Fiber Roll Tips

When we were living in Norway, we took a trip way up north to Tromsø, a beautiful city that is home to the world’s northernmost university and beer brewery, and where we saw the most spectacular display of the Northern Lights. We travelled with some other exchange students from Germany, a few from the former East Germany. One of the interesting observations we made of the Germans was their method for choosing bread. They went around the bread section of the grocery store looking for the heaviest bread in the smallest package, in other words, the densest bread possible. Note that we were in Norway, where bread was already dense and hearty by American standards. But they were horrified that we ate the goat cheese (geitøst), so we learned to respect our differences.

Making fiber rolls for the first time reminded me of the Germans, which isn’t a good sales pitch for fiber rolls. The bad news is, when Nora first looked at the fiber rolls, her reaction was, “yuck!” The good news is, when she tasted them her reaction was “yum!” They are so tasty and bread-like that the density didn’t turn her off on the first attempt. On the second attempt I changed my procedure and made them lighter, and now they are in the list of Nora’s Top 15 Foods.

Dawn Martenz at is the keto-genius mom behind the recipe. I didn’t even think about attempting keto-bread, but Dawn came up with a clever combination of ingredients that really works. Her instructions are simple and easy to follow, but if you are a scattered mama like me, it might not occur to you that the procedure for making these rolls will matter a lot to the outcome. Here I will share my more detailed procedure for maximizing the rise in the rolls to create the illusion of more bread and more surface area and air pockets for spreading butter!

The Fiber Roll Recipe is approved by the Charlie Foundation and can be found at The psyllium husks can absorb liquid, including oils, so it can carry an amazing amount of fat without feeling greasy. The original recipe gives several ratio options; I use the 3:1 ratio. The recipe also notes that the recommended daily intake of psyllium husks for children ages 6-12 is 1 tsp, or 3 g. Because Nora is only 4, I divided the recipe into 6 rolls instead of 4 to reduce the psyllium husks to 2 g per roll. Therefore, the nutrition label that you see below reflects those changes to the recipe. Each roll contains 18.4 g of dough.

Nutritional Information for Fiber Rolls, 3:1, 6 servings. Analysis by

Fiber Rolls, 3:1 (6 servings)
50 g egg
24 g olive oil
4 g apple cider vinegar
5 g water
12 g Whole Psyllium Husk (bought as a fiber supplement at natural food stores)
13 g Flaxseed Meal
1 g baking powder
1 g baking soda
pinch salt and dried thyme

Preheat oven to 300. You definitely want your oven preheated when the rolls are ready to pop in, so turn it on before making the rolls.

Mix egg, oil, vinegar and water very well. Add the psyllium husks and let the dough rest and stiffen to the consistency of oatmeal. This is where I deviate from the original recipe, and here’s why. It’s food science time.

Yes we did do the volcano a few summers ago, and it was underwhelming. But it did very slowly engulf the Lego Star Wars villans in it’s watery pink lava. Mission accomplished.

Normal bread rises because of the action of yeast eating up the sugars and releasing carbon dioxide into the elastic glutenous dough. That takes some time to accomplish and the gluten can take the stretch, which is why you let dough rise. But these rolls are not elastic and not using yeast; they are a “quick bread,” in part using baking soda and vinegar to create the air bubbles in a fast-acting chemical reaction that is over in less than 1 minute. Remember making a “volcano” explode in school, or with your kids? You mix together baking soda and vinegar and it poofs the liquid out of your volcano by releasing carbon dioxide bubbles. But that reaction doesn’t last very long–you put the ingredients together, it fizzes out of the volcano, it’s over in a flash, and you are left with a watery mess that will take 10 times as long to clean up than the cheap entertainment it provided. Imagine that happening inside your fiber rolls.

The recipe also calls for baking powder, which has slow-acting chemical leavening agents that work when heated. That’s why you have the oven pre-heated. You want to take advantage of that fast-acting reaction between the baking soda and vinegar, getting it into the oven to cook, trap the air inside the rolls, and get the baking powder action to continue to hold it up while it solidifies. That’s how you get the maximum air into your fiber roll bread. But it requires you to act fast.

Notice that you didn’t put the baking soda or baking powder in with the psyllium husks and liquid ingredients in my instructions; you are keeping them away from the vinegar to minimize the amount of time between starting that chemical reaction and getting them into the oven. The original recipe says to put everything together and let it sit for 5 minutes to absorb the liquids, but it will take at least 5 minutes to weigh out your rolls. By allowing the psyllium husks to absorb the liquid first, you don’t let the chemical reaction blow itself out before you get the rolls in the oven. That was my mistake the first time. After I changed my procedure, the rolls were at least 50% bigger and much airier.

The dough before it goes into the oven.

Back to the recipe instructions:

While the psyllium husks are absorbing the liquid, in a separate bowl mix together the flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and thyme (or other dried herb of your choice for flavor). This is your dry mixture. When the psyllium husk mixture is thickened, quickly stir in the dry flaxseed meal mixture. Don’t wait–weigh out the dough for each roll, 18.4 g in my recipe making 6 rolls. They don’t need any extra handling, just ball them up gently. Put them on to your baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking surface, and into the oven as fast as possible!

Bake 30 minutes.

See the air bubbles? Good for holding more butter! It has the texture of a hearty bread and a nice flavor from the flax seed.

Not only is it amazing to make a satisfying bread with 0.2 net carbs (in my 6-roll version), but getting it at a 3:1 ratio without feeling heavy or greasy is astounding. We can make a meal with a buttered fiber roll and several other moderate-ratio ingredients and you would never think so much fat would be hiding in there.

And Anders likes them too! I  know that we have several readers that are using the Modified Atkins Diet or who have low-carb and/or gluten-free diets for other health reasons. Here is the recipe for the MAD version at a 1.25 ratio in standard US measurements. If you want the short version of the instructions, see below. Only the measurements of the ingredients are different.

Nutrition for 4 Everyday Fiber Rolls at 1.25:1 ratio (MAD version). Analysis by Net (effective) carbs = 0.2 g per roll.

Everyday Fiber Rolls
1 large (50 g) raw egg, beaten
1 tsp (4 g) olive oil
1 tsp (4 g) apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp (25 g) water
2 Tbsp (12 g) Whole Psyllium Husk (bought as a fiber supplement at natural food stores)
2 Tbsp (13 g) Flaxseed Meal
1/4 tsp (1 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 g) baking soda
pinch salt and dried thyme

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Thoroughly combine egg, oil, vinegar and water. Mix in psyllium husks and let it absorb the liquid until thickened.

Meanwhile, combine the flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs in a separate bowl and mix well.

Quickly incorporate the flaxseed meal dry mixture with the thickened wet mixture. Quickly form into desired number of rolls (4 in the original recipe at 28 g each, if you are measuring). Place on parchment lined baking sheet or silicone baking surface. Bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy fresh from the oven!


Eggplant Parmesan: Gluten-free and family friendly

Nora’s portion of Eggplant Parmesan. Note that this is in an individual size ramekin, approx. 3 oz.

Ok, gluten-free is true. Family-friendly depends on who you ask. Anders would beg to differ. But you can also make this basic recipe for the whole family alongside your weighed keto-portion from the same ingredients. And I loved it.

When Nora tried it, she said “yummy.” But Ted had to spoon it up for her as the meal went on. Doing gymnastics on her patio chair was far more interesting than her meal. It wasn’t a “make this again please!” but it didn’t bomb either.

Yesterday afternoon we worked in the garden. We harvested our one pioneering Hokkaido squash (Margie, I think you are right that it is not a Hubbard, and Cora can confirm), about a pint of Good Mother Stallard heirloom beans that the kids shelled with me, and Nora enthusiastically brought in a few Little Fingers Eggplant and a green pepper.

Nora really wanted to eat one of those beautiful little eggplants. And we had to wonder how these plants are related to eggs. Turns out that early Europeans grew a white ornamental variety that looked just like goose eggs. Hence the name. But now we grow these beautiful deep purple eggplants and adore the color eggplant.

When Nora wants to try a new vegetable, I am on it. So while the kids watched Word Girl and Wild Kratts (thank goodness for late afternoon PBS programming), I made eggplant parmesan. The foundational recipe came from here: Baked Eggplant Parmesan. But I substituted flaxseed meal for the bread crumbs and flour for all of us and made a much smaller batch overall. For the whole family, you can follow the example of Nora’s recipe and just do the same procedure without weighing. I used 1 egg total: beat it with a bit of water, measured out Nora’s 8 grams, then used up the rest on the 2 regular eggplants for the rest of the family. You could also add ground pork sausage or beef if you want it meaty, but that would have been too much protein in this meal for Nora.

As always, calculate your own recipes with your own KetoCalculator. This is a guide for proportions that worked with this recipe, but if you are using different brands of cheese or making other variations, but sure of what you are feeding to your keto kid.

Nutrition information for 1 serving of Eggplant Parmesan. Analysis by

Eggplant Parmesan
10 g olive oil
35 g eggplant
8 g egg, beaten with a bit of water
6 g of Parmesan Cheese, grated
3 g Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal
25 g Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
10 g Whole Milk Mozzarella
optional: fresh or dried oregano (not included in calculations here, but I added them to the dish for the rest of the family)

 Measure the olive oil into a smallish oven-safe dish, big enough to hold your eggplant slices in a single layer. Preheat the oven to 400, placing the dish with the oil into the oven while it is preheating and you are preparing the eggplant slices.

The measured ingredients for Nora’s Eggplant Parmesan. One Little Finger Eggplant from our garden was 35 g. Next, 8 g of scrambled raw egg. Then 3 g of flaxseed meal mixed with 6 g of shredded parmesan. All must get into the recipe.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. If you are using a full-sized eggplant, you could cut it into smaller bite-sized pieces which will eliminate the need to cut it at the table.

Measure the beaten egg on to a small shallow dish. Measure the flaxseed meal and parmesan on to another small shallow dish and mix them well. You could also add some salt or dried herbs to the mix if you like.

Nora’s eggplant slices ready for baking. Note that I scraped the remaining egg, flax and cheese onto the eggplant slices to incorporate all of the measured ingredients into the recipe.

Coat each slice of eggplant with the egg. Then dredge each in the flax-parmesan mixture. My fingers got coated with the mixture as well, so make sure that you have a rubber spatula on hand to scrape as much back into the mix as possible. You’ve measured these ingredients and accounted for them, so they might as well get into the kid.

When you have all of the eggplant coated, take the pre-heated oil and dish out of the oven and lay the eggplant slices in a single layer. They will start to fry if you’ve let it heat up enough, so it won’t get soggy with oil. After you have them all in the pan, scrape any remaining egg over the slices, then scrape any remaining flax and parmesan over them. You want to get it all in there and it will bake together nicely. I had very little of the egg and coating leftover to scrape back in, so the proportions were just about right.

Put the pan back in the oven and cook at 400 for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the slices over and return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes to cook the other side.

The finished eggplant slices. The family portion on the left, from regular-sized eggplants from the farmers’ market. Nora’s portion on the right, from the finger-eggplants out of our garden.

When the keto-portion of eggplant went into the oven, I made the eggplant slices for the family dish with the leftover egg and mixed up more flax-parmesan mix. They went into the oven in stages of 7-10 minutes in 2 pie pans because they were larger pieces of eggplant. The timing is not too critical, as long as the eggplant gets cooked on each side and is in the oven long enough to cook through and soften.

While eggplant is in the oven, weigh the tomatoes and mozzarella. When the keto-eggplant portion is done cooking, scoop some of the oil out of the pan with your rubber spatula and put it into a small ramekin or other ovenproof dish. Put 1/2 of the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish. Scape everything out of the eggplant baking dish into the ramekin, making sure to get all of the oil out. Top with the remaining tomatoes and mozzarella. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes to heat through and melt the mozzarella.

Same procedure to finish the family portion. Use the rest of the can of tomatoes or any sauce you wish, topping with meat if desired and cheese.

There are a lot of steps here and is not a quick meal, but it’s also not technically difficult to pull off and makes a meal for everyone. It would be worth keeping in your back pocket for a special occasion or weekend if you like Italian and want a special meal. It would also be easy to make a few portions at a time to be reheated another night.

The keto-version is very similar to the original version and was not overly oily, making it great for all of us (although I eyeball the oil for the family portion). That said, it is only about a 1.75:1 ratio, so you will have to supplement with other fat. Nora had some kalamata olives on the side, which are 4.5:1 on their own, which helped the ratio for her entire meal. Her bedtime snack is always a cream-steamer with coconut oil and a few raspberries to end the day right.

I plan to be posting fewer recipes as our quarter at Oregon State gets busier. Actually, I should be working on a paper right now instead of blogging…



Pulgogi Zoodles

Ted and I lived in Pohang, South Korea, for 4 months at the end of 1999. It feels like a century ago. It was our first time visiting a non-English speaking country; the first time we traveled with passports. We were truly foreigners in a foreign land. It was both a wonderful experience and wonderful to come home again.

Ted was there for a study abroad trip at the end of his undergraduate degree and I came along for the ride. We were married so the university graciously housed us in the graduate student apartments. While he worked, I was introduced to some Korean housewives, Soon-ja, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Kim, who wanted to improve their English. I was invited to their apartments for meals, and in exchange for English practice I asked them to teach me to cook typical Korean meals.

I still make pulgogi (also translated “bulgogi”), marinaded strips of beef, according to the recipe from my Korean friends. I admit that I am reluctant to share this recipe because it is my very own. It’s the special wonderful thing that I know how to make from my own experience. We don’t have it frequently, but when I make it for home-cooked meals I do the same as the Koreans: make a big batch at once and freeze it into smaller servings. I like to make it in the fall because Asian pears are fresh and available, then we have a special meal ready to eat occasionally throughout the winter.

Pulgogi is the Korean dish most accessible to Americans. Strips of steak are familiar, and the marinade of soy sauce, sesame, garlic, ginger and pear is slightly sweet-salty and delightful. When we travelled around the country, restaurant owners would come out of their shops to yell “pulgogi!” at us as we walked by, hoping to lure us in for lunch.

Pulgogi is normally eaten with rice and a sauce, either ssamjang (4 seasons sauce, a mix of soy and chili paste found at an Asian grocery) or gochujang (hot chili pepper paste). When you put the sweet-salty beef with the chili pepper flavor it completes the taste of Korea. You can also take a little pulgogi, a little rice and sauce and fold it up into a fresh lettuce leaf. Of course, you must also eat kimchi at every meal. We just found a great kimchi, Seoul Kimchi, made in Beaverton, OR, that tops anything we’ve had from a grocery store since moving here.

Pugogi Zoodles

The keto version uses the marinaded pulgogi and pairs it with zucchini noodles, threads of red pepper and carrot. I took my best guess at the amount of marinade that might be held in the beef, which I estimated by calculating in some soy sauce when doing the nutritional analysis. When in doubt, I try to consciously overestimate the carb content and underestimate the fat content so that I err on the side of exceeding the ratio.

I made Nora’s portion with butter because she is still 4 years old and is reluctant to try new things with strong flavors. If you have an adventurous eater, I would use sesame oil for more flavor. I also kept this meal very small because I was afraid she would not want to eat it on the first try, and I was right. She eventually ate it without much of a fuss, so I hope this will be a happily accepted meal after a few more tries.

A note on the zoodles: In the last zoodle post, I partially dried several 40 g servings and froze them for later. Here, I pulled one of those servings out and found the zoodles shriveled and sad. They were fine to eat, but lacked the texture and volume of fresher zoodles, as you can see in the picture above. My next try will be to blanch them before freezing instead of drying them, but I think that will just be the reality of freezing them. They won’t ever be as big and crunchy as fresh. 그게 인생 인걸.

Nutrition information for Pulgogi Zoodles assuming 1 tsp soy sauce and 1/4 tsp sesame oil from marinade. Analysis by

Pulgogi Zoodles
20 g Marinaded Pulgogi (see below)
40 g zucchini, shredded
12 g carrot, in thin strips
10 g red pepper, in thin strips
6 g Butter

Remove over 20 g of beef strips from the pulgogi marinade and rinse to remove bits of garlic, etc. Melt butter in a small frying pan and cook the beef on medium-high heat until done. Measure out the correct amount of cooked beef and return that to the pan. Toss in the veggies and stir fry briefly to coat with butter.

Remove from the pan and serve.This is only a 0.80 ratio, so the meal needs some heavy fat supplementation to get to Nora’s 3.5:1. It could hold a little more fat as well, so maybe add a bit more butter or oil when you put in the vegetables. I may try that next, so adjust the nutritional information based on your formulation.

And now, my pulgogi recipe. I make it with Korean soy sauce, but it can also be made with gluten-free soy sauce if required and it’s still great. Korean soy sauce is a little different and less salty than Japanese tamari, so you might want to back off on the soy sauce if you are using a tamari so it doesn’t taste too salty. I’m naming it “chipsaram,” the Korean word for “housewife,” as I learned it. When asked what I was doing in Korea, I was instructed to answer that I was a “chipsaram,” and I learned the recipe from the other “chipsaram.”

Chipsaram Pulgogi
1 to 2 lb beef strips (1 x 0.5 x 0.25, I use top sirloin, but any steak or roast will also work)

1 C Korean soy sauce (less if using tamari, gluten-free or otherwise)
1/4 C sesame oil
1 T sesame seeds
1 tsp black pepper
up to 1 C shredded Asian pear (see below)
1/4 – 1/2 C crushed garlic
1-2 inches ginger root, shredded (see below)

To stir fry but don’t marinade:
1 white onion, cut into wedges
several carrots, julienned
bunch green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
bunch of spinach, washed and coarsely chopped or ripped

For the Asian pear, it is best to buy fresh pears in season. You can buy Asian pear juice at at an Asian market, but it also contains high fructose corn syrup. Quarter the pear(s) and take out the core. Shred it against a cheese grater pressing your fingers against the skin. The skin is just thick enough to protect your fingers, and when you are finished you will have a perfectly clean pear skin leftover. The juice and pulp are fine enough to put directly into the marinade.

Peel the ginger and use the cheese grater for the ginger also. You will be left with a fibrous clump, which will yield a bit more juice for the marinade if you squeeze it out. I found that the cheese grater is much easier than trying to put pieces of ginger through the  garlic press. You need Herculean strength to push the juice out of it, and when it goes it pops!

Mix together all of the marinade ingredients and add the beef. The Korean ladies will put on plastic gloves and squish the beef around in the marinade, which I also do if I’m not in a hurry. Marinade at least overnight. Freeze any that you don’t intend to eat immediately for an easy meal another time.

To cook, heat a skillet on medium-high. Remove the beef from the marinade when you put it into the hot skillet. Do not add the marinade. You want it to cook quickly and fry the edges of the beef. If you put in too much liquid, it just boils the beef and gets too watery. Stir constantly to cook off the water quickly while frying.

When the beef is almost done, throw the veggies into the pan if there is room. If not, remove the beef and add the veggies, stirring frequently. Add the spinach last so as not to overcook.

The last time I made it, I threw in more zoodles for the rest of the family also. The recipe contains the traditional veggie accompaniments, but there are no hard rules (or don’t tell).

Serve with rice, lettuce leaves, ssamjang, gochujang, kimchi, and soju (Korean rice vodka, which we don’t have often enough).

Zoodle Alfredo

Sweating the 40 g servings of zoodles to be frozen.

A variation on the Midwest’s favorite Italian dish! Still on the zoodle kick.

Today we picked the prize zucchini from our garden. It was the size of Nora’s arm! No kidding! I’m so sorry we didn’t take a picture. Nora helped run the food processor and the zoodles filled up the whole bowl. As I type, I am “sweating” 5 servings of 40 g each in the oven (see Against All Grain blog). I have 15 servings total, which I will then freeze for later meals. I also had zoodles for my dinner again tonight and will save some from the prize zucchini for the rest of the family. Our local paper just ran some good looking zucchini recipes, so the zuke fest continues!

This is a pretty simple meal, although I sometimes have difficulty making a smooth cheese sauce. I whisk and whisk but the cheese clumped up again. The problem might have been adding the cool wet zoodles to the warm sauce, causing the cheese to seize up. In any case, Nora didn’t mind some cheesy chunks in her sauce, so I’m not going to worry about. Just warning you. I will try my best again next time.

I served this with some leftover chicken thigh to round out the protein in the meal and a little carrot for a bit more carbs. Lovely meal.

Nutrition information for 1 recipe of Zoodle Alfredo. Nutrition analysis by

Zoodle Alfredo
40 g zucchini shredded into “zoodles”
10 g Butter
2 T Heavy Whipping Cream
10 g Romano, shredded
15 g Whole Milk Mozzarella, shredded

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the cream and whisk until hot. Add the shredded cheeses, whisking constantly until smooth.

I added the zoodles directly to the cheese sauce, but maybe microwave them briefly to warm them up first if you don’t want the cheese to seize into clumps.

Scrape everything out of the pan while still warm. Let cool slightly and serve.

Note that 40 g of zucchini has 0.4 g of fiber, which is not recorded on the nutrition label.

As always, use this as a guide to proportions and recalculate your child’s meal for the brand of cheese and other specific ingredients that you use.

Zoodles with Puttanesca Sauce

Zucchnini + Noodles = Zoodles

Nora's plate of Zoodles with Puttanesca sauce. Remember that it is a saucer, not a full sized plate!

The first of my zoodle recipes tonight. This is another gluten-free recipe that works for everyone. Tonight I also enjoyed zoodles with a bottled marinara sauce from Gathering Together Farm, but I was jealous of Nora’s version. Next time I’m having the Puttanesca sauce too, although for myself I will increase the tomatoes and add some garlic and oregano.

Zucchini is a surprisingly satisfying substitute for noodles. If you don’t cook them long, they can range from a bit crunchy to al dente to soft. They don’t have a strong flavor, so they take a strong sauce with ease. I have been experimenting with a recipe for zoodles with Thai peanut sauce and I will also make one with alfredo sauce, so stay tuned.

I use my food processor to shred the zucchini into noodle-like strands. It’s fast and easy, although I don’t get the long curly continuous noodles described on the Against All Grain blog. Those are beautiful, but I’m not buying another kitchen gadget.

If your zucchini is freshly shredded, it contains a lot of water. If you put it into the pan fresh, it will release that water into the sauce. If you prefer the sauce thicker, then use the oven drying method found at the Against All Grain blog before putting the zucchini into the sauce. I did not use the oven drying technique that they recommend. Instead, I measured 40 g portions into a few small, loosely-covered bowls when I shredded a large batch and stored it in the fridge. After a few days, it seemed to have dried out some. That’s the lazy way. Works for me.

The puttanesca sauce is simple and easy to put together. I happened to have all of this in our fridge, so it was a spur of the moment dinner decision. I decided to make this a puttanesca sauce rather than a marinara sauce to take advantage of the flavor and high fat content in olives. Of course, you can substitute or add as per your taste and requirements.

Keto families: calculate according to your ingredients. As always, this is a guideline for proportions and ingredients that work together. This is only a 1.75:1 ratio, so add some heavy cream or oil on the side to make it a meal. It’s also quite a bit of food but not so many calories because the zucchini has a lot of water and fiber. Nora also had 6 g of Flacker, 4 g of butter, and 12 g of parmesan with her meal to increase her fat and protein, along with her heavy cream.

Zoodles with Puttanesca Sauce, one serving. Analysis from

Zoodles with Puttanesca Sauce
40 g zucchini, shredded into “zoodles”
35 g Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
8 g Peloponnese Kalamata Olives, chopped
8 g Napoleon Chopped Green Olives
20 g Ground Pork, browned
7 g olive oil

Shred zucchini as above.

Measure and combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Scrape out into a small saucepan or frying pan over medium heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. When sauce comes together, add the zoodles and simmer for a few minutes, or longer if you prefer them softer.

Scrape out the pan onto the plate, garnish with cheese if desired and enjoy.

Zucchini Pizza: Gluten-free and for the whole family!

“This is delicious mama. Will you make it again?” ~Nora

Ah, the sweetest words that any keto-mama, or any parental-cook for that matter, can hear. Maybe she was just really hungry, maybe it’s just that kids like pizza, but I have to agree that this is a tasty recipe. I made a big version for the family too (see below)–use up that zucchini and its gluten-free!

Nora loves pizza, so it’s great to have good keto-versions for her. She adores the Bake-and-Freeze Keto Pizzas from the Keto Cookbook (get the book if you don’t have it yet! and see their great blog at but they are very labor intensive and not for the rest of the family. They are great to make in batches so that you can pull a quick meal out of the freezer to reheat when you don’t feel like cooking; for example, when you just want to order pizza for the rest of the family! I like that this form of pizza gets more veggies into her diet.

It’s nice to make a keto-version of a family recipe because you can make them at the same time. Everyone is eating almost the same thing so it’s a family meal. It’s also very labor intensive to make some of Nora’s meals, so if you make the same thing for the family it lightens the load. Shredding zucchini to get a mere 40 g of it for Nora’s meal would be silly, or Nora would be eating zucchini recipes for a week, or it would go to waste. Save time, money, and food by feeding everyone with the same ingredients.

I remembered this recipe from a weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) newsletter that we got when we were members of BC Gardens CSA in Minneapolis. I had to search through my old recipe stashes to find it. It is a naturally low-carb recipe, but my keto version is only a 2:1 ratio. For Nora, it’s almost enough calories for a full meal, plus a little more fat on the side to prop up the ratio for her. It struggled to hold the oil, so I might cut the oil in half next time and deliver it separately.

To shred the zucchini, I used my food processor. There are other methods beautifully photographed and described at the Against All Grains blog. I am going to keep working on zucchini noodle recipes and post more soon, along with more pictures of my process and what works best for me.

Nutrition information for 1 Zucchini Pizza. Analysis by

Keto-Zucchini Pizza
40 grams shredded zucchini
24 g whole milk mozzarella
14 g olive oil
14 g egg, beaten
6 g ground pork
20 g Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400.

Shred zucchini, measure 40 g, and sprinkle with salt in small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes or more; squeeze dry with paper towels. Wipe out bowl and return zucchini to bowl (it works ok to omit this step if you don’t have time). Stir in  the egg and 1/2 of the mozzarella. Press mixture evenly into pan in a crust shape. I used a little individual-sized pizza pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until set.

Finished zucchini pizza "crust"

Brown ground pork in skillet. Take out 6 g of the cooked pork and mix into 20 g tomato sauce. Spoon over baked zucchini crust. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and other toppings (calculate in for your purposes). Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.

The oil will pool around the crust as it cooks. Maybe if you are using a pan with higher edges it will stay in the crust. When it is completely cooked, I carefully move it to a plate, scrape the remaining oil from the pan on to the pizza, the refrigerate for a short time before cutting and serving. Nora eats it like a pizza, with her hands. When she is finished, we again use a rubber spatula to scrape any remaining oil from the plate and feed it to her, usually with leftover scraps from the plate. She’s a good sport about it.

Finished Zucchini Pizza

Everyone can enjoy the non-keto version of this recipe! Gluten-free, low-carb, cheesily delicious. It’s more like a casserole in this form and reminds me of Midwestern hot dish. Pile on the sauce as thick as you like and eat it with a fork. Our family cleaned up an entire pie pan of it tonight too.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 egg, beaten
1/4 lb. ground pork or beef (or omit)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 to 1 cup tomato sauce
1 clove garlic
fresh oregano, to taste
Other toppings as you like

Preheat oven to 400. Grease pie pan with olive oil.

Shred zucchini and sprinkle with salt in small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes or more; squeeze dry with paper towels. Wipe out bowl and return zucchini to bowl (it works ok to omit this step if you are in a hurry). Stir in the egg (keto families: just use the remaining egg after you measure the 14 g for the keto version) and 1/2 of the mozzarella. Press mixture evenly into pan in a crust shape. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until set.

Brown ground pork and onion in skillet. Mix into tomato sauce. Add crushed garlic and oregano. Spoon over baked zucchini crust. Sprinkle with rest of cheese and other toppings. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Cool, cut and enjoy.

Cinnamon Coconut Greek Frozen Yogurt

Cinnamon Coconut Frozen Greek Yogurt. See the flecks of cinnamon? Mmmm.

I was the one who had a hankering for ice cream this afternoon. I came across a recipe for cardamom ice cream recently that I wanted to try, but didn’t have enough milk and heavy cream to make a batch for the non-keto family, and I have not had good luck with adapting ice cream recipes for Nora.

Good thing that we keep heavy cream and plain Greek yogurt in the house at all times! I went looking online for a cinnamon Greek Yogurt recipe that would fit the bill. Found a sugar-free one on Epicurious for Frozen Coconut Yogurt with Cinnamon.

Scapings from the side of the ice cream machine, as the keto frozen yogurt freezes solid to the sides after just a few minutes. I reincorporated this back into the rest of the ice cream and finished freeing it in the freezer, stirring occasionally.

I find that title misleading because it is not made out of coconut yogurt, it’s made with Greek yogurt and coconut milk. Sorry dairy-free friends. I adapted the recipe for Nora (below), and I adapted it for the rest of us by using sugar instead of stevia. As I mentioned in the keto ice cream post, sugar is the magic ingredient in ice cream that stops it from freezing solid. The original recipe instructs you to put the mixture in an ice cream machine, but as you will see from Nora’s recipe that probably will not work perfectly, although Nora’s had the added freezing problem of including cream. From now on, I will put Nora’s ice cream mixtures in the freezer and stir occasionally instead of using the ice cream machine. Givin’ up ice cream machine the dream.

Nutrition information for 50 g of Cinnamon Coconut Frozen Yogurt. Analysis from

Cinnamon Coconut Greek Frozen Yogurt
113 g Greek Gods Traditional Plain Greek Yogurt
60 g Organic Valley Heavy Cream
8 g Thai Kitchen Organic Premium Coconut Milk
0.5 to 1 g ground cinnamon
2 g coconut or vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients well. Add a no-carb sweetener of your choice. Freeze in a small bowl in the freezer, stirring occasionally to scape down sides and create proper texture. Serve when frozen!

3.58:1 ratio

This is real-time blogging; we are about go outside and eat our ice cream! I know it’s good because I sampled the spatulas.

Garden tomato salad

The one cherry tomato plant dominates the garden space behind stern fairy Nora.

Our little garden has been bursting with cherry tomatoes. I often just assume that some sweet fruits will be off limits for Nora. The funny thing about the diet is that almost nothing is actually off limits, but some things would have to be served in such small quantities that it would not be worth the effort or the carbs. I thought that cherry tomatoes would be one of those things, but I decided to test out a little tomato salad and found that it is an easy 4:1 ratio!

Nora had this salad 2 nights in a row. Once with her baked eggs recipe, which we had not made in some time, and another time with hot dog. I’m reminded that when feeding little kids, they often reject “new” foods the first time. She did not like her salad the first night except for picking out the olives (but managed to finish it off with parental spoon feeding), but did enjoy it the next night. Anders and I also enjoyed this salad with our meals for the last few nights.

Nutrition facts for Tomato Feta Salad. Nutrition analysis by

Tomato-Feta Salad
20 g cherry tomatoes
10 g kalamata olives, chopped
3 g  Valbreso feta cheese
5 g olive oil

Quarter the cherry tomatoes and chop the kalamatas (we use Peloponnese whole pitta kalamatas because they have the best nutritional profile of those on our store shelves). Add the feta and olive oil and mix well. I added a few threads of fresh basil. You could also add or substitute some cucumber in the recipe, which has a great nutritional profile for the diet.

Remember to scrape out the oil that pools in the bottom. When mixed with some of the fresh tomato juice and feta bits, it’s a nice treat at the end of the meal (I drank up mine happily!)

This recipe also has 0.17 g fiber, so the net effective carbs are 1.03 g.

Also a quick update: Things are going well. Nora is still going strong. She finished 2 weeks of swimming lessons and wants more! Next week she will be going back to a gymnastics class at the Little Gym and continuing with swimming. We’ve arranged for a private lesson so that she is always right with the teacher, and it also suits Nora’s personality to have the full attention of an adult.

I’ve been working on recipes involving zucchini: as noodles and as a pizza crust base. Nora has not been thrilled with all of the experimental dishes, but I’m continuing to remind myself that kids need to try things several times before accepting a new dish. After another go at it, I will post some recipes. If anyone in the Corvallis area is inundated with zucchini, you may leave them on my front step. My zucchini plant got powdery mildew and is not producing well so far this year, and it just feels wrong to buy them. In the Midwest, finding another huge zucchini orphan on your doorstep in August was not always a gift. My upbringing still leads me to enjoy rhubarb and zucchini, but to regard them as so abundant that a person should never have to pay cash for them. They are gifts from nature, neighbors, and sometimes left on your doorstep in the dead of night when your neighbors have had enough of nature’s gifts.

Keto-Perfect Cheesecake

Happy Birthday Papa Ted!

We celebrated Ted’s birthday last weekend. Luckily, his favorite dessert is keto-compatible–cheesecake! I am not a seasoned cheesecake baker, so I found a recipe for a self-described “perfect” cheesecake at Simply Recipes: recipes/perfect_cheesecake/

In addition to the promise of a perfect cheesecake for Ted, the ingredient list lent itself to a simple keto-version. I just scaled everything down proportionately for a 4-inch springform pan (from Michael’s), made a simple macadamia nut crust, and substituted some of Nora’s saccharine-sweetened Cytra-K for a touch of sweetness. I also omitted the sour cream topping and used plain berries. The recipe for the cheesecake alone is 4.2:1, so add berries to adjust the ratio down to your requirements. Nora gets 13 g of strawberries per 1/4 of the cheesecake to make it 3.5:1.

One full recipe of Keto-Perfect Cheesecake. Analysis by

Keto-Perfect Cheesecake

20 g ground macadamia nuts
10 g melted butter
100 grams Primrose cream cheese
1 g pure vanilla extract
22 g egg
20 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
20 g Straus Sour Cream

Wrap the springform pan in one continuous sheet of foil to keep it water tight for baking (see link to original recipe above for detailed instructions). Mix together the ground macadamia nuts and melted butter and press into bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º or until slightly browned.

With a hand mixer, cream together the remaining ingredients with any desired no-carb sweetener until very smooth, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl to evenly incorporate all ingredients. Turn oven down to 300º and boil a pot of water. Pour cake batter into springform pan on top of the crust and smooth the top. Place in a larger roasting pan in the oven, and fill the larger pan around the cheesecake with about 1 inch of the boiling water. This is why you protect the pan with the foil, so that the water doesn’t get into the cheesecake pan and ruin the crust. Bake for about 1 hour, or until firm. Turn oven off and open the door so that the cheesecake can cool gently, about 1 hour.

Nora's Keto-Perfect Cheesecake.Place cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 2 hours. Carefully run a dull knife around the edge of the cake to loosen from the sides of the pan. Release the springform pan to serve the cake. I placed a few slices of strawberry and a raspberry to decorate the cake, just remember to factor those into your calculations. Cut the strawberry length-wise to get heart shaped pieces. Awwww. I pre-weighed each piece so that they were all 3 g of berry. I don’t trust my memory these days.

Nora ate 1/4 of the cake for a serving, with 3 g of strawberry on each 1/4. I included the nutritional information for the whole recipe above. As always, re-calculate with the exact ingredients that you use.

I made both Nora’s cheesecake and Ted’s cheesecake at the same time, side by side in the oven. That saved a lot of time. I also fully appreciated the contents of a perfect traditional cheesecake, knowing that Nora’s and Ted’s were proportionately identical, except that Ted’s included a lot more carbs. That said, it was delicious and perfect, as advertised.

Nora’s cake batter did not have the same consistency as the original. Nora’s batter was less runny, but only lacked the sugar. There is some food science going on there that I have not researched. Going into the pan and during baking, Nora’s was also thicker. I had a tiny taste from the knife and it was good, but a thicker consistency than Ted’s traditional cake. Even so, I have not heard a single complaint from Nora. She has 1/4 left awaiting her in the fridge. It’s a great keto snack!

Ricotta Tart

I bought whole-milk fresh ricotta cheese on a whim because I had seen it used in low-carb and ketogenic diet recipes, but didn’t have a particular plan for it. With busy summer days it sat in the fridge, unopened, until finally I decided it was now or never. I knew Nora would eat just a small amount of ricotta at a time in a recipe, so I went looking for a way that all of us could enjoy it.

Raspberry-Pancetta Ricotta Tart

I found another great recipe from David Lebovitz: Herbed Ricotta Tart. Fabulous recipe for half of the ricotta. The adults at the table were satisfied, to say the least.

For Nora, I modified the ricotta mixture in his recipe just a bit by using all heavy cream instead of the whole milk, omitted the crust, and added some other fillings to make it Nora-friendly. Here we have Raspberry-Pancetta Ricotta Tart. The basic tart filling can be supplemented with whatever your kid will enjoy! The ratio is 2.12:1 and ~150 calories, so there is room to supplement a meal with Flacker and butter or other fat to reach the appropriate meal ratio.

Nutrition information for 1 serving of Raspberry-Pancetta Ricotta Tart. Analysis from

Raspberry-Pancetta Ricotta Tart

50 g egg (1 large)
240 g (1 cup) Organic Valley Heavy Cream
213 g Galbani Ricotta Fresca
60 g pancetta
30 g raspberries

Combine the egg, cream and ricotta. Measure 50 g into a tart dish, or other small baking dish. Drop in pieces of raspberry. Break up the pancetta into smaller bits and drop into mixture. You want them near the top so they get a little crisp in the oven.

Bake at 400º F for 10-15 minutes, until the top is brown. It will be bubbly, so give it a few minutes to cool and solidify before serving.

You can also subtract 0.19 g of fiber for net carb calculations (is dropped from label when it gets that small).

1 recipe makes 10 servings. 10 servings is a lot, but the filling keeps in the refrigerator for about 1 week. The rest of the family can also enjoy this recipe–I did–twice!

As always, re-calcualte the recipe for yourself if you are using different brands. It’s one thing that I find very time consuming and frustrating about the diet–looking for or manually entering the nutrition information into the recipe analyzer tool that I use. But it’s absolutely necessary. These recipes and nutritional information are intended only as a guide.