Archive for category Keto
It’s been interesting and fun playing with recipes for our new ketogenic lifestyle. Particularly as I was recently gifted with an Instant Pot by my amazing sister, Bridget. I spent the first six months using the Instant Pot exclusively for bone broth – cuz it makes it really, really well. But thought that was kind of a waste of a cool tool, so started experimenting with real recipes.
I’ve never been a big “rib” eater. It just seemed like so much work for such little reward. But the Vino Man had a craving and I thought it would be fun to put the Instant Pot to the test. The Instant Pot did great. But the challenge was trying to find a delicious rib sauce that worked with a keto diet. For those of you that haven’t read the label on your barbecue sauce, you should check it out. The most popular barbecue sauce in my Google Search was Sweet Baby Rays. It has a total of 18 grams of carbs in 2 Tablespoons. Yikes, that’s half my carb allotment for the day.
I’m going to point out here that this sauce is keto-ish. It includes tomato paste, which does have carbs in it, but you don’t use very much and it goes along way. If you can find Thrive Organic Market tomato paste – it has a total of 3 grams net carbs in 2 T. I tried several different combinations of flavors before I hit the jackpot. I call this my Universal Yum Yum sauce because it’s great on ribs. Awesome on barbecue. Fantastic on roasted salmon and makes an amazing Stir Fry sauce. Keto or non-keto, frankly, you could put it on rocks and it would make them delicious. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy.
2/3 c. Coconut Aminos or Wheat Free Low Sodium Soy Sauce* (please see note below)
1/3 c. Red Wine – I used our Bella Rossa
2 T Tomato Paste – the lowest carb version you can find
1-3 T Swerve sweetener (powdered sugar version as it dissolves best)* see same note below
1T Balsamic Vinegar
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Put everything in a small saucepan. Heat it over medium-low heat until it starts to simmer. Let it simmer for 10 minutes (depending on how thick your coconut aminos are) or until it thickens. Watch it, because it will scorch.
(note: I’ve discovered that different brands of coconut aminos have very different flavor profiles. I’ve also discovered that when you are keto, your taste buds get quite sensitive to sweet flavors. So. Start the sauce with 1 T of sweetener. You can always add more. For most of the coconut aminos I’ve tried, I use 1 – 1.5 T of Swerve. For soy sauce, which is much saltier – even in the low sodium versions, I typically use the full 3T.
Instant Pot Ribs with Universal Yum Yum Sauce
3 lbs baby back ribs (my butcher does a rib he calls “sweet & sour” ribs. They are baby, baby backs and they are delicious)
2 T garlic powder
1 T your favorite seasoned salt – check the label, many contain sugar
2 C. chicken broth or water
1/4 C. cider vinegar
2 bay leaves (if you have them. If not, it still works great)
Rub the ribs with the seasoned salt and garlic powder. Refrigerate them for 2 hours or overnight. My Instant Pot requires 18 ounces of fluids to use the pressure cooker mode. If yours is different, adapt the amount of liquid to fit your device. Add the liquid to the IP. Place the trivet in the bottom of the insert. No trivet? Make a couple of lemon sized balls of aluminium foil and put them in the bottom. You are just trying to keep the ribs out of the cooking liquid. Coil the racks of ribs around the inside of the pot. Place the top on the IP, make sure the valve is set to sealing. Use high pressure mode and set for 45 minutes. Let ‘er rip. When the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Then go ahead and carefully vent. Preheat your broiler. Pull the ribs out carefully with tongs because they are a) hot and b) fall off the bone tender. Put them on a cookie sheet and brush each rack with about 1/4 c. Yum Yum. Pop under the broiler for two to three minutes to let the sauce carmelize a bit and the ribs brown. Put another couple of tablespoons of Yum Yum on the plate, then put the ribs on top. Any left over yum yum sauce can be put in a pint jar and kept in the fridge for several days. Try it to glaze salmon. Or stir fry some chicken, pork or beef and your favorite veg – then add the Yum Yum at the end and stir to heat through.
This recipe makes me so happy.
I’m working my way through some of my old favorite recipes to update them to our new ketogenic lifestyle! While this is one of our FAVORITE Barbera pairing recipes, it’s a pasta dish. I just wasn’t sure that I’d be able to make it work. But a flash of inspiration – and voila. I just deconstructed all the ingredients, then rebuilt them a bit differently. As good as, if not better than, the original – see the original recipe here.
Roasted Pancetta and Tomatoes
Serve with Morovino 2015 Barbera
This is a KETO Updated recipe! If you are Whole 30, Paleo or Keto, you can still enjoy this dish.
4 Roma Tomatoes halved lengthwise or 1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 lb Pancetta (a slab, not sliced)
4 C. Arugula (4 big handfuls)
2 C. Spinach or Baby Kale
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. shredded or shaved Asiago
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with sides (sometimes called a jelly roll pan) with parchment paper. Cut the slab of pancetta into 1/2″ish cubes. Scatter the pancetta cubes on the jelly roll pan. Place the tomato halves, cut side up, among the pancetta cubes on the pan. Put into the oven for 30-35 minutes – stirring every 10 minutes or so to flip the pancetta cubes and the tomato pieces so they brown evenly. Be aware, this is going to smoke a bit.
Over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil (or avocado oil) until translucent. Add the garlic and greens, and saute until limp. Add the lemon juice to the greens. Make a nice nest of the sauteed greens on your plate. Top with the pancetta and tomatoes. Add a big handful of the Asiago cheese over the top. Oh my. Very yummy. You hardly miss the pasta.
I am currently researching (my fave thing) and David is evaluating treatment options for his prostate cancer. When we come to a decision, we’ll share some sites that really helped us. But until then, let’s talk ketogenic diet!! And, cuz that’s who I am, the recipe for this not-strictly-keto corn/pepper dish is below. Just scan down if you want to skip the keto stuff!
While a diet that features unlimited bacon sounds like a gift from the nutrition gods, The Vino Man and I have decided that a ketogenic diet is not for wimps. And while I am NOT a medical expert or a nutritionist, I’m happy to share a few of the roadblocks we hit resources that really helped us on this journey. As a reminder, this is the book that started it all for us Fat is Fuel. There’s also lots of great info on Dr. Mercola’s website Mercola.com
When you go ketogenic you are basically pushing a reset button on your body and teaching it to burn fat in addition to carbs. Burning carbs is easier for your body. Burning fat is harder. Your body naturally wants to take the easiest route (thank you evolution). Additionally, so many of the environmental toxins we absorb on a daily basis are fat soluble. When you start burning fat, those toxins are released into your system. Here’s a great post for newcomers to Ketogenic diets.
Roadblock: Keto flu. Sure most of the websites and books reference it. But I don’t think they tell you quite everything. And full disclosure – this hit me more than David. But let me just say – Keto Flu Sucks. Totally. This is your body pushing back trying to get you to eat carbs. AND it’s environmental toxins flooding your blood stream. For me it lasted 7 days. Stuffy head, streaming nose, insomnia, irritability and incredible muscle cramps (yep, they call it flu for a reason). On day 4, I actually woke up at 2 in the morning, ready to give up and just go eat a damn potato. On day 5, David and I were standing toe-to-toe in the kitchen screaming at each other because I put cream in his coffee. Oh yes, fun times.
But if you do a little research (before you start the diet – not after: learn from my mistakes). Part of the cause is electrolyte imbalance. You can’t drink Gatorade (39 grams of carbs in a 1/2 bottle serving). So at this suggestion of this great website, I ended up adding a little Himalyan Salt to my water bottle and I started taking Magnesium. And eating Avocados. Lots and lots of Avocados (potassium). Much, much better. This website has a great recipe for an electrolyte balancing drink. It does not taste particularly wonderful, but it helped. This drink is from the ketodiet app. There is a free version of the app which has some great keto recipes!
Additionally, this website gave the the great tip to have 1 square of 70% Cacao before bed to help release tryptophans. I’m never going to say no to chocolate and it may be psychosomatic, but I do sleep better. It has lots of other tips for surviving the start of your keto diet as well.
Roadblock: Cooking Breakfast. Well you know I love to cook. But breakfast is just not my meal. It’s not fun food. It’s in the morning. Just ughh. But after your 8-10 hour nightly fast (also known as sleeping), we discovered it’s really, really important to get some calories in you (reference the cream screaming fit mentioned above). We’ve figured out that we pretty much just have dinner leftovers for breakfast. Or eggs. Lots of eggs. I actually had to google “how many eggs per day is too many?” when I felt like I was going to start clucking. We are so thankful for our friend Angela – she keeps a flock and is a wonderful source of pasture-raised chicken eggs – which are better than any other eggs in the world. We are also thankful for our friend and wine club member Kimberly who is very experienced cooking Paleo/Keto and loves to cook. She gave us the idea for this spinach, chorizo, avocado dish that is full of good fat and really sticks to your ribs. Follow her on Instagram – @foodfamilywine.
RECIPE – Padron Pepper & Corn Saute (photo at top of page)
OK, corn is not strictly keto – certainly not during the induction (first) phase. But when Talley Farms puts it in your harvest box, you just have to go for it.
2 ears fresh corn
3 C of whole Padron Peppers (or other small, mild pepper like Cubanelle, Banana or even small Poblanos)
2 T of coconut oil (the roadblock in my next blog post)
1 t. Avocado oil
1/2 onion, peeled and cut thinly in long strips (root to end)
3/4 t. sea salt
1 t. chili powder
1/4 C Feta cheese
Shuck corn. Remove the corn from the cob by placing a coffee cup in a bowl, put the stalk end of the corn on the cup, holding the tassel end of the corn and carefully slicing downward parallel to the stalk so that the corn falls into the bowl and doesn’t scatter everywhere. Or use this cool shucker thing – which I have ordered but haven’t tried yet.
Melt the 2T of coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the Padron peppers. Saute the peppers until the skin sears – 4-5 minutes – stirring frequently. Sprinkle the salt over the peppers. Add the Avocado Oil and the onions to the skillet. Continue to saute until the onions lightly char and the peppers start to soften – maybe 3 minutes more. Add the corn to the skillet and saute until the corn starts to take on color and char a bit – probably 4 minutes more. Add the chili powder and stir. Remove from heat and stir in the feta cheese. The coconut oil, corn, cheese and peppers marry beautifully together! We’ve done this as a side dish, but we’ve also filled a roasted portabella mushroom cap with this mixture and topped it with a fried egg – also AMAZING.
This is not going to be one of Mrs. Vino’s frothy recipe posts – so if you are looking for that, no worries – she’ll get back to them in a week or so. Never fear though, there is a recipe at the end of this long, long blog post.
We’d like to take a moment to share some things with you, our Morovino family. This has been a particularly interesting and challenging year for David and I. It’s been year of tremendous fear and amazing growth. A year when the two of us have connected more deeply than I ever thought possible. And here’s why.
In March of this year, just before our annual wine club celebration, David had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), which is sometimes called a mini-stroke. If you haven’t seen a lot of David in the tasting room, this is mainly why. There was no significant lasting damage – but he gets tired easily and occasionally has to reach for words. But his wicked sense of humor remains untouched.
Naturally, there were lots and lots of tests associated with what we like to call “The Incident.” Despite the fact that he really hates needles, he’s held up well. but for awhile it seemed like every time David took a test, the results came back with another problem. Blood tests showed an elevated PSA (male friends over 50, please go get tested). Repeated, more extensive blood tests confirmed that there might be a problem. Biopsy scheduled. Results were not what we wanted to hear. David has prostate cancer. Cue full body bone scan. Bring on the CAT scan of the abdomen and pelvis. “Whoops, there’s something there we really don’t like on that scan.” Interestingly, you can get a colonoscopy scheduled within a couple of days if you really need one.
At this point, I told David that he’d obviously reached his “best by” date and I was trading him in on a newer model.
The colonoscopy finally offered some better news – David does NOT have colon cancer. I burst into tears when the gastroenterologist told me (David being incredibly high on Propofol at the time wasn’t paying much attention – he was completely hilarious on the drive home). The doctor said that tears weren’t the usual reaction for that announcement, but it was such a relief. Prostate cancer can be treated very effectively (more on our journey to figure out treatment in the next post). Colon cancer less so.
We love our gastroenterologist. One of the discussions that we had with him was about nutrition/diet and how it impacts cancer cells. Based on his recommendation, we have started a Ketogenic diet. Not to lose weight, but to hopefully starve cancer cells. Please note, this is not an ALTERNATIVE treatment for his prostate cancer. But an ADJUNCT to whatever treatment David decides is best for him.
All that being said, we have both lost about 7 lbs in 2-3 weeks and are feeling pretty great. I’ve been learning how to cook Keto and will be transposing some of my recipes from this blog into Keto-friendly dishes over the next few weeks. I’ll also be giving updates on our Keto journey. I will make sure to tag them all “Keto” for our friends who are going low carb.
If you are interested in Ketogenic diets, I recommend this book Fat for Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola. If you buy it in digital form, it includes links to most of the studies it references and the “Mrs. Vino” in me loves the history of food/diet and how the US got to its current pretty unhealthy state.
And, the tool that really helped us were these So Nourished Ketone Test Strips– super affordable, it comes with a FREE 14 day meal plan AND they follow up with you via email to see if you need help using the test strips. Love them.
Full disclosure: Please always, always support your local merchants and small businesses. But if you can’t find this book or these products locally, Morovino is now an Amazon Affiliate. If you purchase the book through our link, there’s no extra charge to you, but Amazon tosses a couple of bucks our way – which are going to help with David’s medical expenses. And those of you who know me know that I won’t be gratuitously linking to anything that I don’t use and love.
With our deepest love and gratitude,
David and Andrea
AND NOW FOR THE RECIPE:
VERY easy slow cooker bone broth (adapted from All Recipes)
Bone broth appears to be the foundation of a Ketogenic diet. We used to just call it broth – but now it has better marketing.
3-5 lbs beef bones (Grass fed beef is best. But pretty much any bones work. This also works with chicken and turkey bones. I was lucky enough to get venison bones from my friend Angela – the real Pioneer Woman).
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 T fresh cracked black pepper
2 Bay Leaves
2T Balsamic vinegar – yes, it has carbs, but you aren’t using enough to hurt your diet and it makes a big flavor difference. Use cider vinegar instead if you are hard-core.
1 T dehydrated garlic (or 4 fresh cloves, diced)
1 T dehydrated parsley
Salt to taste (I used about 2-3T – seems like a lot, but it helps balance your electrolytes)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put the beef bones on a baking sheet lined with foil and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Roast the bones for about 30 minutes – until they start to take on color.
Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, bay leaves, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar into your 6.5 Quart Slow Cooker. Add the bones. Add water to cover the bones and veggies. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the bones. Pour the broth through a strainer to remove veggies. I make sure to get any bone marrow out of the bones and add it back to the broth (cuz that’s good stuff!!). For non-keto diets, you can skim the fat off this once it cools. For keto diets – why would you do that, the fat is kind of the point. This broth freezes really well.