Kara's Keto Plates

Fatty Food Blogging

Month: January 2015

Bacon, Mushroom and Spinach Egg Casserole

After the great success of the sausage and spinach egg casserole (which was well-liked by both of us, even though Michael doesn’t usually like eggs), I decided to try it again, with a few changes. I love this casserole because it’s portable, it can be frozen and thawed well, and reheating it is a snap. It makes for a really quick and filling breakfast (or post-workout meal). It’s been a great way to add additional vegetables to our days, as well.

Spinach Mushroom Bacon Egg Casserole

Bacon, Mushroom, Spinach and Egg Casserole

Ingredients:
8 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
8 Eggs
2 cups frozen, chopped Spinach (heated and pressed of excess water)
2 cups sauteed Mushrooms
1 cup Cheese (I used a combination of Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Chives
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg

Directions:

To prep ingredients, I baked my bacon – you can find plenty of instructions online. While the bacon was cooking, I heated the frozen spinach in the microwave and also heated up the mushrooms (rather than cooking my own mushrooms, I used half a bag of frozen Mushroom Medley from Trader Joe’s). It would be easy enough to sauté the mushrooms in butter (or in bacon grease if you wait until your bacon is cooked). Once the bacon is cooked through, place it on a plate covered with papertowels to drain and chop the bacon once it has drained. Drain the spinach by pressing (either by hand or with a cheesecloth).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan. Mix eggs, spinach and mushrooms together. Season the egg mixture and then add the cheese and bacon to the egg mixture. Once everything is evenly combined, pour into the 8 x 8 pan and bake 35-45 minutes, rotating midway through. This recipe makes 8 servings.

I spaced on the fact that I have gruyere cheese in my fridge, which I think would have been a really nice cheese to use in this dish instead of the Monterey Jack. Maybe next time.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 213 kcal
Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Total Carbohydrate: 3.5 g
Fiber: .5 g
Protein: 13 g

Net Carbohydrate: 3 g

Moving Again

I figured that I owed an update after my stall entry last week — I’ve started losing again. I’ve now hit the lowest weight I ever hit on Medi-Fast (which, coincidentally, was pretty much my weight upon exiting high school), so it’ll be a long slog (about 20 pounds or so) until I hit my next new low: the lowest weight I have known in my adult life. And after that, I have no idea. My ideal weight is about 60 pounds below that, my personal goal weight is somewhere in the middle but I have no idea what my life will look like or feel like at that point. It’s more than a little terrifying, to be blunt.

I moved off the stall by upping my calories to a 25% caloric deficit, as discussed in the previous progress entry. The good news is that since I have a lot more energy again, I’ve been cleaning and yoga-ing with new fervor. Michael and I also walked a couple miles outdoors last weekend, taking advantage of the unusually nice weather. The additional good news with the energy resurgence is once again having exercise as a tool to deal with the days I feel low, emotionally. Nothing works for malaise/depression/etc like a nice sweat.

So what have I been eating this week? The usual. Leftover egg casserole (which was amazing, froze very well and which I intend to make again and again). Creamed spinach. Baked salmon. Canned tuna. Caesar salad. Atkins shakes. Roast turkey. Steamed broccoli. Lots and lots of roast seaweed, still. My goal for the next week or so? Up the fatty fish to a couple more servings a week (likely by eating canned kippers) and to try to start incorporating tofu or TVP or tempeh in our lives, at least one meal a week. Tempeh is interesting because it’s higher protein than tofu, but I’ve only cooked with it once, to mixed success. And for some reason, it’s really difficult to find tempeh recipes which are also low carb. I’ll have to brainstorm.

I’m also in the midst of planning my gardening for this year. I have a pretty big raised bed and I’m looking at planting eggplant, zucchini, peppers (probably a few types) and plum tomatoes. I’m considering planting cool Fall produce: as well (ie: kale, broccoli) but I’ve never grown those things before. The herbs I’ll likely do in smaller containers: a couple types of basil, oregano and thyme at least. Maybe chives, cilantro, mint.  I haven’t gardened in years (since the first year Michael and I were married) and pretty much the only thing we grew successfully that year were cayenne peppers and basil (and a few Brandywine tomatoes).  But if it all works out, we’ll have plenty of tasty vegetables this Summer, hopefully limiting our grocery store needs.

Egg Casserole with Sausage and Spinach

I have been bad about using the fancy Italian sausage we have on hand in the freezer. Truthfully, I miss Italian sausage that is coated in tomato sauce and resting on a buttload of pasta. It reminds me of the time one of my aunts met me and my cousin (her daughter) at a park and ride and handed us a huge container of Italian Sausage and spaghetti with peppers and onions in a delightfully chunky spaghetti sauce. We went straight back to our dorm room, nuked that container and pigged out. As a kid, I had this thing against any meat in a skin (hot dogs, sausage links, etc) and refused to eat them on principle so I think that may have been my first time ever eating Italian sausage. It was glorious.

For this recipe, I took the sausage out of its casing and cooked it in a pan before hand, working it with a spatula to crumble it. I don’t know how easy it is to take sausage out of a synthetic casing, the sausage I use has natural casing which is pretty easy to handle raw. The sausage I use also has a lot of heat and garlic in it, so I didn’t add too much seasoning to the eggs.

Egg Casserole with Sausage and Spinach

Egg Casserole with Sausage and Spinach

Ingredients:
12 Eggs
1 pound Italian Sausage
8 oz frozen chopped Spinach (a little more than half a brick)
1 cup Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Chives
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove your Italian Sausage from the casing and cook in a pan at medium heat until cooked through, chopping up the sausage links into crumbles as you cook. Drain the cooked sausage. While you’re tending to the sausage, place frozen spinach in a covered container and microwave per package instructions. Once the spinach is done, squeeze out the excess water. Break your eggs and whisk the eggs with the seasoning. Lastly, add the cheese to the egg mixture, stirring it in.

Lightly grease an 8 x 8 baking pan (coconut oil spray is awesome), Layer the cooked sausage and spinach in the pan, then pour the egg and cheese mixture on top. Cook for 35-45 minutes, the eggs will puff up and the edges will turn golden brown. I cut this into 16 squares (2 squares is a serving) and set half of the recipe aside to freeze for quick meals.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 350 kcal
Fat: 28 g
Saturated Fat: 11 g
Total Carbohydrate: 3 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 20 g

Net Carbohydrate: 2 g

Stall

I’ve been stalled out for about a month, now. No weight loss, no weight gain. Just sort of sitting at about 230 pounds. It’s a cruddy feeling, and you start picking everything apart. Should I cut calories? Should I work out more? Should I try intermittent fasting or a fat fast?

Truthfully, I believe I started my stall in December, when I said to myself that I wanted to meet a dumb goal by the end of the year. I wanted to weigh less than my lowest weight on Medi-Fast, my lowest weight since college. Essentially, I wanted to lose about three pounds in 10 days. So I cut my calories pretty significantly. And instead of losing weight, I just lost energy. It’s kind of a rookie mistake and I don’t think of myself as a rookie.

I’ve made a lot of changes over the month: I paid a lot more attention to my macros and brought my protein back up to where it should be (I was regularly getting 10-15 g less protein than I need to maintain my current lean mass). I upped my sodium intake since my blood pressure got too damn low (84/52) and I was experiencing pretty severe orthostatic-hypotension (almost passed out one afternoon upon getting up and going to the fridge for a pickle since I felt “low”). I hadn’t been eating as much fatty fish as when I started and got concerned that I might be deficient in iodine so I’ve added seaweed as a daily snack (and it has led to me feeling much more energetic). But none of those worked any magic on the scale.

So, I went over my food logs this weekend, thinking I was missing something huge. The only thing that had changed was that I had cut my calorie intake significantly (500-800 calories below an already generous 25% deficit). In December, when I cut the Atkins junk out, I never really replaced those calories with anything.

I’ve decided to stick to my 25% deficit (which means a generous 1600 calories daily) and hit the protein macro consistently and see what happens over the next month. My blood pressure is back to normal (100/70), my energy is coming back (likely a combination of the increased calories and the iodine) and my hope is that I will see some loss again, hopefully on par with how I was losing before.

That being said, I think it’s pretty normal to stall out every once in a while. I know the set-point theory is pretty much baseless, but I’ve been stuck at this weight before and then basically lost 15 pounds, all of a sudden, in one month. Having sorted out the blood pressure and energy issues, there’s absolutely nothing about this diet that feels unhealthy and it’s easy enough to maintain that even without seeing consistent loss, it doesn’t bother me to stick to it. But maybe that’s my perspective, too. I have absolutely seen this as a lifestyle change, not a quick-fix weight loss solution. And so, a stall is an engineering challenge, but not an invitation to quit and eat a dozen doughnuts.

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