Cooking · Keto

You don’t have to give up pancakes

Being on keto makes me miss certain things. I have missed the crunch of toast, the glories of brioche, and the lovely smell of pancakes. So it was time to hunt for a keto-friendly recipe for pancakes.

I had to print it on paper because I’ve come too close to tragedy before in the kitchen. I wasn’t about to risk my phone near sloppy pancake batter.

The recipe called for both almond and coconut flour. Luckily, I had stocked up on both from Amazon. I was anxious making the cakes, because nearly everything I’ve tasted from a store that was “keto-friendly” was garbage.

Happy to report – this was NOT garbage. The pancakes definitely tasted different from regular pancakes, but I enjoyed the slight nutty flavor. (I just realized, duh, they’re made with almonds, of course they’re nutty!)

I’m not sure if it was the recipe or my stove, but the cakes seemed to come out browner than usual. And I was so hungry I only got pictures of the first one on the plate! I definitely ate more than one.

A gallery of goodness

Just starting to bubble.
After the flip.
Topped with butter, the foundation of the short stack contrasts beautifully with a blue plate.

Keto Convenience

Keeping it Keto in a Rush

For the past few weeks I haven’t been able to spend as much time lovingly preparing all my dishes, taking pictures of each ingredient, and then posting reviews of all the recipes I’ve made. And I’ve felt guilty about that! Recently, the wonderful @iLibertyBelle on Twitter, who is a Keto-Diva (yes, it’s totally a word) inspired me.

And one of the tweets in that thread (please, go read it – it is wonderful!) made me realize I don’t need to continuously eat like a chef. I can keep it simple so I can get everything done in my day and still be early to bed:

Easy-peasy food

Rotisserie chicken, string cheese (heck, any kind of cheese) and eggs are a lifesaver. Sad I needed a reminder to pick up rotisserie chicken!

Gorgeous rotisserie chicken, courtesy of Publix

Slowing down…

Cooking as meditation

In the past few weeks I was overwhelmed with responsibilities both at work and at home. Besides that, I was getting ready for two trips on two consecutive weekends. I didn’t leave myself time at all to carefully plan my meals and cook them. That manifested in my plea to readers a few days ago for quick and easy meals.

In the last two days, I’ve started reading the book I bought at All Good Books, our new bookstore in town (only 4 miles from me.) “We Are What We Eat” by Alice Waters, owner and chef at the famed Chez Panisse, is subtitled “A Slow Food Manifesto.” I’m only halfway through the book and I’m already inspired. Waters makes you want to slow down, to break the cycle of our fast food mentality and culture, and draw pleasure from the craft of making our daily sustenance.

The Fast Food Culture

Waters devotes the first half of the book to outlining seven terrible aspects of fast food. By that, she doesn’t mean just our reliance on chain restaurants offering burgers and tacos, but any way of providing food that is mass produced, in factory or industrial settings, with herbicides and pesticides. Fast food is its own culture, and like any culture, it has certain values. After reading this first half of the book, I can sense she thinks of them almost as seven deadly sins to healthy eating: Convenience, uniformity, availability, trust in advertising, cheapness, “more is better” and speed.

Convenience – ever since the first Swanson frozen TV dinner was introduced in the 50s, every food manufacturer has been selling us convenience. And convenience does have a place: Waters released this book in 2021, during the 2nd wave of the COVID pandemic, and people were relying on all sorts of conveniences: UberEATS in particular. But the uniformity of mass-produced food has led us all to be suspicious of the local, the new, the unfamiliar. And availability: today, we think all foods should be on hand everywhere, at all times! Seasonality is a foreign concept. Our way of cooking in America has relied on a trust in advertising, that we accept that these factory-produced foods are actually good, and the producers have our best interests at heart. Hah! Cheapness and “more is better” – can there be any values that typify the biggie size fast-food meal?

Art by Dall-E; fast food in the style of Claude Monet

All of these resonate, but the last spoke to me in particular. Why are we trying to save so much time by not cooking? By not shopping for our own food? I’ve learned over the past few months, as I’ve prepared Keto meals, that cooking can be a relaxing time. By spending time in the kitchen, I’m not spending time on my phone, doom-scrolling as I wait for the Uber EATS delivery person. I can control what I eat and how I cook it. I’m learning to be more creative in preparing my meals. None of this, rightly approached, is a burden. Instead, it is a return to “slow living” after the hectic pace of my day. I’m so looking forward to finishing this book; to finding out how Waters describes the international slow food movement and read of her discoveries in being part of it.


Keto Update, 2.28.23

Recovery from cheat days

I’m delighted to announce, that one week after my weekend of carbohydrate-busting dining in Charleston, S.C., I weighed and found I’d lost all the carb weight I’d picked up on that trip – plus a pound more! One solid week of focused attention on my carb intake, and it happened. The ketogenic way of eating made it easier than I thought – all the fat content of my meals kept me reasonably full. I’d lying though, if I said wasn’t hungry sometimes. I’m still not used to eating only a salad and grilled chicken for lunch, especially when you’ve spent years snarfing up fast food and bready sandwiches.

But I did get back on track. To celebrate, tonight I made a burger with a fried egg on top.

The four patties, made from one pound of grass-fed beef. I probably should have made them a little thinner.
The egg looked so lovely in the pan. Too bad I got in a hurry….
It doesn’t look much like the Simply Keto cookbook, does it?

I dined on a pared-down version of this burger: I forgot to buy avocado, skipped the onion, and I rushed the last bit and flipped my perfect sunny-side-up egg into an over-easy mess. Patience is hard to come by when you’re hungry!

Keto · me

January Keto Update

Good news

I lost some weight this month! My total lost so far is a little over 12 pounds. I was telling a friend one of the biggest joys since I started this new way of eating was the feeling of putting on jeans straight from the dryer – and they just slid right on, without that “too-tight-just-out-of-the-dryer” feeling!

My friends have been the most supportive of any of my efforts. One volunteered keto coaching; another sent me a gift of a Keto cookbook. You probably guessed from all my previous posts it is Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan. I hope I drive a few sales to her! Her marvelous cookbooks and her website and YouTube channel have been inspirational. I’m shooting for the same success!

It was hard getting back after Christmas

To be honest, getting back to eating the Keto way was TOUGH after a Christmas when I let myself go. I told myself: I’m only going to feast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – after all, those are traditional Feast Days. But I decided to end early at at Christmas part Dec. 22 (oh, that eggnog!) and then just couldn’t quite go back to Keto eating until all the leftovers were gone. It was a tough thing – I didn’t really get back to eating Keto until nearly the third week of January.

New month, new recipes

I’ve been tracking my daily intake with the Atkins app. I like because it calculates the net carbs for me automatically. Plus, it allows me to track my weight. (And when I was first investigating Keto, I went to the Atkins website.) Recently I found two recipes on their website I want to try in February: Strawberry Shortcake Trifle (for Valentine’s Day) and Keto Cauliflower Risotto. I love risotto, so I’m interested to see if a Keto version can delivery on flavor. I’ll let you know!

blogging · Gratitude · Hobbies · Keto · me

Day 3 of a Keto Week

And a note to my new followers

If you’ve just subscribed or followed; Hi! Delighted to have you along. I must explain my plan behind this blog. Not every post will be about cooking or the Keto way of life. Keto is just one of three sections of this site, as you see from the top navigation menu:

I’m also very much into Books and Gardening. And in the weeks to come, I’ll probably add a Writing section as well. So, if later today you see a post that isn’t about Keto at all – well, just skip over that if you want! Or enjoy – up to you.

Day 3 – Danger!

Today could have been better, but it also could have been MUCH worse. I took my Keto Chili to work and that was delicious. But work ran long, and I got home late – with only about 15 minutes to spare before Bible Study group with the ladies of my church. There, I succumbed to the lure of pigs-in-blankets. And two munchkins (donut holes.) It could have been so much worse, but not by much! Ah me. Tomorrow is a new day and a new attempt to eat and live the Keto way.

Accentuate the Positive! · Beauty · Christmas · Family · Gratitude · holiday · Something wonderful

Still shining brightly

This Christmas tree always brings joy

This is a re-run of a post I put up several years ago – which is a reprint of an article I wrote in 1993 for a small weekly paper. When my parents downsized they gave me the tree. Enjoy!

Tonight I put up the tree I “inherited” from Dad when they downsized to a patio home. Here’s the story I wrote about that tree 17 years ago for The Georgia Guardian newspaper. Tomorrow or Thursday I’ll post pictures of the decorated 2010 tree. Tonight you’ll have to make do with a picture of Pickles sitting underneath the tree:

Pickles poses by a copy of the original story of our family tree. Dad loved the story so much he matted and framed it. Once you read it, you’ll see why.

Pickles underneath the Christmas tree.
Pickles poses by a copy of the original story of our family tree.

A Tree for All Seasons

First published in the Georgia Guardian, Dec. 24, 1993
Copyright Jennifer Rust

Every family has its Yuletide traditions, and ours is no exception. We’ll be going to parties, attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and decorating the tree. Yet we do something lots of people would never dream of: We pull our tree out of the attic each year.

Yes, we have an artificial tree. During my impossible-to live-with teenage years, I continually referred to it as the fake tree. I would groan and roll my eyes each time my dad pulled it out of its box, telling the story of how he bought it in 1968 for only $15. (What a bargain, I can hear him say.)

When I was in high school I would beg my parents to buy a real tree. We could decorate it with strings of popcorn and other “natural” ornaments. But each year we’d re-assemble that same old tree, sticking branches into the holes on the trunk pole and bending them into place so they’d look right.

As time passed, my brother and I graduated, left the house, got jobs. Now, I have only a few days at home to celebrate the holiday. And I’ve noticed a change in the way I feel about that tree. It happened the year before last, when my dad said, “I think we might replace this one with a new tree.”

You would have thought he suggested we replace Mom. I gasped, “No! You can’t get rid of this tree!” Even as I said it I realized why.

Because of all the laughs we have putting it up each year … because all the made-in-kindergarten ornaments look just right on it … because we’ve had it for 25 years, and how many things last that long? Heck, that tree is the same age as my brother Bill and we’re keeping him.

That artificial, fake but eternal tree has become so much more than a decorative centerpiece upon which to hang the ornaments. It is a symbol of all those Christmases past and all the memories we share. That glorious fake fir has become a holiday tradition of its won. I wouldn’t trade it for the most majestic blue spruce around.

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Cooking · Family · Gratitude · hostess with the mostess

More holiday fun!

I can’t believe I forgot….

Life has been very, very, busy at Aunt Gem Manor since the week of Thanksgiving. But I did take a few pictures of the beautiful Thanksgiving feast, and wanted to share them with you.

First, a nice setting is always key. I only get to use this runner once a year. Next year, a cornucopia!

Loved making the desserts beforehand. I couldn’t believe Publix didn’t have any pecan pies. So I made my first pecan pie.

The feast itself, with only slightly frazzled cook.

And leftover custard cornbread – it was perfect!

That gooey, creamy cream center – bliss!
Accentuate the Positive! · Gratitude · Hobbies · Introspection · just plain fun

Watching Life Instead of Living It

Now that the COVID-mania of 2020 and 2021 seems to have lifted, I want to live life instead of watching it happen. Doing, instead of being in the audience, is my thing. That’s why I joined the choir in my church – I didn’t want to just watch other people sing; I want to be in on it too! Why be a spectator?

I’ve made strides toward more living, less watching before. When I first moved into my house in December of 2016, I moved my circa-2000 television with me. That thing was an old bulky set – definitely not a flat screen. The remote control stopped working sometime in the late 2010s.

My TV looked a LOT like this one. Heck, it could have been this model.

I worked around it by actually getting up to change the channel, like in the 1970s. I started watching less and less television over the years, and I decided once I moved, I was going to put that old wreck on the curb and run an experiment: how long can I go without a TV in the house?

Continue reading “Watching Life Instead of Living It”
blogging · Gratitude · Sunday lesson

Sunday thoughts

One of my favorite blogs, Maggie’s Farm, publishes the gospel message from the lectionary each Sunday. I’ve always loved that. Maybe I should do that? At the very least, I can send you over to Maggie’s for the gospel lesson today. And stick around and read more from the group; for a bunch of Yankees they aren’t bad:

We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn’t pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does “try my best to be just like I am,” and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.