Happy Fourth of July!!! Wave that Red, White, and Blue! Show off your stars and stripes! Enjoy your day, and celebrate with friends and family! We love our Independence Day in the Lutz and Stavros households!
We have been over several recipe ideas to keep your day healthy and low carb! Here are a few ideas from the past and the ones we have posted the last few weeks to help you compile your menu into one concise spot…right here! All of these recipes can be found on this webpage on our blog:
Brisket (You can even pick up or buy a precooked one to bake to make it easy!)
Ribs – Yum!!!
With our sugar-free sauce…
Bunless Burgers (We love our ABC burger – Avocado, Bacon, and Cheddar)
Bunless Hot Dogs or Sausage Links
Cheesy Tater Tots
Appetizers and Snack Ideas:
Stars and Stripes Cheesecake with Berries:
Or, if you are a chocolate person, our chocolate pudding.
Refreshing Low-Carb Margarita on the Rocks
Enjoy a wonderful celebratory day filled with healthy food, healthy sun, friends and family.
It’s real, and it’s Keto! How can you have a July Fourth celebration without potato salad? We have found a way, and it involves one of our favorite Keto veggies.
Have you guessed already? It’s the one that makes rice, mashers, tater tots, and pizza crust. The incredible, invincible, and transformative cauliflower! The chameleon of all veggies! I always have a head of cauliflower in the fridge because it can do just about anything for a meal! I was wondering if I could slide this past my crew, and it worked like a charm. You can pretty much use your favorite potato salad recipe by substituting cauliflower for your potatoes. We prefer a creamy mustard type dressing with a little sweetness. I know some like mayo only, and others like a tart mustard, so take it where you like it. So many options!
I still had a few of the refreshing cukes in the fridge, so I thought I would give them a try for the touch of sweet. Worked like a charm. So if you are planning on making the cucumbers for your July Fourth celebration, save a few extra to throw into your “potatoes”.
So here is the recipe along with a few variations for your upcoming weekend:
Dill Pickles with pickle juice if you don’t have the Cukes, but like the pickle idea.
Chop your cauliflower into bite size pieces like you would eat your potatoes.
Boil a large pot of water. Once it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer your cauliflower for about 5 to 6 minutes. Carefully pierce with a fork to check for tenderness. This is the hardest part…you want it soft enough to mimic the potatoes, but you don’t want it to get mushy once you start mixing your ingredients together. Once you have it to the correct tenderness, strain in a large colander. Let it drain and then return to the pot. If you are worried about the tenderness, (the texture is super important for this recipe) boil them until they are perfect and then immediately submerge in an ice cold water bath to stop the cooking. Then strain in the colander.
Add your chopped celery, onion, and cucumber or pickles (along with any other solids you choose to add.) Toss to combine.
Now add your mayonnaise, mustard and spices, except for the paprika.
Mix everything together. You can taste at this point to see if it needs anything, but remember, the flavors will meld in the refrigerator a little more.
Refrigerate for a few hours. When you place it in a serving bowl, sprinkle with a little paprika for color and enjoy with your firecrackers!
We are thinking ahead to fireworks and celebration! It is hard to believe that July 4th is right around the corner. The other day I posted the “Refreshing Cukes” recipe which would be a great side dish for any Fourth of July celebration. By the way, they just got better in the fridge for a few days! The cucumbers were definitely a hit in our house!
Today, I have another side that is easy because all you need to do is prepare the dressing ahead, pour it in a mason jar, throw it in the ice chest, and you have a great nutritious side wherever your travels may take you! Even better, you can use this tangy dressing as a dip or on any salad with what you have left over.
Keto Broccoli Slaw Recipe
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s, but homemade is better)
2 Bags of Trader Joe’s Organic Broccoli Slaw (I just use one at a time.)
Start by combining your Olive Oil and Mayonnaise. Then add your Apple Cider Vinegar and Mustard.
Add your Stevia: This is the best one I’ve found so far:
Then add the rest of your ingredients except for the slaw.
Whisk well, and pour into a mason jar once it is completely combined.
Now it is ready for packing or serving. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Also, shake well before each use to distribute the celery seeds.
When you are ready, empty the packet of broccoli slaw into a large bowl. It will make more than you think, so pick a large enough bowl. Pour about a half cup of dressing over your slaw and mix well. You can always add more if you like.
This is excellent served with Bar-B-Que, or served on its own. Enjoy!
Last week, a friend of mine showed up at my door with a trash bag full of homegrown cucumbers. He had grown them at his office, and thought I could use them since he knows I like to cook. I had never seen so many cucumbers, and I honestly didn’t have a clue what to do with them. My husband LOVES cucumbers, so I knew I needed to find something quickly! I couldn’t let these go to waste! The search began…
Look at these things…I had never seen anything like them before! They were the largest Japanese Cucumbers I had ever seen!
As you can see, these are huge!
I searched around through cookbooks and on the web. I didn’t find anything that shouted out at me, but I combined a few recipes, changed out the sugar, and came up with a winner! They haven’t even finished marinating, and my son said, “These are amazing…Dad is going to love them…This is my new favorite snack.”
So those of you looking for snack ideas, I have a new one!
You will need:
5-6 Cucumbers (I used 4 of these huge ones, so thinking this is the equivalent)
2 1/2 cups White Vinegar
1 Red Onion
1 Cup Xylitol or Sugar Substitute of Choice (See note at bottom)
In a saucepan, combine your vinegar, salt, and sweetener. Over medium heat, (it’s gonna stink), heat your vinegar until your “sugar” and salt dissolves.
Remove from heat, and add your celery seed and dill weed. Allow to cool a little and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
While your marinade is cooling, slice your cucumbers in a mandoline. I love my De Buyer! If you don’t have a mandoline, what are you waiting for? It makes life so much easier! I bought mine at Williams Sonoma, but you can get yours here too.
I did adjust my mandoline for thicker slices. I had it set from the zucchini last week, but these needed to be a bit thicker.
Also, slice your red onion into thin rings. Place your cucumbers and red onion slices in a bowl.
Once you have everything sliced and your marinade is cold, you can pour your marinade over your cucumber and onion.
Toss everything together until lightly coated. Cover with Saran and place in your refrigerator overnight. At this point you can’t even see the liquid, but just wait!
This is what it looks like in the morning:
Everything is soaking in the juices! Yum!
Let it sit and soak up the deliciousness for 24 to 48 hours! Enjoy as a snack, a salad, or a side dish! I am thinking ahead to the July 4th holiday!!!
A note on Xylitol: You don’t see us using this one very often. The reason I did on this dish was because it was a cold marinade that also had to be heated so I thought it would work best. There are many that love Xylitol, and there is nothing wrong with it from a Keto standpoint. I have two cautions on it though:
1. It is extremely toxic for dogs! Keep it away from animals.
2. It can cause stomach discomfort in a few.
For the quantity of liquid in these in relation to the amount of cucumbers, I did not think it would have much effect since we are not consuming the liquid on it’s own.
If you try different sweeteners or have a different variation on this recipe, we would love to hear about it in the comments section!
The type of crunch I am talking about is the loud tortilla chip kind of crunch! On Keto, I think it is safe to say, that one of the things we miss the most is that crunch of a chip or cracker. One of my summer-time favorites was corn chips and salsa. Needless to say, the corn is gone forever, but the salsa is here to stay. So what does one do for that crunch, scoop, or dip?
For a long time, I used a ton of celery, and still do for many things. It can scoop, it’s refreshing, full of fiber, and I can have it for all those wonderful Keto dips out there. It is not good for salsa though. Then I discovered the cheese crisps we posted a few weeks ago. Love those, especially for guacamole. The cheese is the perfect accompaniment with avocado.
But, what about the salsa? Well…zucchini was again on sale at Sprouts last week, so I bought a bunch to experiment. Over the weekend I tried three different recipes for zucchini crisps. I will share two of them with you, and you can choose which you prefer.
The first is a simple chip, and when I say simple, all you need is time and a few ingredients:
Wash and dry your zucchini. When I say wash, I mean wash with soap and water!
I used a Mandoline to slice my zucchini very thin. This also makes it a fast process. You want them very thin. Mine were probably less than 1/8 inch thick.
Now, I will tell you what I did, and also how you can do it differently.
The first thing I would change is to either slice my zucchini on the diagonal or lengthwise. The reason being, they shrink tremendously when they dehydrate so if the purpose is for dipping, these left very little surface area to do such.
Pour your coconut oil into a small pyrex or similar bowl. Just something shallow will do.
Dip each “chip” into the oil and place on your parchment. They can be close together. Variation: You can lay all your zucchini out and then brush them with the oil. You just have to flip them half way through baking.
Once you have dipped or placed all your zucchini on your parchment, sprinkle a very scant amount of salt on top. This was a huge mistake of mine. I used a normal amount of salt, but they shrank so much, they were literally coated in salt. A little goes a long way on these!
Place in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours. Yes, two hours. This will dehydrate and crisp them. I flipped my cookie sheet around about half way through so they cook evenly.
This is how much they will shrink, and why I recommend slicing the opposite direction for dipping chips:
Place on a paper towel to absorb the remaining oil. Once dry, seal them in a ziplock bag or they will get soggy.
These were described as tasting just like a “Cheez It”. In other words, a great snack for the kids looking for that healthy crunch without any grain!!!
These are similar to above, except for the cheese. Follow the same directions until you finish with your oil.
Grind your parmesan cheese in your Mini-Prep Cuisinart (unless you have already dirtied your big one.) The parmesan adheres to the squash much easier when it is a bit finer, but still melts well, unlike the super fine ground you buy off the shelf.
Pour your finely grated cheese into a bowl.
Take your squash one by one and dip into the oil first, and then into the cheese. Place each on a lined cookie sheet.
These will not need salt because your cheese is already salty. You can add pepper if you like for taste. You can always add extra cheese to the top if you have extra left over.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. They should be a little darker than golden brown to ensure they are crisp. Serve immediately with your favorite dip or eat just as they are.
Store in a sealed container or Ziplock in the refrigerator.
This is one of Erin’s recipes that I love. She does many of her recipes by feel and look, but I did my best to measure most of these simple ingredients. I literally did these yesterday, and thought, why not make my post on this now?
We had a dinner party last night, for which I was assigned an appetizer. Sometimes, when dining with many, it is hard to please everyone with a Keto dish, which is why I usually sign up for an appetizer or a salad. You can do a lot of Keto appetizers such as guacamole, hot artichoke dip, spinach dip, stuffed mushrooms, different kinds of poppers, etc. There are many!
Yesterday ended up being busier than expected, and I had all of these ingredients on hand, so I went for the mushrooms. They are always devoured in minutes, and really only take a few minutes to make as long as you soften your cream cheese first. After you make them once, you won’t even need the recipe!
Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Mushroom Appetizer
Your portions will change based on the amount of mushrooms you want to stuff. I did one large package of mushrooms from Costco.
Large package of mushrooms, washed and stems removed
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
2 packages of ITALIAN sausage (I did one mild and one hot) removed from casings (There were 5 links per package, and I had a ton left over. I used about 2 cups of the crumbled sausage and saved the rest for breakfast in our eggs.) Use as much as you like though.
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
Kerrygold for baking
That is it folks!
Remove casings from your sausage and brown on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until crumbled.
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl (hopefully in advance to soften)
Add sausage and combine with cream cheese.
Add Cheddar and mix until evenly distributed.
Take your mushrooms, from which you have removed the stem, washed and dried.
Using a teaspoon, fill the caps of the mushrooms until there is a heaping amount. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Put a few slices of Kerrygold around the perimeter of the mushrooms as well as the middle. You want it to melt for a nice non-stick surface that gives a wonderful flavor.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Plate and serve!
Make sure you serve these with a napkin. They are so delicious, you may find yourself drooling!
Most of you know by now that I love squash! All squash, but especially summer squash! Lucky for me, it is summer, and all those summer squashes are plentiful. The yellow is my favorite!
About a year ago, we celebrated my dad’s birthday at a great restaurant in San Antonio called Bohanan’s. It is a wonderful special occasion restaurant if you have not tried it! Most of my family would consider themselves foodies, and really enjoy a great meal. I am no exception! You can always count on having a great meal at Bohanan’s. Not only do they have some of the best steaks in Texas (which is saying a lot), but they have great seafood and side dishes as well. One of my favorite side dishes we were served that evening was their Baked Squash. It is melt in your mouth delicious, with just the right amount of savory paired with the sweet. The sugar in ours is, of course, replaced with Swerve or natural sweetener of your choice.
Just a few weeks after my father’s birthday, I found the squash recipe in our local Sunday paper. I just love restaurants that publish their prized recipes! It was so close to being Keto, that I knew I could tweak it to make it healthier for our family without the sugar and flour. I think I have mastered it enough to share:
Sweet Life Baked Squash
Serves 10-12 (Can half, but saves great for leftovers)
3.5 lbs yellow summer squash
1/2 brick of Kerry Gold butter (extra for top)
20 slices of Kraft cheese
4-5 tsp of Swerve granular
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Celtic salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Almond Flour for top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and gather your ingredients.
Start by washing the squash, trimming off the ends, and cubing it.
Place your squash in a large saucepan and cover with water and a pinch of salt.
Boil for about 10 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork.
Drain in a colander, place back in the pan, and cook over medium heat to release more of the moisture in the squash. Stir for a few minutes, and then remove from heat. Most (not all) of the moisture should be evaporated from the pan at this point.
Stir in your Kerrygold, Kraft cheese, Swerve, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
Mix until all the cheese is melted.
Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl, and temper them by adding a small amount of the squash mixture. Then pour them into the pan, and mix well. It will look super runny, but it will firm up when you bake it.
Pour your mixture into a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.
Top with a sprinkle of Almond Flour and a few dabs of additional Kerrygold.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
This dish goes great with any kind of bar-b-que, hamburger patties, steak, fish – really anything. I was going to serve it with some brisket, but my husband was in the mood for burger patties so that is what you see.
I hope you enjoy this great side dish with your next summer meal! Enjoy!
Summer has arrived, and so has burger and hot dog season! We all love a good cookout in the more relaxing summer months. Of course, what goes hand in hand with burgers? Some sort of fried potato off limits to us low-carbers! Going Keto means no more fries and tots, right? Wrong! I told my children I was making tater tots, (which they have missed) and they started doing cheers!
I did NOT tell them how I was making them, however, and they could not tell the difference. These suckers were good, and there was nothing left to save after dinner. Bummer!
Keto tater tots take a little preparation and forethought, but overall they are pretty easy – and I don’t even fry – before or during Keto, until now. This was a game changer for our family!
1 large head of Cauliflower
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 tsp Psyllium Husk Powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1-2 cups Bacon Fat
Salt and Pepper to taste
Shredded Cheddar to melt on top (I used sharp cheddar)
Cut your cauliflower into small pieces to steam. Place in your steamer and steam until tender but not too soft.
Place in your food processor, and pulse until it is smooth without any chunks.
This is not enough, above ^.
This is how it should look below:
At this point you can make mashers or tots!:) I’m going for tots!
After you get your cauliflower to this consistency, you are going to want to wring out the excess water – and there is a LOT!!!
This is the time consuming part, and you will want to make sure your cauliflower is cool, or you will burn off your finger tips. Trust me – I didn’t quite burn mine off, but it was close! Make sure you allow time for your cauliflower to cool either right after steaming or after processing.
Once cool, I use a light dish towel to wring out the excess water. You can use a cheese cloth as well. The cauliflower will slip right through a colander.
When you place it on the dish towel, be ready to start wringing. See the water spreading…It will look like this:
After you squeeze and squeeze, and wring and wring, it will look like this:
Doesn’t look verry appetizing, but just wait!
Now, take your cauliflower “paste”, and add your cheeses, egg, and garlic salt. You may have to use a dull knife to scrape the dry cauliflower off the towel.
Mix well. It should be a very thick mixture. If it is too runny to roll, then add your psyllium husk powder a little at a time.
It should look like this:
Take out about a teaspoon of “dough” at a time and roll into your tots! This is fun for the kids too!
Now, get your yummy bacon grease ready (that you have saved from all those batches of bacon, right?) Remember that cast iron skillet that Erin posted about? This is the perfect time to pull that big daddy out as well!
Start heating your fat in your skillet over medium heat! Your grease really needs to be perfect. If it is too hot, they will burn, but if it is not hot enough, the tots will stick to the bottom of the skillet. Keep it on medium, and be patient. The first picture is my mason jar of grease. The second is the grease melting in my cast iron skillet. Yum!!!!
You will also need to set up a plate with either paper towels or a mesh splatter shield to drain your tots after they cook so they start to crisp. I used a splatter shield over a plate, and had it ready to go before frying.
When your grease is hot, gently drop your tots into the grease, and move them around so they don’t stick to the bottom. Continue to rotate until they are golden brown on all sides:
When they are cooked on all sides, remove to your plate.
This was my first batch, before my oil was hot enough so you can see where some stuck. I was not very patient:).
Once you remove them, you can add salt and pepper, if you like, or cover with cheese.
Let them cool slightly and serve! I hope you enjoy these beauties as much as we did!
How do you eat out on Keto? Well, it’s not as hard as you would imagine…
When we first started cutting carbs, it was a bit intimidating to go out. I wanted to know the exact source of my food and exactly how it was being prepared. This is much easier to do at home, but I still wanted to socialize with my friends. I wasn’t about to give up my few evenings of “adult time” away from the kitchen because of Keto! I soon learned I didn’t have to give up restaurants and neither do you!
I had always considered myself an easy, low-maintenance restaurant patron. And, if I must be honest, I was a bit embarrassed when someone at the table was the “difficult one”. I really love all food, and am a bit of a foodie. I love trying new things and new preparations, so eating out was always an adventure. It still is an adventure, but I am a little more cautious when ordering.
I may not be quite as low-maintance, but I have found that restaurants are more than willing to answer questions about preparations, and even more willing to oblige on certain dietary restrictions. While once an insult to a chef to change his/her dish, it is now all the more common as consumers have more and more dietary restrictions, whether allergies or eating preferences. Don’t hesitate to ask!
Here are some of my general questions when asking about a dish:
Is there sugar in the sauce?
Is the dish gluten-free?
What is the side accompaniment?
Is it breaded?
May I substitute the starch for another vegetable?
May I have the protein grilled or sautéed instead of fried or breaded?
You will find that breading, sauces, and sides are the main culprits.
Here are the main things you need to do:
1. Ask for sauce on the side – every time (Unless it is a heavy cream sauce made without flour or a lemon butter sauce – if this is the case, the more the better.)
2. Ask for extra veggies with butter instead of potatoes, pasta, rice, or risotto.
3. First thing when you arrive – ask your waiter to hold the bread, but bring the butter (real butter) – you may get a funny look, but they will do it!
4. Order a bottle of wine, a martini, or vodka soda. Stay away from the sugary cocktails.
5. Order your salad without crouton or crisps and stay away from sweet dressings. Blue Cheese, Ranch, and Caesar are generally safe. It gets dicey with the vinaigrettes.
6. Read the menu carefully – learn the code words: crispy or coated usually means fried, seasoned could mean sugar so ask. Crunchy usually means it has something on top, like fried onions, tortilla chips, panko, etc. Sweet, glazed, or brushed are almost always code for the dreaded SUGAR. In short, always read the description, and if you are still unsure, ask!
7. Good things to look for are: grilled, broiled, steamed, seared, baked, and sautéed. Savory is usually good, and seasoned is often good as long as the seasoning does not contain sugar.
8. At the end of the meal, refrain from looking at the dessert menu. Too much temptation. Ask for a decaf with heavy cream if you need a little something while your friends order dessert. They won’t be used to the heavy cream order, but almost any good kitchen has cream, so ask the waiter to check the kitchen.
I promise it is really easy after you get used to ordering Keto. Restaurants are starting to have more gluten free dishes (I just ate at one that had a gluten-free menu – remember though that gluten-free doesn’t mean carb-free), and many are used to patrons ordering low-carb. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is not about weight at this point, it is about your health!
Good places to start are:
Bar-B-Que Restaurants (Have all the meat you want, but watch the sauce and sides)
Steak Restaurants (Steak is great – order with Béarnaise and side salad and veggies – skip the potatoes)
Seafood Restaurants (Shrimp and Fish are great – Add lemon butter and it’s even better)
Here are a few pictures of meals we have ordered out to give you some ideas:
Both dishes below were from Houston Street Bistro. They were wonderful about substituting the pasta that was supposed to be served with each dish with vegetables instead. The shrimp is in a lemon butter sauce with broccoli and carrots. The chicken and mushroom dish is in a flourless cream sauce served with a side of spinach instead of over pasta.
These next three are all from different restaurants.
The first is a high-end restaurant that had calf liver on the specials menu (a top Keto food) and to top it off, it had sauted onion and BACON!
This is a cup of beanless chili from a local delicatessen.
Beef Cheeks from a local restaurant.
This was a fantastic meal from Silo – Lamb with veggies, and they even brought hollandaise on the side.
Hopefully these give you some ideas of how easy it is to order a delicious meal out on the town! Have a great weekend!
What else can I make besides scrambled eggs and bacon? This is in the Top 10 list of questions we receive.
Eggs are great! We know that, but we also get tired of the same old thing every day!
A Quiche is a great way to dress up your eggs in a beautiful way that the whole family can enjoy for any meal of the day. It is filled with all the great nutrients that eggs provide, and anything else you wish to add to give it that special touch. It is also a method to hide vegetables if you have picky eaters! And…best of all, it cooks great without a crust. No need to add carbs to something so savory and wonderful already!
These are great with the end of school approaching because you can prepare it a day ahead, and it reheats quickly and perfectly. It is also delicious as a weekend dish straight out of the oven! Fresh quiche just melts in your mouth. Prepare to be creative and enjoy!
Gather your ingredients, and chop your onion, garlic, and broccoli. This is my favorite garlic chopper!
Sauté your onion and garlic in the butter. Then add your broccoli to soften slightly.
Spray your pie dish with coconut oil spray (you can find it here).
For a Quiche, you want to layer your ingredients. Start with your sautéed vegetables, and then top with bacon. This goes for any type of quiche – veggies on the bottom, then your meat, then cheese, then top with your egg mixture.
Sprinkle the cheese on top of the bacon.
Mix your eggs, cream, nutmeg, ground mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Pour over the cheese.
Place your quiche in your preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat after 15 minutes to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
It should look puffy and delicious when you remove from the oven:
As it cools, it will sink slightly. Allow to cool for 20 minutes or so if you want to enjoy it right away. If you are preparing ahead, allow to cool completely, cover with saran, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven or in the microwave for about 30 seconds a slice.
Be creative with your ingredients. My children have requested ham and cheese for the next one. You can do spinach and parmesan, vegetable, bacon and cheese, or any other combination you can imagine. Just remember to layer in the order above and cook accordingly! Enjoy!