Category Archives: Recipes

Top Ten Things I Learned From the Ketogenic Diet

gluten free jacksonville keto dietIn February 2018 I made the decision to try out the Ketogenic Diet based on a doctor’s recommendation. Did I need to lose weight: yes, did I have other health issues that needed to be corrected: yes. I had never even heard of this diet and honestly was quite nervous. At the time I was living a gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free life (no corn, quinoa, etc). However I was a sugar addict! So after doing some research I thought I would give it a try knowing it would be a challenge.

What is the Ketogenic diet? In my own shortened, non-medical terms it is a diet that forces your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. It is high fat, no sugar, very low carb, no fruit (except  berries), protein and certain veggies diet. Your daily intake should consist of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs. Sounds simple. It is not. Here is what I learned on my six month trial:

  1. 70% of your diet needs to be fat; this is VERY hard. Most people start off thinking they can get their fat from protein. This will cause you to go over your 25% a day. You will need to add some sort of fat such as olive oil- think sauteed spinach or salad dressings; unsweetened full fat coconut milk- think coffee creamer, keto ice cream, curry dishes with cauliflower rice.
  2. Carb Manager App is a life saver. I used this for the first month to help me realize how much fat/protein/carbs are in the foods I was eating. This App is a must!
  3. Did you know vegetables have carbs?  Onions have carbs, even broccoli has carbs.  Crazy.  However, there are low amounts so it is ok to have them in moderation.
  4. I love pickle juice and avocados.  I have these items daily they help to replenish electrolytes and magnesium that you are missing during this diet.
  5. My brain is amazing!  I stopped having the foggy gluten-head in the afternoons and I noticed that I was becoming more alert and engaging in meetings.
  6. All of my inflammation went away. I had started noticing that I felt puffy and swollen before going on this diet.  The first week on Keto all of my inflammation went away.
  7. I am a lot less hungry.  I used to need an afternoon snack every day.  Now sometimes I can go without eating lunch.
  8. Ground grass fed beef is way better than ground turkey breast.  OMG food tastes so much better!  My diet, while always mostly protein and veggies has always been low fat high carb.   High fat and low carb tastes so much better to me!
  9. I can still have wine!  I am still able to drink wine- wine is very low in carbs.
  10. I have lost 24 pounds! Clothes I was unable to wear suddenly fit again!

So what do I eat you ask?  Here is what a normal day looks like:

  • Breakfast:

    • During the week: two hard boiled eggs, black coffee, sometimes an avocado
    • On the weekend: eggs cooked in coconut oil with bacon or sausage and sauteed spinach or avocado toast on keto bread
  • Lunch:
    • Salad with sliced turkey meat, spinach, kale coleslaw, onions, peppers, tomatoes with a keto salad dressing
    • Sliced cucumbers topped with mayo and pepperoni
    • Lettuce wrap hamburger with coleslaw
    • Cucumber wrapped sushi with a side of wasabi mayo and seaweed salad
  • Snacks:

    • Celery and low carb peanut butter
    • olives
    • pickles
    • Salami slices
    • Pork rinds and guacamole and salsa
    • avocado
    • almonds
  • Dinner

    • Grass fed beef stuffed peppers with cauliflower rice
    • Steak with mashed cauliflower and sauteed spinach and mushrooms
    • Salmon with asparagus (picture above)
    • Chicken wings (picture above)
    • Grass fed beef with low carb spaghetti sauce over shiritaki noodles and Mikey’s english muffin garlic bread (pic above)
    • Taco salad
  • Dessert
    gluten free jacksonville smart cakes

    • Peanut butter and chocolate bars
    • Ice cream
    • Coconut shavings with a spoonful of coconut milk
    • Smart Cakes (see photo above they are so good)

My overall consensus: I feel great and I am going to continue.  I plan to continue this as my lifestyle because it is easy, I am eating whole foods, it tastes so good and I am not always so worried about my next snack.  I also think it is helping my gluten-free lifestyle and my overall health.  Have you tried it?  What do you think?

 

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Honey Acres, Inc. Dark Chocolate and More

Recently Tiara from Honey Acres, Inc. reached out to me to try their chocolate line.  She shared with me that they are made with 100% Dark Chocolate and Raw Honey.  They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and no added sugar.  Being dairy free as well as gluten free can be hard sometimes because very few chocolates don’t incorporate milk into their recipe.

When the chocolate’s arrived they were also accompanied by other honey products I did not know even existed and some honey straws.

honey acres gluten free jacksonville

The first thing I did was try out the Cinnamon creme by sauteing some local pecans from Front Porch Pickings and then adding to a yummy King Arthur Flour banana bread mix.  It was so yummy and a great recipe for the holidays.

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I then tried the chocolates which are delicious!  The dark chocolate taste is not too over powering and I just loved the creamy centers.  The dark chocolate mint was my favorite and the dark chocolate cocoa was my second favorite.

dark chocolate honey acres gluten free jacksonvilledark chocolate honey acres gluten free jacksonville

Some other things I plan to do with these yummy honey products:

  • Put some in my morning smoothie to naturally sweeten it up
  • Add it to my morning hot tea
  • Use it on pancakes like this suggested recipe

Currently their products are not available in the Jacksonville area but to see changes and updates to locations view their store locator.  I hope they come soon because I am going to be craving these chocolates!

Do you cook with honey?  What are some of your favorite recipes?

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Front Porch Pickings – Veggie Delivery Service

About 3 years ago I subscribed to a veggie home delivery program called Front Porch Pickings.  Every two weeks a box of vegetables grown within Florida is delivered directly to my doorstep for only $26 a delivery.  I love vegetables and am not picky at all.  Even my husband enjoys the veggie creations I come up with.  My goal every two weeks is to use everything in the box even if I have no idea what it is.  I have grown to love turnips and kohlrabi, vegetables I never would have purchased on my own at the supermarket.  I even became hooked on my eggplant parmesan recipe because I had no idea what to do with the gorgeous eggplants I got in my delivery box.

What I really love is they send you what you will be receiving the Sunday before they deliver so you can make changes and take out items you don’t like.  For instance sometimes there an abundance of salad bunches in the box and my husband usually purchases tons of spinach for our salads so I may substitute for more of one thing or add on something different that may be available.  In addition to vegetables you can add in local coffee, bread, soaps, and more.

Because everything is from Florida the vegetables usually arrive ripe and full of nutrients.  Another nice thing is if I run out of something that is especially delicious I know it is going to be available at the local farmers market or grocery store so I can go and get more.  I feel like I am on top of whatever is in season based on what is in my box.  Here are a few of my finds from my local deliveries:

Oyster Mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans, eggplant, peaches, tomatoes, muscadine grapes and sweet potato greens.

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Here are a few of the meals and sides I have made with items from my Front Porch Picking bin:

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown black eyed peas with fresh sauted green peppers

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown green peppers and mushrooms in a chicken stir fry

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown arugula, peppers and cucumbers in a yummy salad

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown roasted zucchini

Do you subscribe to a local veggie delivery service ? What is your favorite vegetable?

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Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan

gluten free jacksonville eggplant parmesanSo about this time of year each year I get an eggplant in my Front Porch Pickings Veggie Bin. I have tried all sorts of recipes- eggplant dip, grilled eggplant, broiled eggplant but nothing really did it for me until I tried making eggplant parmesan. I just love the crispy outside and the thick and meat-like texture of the inside. I also like anything drizzled/smothered in tomato sauce. I always add some sort of meat to it sometimes baked chicken and often times just some ground turkey breast. I put it over spaghetti or sometimes some spiralized zucchini.

The recipe I am sharing today is used with Gillian’s Gluten-free breadcrumbs I have also used 4C Gluten Free Bread crumbs and Ground Ian’s Italian Style Croutons. I have to say the ground (in my Magic Bullet) Ian’s Italian Style Croutons are my all time favorite. However, the Gillian’s sticks a little bit better.

Ingredients
1 eggplant
1 cup of Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1 egg
2-3 dashes of oregano, basil or other italian seasonings
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (I am dairy free so I typically forgo the cheese and it is still quite yummy)
1 tbsp olive oil or cooking spray

Instructions

-Preheat oven to 375
-Grease a baking pan with olive oil or cooking spray
-Get out two bowls – in one put the egg beaten, in the other put the breadcrumbs with parmesan and italian seasoning
-Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch round sections
-Dip the eggplant slice in egg then into the breadcrumb mixture continue until all round sections have been coated and put on the pan
– Spray coat the eggplant and add any additional Italian seasoning you prefer
– Cook for 10 minutes per side for a total of 20 minutes
– Let cool 2-3 minutes

To finish:
Pair with your favorite pasta sauce, gluten-free noodles and the meat of your choice (or you can go with no meat)

gluten free jacksonville eggplant parmesangluten free jacksonville eggplant parmesangluten free jacksonville eggplant parmesangluten free jacksonville eggplant parmesan

Anything you would do differently? What is your favorite gluten-free Italian dish?

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Amazing Foods For Health Pancakes and Cinnamon Raisin Cookies

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes and cookies

On a lazy Sunday I decided to do some gluten-free baking. Recently Amazing Foods For Health sent me gluten-free pancakes and gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookie mix. While I try not to eat too many carbs and processed foods, after running the Gate River Run I had a few extra calories to spare and my husband absolutely loves oatmeal raisin cookies so I had a willing assistant to help with the taste testing.
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

Gluten Free Pancakes

I started the morning with some pancakes. The ingredients were easy and things that I almost always have on hand.  Nothing is more annoying than weird ingredients that I have to make a special trip to the grocery store for. gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

We are dairy-free as well we we used So Delicious almond milk instead of regular milk and added in some extra flax seed for added fiber.gluten free jacksonville so delicous almond milk

The pancakes batter came out thicker than I usually make so I added in some water .gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

I followed the instructions on the box and they still came out pretty thick but they cooked really nicely and were delicious! I paired it with some turkey bacon and a cup of coffee and it was a nice little breakfast!

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

While I had the mixing bowl out I figured I would go ahead and make the cookies too! Again the ingredients were easy and the only real pre-planning was to leave the butter out to soften.

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

I used Earth Balance instead of regular butter. gluten free jacksonville earth balance
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

While the box stated that it made 30 cookies this batch only made 18 cookies and take note they don’t get much bigger than the size they are when you put on the cookie sheet.  Also they came out a little dry, I may substitute coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance next time so they come out a little more chewy.  But they were delicious and I can honestly say that half of the plate below was gone within 10 minutes!
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

All in all they were both delicious.  I don’t think you would even notice that they are gluten-free.  They cooked easy and tasted so yummy. Looks like the only place to purchase these items in Jacksonville is the Walmart Supercenter on San Pablo Road S.

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Gluten-Free Made Easy Cook Book Review

gluten free jacksonville gluten free made easy

While I don’t claim to be a book critic I will say this is one book that I’ll be referring to quite a bit. When I was asked to write a review by Christi Silbaugh, author of Mom, What’s for Dinner I must say I was a little skeptical. Living with celiac disease I wondered how could she understand, truly understand, what I would need someone living with Celiac Disease.  But after flipping through the first few pages of Gluten-Free Made Easy I could tell she got it!

Gluten-Free Made Easy is a book for all the gluten-free eaters and health enthusiasts everywhere.  It is formatted very similar to other gluten-free cook books I have seen.  The book helps explain: what is gluten, where is gluten hidden, where do I find gluten ingredients and how can I fit gluten-free into my budget.  In addition there are tips and tricks all through the book such as:

    • on pg 49: “The Batter Barrier: Gluten-free batter is sometimes thicker, sometimes thinner and always different than traditional batter.  It will take time to get accustomed to the texture of gluten-free flours.  For now, trust the recipe.”
    • on pg 145: “The secret to moist fish.  An over cooked fish is a dry fish.  It is best to remove the fish from the oven when it’s jucy and has changed color….  if the fish starts to brown… it is probably overdone.”
    • on page 6: “Try restaurants with a large number of gluten-free dishes such as  Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic cuisines.”

This cookbook is very easy to understand, the directions are simple and many of the ingredients are things I already had around my house. I also like that the recipes don’t rely on hand making everything from scratch with 10-12 different steps. The recipes reference a lot of really good gluten-free products and they seem like great recipes for children on gluten-free diets.gluten free jacksonville potatoes au gratin gluten free made easy

gluten free jacksonville tilapia gluten free made easy

I made the Potatoes Au Gratin (p158) and Dry Rubbed Tilapia (p142). They were DELICIOUS! and I can’t wait to try the Homemade Baked Tater Tots (p73), Italian Sausage Lasagna Cups (p93) and the Cauliflower Pizza Crust (p99).

The pictures are beautiful; at first glance I was immediately hungry. While I love this book I do have a few critiques:

  • The calorie and fat counts are not posted and many of the items seem high in fat and calories.
  • Since many people are gluten-free and dairy-free it would have been nice to include some dairy substitute ideas.
  • It would be nice to see the overall preparation times at the top so people can pick recipes based on time allotted (It took close to 1 and a half hours to prepare the Potatoes Au Gratin).

The book is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Books and Things. I recommend it for you and your family.

Happy Cooking.

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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Grilled Cheese

gluten free jacksonville gluten-free dairy-free grilled cheese

During a recent trip to Native Sun, I found slices of Daiya dairy free cheese. I have had their shredded cheese but seeing the slices made me dream of a grilled cheese sandwich which I have not had in a long time. I don’t write about it much, but I am gluten-free and dairy free.

gluten free jacksonville gluten-free dairy-free grilled cheese udi's bread

gluten free jacksonville gluten-free dairy-free grilled cheese daiya soy cheese

gluten free jacksonville gluten-free dairy-free grilled cheese earth balance
Ingredients: 2 slices of Udi’s bread, 2 slices of daiya cheddar cheese, a slice of tomato and 1 teaspoon of Earth Balance. You can add other things like spinach, turkey meat, or my favorite, a chunky tomato slice between the two slices of cheese.
gluten free jacksonville gluten- free dairy-free grilled cheese with tomato

Cook the sandwich on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Then cover the pan to help the cheese melt .
gluten free jacksonville gluten-free dairy-free grilled cheese deliciousness

The sandwich was awesome! Just enough crispiness on the outside and lots of melty ooey gooeyness between the tomato and the cheese. The only thing that would make it better is some tomato soup. Next time. Next time.

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