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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Keto?? Yes, I fell down that rabbit hole and it’s working for me!

Seasonal Diet of the Pandemic
Controlling my weight as a chef and a baker — and basically someone who just loves all food — has always been a challenge. My usual procedure is work really hard on some kind of quick weight loss plan (never lasts) or a plan like Weight Watchers (the best, most sustainable program out there), lose the 20 pounds, keep it off for about 2 years, and then get bored of all the accountability, lose the plot, and then before I know it I'm eating chocolate chip cookies and I am doomed. Sugar is my crack and almost as addictive.

I have learned I am better with a plan that has strict rules and suggested menus to follow. I love a challenge, and I like to develop recipes to meet whatever crazy palette of ingredients I am currently allowed. So the keto diet has been my pandemic challenge. It's not easy to follow. To do it right, I have to monitor the macros of everything I eat (I use the free version of My Fitness Pal) to get the right percentage of fat (massive amounts of fat), protein, and carbs (the new enemy) as well as testing my blood and glucose to see if I have successfully reached ketosis — which is when your body burns fat and weight starts to disappear. Fat is now my friend, which is so weird!

If you are interested, there is a huge amount of info on the web as well as some great books I'll list at the end of this post.

After almost 4 months, I am down 15 pounds and at my goal weight. Anyone who has ever had a weight issue knows the really hard work is keeping it off. But I am going to keep my expectations realistic and not beat myself up. One of my favorite parts of this challenge has been all the discoveries that taught me new ways to use ingredients to create some of the foods I no longer eat — like bread!

I would like to share 3 recipes which are delicious, nutritious and kind of cool: hearts of palm bread (GF); celery root, butternut squash, and bacon rösti; and mocha mousse. They are all Keto, so remember they are high in fat and calories but low in protein and carbs. The orgiginal recipe sources are linked, but I've made a number of changes in some of these recipes.

Celery Root, Butternut Squash, Bacon and Parmesan Rösti

Adapted from Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan

2 slices sugar-free bacon, cut into small pieces
1 cup shredded raw celery root
1/2 cup shredded raw butternut squash
1 shallot
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove fresh crushed garlic
1 egg

In a 10 inch sauté pan, cook the bacon until mostly crisp. Remove bacon and save the fat. While the bacon cooks, combine the shredded celery root, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, and egg and mix well. Put 2 tablespoons bacon fat back into the sauté pan. Add the celeriac mixture to the pan with the cooked bacon in it and stir well. With the back of a large spoon, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a round cake.

Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the bottom is dark golden brown and crisp, and the top is softened. Put into 375 oven for 15 minutes. Carefully place a serving plate over your pan and flip the cake onto it crispy side up. Serve it hot, garnished with more parsley if you like.

Hearts of Palm Bread

Adapted from I Breathe I'm Hungry by Mellissa Sevigny

1 (14 ounce) can of hearts of palm, well drained (equals about 8 ounces drained weight, or 1 1/2 cups sliced)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups super-fine blanched almond flour
2/3 cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt (sea salt or Himalayan salt preferred)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9.5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Combine the hearts of palm, eggs, olive oil, and water in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, baking powder and salt.

Mix with a dough hook on low to medium for 1 to 2 minutes or until a dough is formed. If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix by hand with a sturdy spoon for several minutes, then knead by hand for a minute or two, until you have a well-blended and uniform-looking dough.

Form into a loaf about 8 inches long by 3 inches wide and 3 inches high, and place in the parchment-lined loaf pan. Bake for 70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bread has risen by about 1 inch.

Remove from the oven and carefully lift the loaf out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Place the loaf (without the parchment paper) on a wire rack too cool. This will keep it from getting soggy on the bottom, and will allow any moisture to evaporate as steam. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Store the bread in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Note: most forms of Psyllium husk will turn your bread a slight purple grey. This does not affect flavor, but the recipe creator recommends Healthworks brand because it never turns her baked goods purple.

Mocha Mousse

Adapted from from Ruled.Me

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated Swerve
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated Swerve

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Next, blend in the vanilla extract, Swerve, cocoa powder, and coffee powder until incorporated and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add Swerve and beat a bit more. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it. Be sure to not deflate the bubbles. Fold in the remaining 2/3 of the mixture until the whipped cream is evenly incorporated.

Transfer the mousse into 6 8-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, then just eat it all.

some more keto resources:

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