Vegetarian Broccoli Salad + tips on going meatless

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Vegetarian Broccoli Salad

It’s been over 3 months since our family has participated in Meatless Monday. We started giving up meat 1x a week so that we can focus on more important things than food like making room for spiritual time, getting chores done, writing a cookbook (yay!) and practicing to live with as little as possible not because we can’t have an abundance but because we actually don’t need as much as we think we do. I realize too that giving up something like meat makes us more thankful for what we have. It also helps us appreciate the people who raise and slaughter our animals, something we don’t have to do because meats are packed nicely in the supermarkets so that we forget that we’re eating something that came from a farm. In so many ways, we’ve lost touch with the concept of sacrificing. We hope to understand and appreciate what’s been done for us by giving something luxurious up even just for a day.

I have some advice if you are thinking about going short-term vegetarian:

  • Do not be afraid of aromatics like garlic, onions, shallots, and leek. Use them in your marinade, dressings, and garnishing for a punch of flavor.
  • Have fresh and dried herbs on hand. I prefer dried herbs for dipping sauces and dressings since they hold up better. I love fresh for garnishing, braising, roasting and grilling.
  • Stock your pantry with an array of spices that you love. My new obsession is smoked paprika which I use on baba ghanoush, hummus, and grilled meats for a sweet and smoky punch. Fun recipe to try it below.
  • Venture out and try new produce to add variety in your vegetarian diet.
  • If you crave a meat dish on your meatless days, find a vegetarian substitute.

Here’s a delicious recipe you can try. Completely meat free and satisfying. I love the tanginess of the apple cider vinegar and the creaminess of the mayo.

Recipe yields 2 entree servings or 4 sides

  • 4 heaping cups of fresh broccoli florets
  • salt for water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of stevia
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes and drain. Allow to cool completely.

In a bowl mix together vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, garlic, stevia. Add in onions and chopped walnuts. Pour dressing over broccoli and mix to coat evenly. Chill before serving.

 

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Simple Yellow Curry

Hi all! Yellow curry is one of my favorite go-tos when I want something warm and savory. I always have Madras yellow curry on hand in my pantry just in case the craving strikes. Traditionally, the Vietnamese version is made with sweet potato, a whole chicken cut into pieces, onions, and lots of lemon grass. My version will be much simpler, carb-friendly, and I bet most of these items you already have in your pantry if you cook Asian food even occasionally. Let’s start!

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Delicious Yellow Curry Noodles w/ Shirataki 

Recipe yields 4 servings

  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • 1/4 cup of Madras yellow curry powder
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil (coconut oil works too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 small chicken thighs sliced 1/3 inch thick

Optional low-carb additions to the stew:

  • sliced mushrooms
  • eggplant cubes
  • baby spinach
  • baby corn
  • bell pepper strips
  • broccoli florets
  1. In a medium pot on medium high heat, add oil and fry the onions.
  2. Once fragrant, add in garlic, ginger, curry powder, and chicken thighs. Stir well and add in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 20 minutes before serving.
  3. You can serve this soup as is or over heated shirataki (0 carb) noodles. Enjoy!

sushi

Something amazing was discovered this past week: Cauliflower rice works as a substitute for rice. Oh my goodness! I am in low-carb heaven! I have been craving for sushi and this was perfect. I realize that because of the lack of starch in the rice itself, cauliflower would work only in maki rolls but not nigiri. If you’re interested in learning how to make this, follow the steps below:

Recipe yields 4 servings

Cauliflower Rice and Nori:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets, stems and leaves removed
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 sheets of roasted nori (seaweed)

Filling options:

  • 1 avocado, skin removed, pitted and sliced into 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese cut into strips
  • cooked shrimp, or your choice of fish, or even better, sashimi
  • 1 english cucumber, skin removed and sliced in thin strips

Serve with:

  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • fresh wasabi
  • spicy Sriracha mayo
  1. In a food processor, chop cauliflower florets until texture resembles rice kernels.
  2. Saute rice on a large pan until heated through. Add in rice vinegar and salt and cool completely.
  3. Using a sushi bamboo mat, center the nori sheet. Add 1/2 cup of cauliflower rice and spread evenly, leaving 1 inch at top and bottom of sheet. Place filling in the center of rice and gradually roll from bottom to the top, applying pressure to seal the nori. Slice into 3/4 inch pieces and serve.

A weight-loss journey with Keto

On January 10th, Dan and I buckled down and decided we would encourage each other to jump back on the ketogenic diet which consists of a moderate amount of protein, mostly fat, and restricted carbohydrates. If you hung around us enough last year, we shared with you our journey when we first started in 2015. Together we lost a total of 25 pounds in 2 months! It was unbelievable since it seemed almost effortless. We hardly dined out and instead cooked our low-carb, high-fat meals at home and discovered that the foods were so enjoyable and filling, we didn’t miss eating sugar and carbs as much. Of course, I missed eating donuts with coffee and ice cream but the longer we stuck to our new lifestyle, our cravings for junk food actually curbed.

Fast forward a couple of months later, between a move and job changes, a heavy amount of stress, and an engagement (yay!) we both started drifting from our fitness goals and are now kicking ourselves in the butt for doing that. It all pointed back to our dependency on food when life gets rough. Eating ice cream for dinner had a way of making troubles melt away and made us feel like crap immediately. In the end, each time we deviated from our goal, we sold out for something cheap and it was never worth it. Needless to say, we gained the weight back and then some. We were both so tired, too worn out from long drives between 2 big cities and no fuel left in the energy bank to do anything fun. The sad thing is, this was our lifestyle and we just accepted it because we were so busy that we put our health in the backseat and pretended it would be ok. It gets worse.

One Sunday we had lunch with my parents and my mom breaks the news that my dad is pre-diabetic and his sugar levels are off the charts. The doctor was concerned that if he doesn’t change his lifestyle and eating habits soon, he’ll definitely be T2 Diabetic. This could’ve happened to anyone in my family. I am probably more prone to additional health problems since I already have hypothyroidism. I decided that there are no excuses. It was up to me if I wanted to live long and feel good. Life’s hard enough. I don’t want to drag my body through it all with shots of espresso every time I feel a little tired or gravitate towards sugar when life gets rough.

So we jumped back onto keto and holy hell I’ve been needing coffee less. Today is my 9th day on keto and I’ve lost 6 pounds. Every day is a fight and it helps to have a support to keep cheering you on. Daniel and I try to encourage each other to do better but most importantly, we hold each other to be accountable. If you’re on the same journey, I say, keep fighting! Just remember, every small step works toward a bigger goal and it will be worth it.

KCKO (Keep Calm and Keto On!)

Cinnabun Whoopie Pies

Guys, we’re only a day away from the weekend! REJOICE!

This morning I was craving for a cinnamon roll and decided to play around with some eggs, almond flour, and cinnamon and was so excited the final product came out so well.

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I whisked some egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form and then added in a mixture of the remaining egg yolks, truvia, and cinnamon. I added the mixture to a piping bag and piped what mostly looked like a cinnamon roll. I baked it at 300ºF for 25 minutes and when it cooled completely, I topped it with some cream cheese and truvia frosting and VOILA! DELISH! With only 5g of net carbs, this recipe is tasty and healthy.

Makes 4 cinnabun whoopie pies

Whoopie pies:

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup of almond meal
  • 2 packets of stevia sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Icing:

  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 packet of stevia sweetener
  1. Set your oven to 300ºF. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. In another bowl, mix the egg yolks, almond flour, cinnamon, and stevia. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and fold the mixture with a spatula until you get an even batter.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Add batter to piping bag and pipe a cinnamon bun swirl about 3 inches wide. Space each whoopie pie about 1 inch apart. Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool.
  3. Mix the ingredients for the cream cheese icing and divide evenly between each whoopie pie sandwich. ENJOY!

 

Paleo bread 3: almond, coconut, flax, tapioca

I just really love this bread! My favorite yet since it is not too coconut-y, does not crumble, super high in fiber yet low in carbs. Holds up well in sandwiches and the texture is slightly chewy. It’s the perfect bread for toasts as well!

paleobread3

  • 1.5 cups of warm water (almost too hot to touch)
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup flax meal
  • 1 cup ground tapioca
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and water and mix well. Allow up to 5 minutes to foam or bubble.
  2. Add in oil and eggs then remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover with damp towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Transfer dough to a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool completely before slicing or storing.

Paleo bread 2: almond, flax, psyllium, tapioca

Paleo bread 2 is an adaptation of Paleo bread 1 but does not contain coconut. The flavor of almonds comes through the most in this recipe and is a much more dense but very low carb bread.

paleobread2

  • 1.5 cups of very warm water (almost too hot to touch)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 1 cups psyllium husk powder
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl combine yeast and water and stir. Allow to rest and foam for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in coconut oil and eggs. Stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix well with hands.
  3. Cover with damp towel and allow to rise for a minimum of 45 minutes.
  4. Transfer dough to a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean from the center.