Victory over All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

A Keto Win

Every month my team goes out to eat at a different restaurant. This week, it was the locally famous all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurant Little Pigs. It’s a patriotic country place that features the flags of each branch of the Armed Services on the walls, along with the “Thin Blue Line” flag and a flag for MIA-POWs. And they serve the three styles of barbecued pork sauce predominant in South Carolina: tomato-based, mustard-based, and vinegar-pepper.

Buffet means minefield

Unfortunately, meat isn’t all they serve. There’s also the tantalizing display of casserole-type foods and starches that are mainstays of the Southern diet. Here’s what I had to pass by in order to stay on my Keto way of eating:

  • Fried chicken
  • Wings
  • Rice
  • Hash
  • Tomato pie
  • Hush puppies
  • Macaroni and cheese (this is considered a vegetable in South Carolina)
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Candied Yams
  • Corn
  • Candied Yams
  • Cut Corn
  • And for dessert:
  • Banana pudding
  • Chocolate pudding

What did you eat?

Believe it or not, I was able to dine quite nicely at the BBQ restaurant, and not feel too deprived. (Although I did sigh several times over the tomato pie I couldn’t have.) I filled my plate with broccoli salad made with cheddar cheese and mayo, green beans, and three types of pork: mustard-based BBQ, vinegar and pepper-based BBQ, and plain pulled pork. It was divine. And best of all – my teammates who ate all the carbs were falling asleep later that afternoon at work. Me? I had no problem powering through the day.


Keto Confessions

The good, the bad, and the ugly (+4 lbs)

  • Rule 1: Never go on a girls’ trip to Charleston without an extra-strong dose of willpower.
  • Rule 2: If you’re going to cheat, don’t cheat at every meal!
  • Rule 3: See Rules 1 and 2.

One good thing

My friend and I went off to explore the city of Charleston, S.C. over President’s Day weekend – and that meant LOTS of walking all over the gorgeous historic district. In fact, on one day alone we walked six miles by my Fitbit. That was the shining moment of the weekend. We saw everything from the beautiful Battery to the downtown Market to scores of houses with those magnificent, long Charleston-style porches designed to catch the breezes.

A porch designed to catch as much breeze as possible.

One not-so-bad thing

We decided to take a break from the walking (12 miles total over the weekend) by taking a Carriage Horse tour. That gave us the chance to see more of Charleston – but also kept me from some more much-needed exercise!

The ugly

All those delicious meals – and the grits! Oh, my word, the grits and the biscuits (So NOT Keto) were out of this world at Miller’s All Day, a wonderful breakfast and brunch place. I think there was a way to eat keto-friendly here, but it would have broken my Southern heart.

Big, bountiful biscuit and grits: not Keto. Eggs, cheese, and bacon: Keto

All told, I weighed again this morning and found I’d gained 4 pounds. Ugh. Yuck. Oh, well – back to salads, lean meat and keto-friendly oils! A few final pictures of the Charleston trip:

Cooking · Keto

Planning Keto meals

Didn’t I just plan Keto meals for a week?

It’s that time again … time to set myself up for a good week of Keto Living by planning ahead and shopping conscientiously. It feels like I do this all the time! Now that I’m doing Keto, I’m cooking at home more than ever. So, time to plan out some menus. As always, I’m turning to my new favorite cookbook, Simply Keto.

Shopping my freezer

I’ve got so much meat from my last Butcher Box delivery that I need to use up. More filet mignons mean I’m making Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce! Other dishes I’m going to re-make this week:

  • Keto Crackers
  • Twice-Baked Cauliflower Casserole (it’s the faux potato dish I love so much)
  • Keto Chili

New recipes I’m going to try this week include:

  • Keto Beef Stroganoff (from the Keto Karma website.)
  • Grilled Parmesan Chicken Wings (gotta use all those wings in the freezer!)
  • Sunny Side Up Burgers

Here’s to a week of happy eating!

Cooking · Keto

Something nice to snack on

Keto crackers

Sometimes, you just have an itch that fat or protein won’t scratch. Another fat bomb won’t do. And eating yet another devilled egg doesn’t appeal either. Sometimes, you just want a cracker. To the rescue – once again, my new Bible of Keto cooking, Suzanne Ryan’s “Simply Keto” cookbook. (Seriously – go buy this book!) I found her Keto crackers recipe – and it offers two ways of making these wonderful snacks. I choose the cheese cracker option. They don’t even need dip. They’re delicious all by themselves. See below for my photo essay of my first attempt to make these crackers.

The ingredients

Garlic powder, almond flour, cheddar cheese, salt. Oh, and you’ll add an egg yolk.
My lack of prep forced me to use the wrong type of paper. You need parchment paper!
As you can see, no parchment paper meant using Pam. And my squares don’t look anything like the book!
But the crackers turned out beautifully – only six minutes in the oven.
Finished! Verdict: Yum.
Cooking · Keto

Keto “faux” potatoes?

Yes, you can!

Ah, the cauliflower. As writer Rod Dreher once said, it’s the “Sansabelt slacks of vegetables” fit only to scoop up dips. But to someone following the Ketogenetic way of eating, the cauliflower is a lifesaver. With just a little prep, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re eating mashed potatoes! Let me show you how my attempt at making Faux Mashed Potatoes – from Suzanne Ryan’s Simply Keto cookbook, turned out. Spoiler: It was delicious.

Measure out your “mash” ingredients (beside cauliflower)

Three cheeses: cream, parmesan, and cheddar.

Time to cook!

Ready for the oven and done

The big finish


Two odes to Keto, courtesy of AI

ChatGPT gets Keto

I’ve been monkeying around with ChatGPT just like everyone else. Even though I swore I wouldn’t use it to write a post, that’s what I’ve ended up doing. Hope you enjoy the crazy stuff the machine came up with!

I thought it would be fun to ask the AI bot about Keto. Then I thought – why not test its poetry skills? Hence, a poem about Keto in the style of Shakespeare.

Oh Keto, fair diet of low-carb might,

With roots so deep, it brings forth new light.

Thou banisheth grains, and sugar's sweet vice,

And bringeth balance to body and spice.

Thy fat doth burn, and energy soars,

With strength and clarity, and health restored.

And though some may scoff, and call it a plight,

Thou standeth firm, as truth in the night.

So here's a toast, to this way of life,

With food so pure, it banishes strife.

And though it may take some effort and care,

Thou wilt reap the reward, so bountiful and fair.

So hold fast to the path, of this noble quest,

And let the journey, to health be blessed.

For Keto, thou art the diet so right,

That brings balance, and joy, both day and night.

Ok, well it rhymed. And scanned fairly well too. But – it really wasn’t the Shakesperean effort I was thinking of; I wanted a sonnet. Remembering that you have to specify EVERYTHING to a computer, I politely requested a sonnet on Keto. And this is what ChatGPT gave me. The machine does enjoy rhyming “strife” and “life.”

When I consider how my body thrives,

With Keto's low-carb, high-fat delight,

I find within my heart a newer life,

And healthier days that banish endless night.

This way of eating, though some may revile,

Is based on science, proven and true,

And brings to me a sense of power so wild,

That I with joy, my journey do pursue.

No longer do I struggle with my weight,

Or suffer from a lack of energy,

For with this diet, I am strong and great,

And feel a sense of clarity, so serene.

So let us celebrate the Keto life,

And all the blessings it brings, free from strife.
Shakespeare on Keto, by DALL-E
Keto · Uncategorized

Keto Progress Report

It’s been a challenge. The newness has worn off, the first bloom of enthusiasm for this way of eating has faded. Now I’m struggling day to day to stay on it. Afternoons are the hardest time – especially when I’m working at the office two days a week. We have a snack cart, and it is so hard to turn that down!

Needed: all the tips and tricks

I got sloppy logging everything I ate in my Atkins tracker last week, and that’s shown. I’m back to writing it all down. I think I need to do better at weighing my food – I bought a beautiful food scale to make it easy; I just have to do it. And if I could get more keto-friendly veggies in my diet, that will be a plus! My lunchbox is my friend: I’m taking lunch to work each day and that is helping.

The good news

The weight is dropping – about a pound to a pound and a half per week. Total lost so far, since December: 15.4 pounds. My clothes feel looser! I’m constantly pulling up my pants. I have to go buy some new jeans soon. Or perhaps shop my closet – I’ve got lots of smaller size clothes squirreled away in boxes, in the hope against hope that one day I would wear them again. Maybe that day is now.

Cooking · Keto

Going to the Devil with Keto…

…with delicious Devilled Eggs

I love devilled eggs for many reasons: 1) they’re delicious 2) I’m a Southern lady and I’ve grown up on these and 3) they’re Keto-friendly! Staying with the ketogenic diet after the first flush of enthusiasm is hard. In my search for snacks I could eat without fear (oh, how I miss popcorn and chips) I found that devilled eggs were a good bet. (And pork rinds, but that’s another story.)

Everyone loves it when you bring devilled eggs to a party. They’re one of the first things to disappear, and you never have to worry about carrying home any leftovers. At one of the Christmas parties last season, I took “Secret Ingredient Stuffed Eggs” from the Taste of Home website. They were delicious, if not exactly keto-friendly; the secret ingredient was mango chutney, along with pecans and goat cheese.

I had to get a picture before they were all gone at the party. The eggs went fast.

Eggs everywhere

When I was looking for more devilled egg recipes (you can never have enough) I found entire blog posts related to the history of devilled eggs. Turns out scholars trace them all the way back to the Romans. While I was out looking, I found other bloggers who were coming up with their own wonderful recipes. I can’t wait to try Bandriachuk’s Devilled Eggs (Harissa Option) from the site “A Runny Egg on Top.” Love that name!

One of my favorite cookbooks, packed full of fun anecdotes, is “Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral. In that book they use the term “Stuffed Eggs” also – and point out that this snack lets you know a funeral is on the way.

Stuffed eggs are associated so closely with death that any time you see the lady of the house getting down the egg plate, you might well ask, “Who died?”

-Being Dead is No Excuse, page 77.

I tried the author’s Sweet Stuffed Eggs (page 81) with the secret ingredient of Durkee’s Famous Sauce. Yum! Another time I was making just ye old standard stuffed eggs with mayo and Dijion mustard. I found out at the last minute I was completely out of paprika for that time-honored topping. But – I had a bottle of Tajin in the cupboard – and soon I had wonderful spicy eggs!

I went light on the Tajin the first time – next time I’ll add a little more.

How many carbs?

Keto surprise

Fish are good for you, right? And seafood – why, that’s practically perfect! Brain food. Good for you! Protein, fats, low-carb – what’s not to like?

That’s when my Atkins Food Tracker almost gave me a heart attack today. I was merely dining on shrimp I sauteed in garlic and butter, with lots of seasonings and lemon when I realized I needed to add it to the tracker. I looked up Sauteed Shrimp – and found that there was no such item. I then looked at “Cooked Shrimp” and thought – well, that’s basic enough. Turns out that generic listing contained 14.77 net carbs for 5 oz! (About 12 shrimp.) I about fell off my kitchen stool. How on earth were those people cooking shrimp – in a casserole laden with crackers and noodles? Then I decided to look at Shrimp Scampi. Ah – only 1.59 carbs for the 12. Whew. That leaves me plenty of room for my supper out tonight.

Shrimp scampi, from start to finish


Meat for a month

Unboxing my ButcherBox

Please note – Butcher Box is not a sponsor. (Although I’m open to it!) Instead, I’m reviewing the shipment I received today because I am just that happy with the service. And it makes Keto living so much easier.

This afternoon I arrived home to find that this month’s Butcher Box meat delivery box was on the front porch, ready for me to load to my freezer. I quickly whisked it indoors and started taking the pictures I’m sharing with you during the unboxing. I used to worry about whether the meat will stay frozen. It can sit outside on my porch several hours between delivery and my arrival home. I needn’t have worried; these guys know what they’re doing with the amount of dry ice they put in the boxes. Even though the dry ice had evaporated, all my meat was still frozen and looked good.

Here’s what the package looked like, both inside and outside.

Here’s what I got in my custom box:

  • Two Filet Mignons
  • Two packages of Stew Meat
  • Two packages of ground beef
  • Two Flank Steaks
  • Two packages of Sirloin Tips
  • Two Ribeye steaks
  • A special add-on: Pork and Sausage Meatballs

After I’d been taking pictures for a little bit, I realized I didn’t have any of how good the meat looked! Behold:

Two Butcher Box Ribeyes

Can’t wait to share with you some of the finished dishes. Here’s to a month of good Keto meals!