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.

More Amazing Pizza! (Keto and Primal)

Fran's Pizza

I didn’t think it could get better than the last pizza crust I posted, but it can, and it did.  One of my friends made some changes to an existing recipe, and of course I asked for the recipe while having lunch at her house.  Then I made a few more changes (because I can’t be trusted to make any recipe–including my own–the way it’s written) and now we have this!  This is the most bread-like grain-free crust I’ve ever tasted.  I would go out on a limb and say that once you press this out, you could use a biscuit cutter to make rounds of this and use it for sandwiches.  It’s that good.

It has 21 grams of fat per piece, and almost 7 grams of fiber per piece, to boot.  Delicious and nutritious!  Make some tonight!

Pizza (Keto and Primal)

9 “square” servings

Nutrition:  283 calories, 20.9 g fat, 10.5 g saturated fat, 11.6 g carbs (6.6 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 5 g net carbs), 17.8 g protein

2 C shredded mozzarella

3 T cream cheese

1 egg

1/4 C almond flour

1/2 C coconut flour

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

2 Tbsp psyllium husks

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1.- Heat oven to 425.  In lg microwave-safe bowl, heat mozzarella and cream cheese for 60 seconds.  Stir and heat another 20-30 seconds.

2.- Stir in egg, almond flour, coconut flour, flax seeds, psyllium husk, chia seeds, and seasonings.  Mix well.  The easiest way to do this is to put on gloves and use your hands to knead it like bread dough.

3.- Oil your hands and press this out on a silpat-lined baking sheet.  Poke some small holes with a fork to prevent bubbling.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove and pop any bubbles that may have formed.  Top with some tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings (the nutrition for this pizza is based on cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms).  Bake another 8-10 minutes.

Artichoke Dip Chicken (Keto and Primal)

Keto Artichoke Chicken

One of my favorite things in the world is artichoke dip…but a specific artichoke dip from a local place here called Cerroni’s Purple Garlic.  I don’t know what it is about it (though I think they may have recently changed their recipe), but it has this great flavor, texture, and the way they serve it is great!  First, it is generally still bubbling when they bring it out.  Like…for 10 minutes after it gets to your table.  They serve it with a basket of toasted bread.  It’s all I want to eat when we go there.  If I could, I would make it my entire meal.  Alas, I found out they use flour in it, so I can’t even get it and eat it without the bread (yes, it’s good enough to just eat with a spoon).  At one point a few weeks ago, I started trying to replicate it, and though I’ve gotten close, I’m not a dead ringer yet.  That being said, artichoke dip with fried chicken is DELIGHTFUL.

There are two ways that I cook this, and I’ll let you decide which way you make it: chicken on top, or chicken on bottom.  If you cook the chicken on top, the skin retains that great crisp that you work hard to get in the pan, prior to baking.  BUT…if you pile the artichoke dip on top of the chicken, it really keeps the chicken moist and the flavor soaks in.  It’s good both ways, so try it both ways and see how you like it.  This is also one of those meals that usually holds me over for 15-20 hours before I eat again, depending on what I ate prior to this.

Artichoke Dip Chicken

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

1/2 C sour cream

1/2 C mayonnaise (homemade is the best)

8 oz soft cream cheese

1 C grated Parmesan

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1.- Heat iron skillet to medium.  Salt and pepper the skin of the chicken.  Put chicken in the pan and fry it for 10-15 minutes per side (until they are almost cooked through and the skin is crisp).

2.- In medium bowl, use mixer to mix sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, garlic, and Parmesan until smooth.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Fold in the artichoke hearts.

3.- Heat oven to 350.  If cooking chicken on bottom, place chicken in the bottom of am 8×8 glass baking dish.  Cover with artichoke dip.  If cooking chicken on top, spread the artichoke dip on bottom of 8×8 glass baking dish and place the chicken on top.  I grated a little Parmesan over the chicken skin at this point.

4.- Put dish in oven, uncovered, and bake for 30-40 minutes (until dip is starting to bubble).  Take out and enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving):  Calories: 596; Carbs: 12 g; Fiber: 3 g; Net Carbs: 9 g; Fat: 48 g; Protein: 32 g; Sugar: 4 g

 

Spinach Artichoke Soup (Primal)

Spinach Artichoke Soup

 

We were at Applebee’s the other night and all I could think about was spinach artichoke dip (full disclosure: we had some…I had forgotten that as far as spinach artichoke dip goes, theirs is pretty much the bottom of the barrel, even under the TGI Fridays dip in the frozen section of your local grocery store).  On our way home, I decided that I was going to make a soup version of the dip.  I know, I know, I make a lot of soup.  But really…I don’t want to just make a primal version of the dip and eat it with a spoon, and dipping vegetables in it is boring.  You would have to cut HUGE sections of vegetable to scoop up the amount of dip that needs to be scooped up with each bite.

So soup it is.  And I shall eat it with a spoon.

It’s not a dead ringer for the dip, but it’s pretty close.  I mean, anything that you turn into a soup takes on a slightly different flavor…but this gets the job done, so try it!

 

Spinach Artichoke Soup (Primal)

Serves 4-6

1.5-2 pounds chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks

1 Tbsp Kerrygold butter

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced

3 C water

6 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks

1/2 C heavy cream or coconut milk

2-3 C chicken broth

5 oz chopped spinach

1 C Parmesan cheese, grated

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire

 

1.- Grill, fry, or cook chicken in any manner you would like.  Set aside, let cool, and cut into whatever size chunks you want in your soup.

2.- In a large stock pot, melt Kerrygold over medium-low heat.  When hot, add onions and saute until soft (7-8 minutes).  Add garlic and celery and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Add potatoes and water.  Bring to a simmer.  Turn heat down and simmer 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

3.- Pull soup off heat and blend until creamy either in regular blender, food processor, or with a stick blender.  Add cream cheese, cream, and chicken broth and put pot back on medium-low heat.  Cook until cream cheese is well-integrated (about 15 minutes), stirring regularly.

4.- Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and Worcestershire.  Stir and taste to adjust seasoning.  Add spinach, Parmesan, and chicken to the soup.  Stir and cook until spinach is soft.

Garnish ideas:

Crumbled bacon (duh)

Green Onions

Sliced sun-dried tomatoes

Parmesan cheese

Sour cream