The Thanksgiving Pie Affair

Eating Out, Reviews | November 29, 2015 | By

It’s been a tough week around here for ketosis fans – yours truly – not withstanding. Last weekend was my 49th birthday and I woke up at my lowest weight in 25 years – down 30lbs. Lisa successfully executed a well-planned surprise getaway for my birthday weekend to Ludlow Vermont. Our favorite cousins greeted us at the hot spot – Downtown Grocery for one of the best meals I have had out in ages.

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I even managed to order a lower carb entree without any trouble. So far so good. Then dessert adorned with a candle came at the end of the meal and all bets were off!

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Lisa’s choice was also amazing and lower carb.  

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The rest off the weekend went pretty much the same – good choices followed by exceptions on account it was my birthday weekend after all. An appreciated great weekend away overall – thanks Lisa my love.

On our way out of town we stopped at the famous Apple Pie Place to pick up some pies for Thanksgiving only a few days away. Lisa was on pies this year and thought, what a great time saver, to buy some amazing pies from VT rather than make them herself. She can bake but her time is valuable and so I was on board – 4 pies and $130 later we were on the road home with our Thanksgiving duties checked off. Wtf – these had better be some amazing freakin pies I thought as I came to and we drove off – an apple crisp, a regular apple, a blueberry and a pecan.

Monday through wednesday I managed to get back on track and back into ketosis with my favorite keto-shortcut. Then Turkey Day came with all the exceptional carbs in their best dressed glory. What I love about this lifestyle is that for me it is not due to an allergy or a belief but rather a simple choice.

A choice that enables me to feel healthier and live lighter most of the time so that I can have the freedom to eat whatever I want some of the time.

Game on – It’s Bird day – one smoked and one traditional – both evolved after years of practice. Left plenty of room for pie – after a short nap of course! Excited to see what a $33 VT pie tasted like – went for the blueberry first with vanilla ice cream and then waited till the apple was warm 30 minutes later and repeat. They were as good as advertised and Thanksgiving felt complete if not overdone. As per usual Lisa was not the only relative on pies so in another tradition on my wife’s side of the family – way too many leftovers! So.. we took home a variety selection of about 2 whole pies. We figured, someone would eat them.

pies

Day after Thanksgiving and good to get back on my program after the day of gluttony… or so I thought. It was an unseasonal 70 degree day here in CT so I texted my buddy Craig to play some tennis outdoors. We usually get in 2 sets over 1.5 hours on any good day. We split sets and as we were wrapping up I convinced Craig to play a 3rd.

You see – my mind was thinking about Thanksgiving pie even though I had eaten low carb all day. So this 3rd set was my license for more pie. I mean I still had $65 worth of the best freakin pies I have tasted in years just sittin’ in my fridge. What are you wiling to do to make you feel OK about having more pie?  After dinner Lisa made some fresh whipped cream and I went for the blueberry then the apple and then I had a few bites of her pecan. Clearly off the reservation now 2 days in row but my pie fix was now fulfilled.

Hey – Life happens, Birthdays happen, Turkey day happens, Happy hour happens, and yes, Pie happens.

So great to go into the holiday season 30 lbs. lighter this year and to know that a few days off the rails is just that and recovery, not gonna be a big issue. If you eat low carb or keto-friendly most of the time you will get to your best weight and still get to enjoy life as it happens.

 

 

Sashimi for lunch?

Eating Out, Reviews | November 28, 2015 | By

I used to think I was eating a healthy light lunch when I headed out for sushi. Little did I know the rice content of my amazing hand rolls and the multiple pieces I’d eat where keeping me fat. The raw fish was healthy – loaded with Omegas and healthy fats, but the rice… loaded with carbs. We have some pretty decent Japanese restaurants around us and they all have lunch specials that make a sushi lunch an affordable option.

When I started this lifestyle I was not sure how or if I would be able to give up sushi. As far as I am concerned, It is one of the major food groups!

When you work from home as I do it is important to get out for lunch every once in a while, lest you go stir crazy. Sometimes with a friend or for business but for sure when I am out doing errands you will often catch me at Feng or Mikado for some Tuna, Yellow Tail, and my favorite, Salmon. Only nowadays I order Sashimi instead of Sushi. For those of you not familiar, Sushi means “on rice” while Sashimi is just pure raw fish, sans rice.

EKGslideshowsashimi

The above shot is actually a sushi dinner portion taken one night at Feng, a local favorite. In stead of the rice sashimi comes on shredded daikon – a white asian radish of sorts that adds a nice fresh crunch and spicy dimension to to the raw fish. Here is a nice lunch presentation from Yume in Unionville, CT.

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If you need some variation you can always head to Ginza in Bloomfield for their inspired special rolls of the day. The key is to pick one without a sweet sauce (mango, etc) and if your not sure ask them to put it on the side. Also ask for the special roll to made without rice. This one below was delicious. Toro, Baby Yellow Tail, King Crab, Tobiko, in a green cilantro sauce – This Regal Roll was just that, and a great start for my first rice-less roll experience.

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Am I missing out on the rice? Not a chance! There are 44 grams of carbs in 1 cup of cooked sushi rice. Even if you order Brown rice on your sushi thinking you are eating healthier, you are still getting 44 grams of carbs.

It has been a great shift for me that I can easily live with and a very low carb lunch option while out and about.

Some other things safe to eat while your out to lunch for Japanese: An average cup of Miso soup has only 3-5 grams of carbs. The average egg drop soup has 3-5 grams of carbs as well. Not all are created equal however – PF.Chang for instance has 8 grams in their egg drop. As a general rule, If it tastes sweet then it probably is so try to avoid that soup in the future. Be sure to also steer clear on any asian soup that has noodles, udon or other.

Not in the mood for raw fish? Here is another great option at Feng. The Spice Crusted Strip Steak ordered without potatoes and extra veggies.  This steak was delicious and a nice value too at $23.00 for dinner. Stay tuned for more keto-friendly restaurant suggestions and reviews.

 steak

Tuesday Night Out

Eating Out, Reviews | November 18, 2015 | By

Tonight my daughter and I headed out for dinner – just the two of us. Great to get some one-on-one time with my oldest. The where-do-you-want-to-eat negotiations in the car are always fun – she always wants sushi and I am looking for something more Keto-friendly and different. Having had sashimi already this week we headed to one of our favorite local spots, Da Capo in Avon CT.

When you are headed out for dinner you need to have a idea in your mind of how keto-friendly the chosen restaurant will be or you may find yourself at a spot with little or no options that will keep you on your plan. 

Some restaurants have their act together and do not mind substitutions and are geared up to accommodate various dietary preferences. Some… not so much.

Da Capo is one of those spots that is ready to please and I have had several great lower carb meals there. Tonight I tried a new menu item and a childhood favorite – Chicken Cacciatore. Now mind you, I don’t have complete carb counts for this meal but when I asked how this was served I was told penne pasta was involved. I simply asked the server to leave out the pasta. She then offered a substitution, “perhaps a veggie?” I asked for Broccoli Rabe… done!

chickencaccitore

Ordered a salad and had 1 glass of red wine… I was happy camper. I missed the candied walnuts on the salad when I ordered so I gave those to my daughter. Now to be clear, not really losing any weight on a Tuesday night with this meal but I ate light earlier in the day and at 28lbs down I allow myself some liberties. The best part is how you feel leaving the restaurant. Not stuffed like I used to…. but truly satisfied having had an amazing guilt-free lower carb meal.

On another night at Da Capo I swapped out mashed potatoes for brussel sprouts on this veal chop special. I prefer to drink my carbs thanks! Pick restaurants that will support your lifestyle and keep your waistline in check. 

veal

So our server brought us a free dessert – their famous chocolate mousse pie. I know, there are 2 forks… I had a bite… ok 2 bites, but hey, 28lbs lighter right? Weeknight splurge… $70 – A few extra carbs… worth it – A night out with Alexa… Priceless.

 

 

Lisa’s Breakfast Salad

breakfast salad

Breakfast | November 15, 2015 | By

Salad for Breakfast? Yep!

For years I have been eating the wrong things for breakfast and it showed. Starting the day off with a full-carb load – ham egg and cheese on a hard roll and Eggs Benedict were my favorites. That full bloated feeling stayed with me throughout the day. Now my days start light and that feeling follows me throughout with more than twice the energy than I used to have.

Still a big fan of the poached egg so this salad is a new go-to favorite. Good Morning…. and the rest of the day to follow.

Lisa's Breakfast Salad
Serves 1
A light breakfast salad worth the extra effort.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
24 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
24 min
473 calories
5 g
408 g
38 g
27 g
12 g
207 g
1296 g
1 g
0 g
25 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
207g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 473
Calories from Fat 341
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 38g
59%
Saturated Fat 12g
58%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 20g
Cholesterol 408mg
136%
Sodium 1296mg
54%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 1g
Protein 27g
Vitamin A
63%
Vitamin C
16%
Calcium
34%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3/4 cup fresh spinach
  3. 3/4 cup fresh arugula
  4. 1/8 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  5. 3 slices Prosciutto Di Parma
  6. 3 fried pork skins (chichamarrones)
  7. 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  8. 1 tbsp good EV olive oil
  9. Fresh ground salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a quart pot boil water for poached eggs.
  2. Toss spinach and arugula in olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spin boiling water with a spoon - add eggs to boiling water.
  5. Cover and turn off heat. Set timer for for 4 minutes.
  6. Add shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano to salad
  7. Slice prosciutto into bite size pieces add to salad
  8. Add pork skins - break them in half.
  9. Drain poached eggs and place on salad.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
beta
calories
473
fat
38g
protein
27g
carbs
5g
more
EverydayKetoGourmet http://www.everydayketogourmet.com/wp/

Suzies Meatballs

meatballs

Mains | November 15, 2015 | By

Good friends of ours, Stan and Suzie shared this recipe years ago and I have been making Suzies Moms’ Meatballs ever since. If you can find a friend of Italian heritage that is willing to part with her family recipe – learn it and love it as we have.

It’s simple and yet authentic and always makes the kitchen smell so good.

Thanks Suzie! I have only adjusted one thing to make these lower carb and you would never know!

Suzies Meatballs
Serves 6
Authentic Italian Meatballs and Sauce
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
558 calories
12 g
220 g
30 g
58 g
11 g
322 g
1384 g
4 g
0 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
322g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 558
Calories from Fat 269
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g
47%
Saturated Fat 11g
57%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 220mg
73%
Sodium 1384mg
58%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 4g
Protein 58g
Vitamin A
17%
Vitamin C
29%
Calcium
39%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the meatballs
  1. 2 lbs Ground Meatloaf Mix (Pork, Beef, Veal)
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1.5 cups Pecorino Romano cheese (reserve some for sprinkle later)
  4. 1/3 cup almond meal or flour
  5. 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  6. 2 large cloves fresh minced garlic
  7. 2 tsp each fresh ground salt and pepper
  8. 2 tbsp EV olive oil
For the sauce
  1. 28oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  2. 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  3. 1 medium onion chopped
  4. 1 large cloves fresh minced garlic
  5. 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  6. 6 leaves fresh chopped basil
  7. fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
For the Meatballs
  1. In a large glass bowl add first 7 ingredients.
  2. Gently mix well.
  3. Heat a large dutch oven or similar large pot on medium heat with olive oil.
  4. Form meatballs approximately 2" round. (around 12)
  5. In batches brown meatballs on all sides.
  6. Set browned meatballs aside on a plate.
For the Sauce
  1. Add onions and tomato paste to pot and cook using meatball oil still in the pot.
  2. Sauté 3-5 min.
  3. Then sauté in the garlic and parsley.
  4. Add the can of tomatoes and juice.
  5. Mash up the tomatoes with a large spoon or tongs.
  6. Add basil.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Place meatballs single layer in the pot and add any drippings.
  9. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes max.
  10. Stir occasionally.
Notes
  1. This is a fresh sauce and should only cook for 30 minutes max. If it gets dark it is burnt!
Adapted from Suzie M.
beta
calories
558
fat
30g
protein
58g
carbs
12g
more
Adapted from Suzie M.
EverydayKetoGourmet http://www.everydayketogourmet.com/wp/
 So now that you have these great meatballs… where are you gonna put em? We still make pasta for my daughters but Lisa and have moved on to Spahgetti Squash. So easy to prepare and such a great lower carb alternative. If you are planning this meal for dinner be sure to save most of your carbs for later in the day. It will be so worth it – Mangia!

Spaghetti squash
Serves 4
A simple and quick recipe for Spaghetti squash
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
58 calories
7 g
8 g
3 g
1 g
2 g
105 g
56 g
3 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
105g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 58
Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
5%
Saturated Fat 2g
10%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 56mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 7g
2%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
3%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Spaghetti squash - Aprox. 1 large.
  2. fresh ground salt and pepper
  3. 1 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Cut the squash in half the long way.
  2. Scrape out the seeds
  3. Season with fresh ground salt and pepper.
  4. Place in a microwave safe plastic bag. Pierce the bag with a few vent holes
  5. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until a fork can pierce the flesh easily.
  6. Shred flesh with a fork.
  7. Add butter. (optional)
Notes
  1. I'm not really a fan of Microwave cooking but my wife Lisa makes it this way and it comes out amazing every time.
  2. Net carb count on a cup of Spaghetti squash is only 5 grams.
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calories
58
fat
3g
protein
1g
carbs
7g
more
EverydayKetoGourmet http://www.everydayketogourmet.com/wp/

Killer Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Mains, Salads | November 13, 2015 | By

My Infamous Caesar Salad has been know by family and friends for decades. I experienced my first table side Caesar Salad back in the late 80’s at La Vie n Rose on the Berlin Turnpike. I was blown away… asked the waiter for the recipe and have been mashing forks in a large Vermont hand-carved wooden bowl ever since. More recently,

I found a great version in Unionville CT, made table-side by a native New Orleans Restauranteur transplant named Matthew at his upscale restaurant of the same name.

His version was slightly different but amazing all the same. I always enjoyed our conversations as I watched his moves carefully in order to improve my skills. By chance, Lisa and I were there for dinner the night after Matthew passed away suddenly. He will be missed by many who enjoyed his stories and his creole inspired cuisine. As an homage to the former owner, his 2 large Wooden Caesar Salad bowls still adorn the new space refreshed by Cure which has recently opened in its place. 

Matthew

Matthew dazzling with Bananas Foster.

So my recipe below comes from years of study and has been adapted for a lower carb lifestyle and a quicker and creamier execution as we make this recipe weekly. If you’re lucky, you will have some extra dressing for a lunch Caesar salad the next day. I usually add some prosciutto di parma for my leftover lunch version.

 

Killer Caesar Salad
Serves 4
A Caesar Salad you'll remember and make often.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
399 calories
16 g
85 g
29 g
22 g
9 g
404 g
903 g
5 g
0 g
18 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
404g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 399
Calories from Fat 257
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g
45%
Saturated Fat 9g
46%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Cholesterol 85mg
28%
Sodium 903mg
38%
Total Carbohydrates 16g
5%
Dietary Fiber 8g
31%
Sugars 5g
Protein 22g
Vitamin A
554%
Vitamin C
27%
Calcium
57%
Iron
26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large clove of garlic
  2. 7 anchovies
  3. 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  5. 1 tsp of dried oregano
  6. 1.5 tbsp mustard powder ( dijon mustard is also an option)
  7. 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  8. 1 egg yolk - coddled
  9. 1/4 cup EV olive oil
  10. 1/4 cup avocado oil
  11. 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  12. 1.5 cups grated and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  13. 10 fried pork skins (chichamarrones)
  14. 2 hearts of romaine
For the dressing
  1. In a mini-prep processor add the garlic, anchovies, ground pepper, and lemon juice.
  2. Blend until well combined.
  3. Add oregano, mustard powder, worcestershire sauce, and egg yolk.
  4. Blend until well combined.
  5. Drizzle olive oil and then avocado oil slowly as you blend until creamy.
For the Salad
  1. In a large bowl - tear lettuce, by hand only to large bite sized pieces. Discard green tops.
  2. Grate 1 cups of the Parmigiano cheese. Shave the other 1/2 cup - set aside.
  3. Toss the salad with dressing until well coated.
  4. Add the grated Parmigiano - toss well.
  5. Sprinkle the red wine vinegar and toss again.
  6. Add the shaved Parmigiano - toss well.
  7. Add the croutons - fried pork skins - break them each in 2.
  8. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
  9. Serve right away.
Notes
  1. To make it a meal on its own add sliced grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or steak.
  2. Extra dressing may be enough for a lunch salad the next day - so nutrition info per serving may be off (high) a bit.
Adapted from Matthew Popkin
beta
calories
399
fat
29g
protein
22g
carbs
16g
more
Adapted from Matthew Popkin
EverydayKetoGourmet http://www.everydayketogourmet.com/wp/

Burrata and Arugula Salad

burrata

Salads, Small Plates | November 11, 2015 | By

This is one of my favorite go-to appetizers once Tomato Season arrives. In general Tomatoes are higher in carbs than other veggies (I know.. it’s really a fruit) so I added Arugula to this Caprese dish so I can go lighter on the tomatoes. No matter how lower-carb I am trying eat, there is no way I’m not eating local tomatoes at the end of summer when they are at their best here in New England. 

Another version of this salad has very good store bought variety of small tomatoes on the vine from Backyard Farms. I roast them at 350 degrees for 10-15min. The results… freakin awesome!

Burrata and Arugula Salad
Serves 2
This is one of the best caprese-like salads you'll have all summer.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
358 calories
6 g
90 g
26 g
26 g
15 g
207 g
716 g
4 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
207g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 358
Calories from Fat 226
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
40%
Saturated Fat 15g
75%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 90mg
30%
Sodium 716mg
30%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 4g
Protein 26g
Vitamin A
32%
Vitamin C
21%
Calcium
59%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large ball Burrata Cheese
  2. 1 large Heirloom Tomato
  3. Fresh Arugula
  4. 5 leaves Fresh Basil
  5. Balsamic Vinegar
  6. Good E.V. Olive Oil
  7. S & P - fresh ground
Instructions
  1. Toss Arugula with Olive oil to lightly coat.
  2. Lightly season with fresh ground Salt and Pepper.
  3. Slice Tomato thick and place several slices on top of the Arugula.
  4. Lightly season with fresh ground Salt and Pepper.
  5. Slice cold Burrata ball in half and carefully place cut side down on the tomatoes.
  6. Chiffonade Basil and sprinkle on Tomatoes and Burrata.
  7. Lightly season with fresh ground Salt and Pepper.
  8. Drizzle Olive oil over Burrata and tomatoes.
  9. Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar.
  10. Serve with 2 forks and knives and enjoy!
Notes
  1. - Be sure to keep the the Burrata in the fridge until you are ready to make this as it is easier and less messy to cut in half when cold.
  2. - If you are not Keto-ing today, you can serve this app with some ciabatta toasts.
beta
calories
358
fat
26g
protein
26g
carbs
6g
more
EverydayKetoGourmet http://www.everydayketogourmet.com/wp/
 My favorite local brand of Burrata by far is from Mapplebrook Farms in Bennington Vermont. You can find it at Big Y and Stop n Shop and many specialty stores in the area.

IMG_7799