Friday, October 31, 2014

Keto Pizza - Cauliflower Crust

Research led me to my discovery of different pizza crusts. The Cauliflower Crust is one of them. I came across it through this web page, and thought it doesn't hurt to try it at home.

However, I have to remind you that this crust is very flimsy. Perhaps, I needed to bake it more or to add another egg to bind it together effectively, but I only followed the ingredients where I got from. It still tasted okay; different, but it will do as an alternative.

Here's what I prepared:
4 cups raw cauliflower, chopped
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup shredded cheese (recommended soft goat cheese)

Here's what I did:
1. Preheat oven at 400*F, then work on crust.
2. I chopped one head of cauliflower in my food processor.

3. Boiled water (an inch high in a deep pot).
4. Placed chopped cauliflower in the water and cooked it around 4-5 minutes.
5. I drained it. Use a very fine mesh strainer.
6. Transferred drained cauliflower in a cheese cloth. (Be careful. It is very hot.)
7. Squeezed out all the water as much as possible. (It's very hot! Don't burn yourself. Let it cool down if you can't handle it.)
8. After squeezing out the excess water (yes, there's a lot of water), I mix in the eggs, salt, dried oregano, and shredded cheese (I used Parmesan in this recipe because it's all I have in my refrigerator, but you could use any cheese, especially soft goat cheese.) Mix it well together.

9. It will not look like an exact pizza dough, but it will hold together. Spread it out on a pizza tray or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

10. Bake it for 35-40 minutes. It should look golden brown.
11. Load the toppings. Remember, meat should be cooked, because you only need to pop back the pizza in the oven to melt the cheese.
12. Bake again for 10 minutes.
13. Serve.

I had leftovers and discovered that pizza is always better eaten cold. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween 2014!

It's that time of year when I get to be a kid again. Well, I try. So, I became Lalaa (that's the spelling on the costume bag), a teletubby. According to Wiki, the correct spelling of the name is Laa-Laa. She's the third teletubby, a sunflower yellow color, and a girly-girl good singer. Teehee! It was a fun costume!

My office always conducts a Halloween Costume Contest. I am not a hardcore participant. I only join it just to have fun for the day. Of course, it's always great to mingle with other departments and co-workers. We get paid to walk around, parade our costumes, and chit-chat. Who wouldn't like that?

Here are some of my co-workers I encountered earlier:

1st Prize = Princess Leia and Charlie Chip-R2D2
2nd Prize = Starcraft Cyborg
3rd Prize = Queen of Hearts

It was a fun rainy day!

How about you, what did you dress-up with? How's your Halloween trick-or-treaters? So far, we had around 72 kids who asked for a treat (including one infant). It's a low count, maybe because of the rain. Well, we got tons of leftover candies. Hmm, not a bad thing, huh? BUT, I don't eat candy! Sheesh!

Still, be safe!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Keto Meals - Spicy Chili and Jalapeno Cheese Almond Muffins

Since I have associated Halloween with Chili and Corn Bread, I had to make my own Keto version of it in order to be in the spirit of the occasion. It is not Halloween yet, but we got the Shaglings this weekend, so it is our Halloween weekend with them.

I discovered this low-carb chili recipe, but I kind of tweaked it to my taste. I have read the comments to it, and I didn't want mine to be like that. So, you would see the difference from my own recipe below.

The Chili

2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 pound of Ground Beef (browned and drained)
1 cup chopped Onion
3 stalks Celery diced
2 cloves of Garlic minced
1 can of diced Tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz)
1 can of Tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can Beef Broth (14.5 oz)
1 cup hot water
3 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Sriracha Sauce (or more, depending on the spice you can handle)
1 cube Beef Bouillon
Shredded Cheese for garnishing

1. Brown and drain ground beef. Set aside. (I added the drained liquid into the mix because it has all the natural beef flavor in it.)

2. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil. I used a deep soup pan and didn't use the crock pot.

3. Add cooked ground beef and celery. Mix it.
4. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth (plus drained liquid), Sriracha sauce, and all spices. Mix it all together.

5. Let it simmer (I actually had a rolling boil and then lowered the heat). Add more salt and pepper, depending on your taste.
6. Serve in a bowl garnished with shredded cheese or add more Sriracha sauce for more kick.

Of course, one can't have chili without corn bread, but I can't have regular corn bread in my WOE (way of eating). That's why I was so happy to stumble upon this recipe. I took out the honey, because I don't need sugar in my WOE. I also tweaked the cheese a bit. It still tasted good.

The No-Grain, Low-Carb, Corn Bread Substitute - Jalapeno Cheese Almond Muffins

The Ingredients
2 cups Almond Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Large Eggs
3 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted (+ 1 tbsp for to grease muffin pan)
1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Peppered Jack Cheese
1-2 pcs chopped Jalapenos

1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
2. Add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix it together. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, add almond milk, eggs, and coconut oil. Whisk it together.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, add the cheese, and the jalapenos. Mix it all together.

5. Pour the batter into a greased muffin pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Don't overflow, since the batter rises. (This recipe makes 8 muffins. I didn't have an exact 8-muffin pan, so the photo shows empty slots.)

It's not only a great Halloween treat, but it's also good during rainy weather! I made three batches of the chili. I only made one batch of the muffins (my husband made his own corn bread). Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Keto Pizza - Fat Head's Crust

This was the first time I used Almond Flour, so I was a bit excited when I made this pizza.

I did research when it comes to Ketogenic ingredients that would replace the starchy pizza crust. I discovered Fat Head's Pizza Crust.

The Crust

- Mixed in a microwave-safe bowl the following:
1 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tbsp Cream Cheese

- Microwave it for a minute. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Be careful. It's very hot.

- Stir in the following:
1 egg
3/4 cups of Almond Flour

It should have a dough-like consistency.

- Preheat the oven for 425*F.

- Prepare a cookie sheet with a lining of parchment paper.
- Wet your hands with water and spread the pizza dough on the cookie sheet.
I will definitely try to flatten the dough as thin as possible next time, because I want my crust crunchy.

- Sprinkle the flattened dough with garlic salt.

- Put the dough in the oven.
- After 8 minutes, check it, and poke a hole on any part that's bubbling.
- Bake more for a total of 12-14 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

- Put a thin layer of low carb pizza sauce, cheese, cooked meat, and veggies for toppings.
- Put it back in the oven to melt the cheese, and it's all done.

I made two batches, because, I thought, one batch was not enough for me and my husband. I got six slices out of two batches of the Fat Head Pizza Crust recipe. However, after eating a slice and a half, I was so full already. It's very filling. My stomach is not used to having the carbs on Almond flour, so I feel weird. LOL. I wouldn't eat this pizza everyday, though. It's heavy! But, it's definitely low-carb-great!

Keto Snack - Cheese Crisps

Several of my friends who are not on Instagram requested that I share some of the recipes that I have tried for the Keto Diet (Ketogenic or LCHF diet). This is one of my favorites, Cheese Crisps. I like crunchy snacks. I used to eat a lot of Potato Chips, Crunchy Tortilla Chips, and Cheetos. All bad carbs! So, when I came across this very simple-to-DIY snack, I've been making it all the time.

I first tried Cheddar Cheese, but it's too oily afterwards. Not that I'm against the oily part, since Keto is all about good oil. But, when I discovered Shredded Parmesan for Cheese Crisps, it's the perfect ingredient!

I take a small plate-size of Parchment paper.

Grab a finger-full of Parmesan Cheese.

Place the cheese on the Parchment paper and spread it into a circle.

Microwave it for a minute. Voila!

I eat two in one sitting. Two hours after breakfast, and two hours after lunch. At least, it's not bad carbs. It takes away the cravings. You have to remember that I don't eat it everyday. I mix up my snacks. Sometimes almonds, or pork rinds. It's great!

Keep on keto-ing!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Snail Mail System

When it comes to my snail mail replies, I have been asked several times what my system is. Meaning, with all the multiple letters I get, how do I know who to reply to first? I don't get my letters everyday. Randomly, I choose a day in a week to pick-up the contents of my PO Box. Piles of colorful envelopes greet me all the time. It's always a wonder which one arrived first. So, that's why I decided to set-up a system that works for me.

I ordered a customized self-inking rubber stamp online. And it looks like this:

The Rec Date means "Received Date." That's the date when I picked it up from my PO Box. Of course, there's always multiple letters in one Rec Date. That's when the second date comes in handy.

The Let Date means "Letter's Date." Sometimes, the postmark of the sender's PO is visible, like this one:

But there are times when it is not visible for me, like this one:

That's when I visit the actual letter inside and get the letter's date when it was written, like this one:

Unfortunately, there are penpalers who don't write any date at all. And, there are multiples of same letter's dates as well. My final step in figuring out who gets a reply first ends up with using the alphabetical system. I'll just use their last name's initials to finish organizing my letters. It's really easy when I got used to doing it.

I'm too OCD, but at least it totally works. Unfortunately, when I get into a writing rut, everything gets delayed. HaHaHa.

So, how's your Friday night?

P.S. The Rep Date means "Replied Date." It's to remind myself that I already sent out a reply. I'm too forgetful.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fremont Chili Cook-Off 2014

This year marked my fourth year of attending Fremont Chili Cook-Off, and the Rotary Club moved it to a different location. It used to be inside the Saddle Rack compound. Instead, they were placed in between Macy's and Sears inside Newpark Mall's parking lot. It's indeed a bigger venue with lots of parking spaces. However, the event appeared smaller and spiritless. Perhaps, we got there early. The stage for the band was not set up yet, and the crowd, well, not much crowd. Weatherwise, it was cooler inside the mall than outside the parking lot. Mid-80s! Meh, vitamin D was good.

My first frustration was the absence of the Firefighter's Jaws of Life demonstration. That was the best part of the event for the last three years of my attendance. This year, they didn't have it, and it made the whole event dull for me. I know it's all about the chili, but I'll get to that in a bit. There were other several fun stuff that were not present, and one of them was my favorite chili from last year, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. That chili was the bomb! I submitted all my voting tickets to them last year. They were not present this year. Boo! There's the usual mini-concert of bands whose name were unknown to me. (I'm not really a country music fan, so "The California Cowboys" screams country music to me.) We tasted chili and we left. That's it.

Here's the blow by blow. We bought three booklets. Each booklet consisted of six tasting tickets. Shaggy and I shared nine tasting tickets each. A booklet cost $8 online, but $10 at the gate during the event. The drinks were for separate purchase. Five drink tickets for one small cup of beer and one drink ticket for others (i.e. soda and water). Each drink ticket cost $1. The whole area was embraced by one single yellow tape. I guess, the security were not that tight since no one can taste the chili without the tickets. Without the tickets, you're just a lurker. HeHe.

Here are the chilis we've tasted this year (Photos on top of the chili photos will be the chili-makers):

Thou shall not pass chili? Well, it's called Gandolf's chili. Very little heat. Ratio of meat, veggies, and sauce were good.

The Firefighter's Chili was a bit sweet than spicy. I'm not into sweet chili. I think they forgot to turn off the water hose on this one. The fire was absent!

The Ted's Triple-C Chili sign looked promising, but when it came to their actual chili, I was disappointed. The meat almost blended with the sauce. Meaning, no meat texture. Too watery. No heat at all. Cheese was good, though.

The servers for the Masonic Homes Chili boasted lots of red peppers in their chili. After tasting though, I don't think they put enough red peppers. No kick at all.

This was actually a free chili given by one of the servers from the Warm Springs Little League Baseball booth. This chili reminded me of Thanksgiving Dinner. It contained black olives and tasted different. Unfortunately, the spiciness I wanted was not in it.

The Washington Hospital's Chili was vegetarian. They had a condiments table with the cooked meat sitting outside their booth with the cheese, jalapenos, guacamole and sriracha sauce. Call me lazy, but I won't vote for a chili that was not totally cooked and served hot. Plus, this chili resembled salsa instead of actual chili.

I loved the sliced jalapeno on top of this chili, but it is not a jalapeno cook-off. The chili was too plain without it.

It tasted okay. I'm just not a fan of watery chili. I prefer meaty and spicy.

The texture was good, because there's meat in it. It's just a bit sweet to my taste. The veggies that went with it made it a bit sweet.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Last but not the least, the chili that we thought has a real kick in it was made by the Rotaract Club, and they received our vote-tickets:

Balanced meat and veggies. The heat was totally there. Water please!

We went home afterwards. We didn't wait for the band. The mall's parking lot became ridiculous with clueless drivers. We preferred to plop at home. I also tested my blood sugar. Fortunately, it was still in the normal range. Great! I love chili. Don't put sugar in it! LOL

How about you, how's your weekend? Do you like chili?