Labneh Dip (Keto, Primal)

IMG_4276This.  Is.  Like.  Crack.  Just trust me on this – it’s good enough to want to bury your face in it for the weekend and eat until you explode.  Typically, you’d eat this with tasted pita bread; however, I serve it with vegetables for parties, and when we aren’t entertaining anyone, I just eat it out of a bowl.  It’s the best “yogurt breakfast” you’ll ever try, and the nutritional components will keep you going all day.

Labneh is a little hard to explain.  It’s made from salted yogurt or kefir that’s been drained of its whey (liquid).  Not just a general straining, but a super strain.  It’s a form of yogurt cheese, but it a little more tangy than traditional yogurt cheese made from Greek yogurt.  It’s the consistency of a slightly softer form of cream cheese.  It’s high in protein and beneficial bacteria.  It’s low in lactose, so a lot of the time people who are intolerant are able to eat it.  I get mine at the Middle Eastern grocery store here – it’s a delicious brand that’s imported from Lebanon.  You probably won’t find it at a regular grocery store, so if you don’t have an Arabic grocery, it’s pretty easy to make yourself.  You can find a recipe to make it HERE.

The toppings listed for this dip REALLY are what make the dip.  Za’atar is a spice mix that you’ll find at the Arabic grocery.  You can also make your own, and you’ll find 10,000 different recipes for it.  Everyone makes it a little different – the major similarities are thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac.  Trust me, you’ll want to keep this on hand at all times.  It makes EVERYTHING taste better.  Simple recipe found HERE. Pistachios and kalamata olives can be found pretty much anywhere.  Pomegranate arils are a little harder to come by (I have a feeling that this would taste equally good with chopped strawberries, but I haven’t tried that yet).  You can scoop them out of a pomegranate if you want…I will always pay slightly more to get the container of arils.  I hate messing with pomegranates.

This is about to become your new “Christmas Crack” that everyone eats at all your gatherings.  I seriously have a friend that I make this for every time she comes over, and she will eat her body-weight in it before she’s been in the house for 10 minutes.

Labneh Dip (Keto, Primal)

Nutrition: (6 servings per recipe) Calories (403), Total Fat (32.1 g), Saturated Fat (12.6 g), Cholesterol (69.3 mg), Sodium (952.5 mg), Total Carbs (8.6 g), Fiber (0.3 g), Net Carbs (8.3 g), Sugars (6.8 g), Protein (16.7 g)

2 C labneh

1/8 tsp salt

2 T chopped mint

2 T chopped pistachios

1 T chopped kalamata olives

1/4 C za’atar

1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/2 C pomegranate arils

 

1. – In small bowl, mix mint, nuts, olives, za’atar, salt, and olive oil.  Mix to combine.

2.- Spread labneh on flat plate, about an inch high.  Spoon topping over the labneh and allow to drip over sides of cheese.  Sprinkle the top with pomegranate arils.  Serve with vegetables, toasted pita, and/or minty red tea.

Sahtein!

Pizza Chicken (Keto)

IMG_8467After a long break, I’m back with more recipes! Pizza continues to be a favorite taste; however, I have to spread out how often I have the fathead pizza crust.  It’s delicious, but ultimately I just want the real deal (sidebar: when I’m visiting Kansas City, I absolutely eat the real thing at PIZZA 51–trust me here – it’s worth the carbs).  Ultimately, it’s the flavors of pizza that I want, so I’ve come up with a bunch of ways to get that flavor in different dishes.  They can all be made with whatever toppings you want.  Next time I’ll make this with my favorite P51 toppings: sausage and cream cheese.  Seriously, don’t knock it until you try it – cream cheese is DELICIOUS on pizza!

Today’s vehicle of choice was boneless, skinless chicken thighs (not something I keep around the house, but they were waaaaaaaay cheap at the grocery today, so I picked some up).  I’ve made this with regular chicken thighs before, and it’s even tastier, especially if you manage to keep the sauce around the chicken, and not on the crispy skin part, but this was still really good.  I made enough to eat it for lunch every day this week, and I may even add extra toppings throughout the week.  Try it out and have fun with it!

Pizza Chicken (Keto)

Nutrition: Calories (344), Total Fat (20.6 g), Sat Fat (5.4 g), Cholesterol (28.1 mg), Sodium (509.6 mg), Total Carbs (6.3 g), Fiber (1 g), Net Carbs (5.3 g), Sugars (4.1 g), Protein (34.7 g)

2# chicken thighs

1 Tbsp bacon fat (or fat of choice)

1-2 C Vodka sauce (this is slightly higher carb, but delicious – if you use a different sauce, it’ll alter the nutrition)

2 C shredded mozzarella-provolone blend

1/3 C sliced pepperoni (or toppings of choice)

Pinch each of basil and oregano

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1.- Preheat oven to 350.  In oven-safe skillet, heat fat over slightly higher than medium heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.

2.- When skillet is hot, cook chicken 5-10 minutes on each side.  If using thighs with the skin on, flip the chicken so the skin is up at the end.

3.- Pour sauce over chicken (or around and in between if using skin).  Cover with shredded cheese and toppings.  Sprinkle with basil and oregano.  Put the whole skillet in the oven for 30 minutes (until chicken is cooked through).  Remove and serve with a little extra cheese on top.  Alternatively, you can also add a little cheese at the end and stick the skillet under the broiler for a few minutes.

Buon appetito!

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Salmon with Lemon Coconut Cream (Keto, Whole30, Paleo)

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You know how sometimes you have a bunch of random items in the pantry and you’re wondering what you can do with them for dinner?  That’s how this came about.  I am a big fan of cream sauces.  BIG.  But when I first made this, we were doing a Whole30, so cream was out.  Next best substitute?  Coconut milk!  And I’m not talking light, low-fat, or coconut milk from a carton.  I’m talking full-fat, thick, many times solid coconut milk in a can.

We love salmon at our house.  It’s one of the four or five types of fish that Isak will eat.  He’s 5, so he’s picky about what fishes are “acceptable” and what fishes aren’t.  Yes, the correct word in this instance is “fishes,” just in case you were wondering.  Fun fact: if you are talking about the plural of one type of fish, the plural is “fish.”  If you are talking about more than one type of fish (e.g. catfish, salmon, and swordfish), the plural is “fishes.”  There’s your random fact for the day.  I’m convinced that kids either like or dislike fish based on two factors: taste and texture.  If it tastes too “fishy,” most of them don’t like it.  If it doesn’t feel “meaty” in the mouth, most of them don’t like it.  Salmon is a win-win in this case.  It’s not overly fishy and it feels more like chicken than fish in the mouth.  Score!

As a general note: this sauce can be made with pretty much any protein, so it doesn’t have to be limited to salmon.  You really can make it with anything–you’ll just have to alter the length of cook on it.  Pretty soon you’ll see this recipe on my awesome trainer, Jean Carlos’s site in a video series called Foodie Fridays.  Last week’s video can be seen HERE!  If you want to see my testimonial that I did for TBT, look HERE! Seriously, if you’re near San Antonio, you need to come in and work out with us.  Jean Carlos is a ROCK STAR!

Salmon with Lemon Coconut Cream

1 pound salmon fillet

1/2 C canned, full-fat coconut milk

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

1/2 C diced shallots (or yellow onion)

3 cloves garlic, minced

juice of 1 lemon

zest of 2 lemons

salt and pepper

coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon and place in a greased baking dish.
  2. In a medium saute pan over a medium-low/medium heat, heat 1-2 tsp coconut oil.  When oil is hot, add in mushrooms, shallots/onions, and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms start browning and shallots are getting soft.
  3. Add in coconut cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Stir to integrate.  Brink to a slow boil and stir for a couple minutes, until everything is heated through and well-mixed.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour sauce mixture over salmon in baking dish and bake, uncovered, for around 15 minutes.  In the video, I cooked just under 1.3 pounds of salmon and that took 21 minutes, so keep checking it if you’re cooking a larger piece.
  5. Plate it and chow down.

 

Keeping Keto at Disney World

mk_crystalprerover_20170201_7938321358Last week we took Isak and met my parents at Disney World for the week.  We go every January near the end and celebrate Isak’s birthday early.  It is literally my favorite week of the year.  This year, I had lots of people ask me if we were breaking our food rules for the trip.  Nope, not at all!  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, I’m not going to lie.  Not because there were so many temptations, because at this point, temptations aren’t really a “thing” anymore.  Yay keto–cravings disappear.  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because literally, 95% of the food found at Disney contains grains or sugar, which we avoid.  There was one night at Epcot where we each had a quarter of a gluten-free roll.  It was really good as far as gluten-free goes…but most of that stuff feels like wet sawdust in my mouth, so the texture wasn’t appealing.

The thing about staying keto at Disney is that you have to implement some preparation and research.  I did not find any acceptable snacks on the menus of any of the restaurants beforehand when I was researching, so I knew that we were going to have to keep easily portable snacks.  Also, there isn’t much in the way of breakfast food (that isn’t ridiculously overpriced), so we knew we were going to keep a bunch of compliant stuff in the fridge at the resort.  Typically I don’t eat breakfast because of the intermittent fasting (though as of this week I’ve flipped my fast over, but that’s for a later post), but when we’re walking 10-15 miles a day in the parks, I eat more often.

For the fridge and pantry in the resort, we kept: pre-cooked bacon, black forest ham, cream cheese, french onion dip, string cheese, pork rinds, and pepperoni.  If you haven’t tried pork rinds with french onion dip, you’re missing out.  Try it now.  For portable park snacks, my only requirement was that they didn’t need to be kept chilled.  I didn’t want to carry a cooler pack in the park.  We carried macadamia nuts.  Lots and lots of macadamia nuts.  I also kept a few Atkins bars in the bag, and for Isak we had single bags of nut/dried fruit mix.

Now for the fun part…the meals!

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Neither of us could remember where the turkey legs were sold at Magic Kingdom, but after asking 900 cast members, we finally got the right location: the tavern in Adventureland, across from Pirates of the Caribbean.  This was our first stop as soon as we got to the park.  Usually we fly in and wait until the following day to go to the parks; however, we were able to snag an extra day, so JR and I went as soon as we got off the Magic Express and got Isak situated in the resort with Gammy and GrandDan.  We split one turkey leg between the two of us and dipped it in a few packets of mayo.  Everything tastes better at Disney, you know.

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Breakfast on official day one: steamed heavy cream with sugar-free vanilla syrup from Starbucks at Epcot.  This is Isak’s favorite drink.  He calls it “warm chocolate,” no matter what sugar-free flavor it is.  The vanilla though…it tastes like hot-off-the-stove vanilla custard filling.  It’s delicious.  That and a handful of cashews kept him going until lunch.

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This one was my favorite table-service meal of the trip (and yes, I left the handful of fried wonton skins on–they weren’t enough to kick me out of ketosis and Epcot is always where we walk the most).  This is the Beijing Roast Duck Salad from Nine Dragons in China, in the World Showcase at Epcot.  One alteration had to be made: the hoisin sauce dressing was out because, well, hoisin sauce.  Instead, they gave me a small pitcher of the potsticker sauce, which was to die for.  Seriously, my favorite meal of the week.

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In The Seas, at Epcot, there is a restaurant called Coral Reef.  Honestly, we go here for the experience because you’re basically eating inside a giant aquarium.  In my opinion, the food is decent, but it’s not the best food ever.  I got the grilled New York strip steak with double veg instead of veg and mashed potatoes.  We had them bring out extra butter because it wasn’t nearly fatty enough.  This is where the gluten-free rolls were.  Like I said, as far as gluten-free rolls go, those were pretty good, especially when slathered with butter.  If you’re looking for that option, definitely hit up Coral Reef.  JR got the heirloom tomato salad thing here.  I gave him half of my steak and we pretty much ate off of each other’s plates.

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You can’t really tell what this is from the picture, as is frequently the case when making keto alterations, but this is a bacon cheeseburger from Cosmic Ray’s in Magic Kingdom.  They have a topping bar there where we added the mushrooms, onions, and (not pictured) some garlic ranch dressing.  It was a pretty good burger.  JR and I split the burger and…

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…the Greek salad, from the same place.  It was a pretty rockin’ Greek salad, in case you were wondering.  The chicken looks huge, but really it’s just pounded out thin.  The feta wasn’t as good as the stuff we get from Ali Baba; however, it was a decent substitute (and let’s be honest, if you don’t have a refined palate for Middle Eastern food, you won’t notice the difference).  We also put the garlic ranch on this salad.  Yeah, I really liked it.

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This was an Italian sausage without the bun from whatever that sausage company is at Disney Springs (what used to be called Downtown Disney).  The sausage was our least favorite thing of the trip.  It was just “meh.”  Those pickles were awesome though.  Seriously awesome.

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This is actually one of the meals we had at the airport in Atlanta on the way back to San Antonio.  I forget what the place was called, but it’s similar to a Chipotle-type deal.  It was a steak burrito bowl.  Why do deconstructed foods always look like a pile of stomach contents?  Regardless, it was tasty.

I didn’t remember to take pictures of all the food we ate in the parks, so here are the other items we had that I can remember:

Chili Cheese Coney without the bun from that Casey’s hot dog place on Main Street in Magic Kingdom (a delicious addition to our curbside seating for the Festival of Fantasy parade!)

Caesar salad with salmon at the Prime Time Diner in Hollywood Studios.  This restaurant was so fun!  The staff is a hoot and the decor is hilarious.  The salad was great.

If you have any questions about going keto-friendly at Disney, feel free to ask me!  Before going, I spent an hour on the phone with one of their dietary people, who helped me navigate all of the menus in order to find compliant food that wasn’t all burger-without-a-bun situations.  But really, if you’re only going to try one thing from this list, get the salad from Nine Dragons.  You won’t be disappointed.