Silky Keto Zucchini Bread

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If you know me, you know I really don’t like to bake. Measuring out ingredients precisely, hell, just using measuring cups, is a hassle. Oftentimes, the ingredient list reaches multiples of double digits, and you need to dirty like twelve bowls and mixing accouterments. Then, you’re telling me I have to wait a half hour or more for my labor of love to come to fruition? THEN, I have to wait for it to cool just to eat it? Good lord, the long game is not my thing.

Cooking is where I really shine! I can improvise as I go, taste as I add ingredients, and curate exactly what I want. Baking is a shot in the dark, and you have one shot. But alas, my love, zucchini bread, has been tapping me on the shoulder lately asking, ‘Have you forgotten about me?’ No, of course not! But that requires digging out the dreaded measuring cups, bowls, teaspoons, and spatulas..is it really worth it? (Yes, always yes).

While there are endless keto recipes for whatever-bread-is-tapping-your-shoulder, how do you find the right one? Always the conundrum. Well, there was a specific non-keto healthy zucchini bread recipe I enjoyed making pre-keto that came to mind. And as all of my innards were screaming ‘Don’t try to modify it!’ and just find one that is specifically designed for keto, I took my chances anyway. (The bravery..baking and improvising all at once?? Ballsy).

With just a couple swaps, I had myself a silky and dense bread that required no butter to be slatered on it (keto or not, I love me some butter on warm zucchini or banana bread!). AND on the first try! I hope you love it as much as I do! (Full disclosure: I may or may not have made this three times last week for social gatherings)…

Keto Zucchini Bread

Yield: 16 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1c loosely packed shredded zucchini
  • 1/2c sour cream
  • 1/3c coconut oil (melted)
  • 1.5tsp cider vinegar
  • 1.5tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5c almond flour
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2c granulated erythritol (Swerve)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 square baking dish. In the first bowl you will dirty, mix together first five ingredients (through vanilla). Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining five ingredients in a separate, now dirty, bowl. Pour wet into dry, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Spread evenly in dish. Bake 30-35 minutes, until edges start to crispy and it is nicely browned on top.

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Pictured is a double recipe in a 9×13

*I do suggest refrigerating once cooled, so the coconut oil can re-solidify. Otherwise, it will be crumbly and that’s no fun. It’s very yummy cold, too.

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Cheers!

Original Zucchini Bread recipe that inspired my keto version!

Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad

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I know I know, cauliflower again? Yes! Don’t fret. I mean honestly, do I ever steer you wrong? I can’t help that it’s just so dang versatile and accommodating!

Since we are still following a Keto diet, there are a few things I ‘miss’. (I use that very loosely, as I do not feel deprived of anything really). There seems to always be a secret door, though, to take me into the modified version, just takes a little creativity is all. I’m game for that!

I tell everyone who will listen that salad is my favorite ‘food group’. But seriously, salads are the BEST! The possibilities are endless, and when you have an expansive palate I swear you can never be bored. Some of my go-to staples are chicken salad (made with rotisserie chicken) on salad, dill-y tuna salad on salad, or Mediterranean roasted eggplant salad. Lately, though, I have had a hankering for tabbouleh. I often would make traditional tabbouleh salad with soaked bulgur and all the fixins’. But alas, this is not keto-friendly. Cauliflower to the rescue! My tried and true, right always-on-hand man, I figured it would be an easy enough swap. I was right!

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Yield: 2 servings

  • 1.5c riced cauliflower
  • 1/4c diced red onion
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes or 1 extra large tomato, diced
  • 1/2c diced scallions
  • 1/2c parsley, chopped
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • ~3T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2c crumbled feta

Microwave riced cauliflower for two minutes, to soften slightly. Toss with all ingredients except the feta cheese. Refrigerate at least 1 hour for the flavors to really marry and develop. I add the feta cheese at the end, so it doesn’t get soggy! I divvied this up between two lunch salads, and paired it with a lemon dill vinaigrette (not totally necessary, but I wanted my lettuce to be coated in a something).

*I completely forgot to put my scallions in it this time, thus the picture is without. But I always use them!

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These are my rough estimates, but feel free to modify as you taste!

It makes me dream of summer as I stare out at the drab remnants of winter’s destruction. I hope this makes you feel summery too, and you will master this simple recipe in time for an outdoor cookout! It could just as easily be used as a refreshing side dish as well.

Cheers!

Velvety Loaded Cauliflower Soup

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Yes, I am bringing you yet another recipe featuring cauliflower. Catching on yet that I love cauliflower? Please, forgive me.

So, this morning the hubby requested soup for dinner. Wish granted! Usually, he is the soup maker (and weekend breakfast chef), but he is a bit bitter about the fact we can’t have lentils on the keto diet, and that’s his favorite soup. So, I took the reigns today. Since we always have cauliflower on hand, (and had scallions and bacon ready to be crisped up), I thought a creamy cauliflower soup would be warming and perfect!

One of our favorite veggie side dishes is roasted cauliflower (weird, right?). So that is the base we’ll be working with here. Roasting it first allows the flavors to really develop and deepen as they caramelize and brown up. Simply boiling and softening the cauliflower in stock won’t amount to a very flavorful soup, trust me! This step is very crucial, and while slightly more time consuming, I promise it is worth it. Once the cauliflower is done roasting, add to bone broth on the stove to allow it to basically soften to mush, then it’s ready for pureeing!

On Sundays, I like to take my time on dinner. Weeknight dinners can be rushed, and not always made with the intention and love I like to season my food with. After coming home at 5pm, sneaking in a quick workout, a healthy dinner still has to be prepared for hubby and I. By the time I actually get to sit down, it’s usually around 7-7:30. Rinse and repeat four more times each week. Every spoonful of this decadent masterpiece was appreciated!

Part 1: Roasting the cauliflower

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with foil
  • Break up a full medium head of cauliflower into small florets, coat with olive oil
  • Top with 1/2 a medium white onion, sliced thinly
  • Season with 2t of onion powder and garlic powder, 1t of pepper, a healthy amount of salt, and a light sprinkle of crushed red pepper (I must admit, I did not officially measure but these are my best guesses. Once everything is blended and you taste it, you can always add more seasoning at that point)
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes
  • In the final 5 minutes of cooking, I added 1T of minced garlic

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Part 2: The broth

  • Combine 4 cups of chicken bone broth with 1 cup water and 1 cup almond milk
  • Add in the roasted cauliflower
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a medium simmer
  • Stir periodically until the cauliflower is softened to mush, approximately 30 minutes

You can’t overcook it here! But you can under cook it, which will hinder the texture when blended. It will have a slight grit if not cooked down enough. I used my immersion blender to puree to its velvety finish, and added 2T of softened cream cheese at this juncture as well. Can also use a regular blender as well or food processor, but the handheld is way easier and less messy! I did find I wanted a little extra salt to marry the flavors a bit more, and added it here after an initial taste test.

Also to note, while the broth was cooking, I prepared another tray of roasted cauliflower that I added to the soup after blending, for additional texture (and cauliflowery goodness!).

Top with your favorite accouterments such as shredded cheese, crispy bacon, and scallions! Sour cream or thinly sliced radishes would also be great compliments.

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Now you’re ready to dive in to this bowl of heaven! In a world with crazy fast-paced lives, slow down and take your time creating this one. Every bite is worth the patience, you won’t regret it.

If I can clarify anything, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to ensure it is perfect for you! Cheers!

Savory Mushroom Cauliflower Fauxsotto

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What’s been cooking in the Shaymeless kitchen, you ask? Well, currently, my husband and I are full Keto! So I am deep in devising delicious, savory, fulfilling, and comforting meals for us!

It’s very early in our process, so I will not weigh in on anything about the diet itself yet. Honestly, I am just happy to be back to some structure post-holiday, such a gluttonous time of year. As you know, the concept of Shaymeless Cooking is to create guiltless and inspired comfort food, without all the calories! So cooking Keto is just a tangential derivation for me; I can work with restrictions, simple!

As a launching point to start you all off this new year, I offer you this creamy mushroom fauxsotto! I love cauliflower, in all the amazing and creative ways it can be used. (I also love a good play on words, if you hadn’t noticed). I had not attempted a risotto-style dish before, but was inspired when searching for new creations. Who doesn’t love a perfect risotto? So, I offer you my low carb and Keto version!

Savory Mushroom Cauliflower Fauxsotto

  • 4oz/1.5c diced mushrooms
  • 3.5c riced cauliflower (about half a head of large cauliflower)
  • 4T butter
  • ~1T minced garlic (LOVE garlic!)
  • 1t salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/4c dry white wine
  • 1/4c bone broth
  • 3/4c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1c freshly grated Locatelli cheese (or any Romano style cheese)
  • optional: fresh thyme sprigs

Sautee the mushrooms on high in butter until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in riced cauliflower, followed by the wine, salt and pepper. Stir to coat, then add the broth, and 1/4c of the milk. Cover for 5 minutes then add the remaining 1/2c milk. Return lid, and allow cauliflower to soften and absorb the excess liquid. I like a little bite to my risotto, thus I cooked my cauliflower to that consistency, about 20 minutes. Feel free to add more liquid (broth/milk combo) if you prefer a softer rice-like style! Finally, stir in the grated cheese and you will have yourselves a creamy, cheesy, risotto-style cauliflower dish!

I hope you enjoy – or use this as your launching pad! It would be amazing with some crispy pancetta, spinach, and gruyere cheese instead *hold please while I run to the store for these ingredients and try this*! Of course this would occur to me now. Stay tuned for an update as this will be my next installment of fauxsotto! 20190109174612_img_0884-02

 

Cinco de Mayo: Tacos and Tequila

My New Year’s Resolution has failed: keeping my loyal readers up to date with fresh and yummy things I am cooking up is not going well.

With that being said, this one will be my much overdo apology and I will include three different recipes! Do you forgive me??

With Cinco de Mayo around the corner, it is only appropriate I take on the cuisine of our neighbors to the south. This is definitely my favorite type of food, and I enjoy it in all its forms! And of course there is my love of guacamole, that can almost go without being said at this point, and if you didn’t know, well consider yourself informed. I. Love. Guacamole. Furthermore, if you have not had my guacamole, here ya go. Guacamole: It’s All About the Avocado

I honestly cannot say when I first realized I loved spicy, Mexican food. My mom never made anything of the like growing up, and certainly my frequent visits to Denny’s and Chili’s in high school didn’t exactly broaden my palate’s horizons. If I had to guess, it would be from watching countless seasons of Top Chef. It has been like my own version of cooking school, really, as I have a wealth of knowledge about foods, cooking techniques, and cuisines I never had before. The show and its talent have really been an inspiration for me to just start playing around with food in the kitchen! It helps I’m not a picky eater,  so there really are very few restrictions when it comes to what I will attempt to cook.

So you’re saying at this point, ‘Alright, enough already, give us some food!’ Okay, okay, message received!

First up: Pork Carnitas. We bought a whole pig this year, so our freezer is STOCKED with different cuts, and I’ve been trying to get creative. Admittedly, I am not a pulled pork fan. However, the prospect of some Carnitas definitely piqued my interest. So, I found myself on Pinterest, scouring for a recipe. Generally, I like to create my own recipes or just use someone else’s as a launching point. This time, though, I did not want to take the chance of ruining a five pound pork shoulder by not following someone else’s directions. I will include the link to the recipe I used – and honestly, I would not change a thing! So. Damn. Delicious. It’s a crockpot recipe I prepped the night before, so when I left for work in the morning, I just popped on low and let ‘er go all day!

http://carlsbadcravings.com/slow-cooker-pork-carnitas-recipe/

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We had the Carnitas in tacos one night, over rice the next, then I made a taco salad with the last bit. I topped my salad with charred corn, black beans, Greek yogurt, guacamole, tomatoes, and salsa verde. If heaven had a taste, this would definitely be it!

The next two recipes are my own, and super simple. Who doesn’t love a 10 minute taco recipe?? Or less, really.

Next on the menu: Cajun Tilapia Tacos topped with charred jalapeno, fresh mango and finished with an avocado crema:

 

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3 corn tortillas

Cajun seasoning

Pan searing flour

2-3 tilapia fillets (I use frozen fillets)

1 jalapeno

Mango slices (1/4 of a mango)

Half an avocado

1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

1t each emon juice, lime juice

4T olive oil, divided

2T water

Dash of chili powder

In a food processor, puree avocado, sour cream or Greek yogurt, lemon and lime juices, water, and remaining olive oil. Blend until smooth, add extra water or olive oil to thin to desired consistency, I prefer mine thicker.

With the broiler on high, place jalapeno slices on a piece of foil and char for 5 minutes.

Generously season both sides of the tilapia with the cajun seasoning, then dust both sides with a light coating of pan searing flour. Swirl half the olive oil in a heated pan. On high heat, cook fillets about 3 minutes per side, they will get a nice blackened crisp on them. Set aside.

 

In the pan used to cook the fish, turn heat to medium-high. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and dash with chili powder on both sides. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until warmed and browning.

Then construct! Layer fish on the bottom of each tortilla, breaking into smaller pieces, top with mango, jalapenos, and finally the crema. This time I used two fillets for the three tacos, because they were massive!

Last but not least, I have a vegetarian option: Smashed Black Bean Tacos topped with guacamole (weird), Greek yogurt, grapefruit, sriracha mayo, and fresh parsley.

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3 corn tortillas

3/4 cup black beans

3 slices grapefruit

1/2 cup guacamole

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Drizzle sriracha sauce, or sriracha mayo

Dash chili powder

Warm the black beans in the microwave until soft, then smash. Top with guacamole, grapefruit, Greek yogurt, and sriracha (or sriracha mayo). Use the same preparation for the tortillas as the previous recipe. And done! Seriously, this took maybe 5 minutes? I got home from the gym one day and wanted something SUPER fast, and this definitely got the job done and was a great post-workout meal.

Phew! You all are now fully prepared for the upcoming holiday of Cinco de Mayo, you are welcome! My Mango Strawberry Salsa would also be delish on any taco as well..gah! So many ideas flying around in my head! Guess I better get back to my workshop, aka kitchen. I have work to do.

Please let me know if you enjoyed everything. Cheers, friends, and don’t forget the tequila!

Honeymoon Black Bean Soup

There is nothing I love more on a chilly, winter evening than a warm bowl of soup. Would anyone care to argue? Okay okay, some may say cracklings logs in the fireplace, a glass of toasty red wine, or a loyal pup at your feet might beat out the soup thing. But to me, it definitely makes the list of winter comforts.

Last year, my husband and I went to the gorgeous West Indies island of Antigua for our eleven day honeymoon.

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Shirley Heights Lookout, Antigua

We loved everything about our trip and resort, and I did my due diligence of taking mental notes about the delicious cuisine we ate. Surprisingly, despite the 90 degree weather and about a million percent humidity, I found myself ordering soup most nights for my appetizer. One notable in particular was their Black Bean. I have always been a fan of this soup, already, but I never tried my hand at making it before! What was funny, err interesting, rather, was all their soups were served pureed. And while I have a knack for soup making (remind me to get my Greens & Beans recipe up here), I have never made an entirely smooth soup before. But here I was, tasting this rich, mirror-like, creamy concoction, with a multitude of flavors bombarding me in this little bowl of pure (pureed!) goodness! Needless to say, that soup moved to the top of my list of dishes I needed to recreate at home.

As most of you may well know, one of my goals of this blog is to make accessible dishes with simple and practical ingredients. Sometimes, you might not even have to go to the store! Honestly, everything in this soup I keep on hand regularly, my life is made immensely easier. And? It’s inexpensive to make, filling, vegetarian, high yield of servings, and freezes well. You are welcome.

Black Bean Soup

3 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)

3-4 cups chicken stock

1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I use Hunt’s Garlic variety)

1 small onion, diced

3/4 cup carrots, diced (it was exactly 10 baby carrots)

1 jalapeno (I don’t fully de-seed mine)

1 T minced garlic

1/2 T chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 T lime juice

*up to 1 cup almond milk to finish

1/4 avocado, diced (for garnish)

1 T greek yogurt (for garnish)

Bring all ingredients, except the almond milk, to a boil in a large pot (mine is 6 quarts I think?), then cover and reduce to a simmer. The objective is to soften everything, the carrots always taking the longest. I periodically stirred and checked the tenderness of the carrots, and after about a half hour they were to my liking. Longer wouldn’t hurt either, you may need to add more stock/liquid.

 

Then I removed from heat, and grabbed one of my favorite kitchen tools, my immersion blender. If you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and get one. While I use my food processor almost daily, when it comes to pureeing soups, I promise you that transferring in batches to a blender or food processor to puree would be, at the very least, a tragic hassle. No batches, no different pot, just plop the immersion blender right in there and power up! This is where I slowly added in my almond milk, for a touch of creaminess (you could also use heavy cream instead). This recipe has no added salt because to me it just doesn’t need it, the warmth from the spices speak volumes alone. I garnish with some fresh avocado and a dollop of greek yogurt, which cools it and I love a swirl in each bite. Hubby likes to add shredded cheddar on top as well, and by all means, cheese it up – has it ever ruined anything? Ever?

All I can say is, it’s another Shaymeless recipe that is husband approved! Oh, and I would like to go back to Antigua for another bowl, because that’s how good it is. But my kitchen version will have to suffice for now!

*It is spicy and warming, so if you have a sensitivity to spicy food I would recommend omitting the jalapeno and the cayenne. Instead sub in a bell pepper and some onion powder. It really can be adapted in many ways, but this is a simple guideline for you to figure out your own Honeymoon Soup!

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Honeymoon Black Bean Soup

Resolutions and Salsa

New Year’s resolutions. We all make them. Go to the gym. Run more. Drink less. Get back to meal planning. Spend less. The classics, really, and these have all made my list. While I do appreciate getting back to structure and being more disciplined, I also would like to improve and focus my attention on an area that is a bit more light.

I’m going to adapt a practice we use at work, which is called the ‘fun to-do list’. Let me explain. My business partner and I work together, side by side, for just about 40 hours, 4-5 days a week. During our workdays, we verbally put things on our to-do lists for when we get home, and say ‘remind me to                 ‘ to the other: ‘remind me to call the DMV’, ‘remind me to email so-and-so back’, ‘remind me to take out the chicken for dinner’, anything really, from the little to important things. It honestly is very helpful. But all of those things are necessary and chore-like, not exactly fun. So we also have a ‘fun to-do list’. Recently I had: change my ringtone, send out three important Christmas cards, and look into Airbnb options for a later trip. Nothing super pressing, but are much lighter than the forced adult-like daily to-do’s. So, why not have a fun resolutions list, too?

It would be an easy scapegoat to blame the holiday season for my absence, but that would be a bit unfair. I fully admit that I have not put forth enough effort into this food blog. But, the number one spot on my fun New Year’s resolutions list: designate a specific time to work on cooking, photographing, and sharing with you all the goodies I’m feasting on! Sincerely something I can look forward to working on, and it definitely helps that Santa brought me a really fancy camera to help capture my mouth-watering noshes.

With that being said, and if I still have your attention, I bring you a new blog post! On the first day of the new year!

My in-laws recently stayed with us over the holiday for 6 days (it was wonderful, I love my mother-in-law). During that time, we threw our annual Christmas party for our families and friends, expecting upwards of forty people. Luckily, I had an extra set of hands to put to work prepping and plating this year (yay!). I am kind of a control freak about my food-stuff, so delegating is not my strongest trait (especially when my husband is terrible at following simple directions: tear the bread, as I specifically wrote out, to which he replies ‘I thought cutting it would be easier!’ But did I ask you to cut it…I digress.) Despite my hesitancy, I had to find tasks for my rebel, rule following breaking husband, and my very obliging MIL.

One dish I gave my MIL to make is my mango salsa. It’s usually on my summer party menu, but when I saw mangoes were 4 for $5, I couldn’t pass up the ripened beauties! It is slightly labor intensive, mostly because mangoes are a pain in the behind to dice (sorry mom!), but it is such a simple dish, requiring only 4 ingredients. This is also impossible to mess up – add more strawberries if you would like, dice something smaller, or larger. Have at it!

Mango Strawberry Salsa

5 ripened mangoes

8-10 oz fresh strawberries

1 large jalapeno

1/2 of a large red onion

Dash of salt

Yield: approximately 6 cups (ish)

(An addendum to my resolution about blogging more is that I also need to start measuring things. When I cook it is all done by taste and visuals..put that on my regular resolutions list, actually. That’s not fun.)

Peel and cube the mangoes into 1/2″ pieces. Dice the strawberries, and add to the mangoes. Finely dice the red onion and the jalapeno, removing most of the seeds (but it really gives a great heat when you leave some), and add to the fruit. That’s it! Stir it up, add a dash of salt, and let the flavors marinade for a bit. It’s better the next day, and the day after that. The mangoes get softer and mushier (who actually wants something to be mushy?!) and it’s amazing. A few days later we topped our cajun pork chops with the salsa. It was epic.

One of my well-fed partygoers, pointing to the mango salsa, ‘This was the biggest surprise! Wow, incredible!’. So there, I will leave you with that. Cheers!

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Looks like summertime