• Personal Updates

    Back to Family Life & Routine

    I haven’t posted any updates since I got back from vacation just over a month ago.  I think I’ve just been trying to get back into routine, work, life, etc.  It’s been super hot, but I haven’t noticed it much since I spend most of my days in the office.  I am so thankful that my family gets together for birthdays and events, and I love getting to spend time together.  We got together last weekend for my brother-in-law’s birthday.  Chris turned 50 and my neice Amara was a couple days away from turning 14.  Chris has been doing absolutely amazing on his Keto journey and the transformation has been incredible!  I also got to spend some time with my sweet nephew, Callen, who is growing way too fast already!!

    Callen & Me, August 5, 2018

    Callen is Derrick’s birthday-buddy, since he was born on Derrick’s 18th birthday (March 24th), and he has become my selfie-buddy 🙂

    Our family had been going through a lot of turmoil and grieving when Callen came into this world, just a bit too early.  Early enough where he spent his first few days in the NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit).  We spent most of Derrick’s 18th birthday in that hospital, but none of us cared about that.  We were just happy that, with the help of the nurses and doctors at that hospital, he turned out to be the most precious, healthy baby boy one could hope for!!

    Just over a month earlier, we had lost my Aunt Dolly unexpectedly on February 16th, and it was pretty horrible to say the least!  It was a total nightmare for our family and honestly, we are still reeling from it.  I think it will still be some time before we aren’t.  All that aside, my Aunt hated having her picture taken!  When we lost her, I scrambled to try to find pictures of her, and there just weren’t that many.  There were several pictures that I found, remembering that she was the one that had been holding the camera, and I looked anew at the picture she saw from her eyes.  I decided when Callen was born that I didn’t care if the pictures of me were good or not, he would never have to search for pictures of us together!  So, since the moment I was able to hold him in my arms, I’ve made it a point to take a selfie (or 10) with him every single time I’ve gotten to see him.  I will eventually make him some kind of book, and he’ll probably think his old aunt is a little lame, but that’s ok… I’ll also be the aunt who spoils him totally rotten since I only have 1.5 kids left to launch from my own household…

    Isn’t he the cutest though?!?

    I have an older niece Rebecca that I don’t get to see quite as often, and another nephew, Jason, due in November, and I’ll make sure to continue the tradition with them, but Callen just happened to be the little gift from God that started it, and I will treasure every moment!  Those are the babies, but I have several older nieces and nephews that got big before I got cool enough to be taking selfies LOL.  Like my kids, they didn’t come with instruction manuals and all I had to do was blink my eyes and they grew right up!!

    Savannah went to volleyball camp a couple weeks ago, went off to “Camp Kaylee” with my cousin last week, came home for a night, and was right back out the door with the Glenwood Youth Group for their summer camp.  She never seems to stop moving, but she reminds me so much of myself at that age that it is hard to fault her.  Next week she will be registering for COLLEGE for running start (she’ll be a junior in high school this year), so my thought is for her to enjoy whatever moments she has as a kid now.  Let me just throw out a little mommy-pride there… College… as a Junior in High School.  Yep.  She’s amazing!

    Derrick is working on physical training and getting ready for the Marine Corps.  (Just a TON more mommy-pride there!!)  His running and crunches are fine, but he’s still struggling a bit with the pull-ups.  His date may have been pushed out from October to November, but what I’ve learned from the military is there is never 100% until they tell you to move your a$$ 😉

    DiDi has flown the proverbial coop and has headed off onto her own, moving in with her high school sweetheart.  A little delayed off of her planned timeline, but that’s just the way life goes sometimes.  Jim and I briefly discussed whether that would affect our Keto lifestyle, but it really doesn’t.  We may have started this in an effort to support DiDi, but we definitely see the benefits to our own health, and at this point, we are committed to following through on it.  We’re not sure of exactly how much weight or sizes that we’ve dropped so far since that was not the reason we started, but it has been somewhere around a combined 50 lbs since June 17th.  That is pretty incredible really, especially when you top that with how great we feel.  We will be continuing on Keto, so I’ll keep the recipes coming!

    Speaking of…

    S’more cookie sheet… still in progress, but has potential 😉

    I’ve been working on a couple new ones, including a S’more Cookie.  This one is definitely still in progress, but it has potential to be amazing!!

    A “graham cracker” crust base, marshmallow, and then drizzled chocolate.  Keto marshmallows just aren’t roastable, so I knew I needed to come up with a S’mores alternative.  The graham cracker is what is giving me issues at this point with its non-crispiness, but I am determined to make this happen.  It actually turned out to be pretty awesome (but a super gooey puddle), heated up in the toaster oven.

    Last night, I updated my Ninja Cheesecake recipe to use Allulose as the sweetener, so I hope you all enjoy that.  It was my first experiment after getting my order of Allulose, and the batch of cheesecakes I made turned out amazing!

    We went to the annual barn dance a couple weeks ago.  Our standard dish is Jalapeño Popper Chicken which has always been Keto even when I wasn’t, and we’ve decided we can never make enough of it.  Yes, my husband helps out on a few of the recipes, and he happens to be a pretty damn good cook!!  This year I also brought some Ninja Cheesecakes to share and those disappeared as well.  I can only come up with an “approximate” recipe on the Jalepeno Popper Chicken, but I’ll share it when I get the chance.

    Tiramisu

    Jim made Jalapeño Popper Chicken again for my brother-in-law’s birthday, since I had my hands full adding a new favorite to my recipes.  I spent about 3 days putting together a Tiramisu recipe.  It was really just in response to a challenge from my brat sister, but I’ve definitely found my new favorite dessert!!  That was a recipe I found on another website (http://queenketo.com/sugar-free-low-carb-keto-tiramisu/)  There is absolutely nothing I want to change about the recipe other than it takes days to put it together!!  “QueenKeto” even responded to my post on Instagram!!

     

    The Tiramisu was so amazing that I froze down a couple portions and have threatened to break fingers of anyone who touches them!!

    The Tiramisu recipe introduced me to a brand new ingredient, Lupin Flour.  This stuff is amazing and absolutely packed with fiber.  I ordered a few pounds of it the other day and have been going thru my recipes and changing the flour base to see if it makes a difference.  It does!!

    Pizza crust made with Cheese, Lupin Flour & Egg, then piled high with Pepperoni, Sausage, Onion, Green Pepper and Olives. Best pizza yet!!

    I made a fathead pizza crust with it a couple nights ago that turned out amazing, and definitely better than my previous versions!

     

    I’ll share that recipe in the future along with the cheese crackers I made from the same general idea.

    Keto Cheese Crackers, Round 1

    I don’t have those quite right or consistent yet, but it will happen.  I’m still discovering how to work with the new ingredient after all.

    The burnt ones are actually the ones that got crispy, and they really do taste like cheese-its.

    Well, Jim and I are headed out to the big city of Hood River for lunch and groceries, so I better go before he starts tapping his foot at me.

    I hope you all are surviving the summer heat and doing something fun!

     

    As always, my best to you and your family!

    ~ Sherry ~

  • Keto Recipes

    Keto Waffles

    This is another ninja recipe since it could easily pass as a “real” waffle.  Jim and I were so excited that these turned out so well, half of it disappeared before I remembered to snap a picture!  Our son, James is at our house, he is not on Keto, and he made “out-of-the-box” waffles after we were done with our lunch and claimed my Keto waffles were better!  I love to hear that about my Keto creations!!  These are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, just as I would expect from my waffles 🙂

    This is another simple recipe without an overload of ingredients, and you can easily split it in half.  The recipe as written will feed about 4 hungry people.  It can be modified into pancake batter, omitting the softened butter and adding an additional teaspoon of baking powder.

    Set out your cream cheese ahead of time or plan on spending some extra time scraping the bowls and blending.  With the eggs, I usually drop them in some warm to hot water for a few minutes to quickly bring them up to “room temp”.  It seems you would be able to make typical swaps in this recipe (use your favorite sweetener, swap out for your preferred “butter”, etc.), but here are the basics:

     

    Ingredients

    8 oz Cream Cheese (at room temp)

    8 Eggs (at room temp)*

    4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

    1 tsp. Butter Pecan Extract**

    1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

    3 Tbsp. Softened Butter (omit for pancakes)

    2 Tbsp. Liquid Allulose (or sweetener of choice)

    1/2 cup Coconut Flour

    1 Tbsp. Baking Powder (additional 1 tsp. for pancakes)

    * For fluffier waffles & pancakes, separate the eggs and beat up the whites to stiff peaks with 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar.  Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture as a last step until well incorporated.  I was looking for a simple version, so I skipped this step and they were still fluffy with great consistency.

    ** You can use Maple or Additional Vanilla Extract, but the butter pecan is pretty amazing for waffles!

     

    Directions

    Heat up waffle iron to med-high (I set my waffle iron at 4.5 where highest setting is 6).  Whip the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add in eggs, extract(s), butter, whipping cream and sweetener, mixing well 1-2 minutes scraping sides.  Mix dry ingredients in small bowl.  Add to the cream cheese mixture.  Continue to mix and scrape sides of bowl until completely smooth.   Spray waffle iron with oil (I use avocado-coconut oil spray).  Use approx. 1/3 cup batter per waffle.  Cook on med-high until most of the steam stops evaporating from the waffle maker.  The recipe yields about 5-6 full-sized waffles.

     

    I topped these with butter, and Heavy Whipping Cream that I whipped up to stiff peaks and then I mixed in some Strawberry Chia topping.  The recipe is the same as my Blackberry Chia topping, except with strawberries.

    I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!  I am so full!!

    Sherry

  • Keto Recipes

    Zucchini Cheese Sandwich

    So this isn’t a traditional sandwich since it is not on bread, but it definitely satisfied my sandwich craving… 2 nights in a row (I had to try it out with homemade tomato soup of course).  Needless to say, I am pretty pleased with the recipe!  I actually found a similar recipe on Facebook that called for cornstarch but I made a couple modifications to suit our Keto plan.  Really all spices are optional, so you can add or subtract to your taste preference.  The Parmesan cheese is also optional but may help to soak up some of the zucchini juices.  I’ve made the recipe both ways and didn’t notice much of a taste difference.  Straining the juices is not necessary either, but makes for a “prettier” creation in the pan.  I have found that pouring off some of the juices before I make the 2nd sandwich also helps, but you do lose some of the spices.

     

    Ingredients

    2 Zucchinis (about 3 cups shredded)

    1/2 Tsp. Salt

    1/2 Tsp. Pepper

    1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder (optional)

    1/4 Tsp. Onion Powder (optional)

    1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)

    3 Tbsp. Egg White Protein Powder

    1 Large Egg

    Grease or Oil

    1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

     

    Directions

    Grate the Zucchini and mix in the spices.  Optional: Leave to sit for 10-15 min then strain off juices by squeezing in paper towels or cheesecloth.  Mix in the Egg White Protein Powder (and Parmesan cheese if using) until evenly distributed, then mix in the egg.  Heat a skillet to medium heat with Grease or Oil (I use leftover bacon grease), preferably in a cast-iron skillet.  Dump half of the zucchini mixture on the skillet, shape into a rectangle, and then separate into halves (you should have 2 approximately bread-sized squares).

    Cook for 3-4 minutes or until brown and crispy, and then flip over the pieces.  Cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Place 1/2 cup of the cheese on one piece and flip the other piece onto it.  You can add more cheese to the top if you prefer.  These hold together well and can be eaten like a sandwich, but I prefer a fork 🙂 These go great with Homemade Tomato Soup.  I’ll get that recipe out ASAP so that you can try it out.

    Enjoy and let me know what you think!

    Sherry

  • Keto Recipes

    Blackberry Chia Topping

    It’s been a great weekend with a few new recipes I’ve tried out, and this one is a super simple.  I wasn’t home with the blackberries for more than 20 minutes before I had them made up and in the jars cooling down.  I know myself well enough that I can’t have blackberries in my house for more than 20 minutes before I eat them all, so this had to be done quickly!

    I have been trying to steer away from unnecessary sweeteners, so this batch I made using none, but you could add a couple tablespoons of the sweetener of your choice if you prefer.

     

    Ingredients

    2 pints Blackberries

    2 tsp Lemon Juice

    1/4 cup chia seeds

    (Opt: 2 Tbsp Sweetener of choice)

     

    Directions

    Clean blackberries & put in a pot on medium heat (if using sweetener, you can add it in at this time).  Cook for 5-8 minutes smashing down the blackberries as they break down during cooking.  Add the lemon juice and remove from heat.  Add the Chia seeds and stir well to incorporate.  Fill jars or food containers and let cool at room temperature.

    Tada!!  Blackberry-Chia topping.

    I add this to low-carb plain yogurt or to whipped or un-whipped full-fat cream for a yummy Keto treat.

     

    Enjoy!

  • Keto Recipes

    Shrimp & Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

    So these aren’t exactly rocket science.  I always overestimate the amount of cheese for the mushrooms I have.  I used all but 3-4 oz of a 16 oz block of mozzarella cheese this time, and about 20 pre-cooked shrimp.  I had so much of the mixture left over that I pulled out the 3 Portabella mushrooms and stuffed those too.  We like garlic a LOT, so I’m not shy about adding it to my recipes in large amounts.  You can go more or less on pretty much everything in this recipe depending on your taste.  Shrimp could also be swapped out for crab, scallops, etc., or you could just add more cheese.  Mozzarella cheese is my go-to for stuffed mushrooms, but you could also play around with type.  Here is my basic recipe for you to play with.

     

    Ingredients

    15-20 Peeled & cooked shrimp*

    1/4 cup Minced Garlic (more or less to taste)

    Salt & Pepper to Taste

    1/2 to 1 lb Mozzarella Cheese, grated

    Mushrooms of choice (I like the little ones, but tried out portabellas for a change)

    2 Tbsp Butter (optional)

     

    *I made these with crab meat a couple days ago and they turned out fantastic!!

     

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350°.  Add the shrimp, garlic and spices to the food processor and mince the shrimp.  Add in the grated cheese and pulse until well combined.  Wash and remove stems from mushrooms.  Stuff with shrimp and cheese mixture.  I place mine on roasting racks, but you can also cook these in a baking dish where they will sit in their own juices.  Drizzle with butter and then cook at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly or the mushroom is cooked to your preference (I like my mushrooms cooked longer, my husband likes them a little less done).  The portabellas took a few minutes longer, but that may have been because they were on the bottom rack under the little mushrooms.

     

    Enjoy!

  • Personal Updates

    Back from Vacation

    I haven’t had a chance to post anything new since I pushed this over into a live website.  I thought that I might work on it while I was traveling, but instead I just went and enjoyed my vacation like I didn’t have a care in the world! 🙂  I had an absolutely outstanding time in Brisbane, Australia with my talented athlete of a daughter, Savannah.  The picture with the Kangaroos was taken at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.  We were there for a Track & Field invitational that included athletes from the USA, Australia, and New Zealand, and she snagged 3rd place in Javelin for her age group with a throw of 110’5″.  Needless to say, I am pretty proud of my girl!

    While I was gone, I followed the Keto plan about 85-90% but I definitely cheated a bit, and was absolutely starving on the flight home, so I ate most of what they served anyways.  More planning is definitely required for travelers on Keto, and it was hard to find my healthy eating choices when we were all served the same meals which were often pasta, pizza, or something on a bun.  I also was not going to miss out on the Aussie Burger at the Hard Rock Cafe (or pay the price of their steak LOL), but I did skip the bun and all but a couple of the fries there.

    I was happy to get home, be in my own kitchen, and be able to get back to cooking up my Keto creations.  I went a little wild the first few days cooking some of the foods I had been missing and a couple I had been wanting to try out.  Lasagna, cheesecake, cole slaw, cheesy biscuits (later turned croutons), and cheese and shrimp stuffed mushrooms to start with.  I have a friend on Keto that gave me the tip to use pork rinds for breading (thank you, Richard & Leona Lambert!)  Of course I had to try that, so I made up a batch of fried zucchini last night for a quick snack.  They were good but I want to work on getting the breading to stick evenly to the zucchini.

    I’ll be getting some recipes up and posted soon, but I wanted to drop an update in the meantime.  I hope everyone is surviving the heat!

    Sincerely,

    Sherry

     

     

  • Introduction

    Easier Than a Book

    For my Nonie and my DiDi for encouraging me to write again.

    This is my very first blog!  I never got back to writing after college, kids, career, etc.  My grandmother (Nonie) always told me that I should continue to write, and then, my daughter and a couple friends told me that I should start a blog to share some of my Keto recipes.  No.  No.  No.  Who has time for a blog?  What the heck is a blog?  It’s not even a pretty word!  Well, I really don’t have the time, and I don’t really know what I’m doing, but… I am going to do my best and see how it goes.

    “Easier Than a Book” was what came to mind when they asked me for a domain name on this, since my first thought on this whole thing was that it has got to be easier than the book I’ve never written.  Since I didn’t grow up to be a stand-up comedian and I don’t know any editors or publishers, I bought myself a 3-year pass to my own website to invest a little in myself and my thoughts, to share my lame humor and mild sarcasm with the world, and hopefully, to bring a smile to someone’s day.  I hope you enjoy my recipes, thoughts, and/or whatever else I come up with.  It’s an open canvas if I can just figure out how to do it!  I’m interested in homesteading, plants and natural remedies, “forgotten arts”, canning, quilting (although I have never done it), quick and easy meals, DIY & re-purposing, veterans organizations, community, faith, and family, but I suppose my biggest interest is my home and my family.

    Our current household is comprised of me, my husband Jim, Savannah at 16, Derrick at 18, and DiDi (aka Alex) who is 22.

    Olive Garden, September 13, 2017 – DiDi, Savannah, Me, Jim, and Derrick.

    Savannah is starting her Junior year of high school in the fall.  Derrick is a recent high school graduate, is on the delayed enlistment program and is scheduled to leave for USMC boot camp in October.  We have other kids that are in and out of the household, and we are constantly on-the-go for sports and school events.  DiDi moved home for a couple months after graduating from a trade school and she had planned her move-out (escape date) in the spring of 2018, but then, there are some things you just don’t plan for.

    Although it is what finally prompted me to get back to my writing, I don’t want to make this blog only about Keto, recipes and healthy eating in my family of picky eaters, but I definitely have a GREAT BIG focus on Keto in my life, and I’m sure you will understand why.  On June 17th Jim, DiDi and I started our Keto adventure, and we are already benefiting from it whether we went into it kicking and screaming or not!  To not be repetitive, you can read my post “Why Keto?” for the answers to what would possess me to switch over to a Keto diet when one of my favorite foods is pasta, check out my pantry and tips, or you can jump straight into the recipes I’ve posted so far.  I do think I’ve found enough family-pleasing recipes to make this Keto thing possible (pizza, cheesecake & chocolate syrup helps a lot), but it definitely took some work!  Keto pasta will happen someday.  I can feel it!

    So a book, a blog, some thoughts, my story.  I really just hope I’ll write something useful or inspiring, and maybe you’ll follow along.

    Sincerely,

    Sherry