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This is less of a recipe post and more of a “tips and tricks” post. I know I am super late on this, but how did I live before salad in a jar?

So here’s the deal- you layer your salad ingredients in a mason jar, starting with dressing and layering the heavier proteins and work up to adding your greens last. There are several benefits to doing this. 

First, adding the meat or other protein directly after the dressing allows it to marinate and remain juicy. Also, putting the greens in last at the top allows them to stay crisp for a few days in the refrigerator, so you can make a few salad jars at the beginning of the week to have on hand for a quick meal. When it is time to eat, you can either dump your creation into a bowl and everything will be layered the way you usually eat your salad (lettuce on the bottom, dressing on top) or you can take your jar with you and simply shake it up to distribute the ingredients and eat it straight out of the jar!

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Here’s the nutritional breakdown for my standard steak and chicken salad jars:


Steak Salad Jar

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad Jar

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After losing my way a bit during the holidays, I am re-committed to low-carb eating. I’ve been back to proper keto macros for about a week and already feel so much better. Cutting out wine and beer alone since the beginning of the month has done wonders for my overall well-being.Of course the thing I’ve been missing the most is dessert. If I’m trying to limit my alcohol intake, I definitely need something else to take the edge off…

These cheesecake muffins come from a pretty standard low-carb recipe, but I decided to give it an update with some fruit and chocolate. It adds about 1 carb per muffin, but still keeps the total carbs per muffin under 3 net carbs – I’m cool with that.

Ingredients:
Recipe yields 12 mini cheesecakes

Crust:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup almond meal
½ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Filling:
16 oz. of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup erythritol 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Topping:
2-3 strawberries, sliced thin (optional)
1-2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (optional)
1-2 tbsp whipped topping (optional)


Instructions:

image1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Melt butter.  Stir in almond meal and cinnamon. (You could even use a pinch of the erythritol here if you wanted to- I didn’t and I thought it was fine without.) Place small amount in each cupcake liner, pat to form crusts.  Set aside.

3. Combine cream cheese, eggs, erythritol and vanilla in a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer on med speed till smooth.

4. Fill cupcake liners almost to the top.

5. (Optional Step) Place one strawberry slice on the top of each cupcake.

image6. Bake in oven 15-17 minutes.
  
7. Remove from oven.

8. (Optional Step) Allow minis to cool for at least 15 minutes. Melt 1-2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about a minute (until melted all the way). Drizzle melted chocolate across the tops of the cheesecakes.

9. Cool on counter for about 30 minutes, then chill in fridge overnight (at least 3-4 hours). 
  
10. Serve with a dollop of sugar-free whipped topping if desired. 




Nutritional Information*

233 calories
21g fat
2g net carbs
6g protein
*per mini cheesecake including strawberries and chocolate drizzle

I’ve decided to start posting a screencap of what I get when I plug the ingredients into the MyFitnessPal.com database using the “Recipe Box” function. This should give you a better idea of what I used exactly and how I got the numbers below. I strongly suggest measuring and calculating your own totals so that you can be sure you are eating the macros that you believe you are.

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I don’t even know how to describe my process on this one. Today was one of the first true autumn days we have experienced this year- you know- below 50 degrees, kind of rainy and dreary. Add to that the fact that my throat is raw from all of the screaming I did at the haunted house we went to last night and the only thing I was thinking about was soup- delicious, warm, creamy soup.


But there was a problem- I am doing keto now, so no soups with noodles or dumplings or rice. No soups in a bread bowl or with crunchy croutons. No soups with potatoes (sobbing as I type this).  I had some success with my Broccoli, Cheese & Bacon Soup and I eat my Bean-less Chili with Bacon and my now-modified-for-keto (pro-tip:  leave the beans and corn out) Creamy Chicken Chili at least once a week… I just wanted something different.

I don’t know how I arrived at the decision to see if I could essentially make ‘liquid pizza’ in my crock pot, but I am always willing to try and find ways to eat pizza without going over my daily allotment of carbs.


imageThe great thing about this recipe is anything goes. Since I really didn’t have a recipe to base it off of, I just used what I had in the house and what made sense to put on a pizza. For example, you could add green peppers or olives or adjust the spices to suit your taste – you could even use Italian sausage to give it some kick. Get creative with your ingredients!


The labor is a bit intensive for this one in terms of prep. I would say it took me about 30 minutes total to get it all into the crock pot, which isn’t so bad, but I wouldn’t try to do that before work in the morning or anything.

As far as the numbers go, this is not going to be a recipe that you make and eat two giant bowls of several times a week. It’s designed to be more of a make a big batch on the weekend and portion out into small containers for the freezer so you have it available in pinch. The bad thing is, the serving size is only a cup and the calories and carbs are a tiny bit high. The good thing is, that cup is super filling and the fat content is high too. So this may not be for everyone on a low-carb diet, but I think it is just fine for an occasional rainy day treat.


This is what I came up with… and, yes it was every bit as delicious as I hoped it would be!



Ingredients:


1.5 lbs ground beef
1 lb  pork sausage (the kind that comes in the roll)
15 slices sandwich pepperoni, cut into  quarters or eighths
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 block cream cheese (8oz)

Spices:
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground thyme
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp  basil
1 Tbsp parsley flakes


Instructions:

  1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray or line with slow cooker liner for easier clean up.
  2. Brown ground beef and sausage in skillet. You don’t need to cook it completely because it will finish in the crock pot, but make sure most of the pink is gone and the outside is browned.
  3. Drain excess grease from meat and then add the meat to crock pot.
  4. Using the same skillet, sauté mushrooms and garlic on medium heat until browned. Then add to crockpot.
  5. At some point, you’ll need to cut up your pepperoni and add to the crock pot. Some tips: Lay the pepperoni on some paper towels and cook for about 45-60 seconds in the microwave. You’ll want to do this because when pepperoni cooks it gets greasy. You’ll want to try to blot some of that grease away before you add it to the crockpot so you don’t end up with a giant pot of oil. I did this and then used my kitchen scissors to cut each slice into eights. It’s kind of a pain, but I believe it’s worth it.
  6. Add beef broth, tomato paste and diced tomatoes to crock pot. Stir meat, veggies and broth.
  7. Add spices to crock pot and stir again.
  8. Add cream cheese to top of mixture. You can break it up a bit if you’d like, but it should
    just sit on top of the rest of the ingredients.
  9. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours stirring occasionally when possible.
  10. When time is up, stir well so that the cream cheese is thoroughly blended with the rest of the ingredients.

Serve with some grated mozzarella cheese if desired. I actually got a little fancy and added a 1/4 cup shredded four cheese Italian blend cheese and then broiled in an oven safe bowl for about 3 minutes until the cheese was brown an bubbly. If you go this route- make sure you add the extra calories, etc. to your meal total. 

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Serving Size: 1 cup


Yield:  12 cups (approx.)



Nutritional Information*


393 calories
30g fat
5g net carbs
23g protein
*per 1 cup serving

I’ve decided to start posting a screencap of what I get when I plug the ingredients into the MyFitnessPal.com database using the “Recipe Box” function. This should give you a better idea of what I used exactly and how I got the numbers below. I strongly suggest measuring and calculating your own totals so that you can be sure you are eating the macros that you believe you are.

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imageThis berry cheesecake that I made is too good to even describe! I modified a recipe I had seen elsewhere and it turned out great! It’s truly one of my first baking projects where I almost couldn’t remember that it was keto friendly. I actually found myself feeling guilty for “cheating” during a few bites. I realize it’s still on the higher side with 10g net carbs for a decent sized slice, but I think it’s worth it every once in a while for how delicious and decadent it is! And you could always make the serving size smaller to lower those numbers… think bite sized! (In the interest of full disclosure, the raspberry cheesecake pictured is the second time I made this recipe. The first time was with blackberries. Both were incredible! The first one just got eaten too quickly to get any pictures of it.)

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Before we get started though, a word about the sweetener. I *highly* recommend starting with a slightly lower amount of sugar substitute than what’s listed in my recipe and tasting before adding more. You don’t want this to be too sweet and that’s really easy to do, so experiment to get the right amount. Also, the less sweetener, the less carbs in the final product. If you are using a sweetener other than the ones I listed in the recipe, please Google the proper conversions so you don’t end up putting way too much of something in the mix. For example, a stevia powder is far more concentrated and adding the amounts below would ruin the cheesecake. As far as liquid sweeteners, I don’t know how those would work in terms of changing the consistency of the batter. Unless you are experienced working with liquids as substitutes, I would try and steer clear. 



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Ingredients





Macaroon Crust:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar substitute (I used Splenda brown sugar blend, but a regular sugar sub would be fine)

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

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Filling:


8 oz cream cheese, softened

¼ cup granulated sugar substitute (I used Truvia baking blend)

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg


Fruit Topping:

1 cup raspberries (Any berry would work- strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc)

1 tsp granulated sugar substitute (I used Truvia baking blend)




Instructions


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Crust:

Cream together the butter and sugar substitute. Add the coconut, coconut flour and baking powder, mixing until thoroughly combined. Press into a lightly 8 inch round pan and set aside. I used a foil 8 inch cake pan because I had one in the kitchen, this would also work with a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan. You’re baking time may change accordingly.


Filling:

Beat the cream cheese and sugar substitute together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture over the crust.

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Fruit Topping:

In a small bowl, mash the berries and sugar substitute together with a fork. Drop by spoonfuls over the cheesecake mixture and then swirl it gently with the fork until distributed over the entire top – don’t over mix.


Bake in a 350 degree (F) oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours (overnight is better for the cheesecake to setup) before serving.



Yield: 
Makes approximately 8 slices (using an 8-inch round pan)



Approximate nutrition info per slice*:

314 calories

24g fat

10g net carbs

4g protein




*Disclaimer: My nutritional information is based on numbers in the MyFitnessPal database. If you are concerned about accuracy, use the "Recipe" function on MFP to calculate your exact creation.

This will NEVER get old…

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(Source: iamvikinglord)


imageI love keto. I really do. I feel better, I look better and it’s been pretty easy for me to maintain this lifestyle. With that said, I do miss carbs sometimes. What I miss the most is pizza crust and tortillas (including nacho chips, taco shells, etc). I’ve been reading up on how to make a good taco shell substitute and it seems like fried cheese is the way to go!


imageIt was really easy. I sprayed a frying pan with some non-stick spray and added about a ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese. I cooked it on high until it got bubbly and the edges started to brown. (You can also do this in the microwave on some parchment paper, but mine is not very powerful and I like the results on the stove much better). I then carefully removed with a spatula and formed around a turkey baster shaft while it was still warm and left it there for about 10 minutes to get the right shape.



I had some leftover meatballs in the fridge, so I made a meatball taco. I was a bit intoxicated so that combination seemed like a fantastic idea- and it was! I’ve actually made these “shells” multiple times since then and it’s even better with traditional taco fillings. 





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My Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken was one of my very favorite pre-keto recipes. I decided that I would try to sub some ingredients to make it low-carb and low-sugar. Here’s what I came up with… it was pretty delicious. Not exactly the same (the sauce was a thinner consistency, and the coconut flour didn’t get quite as crispy as cornstarch) but I definitely felt like my cravings were satisfied. Next time, I will serve it over steamed broccoli.


Ingredients:

Chicken:

3-4 boneless chicken breasts (About 1.5-2lbs total)

salt + pepper

1 cup coconut flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup olive oil


Sweet & Sour Sauce:

1tsp liquid stevia (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar sub, like Truvia/Splenda- be careful, this will change the carb count)

4 TBSP reduced sugar ketchup

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 TBSP soy sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

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Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

2. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Dip chicken into the egg to coat then the coconut flour to cover.

4. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. 

5. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish 

6. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken (I just used my 4 cup measuring cup to make pouring easier)

7. Bake for 30-45 minutes turning the chicken midway through to make sure both sides get the sauce.  

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Nutritional Information:
(per serving, recipe makes 4 servings)
400 calories
5g carbs (3g net carbs)
22g fat
25g protein
2g fiber


*Disclaimer: My nutritional information is based on numbers in the MyFitnessPal database. If you are concerned about accuracy, use the "Recipe" function on MFP to calculate your exact creation.

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There seems to be a lot of different ways to get my pizza fix on keto and I really love this one! You can stuff it and top it with whatever you would like to get more or less calories/carbs. I stuffed mine with sausage and topped with cheese and pepperoni and it was fantastic! 


Ingredients:

6 mini (6 ounces total) portabella mushroom caps (or use larger caps if you’d prefer)
2Tbsp reduced sugar pizza sauce
1 lb sausage
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
12 mini pepperoni slices

Instructions:
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1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

2. Wipe the mushrooms clean (don’t rinse them, we are trying to minimize liquid here). Then remove the gills- this, too minimizes water content. I did this by using a pairing knife. But be careful, the mushrooms are very frah-gee-lay.

3. Pre-bake the mushrooms for 5 minutes. When finished, remove but leave oven on.

4. While pre-baking, brown sausage in skillet on stove top. I added some minced garlic and Italian seasoning for flavor. Once cooked, drain grease from sausage and then add 1-2 Tbsp of pizza sauce (be careful not to use too much- again we don’t want to many juices in the mushrooms).

image5. Spoon sausage into pre-baked mushroom caps, being careful not break them.

6. Top with shredded cheese, pepperoni, etc.

7. Put your mushroom pizzas back into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes- until cheese is brown. (I left mine in for about 15 minutes and that was probably a minute or two longer than I should have.

8. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. I did use a fork and knife to eat these because it was a little too messy to pick up and eat.


Nutritional Information:
(based on my filling/toppings)

755 calories
16g carbs
56g fat
42g protein
6g fiber


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Just in time for the nicer weather… I have a terrible cold. I’m talking the kind where you can’t taste anything and all you want to do is sleep. I needed soup. I needed chicken noodle soup, but that clearly wasn’t going to happen in my new keto life so I went to the cream soups for solace. What I came up with is based upon some other similar soup recipes I researched but it is designed to be made as quickly and easily as possible. You can probably make this recipe other ways, using an immersion blender, etc, but like I said, I am deathly ill and needed soup right away. Plus the entire batch has less than 20 net carbs!

The end result was glorious. Probably one of my favorite soups I have ever made- keto or not. And the boyfriend, who isn’t a fan of some of my keto recipes, loved it. We agreed that this winter, this soup will replace my usual baked potato soup (which is his very favorite).


Ingredients:

4 cups cooked broccoli florets (I used a steam-in-the-microwave bag for simplicity)
3 cups chicken broth
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1/4-1/2 cup bacon, cooked and diced
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp onion powder (or to taste)


Instructions:

1. Cook broccoli according to directions on bag or on stove top until well done.

2. Cook bacon until well done. Remove from pan to cool but leave burner on in order to use hot bacon grease to cook the garlic (it only takes about 30 seconds to cook- careful not to burn it!).  Remove garlic from bacon grease and set aside with other ingredients.

3. Using a large pot, heat broth and cream mixture on MEDIUM heat, stirring frequently.  

4. Use food processor to puree cooked broccoli. (Be careful putting hot stuff in a food processor- if there is too much steam, the top could pop off and make a big mess or worse, injure someone. If in doubt, work in batches)

image5. Add cream cheese, bacon and garlic to food processor with broccoli. Puree some more.

6. Add mixture in food processor to pot with broth and cream. Continue stirring.

7. Add shredded cheeses and spices, stirring frequently until cheese melts and all ingredients are blended together. 

8. Remove from heat and serve with shredded cheese as garnish. Makes approximately 12 cups.



Nutritional Information
per 1 cup serving
182 calories
2g carbs
16g fat
6g protein
1g fiber

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So easy! So tasty! And only 3 net carbs per muffin! 


Ingredients:

1 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup frozen, unsweetened blueberries
1 tsp liquid stevia (or 10 packets of Splenda)
2 eggs, beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
2 Tbsp coconut (or olive) oil (make sure oil is in liquid state)
1/4 cup water



Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees

2. Combine all dry ingredients.

3. Mix together wet ingredients.

4. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

5. Pour mix into muffin tin. 

6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

7. Makes 6 regular-sized muffins.


Nutritional Information:
per muffin
161 calories
13g fat
9g carbs
6g protein
6g fiber