Dawn Martenz is the primary author of the Charlie Foundation Blog. She is also the author of The Keto Cookbook which features 4:1 ratio recipes and The Modified Keto Cookbook, featuring low ratio, family friendly recipes for ketogenic diet therapies. Please e-mail Dawn at; Dawn@Charliefoundation.org if you would like to become a recipe contributor or even just submit a few of your favorites! For more about Dawn and her daughter Charlotte, please visit ketocook.com.

The Keto Pantry - Hemp Seeds

Welcome to our new *virtual* Keto Pantry! Each post will feature a healthy, ketogenic diet therapy friendly ingredient. We want to encourage you to include these ingredients in your diet to help promote overall health and well-being. Please let us know how you like this new feature and what we can add to make it as effective and helpful as possible. Proudly brought to you by:

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What are they?

Commercial hemp seeds, often called “hemp hearts” are the inner (shelled) part of the seed from hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Although the seeds come form the same species of plant that includes marijuana, hemp seeds contain only trace to non-detectable amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in marijuana that produces a “high”.  Most of the THC is found in the shell of the seed which is removed before packaging. They are safe to eat!

https://charliefoundation.org/hemp seed texture 1625183

Photo: whole hemp seeds with outer shell

Nutrition (Derived from the USDA Food Database)

Hemp seeds are mostly protein and fat with very little carbohydrate.  They are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio (unsaturated to saturated fat) of linoleic acid (omega-6) to alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) which is consider to be an idea balance. Since they contain these fatty acids, they keep best stored in the refrigerator and should not be used for high heat cooking.

3 tablespoons of hemp seeds provides over 9 grams of plant based protein. They are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids.

Hemp seeds are also high in iron, vitamin E and magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, as well as blood pressure.

NutritionLabel hempseeds

What do they taste like?

Shelled hemp seeds have a very mild flavor similar to pine nuts. They are soft and easy to chew with a creamy texture when blended or pureed.hempseeds

 

Photo: Shelled hemp seeds

 

How to use them:

The easiest way to include hemp seeds in your diet is to simply sprinkle them on a salad or in yogurt. However, since they are a great plant based protein, you can use them as an “all natural” protein powder replacement. Simply add them to your smoothie in place of your current protein powder and blend away.

Think of them in applications where grains, nuts or beans would be used. Use in place of chickpeas for a low carb hummus or a replacement for beans in a veggie burger. Try them in pesto instead of pine nuts. Puree them and use along with or instead of macadamia nuts in keto pancakes, waffles and other baked goods.

Click the recipes below for a few Charlie Foundation created recipes to try!

Flax-Hemp Crackers

Flax-Hemp Crackers

 

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Keto Pantry - Olive Oil

Welcome to our new *virtual* Keto Pantry! Each post will feature a healthy, ketogenic diet therapy friendly ingredient. We want to encourage you to include these ingredients in your diet to help promote overall health and well-being. Please let us know how you like this new feature and what we can add to make it as effective and helpful as possible. Proudly brought to you by:

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What is it?

Olive oil is simply the oil that is pressed from olive fruit and is 100% fat.  However, it is worth mentioning that many brands of olive oil, including olive oils labeled with words such as “light”, “mild flavor”, “salad” and “cooking” have been cut or diluted with lesser quality (non-olive) oils.

It is best to buy olive oil labeled, “extra virgin” from reputable brands and resources. The oil should be in a dark glass bottle to protect it form going rancid. You can also look for a “harvest date” and make sure you will consume it within 2 years of that date. A indication of a reputable brand may have the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) Seal of Certification. This applies only to California derived olive oil.  You can also review this report form UC Davis regarding brands found NOT supporting their labeled claims.  If you have ever noticed oilive oil solidifying in the refigerator, this means that you have a very good quality olive oil! As soon as the olive oil has warmed to room temperature, it will return to a liquid state.

FreeGreatPicture.com 7353 olive oil

Nutrition (Derived from the USDA Food Database)

Extra Virgin olive oil is very high in the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid. Oleic acid can help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and possibly help lower blood pressure.

Oleocanthal is one of the powerful antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil. It works as an anti-inflammatory. Some researchers believe chronic inflammation may be responsible for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.  It also contains vitamin E, another antioxidant and vitamin K which helps blood clot properly.

Extra virgin olive oil Nutrition dervived from the USDA

NutritionLabel

What does it taste like?

Extra Virgin Olive oil should be any color ranging from a bright green to a light straw yellow color. It should have a “fruity”  and fresh taste that is light, not heavy. Most freshly pressed olive oils will have a “peppery” flavor that goes away quickly.

FreeGreatPicture.com 7233 olive oil

How to use it

Olive oil is best used with no heat or low heat applications. Homemade salad dressings are at the top of the list. Drizzle the oil over hot entrees after they have finished cooking to preserve both the flavors of the oil and its healthy antioxidants.

Click the recipes below for a few Charlie Foundation created recipes to try!

Almond Crackers

Basil Pesto

Chia Balsamic Dressing

Chicken Nuggets

Coconut Oil Mayonnaise

Flax-Hemp Crackers

High Fiber Rolls

No-Matzo Ball Soup

Olive, Basil & Almond Tapenade

Spinach & Flax Microwave Muffin

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The Keto Pantry - Cabbage

Welcome to our new *virtual* Keto Pantry! Each post will feature a healthy, ketogenic diet therapy friendly ingredient. We want to encourage you to include these ingredients in your diet to help promote overall health and well-being. Please let us know how you like this new feature and what we can add to make it as effective and helpful as possible. Proudly brought to you by:

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What is it?

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable closely related to kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. There are several varieties easily found in grocery stores including green cabbage, the most common with tightly layered smooth leaves, savoy, which has crinkled leaves, red, Napa and bock choy.

Since cabbage is low in carbohydrate, and high in fiber and water, its an excellent choice for ketogenic diet therapies. This means that you get to enjoy a large serving of cabbage compared to other vegetables.

green cabbage

 

Nutrition (Derived from the USDA Food Database)

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It is also a very good source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate and copper. The red cabbage variety offers much higher level of polyphenols than any of the green varieties.

Nutrition Facts for “green cabbage, raw”

NutritionLabel Cabbage copy

What does it taste like?

Raw green cabbage has a strong peppery or bitter flavor with tough, rubbery leaves. When it is steamed or roasted, it becomes much more tender and sweet. When green cabbage is combined with other ingredients, it takes on the additional flavorings and is almost indistinguishable. Red cabbage has a similar flavor and texture to green, but it is deeper and earthier. Savoy, Napa, and bock choy are all sweeter with much more tender leaves.

red cabbage

How to use it

Green and red cabbage is best used when it is sliced thinly and cooked quickly. Steaming and roasting will retain more of the vitamins and minerals than boiling.  A simple sauté of thinly sliced cabbage is a great substitution for carbohydrate based ingredients such and rice and noodles.  It is also helpful in “bulking up” meals. When cabbage is included in soups, stir fry’s,  and casseroles, portions will be larger and more filling.

For the savoy, Napa and bock choy varieties, their softer leaves are especially good for adding to salads and other raw dishes. They can be cooked as well, but again, should only be cooked as quickly as possible. The leaves on these varieties will virtually “disappear” when cooked too long.

Click the recipes below for a few Charlie Foundation created recipes to try!

Cabbage Patties 

Brussels Sprouts 

Chicken and Cabbage Puree 

Chicken Vegetable Soup 

Peanut Noodle Salad

Stir Fry with Noodles

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Frozen Yogurt Tubes (keto Go-Gurts or Yo-Sqeezers) ***UPDATED 5/23/13***

Frozen Yogurt Tubes (keto Go-Gurts or Yo-Sqeezers) ***UPDATED 5/23/13***

Making home-made yogurt tubes is not the quickest process, however I can think of numerous occasions where I would have LOVED to have a keto meal ready-made, in a tube, frozen and ready to eat.  I can't think of a better meal to send with a keto kid to school, camp, grandparents houses, birthday parties, picnics, the beach, you name it.  After these are made, you can throw them in a cooler with ice packs and hit the road (just remember a small pair of scissors to open it!)

Here is the process broken down step by step.  It took a little trial and error to get the right size tube for my particular recipe, and there is definitely a little more waste of the food saver bags than I care for... but to have this in the freezer and be able to travel with it is worth it in my opinion.

***UPDATE***  A new, MUCH EASIER way of making these pops is now available! Please click here to order Zipzicle bags (pictured above).  OR you can continue with the original method ;)

 

Step 1

Make the yogurt. The recipe I am using is my fruit yogurt.  This is a peach version.  Please not that this has changed slightly since our move since my brand of cream is different.  I was using Organic Valley Cream, but now I'm using Trader Joe's which is 40%.  The entire serving of the recipe is 118 grams, the how much needs to fit inside the yogurt tube, WITH room to spare for it to seal properly.

3.5:1 Ratio

about 290 calories

21g peaches

15g 40% heavy cream

62g Stonyfield Yogurt, Plain Whole Milk

10g walnut oil

10g coconut oil

Again, total weight is 118g per serving. This is how much you need to fit into the tube.

I use a blender to make a large batch of yogurt.  You will lose a few grams of it in the process, if this concerns you, you will have to puree the peaches separately then mix each serving separately as well.

I make 6 serving at a time.  Multiply each ingredient by 6 and blend it all together in the blender until it is completely smooth.  It helps to have the coconut oil melted when you first mix the batch of yogurt.  This will help it incorporate completely.

Step 2

Make the yogurt tubes. Make a tube bigger than you think the first time, so you get an idea of how much space your recipe needs.

To held enough for this recipe, you will need a roll of 11 inch FoodSaver plastic.  For each tube, you need about 4.5 inches.  Once you have cut the first length, seal the first side. When the Foodsaver starts to "suck" to remove any moisture or air, hit the stop button to by-pass this and go straight to the heat sealing step.  You should have this...

Next seal the other side.  Again, hit the stop button to stop the air removal.  Now you have an empty tube that is sealed on all 4 sides. The middle portion is where the yogurt will go and it as about 2 inches across.

Trim one of the short ends (factory sealed edges) to make the top opening.

Put the empty tube in a tall cup on your scale and ZERO the scale. Use a funnel or just hold the tube open with one hand and carefully pour in the yogurt mixture (whoops, first tube I made was too small! Do you see it only weighs 86g?)  If you over fill, use a syringe to remove any extra.

This is why you need at least 2 inches extra room at the top.  Now you have to seal the top opening.  I had no problem sliding in the extra and getting it to seal. Make sure you hit the stop button to prevent it from sucking out the yogurt!!!! Now you should have this...

Trim the extra off the sides and put it in the freezer.

You could put anything in here, it doesn't have to be yogurt..., pudding, applesauce, ice creams, really anything that is pureed.  After eating the frozen pop, if there is anything remaining in the plastic I would recommend adding a small amount of water and swishing it around.  You would have to then drink the water... or cut it open and let the kids lick it out ( I know my kids would not have a problem with that!)

Also... did you know, you can re-seal store-bought yogurt tubes!  The only downside it that they are much smaller and only hold 56g. After cutting off the top and taking into consideration the room needed to re-seal, your recipe could only be about 30g total weight.  If you have a fruit puree or need small 50 or 100 calorie snacks, these might work for you!

 

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Sprinkle Birthday Cake

Sprinkle Birthday Cake

I wanted to re-create "Funfetti" boxed cake mix... It was always one of my favorite mixes in the cake section! I really did not want to include nuts so it could be considered "school friendly", so I included xanthum gum in this recipe.  Some people may not be familiar with xanthan gum, however, it is an indigestible fiber, and does not need to be calculated into a ketogenic recipe. It is what makes the cake spongy and retain the rise from baking.  It also helps hold all of the oil and keep the ingredients emulsified.  It is not an ingredient I would choose to use on a daily basis, but sometimes you need to eat cake! I have never seen any adverse reaction to xanthan gum, but please run it by your dietitian just to be sure.

India Tree makes a great 100% all natural vegetable based food coloring, but if you prefer to avoid food coloring or just want a plain white cake,  just leave the sprinkles out and use all plain coconut flour.  I frosted the cake with about 50g of Buttercream Frosting flavored with almond and lemon extract.  I sincerely hope this recipe helps make a keto birthday special!

Sprinkle Birthday Cake
256 Calories

3:1 Ratio

5.2g Protein

3.0g Carbohydrate

Makes one single serve birthday cake

For the sprinkles:
Combine 1 tablespoon of coconut flour with equal parts water. Stir to combine. Add 1 drop of food coloring (natural food coloring is preferred) to the coconut flour andwater. Make sure the color is evenly distributed. Spread the colored coconut flouron a piece of parchment paper until it is very thin. Allow it to air-dry overnight. When it is thoroughly dried, break it into very small pieces and store in an airtight jar. Each color is made separately using the same process.*Please note: for the following recipe, only 2g of the colored coconut flour sprinkles are used. Continue to use “coconut flour” in recipe calculations
to include the sprinkles. Since the amount of food coloring in the cake recipe is so minimal, the food coloring can be counted as a “free food” item.

For the cake:Ingredients:
23g oil, use a plain flavor such as sunflower, safflower, canola
12g coconut flour, Bob’s Red Mill (10g from the bag, 2g of the colored sprinkles)
1g xanthan gum (*Optional & does not need to be calculated)0.5g baking powder0.5g vanilla extract (an additional 0.5g almond extract adds a gre
at “cake” flavor)
32g egg whites, whipped into soft peaks½ tablespoon waterPinch of salt Sweetener of choice (5g of Truvia was used for testing)

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 10g of plain coconut flour with the oil. Stir until smooth. Add the xanthan gun, baking powder, extract, water, salt and sweetener. Stir again until all of the ingredients are very well combined.

Add about 10g of the egg whites plus the additional 2g of colored coconut flour. Stir until the egg whites are incorporated and the batter has “loosened” slightly.
Add the remaining egg whites and carefully fold them into the cake batter. Continue folding the egg whites into the batter until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish or silicone mold (a 1-cup glass Pyrex container was used for testing).

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Continue to bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. The cake should spring back when the center is pressed lightly with your finger.

Allow to cool before slicing or frosting. 

Notes:
If possible let the cake cool upside down (similar to an angel food cake), this will help prevent it from collapsing. It will sink slightly as it cools, however it you find it is going flat, it may have been slightly undercooked.

Xanthan gum is a stabilizer and emulsifier that gives the cooked cake a spongy texture and helps hold all of the oil. It allows it to rise and hold the tiny bubbles created by the baking powder. If the xanthan gum is not used, the texture of thecake will be denser. Xanthan gum does not contribute to the overall flavor it only helps improve the texture.

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In-N-Out Salad

In-N-Out Salad

No matter how healthy you eat on a daily basis.... When you live in California, you eat at In-N-Out on occasion! For those of you not "in the know", there is a process to ordering your meal at In-N-Out.  The menu has 3 options: Hamburger, Cheeseburger and Double-Double (2 patties), Aside from fries and fountain drinks, that's all that is posted on the menu.  BUT... there is a "secret" menu and specific terminology when it comes time to order.  Two of the most popular are "animal style" (includes grilled chopped onions, pickles and mustard) and "protein style" (a burger without the bun and wrapped in an iceberg lettuce leaf instead).  

Lots of people who eat low carb diets order "protein style" and it is not at all uncommon to see people eating burgers with a lettuce instead of a bun.  In-N-Out also has a "spread" that is very similar to Thousand Island salad dressing... the spread and "protein style" gave me the idea to calculate a salad using the same ingredients and flavors.  For older kids and adults, a small hamburger patty wrapped in lettuce would be a great option to bring with you.  On average, a hamburger patty at In-N-Out weigh about 30g, a lettuce wrap in place of the bun weighs about 65g (I have gotten as little as 30g and needed to ask for more) and 2 slices of tomato is about 30-40g.  Here are links tot he main In-N-Out Burger website, the nutrition information (some of you may be able to actually order right off the menu!) and a link to a post detailing the "secret menu"  (make sure you click the slide show) because there are even more options than what they tell you on the In-N-Out website!

Makes 1 serving

3:1 ratio

298 calories

7.79g protein

1.81g carbohydrate

In-N-Out Salad

 

Ingredients

70g iceberg lettuce

25g 85% ground beef, cooked (I roll tiny meatballs and pan fry them.  I store them in the freezer)

10g dill pickles, Bubbies brand

20g mayonnaise, Hellmann's

9g coconut oil (I think they add sweetener to the "spread". The coconut oil adds a little sweet flavor instead of using an oil like olive.  But, use whatever you would like!)

5g tomato puree, canned (you could use sugar-free ketchup as well)

5g dill relish, Bubbies brand

salt/pepper

Directions

Chop or shred the lettuce.  Top with the meat and pickles.

Mix the mayonnaise, coconut oil, relish and tomato puree together to make the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the salad and enjoy! (Ask for a free water while you're at it!)

Notes

You could add tomatoes or chopped hot chilies if you would like.

The dressing can hold more oil if needed to increase the ratio.

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Cooking Chicken

Cooking Chicken

Having pre-prepped ingredients stored in the freezer is a major time and sanity saver! This is a great way to cook chicken so the flavor and texture after thawing do not taste like leftovers.  By cooking chicken using this method, it will remain soft, you can avoid using added fat during the cooking process, it will not dry out, and once frozen, it is ready to pull out of the freezer one piece at a time.  It is also ready to process further for other recipes that require shredded or pureed chicken.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Boneless, skinless chicken breast, a clean knife and plastic cutting board.   Fill a pot with enough water to cover the amount of chicken you have. Put the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil.

Raw Chicken Package

Step 2: Slice the Chicken

I slice the chicken into small bite size pieces. The are wider than they are thick, about 0.5 - 1 inch in size. I choose to wear disposable gloves when handling raw meat, it is a great way to help prevent cross contamination with other ingredients.

Cut Chicken

Step 3: Cook the Chicken

Once the water has boiled, put all of the sliced chicken into the water and stir to prevent the pieces of meat from clumping to each other. For the size pieces that I cut, 60 SECONDS is all it takes to cook. The water will not come back to a boil after adding the chicken.  Before removing all of the chicken, check a larger piece to see if it is cooked through. The internal temperature of the meat should be 165 degrees and no longer look pink.  I use a strainer to scoop it out into a clean bowl.

If you would like to freeze the chicken, cover the cooked bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to cool completely in the refrigerator. I use gallon size zip top bags and lay them flat on a freezer shelf, making sure the chicken pieces inside are relatively spread apart.  Once they are frozen, shake the bag to break them apart and squeeze the air from the bag.  They will thaw in only a few minutes when I need them.

Chicken in pot

Step 4: Shredding

For recipes like chicken salad or chicken nuggets, I use shredded chicken. To shred the chicken,  use a standard food processor.  Just put the warm chicken into the processor and pulse it a few times.  That's it!

shredded chicken

Step 5: Pureeing

Once you have shredded the chicken, you can move onto pureeing.  After it reaches the shredded state, just keep the food processor running. It will take about about 5 minutes total.  The chicken will never turn into a puree, it will begin to look very dry and clump together.  Once you start to see it clumping together, it is ready.  Take a piece out and rub it between your fingers. It should be very fine, with no large pieces interspersed.  DO NOT add any water while pureeing! The water will add weight to the chicken and when added to a ketogenic meal, you will end up with less chicken than you should.  It is best to puree while the chicken in still warm. Once it has cooled, it never seems to get a fine of a texture. Once the chicken is blended with other ingredients such as cooked vegetables and fat, it will thin in consistency from the added moisture from other ingredients. At this point, you have cooked, pureed chicken breast that is ready to be added to a keto recipe or freeze!

ground chicken

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Updated Keto Pantry List & Printable!

New printable format of the Keto Pantry!

Use the keto pantry to determine food preferences prior to starting the diet OR use it to expand your current diet.

CLICK HERE: Keto pantry printable PDF

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Most Frequently Eaten Meal...

Most Frequently Eaten Meal...

This is a super fast meal that can be eaten anytime of day.  Sometimes the eggs are scrambled, sometimes they are fried, I even microwave them if I'm in a huge rush.  The side fruit or vegetable is interchangeable and depends on what is currently available!

Of course, part of the ease in preparation comes from taking oil in syringes. Learning how to consume oil in this method allows for ingredients to be eaten plain (as many people like), not swimming in fat. This is a skill that is best learned slowly using small amounts of oil to start with.  Overtime, people master this technique and are more easily able to consume the fat.  You could swap some oil out for cream, mix some of the oil (or even mayonnaise) into the eggs and scramble them, but most likely you will have to have some oil or fat on the side if you are at a higher ratio.

288 calories (will vary slightly depending on the fruit or vegetable)

3.5:1 ratio

Ingredients

10g coconut oil

10g olive oil

5g butter

50g raw egg (usually 1 large egg is about 50g)

40g raw tomato

OR

Replace the tomato with any other fruit or vegetable of your choice.  Keep the egg, oil, butter measurements the same and write down the different amounts of fruit or veggies needed to replace the tomato on the same card.  A few examples:

26g blackberries

23g strawberries

31g baby-bella mushrooms

32g asparagus

Directions

Pan fry the egg in the butter. Scrape all of the butter out of the pan on to the top of the egg.  Serve the tomatoes on the side, cut in half and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Serve the oil in 2 10ml syringes.

Notes

You can include some of the fat in the egg if you scramble them.  50g of egg will hold about 10g of oil plus some cream if you are using it.

Some vegetables are great if they are cooked in the egg like an omelet.  Spinach, mushrooms, peppers and onions are all good options.

In the background, you see un-sweetened decaffeinated black iced tea.  Use only decaffeinated tea for ketogenic diets! Tea is a great source of many antioxidants and is considered a "free" beverage.

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How to Freeze Avocado

How to Freeze Avocado

If you are avocado lovers, this is a great tip! Avocados are great for the ketogenic diet.  It's one of the few foods that can be eaten "straight up"with nothing added and still remains balanced at a 4:1 ratio with the fiber subtracted.  The instructions are super simple...

1. Peal and remove the pit from the avocado.

2. Keep the entire halves intact, cut into cubs or mash into a puree.

3. Place into freezer zip top bags or use a Foodsaver.  If you want individual portions, use the snack size baggies.  The most important part is that you remove all the air from the bag.  This is what prevents the avocado from turning brown.

4. Thaw in the refrigerator and use as soon as it is soft.  The consistency will be different than a fresh avocado, but it works very well for including into other recipes such as guacamole or smoothies.

Here is a link to the Hass Avocado Board for more instructions, tips and information.

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