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Weekly Simple Meal Planner for 2021 [FREE DOWNLOAD]
I'm a content manager by trade. Essentially, that means I develop assets like articles, marketing materials, videos, and downloadable PDFs. I'm lucky enough to enjoy what I do. Often in my spare time I find myself making a lot of content and testing out new things. I know 2020 has been tough, and this is the time of year a lot of people commit to new goals—including meal prepping and planning out meals. So, I decided to share the simple meal planner I use to map out dinners for the week and make my grocery list. This is a basic meal planner PDF that you can download, no strings attached. I hope you find it helpful.
Cooking Tips: Do You Really Need to Measure All Your Ingredients?
There are two types of cooks in the kitchen—okay, there are many, but for this post, there are two: there are those that measure their ingredients, and those who eyeball it. Let me break food blogger protocol and answer the main question right up front, do you really need to measure your ingredients when cooking? For low carb and keto recipes, I’d argue, yes. If you want to get into ketosis or track your carbs in any meaningful way, then you need to measure your ingredients. But, and this is a BIG BUT, you will never be 100% accurate—more on that later—and that’s okay. Remember, bodies are smart, but they’re also dumb. So, it may be able to tell the difference between eating 150 carbs a day and eating 20 carbs, but an extra carb here or there won’t break your entire system. Now, if you read our introduction to kitchen measurements, you know my feelings on the volumetric versus weighing ingredients kitchen debate. If you didn’t, let me recap, I’m strong camp weigh them out. One of my biggest kitchen victories was getting Kaitee to not only start writing down what she puts in recipes she’s experimenting with, but to actually measure out the ingredients. That said, she does have a weirdly good ability to eyeball cheese measurements accurately. It’s like her everyday superpower. Anyway … now that you know that this post is very much pro measuring your low carb recipe ingredients, let’s go down the rabbit hole that is “Measuring Accuracy” versus “Practical Accuracy” when it comes to cooking. Measuring Accuracy When Cooking In the kitchen, measuring accuracy refers to how consistently and repeatedly you can measure some ingredient. In theory, As long as the proportions are the same, it doesn't matter if you use volume or mass measurements. However, this assumes that the densities of whatever you're measuring are constant. Sure, this assumption works very well with liquids, but not so much for solid ingredients. Take any fine dry ingredient—like almond or coconut flour—the mass of a volume measurement—like 1 cup—could vary by +/- 20% depending on if it’s compacted or sifted. So, let’s say you need 1 cup (112 g) of almond flour, which accounts for 20 carbs in your recipe. You pull out your measuring cup, pack it to the line, and call it a day. The issue is you may have unknowingly added 20-22 extra grams of almond flour—adding almost 4 additional carbs to whatever you’re cooking. This is straight-up not acceptable in terms of reproducibility. If you look at professional-level baking books, they often give mass measures instead of volumetric measurements. If volumetric measures are there, I'm 99% certain they're there to appeal to our lazy American cooking ways. Coconut oil is another great example. I live in a place where it's cold 9 months out of the year. What does this have to do with coconut oil? Well, coconut oil has a melting point of somewhere around 75 degrees F, so it's usually mostly solid when I decide to use it. Measuring out, say a 1/4 cup of solid oil is a bit of a challenge because it doesn't completely fill the cup, so it’s not as much oil as you intended to measure out. Ultimately, it’s easier to just cut out 55 grams worth of oil with some arbitrary—easier to clean utensil—instead. Practical Accuracy When Cooking What is practical accuracy? Practical accuracy when cooking is getting things close enough. It’s sort of like when you get a feel for a recipe you’ve made so many times where you just know how much to add to something by some intuition. I recognize the counter-intuitiveness of mentioning “feelings” when we’re talking about being objectively accurate but bear with me. I do lots of math and statistics at my day job. So (instrument) precision is something that I’m always thinking about, despite my other lazy tendencies. As nice as it'd be to be absolutely precise on everything, that's a theorist's game, and I’m not too keen on a world of perfect vacuums and spherical everything. It is possible to be precise to a fault—hence the whole concept of significant figures in your math/science courses—and it's a real easy way to stress yourself out, especially if math isn’t your strongest subject. By the way, nutritional info on labels varies by around +/- 10%, so your counts may be off a bit already—and that's okay! Your typical digital scale has a capacity of 5-ish lbs with a resolution of 1 gram. If you want sub-gram accuracy, you can use a small pocket scale but the trade-off is that it only has a few hundred-gram capacity. Unless you have real deep pockets, you're not going to find a high capacity, high precision all-in-one solution. Pop quiz! If you want to measure 2 grams of some liquid and you end up measuring out 3 grams. How much are you off by? Take 100 MULTIPLIED BY [ what you measured (3 grams) MINUS what you intended to measure (2 grams) ] DIVIDED BY what you intended to measure. 100 x [ 3 - 2 ] / 2 = 50% If you're off by 50%, that’s a lot. Now let's suppose you're measuring a cup of water (237 grams) but you measure out 240 grams because—like me—you like nice numbers like multiples of 5 (see aforementioned lazy tendencies). What's the percent error? 100 x [ 240 - 237 ] / 237 = 1.26%. Which isn't so terrible. The point illustrated here is that the scale—2 grams versus 237 grams—of what you’re measuring affects your error. The 1 gram resolution isn't that bad if you're measuring large quantities of food but definitely bad measuring small quantities. Measuring these quantities is why I have two scales, one for large amounts, one for small quantities. Really, this was all an elaborate ploy to have math in my posts. Here are the scales I use. Full disclosure, these are Amazon associate links. I use the My Weigh KD8000 for large amounts, because of its larger max weight and baking percentages, the Escali Primo P115C has a smaller max weight but is probably more practical. For small amounts I use the AC Pro Digital Pocket Weight Scale. I mostly use the large scale and I only really use the small scale for real small quantities of things that need to be precise, like: baking powders baking sodas yeast xanthan gum lecithin You can play the same math games with sizes of numbers when you’re considering carbs or calories. Since Kait is low carb, we do try to be as precise as we can because we’re allotted only a little per day (e.g., 1 gram is 5% of a 20 gram daily allotment). With calories, it helps to think in terms of how much the extra calories amount to compared to your daily goals, (e.g., an extra 5 grams of oil is a bit over 2% of a 2000 calorie daily allotment). This is not to say that you should ignore all those small variations in your measurements because if you’re consistently overshooting measurements, then you’re consistently overeating and those calories can add up. The goal here is to relax a little bit and not fret over every single small thing. You can for some things, but doing so for every is exhausting, and taxing on your mental health. At the end of the day, you have your numbers for your total calorie count + your macros. How do you get all of these little measurement and systematic nutritional info variations under control? You keep tracking it. Let’s focus on the calorie case. Realistically speaking—let’s say over a week—you’ll end up with an average number of calories per day. Because those days most likely varied, some days you’ll be up and some days you’ll be down from that average. Mathematically speaking, the number of measurements that you have dictates how much your averages and errors change (the denominator in those equations). After all, keto and low carb is supposed to be a lifestyle change where you’re supposed to continue doing it when you’ve attained your goals. Accumulating more and more data points shouldn’t be so tedious that you don’t want to do it. This is definitely an issue we’ve all ran into because sometimes keeping track of everything we eat can be overwhelming if you let it become a chore. Tracking is meant to help you, not add stress to your day.
Introduction to Kitchen Measurements
Note: I recognize this is a tedious subject. And for that, I apologize. "How many ounces are in ___?" Some of the earliest memories I have of when Kait started keto involve this question. “How many ounces are in ¼ cup?” “How many ounces are in 4 tablespoons?” “How many ounces are in a cup of whipping cream?” This question may seem harmless, but when you’ve had an entire year of engineering courses on units and measurements, you begin to question things like that. I could never give her an immediate straight answer. Why? Because, honestly, the answer is that it depends. This frustrated her, and since I’m sure she isn’t alone, I wanted to write this guide to kitchen measurements. Let's look at: What is an ounce? What are volumetric measurements? What is a gram? Grams versus Cups Quick Reference Conversion Chart What is an ounce? Here is the crux of the issue. An ounce can refer to both fluid and mass measurements. Since the US insists on being difficult, the fluid ounce we generally refer to is not the same as the mass—or "avoirdupois" in fancy words people never use—ounce. For more information, here's a Wikipedia article on fluid ounces. Sounds confusing, right? You'd think 1/4 cup—which is 4 fluid ounces (fl. oz.)—of flour and whipping cream would be the same amount—both are 1/4 cup, but you'd be wrong. If using fluid ounces to measure something like flour makes you feel weird. You’re not alone, that’s a huge reason I’m writing this post. ¼ cup of flour is roughly 1 mass ounce. ¼ cup of whipping cream is roughly 2.1 mass ounces. These differences in density can add up if you're not careful and can be a major pain, especially when you're trying to get into ketosis. The US has this nasty habit of using super-inconvenient units, especially in cooking. I'm looking at you, volumetric measurements. What are volumetric measurements? If you're in the US, then you are aware of the tedious fractions of teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, and pints that make up most recipes. Those of you with leaders who don't fear the metric system are familiar with liters and the powers of 10 associated with such. And if you're Australian ... well, you just don't know what a tablespoon is. On the one hand—visually speaking—it's good to know how much you're making of something and how it fills out a given container. On the other hand, various ingredients mixed together will dissolve, absorb, and expand. So, if you were keeping track of total volume, you'd be hard-pressed to get an accurate tally of that, even when you're assuming a basic shape like a cube. Theoretically, you can use anything in your kitchen, given you know the volume of the tool, but ain't nobody got time for that. One of the more clever ways people have taken advantage of this is the concept of recipes is in terms of "parts." Basically, you take any arbitrary volume container and mix up things based on the numbers of that container. For example: take a shot glass, you can mix a vinaigrette to something like 8 shots of lemon juice, 3 shots oil. It's a great concept that we'll delve into more later. What is a gram? A gram is a unit of mass defined as the mass of water that occupies one cubed centimeter at atmospheric, room temperature conditions. At least it was until 2018 when they redefined the kilogram. You can read more about that here, but that's not important for our purposes. The gram is simply a convenient unit of measure that we can use easily in the kitchen. Here in the U.S., we want to be unique using imperial units but everyone else in the world uses grams. Grams Versus Cups Many people think that volumetric measures are a faster way of measuring. However, when you start cooking, you'll quickly find that volumetric measurements don't actually save time if you’re not prepared. In my opinion, the grams versus cups debate comes down to three things: convenience clean-up scalability I can't tell you how many times we didn't have the right measuring cups or spoons on hand. Sometimes we're lazy about cleaning, or they get lost, or we don't have enough of them. Kait and I are especially guilty about the cleaning one as we only have a manual dishwasher (aka me). So, when you're cooking—and your kitchen isn't in perfect order—you end up wasting a lot of time locating, then measuring ingredients in the right tools and washing and repeating. So any promise of time efficiency afforded by volumetric measures quickly evaporates. The digital scale wasn't patented until 1980, and analog scales were generally expensive and or inconvenient 40 years ago, but that's not the case anymore. Nowadays, you can find digital scales on Amazon for under $15. Kait and I use scales because we find they are much easier to prep with. I don't have to find the correct cup/spoon to measure, and if I plan accordingly, I can just toss things into bowls/pans on a scale and get to the actual cooking faster. With the added bonus of less stuff to wash. Plus, scaling recipes is much easier in mass units—like grams. When using measuring cups, scaling up is easy if you double or triple a recipe. Scaling down is a little trickier because some measuring sets don’t include all the necessary divisions of cups and spoons. For example: if you are scaling a recipe and you need ⅙ cup—which is half of a ⅓ cup—but your set didn’t come with a ⅙ cup—which no set ever does—you end up being forced to eyeball half of a ⅓ cup. This nightmare scenario could be avoided by using grams instead of measuring cups/spoons. Long story short, I hate measuring cups and spoons because it usually ends up becoming a question of how to measure things versus simply measuring things. Quick Reference Conversion Chart Chances are you only opened this guide for some sort of quick reference conversion chart. So, here are some common keto ingredients measured in grams! Remember, liquid and solids differ in density, which is why one cup of butter weighs less than one cup of heavy whipping cream. Feel free to copy the spreadsheet above and add it to your drive for future reference. I hope you enjoyed this engineer's rant about kitchen measurements. Though remember, ultimately, whatever method works for you is the right method. Never let anyone alienate you or gatekeep cooking. Personally, I think measuring cups are garbage, but that's just me. #kitchentips #cookingtips *Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Low Carb Banana Bread Recipe
One of the first Keto Show videos I ever made was low carb banana bread. No, seriously, it's the third video I posted to our channel and it's ... cringey. People still enjoy the recipe, it's a good gateway dessert recipe for people new to low carb, but goodness gracious the video is bad. So, when Performance Nut Butter asked us to try their new cacao product, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit that recipe and video. Also, with the coronavirus currently in full swing, we're not making many trips to the grocery store, but we just so happen to have some bananas we need to get rid of ... we can only feed our rabbits so much banana. You may remember we recently used their Macadamia, Coconut and Cashew Nut Butter in our dark chocolate nut cluster low carb dessert recipe. Since this is a recipe and a review, it's going to be one of our longer posts. So, let's get to the good stuff first. Our updated low carb banana bread recipe using Cacao Performance Nut Butter. How to Make Low Carb Banana Bread with Cacao Performance Nut Butter For those looking for a low carb banana bread, this recipe could not be easier. Each slice is roughly 6.8 net carbs per serving, and there are only 7 ingredients, and four steps. For all the keto people, the ratio break down is: 65.9% fat, 22.6% (total) carbs, 10.9% protein. Tools We Used: Stand Mixer 9" x 5" loaf pan Ingredients 2 Bananas, 15 g - Butter, Salted, Softened 1 Packet of PNB (28 g) 1 Egg (50 g) 5 g - Vanilla Extract 170 g - Bob's Red Mill, Almond Meal, Flour 10 g - Baking Powder *Note: Don't have nut butter? No worries, just remove that ingredient and up the butter to 40 grams. Some of the sweetness comes from the nut butter though, so you may want to find an additional sweetness source. *Optional: I don't much care for artificial sweeteners or for things that are too sweet in general, but if you like sweet things you can add up to 30 g - Splenda. This part of the original recipe, but we enjoy the bread without it. Instructions Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine everything except baking powder, scrape sides to make sure everything gets mixed well. If you're using a stand mixer, you can go longer to try and incorporate more air into the batter for more volume. Mix in baking powder slowly, pour into a parchment-lined pan Bake for 30 minutes at 350° or to internal temperature ~210F. Serve warm and enjoy. Nutrition This recipe makes 10 slices of banana bread. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Per slice: 7 Years Later, Low Carb Banana Bread Then Vs Now Thoughts from Josh: Seven years ago, I realized I enjoyed cooking. But like Jon Snow, I knew nothing (it's been a year, already, let S8 go). After endless experimenting in the kitchen, I present to you ... the almost exact same recipe seven years later. Is that a cop-out? Not quite. Back then, I had an approximate idea of how things worked in the kitchen, now my knowledge has improved! ... slightly. Here are some of the changes made from last time: I really don't like volumetric measurements (stay tuned for that blog post series) so I took the time to math out the mass measurements. Making it recently and following the old recipe to the letter, we got a bread that was a little greasy. We dialed down the fat on it a little bit but also made it a point to add the butter in a softened state instead of melted. Adding butter in a softened state gives the batter a chance to incorporate air during mixing. The nut butter is just protein and fat so we subbed out 2/3 of the butter for the packet of PNB. The time in the oven was waaay longer than it needed to be for the given volume of bread so this was reduced to somewhere around 30 minutes. Most baked goods with eggs in them are usually done when the internal temperature is close to 210F. Experiment/Suggestion Section: Make it less greasy If you want a little insurance about mitigating grease, consider adding 5 grams of coconut flour and letting the mixture hang out for about 10 minutes. We haven't tried it because I generally hate using coconut flour and have very few uses for it. Coconut flour tends to suck up all the moisture, which ironically, would seem perfect for what we were going for with this recipe update. Make it bigger If you're looking for more volume to it, then do not attempt to sub out the baking powder. Also, don't use baking soda unless you have some sort of acid running around in the mixture (typical options are whole yogurt or buttermilk). One other option that could be done is to separate the egg, whip the egg white to a stiff peak and fold it into the batter (trying to preserve bubbles in the batter). We haven't actually tried these but these are some ideas that you could play with. If you do, let us know how it shakes out! Is Performance Nut Butter (PNB) any good? Everyone will have different preferences, but if I'm honest, I do actually enjoy the cacao Performance Nut Butter (PNB). It's made from natural ingredients and contains no sugar or sweeteners, which is great if you're like me and more of a savory person. It also doesn't leave that fake sugar aftertaste in your mouth that many low carb or keto products end up doing. That said, if you don't like the taste of coconuts, macadamias, or cashews, then this will not be for you. You definitely get those flavors, but they're not overpowering. So, if you're indifferent to those tastes, or you like those flavors, then I'd say you should absolutely give it a try. If you are interested in trying it but are on the fence, now would be the time. PNB is running a sale on their new cacao flavor and offering 30% off between May 19 and May 26, 2020. Josh's review of the new cacao PNB We tried the cacao PNB and it's quite creamy and less viscous than your standard nut butter. PNB is great for keto because sugar—or any of its various substitutes—is nowhere to be seen on the ingredients list. It's straight natural products. The cacao flavor has hints of cocoa to it, but it largely tasted of macadamia nuts and coconut. That's not a mark against the nut butter though, because those are literally the first two ingredients listed on the packet. I actually enjoyed this one because whenever I eat peanut or almond butter, my default reaction is dire thirst. But not with this one. PNB doesn't make me drink a glass of water with each serving. It's rich in flavor and very satisfying by itself. But alas, variety is the spice of life so try as we might, we can't have it in only packet form. Which is fine, since its such an easy ingredient to work into other recipes, like the keto friendly banana bread recipe. We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto! #recipe #dessert *Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Also, PNB provided us with a free sample of their new flavor in exchange for our honest review. All thoughts and feelings are our own and not influenced by PNB or their affiliates in any way.
The Low Carb Chicken "Noodle" Soup You Need This Winter, Binakol
A good low carb chicken noodle soup is hard to find. Which makes this keto adapted Filipino chicken soup so amazing. For starters, this low carb soup is only 4.2 net carbs per serving! Add this low carb chicken soup to your rotation and you will not be disappointed. What is Binakol? Binakol is a chicken “noodle” soup that is made with coconut meat and coconut water. With a Few minor modifications to the original recipe, you can make it a delicious low carb soup that will warm you up on a cold day. Binakol originates from the Aklan province in the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Traditionally, it uses papaya or chayote, but to lower the carb count, we removed those ingredients. If you like spicy soups, you can add chilis to this recipe, but I just increased the amount of ginger for an extra kick. The great thing about this soup is that you don't have to use chicken. You could make binakol using really any meat or fish you like. You could also use coconut milk instead of coconut water, but then you're getting into ginataang manok territory. How to make low carb binakol (low carb chicken noodle soup) We first came across this recipe in the cookbook I am a Filipino: and This is How We Cook. We had to make a few adjustments to make the recipe low carb, but we think it stayed true to the original. Watch the video below or keep reading for instructions on how to make low carb binakol (aka low carb chicken noodle soup). This keto soup is fantastic for meal prepping. Store it in the fridge for a week or freeze it to reheat later. Ingredients 54.5g - Vegetable oil (1/4 cup) 80g - Lemongrass stalks (3) thinly sliced* 35g - Fresh ginger (roughly 2 thumb-size pieces, grated or cut into thin slices, dealers choice) 110g - Onion, diced (1 medium) 28g - Garlic cloves, diced (5-7) 1,815g - Chicken thighs (3-4 lbs)* 1,419g - Chicken stock (6 cups) (Check out how to make homemade broth) 490g - Unsweetened coconut water (2 cups) 120g - Fresh young coconut meat (1 1/2 cups) (120g) 225g - Spinach (1 bag) Fish sauce (patis) to taste (if you can’t find fish sauce ... you can use salt but it’s not a 1:1 substitute.) Pepper to taste *Note: The gramage provided refers to after the lemongrass is sliced. Precut, it will probably be closer to 120g. Also, there are two ways to "thinly slice" lemongrass—length wise and across. Josh prefers across, he says it makes the lemongrass easier to eat. I can go either way. You could use a whole chicken instead of chicken thighs. Josh and I prefer chicken thighs to other parts of chicken, and by using chicken thighs with the skin-on you add some extra delicious fat. Directions I am a fan of the one pot method, less dishes that way. So, in a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and onion, saté, stirring occasionally for roughly 3 minutes or until they’re translucent. Be careful not to burn them or let them brown. Next add the garlic and cook until the garlic has softened. Alternatively, you can brown the garlic for some added texture to the soup. Add the chicken, the stock, and the coconut water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until you can pull the chicken apart with a fork. Add the coconut meat and the spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with fish sauce (patis) and pepper and serve or freeze for a quick keto meal at a later date. Nutrition This recipe makes 15 servings (300 grams) and is only 4.2 net carbs per serving. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto! Also, just wanted to say thanks to my friend Becky for turning me onto grating ginger instead of dicing or cutting it into chunks! I've always cut ginger into chunks to easily remove it after cooking, or sliced it thinly and had a nice surprise while eating. Grating it was life changing. Made it easier to eat in my low carb recipes without it being too overwhelming. Thanks Becky! #dinner #soup #mealprep
Low Carb Cheesecake Bites: A Keto Dessert
One of the first recipes we made when we started the Keto Show six years ago was low carb cheesecake bites. When I first started making the transition into a low carb and keto lifestyle, I found giving up dessert much hard than I do now. I actually share a birthday with National Cheesecake Day (and Arnold Schwarzenegger). So, I wanted to find a low carb cheesecake recipe that I could enjoy on my birthday. I came across a recipe on mmmketo, a since discontinued keto blog. Now, six years and almost 70 lbs later, I decided to revisit the recipe. Below you'll find the original recipe video and my slightly updated version I use today. Low carb cheesecake is easy to make and only involves seven ingredients. If you follow the usual keto macros of 70% fat, 5% carbs, and 15% protein, then here's the breakdown of a single serving of this recipe: 81.4% fat 8.8% total carbs 8.8% protein The macros above are for the plain cheesecake bites. There are toppings you can add, but toppings will also add calories and carbs to your day. I'll include a topping in the recipe, but be aware that you'll need to add it to whatever you use to track your food as it will increase your carb count. So, let's get to the recipe. How to Make Low Carb Cheesecake Bites You can watch the original recipe video below or scroll down to see the ingredients and directions to make the low carb dessert. There are two ways to make this recipe. You can use a small baking dish, or you can use a muffin pan. Personally, I like to use a muffin pan. It makes portioning a little easier. Also, I find these taste better after a day or two in the fridge. Although you can eat these keto desserts immediately. Ingredients Plain Cheesecake Bites 35 g butter 30 g almond flour 10 g Splenda (or sweetener of your choice) 5 g fresh lemon juice 5 g vanilla extract 50 g (1) large egg 225 g cream cheese (softened) Apple Topping 114 g apple (peeled and cubed) 5 g Splenda water (as needed) Instructions Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the crust melt the butter and mix it with the almond flour. Use cupcake tins to make individual bites or use a small baking dish to make one big cheesecake. If you're using cupcake tins, fill the tins evenly and smash the dough down to create an even layer of crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. While the crust is baking, make the filling by thoroughly mixing the softened cream cheese, Splenda (or sweetener of your choice, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and egg. We use a stand mixer, but you could do it by hand. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Once the filling is mixed, evenly distribute it in the cupcake tins. **Optional** If you are adding topping, now is when you would make the topping, otherwise skip to step 10. Over medium heat, combine the apple and Splenda with 1/4 cup of water. Stir occasionally until the apples form a sauce, adding water as necessary. Divide the fruit topping evenly amongst your cheesecake. You can put it on top or use a toothpick to stir it into the filling. Bake for 15 minutes at 300. Raise the temperature to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy, or place in the fridge to enjoy over the next week. Personally, I think they're better next day, but that's just me. Nutrition This recipe makes 6 low carb cheesecake bites. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Per serving: Calories: 196.2 Fat: 20g Net Carbs: 4.9g Carbs: 5.4g Fiber: 0.5g Protein: 4.8g We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto! #recipe #dessert
Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Clusters: A Keto Dessert
We've all been there. We tell ourselves we can live off of meat, veg, and healthy fats and will never crave a dessert again. Who needs all that sugar anyway? Then one night after a delicious keto dinner, you're sitting on the couch snuggled in to watch your favorite show and it hits you. You start craving something sweet, but you don't want to ruin all your progress or hard work. You just want a small low carb dessert. Is that so much to ask for? No. It is not. Just give these keto dark chocolate nut butter clusters a try. These low carb dark chocolate nut butter clusters make the perfect keto dessert. They are just over 1 net carb per cluster. The best part is you can make a batch and store them in your freezer for the next time a craving hits. How to make this simple keto dessert This recipe is easy to adjust to your liking. For instance, we used Performance Nut Butter in this recipe. We felt it added a delicious flavor while keeping the sweetness low. Although, you could use almond butter, peanut butter, or any nut butter if you wanted. Also, I really like dark chocolate. The darkest you can get. It's 100% dark or I'm not interested. I realize that's not everyone's cup of tea. So, you can also use less dark chocolates, or add some of your sugar substitute of choice. Whatever adjustments you make, just be sure to track it in whatever you use to track your nutrition. Tools We Used: Silicone Ice Cube Trays with Plastic Lids Ingredients 2 packets (60g) Performance Nut Butter (PNB) 28g unsweet coconut flakes 28g sliced almonds 30g walnuts halves 60g dark chocolate Instructions First crush the walnut halves, but not too fine. You want there to be some texture. Melt the chocolate. Mix the nuts and coconut flakes into the melted chocolate. Shake the PNB packets, then tear open and pour into the mixture, continuing to stir together. Distribute the mixture evenly into your silicone ice cube tray and place in the freezer to harden. Once hardened, enjoy! These can be kept in the freezer or fridge, and make a great pop of sweetness when the craving hits. Nutrition This recipe makes 11 low carb nut clusters. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Per cluster: Calories: 120.9 Fat: 10.8g Net Carbs: 1.1g Carbs: 4g Fiber: 2.9g Protein: 2.5g We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto! #recipe #dessert
Low Carb Grocery List for Beginners
Deciding to go keto or live a low carb lifestyle can be a little overwhelming at first. There are so many variations and schools of thought out there. If you frequent our posts then you know Josh and I take a very simplistic approach to keto. Basically, if it fits into my macros then great. When I first started keto, I was one of those people who got a little ... intense ... about it, and I was miserable. I felt restricted and if I "made a mistake" I would beat myself up over it for days. Then I found a balance. I went back to the basics and accepted that keto and low carb is a lifestyle, and everyone has different needs. What I am saying is, this is just a sample low carb grocery list for people who want to try living low carb, but it is not the end all be all of grocery lists. You can adapt this low carb grocery list and make it your own, just like keto. As a reminder, the most common keto macro ratio is 70% fats, 5% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. Learn these numbers, and consider using a calorie tracker that will also track macros. I use Cronometer but MyFitnessPal is also popular. Before You Go To The Grocery Store Now, before you grab your reusable bags and hit the outer isles of your chosen hunting grounds (grocery store), take inventory of your kitchen and pantry. Gather all the items that are full of sugar and carbs and get rid of them. You don't have to throw them out. If they are unopened, consider donating them to a local food pantry. If you live in the U.S. you can search for food pantries in your area here. You can also have a "Grocery Party." Basically, you let your friends know you're changing your eating habits and invite them over for a party where they can take whatever they want from the items you're getting rid of. If you want you can make it almost a grocery swap where everyone can bring items they want to get rid of that they think others may like. Okay, now your pantry and kitchen are clean and ready to be filled with delicious keto and low carb friendly foods. Let's go to the grocery store. Low Carb Grocery List We're going to split this list up into 5 categories: meats dairy vegetables fruits other For the list below we'll be using nutritional information from the USDA website. Bolded foods are easily bought in bulk, can be part of many recipes, and are great for low carb on a budget. Low Carb Meats Basically all meat. However, meats like liver can be sneaky and have hidden carbs, so be sure to check. Same with any type of sausage, bratwurst, or bacon. A lot of processed meats have added ingredients which can increase the carb content. So get real familiar with labels and always double check. Beef ground beef (the higher the fat content the better, stay away from the lean stuff) steak ribs Pork pork belly bacon salt pork (fantastic alternative to bacon, usually no sugar is added) Chicken chicken thighs chicken wings chicken breast whole chicken Fish Don't be afraid to buy frozen. Fresh fish is wonderful, but frozen fish can be a lifesaver. [something about sustainability] salmon tuna shrimp white fish (like: cod, haddock, catfish, sea bass, flounder, tilapia, trout, etc.) crab squid Other Don't overlook things like lamb, duck, or oxtail (usually found near beef). Low Carb Dairy Butter NOT margarine. Gotta be the real stuff. Margarine has added ingredients that adds carbs. Cheese There are many options for what kind of cheese to buy. Some will have trace carb counts and some will not. Cheese is a great way to get fats in, so go forth and experiment with what kind of cheese you like. Heavy whipping cream There are some carbs in heavy whipping cream, but the fat content really counters it. This item is great for baking and adding to coffee. Milk and Yogurt You will find low carb milk and yogurt substitutes in the grocery story, or brands that claim to be low carb and keto. This comes back to personal preference. Personally, I have found that the milk and yogurt aren't worth it, and generally any recipe that calls for them can easily be substituted. To not upset the Dairy Pride Act—yes, this is real legislation the U.S. Congress is considering—look under other for almond and coconut milk. Low Carb Vegetables From here on you're going to want to start looking at things like fiber content to find the net carb count—total carbs minus fiber. Also, consider foods with a lower glycemic index (GI). In layman's terms, GI refers to how slowly or how quickly a food causes your blood sugar to rise. Below are vegetables that are under 10 net carbs per 100 grams. Pro-tip: check out the frozen food sections for bagged veggies. These veggies are often already cut and prepped and can be stored longer in your freezer, and are also cost effective. alfalfa sprouts (0.2 net carbs) endive (0.3 net carbs) watercress (0.8 net carbs) collard greens (1net carbs) celery (1.2 net carbs) bok choy (1.2 net carbs) spinach (1.4 net carbs) mustard greens (1.5 net carbs) lettuce (1.6 net carbs) asparagus (1.7 net carbs) radish (1.8 net carbs) Chives (1.9 net carbs) arugula (2 net carbs) chard (2.1 net carbs) zucchini (US) (2.1 net carbs) mushrooms (actually a fungus, not a plant) (2.3 net carbs) kohlrabi (german turnip) (2.4 net carbs) daikon (2.5 net carbs) tomato (biologically a fruit, but taxed as a vegetable) (2.6 net carbs) rhubarb (2.7 net carbs) eggplant (2.8 net carbs) broccoflower (a hybrid) (2.8 net carbs) kale (2.8 net carbs) cauliflower (3 net carbs) parsley (3 net carbs) cucumber (biologically fruits, but taxed as vegetables) (3.1 net carbs) bean sprouts (3.4 net carbs) mung beans (3.4 net carbs) cabbage (3.5 net carbs) green beans (3.6 net carbs) okra (3.8 net carbs) bell pepper (3.9 net carbs) fennel (3.9 net carbs) jicama (4.1 net carbs) Jalapeño (4.2 net carbs) turnip (4.2 net carbs) broccoli (4.4 net carbs) scallion (4.7 net carbs) hubbard squash (4.8 net carbs) artichoke (5.1 net carbs) brussels sprouts (5.2 net carbs) Habanero (5.3 net carbs) spaghetti squash (5.4 net carbs) beet (US) (6.7 net carbs) carrot (6.7 net carbs) rutabaga (6.7 net carbs) bitter melon (7.2 net carbs) onions (7.3 net carbs) celeriac (7.4 net carbs) chili pepper (7.5 net carbs) acorn squash (8.9 net carbs) peas (9 net carbs) butternut squash (9.6 net carbs) The next three items have a higher net carb count, but I wanted to include because when you cook with them a little goes a long way. ginger (30.9 net carbs per 100 grams) garlic (16 net carbs per 100 grams) leeks (12.3 net carbs per 100 grams) Low Carb Fruits There are some keto'ers and low carb people who firmly believe once you're keto you can never eat fruits again. I am not one of those people. If you can fit something into your macros then you do you. Here are some of the lower carb fruits. Again, we're looking at foods that come in under 10 net carbs for a serving of 100 grams, raw. winter melons (0.1 net carbs) avocado (2 net carbs) starfruit (4.2 net carbs) olives (4.4 net carbs) strawberries (6 net carbs) coconut meat (6.2 net carbs) lemons (6.2 net carbs) watermelon (7.6 net carbs) limes (8.2 net carbs) peaches (8.5 net carbs) apricots (9 net carbs) guava (9 net carbs) papaya (9.1 net carbs) grapefruit (9.4 net carbs) oranges (9.6 net carbs) plums (9.6 net carbs) There are a few honorable mentions that, like the vegetables above, have a higher net carb count but when you cook with them a little goes a long way. dates (68.2 net carbs per 100 grams) - often dates are used as a low carb sugar substitute in baking. bananas (20.4 net carbs per 100 grams) - another fruit that often used in low carb baking. Other coconut milk (unsweetened) almond milk (unsweetened) coconut whipping cream pork rinds dark chocolate almond flour coconut flour flaxseed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.) coconut oil olive oil peanut oil (for frying) spices (but keep in mind, in large quantities spices do add carbs, so be sure to track your spices) low carb tortillas (use sparingly) coffee tea This is not the end all be all of grocery lists, but it's a good place to start. Trips to the grocery store on keto become an adventure of reading labels and discovering foods you may not have noticed before. As you continue on your low carb journey you'll find foods you like and foods you don't, and before you know it, you'll know which foods are low carb and best for your kitchen. Have fun shopping! We hope you enjoyed this list, and please tag us on Instagram @KaitandKeto during your next grocery store visit.
Easy Low Carb Waffles
There are many low carb waffle recipes out there. I encourage you to try a bunch and discover which keto waffles taste the best to you. I have found some to have too much of an egg-y taste, or some to fall apart as you try and eat them. In my opinion, the Carbquik low carb waffles taste the most like what I remember waffles tasting like. However, these waffles are heavier than using traditional waffle mix. Of course, being heavy isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I tend to fill up on one or two of these waffles. For those of you who have never used Carbquik, it's a low carb flour substitute that is high in fiber and boasts having 90% fewer carbs than the "leading brands" of baking mixes. For every 32 grams (about 1/3 cup) of Carbquik you're looking at 2 net carbs. I talked about Carbquik in my Easiest Low Carb Pizza Crust recipe. I thought it was too good to be true, but I was able to stay in ketosis after using it. Granted, I would not recommend using it as part of every meal. But if you're craving something like keto waffles or low carb waffles, this recipe is definitely something you'll want to try. How to Make Low Carb Waffles with Carbquik Tools We Used: waffle iron: this is the one we have, but any waffle iron will do. a wooden or silicone spoon/spatula/single chopstick (Optional) hand mixer or immersion blender Ingredients 1 1/4 cup (120g) Carbquik 1 Extra Large Egg (56g) 1/4 cup (60g) Heavy Whipping Cream 1 tsp (4g) Vanilla Extract 1/8 cup (28g) Vegetable Oil Cooking spray Instructions Spray with cooking spray and preheat the waffle iron on a medium setting. In a small bowl beat the egg with a hand mixer until it goes from bight yellow to a much lighter/mellow yellow. (NOTE: you're incorporating air into eggs and will add the rest of ingredients to preserve air in the batter. If you're in a hurry, combine liquid ingredients and egg with an immersion blender. If you don't have any motorized mixing tools, you can beat the egg by hand with a whisk.) Slowly stir in in the cream and water. Slowly mix in the Carbquik then stir in the vanilla. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook until iron stops steaming. For us, it's roughly a cup in the center and cooking time is about 5 minutes. (NOTE: Amount to fill your waffle iron depends on make and model. Batter expands when you close the lid and when it cooks so don't fully cover the cooking surface.) Using a wood or silicone tool, carefully remove the waffle from the iron and place in the oven to keep warm as you make the next batch. (NOTE: Most waffle irons come with a nonstick coating. Using a wood or silicone tool doesn't scratch nonstick as easily as metal tools do.) Top with butter—and a low carb syrup if that's your thing—and enjoy. Want to get a little crazy? Drizzle some Performance Nut Butter on top to add just a hint of sweetness to your low carb waffles. Nutrition The above keto waffle recipe makes roughly 4 waffles using this waffle iron. Serving size will vary based on the waffle iron you use. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Per waffle: Calories: 218 g Fat: 19.1 g Net Carbs: 2.4 g Carbs: 15.5 g Fiber: 13.1 g Protein: 7.8 g We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto! #recipe #breakfast
Review: Are Shiitake Mushrooms Low Carb?
During a recent trip to Costco, I came across Snak Yard Shiitake Mushrooms. I love mushrooms and in big letters on the front of the bag were two of my food buzzwords: crispy and crunchy. Could these be the keto snack to fulfill my low carb dreams? Anyone who knows me will tell you that sweets were never a problem for me. I can usually take them or leave them. Salty, savory, crunchy things ... now those—often carb-filled—foods continue to tempt me. Shiitake Mushroom Nutritional Content According to the nutritional information, for a serving—30 grams—there was 8g of fat and only 1 net carb. Honestly, I don't know how much I trust this though since the carbohydrate section of the mushroom nutritional information doesn't seem to add up. I'm not sure how a product can have 8g of carbs, 7g of fiber, but also have 4g of sugar (which includes 3g of added sugar). If anyone can explain this to me, please do. My best guess is that without those 3g of added sugar, there would be 8g of total carbs—7g fiber and 1g sugar. So, they decided they didn't need to update that total carb number. Josh describes this as "a really fucky way of doing that math." I have to agree. So, in reality, Snak Yard's Shiitake Mushrooms are 4 net carbs per serving. If you're monitoring a ratio of macros for keto or low carb a serving of these mushrooms would be: 60% fat, 13% net carbs, and 10% protein. So, not the worst in the grand scheme of things, but if you're going for the usual keto ratios of 70, 5, 15, then I'd say these are only worth it if you really like mushrooms. I could definitely see the argument of someone focusing on low carb saying these are a low carb snack. How Do Shiitake Mushrooms Taste? Okay, the bag kept its promise. These mushrooms make for a strangely addictive crispy and crunchy snack. It has a great crunch and a decent mouthfeel. If you ever had Chicken in a Bisket crackers, then these taste pretty similar. If you haven't, I would describe the taste as a salty nothingness with a slightly earthy aftertaste. Someone better with words would probably say there is a savory or meaty taste similar to umami because, you know, mushrooms (something, something high in glutamates). Which isn't bad. As I said, strangely addictive. Most likely from the satisfying crunch from eating them. In fact, I would argue the crunch is more satisfying than a crunch of pork rinds. I think due to the density of the mushroom. What Are Shiitake Mushrooms Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide and are mostly grown in Japan. These mushrooms contain many of the same amino acids as meat, which make them popular amongst people trying to eat less or no meat. There are also some studies that suggest some of the bioactive compounds in shiitake may protect against cancer and inflammation. In addition, many people believe these mushrooms can help boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, and aide in heart health. I don't know about all that, but I do know I find mushrooms tasty. So, are these mushrooms the end all be all to my continuous hunt for a great low carb snack? No ... but they definitely made it into my rotation. For a deeper look at my low carb journey, follow me on Instagram at @KaitandKeto.
The Easiest Low Carb Pizza Crust
Fathead dough is an awesome pizza crust. I would never argue against that. However, sometimes I just don't have the time or mental bandwidth to make it when I get home from work. That's when I reach for the Carbquik and make this super easy low carb pizza crust. What is Carbquik you ask? It's a low carb flour substitute that is high in fiber and boasts having 90% fewer carbs than the "leading brands" of baking mixes. For every 32 grams of Carbquik you're looking at 2 net carbs. It's definitely a product that seemed too good to be true the first time I tried it, yet somehow, I stayed in ketosis after using it. So it quickly found its way into my pantry as a staple. I would not recommend using it as part of every meal, but if you're feeling lazy and craving some low carb pizza, waffles, or even cookies—yup, you can make desserts with it—then it's great to have on hand. How to Make Low Carb Pizza Crust With Carbquik This keto pizza crust doesn't make you chop anything or melt any cheeses together. The low carb crust is only three ingredients and all together this recipe takes me about 30 minutes. For this pizza, I'm going to top it with buffalo chicken. A quick and easy keto dinner for any night of the week. Okay, now that all the SEO words are in there, let's get to why you're here ... for the low carb recipe. Tools We Used: Mixing Bowl Pizza Pan (or any pan really, you do you) Pizza Cutter (or a knife ... or your bare hands) Breville Convection Oven: We rent an apartment in Boston, and it has a gas stove which can can turn our whole apartment into an oven in the summer. Plus Josh is real picky ... er ... particular about baking in a convection oven. So, this isn't necessary, but if you're looking for a great compact convection oven and toaster, then I recommend this one. Ingredients: Pizza Crust 1.5 cups (144 g) Carbquik 1/3 cup (78 g) Water 1/4 cup (54 g) Olive Oil Pizza Toppings 6 oz (170 g) Chicken, grilled or boiled—either works—then cut into chunks or shredded 1/4 cup (52 g) Franks Buffalo Sauce 1/2 cup (56 g) Mozzarella Cheese, shredded any spices you see fit—we like to add a little garlic powder and oregano Instructions: Pre-heat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, mix together the Carbquik and water, then add the olive oil. Knead the mixture until it has the consistency of dough and isn't sticky. Grease the pizza pan and spread the dough into a circle, then bake for 10 minutes at 375. While the dough is baking, get all your ingredients together. For this pizza, I mix the chicken, cheese, and buffalo sauce together. TIP: Be sure not to over-top your pizza. The heavier your pizza the less likely you'll be able to eat it with your hands. Then again, if you don't mind eating your pizza with a fork, then go crazy with your toppings and live your truest life. Once the crust is done baking. Take it out of the oven, add your toppings to the top and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust has browned. Take out of the oven, slice, and enjoy! Nutrition: The above keto pizza recipe makes roughly 8 slices of low carb pizza. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Per slice just the crust: Calories: 110.3 g Fat: 10.1 g Net Carbs: 1.1 g Carbs: 9 g Fiber: 7.9 g Protein: 3.4 g Per pizza slice with above toppings: Calories: 169.6 g Fat: 13.2 g Net Carbs: 1.4 g Carbs: 9.3 g Fiber: 7.9 g Protein: 10.8 g We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto!
Low Carb Fish and Chips
When I moved to the northeast I started to see fish and chips on the menu practically everywhere. Most Americans think of breaded cod, haddock, or tilapia with a side of french fries—or steak fries—when they picture fish and chips. Josh is a sucker for fish and chips and will order it almost any time he sees it on a menu. Since he's along for the ride and a supporter of my low carb journey, we wanted to try and figure out a way to make it ourselves so we can have fish and chips whenever we want. So we put together an easy low carb fish and chips recipe that anyone following keto and trying to cut back on their carbs can enjoy. How To Make Low Carb Fish and Chips For the fish, we used frozen tilapia and for the chips, we strayed away from tradition and ditched the fries for zucchini chips. We don't have a deep fryer so we used our wok for frying. Tools We Used: Blendtec Blender (Ours is almost 10 years old, here is the modern equivalent), here is a more reasonably priced blender. Wok (Ours is a hand-me-down, brand/age unknown), here is a wok that Josh recommends because the flat bottom works great for most stove tops and the secondary handle is out of the way for whenever you need to flip food in the wok. Vegetable Slicer With Attachments Food/Meat Thermometer Ingredients: 4 Farm Raised Tilapia Fillets (452.0 g) 3 Brown Eggs (150.0 g) 5 oz Goya, Pork Rinds, Chicharrones (141.7 g) 2 large zucchini, raw (646.0 g) Vegetable oil for frying Instructions Set the tilapia out to defrost. Slice the zucchini into thin chips. You can do this by hand, but we use a slicer because we're lazy. Once they are sliced, lay them out on a paper towel and salt to draw out excess water. Crush the pork rinds and set aside. We use our blender to crush the pork rinds—again, we're lazy—but you can use any method you see fit. Just make sure the pork rinds are very fine, otherwise they will not stick to the fish. Start pre-heating your oil for frying. We fill the wok halfway and heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 ish Celsius). Beat the eggs and place in a bowl. We like to line up a little assembly line. Tilapia, eggs, crushed pork rinds. Take the tilapia, dip in the egg wash, cover in pork rinds, and fry until it has an internal temperature of 120 ish degrees Fahrenheit. This is a fast process that may only take a few minutes. Once all the fish is fried, set in the oven to keep warm while you fry the chips. For the chips, you don't need to bread them at all. Just pat the excess water off the zucchini slices and pop them—carefully—into the oil to fry till browned and crispy. Salt the chips and serve with fish. Nutrition The above recipe makes roughly 2 servings (708g per serving) of 2 fillets each and half the zucchini chips. **NOTE** I got these numbers after putting all the ingredients we used into my calorie tracker. I use Cronometer. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Calories: 875.3 Fat: 53.2 Net Carbs: 6.8 Carbs: 10 Fiber: 3.2 Protein: 89.9 We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto! #dinner