Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Cups

When I first came to Canada I was convinced I hit a jackpot in respect to the country I decided to call my home. I still do, but for different reasons now – 16 years after I first set foot in this country than upon my arrival. Back then I marveled at the conveniences of daily life like the abundance of ready to eat meals, or the cheapness of processed foods and the ease at which one could  (and still can) avail of food at fast-food restaurants at a very small cost. 16 years ago those conveniences were extremely appealing to me because where I came from , even though they were available, not very many families could afford them – processed foods such as candy were only bought sporadically (usually on a payday that happened once a month), visiting a fast-food restaurant was only a special occasion thing and as for ready-to-eat meals in cardboard boxes – they were only slowly emerging at that time and had a very high price tag. So, all in all I had not to that point partaken in all the “eye-candy” nutrition that now all of a sudden was at my fingertips. And of course, I fell for those cheap conveniences – you can read about it more in my About Page, but I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next. Long story short – I’ve learned a lot about food in the past 16 years that now I chose carefully what I put in my mouth. That doesn’t mean I don’t like food or that I have some unhealthy relationship with food, if anything I’ve learned to understand food and nutrition better than ever before – I’ve taught myself about the dangers of malnutrition. And to me malnutrition does not only mean lack of proper food, to me it also means eating highly processed, fake foods. And this is why I spend time preparing my own food from scratch instead of going for the convenience of ready to go meals. Like I said I still like food and that includes treats  – that’s why, just like for my savoury meals I do not settle for store-bought treats. What you get from a wrapper is loaded with sugar and other additives that I would rather avoid in my diet. People who know me know not to offer me candy and we have an understanding that they can skip me when when they do their rounds offering people sweets. On the other hand, those who don’t know me, find me weird for turning down free candy. And I’m fine with that – the weirder the better. So, I came up with my own version of chocolates a while back that contains only the ingredients that I am willing to consume. This recipe was made for valentines this year – I guess I’m too slow for themed blog posts ;), but to have a lovely chocolate cup does not require that there be a holiday, does it? Hope you enjoy them nonetheless!

These beauties were so delicious that I almost felt guilty for indulging in them.

The ingredient list is fairly straight forward. If you don’t have vanilla powder on hand you can sub for liquid or skip all together. Same goes for Butter Rum extract – you can either use what you have or skip. I know Macadamia nuts are not a common occurrence in our households because they are quite pricey – so you can also sub. Those are not essential ingredients. So they can be replaced with something else or omitted altogether.

 

Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Cups
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 23
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 74
  • Fat: 8
  • Saturated fat: 4
  • Unsaturated fat: 3
  • Carbohydrates: 2
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 1
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 1
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Low Carb Sweets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Perfect treat that won't make you feel nauseous.
Ingredients
  • 80g Cocoa Butter
  • 50g Coconut Purée
  • 40g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 15g Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Dash of Vanilla Powder or Extract
  • Few drops of Butter Rum Extract
  • Stevia to taste
  • Macadamia Nuts or any other nuts of choice
Instructions
  1. Melt Cocoa Butter in a double boiler.
  2. Add Coconut Purée and integrate with the melted Cocoa Butter.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for Macadamia Nuts and mix well.
  4. Place a nut of choice in a silicone mold - I used a peanut butter cup mold, but any will do and fill up with the chocolate mixture to cover the nut.
  5. Place the mold on a cooling rack and slide into your freezer. I highly recommend the cooling rack technique, because otherwise you will make a mess trying to place the silicone mold into the freezer without stabilizing it first. It is rather flimsy.
  6. Leave it in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until chocolate has set.
  7. When fully hardened put the individual chocolate cups out of their molds and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

      I’m not sure how helpful my videos are, but these chocolates were so simple to make that it was a breeze to put together this little video. With the ease and really not much time put into making these I don’t see why anybody should settle for sugar laden factory made chocolates… Maybe I’m just an odd-one out – hell I know I am, but I like to know that I am putting only good quality ingredients in my food. Sure, it’s easier to pick up a chocolate bar at a grocery store, but it’s way more satisfying to make them myself 🙂 Enjoy and give me a thumbs up.

 

 

 

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Raw Vegan Chocolate-Goji Cookies

I will admit to being a bit of a snob when it comes to some dietary approaches. For example, I have always scoffed at such claims as Gluten-free, Vegan, Organic etc. I’ve always considered those labels just a money grab by big food companies who put them even on things that are inherently gluten-free just to be able to charge a premium for it. Just think about it, if water gets a label “gluten free” don’t you feel like you’re getting taken in? I do. So, I view products with these claims as gimmicks and if I want to make my meals follow a certain dietary approach I just make them from scratch instead of buying ready to go meals that supposedly are gluten-free, vegan or organic etc. Also, if you think that you are going to be healthier by following any of these “diets” think again, the gluten-free, vegan or organic versions of regular junk are still junk – they are just parading as better than the regular. This is not to say that if you really have a gluten intolerance, celiac disease or simply want to eliminate gluten from your diet because you believe eating gluten-free is healthier doesn’t mean you can’t do so, just don’t fall for the fancy packaged foods, because they are just as bad as the gluten variety.

I’ve mentioned in one of my previous blog posts that I draw my current inspiration from a vegan bodybuilder – as a result I inevitably ended up emulating some of her recipes. These are a modified version of her recipe and I can’t recommend them enough. If you are looking for an alternative to overly processed and sweet cookies that our grocery store isles are laden with, this is a recipe for you. They are a child’s play (literally) to make and you might be surprised how rich and decadent they are. If you do prefer a sweeter cookie you can make them as sweet as you like, but I opted out for very little sweetener. This way I was able to let the ingredients speak for themselves rather than making a sweet bomb.

Raw Vegan Chocolate-Goji Cookies
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 20.5
  • Serving size: 65g
  • Calories: 259
  • Fat: 19
  • Saturated fat: 2.6
  • Unsaturated fat: 12
  • Carbohydrates: 10
  • Sugar: 3.1
  • Sodium: 82
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 15
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: LCHF
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Decadent dessert to go with a cup of tea.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all the nuts, goji berries and seeds in a food processor and pulse until they are ground. They don't need to be ground extremely fine - pulse about 10 minutes. Not too long because you will turn them into a paste.
  2. Transfer your ground nuts, goji berries and seeds into a large bowl.
  3. Add melted coconut oil, nut butter, maqui powder, protein powders, lucuma powder and a few drops of stevia (more if you want a sweeter cookie)
  4. Integrate all the ingredients together.
  5. Add enough water for the dough to become slightly sticky - I think for me it was about 1-2 cups, but you really need to go by how the mixture feels and how well you are able to form your cookies.
  6. Weigh out about 65g of your dough and form into a cookie shape.
  7. Roll in some unsweetened coconut flakes and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  8. Transfer into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Notes
NOTE: As for my choice of protein powder that's what I had on hand so that's what I ended up using. Any protein powder will do - the ones I used are plant based, but if you prefer whey or casein you will be just as successful.

NOTE: The ingredients that are not easily found in the grocery store I personally purchased online (see links) but they are not indispensable in this recipe. They add antioxidants and minerals to my recipe but you can just as easily skip them with no repercussions to the recipe.

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The Original Basic Coconut Pancake

I’ve been so focused on minimizing my consumption of sweet treats, especially my sweet Basic Coconut Pancake that unbeknownst to me I ended up depriving it of its own YouTube fame! In fact, my Basic Savoury Pancake made it to YouTube before its predecessor – which to my ears sounds almost like sacrilege.

So to remedy this omission here is a video I’ve put together a long time ago but completely put it it out of my mind. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy eating my pancake creations! The basic recipe for the pancake can be found under my original post titled Queen of the Pancake Factory. Whenever I do make this pancake I tend to stick to the same basic recipe and only play with the toppings. The pancake itself is not going to break your caloric bank because it’s only about 250 calories, 12g of fat, 5g of net carbs (10g in total) and 25g of protein, but what determines whether or not you overdo it is what you put on top. That’s why I always weigh out my toppings because when using nuts and nut butters one can easily go from an ok treat to a 2000 calorie fiasco. It’s also worth pointing out that you can easily reduce the amount of protein in the pancake but using less egg whites and maybe adding some protein on top, like my Chocolate Orange Mousse.

 

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My Meatless Keto Week

Couple of years ago I’ve got sucked into the social media trend and started using Instagram. I had joined the Facebook wagon a long time before that in 2007, but I kept resisting IG for quite a while. I didn’t see the purpose of it, after all if I wanted to share some pictures I would have simply created an online photo gallery, which I did do multiple of times at different sites such as Flickr or Picasa. But, by looking at my sidebar where I feature my IG pictures, you know I eventually caved in and joined in on the fun.

Why am I saying all this? Well, I, like just about anybody out there, am very impressionable by what I see. In other words, if you walk the talk you will have my attention and I will be interested in what you are saying. If you don’t walk the talk and it shows, I will ignore your preachings. And before anybody even begins to form the criticism of that statement by saying that people use photoshop and filters to improve what they put out on IG, let me say that I am aware of that and I believe I can see through it. So, long story short, I’ve been fascinated by a vegetarian bodybuilder for a while now – her name is Geraldine Morgan.  In fact, I must give her credit for my Basic Savoury Pancake, because her food posts have inspired me to make one myself.

If you’re following any dietary news, especially in the bodybuilding sphere, you know there is a lot of controversy and dispute as to what’s the best macro ratios for building muscle. In fact, some will argue that you absolutely cannot build any amount of muscle by avoiding meat aka animal protein. Well, have a look at Geraldine and tell me she doesn’t carry a great amount of muscle on her frame! She can easily put to shame not only some women but also males trying to build muscle!

I’ve got so inspired by her posts, her work ethic and simply by her appearance that I decided to go meatless for a week. I would say I did rather well and didn’t really miss meat that much. I’ve actually increased my protein intake slightly, my carbs went up just a notch only because I decided to include some fruit in my morning post-workout meal and I was still able to keep my fats at a comfortable level to stay in a ketogenic state by including a lot of home-made nut butters, avocados, eggs and coconut oil. It was quite liberating not to have to worry about my main protein for a meal – I simply stuck to eggs, my savoury pancake (which can also be called a protein pancake for its high protein content) and last but not least my old time favorite cottage cheese creation. I supplemented liberally with hemp seeds, vegan protein powder, nuts and to a lesser extent with chia seeds. I liked it so much that I think I will continue this regiment into the second week!

And this is an example of what I would have for breakfast every single morning with the exception of the orange which I swapped for blueberries and plums. If you have been following my sweetener resolution you will now know that I’ve only been able to reduce my stevia usage, but not eliminate it completely – I still have a very strong sweet tooth that I am trying to control. I still believe I am doing pretty good and this type of breakfast makes everything better, every single morning 🙂

Orange Chocolate Mousse
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12
  • Serving size: 150g
  • Calories: 72
  • Fat: 0.5
  • Saturated fat: 0.2
  • Carbohydrates: 2.8
  • Sugar: 2.4
  • Sodium: 15
  • Fiber: 0.3
  • Protein: 14.5
  • Cholesterol: 3.8
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: high-protein
Prep time: 
Total time: 
This can be transformed 100 different ways by playing with flavours.
Ingredients
  • 500g Dry Pressed Cottage Cheese
  • 500g Skyr
  • 125ml Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Stevia to taste
  • 4 drops of Orange Extract
  • 20g Unsweetened Cocoa
Instructions
  1. Combine Cottage Cheese, Skyr and Milk until smooth in a food processor.
  2. Add more milk if desired.
  3. Add Stevia, Cocoa Powder and Orange Extract.
  4. Process until very smooth.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Notes
Please note even though I am promoting this as a ketogenic meal it is not very high in fat. This DOES NOT prevent it from being a keto food simply because one can add as much fat to this meal as desired. Toppings is where you can play with the fat content.

 
Orange and chocolate go quite well if I may say so. I reinforced the orange flavour by using a very powerful Orange Extract. By adding Cocoa nibs I was also able to add a chocolaty kick. No sugar in any of the ingredients and only a fraction from fruit. You can easily skip the fruit if you wish to.

 

The consistency is quite creamy and satisfying.

 

The texture also does not disappoint – I added a serving of chia seeds for some added fats and a serving of hemp seeds for more protein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as tradition would have it I put it all together in a quick video – actually it ended up being my longest video yet – but I believe that all 8 minutes of it is worth your time! So have a look and give me a thumbs up if you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to subscribe for more.

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I found my calling

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while or following my social media posts, you know that my most notable obsession is making and devouring pancakes. However, they come at a certain price for me – guilt for having indulged is something sweet. There is a certain pleasure in eating my pancakes: they are sweet, fluffy and featuring an array of toppings. I top them with nuts, nut butters, chocolate ganache, coconut purée, coconut flakes, pieces of chocolate, not to mention mounds of cinnamon finished with a crunchy, sweet layer of erythritol. You get the picture… This does not instill any amount of self control in me, I always want more once my pancake is gone. But I promised myself to tone it down, because I want to wean myself off the sweet dependency and be able to taste and enjoy the food’s natural flavour, not some artificially made sweetness.

Like anybody out there I want to have my cake and eat it too, but in my case it’s a pancake: I don’t care for cakes that much. Funny thing, I figured out a way to have it and eat it too – without resorting to any gimmicks, tricks, secrets or other questionable ways – without the guilt of eating a treat. How? I turned my sweet pancake into a savoury dish! Voilà! I’m eating a pancake at least twice a day and it’s not rising my insulin levels or my cravings. Let me introduce to you my one and only Basic Savoury Pancake aka a Wrap.   

 

Basic Savoury Pancake
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Serving size: 1 pancake
  • Calories: 94
  • Fat: 1
  • Carbohydrates: 1
  • Protein: 19
Recipe type: Wrap
Cuisine: Low-carb
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This is a game changer for me: no more cravings after having my pancake!
Ingredients
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • ½ scoop of Pea Protein Powder
  • Spices
  • ⅓ cup Milk
Instructions
  1. Whip egg whites on high until slightly stiff
  2. Add pea protein powder and spices and mix until integrated.
  3. Add enough milk of choice for the batter to become quite runny for a pancake that can be swooshed around in the pan for a larger surface
Notes
NOTE 1: I opt for using egg white but you can just as successfully use whole eggs. The reason why I am using egg whites is because I like to add fat in the form of avocado, nuts and nut butters. So in essence I am saving my fat macros from the pancake and adding them back in my toppings.

NOTE 2: I am experimenting with different sources of protein lately. Inspired by one of the Arnold Classic competitors I am giving meat a bit of a rest and replacing it with vegetarian options. I still like meat and I am not turning vegetarian or vegan at all, just experimenting with different options. Somebody once asked me if vegans/vegetarians can follow a ketogenic diet and I never did find out, other than googling and getting mixed messages. So, here I am spreading my wings: my choice of protein for this pancake apart from egg white is Pea Protein Powder.

NOTE 3: You can use any milk you wish, I opted for unsweetened Almond Milk. You can add as much or as little as you wish. Thicker batter with not spread very easily on your pan, whereas with a thinner batter (which you will achieve by adding enough milk) you will be able to spread and achieve a larger, more foldable pancake that you can use as a wrap if you wish.

When I first attempted this creation I was a bit sceptical as to how filling this bad boy was going to be, mostly because I’m only using 2 egg whites, so volume-wise it does not seem like a whole lot of food. My regular sweet pancake calls for 250ml of egg whites – so visually, when I start whipping up my egg whites the volume seems incredible – and truth be told my sweet Basic Coconut Pancake is rather large. But I decided to switch things up a little bit for my savoury equivalent. The reason for this is simple – I wanted to concentrate more on the toppings for the savoury pancake rather than use up all my macros in the pancake (that’s also why I opted for egg whites in the batter, rather than whole eggs – I wanted those fats on top). And my toppings for the savoury pancake made the whole dish quite satiating.

And toppings is where it’s at, my lovely readers! The possibilities are endless – let your imagination run wild! Same as being able to switch up the flavour of the pancake by playing with the spices, you can top the pancake with different things every time you make it. The pancake is quite malleable when you thin out the batter enough, so it’s perfect for lunches in place of a traditional store bought wrap – you can stuff it with anything you desire. And, did I say it takes literally no time to put it together? Well, it’s true, you can make it in under 5 minutes!

This was my very first Savoury Pancake I made and it came out much thicker because I did not dilute the batter as much – it was quite yummy! Toppings include caramelized red onions and walnuts and some sautéed shrimp for added protein.

 

Second attempt came out just as good and at that point I was hooked! This time I made the batter slightly thinner which allowed for the pancake to be folded – now that I think of it, these could very easily be turned into quesadilla style wraps! Anybody up for chicken quesadillas? Oh, the possibilities! I served this one with mushrooms, onions, avocado and walnuts and a side of baby spinach topped with grated beets in home made simple vinaigrette.

 

It was that good!

And as tradition would have it I put together a quick video to show you it really isn’t that difficult or time consuming to cook from scratch:

 

So what’s my calling? I think I’d be perfectly OK to be the Pancake Lady until I’m old and wrinkled 🙂

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When too much of a good thing is bad

If you have ever been on any type of regimen to lose weight or to become healthier (which btw. are not always synonymous) you’ve probably come across the notion that as long as you eat healthily you can eat a lot and it won’t matter. I hear it all the time. I make a sugar-free cake and all of a sudden my brain thinks it’s a free for all, eat-the-whole-cake kind of a deal. But whether you use healthy sugar-free ingredients or not it’s still a cake  – if you have one too many slices it will go right into your thighs and buttocks. Why is it so hard to remember?

Food is energy and it doesn’t matter what type of food it is (perceived to be healthy or unhealthy), if you eat more than you can use, it will most certainly be stored in your body especially when you’re already carrying too much weight on your frame. If you are already super lean, then it might be a different story (more about that in a future post), but for now, let’s assume that we all have some padding we could spare.

A common misconception that fuels the if-it’s-healthy-there-is-no-limits mantra is the idea that there are healthy and unhealthy versions of sugar. Let me explain: there’s been quite a bit of stirring news in recent years about the dangers of consuming too much white sugar that now almost everybody agrees that white refined sugar is bad and should be avoided or its consumption be minimized. You’d think that this is a positive outcome, but you’d be wrong. We still crave the sweet taste so we arbitrarily decided that we will find sugar replacements or “healthy versions” of sugar. We’ve been taught that because honey is made by bees it is somehow different than white sugar and it’s even considered a healthy sweetener – how many times have you heard somebody say to have some hot water with honey when you’re sick? Honey will not only not cure your cold, but it will make you sicker by spiking your blood glucose, the same way that white sugar will.

Another fraud that we have have fallen victims of at least once in our lives is being perpetrated by the the organic food industry : think organic molasses, organic coconut sugar, even simple white sugar parades as a healthy alternative because the label reads it’s organic. This is the biggest and most successful food scam that I have ever seen – not only are you still eating sugar, you are also paying through the roof for it. A 4.4lbs pound of non-organic white sugar sells for $1.99 and 2lbs of the organic variety is $5!

Does it change your purchasing habits if you see a label that reads “Wholesome”? It must be good, right?

The list goes on… if you think you are somehow doing yourself a favour by switching from sugar to Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup, Coconut Palm Sugar, Brown Rice Syrup etc. you are fooling yourself. They are all metabolised by the body the same way  as sugar – in the liver – and have a glycemic index around that of white sugar – anywhere between 50 and 70. Sure, you could be harming yourself even more by consuming maltodextrin whose GI is 100, but you could also be doing much better by not fooling yourself with “healthier” versions of sugar.

Pure Canada Maple has a great little spin on their website about the benefits of consuming Maple Syrup that touts its antioxidant, mineral and vitamin content. It looks impressive enough to make me want to chug on some straight from the bottle… until I remember that it is a sugar and it will make my body go bonkers trying to deal with a surge of blood glucose, my insulin will try to lower it and redirect it into liver and muscle as glycogen and when that’s full and it will be full very quickly, it will deposit the rest on my thighs. I also looked at their little comparison table trying to convince us that the nutritional information of Maple Syrup is so much more superior to that of other sugars… until you look at the calorie and sugar content that is on par with its neighbors:

Source: Pure Canada Maple

What counts the most is the damaging sugar content in all those sweeteners – this is the deciding factor of how much these sugars are going to harm your body and in effect negate the other micronutrient content. You can get your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from other sources that will not spike your blood glucose and make you fat.

This idea that there are better options of white sugar paired with the first notion that if something is healthy we can eat unlimited amounts of it, followed by the revelation that there is no such thing as healthy sugar alternatives creates an atomic bomb kind of problem. If the sugar alternatives are just as bad as white sugar (and they are) but we perceive them as better, less harmful and as a result eat more of them then we might as well have  been eating the white stuff in fear and moderation all that time and be better off for it. Now, we’re eating more of the sweet stuff and the results is we are harming ourselves more than before!

So what’s the solution? – you ask. When I first started being aware of the damaging effects of sugar on my body in 2005 what really did it for me was to get rid off all sugar altogether. I went cold turkey to heal my body and it worked like a charm. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to do that, most of us want to have the cake and eat it too. Damned be all the social media food porn that teases us with the picture perfect images of various treats! Yes, I blame the social media – when I first started using IG, I swear to my food processor, I did get dummer! I bought in to all those pretty pictures of supposedly healthy sweet alternatives and started experimenting with substitutes myself. Mind you, my substitutes were never the above mentioned sweeteners, because by then I knew better. I picked my sweeteners of choice based on their blood glucose effect, forgetting completely that it’s still the sweet taste that mattered
and whether a sweetener has calories and high GI rating or not, it is still telling our brain that sweet stuff is coming. So my vices were and still are: Pure 100% Stevia, Pure 100% Erythritol (or a blend of those two) and to a lesser extent 100% Xylitol. When I say 100% pure I mean without any bulking agents – remember you have to look at the ingredient list – if your Stevia, Erythritol or Xylitol contain bulking agents like Maltodextrin or even Sugar, you might as well just be eating straight white sugar. Those 3 sweeteners have no or very little effect on blood glucose which is good, but consuming them daily does mess with my brain. I never thought I would say this out loud – because prior to my use of these sweeteners I consumed sugar based foods only once a month – but I now believe that the sweet taste (regardless what sweetener it comes from) consumed on a daily basis makes me want to eat more than I would normally eat. And it’s not even the idea of them being calorie free, I simply get a feeling of dissatisfaction and disappointment when the treat is gone that I reach for another piece and another and another, until the feeling turns into a disappointment with myself…

All this to say that the sweet stuff is here to stay and as much as I can make sure that packaged stuff doesn’t
contain any added sugar, I can’t in my right mind say that I will never consume any sweet treats. I’d be lying to myself and you. Our weekly grocery shopping includes many items that are high carb and high sugar because other members of my family do consume them. So I am surrounded by the carbage that taunts me on a daily basis. Do I like the taste of carbs? Yes! Do I have weak
moments? Yes! And I try to deal with them by creating my own “better” recipes that don’t contain sugar. Does it work? Most times it doesn’t, because I, like everybody else, have learned to believe that the sugar replacers are somehow better and my inhibitions get lowered and self control goes out the window and before I knew it, my latest low carb creation – The Poppy Seed Cakes – was gone!

If you read this far, you probably gathered that my New Year’s Resolution is not doing as well as I would have hopped and you would be correct. Granted, I’m not having my sweet treat every
day, but when I do my sweet tooth kicks in with triple the strength and I want to eat a horse made out of chocolate 😉

So I decided to try something new – this is probably an old wives tale, but I don’t care – they say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so starting today until March 18th I’m quitting Stevia, Erythritol and Xylitol (the only sweeteners I’ve been using for years now) to see if my sweet cravings subside. So, no treats, no pancakes, not even once a week. I’m fed up! You should join me too and let me know how you’re doing in the comments section.

In the meantime, I leave you with the creation that became the source of inspiration for this long rant – Poppy Seed Cakes. It is, of course an all time childhood favorite turned low-carb, but I momentarily forgot that it was still a sweet treat and inhaled them quicker than the speed of light – I am not even kidding. By now, they are all gone, of course. If you think you can apply self control better than me, I highly encourage you to try them, because they were truly off the hook delicious – I guess that’s partly to blame for their disappearance 😉

I was not quite as successful as I would have liked with the icing on top, but it did add a nice sweet component, if just a bit too crunchy…

Poppy Seed Cakes
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 43
  • Serving size: 30g
  • Calories: 158
  • Fat: 47
  • Saturated fat: 21
  • Unsaturated fat: 8.4
  • Carbohydrates: 16
  • Sugar: 2.2
  • Sodium: 70
  • Fiber: 9.8
  • Protein: 12
  • Cholesterol: 95
Recipe type: Sweet Treat
Cuisine: Low carb
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Be warned - these are to die for!
Ingredients
  • 250g Poppy Seeds
  • 4 Eggs
  • 125g Coconut oil
  • 125g Butter
  • 300g Almond Flour
  • 130g Coconut Flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened Almond milk
  • 1tsp Almond extract
  • Liquid Stevia to taste
  • 4tbs Truvia (spoonable)
  • 1tsp Baking powder
Instructions
  1. Poppy Seed Mixture:
  2. Bring 1 cup of Almond Milk to a boil and add your Poppy Seeds, 1tbs Truvia, Stevia and 1tsp of Almond extract.
  3. Reduce the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. When cooled off process Poppy Seeds through a grinder to break down the seeds - repeat 4-5 times.
  5. Add 2 Egg Yolks, mix well.
  6. Gently fold in 2 whipped Egg Whites into the poppy seed mixture.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Dough:
  9. Mix together in a bowl: Coconut Flour, Almond Flour, 2tbs Truvia and Baking Powder.
  10. Add 2 Eggs, melted Coconut oil and Butter and mix well.
  11. Assembly:
  12. Using silicone muffin cups line the bottom of the cup with a tablespoon of the dough, pressing with your fingers line the bottom completely.
  13. Add a tablespoon of the Poppy Seed mix.
  14. Cover the Poppy Seed mixture with another layer of the dough.
  15. Repeat until all your dough and Poppy Seed mixture is used up.
  16. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake 45 minutes or until your cups turn brown on the tops.
Notes
This recipe was originally supposed to be in a shape of a roulade called Poppy Seed Roll, but having very little experience baking with these ingredients I had to improvise quickly. When I realized that rolling this closed would pose a problem I turned the recipe into individual cakes by using silicone muffin cups. The dough would just not stick and hold together the same way traditional flour does.

Traditionally, since this recipe calls for potato starch and regular white flour it does come out being fairly dry, so my mom would make an icing to drizzle on top. She would use icing sugar with hot water to create it, but of course that's a no-no in my books. So I used a bit of Erythritol with hot water, but as you can see it did not produce a good looking icing. My recipe tester also disapproved by scraping it off. He found it too sweet. Next time I might grind Erythritol into a powder to imitate the icing sugar texture.

 

They turned out amazingly well, given the fact that it was supposed to be a roll rather than a muffin 🙂
The filling was very dense but at the same time retained a lot of moisture from Almond Milk. Traditionally, though, the recipe would call for some dry fruit such as raisins – but those are not allowed in any keto recipes. You can also add chopped nuts into the Poppy Seed mix like walnuts, but I found that I did not need to increase the fat content in this recipe due to all the Coconut oil and Butter already used, so I skipped the nuts. Maybe next time I’ll play with different versions.

 

The bottom line is : whatever you decide to be your sweetener of choice for your treats make sure you use it as a treat, not as a constant, daily component of your meals – that’s why we call them treats, because they are supposed to be infrequent.

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Pork de Volaille

Since pork is known as the other white meat and it has now largely replaced chicken breasts from my diet it only makes sense that I incorporate it in my meals a lot. The most recent creation – which I decided to call Pork de Volaille (polish equivalent of Kotlet Devolay) – is the easiest dish I know, other than of course just frying the meat with spices  in some coconut oil.

Even though it might not look like it, this recipe is another example of a transformation of a high-carb dish into a low-carb alternative. The original version packs quite a bit of carbs in the form of dried prunes. In the original recipe,  each pork roll would be stuffed with mushrooms, onions, smoked sausage and a big fat pitted prune. And as you might have already guessed I simply skipped the prune to turn it into a low-carb, keto-friendly Stuffed Pork Roll.

Most people think of dried fruit as a healthy alternative to candy – dried fruit fulfills their sweet tooth and at the sand time  is associated with  being healthy because it bares the name fruit and is packed with fiber. The fact remains, though, that fiber will do you no good in the face of high sugar content. The sugar in dried fruit will raise blood glucose and cause an insulin spike just as much as pure sugar does – so those who are insulin resistant should avoid dried fruit, especially when paired with high fat ingredients as is the case with this meal. Dried fruit is just a glorified candy, nothing more.

Back to the meal at hand….

 

Ingredients are quite simple and can be found in most pantries already : chopped onion (white or red), dill pickles, mushrooms, sausage and of course a boneless pork chop that you will need to tenderize and flatten with a mallet. Any cut of pork will do, really, but if for any reason you would like to keep this meal lower in fat and stick to white meat you can go right ahead, it will be just as flavourful.

 

Forgive the appearance of my lovely plants, but I couldn’t resist the bright colours.

I decided to serve the pork with a side of my Tuna Salad and it paired quite nicely!

 

The stuffing of the sausage, red onion, mushrooms and pickles gives this meal a depth of flavour that will grow on you with each and every bite.

 

I leave you with another video that will unveil the whole process for this delicious Pork de Volaille. Enjoy! Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for updates and like my videos to help me develop a presence for those interested in this WOE.

 

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Keto Tuna Salad

My mind has been in full overdrive mode (I’m not sure what I should attribute this to – I’m thinking ketones? …) trying to remember all the delicious recipes from my childhood. I recall vividly spending hours in the kitchen with my mother chopping/mixing/slicing various foods that were used as components of her recipes. It usually happened around holiday season (Christmas, Easter etc) when school was out and I felt that since there was no school work I might as well bond with my mother and learn a thing or two in the process.

Most of those recipes called for some type of starchy vegetable, so I have made it my mission to turn all of them into low carb alternatives that I can enjoy guilt free and not have to worry about being kicked out of ketosis and having my blood sugar spike up.

One of my old time favorites was a traditional Tuna Salad – mind you, it was not some ordinary tuna salad that you might find on the web by googling the phrase. No way! This was the most delicious, satisfying Tuna Salad on the face of the planet earth! The polish name, if you are so inclined, was Sałatka z Tuńczyka.

The problem with replicating the recipe today is that it was both heavy on the starches and on the fats. The original recipe called for quite a bit of cooked rice, corn and peas – all of which I do not include in my diet nowadays. And,  of course,  the choice of fat for the tuna salad was, most times, commercially made mayo, which also is a no-no due to highly inflammatory vegetable oils used in most mayo production. So, you know I ketofied my mom’s recipe and here is how I did it:

I totally eliminated corn and peas and I replaced conventional rice with cauliflower rice. As for mayo… Lately, I heard somebody dismissing mayo as not being that big of a deal in keto diet – insinuating that there are better ways of incorporating fats into ones diet – and while I admit I would chomp on an avocado sooner than I would eat mayo out of a jar, the truth of the matter is that mayo packs tons of flavour to any dish, if done the right way. So, I used my previously made Simple Mayo in this salad instead of settling for a grocery store bought jar.

Keto Tuna Salad
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 19
  • Serving size: 100g
  • Calories: 89
  • Fat: 6.2
  • Saturated fat: 1.1
  • Unsaturated fat: 5
  • Carbohydrates: 4
  • Sodium: 162
  • Fiber: 2
  • Protein: 5.3
  • Cholesterol: 38
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Keto, LCHF
Prep time: 
Total time: 
The combination of flavours is a spectacular mix of tangy, sweet and salty.
Ingredients
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Sweet Pepper
  • ½ Fresh Cucumber
  • 2 cans of Tuna Fish in water
  • 3 Pickles
  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 150g Simple Mayo
  • 1tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Turn your cauliflower into cauliflower rice by processing it on high in your food processor.
  2. Chop sweet pepper, cucumber, pickles, leek, eggs.
  3. Mix all of the above ingredients together with tuna and salt and pepper.
  4. Add Simple Mayo and mix well to coat all the ingredients with it.
  5. Voilà! You have made yourself a delicious side.

 
Voilà all you need for this delicious salad and all you need to do is chop to chop the veggies and eggs and empty the cans of tuna, add mayo, salt and pepper, mix and you’re ready to dig in. Cooking is that easy!

 

Here you have it, all chopped, measured and ready to go. This humongous bowl of salad literally takes no more than 10 minutes to put together – including chopping, grating (in food processor) and mixing.

 

If you are taken aback by the amount of food that you’ll end up with here is some news for you : it’s called prepping for the workweek. But to be perfectly honest I will say that this salad will not spoil before you have a chance to eat it, so you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1.5 weeks! What’s more, it’s not the type of meal that you would make for one serving – too much doing for not much food. And last but not least – this meal will develop a depth of flavour you have only dreamed of the longer it sits in the fridge. This is quite factual – the pickles, leek, tuna and mayo combination will only get better as it ages. Trust me, I’ve grown up with this meal, I know what I’m talking about 😉

You can use this as a meal on it’s own by measuring more than 100g (my suggested serving) or you can use this as a side dish with whatever meat that you happen to be serving. If you find it’s not enough food, how about having 2 sides? The sky is the limit, as usual.

And for your viewing pleasure I have put together another instructional video:

 

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Breaded Pork Chops the LCHF way

A staple meal in my mother’s kitchen when I was growing up was breaded boneless pork chops and boiled potatoes. And it wasn’t happening just in my mother’s kitchen –  early Sunday afternoon you could hear the reverberation of the meat mallets pounding the pork chops in perfect unison. It was like in a Swiss clock – at 12PM – all the women took to their kitchens to cook breaded pork chops for their families.

Part of me really misses this tradition, part of me really misses the taste of the grease from the bottom of the pan drizzled all over my boiled potatoes. It was so simple, yet so satisfying that we would fight for the drippings from the pan and if there were any extra chops left, you know they would not last long and would never make it into the fridge for later consumption. Somebody would always sneak into the kitchen to grab the last one when everybody else retired to their respective bedrooms.

Today, I won’t even come close to breadcrumbs – I tried in the past, only to get really disappointed by the amount of grease that bread crumbs can absorb. And as you probably gathered by now, bread and flour does not belong in my WOE these days. In fact I haven’t had bread in years. But does it mean that I can never again have my childhood favorite meal?

Well, you know I found a way to have my Breaded Pork Chops and eat them too. Only my Pork Chops do not include heavy coatings of bread crumbs and flour – they are light as a feather 🙂

Pork is said to be the other white meat, especially pork tenderloin. This cut is pretty lean, so I didn’t mind using quite a bit of butter to fry my chops. The butter added some very needed flavour and moisture to my chops.

 

To tenderize the pork chops I used a simple meat mallet, I wrapped the individual chops in some plastic wrap to prevent splattering meat juices and bits of it all over my kitchen and gave it a good whack with the mallet on both sides. You can see the indentations of the mallet all over the meat. I then seasoned the chops with salt and pepper and voilà it’s prepped and ready to go.

 

Now for the messy part : my “breading mix” is composed of 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast, 1Tbs of Coconut Flour, 3Tbs of unsweetened Coconut Flakes and some more salt and pepper. You could easily incorporate some other spices like paprika, cumin, turmeric, etc. As usual, every time you make this, you can turn this into 10+ different variations of the same meal by playing with the spices. And for the wet ingredients I used 2 eggs (you will need more or less depending how many chops you’re working with).  The technique here is to dip your chop in the egg wash on both sides and then place it in the dry mix, flip and coat the other side. You can repeat this twice if you feel that your chop is not sufficiently covered. I only coated once, as you can always sprinkle some of the dry mix on the spots that did not coat properly.

 

And here is the assembled meal – the pork chop looks very much the same way as what I was used to having as a child, but the rest of my plate looks nothing like the pile of boiled potatoes. Notice that I kept the drippings of butter from the bottom of my pan and drizzled them all over, it’s that yummy.

 

I replaced the starchy potatoes with fried lime fennel, side of caramelized mushrooms and some sliced radish. It was perfectly satisfying and I did not feel like I needed to lie down after consuming it.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here you have it – you may consider this another instalment of “How will I live without _______ (fill in the blank) on a LCHF diet?” – this time a perfectly breaded porkchop without the unnecessary carbage. You can enjoy the delicious breaded pork chops and not worry about the carb content in your meal – there is some carbs in coconut flour, but the amount is truly insignificant when looking at how much actually adheres to each chop. Note : that I had 5 chops and did not use up all of my “breading” mix.

 

 

 

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Are you struggling to add fat in your diet?

It’s frightening to realize that thanks to Ancel Keys – the man who made us all fear fat – we now might find it difficult to add healthy fats back into our diets. I’ve been following various online discussion groups and have seen this question pop up many a time : “How do you make sure to get a sufficient amount of fat in your diet?”

A lot of your fat intake will come from fatty meats like beef, lamb, pork and fatty fish, but it’s not as simple as increasing your intake of those proteins to reach the desired amount of fat. The reason why this is not the most optimal way of increasing fat intake lies in the fact that most people on a ketogenic diet will need to closely monitor their protein intake and make sure not to exceed what their bodies can utilise for the building and the repair of body tissues. This requirement will, of course, vary largely depending on physical activity and goals of each individual. But generally speaking protein should be kept at a safe level – which is about 20% of total calorie intake –  as to prevent gluconeogenesis from occurring. In short, we are concerned with conversion of excess protein into glucose which might have a similar effect on the body as consumption of carbohydrates. So what are the ways of increasing fat without necessarily increasing protein intake at the same time?

One of the ways to include a healthy dose of fat is to use mayonnaise. You could go and find a good quality mayo at your grocery store, but you would probably have to pay up to 3-4 times the price of a standard canola oil mayo and you’d still be consuming unnecessary ingredients. And if you settle for the lowly canola oil or worse soybean oil mayo you might as well ditch it in the garbage because that’s the wrong type of fat that will cause inflammation and wreck havoc with your arteries. So I propose spending literally 5 minutes in your kitchen to whip up your own mayonnaise – here is how:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Mayo
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 58
  • Serving size: 5g
  • Calories: 29
  • Fat: 3.3
  • Saturated fat: 0.5
  • Unsaturated fat: 2.8
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0.1
  • Cholesterol: 3.2
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: LCHF and Keto
Cook time: 
Total time: 
You'll be glad you didn't settle for the store bought mayo!
Ingredients
  • 1 Egg
  • 1tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 200ml Avocado OIl
Instructions
  1. Whip the egg, mustard, lemon juice and salt together in a food processor.
  2. Once above ingredients are fully incorporated start slowly adding the avocado oil while the processor is on high speed. It is important to complete this very slowly or otherwise your mayo will split and that's a very undesirable attribute.
  3. You will know when your mayo is "done" which might be before you use up all your oil because you'll hear a different sound coming from the blades mixing the mayo. It will sound fuller and thicker.
Notes
Every time you make this mayo you can turn it into whatever flavour you want. You can play with spices in any way your hearts desires by adding them at the very end of the process. Have you ever heard of sriracha mayo? Well I have, but the store bought type has tons of sugar added to it that I would rather skip. So I make my own Sriracha Mayo by following this recipe and adding some sriracha spice or sauce at the very end. You want a lemon mayo? Add lemon zest and some lemon pepper. How about herb mayo? No problem pull out some herbs (herbs de provence, thyme or oregano ) and play with it. See what type of mayo will become your favorite and then you have it in your arsenal.

I've kept this amount of mayo in my fridge for up to 2 weeks, after that you will notice oil separation occur - it's still good to eat, you just have to stir it, but for safety I'd probably ditch it at this point. Most people use mayo quite liberally, so there is no need to worry that this small amount will go back, you'll use it up fairly quickly and you might even have to make another batch before the week is over.

Note about the serving size - you will quickly realise that 5g is not very much, but it is only a suggested serving size and you can increase it to your desired volume. However, you don't want the majority of your calories coming from a condiment, after all it's pretty much pure fat. The function of condiments is to add flavour, not to overwhelm your plate. Treat it as a flavour enhancer and you will agree that you don't need a huge amount.

And for the visual aid I put this one together for you. This video is only 2 minutes 52 seconds long (but took 5 to shoot – the time it takes to make this mayo) and it really is all it takes to whip up your own delicious mayo with minimal ingredients:

You might be wondering how I use this mayo since I certainly do not use it in the conventional way by spreading it on a slice of white bread or a whole wheat wrap. In fact, it’s worth repeating, for the sake of clarity and understanding for those who are beginners at this WOE, that once you get over the fear of fat and start incorporating it in your meals the most important thing to remember (after selecting the right kinds of fats) is to remove all starchy carbohydrates (bread, wraps, cookies, pasta, rice etc.) from your diet. The reason for that is that fat (good or bad) eaten together with sugary/starchy carbohydrates will most assuredly be deposited as body and organ fat and will not have the chance to act as it was intended to for energy source, vitamin absorption and hormone regulation etc. The second most important point to keep in mind is that even though this is a high fat WOE it is not advisable to crank up the fat intake all that much. You really don’t have to go out of your way to seek out fat. This is especially true for people who already carry a lot of fat on their frames. Just think about it : you want to use fat as energy and you also want to access excess body fat for this purpose, if you eat a lot of dietary fat the fat you consume will be used for energy and any excess will be turned into body fat that will be deposited on top of what you already are carrying. At the beginning, the idea is to access your body fat to fulfill your energy needs. And only after you have burned a significant amount of body fat will you be able to increase your dietary fat.

My most favorite way to use mayo is to smother my eggs in it – there is nothing quite as satisfying as mixing those 2 flavours together. I don’t necessarily go as far as making deviled eggs as that is way too fancy for a regular lunch at work – I simply put a dollop of my mayo on a halved egg that’s buried somewhere in my coleslaw or other greens. I might simply use it as dipping sauce for my meat or make a tuna salad with it. Another great use for mayo is in dressings – many store bought salad dressings and other condiments use commercial grade mayo as a base – well, now you can do that too with your own mayo! And the beauty of using your own mayo in dressings is of course the fact that your mayo will have the highest quality ingredients of all the mayo out there.

You can use it in any way you desire – don’t limit yourself by following the conventional dogma.

 

 

 

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