Keto Crackers and Artichoke Dip

Here we are at Wednesday,

Half way there but still a couple days to go. I’ve got a tasty recipe to share with you today. Hopefully it will help enjoy the rest of the week or give you something to look forward to for the weekend. I made this artichoke dip and cracker combo for Memorial Day and it was extremely tasty. Also quite filling.

Importantly, to me, it’s also Keto friendly!

Which made it extra wonderful as there was something I could really enjoy at the cookout. I definitely plan on making this again for future cookouts and in smaller batches when I need a tasty treat.

As far as the crackers I was so happily surprised! I used almond flour and the slight nutty tasty was a great addition, to the overall flavor. The dip is quicker so lets do that first. There are only three main ingredients. I love simple recipes I find they are usually delicious and very easily customizable.

In the dip there is mayo, a can of artichokes and cheese. Super simple right?! As for the cheese I used a mix of Colby and shredded parmesan and the flavor was absolute spot on. Though I definitely think if you like a little bit spice you could use pepper jack and Parmesan and maybe add a few chopped jalapenos to the mix. To be honest I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to spicy food, but that way sounds good to me.

It’s super simple to throw this dip together you simply mix all the ingredients, then pour it into a baking dish and bake at 350, for 30- 45 mins. The top should be light brown when done. It will look a little greasy when it’s done and that’s completely normal.2018-05-30_11.55.54

Alright so what you need is: 8oz Mayonnaise, 8oz can of artichokes, 8oz of Cheese, 1 tsp Garlic powder ½ tsp Onion Powder. For mine I did a combo of 5oz shredded Colby and 3oz shredded Parmesan. There’s no need to add salt because the cheese is salty enough. If you like black pepper that would be a good addition. Now for the crackers. This was my first attempt at crackers, so I may do another post with another cracker recipe but I still found this one to be rather tasty.

For the crackers you need: 1 ¾ cups of Almond flour, 2 tbs Milled flax seed, 1tsp garlic powder, ½ tbs salt, and 1 large egg, also extra salt to sprinkle on the top before baking. The oven should be at 350.  First mix together everything but the flour. Once fully combined you can add the flour and stir until a cohesive dough forms. Once it’s a dough it’s easiest to put it between two sheets of parchment to roll it out. You want to get it really thin, about 1/8th of an inch thick. When its fully rolled out the dough should measure approximately 10” x 12” or larger. After removing the top parchment use a knife or pizza cutter make 1” squares. Then they’re ready for the oven. Just move them parchment and all to a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with salt then stick them in the oven.

The crackers take 10-20 minutes to bake. The outside edge will cook faster so after 10 mins be sure to check and if the edge has started to brown remove the browned rows, and return the rest to the oven. Then check every 5 minutes or so to remove browned crackers. Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container, or baggie. These crackers hold up very well to dip and keep about a week (if they last that long!) IMG_20180527_161912133

There it is! I hope you get a chance to try this and please let me know what you think! Are there more recipes you’d like to see? Different crackers perhaps? I’m always open to suggestions! I hope you have a great day full of sunshine and smiles. Don’t forget to follow and as always Live Crazed!

Keep it Keto: Cookout Edition

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope you all had a great weekend. Filled with family friends and great food. For those of us who are Keto starting out or otherwise, cookouts can cause somewhat of a problem. There’s so many classic tasty carb loaded treats around how do you keep it keto? Well I’m here to help, and while I don’t claim to be perfect or go to a family cook out and still nail all my macros. There are ways that we can minimize the damage, and hopefully not run too far down the spiral of carbs and sugar. I won’t promise it’ll be easy but it can be done with the right mindset

The most important piece of advice I can give is have a plan.

Try and ask around to find out what kind of food that will be served. Then you can be prepared for knowing what you’re going to have and what you’re going to run away from. This way you also know you’re not going to be stuck with nothing to eat that isn’t going to ruin your carb count. Of course there’s going to be all sorts of carb laden things that you’ll want to sample, nibble, chomp, and taste but don’t forget that those small bites do count too. So try not to get carried away.

If you’re new to keto have a plan for your relatives. They are going to ask you lots of questions and of course give their own opinion. Remember that not everyone is ready to be friendly with fat. Just be aware that you will probably get a lot of questions and they’ll probably watch what you eat. People can’t help but be curious. You can choose not to share too that is your choice. You chose to be Keto and your reasons are your own, no one can take that away. Or you’re like me you’re willing to bend anyone’s ear that’ll listen how much you love keto. No matter what don’t forget why you started keto in the first place. Then others can say whatever they want, it doesn’t mean you have to agree.

Another solid idea is to bring something you know you can have. I went to a cook out over the weekend and I made some keto approved crackers and artichoke dip. It was absolutely amazing and surprisingly filling. This ensures that you have a fall back and it gives others the chance to try things your way. I also found it was a good opportunity to try a new recipe. I think it would have been a good idea to also bring a sweet treat to have one sweet and one savory indulge-able treat. IMG_20180527_161912133.jpg

This next one may seem kind of obvious but I think its important to make the note of saying, to drink water. A lot of water. This will help a lot with being surrounded by cravings. If your thinking about snaking have some water and wait a few minutes. If you still want a snack keep it keto. Nuts, cheese, pepperoni all good simple choices. Water will also help your body come back from the day.Screenshot_20180528-110814

A big thing I want to touch on is while I’m saying keep it keto, at the same time don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself at least some calorie wiggle room, even if you’re going to aim to keep your carbs where they should be. It is supposed to be an enjoyable event after all. And if you are going to carb cheat try and pick one thing not just a free for all. For me it was a s’more. I could not resist. I resisted every other temptation, but I couldn’t say no to a S’more.

If I’m being honest it was totally worth it. I will not guilt myself for it.

I did really well the whole day. It wasn’t easy, pretzels and things just sitting there. We’re only human and if we deny ourselves everything all the time we’d be miserable. Just don’t let one thing open up the door to a day of bad eating. Have you’re indulgence and move forward.

For some trying to track your macros throughout the day will help keep yourself in check. This way you could watch closely where you are remind yourself of your goals. I had entered the day thinking I was going to track my macros, but between being surrounded by people and chasing my crazy boys around I didn’t think it was going to be worth it for me. I did decide to put it together this morning for you guys.Screenshot_20180614-224325

I kept it simple for the meal a burger with mustard and a thin slice of tomato, and some spinach with raspberry dressing. The raspberry dressing was absolutely delicious and I plan on looking for it to have from time to time. 1 net carb per serving, and a nice fresh slightly tart taste.

If you do want to track your macros but don’t have the time to sit and track everything right after you eat it you could snap a picture of what you’re having before you eat. Then when you get a chance you can go back through and log your food. This would be a really good way of holding yourself accountable. You could keep a memo on your phone of what you’ve had or actually write it down. I do wish I had kept better track of what I had eaten so I could have logged it. It’s also difficult to log because I’d have to add two recipes to my tracker app. Not a terrible thing but not something I wanted to do after the long day.

And there we are. Keeping it Keto at a cookout. It can be tough and even I don’t have it down to a science, but it can be done. Be aware, drink your water, and hold yourself accountable but don’t beat yourself up. One day isn’t going to throw off all your progress. On that same note though be sure its only one day and even better one treat. Not the whole day. It will be much better to just accept and move on. Not throw the macros away for the day. Then it will be that much harder to start back up. Did any of you attend a cookout over the weekend? Did you keep it Keto? What sort of things did you have? Please comment below, and don’t forget to follow. Most of all Live Crazed!!

Keto: Quick Meal Solutions

Good Morning!!

We all get busy, we lose track of time, we take on too much, it happens. That’s why its important to have a plan. If you don’t then that’s when you go looking for something quick and easy. And probably loaded with carbs, which for those of us trying to keep it keto is really bad. Also tends to be hard to resist.

Its true we don’t always have the time to cook up something super tasty and healthy that hits all the right macros. There are options, you just have to be prepared with a few groceries. The best way is meal prep but let’s be honest none of us are on our game all the time. Have no fear I’m here to help. As a mother of two that are under five years old, I run out of time…All the time. And while meal prep is a life saver, or a body saver I should say, there are still days that I don’t have something ready or I’m sick of what I have.

I suppose the place to start is breakfast.

While any of the options I’m giving today could be used and for any meal, I’m still going to break it up. For organization purposes. Alright the obvious one for breakfast is eggs. It’s almost never that I don’t have eggs on hand. Scrambled in butter is probably the most straight forward. This is easily enhanced by throwing in some cheese or veggies or both!

Another favorite of mine is a egg roll-up. Its like making an omelet only you roll it up and you can eat it with your hands. What goes into the roll entirely depends on what I have on hand. Sometimes it’s just cheese sometimes its cheese bacon and spinach. But the possibilities are endless. Most importantly its quick simple and always tasty.IMG_20180523_090819182

Moving on to lunch.

One of my favorite lunches even when I have meal prepped is a snack plate. One of my go-to plates consist of a sweet Italian sausage link, 2 oz. of cheese, 1oz mixed nuts or almonds. If I don’t have sausage sometimes I’ll go for some salami, or ham or whatever I have on hand. Sometime I will sub out the nuts for some veggies, broccoli or asparagus are usually what I have. Other times I’ll have 2tbs Peanut Butter and 2 stalks of celery, with any combo of other things.

If I have some kind of left overs from the night before I will sometimes have that. Or if I have chicken made I’ll sometimes have a salad, with blue cheese dressing and bacon if I have any made. Of course you could add more if you like other things like tomatoes or onions just make sure to check on carb amounts. That’s why I tend to keep it super simple, less carbs to worry about.

That leaves us with dinner.

Dinner is tricky because a lot of people think of dinner as a bigger more complicated meal. It can be depending on what you have on hand but if you’re not prepped your options can be kind of limited. And if you are pressed for time dressing up one of the lunch or breakfast options would definitely be best. Those are the days I usually go for a salad. If I have a little more time then I will make a turkey burger, I usually keep some in the freezer just in case. With a turkey burger I keep it really simple, most of the time I just put a serving of mayo on top and find a veggie for the side. Super simple, also great for meal prep, just saying.

IMG_20180413_175508563_LL
Spinach salad with chicken, pastrami and blue cheese dressing.

Well there you have it my quick list of quick and easy meals. All very easy to make and to me at least super tasty. Just be aware that you need to make sure you are tracking so you can find the right combo to hit your macros. Also I HIGHLY recommend a kitchen scale it makes everything much more accurate, so the food your logging will give you your actual macros not just what you think you’re eating.

Simple enough? What are some of your favorite quick keto meals? Please let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to follow my blog. Fridays post will be about my meal planning binder! Live Crazed all and See you later!

 

Keto: Getting Started

This blog post contains affiliate links.

Hey All!!!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am very quick to talk about Keto and how much I love it. While I’ve only been Keto for a bit over a month but I’m sure that it’s for life. My body is definitely on board for this lifestyle. And I can’t help but want to share it with everyone, in the hopes that it can help them the way it helped me.

It’s important to throw out there that while Keto has worked for me it doesn’t mean that its perfect for everybody, every person is different and everyone’s body works in their own ways. There are many reasons to at least try keto, help with weight-loss, a clearer mind, more energy, and delicious food. In case you believe that keto could be for you I am here to help!

  Lets get started!

Okay so the first very important thing is research. You shouldn’t jump into anything without first knowing what you’re getting yourself into. The main thing you should be looking for are a recommended food list, with the foods that you should not be having.  A big goal with keto is to go with minimally processed food, and to stay far far away from sugar in any form that will mess with your blood sugar levels.Screenshot_20180521-133359

The overall goal is to become a fat burner not a sugar burner. This is when you start to lose weight and begin to reap the other benefits of Keto. Also you should take the time to sit down and write why you want to do this, and really think about it. Yes a lot of us want to lose weight but try to dig deeper than that. I have mine written in my fitness journal.

Another very important research tool is going to be a macro calculator. This will help you determine macros specific for you. Many macro tracking apps have one built in or you can find a ton online. That is another highly recommended piece of research to do. Find a tracking app that you like.

Personally I use CarbManager. I like how its set up its really easy to use. It has the option to save favorite foods, copy meals to a new day, and also input a recipe and it will give you the nutritional info per serving. The premium version has a ton more bells and whistles but I’ve been quite happy with the free version.

When you do start to track be brutally honest.

You’re only hurting yourself when you sneak things past your tracker. When you’re being honest you will be more likely to make better progress and get into ketosis faster. It’s true that the numbers may seem discouraging at first but when you fully commit and you can get passed cravings and sugar/ carb addiction and start nailing those macros, you will feel a big sense of accomplishment. After that everything will get easier.

I would also highly recommend keeping track of your end of day macros. For me its part of my fitness journal. You can read more about my journal here, in another post. I find it really useful to be able to look at my daily macros all together instead of flipping through the app.Screenshot_20180521-132530.png

Alright so after you’ve done that research and you have a pretty general idea of the kinds of things you’ll be eating, I HIGHLY recommend that you do some meal planning. It can be extremely overwhelming to start a new diet especially when its important that you hit your macros.

A word of caution: take it slow.

You will no doubt see a million recipes for tasty Keto deserts and breads and whatnot. If you are new to Keto and you start trying some of these recipes before your adapted to the keto way of eating, they most likely taste off, and you could get discouraged.

Adjusting to different sweeteners can take time and if you are still sugar addicted then making keto sweets is not recommended. Trying a fat bomb or two, however, would be highly recommended and for me keeping a good PB and 75% or higher chocolate on hand was extremely important.

I really love Smuckers natural chunky pb. You can check it out here. The only ingredients are peanuts and less than 1% salt. One serving is 2 tbs; with 2 net carbs, 16g fat, 8g protein and 180 calories. Yes the calories are a little high and I definitely had to start restricting my pb after a little while but it helped a lot at first. It was slightly sweet, felt like a treat and was filling. Confession when I started and cravings were bad I would dip my chocolate into my pb more often then not, but I have since switched to celery.

I do feel like I should add that sugar is a very real addiction. So once you stop in taking carbs and sugar you body will go through withdrawal. I believe this is what some people will call keto flu. The symptoms can be very much like the flu but it will pass.

It does not last forever.

For some, the best option is to wean off slowly. Start with 150 carbs and go down until you reach 20 or less. Some people will not get into Ketosis until they are under 20 carbs a day for anywhere from 3 days to a week.

For me I had already cut most carbs out of my diet so I went through my main withdrawl problem before starting keto. The biggest thing for me was finding a sugar replacement for my coffee. When I first started keto I cut back the sugar in my coffee to about 1 teaspoon per cup, until I found a stevia I liked. The one I use is an alcohol free liquid stevia you and find it here.

As for coffee, I started drinking Keto coffee, or butter coffee or bulletproof coffee whatever you’d like to call it. My morning cup has 12oz brewed coffee, 1tbs butter, 1 tbs coconut oil a little cinnamon and 6 drops of stevia. All tossed in the blender for 30+ seconds. So tasty, and it helps a whole lot for getting the fat grams up there.

For those crazy people out there that don’t like coffee a good replacement for this would be a bulletproof bone broth, or I’ve see a few recipes for bulletproof teas. I haven’t tried the tea but the broth is quite tasty.

Let’s talk about carbs.

It’s really processed sugars/carbs are the things to avoid while keto. Don’t be afraid of veggies even though they do have carbs. Vegetables should be your main source of carbs. Dark green veggies to be specific. Potatoes have a lot or carbs that will get broken down to sugar. If you are at a stage where you are just maintaining your weight then you can have a higher carb limit, then potatoes could become a sometimes thing. If you’re really craving potatoes the mashed cauliflower, made up like a loaded baked potato with cheese sour cream and bacon, is amazing.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to have a plan, have someone you can talk to (preferably that also does keto) and cut yourself some slack. Its ok to make mistakes. Just don’t let it be a whole day. Accept the mistake and move forward. We’re only human after all, we all make mistakes. Just do your best to try and be aware. And drink a ton of water, I mean it.

Ready to get started? Do you have more questions? I am always here to ask questions or to bounce ideas off from. If you haven’t already I would highly recommend checking out some of my other posts for some keto other ideas that could help, and of course following my blog to keep up-to- date on all the fun craziness here. Don’t forget life is short Live Crazed!

My Go-to Keto-tastic Menu

Hey all! Welcome Back!

I’m off to a slow start but a good one none the less. Today I’m going to tell you about what I eat in a day, on keto. If that wasn’t already obvious from the title…. Anyway I’m sure some are curious about this keto lifestyle and what it means for your taste buds. Well I’m here to tell you it’s a party for your mouth. Having a diet high in fat means that its also high in flavor. True you really don’t eat as much when you’re fat adapted, but what you do eat is delicious.

Alright lets get started.2018-05-07_09.59.24

So of course I start with my coffee. Yum! And with my coffee I have scrambled eggs with spinach. I start with a couple handfuls of fresh put into a hot pan. I don’t use any oil or butter in the pan at this point because the spinach doesn’t need it. While that’s cooking I mix up two large eggs. After the spinach cooks down it usually ends up being about one ounce. I prefer to mix the spinach into the eggs before adding it all to the pan. Before adding the spinach/ egg mixture I put one tablespoon of butter into the pan. When that’s melted I add the eggs and cook it all up.

They didn’t come out super pretty, so sorry, the butter browned on me before I got the eggs in the pan. Crazy kids…There’s breakfast, so tasty! The breakdown of this breakfast, coffee included: 474 Calories, 1g Net Carbs, 47g Fat, 14g Protein.Spinach and eggs

Onto Lunch!

Normally I don’t need a snack between breakfast and lunch I just drink lots of water. My favorite lunch as of late is a mess bowl. I call it that because the first time I made it I just threw things I had into a bowl. Well it ended up being so tasty I’m having it for the second week in a row. Though I don’t think I’ll do it a third because I know there’s better lower calorie options.

I found pre made uncured pulled pork at Walmart and I thought how perfect! This will simplify meal prep a whole lot, it has 5 servings per pack and 0 Carbs in a serving. I’m thinking next ill try some seasoned chicken or turkey. Anyway a serving is 3 ounces of pork. To that I add 2 ounces of steamed broccoli and .5 ounce of shredded cheddar cheese. I warm it all up in the microwave then its pulled pork deliciousness ready to go in about a minute to a minute and a half. Meal prep is so amazing. The breakdown for Lunch is: 219 Calories, 2g Net Carbs, 11g Fat, 24g Protein.IMG_20180508_131602_893

Most afternoons I have another coffee, though my afternoon coffee is different than my morning coffee its still delicious frothy and a helpful fat boost. Which also means energy boost. Usually for my afternoon coffee I use a single cup pour over filter, it’s a bit faster then the French press and still tasty. Occasionally I will use, instant espresso, but its hard to find so I don’t use it all the time. The breakdown for my afternoon coffee/snack: 209 Calories, 0 Carbs, 24g Fat, 0 Protein.

I am very happy to share this dinner with you as its one of my absolute favorites. It was burger night at the Harris household, which meant bacon and blue cheese burger for me. This is so tasty. I do usually buy the premade non-frozen burger patties because they keep their shape much better than my attempts.  Maybe if I had a fancy burger press it’d be different. Anyway I cook my burger medium well. I haven’t tried any of the low carb hamburger buns yet. Instead I put .5ounce of fresh spinach on my plate then the burger, then blue cheese dressing (2 tablespoons is a serving), and one slice of bacon crumbled on top.Blue cheese and bacon burger

I usually also have another slice of bacon on the side. Because well its bacon. This may not seem like a big dinner but its actually quite filling. The breakdown for dinner is: 403 Calories, 2g Net Carbs, 32g Fat, 25g Protein.

 

Well there it is my go to daily menu on the keto diet.

My overall breakdown for the day is: 1309 Calories, 6g Net Carbs, 114g Fat, 64g Protein. Percent’s being: 70% Fat, 20% Protein, 2% Carbs. This is actually a pretty spot on day of keto. Of course there are some slight differences day to day. Sometimes ill change my afternoon coffee to lower the fat so I can have an ounce of cheese snack or I’ll lower my dinner protein so I can have a small bowl of pork rinds and an evening show with my hubby.

As with any way of eating it takes some adjustment until you can find out what works for you. At first it will probably be quite different, until your body is more used to burning fat.  What do you guys think? Does this sound tasty to you? Any other Keto-ers out there how does your daily menu differ? Please let me know what you think and don’t forget to hit the follow button! See you guys Wednesday!