Kara's Keto Plates

Fatty Food Blogging

Category: Vegan (page 1 of 2)

Peanut Butter Maple Candy

You know that feeling when you get back from vacation and your house is still clean and lovely (and still smells like Fenugreek because you eat butter chicken like three times a week)? You sigh deeply and feel so ridiculously at home again. That’s how getting back to keto feels after a week of eating whatever I wanted on vacation. Donuts. Waffles. Beer (oh, I missed beer… I may have to start making hop tea or something to take the place of beer). Calamari. Fried fish (so much fried fish). Chocolate chip cookies. Cheese danish. Nachos. On the plus side, at least we did a bunch of walking (several miles, at least) pretty much every day.

While we were in Orlando, I happened to find out we were a few miles from a Sanrio store. So we made the jaunt. I bought a bunch of cute things but was most excited about a Hello Kitty chocolate mold. I had to have it the moment I saw it. I have been wanting to pick up chocolate molds, anyway, so I could do the sugar free candy and chocolate making that I’ve been starting to do more regularly in an easier and cuter way. Of course, I had to make up a new recipe today to put the mold to the test. The mold is supposed to be dishwasher safe (don’t know if I trust that) but it held up to nearly boiling candy and the freezer very well. And the candies popped out so easily and look so cute… it’s perfect.

Peanut Butter Maple Candy

Peanut Butter Maple Fat Bomb

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (solid at room temperature)
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened, Smooth Peanut Butter (I use Kirkland brand – the only ingredients are peanuts and salt)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Maple Syrup (I use Maple Grove Farms brand)
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Liquid Splenda or Stevia, to taste
Salt, to taste

Directions:
Melt the coconut oil and peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to make sure the coconut oil and peanut butter are completely combined. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Taste to see whether the sweetness and salt levels are good – I added probably 5 drops of liquid splenda and maybe a quarter of a teaspoon of additional salt. If the peanut butter you use isn’t salted, you may need even more salt. The mixture should be smooth and pretty liquidy. I decanted the mixture into a measuring cup and poured it into my chocolate mold, then stuck the mold in the freezer for about half an hour. By that time, the candies were hard enough to pop out of the mold. I’m storing them in a container in the freezer.  This made 16 pieces of candy for me, I’d call it 8 servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 70 kcal
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 1 g
Fiber: .5 g
Protein: 1 g

Net Carbohydrate: .5 g

Gin and Blackberry Lime Rickey

Drinking on keto is… a different experience. For starters, your alcohol tolerance goes out the window. So, you get drunk a lot faster, it’s more difficult to maintain that ideal pleasant buzz but lack of crappy alcohol effects while you’re drinking, and I find that if I drink more than two standard drinks in a night, I’ll experience a mild hang-over the next day (headache, mild nausea, you know the score). A lot of people choose not to drink on keto – your liver will preferentially process the alcohol and so the fat-burning processes go on hold while you’re drinking (which could, theoretically, slow your weight loss). That being said, a nice dry red wine is a great way to get anti-oxidants in a diet where you have to limit the fruit you eat. And when a nice drink is what you can have instead of an ice cream cone, I’d argue it’s a worthwhile diversion.

All that being said, you have to be careful with what you choose to drink because carbs hide everywhere. Dry red or white wines are generally okay – but semi-sweet, off-dry, or dessert wines are off the menu (and don’t even think about a Moscato). In terms of liquor – I’ve avoided almost every flavored anything because they tend to be sweetened. A known exception: Absolut states that they do not sweeten any of their flavored vodkas (and their Black Currant vodka is pretty darn nice). But flavored liquors like Kahlua, Grand Marnier and my personal favorite, St-Germain are heavily sweetened – it’s advisable to avoid them entirely. In terms of beer, you’re also pretty screwed. Plenty of light beers aren’t terrible – I used to drink a lot of Bud Light Platinum because it was 6 g net carbs a bottle and had pretty high alcohol content for a light beer.  But when what you want is a real damn beer, you won’t be able to find a low carb equivalent (I miss you, Sixth Glass, more than words can say). We’ve also been able to find a couple very dry ciders with no sweetener at our local liquor store – but those tend to be imported (American style cider is almost always seriously back-sweetened – and unfortunately, most companies don’t provide nutrition labels so you won’t know). I’m a pretty boring lady, so most nights I tend to drink either Gin, Vodka or dry Wine, with the occasional whiskey or Scotch making an appearance. Gin is really my favorite of all the liquors, possibly for romantic reasons: Michael brought gin, tonic and bitters down to my dorm room to mix me drinks when we were first dating.

This recipe comes in here, with gin and romance. I wanted a pretty, healthy drink for Valentine’s Day weekend to surprise Michael. I really love Gin Rickeys: they’re nothing more than gin, lime juice and club soda. But they are fantastic drinks: simple, refreshing, bright with citrus and juniper. This is a bit more complicated than a rickey (and sweeter) but a nice change of pace and a great way to get some extra vitamins in your day.

Gin and Blackberry rickey

Gin and Blackberry Lime Rickey

Ingredients
:
1 pint blackberries
2 – 3 tablespoons Lime Juice (or juice from 2 limes)
Liquid Splenda, to taste (we used equivalent of about 2 cups sugar)
Club Soda (1-2 liters)
Gin (as desired)

Directions:
In a small saucepan on medium heat, place your blackberries, the lime juice and liquid splenda. If you juice limes yourself, I’d also include a small quantity of zest to the syrup to really up the lime flavor – maybe a teaspoon of zest or so. You’re making a syrup here, essentially, so we heavily sweetened the mixture (maybe 25 drops of liquid splenda – the equivalent of about 2 cups of sugar). While the blackberries are over the heat – start mashing them. You want to really mash them good, so you end up with a nice, dark syrup and a bunch of blackberry seeds. When the berries seem good and smashed up (there shouldn’t be much flesh still around the seeds), you’ll need to strain the syrup. We set a strainer over a small measuring cup – make sure to mash the mixture in the strainer to get as much of the liquid out as possible. We got about 1/3 cup of syrup total. We added a little more than half of the syrup to a liter of club soda, but you could keep the syrup and soda separate and just mix in the glass. Then, add a shot of gin to your glass, add the club soda and syrup mixture (maybe 1 tablespoon of syrup per drink) to fill, garnish with lime wedges and ice, if desired. I would say we got 4-6 drinks out of the syrup. You can also just dilute the syrup with club soda and add a bit more lime juice for something more like a blackberry limeade (which I also did, and it was nice).

Basically, the only nutrition here is from the lime juice and the blackberries: for the entire recipe, the blackberries add 4 net grams of carbohydrate (1 g per serving) and two limes juiced adds 7 g net carbohydrate (about 1.5g per serving) for a total of about 11 g net carbohydrate for the entire recipe (so about 2 – 2.5 g per serving).

Soupy Twist!

Fried Tofu and Veg with Peanut Sauce

Every so often, the old vegan in me or Michael kicks us and says, hey, guys, what about me? It’s hard for me to help it: I am much more passionate about vegetables than I am about pretty much any meat (my exceptions: grass-fed steak; salmon; bacon). I understand vegetables. I know how to cook them and how to season them and most importantly, I know what I like about them. Meat is almost always a shot in the dark for me. I couldn’t fry a piece of chicken to save my life. But I can fry tofu.

Enter this meal. A brick of tofu, an assortment of vegetables, a peanut butter and coconut milk based sauce. It’s not the lowest carbohydrate meal or the highest protein meal but it is packed with vegetables and flavor and texture. It is also free of any animal products, which can be a welcome change of pace.

tofu and veg in peanut sauce

Pan-Fried Tofu and Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

Sauce Ingredients:
6 tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter, creamy
1/4 cup Coconut Milk, full fat
1/3 cup water to thin the sauce (you may need more)
Sweetener equivalent to 2-3 tablespoons Sugar. I used liquid splenda.
Juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste (or you could do two teaspoons each of minced garlic and grated ginger)
1/4 teaspoon of Sriracha (if you have it on hand)
Crushed Red Pepper, to taste

Meal Ingredients:
Brick extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
Vegetables of your choosing, at least 4 cups. We used 1 cup broccoli; 4 oz snow peas; 2 cups bok choy (it cooked down a LOT); 8 oz mushrooms and one green bell pepper. I did not use any onion to keep the carb count low.
Avocado, lime and cilantro for garnish.
Oil – we used canola and sesame oil to fry the tofu and cook the vegetables. Probably a tablespoon of canola and maybe 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil.

Directions:
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and set aside. I like my sauce to be pretty sweet and spicy, since the vegetables won’t be seasoned. Drain the tofu – I also press mine. I happen to have a tofu press (which looks an awful lot like flower presses I used to use back in the day) but you can also wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel, place it between two plates and weigh the top plate with a can or something and let it be for at least half an hour. While you’re doing that you can prep your vegetables. I steamed my broccoli ahead of time, and also cleaned, trimmed and chopped the bok choy, mushrooms, snow peas and bell pepper. The white parts of the bok choy, the mushrooms and the pepper I set aside in one bowl and then the greens of the bok choy, the snow peas and the steamed and drained broccoli I put in another container.

Once the tofu has pressed for at least half an hour, chop it into 1/2 inch cubes. My cubes were bigger and harder to fry evenly. Set a pan on medium-high heat and add a tablespoon canola oil and maybe a teaspoon of sesame oil. Once the oil is heated, add your tofu. Stir it as you cook it to brown each side. The browned tofu will be crispy on the outside and creamy and almost airy on the inside (this is especially aided by the pressing beforehand). Once the tofu is done, take it out of the pan and set it aside. There should be some oil left in the pan – if not add some additional sesame oil and throw the tougher vegetables in: the whites of the bok choy, the pepper and the mushrooms. Keep stirring your vegetables for a few minutes then add the broccoli, snow peas and and the greens from the bok choy. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until the greens of the bok choy have wilted. Add the peanut sauce to the pan and continue stirring. Serve with lime slices, chopped cilantro and avocado as garnish.

This made four servings. I didn’t include garnishes in the nutrition information below, but we each ate half an avocado as garnish (a not insignificant quantity of tasty fat and fiber, but it also added 2 grams carbohydrate to our meal.)

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 392 kcal
Total Fat: 28 g
Saturated Fat: 5.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 15.5 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 19 g

Net Carbohydrate: 10.5 g

Layered Peppermint Candy

One of the candies I almost never eat except for Christmas day: York Peppermint Patties. It’s one of the candies my mother in law always includes in our stocking candy (and she has sent stocking candy to us even after we moved halfway across the country… even going so far as to send us the stockings for the first Christmas we spent in Missouri). I don’t know about Michael, but for me those peppermint candies are now fully associated in my mind with digging into stockings. So I set about making a peppermint candy… although given the quantity of coconut oil, I would not recommend sticking this in a stocking.

These aren’t the prettiest candies, although if you had a chocolate mold you could certainly make them pretty. They are tasty little fat bombs, though. Michael says they are far more reminiscent of Andes mints than the patties from York,  which made me instantly regret not dying the filling, so keep that in mind (if you’re not anti food-dye). The peppermint filling recipe I used is from this site, but I think my process is a little bit easier and I made a chocolate coating out of cocoa powder because that is much, much cheaper than buying chocolate sweetened without sugar.

Layered Peppermint Candy

Layered Peppermint Candy

Ingredients For Chocolate Coating:
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Coconut Oil (the kind that is solid at room temperature – not liquid), melted
Liquid Splenda, to taste
1/4 teaspoon Mint extract

Ingredients for Peppermint Filling:
6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (again – the kind that is solid at room temperature)
1/3 cup Coconut Milk – Full Fat
1/3 cup Erythritol, Ground + Liquid Splenda to taste
1 Tablespoon Coconut Flour (finely ground)
1 teaspoon Mint extract
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Optional: Green food dye

Directions:
Prepare your mold or candy liners first. I just used mini baking cups, which I set in a plastic storage container to hold them steady. You could use a chocolate mold, a mini muffin tin with liners, whatever.  Make the chocolate coating (it takes only a few moments): melt the coconut oil over low heat, mix in the cocoa powder, liquid splenda and mint extract – then use about half the chocolate to put a layer of the chocolate coating at the bottom (you can also try to coat the sides of the liners or mold so it looks more like a peanut butter cup). Stick the liners/mold with the chocolate coating in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.

While the chocolate shell is hardening, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl – it should form a pretty thick paste (do not melt the coconut oil you use for the filling). Pull the hardened chocolate shells out of the freezer, scoop the peppermint filling into each liner (for my mini cups, I added maybe 2 teaspoons or so of filling to each) and smooth the top of the peppermint filling. Place the candies back in the freezer to let the peppermint filling harden – maybe five to ten minutes, depending on how big your candies are and how thick your filling is. Then pull the candies out of the freezer and spoon the remaining chocolate coating on the top of each candy (if you want pretty candy, spread the chocolate so it coats the entire top), then place the candies back in the freezer to harden.  I store them in the freezer in one container with the layers of candies separated by parchment paper. This recipe made about twenty mini candies (like miniature Reese’s cups size).

Nutrition Information (per each candy):
Calories: 75 kcal
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 7 g
Total Carbohydrate: 1.5 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 1 g

Net Carbohydrate: .5 g

Baked Radish “Chips”

By and large, I am not a huge fan of radishes. I like them pickled (for example, takuan). I will tolerate a small quantity raw in a salad. But with a world of other vegetables to eat… radishes don’t often come to mind.

Maybe that changes with this recipe. I originally intended to deep fry the radish slices, but Michael convinced me that without a deep fat fryer, it would be difficult to heat the oil consistently and I would be disappointed with the results. I sliced the radishes (the small, red kind – not daikon) on the thinnest setting on my mandolin. They ended up paper-thin: I would probably use the second setting next time. I hate myself for thinking it, but I almost wish I had a deep fat fryer. I would fry all the things: zucchini, radishes, pickles.

baked radish chips

Baked Radish “Chips”

Ingredients:
1 bunch Radishes, sliced thinly (about ten radishes)
1 tablespoon Oil to coat the radish slices (I used 2 tsp coconut oil; 1 tsp melted butter)
Seasoning (we used salt, black pepper, garlic powder and sweet paprika)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash radishes and slice thinly, by hand or with mandolin. Place radish slices in small saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Boil for about 5 minutes (the pink peel will start to lighten) and drain in colander. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet (I needed two because I sliced the radishes too thin). Once drained, coat with oil (maybe a tablespoon total – I went heavy on the oil) and then place radishes flat, in one layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle seasoning of your choosing on the slices and then place in oven. Ours were done within ten minutes (again, sliced way thin), so keep an eye on them. They didn’t crisp up but the flavor was very reminiscent of roasted potatoes. We ate through most of the bunch of radishes – so I’d say this makes two generous servings. I served these alongside a green salad and pulled pork.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 59 kcal
Fat: 6.5 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Total Carbohydrate: ~ 1 g
Fiber: .5 g
Protein: 0 g

Net Carbohydrate: .5 g

Maple Chipotle Pepitas

Pepitas, or Pumpkin Seeds, have always been one of my favorite snacks. They’re a good source of magnesium, zinc and omega-3s – a wonderful snack to add to your day.  Michael has pan-roasted small amounts of pumpkin seeds with oil and salt (careful – when they get hot we found out they had a tendency to pop out of the pan), which was simple and hit a salty-snack spot. I like these oven-roasted pepitas because you can make a cookie sheet full – enough to share.

I use some sugar-free “maple” syrup in this recipe. The brands definitely vary in terms of flavor: we have Michael’s favorite brand, Vermont, on hand right now. If you’ve never had sugar free maple-flavored syrup but you have had fake maple syrup like Log House Cabin or Mrs. Butterworths, the flavor is pretty much the same. I’ll be honest – I’m always vaguely disappointed with the flavor because I miss real, no-fooling maple syrup (Grade B, please) but it works well in this recipe.

Maple Chipotle Pepitas

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups raw, shelled Pumpkin Seeds / Pepitas
2 tablespoons Sugar-free Pancake Syrup
2 tablespoons Oil (I used a combination of Olive Oil and Coconut Oil)
1 teaspoon Cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Powder
Salt, to taste

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or with foil. Mix the syrup, oil and seasoning in a bowl, then add the raw pumpkin seeds to the bowl. Mix until the pumpkin seeds are evenly coated. Place the pepitas in a single layer on the cookie sheet and place in the heated oven. They will cook for 20 minutes, but you will want to stir/flip the seeds halfway through the cooking time.

Once they’re done, I cool them and then store them in an airtight container. They’re probably best if consumed within a week. A serving is 1/4 cup of seeds, this recipe makes 10 servings. I would recommend measuring out a serving since seeds and nuts are a dense source of calories.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 194 kcal
Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 3.0 g
Fiber: 2.0 g
Protein: 9 g

Sesame Cabbage Slaw

I have a whole lot of cabbage to use up. This recipe took the remainder of the purple and green cabbage I had on hand. The dressing is one I made up, first thing in the morning while I was packing lunch for Michael – who preferred this slaw to the avocado coleslaw we had the previous night.

I added a small quantity of liquid coconut oil to the dressing base – I don’t use coconut oil predominantly because I have heard rumors that it will upset the gut. I don’t know if that’s true, but it has kept me from using coconut oil solely, but I still tend to add the coconut oil in small quantities to any dish where I’m using liquid oils.

Sesame Cabbage Slaw

Sesame Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:
3 cups Cabbage, sliced
the juice from 1 Lemon
2 tablespoons Canola Oil (or your preferred liquid oil)
1 teaspoon liquid Coconut Oil (I use Carrington Farms Coconut Cooking Oil)
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
2-3 drops of EZ-Sweetz, the equivalent of 1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste OR 1/4 teaspoon each fresh garlic and fresh ginger or you could use an even smaller quantity of dried spices (1/8 teaspoon maybe)
1/4 teaspoon Minced Onion
Salt, to taste
Roasted sesame seeds, as garnish

Directions:
Prepare your cabbage – mine was pre-shredded by me, so this recipe came together super fast. Juice your lemon in a bowl. Whisk oil (canola, coconut and sesame) into the lemon juice until it makes a smooth emulsion. At this point, I usually taste the dressing to see whether it needs more oil (I tend to not add enough oil for some folks, so you may want more oil than I did). Add sweetener and seasonings (ginger, garlic, onion and salt). Taste again to make sure the dressing tastes good. I purposefully under-salted my dressing because I was making a topping to go on the salad of toasted sesame seeds and kosher salt.

While I was making the dressing, I pulled raw sesame seeds out of my fridge and threw them in a pan on low heat in order to toast them. I probably toasted 1/4 cup or so, because I really like sesame seeds. I generally stir/shake the pan every couple minutes. Once the sesame seeds start to toast, you’ll see the color turn golden brown and the aroma will change. Then you remove the pan from heat and take the seeds out of the pan.

When I packed the lunch for Michael, I gave him a container with a tablespoon or so of sesame seeds and a couple pinches of kosher salt, for him to add to the salad when we ate it. I did the same thing when I had it for lunch, and appreciated the extra crunch of the sesame seeds and the extra salt.  You could totally just add sesame seeds, but the sesame + salt mixture reminds me of my happy days eating sekihan. This recipe made three servings and thank goodness – the cabbage is all gone (for the time being).

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 173 kcal
Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Total Carbohydrate: 10 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 3 g

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