Keto Party Food!

***Interesting Pre-Note: I wrote this before I knew the outcome! The tense may jump around a bit…***

Every time I start a “lifestyle change” a food related event pops up. It could be something big like a relative’s birthday, or a major holiday. Sometimes it’s just a small thing, like an office recognition dinner or “The Big Game”. Well, last week’s celebration could be considered “The Big Game”. Let me just get it out, quickly…It’s WrestleMania. There, I said it.

I was not one of those people who grew up watching wresting. I knew about Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage (“Snap into a Slim Jim!”) because their fame surpassed the ring, but that was pretty much it. When I got older, my sister and my cousin would talk about “Raw” and they had crushes on Triple H and The Rock (I did take a peek at him back then…), but I still wasn’t into it.

Related(-ish) side story: When I was 21, 22, I went to a local bar with my friend and this guy kept cornering me. Not in a stalky way, he was just keeping all the other guys away from me by being in my face. I knew him from around town, but I wasn’t interested. He wasn’t terrible, he just wasn’t my “type”. My friend agreed – “He wouldn’t be so bad, especially if he wasn’t wearing an ‘NWO 4-Eva’ shirt!” Yeah, I think that was it. Yuck. My 9-year-old sister is into those shows! So when I thought of wrestling, I thought of that…

Fast forward about 17, 18 years. I meet a great guy, fall in love and move in with him and his dog (it happened that quickly too). I’m under the impression that things are great and then one day he says “Do you want to watch wrestling with me? I record it and fast forward through most of it.” Mmm hmmm. “There is the flaw!”, I thought. Well, I’m willing to try anything so, “Yeah! Why not?” I watched and it wasn’t that bad. What helped was that my boyfriend explained what was going on and gave me some technical and background information throughout. He’s not just a mindless fanboy about it, he understands the business. He also made it really funny, which helps a lot!

Needless to say, we’ve been watching Raw and Smackdown every week since I moved in. It’s a plan we make now, since he DVRs it. I have a couple of favorites (Elias, Matt Hardy and Braun Strowman bits are ridiculous/hilarious, Naomi is an impressive acrobat and yay Nia Jaxx, just because, I get it!).

SO NOW: Wrestlemania!

My boyfriend picked up his snacks – tortilla chips, seven-layer dip, things like that. But what can I have? I am on a low carb-keto life change right now! Why is this happening?! Well, I thought of somethings I could have, and maybe I’ll share them with him. Here are the recipes, for you!

I’ll start with the easy stuff – Cheese Crisps! I’m craving flavorful cheese, so these are perfect!

Cheese Crisps
I love silicone baking sheets!

 

I put Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning on the three white cheddar mounds for a little kick, Italian seasoning on the three Italian blend cheese mounds (obviously) and Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt on the three mild cheddar mounds because I haven’t used it yet and I want to know how it tastes (sometimes it’s that simple!)…

Cheese Flavors
There they are – the cheeses with the matching spices!

 

Put them in a 375 degree oven for, well, until they melt, and then take them out and let them cool into crisps! Easy stuff!

Cheese Crisps Done
Cheese Chips are (almost) done! I put them in the freezer for five minutes to help them crisp up faster!

 

Another simple recipe: Egg Salad and Bacon Chips!

I make the easiest egg salad. It’s especially easy now since we have the “Egglettes”. No peeling! Yay!

Eggs
Hard boiled eggs cooked in Egglettes!

 

I am making a 4-egg salad (because Egglettes comes in a pack of four and this is just for me and the BF), so I’ll add:

  • Mayo
  • Dijon Mustard
  • 21 Seasoning Salute

 

Egg Salad
Maille is the best Dijon mustard ever!

 

That’s it. I don’t like crunchy stuff in my egg salad (NO onions, blech) so this is a really easy recipe. Everyone is so into the Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s now, but 21 Seasoning Salute is amazing with eggs. I still love it!

The bacon chips are so easy, I’m not going to even type out what I did because it’ll offend you. I will say that I use Morningstar Farms “Facon” because it is slightly better for you and, as a bonus, it’s more chip-like than real bacon.

Egg Salad with Facon
Egg Salad with “Bacon” Chips

 

Here comes a recipe with more steps: Loaded Zucchini Skins

I found this recipe on Pinterest but I changed it up a bit to make it more stuffed with goodness, more like Zucchini Boats with loaded potato fixins.

I halve a coupla large zucchinis and remove the zucchini guts (sorry, what’s another word for that? I can’t think right now…).

Zucchini

I put the hollow zucchini halves in the air fryer for about 7 minutes. I do this because I want to kinda dry them out so they’re more like potato skins. (*Hint* After they were done my boyfriend suggested that I drizzle some olive oil on them before putting them in the airfryer, and putting them in for 10 minutes. Will do next time!). I have no pics of this step for some reason! Well…

I heat my protein crumbles and zucchini guts through and add some of this Sriracha salsa that I love.

Crumbles
I had to add some spicy!

 

I stuff the zucchini halves with the crumble mixture and add shredded cheese on top.

Zucchini Stuffed
Covered and smothered!

 

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the cheese melts about 5-7 minutes

Top with sour cream, “facon” crumbles and chives for authenticity!

Zucchini Done
Artistic shot (my boyfriend took it)!

 

Recipe with the most steps: Spinach Balls

Here’s what I used:

  • Fresh Spinach (two bags)
  • 1/2 Cup of Almond Meal
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Shredded Cheddar
Spinach Ball Ingredients
Two bags of spinach only yielded this much!

 

I had to add something green today, since none of this really has any nutritional value (Let’s be real, it’s awesome, low-carb and keto, but it’s still junk. It’s a party!)

I started by making a little almond meal using a small bag of blanched almonds. I am using these in place of the breadcrumbs that were required in the original recipe.

Then I cook the spinach down in scallion olive oil. Shout out to The Twisted Branch for making my new favorite olive oil – scallion olive oil – YUM!

Scallion Olive Oil
Best local find! Shop local!

 

I whisk the egg and then add the spinach, almond meal and the cheeses. I also sprinkle in garlic powder for some flavor.

I put this in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour so the balls will be easy to form.

I form the balls using an ice cream scoop and put on my silicone baking sheet (a HUGE lifesaver), place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Spinach Balls
Big ole’ spinach balls…

 

Since I made such huge balls, they flattened down into spinach patties and they were excellent! I can see making these for a meal prep…

Spinach Patties
They baked like cookies!

 

Yum!

So that’s all for the food I pre-planned to cook today. My boyfriend suggested that I make my “famous” onion dip, which is actually a supremely keto recipe.

Onion Dip
This is pre-bake (and sideways)!

 

I already made this and posted it on Instagram, so you can find the recipe as a highlight on my Instagram account!

That’s all! Done! I know I’m having some of that seven-layer dip though (with the cheese crisps!) and we are set!

Whole Party
I added yellow plates and the book for “tablescaping” purposes! Ha!

 

So, these appetizers can be used for any occasion where you might be concerned about a high carb menu. I knew my boyfriend was going to have some stuff that I couldn’t have so this was perfect!

(Booooo! At the actual outcome of WrestleMania) Now, let’s hope that Roman Reigns beats Brock Lesnar! (Yes, I realize that I just said that…)

Enjoy!

An Autumn Meal – Part 1

I know, it’s been a long time since I have posted on “The Dweeb” (that’s what all the cool people are calling it), but it’s been for good reason. Reasons I can’t get into right now, but I will soon. Well, by the end of the year, at least. So, anyway…
I noticed that I’ve been making up a lot of my recipes, so I decided to look in one of the millions (slight exaggeration) of cookbooks I own to make a new and delicious meal. This week I looked to my Orange County Bounty cookbook, which was gifted to me from my friend Marian.
OC Bounty
Yes, I am one of those “tabbers”!
I like this cookbook because the recipes are organized by season and the recipes revolve around the fresh local produce of that season. In the Fall section, and I found this great recipe for Stuffed Swiss Chard.
OC Bounty Open
Redactions for copyright reasons!
I have most of the ingredients already, yet it’s something different from my usual fare. I made a special effort to leave the recipe as it is and not change it around too-too much. Changes: from rice to quinoa – it’s always good to add a healthy protein and I only made enough for one serving (4 leaves for me!).
Here are the ingredients:
Mise En Place
I only mise en place for the camera (stuntin’)…Walnuts, celery, onion, cottage cheese, feta cheese, quinoa and an egg to act as a binder.
So I mixed it all up used it as stuffing in my rolled Swiss chard leaves…
Season Water
Season every layer!

After you roll the leaves you fill your baking dish halfway, with water. I decided to add some 21 Seasoning Salute to the water. If I had broth on hand, I’d probably use that for even more flavor.

I decided that I needed a side…and it had to fit in with the fall theme…AND it had to use my new crinkle cutting tool. So butternut squash it is! I was inspired by Instagram to make the squash fries…
Crinkle Cuts
Yay! Crinkle cutting tool! I saved the bulb-y part for soup…
I tossed the fries in a baggie with some olive oil, pink Himalayan salt and garlic powder…
Fry Prep
Fry prep!
I put both in the convection oven (it’s still too warm to use the regular oven!) at the same time, but the squash fries took slightly longer (and they would not have if they were in one, single layer)…
Ready for Oven
These colors make me happy!
After about 35 minutes the chard was done and 45 minutes, the fries were done…
Chard and Squash
Healthy and delicious! Yay!
This is such a colorful meal! It makes me so happy just looking at it, and I’m ecstatic tasting it (that’s why I’m a dweeb)!
I am enjoying this meal with an awesome seasonal beer from Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA).
Seasonal Beer
Yum!
I actually haven’t had beer in a few months (since a wedding) so this was really good and refreshing.
So, make this! It’s easy! Oh…what? Dessert you say? Well, okay then…
How could I make a fall meal, this beautiful, without dessert? I couldn’t!
Since October is National Apple Month: Hasselback Apples!
People are hasselbacking everything these days, so I thought “why not apples?” I thought I was being innovative until I looked it up on Pinterest. Yeah, other people have thought of this as well! So, here’s my take on it…
Hasselback Prep
Preppin’ like crazy today!
It is a pretty standard “crumble” recipe, on top of a half sliced apple. I used Cinnamon Oat Kodiak Cakes mix instead of regular flour and/or oats. That adds protein and lots of flavor. I used coconut oil instead of butter to form the crumble, just because I bought a new jar.
Golden Delicious apples are my favorite, so I used them of course!
Pour on the cinnamon blend (try to get in between the cuts, I actually let it cook for about 15 minutes and then when back in to put more of the mix inside the cuts) and cook for about 30-40 minutes. I covered my pan with another pan of the same size and added cinnamon water to the bottom of the pan so it would steam them a bit…
Hasselback Apple
NOM!
I topped it with some amazing Halo Top just for some extra autumn-ness!
Halo Top
Oatmeal Cookie, for more cinnamon and oatness!
So, now, enjoy! Make a day of this deliciousness!
I’ll be back next week with a fall recipe from another cookbook (that had been wasting away on the shelf!)…

Hasselback Eggplant!

I guess it’s another “Meat Free Monday”! This is a tweaked version of the recipe I see all of the time for Hasselback Eggplant Parmesan. I didn’t want to add bread crumbs because I am low-carb, but I still wanted some bulk. Enter, greens! Spinach and kale to be exact…

Greens

I just wanted to get them slightly wilted, but more importantly, I wanted to load them up with flavor. I added garlic powder, pink Himalayan salt (PHS) and fresh cracked black pepper. After I cooked them to my liking, I added my other filling ingredients…

Filling

So there is a scant tablespoon of parmesan cheese and two tablespoons of ricotta cheese, which I will mix with my cooked and seasoned greens. Then I had to prepare my eggplant…

Hasselbeck Cutting Trick

In order to get those groovy Hasselback slices, we have to make sure that we don’t slice the eggplant all the way through. The best tip I saw was to tape down chopsticks around the eggplant so the knife will stop at the chopstick’s level…

Hasselbeck Cut

It worked! Now, to season the eggplant…

Flavor Layers

I always listen to Rachael Ray’s tip – you must season every layer of food. Eggplant is very bland – you must not skip this step! I seasoned mine with garlic powder, a little PHS and some Italian seasoning. Now I add my next layer…

Provolone

Yummy Provolone cheese! I did the math before I even cut the eggplant – I knew I wanted nine Hasselback slices in each eggplant half, so that would be 18 cheese strips. So, six cuts in three slices of provolone (see, this is where the dweeb comes in). Gotta stuff these…

Cheese Stuff

You can lift the eggplant a little in order to season and stuff each slice. Do it gently so that you don’t break a slice off (I almost did, those three on the end are hanging on by a thread)! Now I add the greens and cheese mixture…

Stuffed

Ooh, baby! This looks great already! But, it needs to be cooked and since I refuse to turn the oven on in the summer, I used the crock pot…

Sauced Crock

I sauced the crock pot with a tiny can of tomato sauce that I seasoned with, once again, garlic powder, PHS and Italian seasoning. Then I put the stuffed eggplants in…

Crock Pot

Aww, don’t they look cute? I put just a splash of the sauce on top of the stuffed eggplant. I wanted it to be about greens and cheese, not tomato.

After two hours on high…

Cooked

YUM! This is what you get! I added some fresh spinach on the side, because I only had that little bit left.

It’s pretty easy to make – you just have to have a little patience when seasoning and stuffing each layer because they are pretty delicate.

Very healthy and delish! Enjoy!

Taco Tomato Tuesday (I Won!)

I think I might have won Taco Tuesday. I know, it’s not a contest. But, if it was, I’d be taking home a blue ribbon right now!

So, I was inspired to make this from one of those videos on Facebook. I wish I could remember which site, because I’d totally shout them out (ETA: I remember! It from Delish!). In the video, they used regular sized tomatoes. I took one look and thought “One GIANT tomato!!!” So, I went to the farmers market and set out to find the biggest most beautiful tomato I could find…And I found a one pounder…

Big Tomato
This pic doesn’t do it justice!

Hey – It is huge, yes. However, it’s a tomato. It’s not a deep fried taco shell or a (not carb friendly) flour tortilla. It’s a tomato. A big , beautiful, locally grown tomato. I feel very good about eating the entire thing in one sitting. So, anywho…

I start by slicing this huge tomato. I don’t want to slice all the way down and I kind want to fan it out, like this:

Slices
That slice on the end missed the memo…

Then, I season that bad boy! Yes. The tomato itself must be well seasoned. I learned that from Rachael Ray – you have to season every part of the dish to get maximum flavor. I used Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning, Trader Joe’s Pink Himalayan Salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked black pepper.

Seasoning
“Flavor every layer…” – Rachael Ray

Then, I fry my ground turkey (sorry no pics). I use the same seasonings I use for the tomato.

I top the tomato with the fried ground turkey and top that with a few slices of pepperjack cheese.

Cheese
I LOVE cheese!

I place the loaded tomato in my toaster oven, set on broil. Really just to melt the cheese and in the meantime, I get my guacamole ready…

Guac
These are the small avocados. One was perfect for this recipe…

I make the easiest guac in the world. I just use an avocado (duh), lime juice and Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning (can you guess what my favorite store is?). That’s it.

So, I didn’t take a picture of my tomato just out of the toaster oven. I was so excited to get all of my taco topping on it. Take a look…

The Taco Tomato
WOW! Delish!

This is easily THE MOST DELICIOUS THING I’VE EVER MADE!

Wow! I think I owe it all to the hearty, delicious, juicy, incredible tomato I got at the farmers market on Saturday. That made all the difference!

MAKE THIS! It’s so easy (it’s a taco, in a tomato) and so delicious. YUM!!!

 

What I Ate…(Meat Free Monday)

…today. Okay, so today was an unintentional “Meat Free Monday”. I saw what I had planned to eat and noticed that it was all vegetarian food. Even the smoothie shop I went to for dinner caters to the vegan/vegetarian population. Cool. I was actually a vegetarian from the age of six, up until the age of 25. I didn’t eat any red meat, and I rarely ate chicken. I was more of a pescatarian now that I think about it. Something changed when I hit 25 though. I don’t know what it was, but I suddenly wanted to eat burgers. I can’t really explain how it happened and I don’t remember the exact meal that broke my 19 year  long stretch. When people ask I usually say, “I just wanted a Big Mac. I had one, and I fell in love!” I don’t know what they want to hear, but it wasn’t some big to-do. It happened over the course of time.

Anyway…What did I eat today?

Breakfast: Raspberry Cocoa Latte and a string cheese…

Latte Ingredients
Latte Ingredients

I use the same formula for my lattes:

  • Almond milk, heated
  • Packet of stevia – one in the cup, one in the pan with the milk
  • A small swig of vanilla in the almond milk, while it’s heating
  • Powdered flavoring – usually 1 to 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

So, that’s how I made today’s latte. Powdered flavoring=Cocoa Powder and I substituted the pack of stevia in the almond milk pan for one raspberry honey stick that I got from the farmers market. That’s it! It was good. The raspberry flavor was slight, that’s probably because it was natural and not filled with sugar.

Breakfast
Big breakfast (heh heh). Honestly though, the lattes are really filling!

Lunch: Feta Dip, Veggies and Olives

Feta Dip

Okay, this was awesome!!! The dip was so easy too…

Feta Dip Recipe
Easy peasy…

Only four ingredients: Feta (half of a small container – I’m really precise – Ha!), cream cheese (about 1/3 of a softened brick), olive oil (about a teaspoon) and garlic powder (depends on your taste, I use a lot)…Simple. One of those back pocket recipes.

Beverages: Seltzer with lime or apple cider vinegar

Drink
…lime-ish squeezy!

I LOVE seltzer! Seriously, I stock up on whatever brand is on sale so I am never without it. Polar is amazing. LaCroix is great, but sometimes I’m not willing to spend that much. Vintage and store brand will do just fine, thanks! I used to have a SodaStream, but it broke a couple of years ago and I’ve yet to get a new one. I should (re-)invest. It would be worth it!

Dinner: Italian Kale…

***Warning: I turn into a bit of a smartass here, I was highly annoyed. Feel free to read this section in Sarcasm…***

Okay. So I had planned to go to a new restaurant in town to get a salad for dinner. And I went, with my cousin…

Blend
“Buddha Bowl” – (unmassaged) Kale, spinach, tomato, sweet potatoes, avocado and a lemon vinaigrette. Intentionally Missing: Corn. Just Plain Missing: black beans

I ordered what was called a “Buddha Bowl” salad. And I got what is seen above. It had everything it said it would, but it was not really a “bowl”, it was more like a plastic carton of produce. I paid $8.00 for a plastic carton of kale that is on sale for .99 a pound at Shop-Rite this week! The kale wasn’t even massaged! I know that sounds like something a snob would say, but massaging kale is a real thing. A real and VERY IMPORTANT thing. It helps break it down so one can chew and digest it easier. Seriously, I took one bite and I nearly choked. I actually need to warn this restaurant – this is a potential hazard. I just was not in the mood to argue tonight, so I just left…

…And, I did what any person who spends $8.00 on a carton of produce does: I took it home to cook it myself!

Kale - Fried
DIY Restaurant – I believe it’s called grocery shopping! 

Yup. I massaged EACH piece of kale (you could HEAR it breaking down as I kneaded), added the contents to a pan with olive oil and garlic powder and…

Kale - Fried - Yum
Repurposed food…

…Yum! Success! I turned this meal around! I sprinkled some parmesan on top, as you can see.

So, there you have it, a full day of vegetarian eats. Pretty clean eats too…Yay!

Happy (early) Farmers Market Week!

So, National Farmers Market Week is August 6-13. I went today…

I love the farmers market! I’m not going to say too much today. I’ll just share a few pictures from the market today. The one in my town is set up every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. Even though it was quite overcast this morning, it was still a nice day to go! Yippie!

Roots and Peppers
Roots & Peppers!
Veggie Basket
I am looking for giant tomatoes, thank you…
Perfect Tomato
Found them!
Eggplant
Eggplant & Zucchini – My dietary staples…
Honey Soap
I like the local non-food items as well…
Honey Sticks Sale
…and I love honey sticks! These are some yum flavors too!
Haul
My haul…Radishes, plums, giant tomato, purple basil and donut peaches…
Honey Sticks
I got a few of the honey sticks too…I don’t remember the flavors. I just know that one is root beer and one is pina colada!

I’m going to post the recipes I come up with, using today’s finds. I have one planned for tonight! Stay tuned…