Keto Chocolate Mug Cake

A little back story on this, I have a friend that has recently converted to a keto diet. She actually decided to do at after a presentation they had at her work that went into a lot of new findings about the health benefits of it. How cool is that?

Now she is someone that I think used to snack more and used to make homemade treats. Maybe my view is a little skewed but during our game nights she would always bring homemade cupcakes or buy us cookies to snack on. Last time I saw her I mentioned that I’d bought some sunflower seed flour and that we should make something with it. She said she was down and would be happy to have something sweet, even if it was bad!

I have been trying and my first attempt certainly was bad. Think chunks of egg white in the middle of an already eggy brownie. No thanks. Being allergic to nuts also made it a bit more difficult. The sunflower seed flour was really too coarse to use, but I have been having some success with coconut flour. It is a very different sort of flour however, and requires a lot of tweaking.

My goal was to make a delicious brownie but I seem to have stumbled on a how to make a good chocolate mug cake. I’ve always been more of a brownie person but this really is a great chocolate cake recipe, when I was eating it I was amazed at the texture. It is so much like the real thing! You seriously have to try this.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Melted Butter

2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Tbsp Swerve Sweetener

1 Tbsp Coconut Flour

1/8 Tsp Baking Soda

1/4 Tsp Sugar Free Vanilla Extract

3-4 Drops Stevia Sweetener

1 Egg

Instructions

  1. To make things easier I start by cutting a Tbsp of butter and melting it in my mug. This makes clean up a little easier. Usually the butter has little marks on the side of the package showing how much a Tbsp is. Otherwise you can just melt it and measure some out. It usually takes 20-30 seconds on high. Try to stop right after it melts, you don’t want it to be so hot it cooks the egg when it’s added!
  2. Add all of the other ingredients and stir well. Be sure to scrape the sides and the bottom corners as these places are the most likely to not get incorporated.
  3. Microwave on high for 70 seconds. You may need to add or subtract 15 seconds depending on your microwave.

ALL DONE! Enjoy your delicious chocolate cake with some whipped cream or try making some keto friendly frosting!

Cauliflower Rice Experiments, part 2

I have been experimenting in the kitchen and have finally gotten a chance to try out some variations on the cauliflower rice recipe. I don’t have it perfected yet but I’m much happier with the results this time. One big change I made was to measure everything out so I can replicate the results better.

This time I made rice on the stovetop, in the microwave, and in the oven.

The stovetop rice was actually my favorite last time but it browned a lot and was the least sushi looking rice. I suppose it’s just me trying to recreate the sushi look as much as possible, but why not? I wanted to prevent browning so this time I used a nonstick pan and kept it at medium low the entire time I cooked it.

Recipe:
1.5 Cups cauliflower rice, with moisture squeezed out with paper towels
1 Teaspoon lite-salt
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Teaspoon cream cheese

Directions
I heated the pan on medium low and added 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. When a piece of cauliflower dropped into the pan sizzled I added the remaining cauliflower rice. I would stir it occasionally but for the most part left it alone.

I actually didn’t get a super accurate time on this one. I was supposed to reset my timer every five minutes but forgot after pulling my oven batch out. I know that it was at least 15 minutes and probably between 15-20 min.

This one came out the most rice looking. It did not have browned spots at all. Texture wise it was on the drier side, but still had a lot of that vegetable crunch. I think with some tweaking I could make this approximate the drier long grain rices like basmati or jasmine. The amount of cream cheese was by far the best. Had almost no discernible cream cheese flavor and still stuck together really well.

Next the microwave rice.

Recipe:
1.5 Cups cauliflower rice, with moisture squeezed out with paper towels
½ Teaspoon lite-salt
1 Tablespoon cream cheese

Directions
I did not use any coconut oil unlike the other recipes. I microwaved it on high for five minutes then stirred in the cream cheese. By far the easiest method.

Again the microwave rice was my least favorite. It actually came out kind of weird in that it looked like it was shrunken in volume compared to my other rices. I think maybe 5 minutes was way too long to cook it?

It was slightly browned and had an almost cracked appearance when I took it out. I should have tasted it then but I wanted to add the cream cheese while it was still warm. It was way too much cream cheese and totally overpowered the cauliflower rice. This batch was messed up and I’ll have to do it again to figure out the flavor and texture.

I think I will try this again, but cook it less and only add a teaspoon of cream cheese.

Last but not least I made a batch in the oven. This time I tried to use a deeper baking dish rather than laying it all out on a cookie sheet in order to avoid the little burnt pieces I got last time.

Recipe:
1.5 Cups cauliflower rice, with moisture squeezed out with paper towels
1 Tbsp Coconut oil, added melted
Sprinkle (1/4th teaspoon?) lite-salt
½ Tablespoon cream cheese

I set the oven for 475 degrees and put my baking dish on the center rack. After ten minutes I took out the dish and used a fork to mix it up.

It was a toss up whether this one had the best flavor or the stovetop. The oven rice was a little softer and did not have any of that vegetable crunch. It also had a good amount of moisture that it was almost spot on to the moistness of a short grain rice. Not much cauliflower flavor. Amount of cream cheese was good, I did not taste it much and it stuck together well. I still felt like I could use less of it.

In conclusion, once again the microwave was my least favorite method but it was a toss up between the stove top and the oven. I think that I will try to develop them in different directions. Maybe the stove top will be my go to for dishes that traditionally go with longer grain drier and less sticky rice. The oven might be better for short grain, stickier rice dishes.

 

Deep fried salmon with salad

Yum. Funny enough, in my low fat days I would never have even dreamed of owning much less using a deep fat fryer! Keto really has opened up so many culinary possibilities for me. It’s almost like a reverse diet lol.

Tonight for dinner I decided to make some deep friend Salmon, keto style.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen recipes for breading chicken with that powdery parmesan, and I’ve also seen ones that use crushed up pork rinds. The answer was obviously to combine both methods and see what happened!

Deep fried breaded Salmon, keto style
Ingredients
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1.5 cups crushed pork rinds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup powdered parmesan cheese, plus extra

Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2 people

Directions

Start by turning on your deep fat fryer. I have a small FryDaddy that basically is either on or off. If you have a programmable machine follow your manufacturers instructions for frying fish.

Take your pork rinds and crush them in a bag until you have approximately one cup. There will be some pieces that will not crush, just take those out. Alternatively you can put these into a food processor until they reach a fine consistency.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese unto a plate. Sprinkle the crushed pork rinds unto another plate. You’ll need a lot more than this, I way underestimated the amounts when I took this picture. You can use the same plate but it will be a little messy. I suggest using paper plates at this stage if you want to cut down on clean up time.

Crack open your egg and beat well.

Now cut each salmon fillet into 4 equally proportioned pieces. Coat with egg, then dip in egg, and finish by dredging in the crushed pork rinds.

When your fryer is ready put 2-3 pieces in at a time, depending on the size of your fryer. Make sure not to crowd the pieces. Cook for 5 minutes or according to your manufacturer’s instructions.

When finished put on a wire rack to drain and cool off for 2-3 minutes.

That’s it! You could serve these with a quick salad or some steamed vegetables.

I honestly was not sure what to expect with this one. Would the taste of the breading be overpowering? Would it stick to the Salmon?

These were delicious! Way better than I expected. Although I think next time I would cut back the cooking time by maybe 30 seconds. I think they could have been a little juicier on the inside.

They did not taste overwhelmingly like cheese or pork rinds. They simply like an especially tasty breading. I’ve heard before that pork rinds are very much like panko bread crumbs and I think that’s true.

The parmesan cheese and pork rinds did not stick as well to the salmon as say flour and panko bread crumbs, but they did an acceptable job. I think I may have had some issues simply because I did not use enough cheese or pork rinds to begin with. I wasn’t sure about the amounts and ended up needing more than I thought. The recipe above is a bit of a guess but when I next get the chance I’m going to update this recipe with the correct amounts. Make sure that you have spare cheese and pork rinds for now.

I hope that you enjoyed this update! I will be back with more.

 

Guacamole Recipe

Today I made some homemade guacamole, and it was divine! The recipe I found online was not quite to my taste so I decided to make some changes to it. Less onion, more jalapeño and cilantro, hold the cayenne pepper. It worked out really well so I think that I will share it with you.

Recipe
Ingredients
  • 3 Avocados
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
  • 2-4 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ripe heirloom tomato (save until serving)

Time: 15-20 minutes

Serving Size: 4-5 people

Net carbs: 3-4 carbs per serving

Directions

Slice the avocados in half and remove the seed. Use a spoon to scoop out the pulp and place into a bowl. Start smashing the avocado with a fork, but leave some chunkiness.

Cut a lime in half and use a fork to juice. Be careful of seeds!

Add the salt, ground cumin, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic, then stir together.

When ready to serve, dice some tomato and add to the guacamole. I like 1 part tomato to 4 parts guacamole, but adjust to your taste. Make sure that you keep your tomato outside of the fridge for the best flavor.

To store use some plastic wrap and try to press all of the air out of the guacamole. Air will oxidize the avocado and turn your guacamole brown. Here’s what’s left of ours:

As you can see this was a huge hit and we already ate half of it! I used some cheese chips that I made in the microwave while my boyfriend (the carb lover) used regular tortilla chips. You could also bake a low carb tortilla into some crispy chips, or even used pork rinds.

Today I also bought a big head of cauliflower that I am planning to use for my rice experiments. I’ve already made another batch of cauliflower and let me tell you that the cooking method makes a huge difference.

The first batch of cauliflower rice I grated it, squeezed as much water as I could out of it, then I cooked it with some butter in my cast iron skillet for quite a while. The cauliflower turned out with a sort of nutty, mild flavor with a fluffy texture that I thought would work well for something like brown rice.

The next time I made it I grated it then put it straight in the microwave. Mostly because I forgot to squeeze the water out of it. After cooking for 2 min I took it out and attempted to use a paper towel to remove some liquid but it was so hot I nearly burned myself. This method yielded a very strong cauliflower flavor that I did not like as much. It was also much wetter. I’m not sure if that was because I forgot to squeeze it or just because of the method. I also did not cook it as long and the water did not have time to evaporate.

From these case studies I’ve decided that dry heat is probably what I want. I plan to make at least two batches, one in the oven and one on the stove top. I’m then going to add some rice wine vinegar and swerve, and varying amounts of cream cheese. The cream cheese is to approximate the stickiness that you find in sushi rice. I hope that I will find a nice bento rice substitute that I can use to make my lunches in the future.

 

Simple coconut milk chia pudding

Yum! I haven’t had the chance to write this up yet but while searching for Shirataki noodles I also found some Chia seeds at the local coop. I thought this was an awesome find, only to find them at Costco for way cheaper a week later lol. Oh how I love Costco!

Whatever the avenue into my life, I’ve been obsessed with Chia seeds these past few days. Soaked in coconut milk they’re such an amazing texture, it’s like a decadent pudding without all the starchy thickeners. I’ve always hated eggs and potatoes for breakfast and mostly stuck to fruit and yogurt. This is way more appealing to me! I’ve even seen a few recipes for a kind of mock oatmeal using chia seeds and coconut flakes that looks really good.

Simple recipe above: Take 1 cup coconut milk and mix with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. Leave overnight. Mix and serve in the morning. I personally like the unblended texture but you can also blend it for a silky smooth treat.

Ponzu and sambal oelek glazed catfish with cauliflower rice

Eric has signed up for the Blue Apron meal service, so over the next three days we are in for a treat! Tonight was Ponzu and sambal oelek glazed catfish, yum.

Pretty tasty looking, huh?

As for me, I decided now would be a good time to try out making cauliflower rice. Unfortunately my vitamix appears to be on its last legs, so I had to resort to using the cheese grader to make my cauliflower into more manageable pieces.

This was fairly quick and painless, however I felt like I wasted a hell of a lot of cauliflower. I imagine a food processor is much more efficient. I grated slightly less than one half a head of cauliflower.

Here I am taking some paper towels and squeezing all the water I can out of it. There was a surprising amount actually! You can kind of see the wet part on the paper towel in this picture.

To saute, I started with two tablespoons of kerrygold butter and warmed that up in a cast iron pan on medium. Once it was mostly melted I added one small clove of garlic minced. I just stirred that around the pan for about a minute, long enough for it to get fragrant. After that I added the cauliflower, stirring constantly. Also I added a  bit of salt and pepper. It started to steam a lot which I was hoping for. Once the cauliflower was the slightest bit brown I took it off the heat and tried some.

It was actually very good! Not overly cauliflowery tasting, with lots of nice garlic. It was also very similar in moistness to rice which was an unexpected bonus. The texture was not like rice but close enough to a rice like side I knew that it would go really well with tonight’s dinner.

Here is it all plated together. The catfish was so good, and the cauliflower rice was the perfect accompaniment. Funny story, my boyfriend didn’t like the rice that came with our meal and actually preferred my cauliflower rice! Because I was so stuffed I gave him what I couldn’t finish.

Keto pizza and grocery shopping

Today to kickstart my diet I went grocery shopping. Usually I get too caught up in planning the perfect grocery list that maximizes the number of dishes with the same ingredients. This time I kept things simple. I basically picked three meals that I wanted to eat and bought ingredients to prepare those things. Ha! That’s probably what normal people do lol.

IMG_1264 (3)

Over the next few days I plan on making Keto pizza, and cauliflower nachos! The other was my go to meal of rotisserie chicken and fresh mozzarella. I would have also picked up some jalapeno stuffed olives to go along with those but the deli was out :(. In addition while at the grocery store I realized that I have all of the ingredients to make tacos with lettuce shells except for the lettuce itself so I added that to the cart. Boom! Four meals with almost zero effort.

When I got home I decided to just eat some of the chicken dipped in olive oil. Since chicken is so lean and I’ve had some trouble getting fat in the past I’ve looked up some tips on how to add fat. It was okay. I think that I would do it again as it kind of reminds me of dipping bread into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but it wasn’t fantastic. I wasn’t blown away. In fact, I had some of the fresh mozzarella dipped in the olive oil and that was way better. I may try adding butter to my chicken next time and saving to olive oil for my cheese.

For dinner I made an easy keto pizza using a low carb tortilla. I actually made a gif to show you guys. Would have been way too many boring pictures to put in a row.

180nh4

Once introduced to the concept I didn’t really need instructions to make this one. I basically heated up the tortilla on the stovetop then added all the fixings. Then I put it under the broiler to melt the cheese. In retrospect I probably could have left it a little longer to get the cheese and pepperoni more crispy, but I was worried about burning dinner.

This was surprisingly filling. eating one was enough for me, but you could easily pair this with a nice salad or some keto friendly hot wings.