Tag Archives: keto

Sarah Britton’s Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies = Our New Favourite Treat

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.


This time around, she’s elevated the humble cookie and transformed it into a salty and sweet keto-friendly treat that you’ll want to make on repeat.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies

Homemade Tahini Ingredients: 
Makes about 2 cups (500ml)

4 cups / 300g un-hulled (brown/variegated) sesame seeds
½ tsp. fine salt
½ cup cold-pressed sesame oil (olive oil works too)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread sesame seeds out on two rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven to toast for 15-20, stirring a couple times during cooking to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. Place sesame seeds in a food processor and blend on high until smooth, adding the oil as needed. Add salt and blend.

3. Store tahini in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Cookie Ingredients:

2 cups / 220g almond flour
½ tsp. flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup / 175ml tahini
½ cup / 125ml yacon syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 50g chopped dark chocolate
2 Tbsp. crushed cacao nibs, plus 2 Tbsp. to garnish

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 170°C. Lightly grease, or line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, black pepper and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan whisk tahini, yacon syrup, and vanilla together over low heat until runny. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The dough will be thick and you may need to use your hands to finish mixing. When the dough has cooled, fold in chopped chocolate and cacao nibs.

4. Roll about a tablespoon and a half worth of the dough in the palm of your hands, into a ball. Flatten slightly, then place on the prepared tray, sprinkle with a few more cacao nibs and a pinch of flaky salt. Lightly press the toppings into the dough.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

6. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a week.

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.

Watch The Substitute Baker Wednesdays at 4ep on the Food Network Canada Facebook page.

I Went Keto for 3 Months and Got Gout. Here’s What I Wish I’d Known

My friend walks into a bar – glowing, leaner and the happiest I’ve ever seen her in our 12 year friendship. “Keto,” she says, anticipating the ‘What are you doing?’ question, “I basically eat a lot of Caesar salad – I’ve lost 25 pounds.”

We’re in our thirties, and every year it feels like there’s another ring around the trunk. While I’ve picked up rec sports like ball hockey and practice yoga semi-regularly, I’ve never been on a diet and haven’t put any actual effort into slimming down. My friend, Janna, and I have always had similar palates: we love bread, pasta, sandwiches, sauce, potatoes and most comfort foods on the regular. “You should do it,” she said, “You can eat so many things — I feel amazing.”

Why I went keto

As an intersectional-feminist who promotes body positivity, I hate how this story starts. It was one long look into my bathroom mirror after a shower when I cried — unhappy with the aged, unfamiliar woman staring back at me. I decided, at that exact moment, that I was going to try keto, as Janna had done.

So, I started the following Monday. I took the weekend to consult with Dr. Google so I could hunt and gather at the grocery store for my new and very first diet.

The ketogenic diet is attractive to people like me (read: who have the palate of a 13-year-old boy in the 90’s with a love for beige food and grease) because you never have to go hungry or calorie count, and you’re allowed to eat bacon, burgers, butter and other foods typically considered unhealthy. It’s a high fat, moderate protein, zero-sugar, low-carb diet. I don’t even like baked goods or sweets.

But I do like bagels, dumplings, corn and other carbs you’re not allowed on keto. Starchy carbs were off the table — so were fruits (including the melon family, mangoes, pineapple, apples etc.) and even a variety of vegetables had to be limited.

Related: From keto to whole30 to vegan. What is the best healthy diet? 

What a typical day of eating looked like for me

Like Janna, I ended up eating a lot of Caesar salad with chicken on the regular. Breakfast was all about bacon, eggs (cooked in butter), spinach and avocado. On offer at lunch was usually more leafy greens, roast chicken (sometimes hot, other times cold), cheese and nuts. For snacks, I ate more nuts, more cheese, and sometimes I’d even eat raw spinach out of the bin and call them “keto chips”. Blackberries were a green-lit treat, and very dark chocolate is also OK in moderation. I learned to like cream, and sometimes butter, in my keto coffee.

I also learned to drink so much water, and I peed on a keto strip every morning to make sure I was still in a state of ketosis. Being in the state of dietary ketosis is key to the weight loss benefits of the diet — it means your body is no longer fueled by carbs and is instead running on stored fat (hence the high fat part), producing ketones, so your brain still gets the energy it needs. To enter ketosis, I had to deprive my body of carbs (keeping the serving under 20g per day). The process took about three to five days, which is when I got what’s dubbed the keto flu and lost seven pounds by day six.

Some challenges I faced while on keto

I made the mistake of going on a road trip to Michigan within my first weeks of keto. Translation: burgers with lettuce, meat sticks, cheese and nuts were pretty much all I consumed that weekend. My mother commented on my appearance: “It’s working. I can see it in your face.” I was thinning out.

Related: How to develop healthy eating habits that actually last.

They say you stop craving carbs — that never actually happened for me. I didn’t need them, but if I saw my co-worker eating pizza, I knew I’d rather be sinking my teeth into a slice than stabbing at a bowl of cold, raw vegetables.

Keto became a way of life. At post ball hockey drinks, I’d have water and eat a burger in a lettuce bun with celery (no illegal carrots because of the sugar). But I knew this couldn’t go on forever. While editing a story on celebrity diets, I discovered the 80/20 diet and decided to try carb cycling.

Related: What is the flexitarian diet, and why are people doing it?

What I wish I knew when I got gout

Carb cycling and keto may increase the risk of gout. I wish I’d talked to an actual expert and registered nutritionist before I’d participated in a fad diet to explore the potential risks for myself. For this article, I talked to Julie Mancuso, the weight-loss expert and owner of JM Nutrition.

My friends are doing it, my coworkers are doing it — it works great for them, so it’ll work great for me, is something Mancuso hears all the time from first-time dieters. “Even though we have the same composition, we all have a different makeup, and your friend may not have any pre-dispositions to health issues,” she explains.

It turns out gout runs in my family. I was the first female to get it in my known bloodline — a glass ceiling I really didn’t need to break. But after attempting (and failing) carb cycling, drinking wine and building up too much uric acid, I found myself hopping on one foot with the rich man’s disease. I gave myself gout. It was already in my genes and it was triggered by my diet.

“With keto, you actually get most of the calorie consumption from fat,” says Mancuso. “If someone is predisposed to gallstones and you’re eating an abundance of fat — and [the] body can’t keep up with that — that will cause a problem.” Another thing to note is that spinach is very high in oxalate, the number one cause of kidney stones. So, at least I didn’t get gallstones or kidney stones, right?

Related: A nutritionist reveals 10 best natural foods for glowing skin.

How I would do keto differently

The next time I submit to my insecurities and decide to attempt a drastic diet change, I will consult with a nutritionist or dietitian to help me better my relationship with food.

According to Mancuso, there are many healthy and sustainable changes people can make to their diet that will help with weight-loss — people don’t need to jump into keto. But many lean towards diets like keto, including Atkins, Paleo and South Beach, because the results are typically fast, and starting something so strict and seemingly effective can be motivating.

“Our culture is like that — when we want something, we want it now,” says Mancuso, who often works with clients and encourages them to start slowly with new diets. She likes to take the time to assess and provide people with a better understanding with how diets and weight-loss actually work.

“What I don’t like about keto is that it’s very restrictive,” explains Mancuso. “The biggest problem is that people have trouble sustaining this diet… what diet restricts broccoli?”

Related: Nutritionist reveals 10 secrets to keeping energy levels up all day long.

What people should keep in mind if going keto

“Keto works for weight-loss” says Mancuso. “What I like is that it steers people away from eating carbs and sugar.”

She would recommend nutritionally balanced keto — which, according to the weight-loss expert, is moderate protein and plenty of vegetables. If the aim is weight-loss, the sugar has to go, and the carbs have to be cut down. As it turns out, there really aren’t any shortcuts or hacks for leading a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Feature image courtesy of Getty Images. 

How to Make Keto-Style Stuffing for Thanksgiving (That Tastes Heavenly)

Sticking to a keto, low-carb or paleo diet throughout the holidays certainly does not mean missing out on all the Thanksgiving classics, like stuffing. And here’s the best part about our keto stuffing: it actually tastes like the real thing! Using a keto bread, either from the grocery store or homemade, still provides that wonderful moist, stuffing texture and nicely soaks up all the delicious, flavourful juices. Keto bread has become so popular that it’s available at most conventional grocery stores and almost all health food stores; if you can’t find it, check the freezer section.

Keto-Style Cauliflower Stuffing Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes (or 1 hour 45 if drying the bread)
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 cups (about 1 loaf) store-bought or homemade keto bread, sliced into 1 ½ inch cubes
¼ cup butter
1 large shallots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups cauliflower florets, chopped into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 ½ cups beef or chicken broth
1 egg

Directions:

1. The keto bread must be dry or stale before you begin this recipe so it can soak up all the juices. If it’s not stale, dry it by placing the bread cubes on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and ensure the bread is not overcrowded. Bake in the oven at 250°F for 1 hour. Toss halfway.

2. Place a large, wide skillet on medium-high heat, add the butter, and as it begins to sizzle and melt toss in the shallots, celery, garlic and cauliflower, cook for 10 minutes until softened. After 10 minutes add in the herbs, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat.
3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a casserole dish (9×13 works well but any medium to large casserole dish will do).
4. In a bowl, crack and whisk the eggs and stir in the broth.
5. Transfer the shallot mixture into a large bowl, fold in the dried keto bread, pour over the egg and broth mixture and stir to combine.

6. Place the mixture into the buttered casserole dish, cover it and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, uncover it and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

More reasons to do a happy dance at the Thanksgiving table this year: this keto cheesecake, these fudgy keto brownies and our collection of the best keto-friendly appetizers.

The Best Keto Protein Bar Recipe That Totally Beats Store-Bought

Loaded with peanuts, peanut butter, eggs and butter, this decadent tasting keto protein bar is truly superior to anything you’ll find in a package. The base takes cues from a peanut butter cookie, baked until firm and chilled, then topped with a peanut caramel. Dark chocolate and more peanuts top things off before being frozen until set – but you can enjoy them room temperature if you’re on the go. Satisfy your sweet tooth and fill up on protein and fat with these rich treats!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Caramel Keto Protein Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake and Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours (including chill time)
Makes: 15 to 20 bars

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Cookie Base
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup natural peanut butter
⅔ cup granulated keto sugar (allulose or xylitol)
2 large eggs
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
¼ cup coconut flour
¾ tsp salt

Peanut Caramel
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup granulated keto sweetener (allulose or xylitol)
½ cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

Chocolate Peanut Topping
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (99% for lowest sugar content, if possible), melted
⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
Salt, to taste  

Directions:

Peanut Butter Cookie Base
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal.
2. In a large bowl, mix to combine butter with peanut butter. Mix in sugar and eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Mix in peanuts, coconut flour and salt until combined and then evenly spread into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 25 minutes, until dry to the touch on top and set around the edges. Cool to room temperature, then freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the caramel.

Peanut Caramel
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat and continue to cook until browned, about 5 minutes (this adds additional flavour and colour). Whisk in the sweetener, cream, molasses and salt. Without stirring, cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened.
2. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts and vanilla. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. Both the cookie base and caramel need to be chilled and/or kept at room temperature, otherwise the caramel will soak too far into the cookie base.
3. Once the caramel has cooled to room temperature, remove the chilled peanut butter cookie base from the freezer or refrigerator. Spread peanut caramel evenly over peanut butter cookie base and freeze for 1 hour, until caramel is firm.

Chocolate Peanut Topping and Serving
1. Slice chilled cookie base into thirds and from there, slice each third into whichever size you prefer to make about 15 to 20 bars.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the bars evenly. Drizzle with melted chocolate before it sets, then top with peanuts and salt to taste.
3. Freeze until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes, and enjoy. Store leftover bars airtight in the freezer for up to 2 months or refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Don’t let your cooking streak stop there! We’ve compiled 14 tasty keto-friendly snack recipes, along with the easiest keto dinners to make this week. Heading out for dinner instead? Don’t sweat it. Here’s what to order at a restaurant if you’re on the keto diet.

The Keto Kung Pao Chicken Recipe That is Better Than Takeout

Whether you’re a keto follower or not, this weeknight chicken dish will satisfy protein lovers and healthy veggie seekers alike. At first glance, the ingredient list may seem daunting, but you’re really just re-using the same pantry staples with a few extra options. Better than takeout, you won’t need to invest in a wok, we’ve made this delicious meal in a large cast-iron pan, and no one was the wiser.

30-Minute Keto Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes (this includes marinating. While the chicken is marinating, prep the vegetables and sauce).
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
450g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil, divided
4-6 dried red chilies
4 green onions, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 red finger chili (optional)
1 bunch asparagus, cut in large pieces
1 sweet bell pepper, halved, cored and cut into cubes
4 tsp each minced garlic and ginger
2 mini cucumber, cut in small cubes
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts or cashews
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Sauce:
3 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp each soy sauce and white vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Asian chili-garlic sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine chicken, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp rice wine and 2 tsp cornstarch; stir to combine. Let stand to marinate 15 minutes.

2. In large cast-iron pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add dried chilies, green onions and finger chili (if using) and cook, stirring until green onions are slightly charred, about 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet or large plate.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp of remaining oil in the pan. Add asparagus and bell pepper and cook, stirring until slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Transfer to baking sheet. Add remaining 11/2 tsp oil to pan; working in 2 batches, stir-fry chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per batch, repeating with remaining oil.

5. Sauce: In small bowl, stir together water, rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Return the chicken, vegetables and chilies to the pan. Sprinkle with salt; stir in the sauce and cook until liquid is bubbling and thickened, 30-45 seconds. Stir in cucumbers, peanuts and chili-garlic sauce (if using); sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tip: For evenly browned chicken, avoid crowding in the pan, and don’t stir immediately. Check one piece before turning the remaining with a spatula.

Looking for more healthy recipe inspo? We’ve rounded up 20 Easy Keto Dinners to Make This Week, plus 15 Recipes Packed with Healthy Fats to Keep You Full

The Only 3 No-Bake Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

Snack happy with three unique, delicious and good-for-you energy bites – no oven required. For the keto crowd: a fat bomb layered with the flavours of lemon-raspberry cheesecake. These frozen snacks are the ultimate in-between meal booster that will satisfy your sweet tooth, without getting you away from your dietary goals.

And, for the cookie lovers (all of us), a no-bake cookie base with a choose-your-own-adventure option: classic chocolate chip or cozy oatmeal raisin. Both no-bake cookie creations are gluten-free, and the chocolate chip variation is also grain-free. All three of these no-bake treats are ideal for packed lunches, a pre- or post- workout snack and a healthier after-dinner dessert.

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Keto Fat Bombs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Makes: 12

Ingredients:
1½ cups recently boiled water
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 to 2 Tbsp keto sweetener or liquid sweetener, to taste
½ tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Directions:
1. Line a 12-count muffin tin with papers.
2. In a high-speed blender, add all ingredients except raspberries and blend until smooth and creamy. Add half the batter to the bottom of the papers. Add raspberries to the remaining half of the batter and puree again until smooth.
3. Top plain cheesecake batter with raspberry batter, and tap the pan a few times to release any air bubbles.
4. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until set. Unwrap papers and serve frozen.
5. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies & No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes: 3 dozen

Ingredients:

No-Bake Cookie Base
4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup unsalted nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, etc.)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut flour
¼ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
¾ tsp fine-grain salt

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 recipe No-Bake Cookie Base (from above)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, to taste

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 recipe No-Bake Cookie Base (from above)
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
¾ cup raisins
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

No-Bake Cookie Base
1. In a food processor, blend coconut until it resembles the smooth and creamy consistency of almond butter (you are making coconut butter), stopping the machine to scrape down the sides several times. This will take about 10 minutes.
2. To the coconut butter, add nut butter, maple syrup, coconut flour, almond milk and salt. Blend until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a large bowl.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. To the cookie base, add chocolate chips and mix well.
2. Scoop 2- to 3-Tbsp portions of dough onto a cookie sheet. Roll dough into balls and sprinkle with flaky salt.
3. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
4. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months. These taste best cold.

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
1. To the cookie base, add oats, raisins and cinnamon and mix well. If the mixture seems too dry to compress (flours vary in absorbency), add an additional 1 Tbsp or more of almond milk.
2. Scoop 2- to 3-Tbsp portions of dough onto a cookie sheet. Roll dough into balls and then slightly press down with the palm of your hand.
3. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
4. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months. These taste best cold.

Looking for more easy, no-bake treats to add to your repertoire?  We’ve rounded up our 21 Best Ever No-Bake Desserts (from a peanut butter cheesecake to chocolate brownies!).

cream-cheese-stuffed-chicken

Your Cheesy Stuffed Chicken Breast Needs Creamy Cajun Sauce

With winter in full swing, it’s important to have a few heartwarming, rich and comforting dishes in your dinner line-up. This recipe for Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Cajun Sauce is the ultimate dinner indulgence. Packed with just the right amount of cheese, cream and Cajun spice, it’s bound to become a family favourite. The Cajun spice blend which is the star of this recipe,  features paprika, garlic powder, thyme and many more fragrant spices. To save time, I used a favourite store-bought spice blend but you can add your own special touch by making a Cajun spice blend of your own.

stuffed-chicken-covered-in-cajun-cream-sauce

Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Cajun Sauce

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts
2 Tbsp cajun seasoning

Filling:
3 Tbsp of cream cheese
2 Tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¾ cup of chopped spinach
Sauce:
2/3 cup of chicken broth
3 Tbsps cajun seasonings
1 ½ cup of cream
¼  white onion finely chopped

stuffed-chicken-ingredients

Directions:
1. Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise, without cutting all the way through. Open the chicken breast up and place wax paper on top (the wax paper will act as a barrier). Use a rolling pin or another round hard object to pound the chicken breast into a thin, even layer.
2. Remove the wax paper and season both sides of the chicken breast with Cajun seasoning and set aside.
3. Chop spinach into thin pieces and place into a bowl, then finely chop 1 clove of garlic and add it to a bowl of cream cheese. Mix mozzarella cheese and spinach with cream cheese until everything is evenly distributed.

spinach-cheese-stuffing-in-bowl

4. Spread the cream cheese mixture inside the chicken, being careful not to over-stuff.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add oil to a hot pan placed on medium heat. Add the stuffed chicken breasts to hot pan and sear each side. Once the chicken breast has a nice brown crust on each side, remove it and place on a baking sheet. Reserve pan and drippings for later.
6. Bake the stuffed chicken breasts in the oven for 25 minutes or until it has cooked all the way through.
7. Return to the pan and add a bit more oil to the pan drippings if necessary, then add onion. Cook onions until translucent. Add chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer then add cream slowly, stirring as you add. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat.
8. Serve with the stuffed chicken breast and garnish with parsley.

stuffed-chicken-breast-with-sauce

Looking for more recipes? Try these Must-Try Chicken Breast Recipes.