Kara's Keto Plates

Fatty Food Blogging

Category: Vegetarian (page 1 of 3)

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

Lime Mug Cake

Blimey, it’s lime-y. I happen to have a bunch of limes on hand… I went a little nuts at the grocery store because they were on sale. And then I drank a couple margaritas this weekend (inspired by Archer: shot of silver tequila, 1/2 oz of Cointreau, juice of one lime, ice and kosher salt on the rim of my glass). But I have limes leftover after the weekend… thus enters this mug cake. If you’re not out and about in the world of the internets (which leads to the question of what you are doing here?), a mug cake is basically a simple cake you microwave instead of baking. Energy efficient and it means you can eat cake in five minutes… for when you really, really, really need cake. And fast.

Lime Mug Cake

Lime Mug Cake

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Almond Flour
2 Tbsp Erythritol
1 tsp Baking Powder
Dash of salt
Zest of one lime
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, liquid
1 Egg
Juice from one lime

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients (Almond Flour, Erythritol, Baking Powder, Salt and zest). Set aside. In separate bowl, lightly beat egg with a fork. Add oil, still mixing with the fork. Then add the lime juice (again, constantly mixing with the fork so we have a lovely emulsion). I added a couple drops of liquid splenda to the liquid mixture, but that is totally optional. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix together. Divide the mixture into two microwave-safe mugs (mugs are important because the cakes will climb up the sides of the mugs), Microwave each mug separately for a minute and thirty seconds. The mugs will be hot – I let mine cool for a few minutes and then dumped it onto a plate to feel dignified.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 395 kcal
Total Fat: 37 g
Saturated Fat: 14 g
Total Carbohydrate: 9.5 g
Fiber: 4.5 g
Protein: 12 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

Solstice Cookies

It’s nearly the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Historic records are pretty spotty, but generally speaking, the Solstice would be treated as a feast day. In Germanic and Scandinavian traditional cultures, Jul would take place around the solstice as a feast day wherein animals were slaughtered and beer which had been started a month or so earlier (after the grain was harvested) would be drunk. It was, in short, a time to get drunk, stuff your face and give thanks to the gods with your family and neighbors.

I could talk a lot about how the mythology and symbols around the Solstice was taken up by conquering Christians as a means to assimilate the culture (ie, evergreens were brought inside to represent eternal life in a season of death; stars and suns were common decorative accents – an assurance that the sun would rise again). But instead, I’m going to post a cookie recipe.

I used a lot of different citrus fruits (Orange, Lime and Lemon) in this recipe because I had a lot of citrus on hand – ’tis the season. I like all the different flavors, but you could always use just lemon or just orange or just lime. I also freshly ground cardamom for this recipe (which entailed cracking open green cardamom pods to get to the seeds and then running those seeds through a burr grinder). If you use already ground cardamom, you may need to add more of it for flavor. I should also say, I bought some King Arthur almond flour because it was a finer ground than the Bob’s Red Mill brand I’d been using and it made a huge difference in the texture of these cookies. I chose not to ice these cookies because the cooling effect of the Erythritol in icing was unpleasant to both me and Michael – as such, I added some EZ-Sweetz liquid splenda to the dough for some extra sweetness.

Citrus Cardamom Cookies

Citrus Cardamom Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom, ground
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/4 teaspoon Salt
6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Erythritol (I powdered mine for use in this recipe)
1 Egg
1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Orange Juice (juice from a quarter of a medium orange)
1 1/2 tablespoon citrus zest: I used lime and orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
A few drops of EZ-Sweetz (to taste – I probably added 1/4 teaspoon)
Optionally: sea salt for topping

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt) in a bowl and set aside. In a mixer, cream together butter and Erythritol (maybe a couple minutes of mixing). Add the egg, lemon and orange juice, vanilla extract, EZ-Sweetz and zest. Mix until incorporated, then gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Once the dry ingredients are mixed in, divide the dough in half.  Flatten each half and wrap in wax or parchment paper to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet in parchment paper. I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes, but the dough is a bit wet and sticky (you can tell, because I gave up and started cutting the dough with a boring old biscuit cutter).  If you don’t want to cut out shapes with cookie cutters, this dough would work great as a log that you cut – in which case, divide the dough in half, roll each half into an even log (maybe two inches in diameter) and set in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then just slice the log into 1/4 inch rounds and cook those. The cookies bake for about 10 minutes: as soon as they start to brown at the edges, they’re done.

Because I wasn’t icing the cookies, I topped a small number of cookies with a bit of fleur de sel on an impulse. Turns out, both Michael and I really liked those salt-topped cookies, so I totally recommend doing that. I’d say we got about 30 cookies out of this recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per cookie):
Calories: 57 kcal
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Total Carbohydrate: 2 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 2 g

Net Carbohydrate: 1 g

And happy solstice! I’ll be busting open a very, very dry hard cider tomorrow instead of a beer and we’ll be feasting on tofu, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

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

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach is one of those foods I consider to be grown-up food. That being said, I have loved spinach my entire life. My mother used to buy Stouffer’s brand frozen Spinach Souffle as a side dish pretty rarely but it was among my favorites (and I know it was one of her favorites); she also made spinach squares (sort of a cheesy egg casserole) and phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and cheese around the holidays. So, yes, spinach is healthy enough to eat year-round but I always think of it around the holidays. Maybe my mother purposefully pulled out the spinach recipes around the holidays to try to get us some healthy vitamins in the midst of all the face-stuffing with cookies.

I love creamed spinach, but it frequently harbors hidden carbs in the white cream sauce – sometimes a LOT of carbs. It makes sense – typically when you make a white sauce, you either start with a roux (butter and flour) or you thicken the sauce with cornstarch – both of which are full of carbohydrates. For this recipe, I replaced the flour with arrowroot, which worked so well that I am thinking we need to work on a biscuit recipe (maybe Carbquik?) and make up some sausage gravy and biscuits.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

Ingredients:
14 oz Spinach (one brick frozen, chopped spinach) or you can use fresh
1 tablespoon Butter
2 cloves Garlic, minced
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of Water
1 teaspoon Arrowroot
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1/8 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Start by prepping your spinach. If you’re using fresh, wash thoroughly, and then place in a covered skillet on medium heat, salt and cover. The spinach should be wilted in a few minutes – drain in a colander until it cools, then squeeze the excess liquid out by hand (or use a cheesecloth if you have one). Once you’ve squeezed the moisture out, chop the spinach. If you’re using frozen chopped spinach (which is easier), place it in a covered microwave safe dish with a small quantity of water and heat until warmed through. Drain in a colander to cool, then squeeze the excess liquid out. Set aside.

To make the cream sauce, start by melting butter in a small saucepan on medium high heat.  Add the garlic to the butter. Mix the cream, water and arrowroot together separately in a different bowl/cup. When the garlic has been in the pan for a minute or two, add the cream, water and arrowroot mixture to the saucepan and start whisking. Keep a close eye on the mixture – when it seems as though it is close to boiling (the sauce will start thickening), add the cheese and seasoning. Keep whisking until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Take the sauce off the heat and add the spinach to the pan and stir until coated. Taste to make sure the seasoning is adequate. This recipe made about three generous servings for us, but we are people who can eat some serious spinach – you might get more mileage out of it. I served this alongside a Tofurky brand italian sausage and oven-roasted mushrooms.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 181 kcal
Fat: 12.5 g
Saturated Fat: 8.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 6 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 5 g

Net Carbohydrate: 4 g

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