size.  The important thing is to get the right texture: mixture should be sticky enough to hold together when you squeeze it in the palm of your hand.  This can be tricky if you're trying to go easy on the flour, so be patient.  As long as a handful will hold together, you should be fine, but you may need to bite the bullet and add extra flour if it's being stubborn.  In a pinch, you could use 1/4 tsp xanthan gum, but I've never needed to.

4) In a deep frying pan or small sauce pan, heat the oil to 180 degrees.  Take a small handful of the veggie mixture, just big enough to fit in your palm, flatten into a disc shape, and slide it into the oil.  BE CAREFUL not to splash the hot oil on yourself!  You can use a large spoon to help with this process.  I usually get five or six fritters into the oil, then watch them closely because they like to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Fry till golden brown, flipping at least once.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate with a paper towel on it.  Continue until all the veggie mix has been shaped and fried.

Now you have your fritters.  DO NOT STOP HERE.  You can fix the dip while you're frying the fritters up, so there's no excuse not to take the time to make this. 

HOT RANCH DIP
1 package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 package ranch dip mix
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash salt

1) In a small saucepan, warm the sour cream on low heat.  Cut the cream cheese into chunks and mix into the sour cream; stir till consistency is smooth.  Whisk in remaining ingredients.  Mixture will thicken as it cools, so reheat gently if needed.

OK, now you have your fritters and your dip.

Now you dip the fritters into the dip and eat them.

You're welcome.

I'll post pictures the next time I make these.  Which won't be long, because they're seriously addictive.

Friday, November 7, 2014

More fun with Avocados

I'm on a roll with the avocados right now.  (If a post in March and a post in November count as a "roll.")

See, I love salads.  But it's gotten quite nippy outside of late, and it's hard to want to eat a chilled dish when your hands are already half numb.

So what's a gal to do?

Top the salad with something warm and melty, of course.



Steak Salad with Avocado

Ingreds:
Lettuce mix of your choice
Shredded steak (see below for more details)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1 tsp oregano
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

In small frying pan, drizzle oil and heat till shimmering. 

I'm going to say a quick word about the meat here.  This is a great place to use leftover steak.  Just cut into small chunks and toss into the pan with the oil.  If you don't have leftover steak, then ground beef is a very acceptable substitute.  At the moment, I have a lot of unseasoned ground pork which actually works very well too.  So there's a good bit of flexibility based on what you have in the fridge.

Add the oregano, salt and pepper.  I like lots of pepper.  You can also add onions, green pepper and mushrooms for a Philly cheesesteak effect.  I'm a bit of a purist, so I stick to the meat and seasonings, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

While your meat is sizzling nicely (and putting off mouth-watering smells), fill a bowl with the lettuce mix of your choosing and add the shredded cheese.  Also chop the avocados and set aside.

Once the meat is nicely warmed, add to the top of the salad.  Now while the pan is still nice and hot, toss the avocado in long enough to warm it up.  It'll pick up the seasonings too, which is just awesome.  Pile on top of the meat.

Now here's the crazy part.  The mayonnaise.  Glop it right on there.  It's called "dressing" for a reason, and you're going to use it as exactly that.  The meat will make it warm and melty, and when you mix it with the cheese and lettuce....let's just say it's like a gooey steak sandwich without the bread. 

All you need now is a fork.

Who says you can't have salad on a cold day?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fun with Avocados

OK, so I know it's been a while since I posted anything new.

In fact, it's been like a year.

OK, OVER a year.  Sorry about that.

Truth is, it's hard to keep up a blog after the initial fun of posting everything you think of.  Eventually real life starts taking up your time again (as it should), and suddenly your last post has a 2013 date on it and you want to cringe.

Also, not gonna lie, I kind of fell off the low-carb wagon for a while.  REALLY fell off.  I'm back in my fat pants and feeling lousy, so the motivation I haven't been able to find for a while has finally rematerialized.  I've been back on keto for 2 weeks now, and feeling better than I have in many months.  It's amazing how good it feels to actually BURN the fat, instead of putting it on.

So anyway, thanks to keto and my California-loving sister, I am learning to love avocados.  Like, REALLY love avocados.  Yeah, they're weird-tasting, and oh so very green, but like all odd foods, they kind of grow on you.  And they're VERY keto friendly, full of fats and with a creamy texture that's hard to find in low-carb cooking.

My newest favorite concoction is an egg scramble, with steak and avocado.  Hey, don't knock it till you try it.  I'm pretty much obsessed with it at the moment, it's SO tasty and filling, and good on fiber and carb count.  I estimate total carbs for this recipe to be about 5grams, give or take.

So here you go, for all you adventurous (and excruciatingly patient) readers.  Your tastebuds will thank you. 

Avocado Steak Scramble
1 small steak (any kind, it can be cheap if your budget is strained)
1/2 avocado, peeled and cored, diced
2 slices swiss cheese
4  eggs
2 Tbsp heavy cream
drizzle olive oil
Natures Seasons seasoning mix

Cook the steak on low till medium-to-well done.  You can season it with salt and pepper while cooking if you like, but we'll season it again later anyway.  (PROTIP: this is a great recipe for using up leftover steak in the fridge!)

Combine the eggs and cream; beat till smooth and frothy.

Now cut the steak into bite-sized pieces and toss it in a frying pan with the diced avocados and olive oil.  Season it generously with the Nature's Seasons.  If you haven't ever used this mix before, it's pretty amazing; you should be able to find it in the spice section of the grocery store.  Once nice and warm - but before the avocado gets mushy - set aside in a separate bowl.  Return the frying pan to the stove.

Scramble the eggs in the pan with what's left of the seasoning and oil.  Once the eggs are done to your taste, you need to melt the swiss over top of it.  You can do this in the frying pan if you like, with a lid; or you can transfer the eggs to a plate and microwave it for about 45 seconds.

Top with the steak and avocado bits, and be prepared to have your tastebuds go frantic.  It's just that good.

I am having problems with transferring pics to my computer at the moment, but I will try to post one as soon as I can get it sorted out.  It will make your mouth water, I swear.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, these are not low carb.  At least, if you were to substitute Splenda for the sugar they probably would be, but I haven't done any calculating of carbs to back up that assertion.

However, these ARE gluten free, and oh so very tasty.  So I'm posting these here for your enjoyment (and so that I don't have to keep searching the internet for the recipe.  This is my online recipe book.)


FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Parchment paper

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together peanut butter and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  2. 2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  3. 3. Bake at 350° for 12 to 14 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of:  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/flourless-chocolate-chip-cookies-50400000108779/



Personal note: Be careful not to make these too big.  They "poof" quite a bit in the oven, so when you drop them onto the baking sheet make them smaller than you think you should.

Also, I think I'm going to use brown sugar for part of the white sugar portion, and I might add a dash of vanilla.  I'll let you know if it doesn't work out.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fun With Cheese

I found these great Parmesan Cheese crisps at the store the other day: they're these round crispy treats made entirely with parmesan, so they are zero carb.  They were also insanely expensive - almost $7 for a small container.

As I was munching on this indulgence, I thought to myself, "I bet these would be pretty easy to make at home."

I was right.

Cheesy Parmesan Crisps
Finely grated real parmesan cheese (NOT the powdered kind)
Salt
Italian seasoning blend

Line a plate with parchment paper, if you have it; if you don't that's OK, it just makes removing the cheese crisps easier later.

Sprinkle a generous pinch (about a tablespoon or so) in a small pile on the plate; make several such piles all around the plate, keeping them at least an inch from each other - the piles will spread when they melt.  Also, don't make the piles too tall, you want the crisp to be thin and fairly even all the way through.



Sprinkle each pile with a dash of salt and italian seasoning.  Microwave at high for 30 seconds; open the microwave door to let the steam vent out.  Then microwave for 25 seconds more.


Remove the plate from the microwave and let the crisps cool. 

 

If you used parchment paper, just bend the paper away from the crisps to remove; if you didn't use the paper, use a fork to gently pry the crisps off the plate while they're still a bit warm.  Finish cooling once they've been pried loose.



                                                            ~~~

And enjoy!!  These are super easy and quick to make, have plenty of good fat in them, and if done right they should help satisfy that need for something crispy and decadent.  Even if they turn out a bit chewy, they are so darn good you can't really call that a flaw.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

I've been wondering this same thing.  This kind lady did the hard work, so I thought I'd share.
 




Vacation Keto: It can be done!

So I spent last week in sunny California.  It was a combo trip: a quickie vacation ending in the awesome wedding of my only brother. I had a fantastic time, and ate tons of good food. And with the exception of one meal (come on, I'm going to eat wedding cake), everything I ate was entirely keto.

Don't think I'm a saint for sticking to my "diet" while out of town.  I just figured that my underlying difficulty metabolizing carbohydrates doesn't go away just because I do.  This wasn't about gaining weight, I just didn't want to make myself ill under the guise of having a good time.  Keto is tasty and makes me feel good; neither of those things make vacation anything less than totally awesome.

Keto is not a diet: it's a lifestyle.  It's also quite easy to stick to while travelling - fun, even!  I treated it like a kind of a game: How many carbs can I *not* eat today?  Something else to consider: it's very handy not to be hungry all the time while one is sightseeing.  Just sayin'.

So how did I do it?  Easy!  Here are some of my keto-friendly travelling tips.

  1. Avoid Italian restaurants. It's not that you can't go keto at your local pasta joint (salad, anyone?) but why torture yourself.  If you MUST eat something with tomato sauce, go for pizza.  Load it with meat and eat just the toppings.  Yummy!
  2. Appetizers - fried mozzarella and buffalo wings are pretty darn safe.  BBQ wings not so much, sorry.  The sauce is usually loaded with corn syrup or molasses.  The fried cheese just needs to be denuded of its breading and then you can chow down to your heart's delight.  Don't mind the stares, you're on vacation.  No one there will ever see you again.
  3. Steamed veggies are the best side dish EVER.  Most restaurants will steam and season them to perfection.  One place even brought me a plate of fresh butter on request.  I actually cleaned up the veggies before finishing my excellent herb-crusted steak.
  4. Drink water, not diet soda.  Don't tease yourself with sweetness, it'll make dessert much more tempting.  Water is awesome, especially with a slice of lemon.
  5. Meats are everywhere, but be sure to get your fat!!  Butter, sour cream, greasy sausage with your eggs.....do whatever you have to.  It helps keep you full and focused.  Remember, protein can still be turned into glucose.  Fat is your best friend, and it's oh so tasty too.  Remember, you're on vacation! You deserve yummies.
  6. Make your cheat meal totally worth it.  Let's be honest, you're gonna eat something "forbidden" sooner or later.  Don't let it be an accident, ie that white chocolate-topped fudge cake that's just too tempting to refuse.  Plan what you're going to cheat with and plan when.  It'll give you something to look forward to, and adds to the fun of the game.  By the time you get to that cheat meal you'll feel so proud of yourself that the sweets will really satisfy.  Even better, you might find that the treat is a bit too sweet, almost a let-down after the fun of eating keto.  Talk about motivation to get back on track!

Most of all, enjoy yourself!  You're on VACATION!!!