egg, cheese and onion stuffed mushrooms

Using leftovers from your kitchen it’s a great opportunity to step out of the box and use some ingredients in a different way than usually. I had three large flat mushrooms and hard boiled eggs that I cooked for a salad that I didn’t make. I was also baking something else and had a bit room on the baking tray. That’s a great opportunity to take advantage of that and make stuffed mushrooms. Nowadays it would be a waste to heat up an oven only for three mushrooms, wouldn’t it?

Obviously if you have more mushrooms and more people to feed, feel free to multiply the amounts of ingredients and fill up the baking tray with these egg, cheese and onion stuffed mushrooms. If you have more patience than me, you can use small cup mushrooms and stuff them exactly in the same way. Small mushrooms will be great as an appetiser for a garden party or any party actually. They can be eaten hot or cold.

Big mushrooms in my opinion tastes better hot, straight from the oven. They will be a great meal on the hot Summer days when you’re not really hungry.

Stuffed mushrooms are also low in carb, so for all of you on a ketogenic diet they might be another good idea how to use eggs and mushrooms. Mushrooms were always considered as nutritionally useless as they contain mostly water. But studies showed that they are actually great source of vitamins B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacine, pantothenic acid), vitamin D (if they grow in the UV light), also phosphorus and potassium.

I used medium cheddar cheese for this recipe, but any stronger flavoured cheese will be great. Mozzarella or other delicate cheese might be to insipid here. Also if you like it more on the spicy side you can add some chilli flakes or cayenne pepper instead of black pepper.

Garnish with some freshly chopped spring onions and aromatic cherry tomatoes and delicious meal is ready in minutes!


egg, cheese and onion stuffed mushrooms


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large flat mushrooms (also called jumbo mushrooms)
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs
  • handful of grated hard cheese (cheddar, emmental, gouda)
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 small brown onion
  • spring onions for garnish
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

I always peel the skin from a mushroom cup instead of rinsing it under the water. So it’s not going to soak the water and become soggy. Remove the stems, chop them and keep for stuffing.

Finely chop hard boiled eggs, also chop one small brown onion. Combine them both adding a spoonful of mayo, pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Then add mushroom stems and grated cheese of your choice.

Fill up the mushrooms, sprinkle with additional cheese and bake in 180-200°C until cheese melts and becomes slightly golden. Remove from the oven, garnish with some spring onions and serve.

two ingredients keto pancakes

Another Summer comfort food recipe. Scotland is not the hottest place in the world and to be honest I don’t feel like there’s a place for typical Summer staples – all the meals and drinks that supposed to cool you down a bit and soothe the warmed by the sun body and mind. I would say that the theme here is: “if not the wind, it would be actually quite warm”. But maybe it’s just my perception of the Scottish weather and natives might feel a bit different about it. Anyway, I don’t feel I need to be cool down more than I already am. That’s why I will provide you today with a mix of hot pancakes with Summer fruits.

I had a pack of curd cheese in my fridge that was getting close to its end date, that I bought God knows why, so one afternoon I decided to try and make pancakes with them. I’ve seen pancakes made with eggs and cream cheese, so I was curious if it will work with curd cheese, that obviously has completely different texture and taste. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, it was kind of experiment.

The outcome wasn’t bad at all, it was a little tricky to fry them, as they are quite gentle and bigger ones wasn’t that easy to flip. But when I lowered the heat and let them fry a bit longer it wasn’t so bad. They have a bit peculiar taste and squeaky texture, but with some sort of “sweet” addition of fruits or keto friendly chocolate sauce they are perfect.

I had only strawberries and frozen cherries, but if I would have some honey or maple syrup I would definitely brake the keto rule and drizzle them with some golden sweetness.

To make these pancakes you will need only two ingredients: eggs and curd cheese. Optionally, you can add some sugar replacement to the mix (xylitol, monk fruit sweetener, stevia) but if you decide to put some fruits or sauce on top it’s not necessary. You can use bits of fruits or smash strawberries or raspberries with a fork (or blender) to make some sort of fruit sauce and generously drizzle all over.

Non-stick frying pan will be also very useful as pancakes are quite gentle and might be little tricky to flip if you don’t have enough patience. But it will be a great option for you if you’re on gluten free diet and you can’t eat traditional flour made pancakes. Also all of you who’s on ketogenic diet and crave for pancakes will make a good use out of this recipe.

I think it would also go great in savoury meals with meaty sauces for example. But for the Summer take advantage of fresh fruits that are low in carbs like: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.


two ingredients keto pancakes


INGREDIENTS for about 8 pancakes:

  • 450 g full fat curd cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • optionally: some sort of sweetener – xlylitol for example
  • some clarified butter or coconut oil for frying
  • additionaly: strawberries, cherries or any other fruits or for non keto options – honey, maple syrup, chocolate sauce

DIRECTIONS

Preparation is extremely simple: whisk the eggs until fluffy. I used blender. Add crumbled curd cheese and blend utlil you get quite thick, fluffy consistency. If you want you can also add a teaspoon or two of xylitol or other sweetener. Pancakes have quite neutral taste on its own.

Heat the non stick frying pan, add some clarified butter (won’t burn while frying) or coconut oil. Pour couple pancakes, trying to keep them quite small – they will be easier to flip. Fry on both sides on medium to small heat until golden. Flip gently. Remember pancakes don’t contain any flour so there’s not a lot of density. They might be more prone to break if you won’t be gentle enough or you try to flip them too early.

Decorate with bits of strawberries or other fruits or fruit sauce, drizzle with honey or maple syrup if you don’t mind some sugar. Anyway some kind of “sweet” addition would be needed, as pancakes itself have quite neutral taste, but they are very fulfilling comparing to regular flour made pancakes. They taste the best freshly made and hot.

Enjoy!

green peas, bacon and cheese fritatta

As I start my days quite early right now, I no longer have time for proper breakfast. So weekend is the time for me to have nice, decent and more time consuming breakfast. Today I would like you to have a look at this colourful, delicious fritatta. Usually this way of preparing eggs is not my favourite – I prefer fried or scrambled eggs with lots of fresh salad on a side, but this fritatta really surprised me. I only regret that I didn’t add more green peas (I love green peas by the way) because they added lots of freshness to this meal. Addition of feta cheese was also a good idea – it gives a mediterranean vibe and lots of lightness, a contrary to bacon and cheddar. In general great option for a hearty breakfast or lunch. Perfect as a low carb meal, even though green peas are not a ketogenic vegetable – you still keep your carbs low, obviously if you won’t have a slice of bread or toast with it. And it’s absolutely not needed here. If you place your fritatta on a bunch of fresh rocket leaves and garnish with fresh chopped herbs, you’ll get a delicious Summer dinner.

To make this fritatta it’s good to have a non stick pan, with quite thick bottom, so you won’t burn the eggs easily, covering the pan with lid will help to melt the cheese faster, without burning the bottom of the fritatta.

Choose delicious, juicy and sweet cherry tomatoes, preferably from your local supplier. If you choose tomatoes that had to travel thousands miles to finish on your plate, you can be sure that they didn’t managed to ripe on the bush, but during the long journey. So they didn’t managed to develop all the nutritional components as they should. In the ideal world we would have tomatoes that grow happily in the sun, not in the greenhouse. Hydroponic cultivation is gaining more and more popularity. In a small area, in a controlled atmosphere and irrigated with a mixture of chemicals, they grow huge bushes. That’s why in stores tomatoes are cheap even in winter. One bush, grown in this way, can bear up to 25 kilos of fruit. This kind of tomatoes don’t see any sun and most of them don’t even grow in the soil. Why don’t they smell and don’t taste like tomatoes? – that is why.

If we think that we eat healthy because we eat vegetables, we can often be very wrong. If the only source of our vegetables will be those from the supermarket packed in plastic, imported from distant countries, we can almost be sure that their nutritional values will be very poor. If you look for fruit and vegetables from a local grower, you can be more sure that what you get your body will have more value. Such vegetables will sometimes be more expensive than in the supermarket, less diverse, but isn’t it better to eat something that has some value and will nourish our body than something that will give us only a illusory sense of health and, as a result, malnutrition and disease?

There’s one more thing about small local growers – they usually grow their crops not for lust of earning as much money as possible. Lots of them are truly passionate about what they grow, they are often small family run buisnesses so they also eat what they grow. And if they are honest they will be happy to answer all your questions and tell you how their veggies and fruits are grown. Like Mhairi that I spoke with some time ago – you can read our conversation here.


green peas, bacon and cheese fritatta


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • couple slices smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 brown onion
  • slice of butter
  • 2 handfuls of green peas (I had frozen peas)
  • handful of grated mature cheddar cheese
  • handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • couple cherry tomatoes
  • natural rock salt and black coarse pepper to taste
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Chop onion and bacon. On a large pan melt slice of butter and add bacon. Fry until golden, add onion and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and black pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add green peas and lower the heat. Fry for another 2 minutes stirring from time to time. Whisk 3 eggs, pour all over the pan.

Sprinkle with grated cheddar and crumbled feta, add cherry tomatoes. Cover the pan with lid and fry on a very low heat until cheese will be melted. Garnish with dried or fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

Turkish style poached eggs

I’m always in a look for breakfast ideas. This one is little bit more fancy than ordinary fried egg, and requires some more effort and experience but is actually easier than you think. To make poached eggs you need some technique, but definitely it can be done by someone who has only basic cooking skills.

If you follow the steps, you might not make a perfectly round poached egg, but delicious egg with set egg white and runny yolk. If you’re not a fan of runny egg yolk (uhh for me it’s the best from the egg) simply cook it a little bit longer. All you need is not too big, quite shallow pot, some white vinegar and eggs. Also small cup or little dish will be very helpful. Simply boil the water adding a tablespoon or so of vinegar. Crack the egg to a small cup – this will help you to avoid contaminating the egg with a piece of shell or braking the egg yolk. Slightly lower the heat, make a whirl in the water using a spoon, and gently slip the egg to the middle of the whirl. Give it 2-3 minutes to cook et voilà ! Take it out with a slotted spoon to get rid of the excess water, and your poached egg is ready. You can put more than one egg at a time and skip making whirl, however your eggs wont get this more rounded shape. If you don’t mind just go ahead.

I’m sure that after several times you will become poached egg expert. They are actually quite fun to make, even though they seem to be complicated at first. You can easily use them as addition to your salad, with morning toasts instead of fried eggs or on top of fried veggies.

In this recipe poached eggs are served on warmed up Greek yoghurt with butter, olive oil and some spices. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t add some greens and tomatoes, but feel free to add whatever you like.

Turkish style poached eggs

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs
  • couple spoons of natural Greek yoghurt
  • about 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • pinch of garlic granules (or fresh garlic)
  • chilli flakes or cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix Greek yoghurt with garlic granules or fresh garlic finely chopped. If you don’t like garlicky after-taste, just skip this step. Place the bowl with yoghurt over a pot of boiling water and heat it up for a while. Only t to warm up the yoghurt.
During this time, melt the butter in the pan. When it starts to burn slightly, add smoked paprika and cayenne pepper or chilli flakes and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir and take the pan off the heat.
Heat up a small pan with water. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the boiling water and reduce the heat. Vinegar will set the egg whites faster ant it will help to keep nice shape. You won’t feel the taste of vinegar after cooking, so no need to worry about that. Crack the eggs into cup one at a time. Make a whirl in the water (this will make the egg whites wrap around themselves and make a nice shape) with a spoon and gently slip the egg into the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Take out with a slotted spoon and drain excess water. Do the same with the second egg. Put the warm yoghurt and poached eggs into a plate or bowl, pour the butter mixed with olive oil and spices. Sprinkle with some salt and garnish with some greens and cherry tomatoes and enjoy 🙂

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tuna stuffed baby peppers (ketofriendly)

I keep on looking for different ways to skip the bread and find other foods I can use instead for the things like this tuna spread. Obviously if you eat bread it will be a great idea to spread this tuna on top of freshly baked bun or a toast. But if you like me, and try to avoid eating bread to the minimum you can definitely try this recipe. Baby peppers are great swap for slice of bread. Simply stuff them with creamy tuna mixed with some onion, hard boiled egg, mayo and some spices and you have delicious crunchy “sandwiches” 😉

This stuffed peppers are also perfect healthy party snack, if you make a finger food party and you don’t mind a bit o fish. And who doesn’t like creamy tuna?

Addition of onion, mustard and chilli flakes makes it quite spicy and less insipid. And preparation is easy as ABC, there’s not much to say about it – you simply combine all ingredients and stuff the peppers. Couple minutes of work and you get colourful and crunchy breakfast or snack – much better than boring blob of tuna 😉

tuna stuffed baby peppers

INGREDIENTS:

  • colourful baby peppers
  • can of tuna in spring water
  • 1 small brown or red onion
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of your favourite mustard

DIRECTIONS

Drain tuna from the spring water, add finely chopped onion and hard boiled egg. Season with chilli flakes, teaspoon of your favourite mustard and add mayonnaise – just enough to make it creamy.

Wash your peppers, cut them in half and remove the seeds. Stuff each half with tuna filling, sprinkle with some more chilli flakes and serve.

spinach & cream cheese omelette (#ketofriendly)

I try to be more mindful about my eating choices, and I guess for me it starts with a breakfast. If I won’t have a decent, satisfying breakfast, I become so hungry by lunchtime, that I start eating whatever comes to my mind. It’s like you’re going to the shop when you’re hungry. You feel like you want to eat everything and you end up buying more stuff that you actually need.

I remember years ago I never had breakfast in the morning. I tended to eat something quickly at work around 10-11am, like sandwich or two, and by the time I got home after work, I was so hungry that it was making me dizzy. Now I know that if I won’t have a breakfast that keeps me going for couple hours without thinking about food, I will also make more reasonable choices about the rest of my meals. It might not work for you, some people can have their first meal later during the day. Maybe it’s because my body and mind is the most active in the morning, so I need lots of energy when I start my day.

I encourage you to observe your body and your thoughts about food, if you find hard to keep up with your meal routine, or you feel like you’re hungry all day round and you catch yourself thinking about food constantly. Maybe breakfast is not your thing, but you need a decent dinner or supper? Forcing yourself to fit a certain eating schedule which is not compatible with what your body needs can be really frustrating and make lots of harm. Observing yourself and paying attention to your thoughts about food and how your body acts and reacts after certain meals or foods, takes more time and care, but can bring you great results. If you obviously are willing to change your bad habits 😉

So last couple weeks I’m trying to have a good, hearty breakfast, so I won’t go crazy later on the day 🙂 And I have no idea why I didn’t came up with this breakfast idea. This creamy spinach omelette is amazing! As per usual the best ideas comes when you have an empty fridge with some leftovers only. I had a handful of fresh spinach, that that past its best look and half empty packet of cream cheese – that’s a pretty good start of a delicious breakfast. I wouldn’t be myself without adding garlic to it (that’s the only good thing about wearing a mask at work – you can have garlic for your breakfast;))

If I would make this omelette for my partner I would add tiny bit of goat’s milk camembert, but as I can’t stand the smell I skipped goat cheese and you can do as well. It’s delicious anyway.

Obviously this omelette will work great as breakfast, lunch or dinner if you need something heavier in the evening. It’s keto friendly and gluten free. I decided to add little bit of double cream to eggs to make the taste less eggy and more pancake-ish. Perfect if you’re on low carb, high fat diet.

spinach & cream cheese omelette

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium eggs
  • about 2-3 tsp double cream
  • pinch of salt
  • handful of spinach
  • 1-2 tbsp of cream cheese
  • tiny garlic clove or pinch of garlic granules
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp butter
  • optionally: goat’s milk camembert for extra cheese taste

DIRECTIONS:

Melt some butter on the pan and add spinach, sprinkle with tiny bit of salt and pepper and when it becomes soft remove it from the pan and place in a bowl. Add some garlic, cream cheese and give it a good stir so all ingredients combines.

Heat the pan again, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and 2-3 tsp of double cream. Pour the eggs on the pan, lower the heat and let it set slightly (cover the pan with a lid it will speed up the process). Then place creamy spinach on one half of the omelette, if you fancy enough put couple slices of goat’s milk camembert and fold the other half with spatula. Cover with lid again and give it another minute or so.

Garnish with some spring onions, add some salad on the side and enjoy.

leek, egg, sweetcorn & smoked mackerel salad

This salad always reminds me of Spring and Easter time. I like crunchiness and freshness of leeks, mixed with sweetness of sweetcorn, they give each other nice balance. Quite sharp onion-like taste of leeks also goes great with a bit dull taste of hard boiled eggs. All this gives very nice balance of flavours and variety of textures.

I decided to spice up my salad with some smoked mackerel which I really like, but if you’re not a fan or you don’t want the fishy odour afterwards just skip the fish and stay with basic ingredients.

Which part of leek we use?

For salads are best young and smaller leeks, I also chose organic option. You’ll need white base of the leaves and the light green parts, dark green parts are better for cooking. To make them slightly softer, it’s good to sprinkle them with a little bit of salt after slicing and leaving for about an hour. Salad is extremely easy to make, and will look great on your Easter table packed in a small serving size bowls, garnished with some greens and pieces of smoked mackerel if you decide to add it.

How to choose leeks for salad?

Always choose fresh, preferably organic leek, as they are rich in flavour and nutrition. Look for uniform, long, firm, white stalks with healthy root bulbs as it indicates fresh farm produce. And avoid stems with withered, yellow discolour tops. To keep them fresh, store leeks wrapped in a paper towel and place in the fridge. They should stay fresh for up to a week.

Leek contains many minerals, vitamins and unique flavonoid antioxidants. These compounds convert to allicin by the enzymatic reaction when the leek stalk is sliced or chopped. Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol formation, reduces blood vessel stiffness, blocks platelet clot formation and has clot-breaking properties. 100g fresh leek stalks also provide 64µg of folates. Additionally, leeks are one of the good sources of vitamin-A and other flavonoid phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein, which are beneficial for your eyes.

Leeks are very cheap and easy to grow veggies, but very underestimated, although in Scotland very popular. They add a lot of flavour to all the cooked meals like soups and stews, but they can also be a great base for salads.

If you haven’t try this kind of salad before, definitely give it a try this Spring. It is said that the Buddhist monks of the Mahayana school do not eat leeks because they are believed to “stimulate the senses”. So if you’d like to “stimulate your senses” you should definitely stock up on young leeks 🙂

leek, egg, sweetcorn & smoked mackerel salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 small organic leeks
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • couple spoons of tinned sweetcorn
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • good pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • piece of smoked mackerel

DIRECTIONS

Trim the ends of leeks (we need white base of the leaves and the light green parts), cut them in half (lengthwise) and wash thoroughly under running water. Slice them thinly, place in a container, sprinkle with a bit of salt and give it a stir. Put to fridge for about an hour to become softer.

Peel the eggs, and chop them. Drain sweetcorn from the brine. Add both to leek, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and combine with mayonnaise.

You can leave it in the fridge for another hour or eat immediately. Place some salad in a small serving bowl, place couple pieces of mackerel on top, add couple sweetcorn grains for some colour and something green (little basil leaves in my case) for garnish. Small bowls will look really pretty on Easter table.

Source of knowledge:

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/342617/nutrients

almond butter crepes #ketofriendly #gluten free

I like the idea of no flour crepes so much that each time I see a new way to make them I have to try. This is one of flour free keto crepe recipes I found on Instagram (@keto_loversi), made with only two ingredients: eggs and nut butter. Comparing to other keto two ingredients recipe (eggs and cream), these are more crispy and stiff, but they are still very fulfilling.

If you’re looking for some variety in ketogenic diet and like to experiment I highly encourage you to try this recipe. I feel like with this batter you could also make a great pancakes. This idea just pop into my head while writing this post, so one day I will need to try this.

Instead of basic peanut butter I used almond butter – leftover from making keto truffles – in compare to cream& egg crepes these ones have different texture and less egg-like taste. They are also much more crispy. I served mine with drizzle of more almond butter and little bit of dark chocolate with dried raspberry and apple. But you can stuff them with whatever you want. For low carb option choose from: cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, ad some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or dark, low carb chocolate. If you don’t mind carb intake you can stuff them with some mush banana or apple and cinnamon. Choose whatever is best for you.

If you have some trouble making crepes or you don’t have a lot experience, let me help you with couple tips and trick that will make you crepe making easier and more pleasurable.

Here’s couple tips for you, to make the process easier:

  • use a special crepe pan – it will make your job easier – it has a low edge, it’s thin and flat, so it’s easy to spread the batter evenly. If you have regular one remember to heat the pan until very hot and roll the pan from side to side just enough to cover the bottom evenly with a thin layer of crepe batter,
  • it’s best to use a non stick pan – also you can spray it with oil spray, a bit of clarified butter or coconut oil. I always grease the pan before first crepe, after first one there’s no need to do that,
  • heat the pan until very hot,
  • if you have a pan without a non stick layer, grease it slightly before each crepe,
  • flip the crepe when the edges starts to pull away from the pan, shake the pan to make sure that crepe doesn’t stick, if it does help yourself with a spatula, be gentle,
  • use a large spatula to flip crepes or flip it by tossing it in the air and catching it, it will be difficult at the beginning but in my opinion it’s easier than using a spatula,
  • be patient – making perfect crepes it’s an art. If you don’t have any experience it will take some time and a few failures before you get it right.

If you’d like to explore more flour free crepe recipe ideas, scroll to the bottom of this post.

almond butter crepes

INGREDIENTS:

  • eggs
  • smooth almond butter
  • optionally addition of your choice: cream cheese, mascarpone, low carb chocolate, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries

DIRECTIONS

You’ll need one medium to large sized egg for 1 tablespoon of almond butter. I used 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons of almond butter and I got 5 crepes. Depending of the thickness of each crepe. I made 4 quite thin and 1 slightly thicker (it was not enough batter left for 2 crepes, so I made 1 thicker one).

It’s the best to mix eggs and almond butter with a blender. You’ll get even and fluffy consistence without any lumps. If you have quite runny almond butter and you don’t have a blender a fork or whisk will also do the job, but it will take a little bit more time.

When your batter is ready, simply heat a crepe pan (or other non stick pan you have) and pour some batter, spread out the batter evenly holding the pan and making circular movements. Use a spoon to to spread the batter, it will be quite thick. When you see that the edges of the crepe starts to pull away from the pan, take the spatula and very gently flip it over. If it folds, no worries just gently unfold it and try again. It’s quite tricky as the crepes are delicate and a bit stiff, but if you have some experience with making regular crepes, you’ll manage with these as well. You can also give the pan a little shake to make sure that it doesn’t stick to it (if it does, shake a bit more or help yourself with a spatula), then make a circle with your hand, tossing crepe into the air. If you’re lucky enough, your crepe should land on the pan with the other side. It should work well with shallow, crepe pan. If you have a regular deeper one, the high edge of the pan might not let you flip crepes easily. This method requires a little bit of experience, so don’t give up if it doesn’t work. If your crepe folds, just unfold it and try one more time.

Choose the best method for you, after couple times you’ll feel more confident.

Place each crepe on a large plate, they will be quite stiff and crispy. If you’d like to make them a bit more soft and easy to fold when you finish with the last one, simply cover the plate with the frying pan and let it stay like that for couple minutes. The water vapor condenses and will make crepes softer.

You can fold them and drizzle with some more almond butter, sprinkle with some dark chocolate or stuff with cream cheese, mascarpone, add fruits and whipped cream.

Enjoy!

For more #ketofriendly and #glutenfree crepes ideas click here:

mushroom and cheddar keto crepes

I like the idea of keto crepes very much as, just like traditional crepes, they give a huge field of creativity. Thus, by treating them as a base, you can prepare many different ideas for ketogenic meals. This…

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keto spinach & feta crepes

Finally coming back to our food routine. Christmas food was fantastic, but reminded me why I like ketogenic diet 😉 Feeling heavy, bloated and having a heartburn after eating far too many cakes and feeling constantly wanting to…

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keto basics – my shopping list

When we started keto, we’ve been advised to exclude dairy from it, because of the character of symptoms that my partner has had. We wanted to make sure that his health problems are not a consequence of dairy allergy. After six months, we’ve started including different kind of cheese and cream to our diet (but no milk) and non of the symptoms came back.

If you want to start keto diet and you suspect, that you might have dairy intolerance, you can try to exclude it from the diet for 1-3 months to see if your symptoms disappear.

There’s a common information that eating a lot of dairy triggers mucus production. So you have probably heard that you should avoid consuming dairy products when you have a cold (or other chronic problems like COPD for example) because milk creates mucus. I’ve been looking for different researches about this subject, and most of them shows, that there’s no evidence that dairy has an impact on mucus production. But 2019 study shows that dairy-free diet may indeed reduce mucus. Researchers randomly assigned 108 people to either did or did not contain dairy for six days and found self-reported levels of congestion were lower in the dairy-free group.
Other research suggests the effect milk has on mucus production depends on the person’s genetic makeup and the type of dairy protein.
Because of that, my theory is to not to follow the others opinions, but investigate for ourselves how our own body reacts to dairy.

There are two types of allergies based on the type of protein:

1. Casein allergy is characterized by more severe symptoms and is persistent – cow’s milk allergy will last longer in such people. Additionally, people allergic to casein cannot tolerate milk and dairy products in any form – neither fresh nor cooked.
2. Allergy to the so-called whey proteins (approx. 20% of milk proteins), such as: alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin, lactoferrin, may expect a milder form of milk allergy. Such persons are also likely to be tolerant of heat-treated milk and dairy products (Cheddar cheese, yogurt, cream, butter).

What symptoms could indicate a dairy intolerance?

  • from digestive system – in childhood, frequent downpours, colic, diarrhea, and later blood in the stool, reflux or problems with weight gain, also as an adult: bloating, nausea, a feeling of fullness and tension in the abdomen, characteristic “overflow” and audible peristaltic movements of the intestines
  • from respiratory system – wheezing, chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma or rhinitis
  • from skin – rashes, hives or atopic dermatitis
  • from nervous system – hyperactivity, fainting, convulsions, headaches or sleep disturbances.

If you suspect you are allergic to milk and milk products, you can also do a blood test. They are based on the detection of specific IgE class antibodies in the patient’s blood, which, correlated with clinical symptoms, confirm milk allergy. The easiest way, however, is to completely exclude dairy from the diet and to carefully observe whether and what changes take place in our body.

Why I start keto shopping list post with this informations?

Because I think it might be very important. Ketogenic diet should improve your digestion, eliminate bloating, a feeling of fullness and tension in the abdomen, improve your skin and calm your nervous system. And since lot of these problems, might be associated with dairy allergy, it would be very disappointing if this symtoms would not stop on keto diet. This way you might decide that keto doesn’t work for you at all. So if you’re on keto already and feel like it doesn’t work as good as it should, consider excluding dairy from your meals.

My keto shopping list includes all the dairy products, because we don’t see any major problem with it. However I have reservations about couple products and I believe, that you should pay special attention to them as well. Greek yogurt (also coconut jogurt), kefir, buttermilk and all sorts of cream – be very careful with them, because lots of them are not natural. These days I think it’s very difficult to find for example naturally fermented kefir or buttermilk. Other products like yogurts (especially this “extra healthy” coconut ones) has added: starches, modified maize starch, thickeners, sweeteners, sugar, gelatin. So if you’re not fancy and don’t feel the urge to eat these products simply skip them. If you like them, always check the ingredients list.

I will try to answer couple of questions you might ask if you’re new to ketogenic diet, and the questions I’ve been asking when started keto.

If I decide to exclude dairy from my diet, do I need to exclude butter?

The answer is NO. You don’t need to stop eating butter if you want to go dairy free. What you need to do is clarify your butter or buy ghee (which is more expensive, and for me it’s easier and cheaper to buy a batch of butter clarify it myself). Clarified butter is made by slowly heating the butter and removing it from water and non-fat solids, e.g. proteins which form foam on the surface of the fat or deposits at the bottom of the pan. You can easily see the process on YouTube , by typing: “how to make clarified butter”. Liquid clarified butter is transparent and has a yellow colour. When set, it looks like butter, but has a much more intense yellow colour and is more crumbly and difficult to spread. By evaporating the water and removing impurities, clarified butter becomes a very good frying fat. Its smoke point, i.e. the temperature at which fat starts to burn and produces toxins, is about 100°C higher than that of butter and amounts to 252°C. Thanks to this property and the content of mainly saturated fatty acids, clarified butter is suitable even for long-term deep frying. Another advantage of clarified butter is its very long shelf life. Closed in a jar, it can be stored at room temperature for up to 9 months, and in a refrigerator for up to 15 months. Such a long shelf life is due to the destruction of most bacteria at elevated temperature and the evaporation of water, which in regular butter is a factor enabling the growth of microorganisms and spoilage of the product. Due to the fact that clarified butter is practically clear fat, and mostly saturated, which is not susceptible to oxidation, it remains fresh for a long time.

Why there’s no milk on your list?

When I was about 20 years old I’ve started noticing that my body doesn’t like cows milk. Each time after drinking milk I had a feeling of nausea and bloating. I didn’t feel such things after eating cheese though. So I just stopped eating milk, and haven’t had any for years. That’s why it’s not on my list. We both just got used to drink veggie milk.

Eggs are dairy or not?

Eggs are not dairy product. There is not a gram of milk in them. In fact, they are similar in composition to dairy products, because they contain a lot of protein, calcium, fats and cholesterol. However, they do not contain, for example, lactose – milk sugar. In addition, the main protein fraction in an egg is albumin and in milk it is casein. Additionally, an egg allergy is extremely rare in adults.

Why do I need beef bones?

We buy beef bones to make broth. Obviously it’s not mandatory on keto diet, but it’s very healthy. Such a soup is a mineral bomb. A glass of collagen every day will improve the quality of every part of your body. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy). It also helps with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. Collagen also maintains healthy skin.

How to make bone broth?

Take the biggest pot you have and put the beef marrow bones into it. They are very big, so you need quite a big pot. It would be good if the bones were cut so that the marrow could find its way into the decoction more easily. We cover the bones to the brim with water and it is good to add some vinegar or lemon juice (I use apple cider vinegar) to the bones so that the bones can be etched better, a spoon or two is enough. We do not add salt or other spices at this stage. This broth should be kept on low heat for at least 24 hours. I usually cook it during weekend. Start cooking Saturday morning, switch off the heat before I go to sleep and cook again on Sunday morning again until I go to sleep. After cooling down, remove the bones and the broth is best poured into some smaller containers and frozen. We use this stock as a base for soups.

Why there’s no water on my shopping list?

Simply because we’ve stopped buying water bottles. Following the nutritionist advice, we have stopped buying bottled water and other beverages packed in plastic. The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly used in the production of plastic. When liquid goes in reaction with the bottle, it absorbes BPA and starts acting like estrogen affecting the body’s hormones. That’s a wide subject, if you would like to read more about that, chceck this study made by WECF International “Plastics, Gender and the Environment. Life cycle of plastics and its impacts on women and men from production to (marine) litter” (you can find it online in pdf version).

There’s another study made by University of New York, 11 globally sourced brands of bottled water, purchased in 19 locations in nine different countries, were tested for microplastic contamination. Of the 259 total bottles processed, 93% showed some sign of microplastic contamination. They’ve also compared it with tap water and discovered that Even further, the bottled water contained on average nearly twice as much microplastic contamination as compared to tap water. While the impacts of microplastic contamination on human health are still unknown, these results strongly support a reduction in the bottling of water and in the consumption of bottled water, especially within locations in which clean, safe tap water exists.

Clean, safe tap water is key here. I don’t know if you know, but in many places around the world tap water is not only chlorinated (process of adding chlorine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill germs) but also fluoride is added to it. Fluoride is added under the guise of preventing tooth decay. However, concerns have arisen regarding fluoride’s effect on health, including problems with bones, teeth, and neurological development. I remember when I was a kid and we’ve had fluorisation at school, we’ve been told not to accidentaly swallow the fluoride because we would poison ourselves. If you think you’re no excessively exposed on fluoride think about: toothpaste, mouthwash, tap water, fluoride is also added to bottled water and some foods. Also some geographical areas have drinking water that is naturally high in fluoride, for example, southern Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and Africa.

What do we use instead then? We have bought water ozonator, and we use it to clean the tap water from bacteria, viruses, spores, parasites, and chemicals. You can also use ozonator to ozone vegetables, fruits, meat and even your house or car (but we haven’t tried yet). We use this water to drink, for teas and coffees and all the cooking. You may not believe me but drinking ozonated water make us feel ten times more hydrated than when drinking bottled water.

Do I need to drink tea/coffee/herbal tea?

Obviously not! They are on my list because we like them. But do not push yourself to to drink or eat any of the foods that you don’t like. Eating should be a pleasure experience. For example I don’t like lamb, but my partner loves it. On the other hand I like liver, he hates it. However if you’ve never tried some of this foods, and you feel like you might hate them, I recommend to try them first. You might be surprised.

Natural rock salt – what’s that?

Table salt you can buy in every shop, is heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping (anti-caking agent). This kind of salt is stripped off all the minerals, doesn’t have any nutritious value. Other salts like: sea salt, natural rock salt or himalayan salt are rich in different trace minerals. Different natural salts have different mineralities depending on their source, giving each one a unique flavour. If you like, you can add a small pinch of natural salt to your water, and this way make a natural isotonic drink.

Do I need to buy sweeteners/coconut&almond flour?

Also NO! The same with coconut flour and almond flour. We never sugar our coffee or tea, so we didn’t need to use any sweetener during keto. But if you’re addicted to sugar, and you won’t be able to drink coffee/tea without sweetener, use it. But slowly try to reduce the amount of sweetener. Longer you’ll be on keto easier it will be. I’ve included sweetener (and almond & coconut flour) to my list, because I’ve started baking keto. If you don’t plan to, you don’t have skills, time or simply you’re not fancy, just skip it. If you plan to use sweetener choose from the natural ones: xylitol, sevia, erythritol, monk fruit.

That’s my shopping list, you can also download it from the file below the image.

Products recommended during your body’s adaptation to the keto diet:

Without limits:

  • eggs
  • high in fat good quality meat for example: bacon, pork knuckle, ribs, pork shoulder, steaks, liver, lamb etc.
  • beef bones broth
  • avocado
  • fermented veggies like: sauerkraut, kimchi, sour pickled cucumbers and other fermented vegetables
  • veggies: spinach, kale, cabbage, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, asparagus, leek, mushrooms, all the green salads leaves (rocket, watercress, chard etc.)
  • healthy fats: clarified butter, virgin & raw coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, goose fat, duck fat, lard (the best homemade)
  • fish and seafood: herring, mackerel, wild salmon, sardines etc.
  • herbs and spices: turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram etc.

Relatively unlimited:

  • olives, brussel sprouts, green beans, green peas, cucumber, celery, kohlrabi, courgette, bell pepper, tomatoes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • dessicated coconut
  • coconut flour, almond flour, psyllium husk
  • soups based on meat and bone broth

Limited amount:

  • fruits: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, black currants, red currants, lime and lemon, plums, cherries
  • carrots, celeriac, parsley root, beetroot and other root veggies (preferably raw)
  • mayonnaise
  • cacao and 80%, 90% chocolate

Adaptation process might take couple of days or couple of weeks. It really depends of the person. When you feel like your body adapted to new eating habits, you can start including low carb desserts, cakes etc. Obviously the best is to make them at home, so you can control what’s inside. But it also depend of the person. Some people don’t really need any fancy desserts or snacks, not everyone even likes fruits. So there will be a lot of you, who will be happy with very simple diet.

If you have any questions about the products: what kind of products I buy, where I buy or other questions taht will come to your head, simply ask in the comment section below. I will be happy to answer.

The sources I used to write this post:

https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Milk-Allergy-2019

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milk-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375101

https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/ajrccm/141.2.352

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2005.10719503

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lary.27287

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323903#gut-health

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fchem.2018.00407/full

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/chlorine-disinfection.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154164#uses

one skillet veggie shakshuka

Shakshuka is a traditional Middle East dish made of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Also very popular in keto community, as another way of serving eggs.

There’s many variations about this dish, as it’s very versatile. Actually it’s a great “nothing wasted” meal, because you can add whatever is left in your fridge. Your base are eggs, tomatoes and peppers, and it might seem like something “meh”, but it’s actually delicious. It was on my keto recipes list for ages, before I finally tried to make it. Just because I thought, it’s not going to be tasty. And usually everyone is surprised how good is it. It’s also great idea for weekend breakfast or lunch. Another good thing it’s very easy and quick to make, an you only need one skillet to make it (or two, if you eat  many eggs as we do).

I hope I aroused your interest enough 🙂

For my today’s shakshuka I chose something different than passata or chopped tomatoes. I had some leftovers of something called lyutenitsa (or lutenica). It’s a kind of vegetable appetizer, or I would say a very thick sauce, made with tomatoes, roasted red peppers, aubergine, carrots and spices. And it’s the best tomato-ish sauce I’ve ever eat. If I’m not wrong it comes from Boulgaria, but also known in Serbia and Macedonia. There is also pinjur, kylopolou or ajvar. That’s very similar kind of sauces, based on tomatoes and roasted peppers and aubergine. But you can use tomato passata (I like bottled ones) or chopped tomatoes, will be also yummy. If you use ready made sauce it might me higher in carbs, so for those who just started with keto diet I recommend adding passata or chopped tomatoes.

I’ve made my shakshuka all veggie today, using yellow and orange peppers, onions and bunch of baby spinach. I poached 4 eggs into my skillet, and fried another 3 separately, as we eat quite a lot of eggs, and I wouldn’t manage to squeeze them all in. So that’s what you can see on the photos. Usually you poach the egg into shakshuka and simmer until it sets. But if you hate unset egg white (which can happen if you pouch a lot of eggs to your shakshuka), you can fry them separately and then move to the skillet. You can also cover the skillet with a lid, so it will set quicker, but that usually makes that egg yolks sets as well, which I don’t like. So figure out which way will be the best for you 🙂

And we cannot forget about spices, if you’ve never tried cumin seeds, I really recommend you to try. They are so aromatic, and give one of a kind flavour to this dish. Also garlic (I love garlic, but you can skip if you don’t like it) and you can finish your shakshuka with some chilli flakes, if you like it spicy, or some parsley (coriander will be great as well) if you like more mild option.

OK, lets go now to the recipe.

veggie shakshuka

 

one skillet veggie shakshuka

INGREDIENTS (for 2 quite large portions)

  • 7 eggs (adjust to your needs)
  • 2 bell peppers (I used yellow and orange, take whichever you like)
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach
  • leftovers of lyutenitsa / can of chopped tomatoes / 350ml organic passata
  • 3 tbsp clarified buter / olive oil / coconut oil
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • natural rock salt to taste
  • good pinch of coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • for finish: chilli flakes, fresh or dried coriander or parsley

DIRECTIONS

Chop the onions, slice bell peppers in stripes (you can also chop them, doesn’t really matter).

Melt butter on a large skillet and fry the onions first. When it starts to get golden add peppers and sprinkle with salt, so they will start to get tender. Fry together for about 5 minutes, then add all the spices. Stir to combine and add chopped tomatoes or passata (lyutenitsa in my case), add a bit more salt (if you use ready made sauce, there’s no need to add more salt because it’s usually salty), stir again and let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Next add spinach and stir until it gets soften.

And finally eggs. Using a spoon make a holes in your shakshuka and poach the egg to each hole. Sprinkle the eggs with some more salt. Simmer until the egg white will be set. You can cover the pan with lid to make it faster, but it’s very likely that egg yolks will set as well. If you don’t mind, put the lid on.

Finish with chilli flakes, parsley or coriander, and serve.

keto shakshuka

shakshuka