Keto: Beating the Sweets

In one of my previous posts here I mentioned how I found an awesome recipe that I slightly adjust to make my coffee creamer. I actually use this recipe to make many things such as my favorite keto cookies and keto fudge. I will post both of those recipes soon!

I want to start with just making the creamer. I actually make a double batch of this and use half for creamer and the other half for a sweet treat throughout the week!

Above you will see my nutrition label on the left and store bought on the right. A serving of my creamer is 1 tablespoon but even so, two servings of mine is less than 6 g sugar compared to 22 g off the shelf. It’s a no brainer to me! Again, the recipe below is for a double batch of the creamer so if you don’t think you will use it or just want to do a trial run of it I would half the recipe below.

Ingredients

**This recipe can take up to 45 minutes so don’t start it if you are in a hurry! Most of it is inactive time but you will need to check it about every 10 minutes or so**

30% Whipping Cream – 2 pints

Sweetener (I use a stevia blend) – 2/3 Cup

Butter – 4 Tablespoons

Vanilla – 1 Tablespoon

Directions

1. Put all ingredients in a large pot and place stove on high. I was using a normal size sauce pan for the first month of making this and it just takes TOO long to boil. Especially for a double batch!

2. When ingredients come to a boil (I timed this batch and that happened around 12 minutes) reduce the heat to low. My stove goes up to a 9 on the dial and I turn it down to a 3 at this time, just as reference!

3. Around 20 minutes the creamer will start to brown and caramelize. Stir the creamer every 10 minutes or so just to avoid burning. Below are reference pictures to what it will look like throughout the process. When it is done it will be sticky and have an appearance of caramel. For this double batch it took almost an hour but I think I turned the heat down too soon!

As I mentioned, this was a double batch. I place 1 Cup in a measuring cup to bring to room temperature and the rest goes into the fridge for creamer!

Once the creamer is in the refrigerator for about two hours or so it will take a lighter color and be ready! Let me know how you like it!

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Keto: How to Read Nutrition Labels…that hidden sugar!

Ugh, that title sounds so boring! But the truth is, I completely forget that people don’t generally read nutrition labels. Since I have always been a calorie counter I have a habit of reading most labels. However, with Keto? It became a whole new game!

I’m going to probably talk down to some now, but not on purpose! I recently learned a lot of people were unfamiliar with sugars. So carbohydrates are either starches or sugars (and fibers but we like those!!) The tricky one is sugar. I say this because sugar is hidden on a lot of labels using other fancy words. The trick here is to start by looking at a label for the carbs.

So the picture above is of sugar free chocolate chips that a recipe I was using called for. In blue is our carbs, in red our sugar. So 9 total carbs, 1 being fiber (fiber is good!) and notice it says 0g of sugar. Well I am standing in the store confused at the other 8g of carbs because let’s be honest, there is not a lot of starch in chocolate chips. So I google Maltitol. It’s a sugar alcohol! It literally has all the same properties as sugar except for browning. So I look at normal chocolate chips. Well dark chocolate because that is what we prefer.

They have less carbs! Needless to say the choice for me was easy. I totally bought the dark chocolate!

Another trick that these companies use is the “no sugar added” gimmick. Below is some oranges with no sugar added.

The no sugar added is sugar alcohol. Fruit is tricky because it is high in natural sugars. Below is a “normal” oranges. Please keep in mind these are not fresh items as I’m trying to show labels specifically!

So when you look at these two images it is important to point out that when you factor in the “fake” sugar the carbs in these two items are not that much different from each other. Personally if I were buying these items I would probably buy the one with more carbs because it will contain more of the natural sugar that fruit has.

I know a lot of people will completely argue that the ingredients are actually what should be focused on when looking at a label. And I’m not going to argue against that point. I’ve heard the common rule not to eat anything with more than 3 ingredients or any ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Again, both good tips. But for this post I was really trying to focus on those pesky sugars!

I hope this was helpful to some. More recipes have been requested so I plan on doing our house favorite dessert tomorrow…low carb of course!

How to Start a Keto Diet

Let me start by saying, I know very minimal about this diet. Well, that’s not true. I researched this diet like CRAZY when my husband mentioned he wanted to do it. Honestly, I was trying to find reasons to NOT do it. Because, well, bread. Is. Life. But then after the first week when he went all in and lost 6 pounds and I lost none I figured I better get on board!

Another reason I looked into it a lot is I was told the side effects can initially be really intense because it changes your metabolism. With me having hypothyroidism I am always nervous about anything that can mess with my body in regards to metabolism and hormones.

With that being said, I can also say that I still don’t do a “Keto” diet for real. If you research the diet you will find that to reach Ketosis (when your body switches from burning carbs for energy to burning fat for energy) it is recommended to eat 20 g or less of carbs a day. I used a little calculator (like the one found here: https://www.perfectketo.com/keto-macro-calculator/) and since I wasn’t interested in losing a lot of weight it gave me 54 grams of carbs.

I feel like based on the fact that I still consume 50 carbs or more a day I did not get a lot of the side effects you will find if you research the topic. So on to my amateur suggestions if this diet sounds intriguing to you!

1. If you are a fake coffee drinker like me (lots of creamer and/or sugar) you will need to find an alternative. I struggled with this the first two weeks. A lot of people just switch to black coffee. I wasn’t able…actually I was just completely unwilling to drink black coffee. Sugar free creamer is an option but I found for the one tablespoon serving those 5g of sugar was not worth it. I utilize a homemade sweet and condensed milk and it is AMAZING. I use this recipe: https://mymontanakitchen.com/2016/10/06/3-ingredient-sweetened-condensed-milk-thm-s-low-carb-sugar-free/.

2. Meal prep. You just can’t make it without meal prep. There is little to zero items you can just grab off of a shelf in the store for a quick bite. I have tried. Many times. I end up with like a beef jerky stick. Gross. I really cut out snacking completely. I have learned many recipes using cauliflower and “fake” bread. I will say for all my friends living in the states, apparently y’all got a lot of stuff store bought that is keto friendly. Our choices here in Japan are very limited. There is rice and noodles (yummm ramen) everywhere!

3. Some items I would recommend buying for when you start looking into recipes:

Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, cream cheese, cauliflower, whipping cream, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, A LOT of eggs, cheese, and tons of meat!

At this point I have lost 8 pounds using this diet in 8 weeks. The first 6 pounds came off in the first 4 weeks, however. That was most likely the water weight that carbs keep in your body. The keto calculator I mentioned earlier gave me 107g protein, 116g fat, and 1670 calories a day. I am certain I don’t hit the fat and protein daily but I still have lost the weight!

Zucchini Chips

One of the low carb areas I’ve had trouble with is side dishes. Main dishes, meat, was obviously fairly easy. Cauliflower is one of the main items people seem to use to make some delicious side dishes but after a few weeks it can get old. This is when I started looking into zucchini. It has not disappointed!

I have made this recipe as fries many times and last night decided to try it as “chips.” I personally like the chips better. I felt like they cooked more evenly and the breading stayed on better.

Ingredients

Large Zucchini – 1

Grated Parmesan – 3/4 Cup

Almond Flour – 1/4 Cup

Garlic Powder – 2 TBSP

Italian Seasoning – 2 TBSP

Eggs – 2

Water – splash

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash and thinly slice Zucchini.

2. Combine grated Parmesan cheese, almond flour, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a bowl.

3. Beat two eggs and a splash of water in a separate bowl to create an egg wash.

4. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and grease. I then make myself a little assembly line to keep the potential mess to a minimum.

5. Cover zucchini in egg wash.

6. Transfer zucchini to the breading mix.

7. Place on baking sheet.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes!

The nutrition information is below. Enjoy!

Keto Breakfast Casserole

As many of my friends know Nick and I have been doing the Keto diet. I use that term loosely, however. While I think he is doing Keto I think I have adapted a more low carb diet. The reason I say that is because if you know about the recently popular Keto diet it includes a huge increase in fat and protein intake. I am not good at that part but I have become very good at cutting carbs!

With that being said, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with my friends! It will also prove that low carb is not hard and it’s not so bad.

Above is the nutrition breakdown for this recipe and it actually does have high fat in it! I’ve learned with the lack of sugar in my diet the calories in many things are easier to get accept. Generally eating something this size and seeing over 300 calories would make me cringe! The following ingredients are needed for this recipe:

Ingredients

Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage – 16oz Roll

Full fat cream cheese – 8oz

30% Whipping Cream – 1/4 cup

Shredded Cheese of Choice – 1/2 cup

Large Eggs – 8

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425. Brown sausage in a skillet, drain grease.

2. Put sausage back in warm skillet. Add 8oz cream cheese. The warm skillet will help the cream cheese soften up and bind together with the sausage.

Place sausage in a greased baking dish. For this size of casserole I used an 8×8 dish.

3. Place 8 eggs in a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup 30% whipping cream to the eggs. Beat the two together. Add cheese and slightly beat all three (egg, cream, and cheese).

4. At this point season as you like. Personally I did not add the normal spices such as salt and pepper. Since I used sage sausage it had a lot of flavor already. I only added parsley to the egg mixture.

5. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture. I leave gaps in the sausage so that egg seeps into the sausage and it makes for a better binding.

6. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes! Let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

* Some possible add ins are any vegetables of your choice. Once I added a can of Rotel and it was amazing.

** If I am making this for meal prep purposes I will use a 9×13 dish and just increase the egg amount to 12 and add another 1/4 cup of cream. It works so well for breakfast prep. Breakfast is definitely the meal I struggle with throughout the week.

Enjoy!