Back to our Local Ocean!

Corvallis is a fabulous place to live. Then add the ability to drive to the Oregon coast in 1 hour, or hike in the coast range or the Cascade mountains on a day trip, and it’s darn near the best place to live in the country, in our opinion. One of our favorite ways to beat the summer heat (for the few days that it visits us in Corvallis) is to go to the coast, which is guaranteed to be 20 degrees cooler. But a coast trip is a good idea any time to play on the beach, hike, eat some seafood and ice cream…although that has all changed during these 6 months on the diet.

Although this picture is 2 years old, it is Nora's typical beach performance art. She has a primal sand worshiping instinct, particularly after sunscreen is applied..

Our family tradition has been to stop by Local Ocean for dinner on our way home from the beach, then let the kids fall asleep in the car. But we have avoided a coast trip with Nora until today because we weren’t ready to navigate real restaurant eating on the diet. Anders MUST have the fish and chips and Nora ALWAYS had the crab cakes. It’s a given that she can’t order the crab cakes on the diet, so we needed another plan.

Our day started with the usual beach packing: extra clothes, beach toys, sunscreen. While Ted was gathering those supplies, I was preparing Nora’s food. I baked a few items, like PBJ cookies, that are a delicious self-contained 3.5:1 ratio, for easy snacking on demand. I also packed cheddar crackers, which is another recipe from the Keto Cookbook that is a 4:1 ratio. I promise to post a round-up of tested Keto Cookbook recipes soon. Lunch was packed in her lunch box for the car ride. Snacks packed separately for later. Dinner portions that we were bringing in a small cooler with ice for later.

I calculated dinner knowing that we would visit Local Ocean. After looking at the menu online and thinking through the options, I decided that crab was the safest choice. They have cooked crab meat at the fish counter and whole crab on the menu. I also thought that it might deflect Nora’s desire to have crab cakes if she stated her preference. I calculated everything that she would eat and tried to allot her as much crab as possible in the meal, which ended up being 30 g, or a little less than 2 legs from the dungeness crab, small guys caught right in the Newport bay. We ordered the 1/2 crab; market price, $19, wowza. Talk about luxury diet. I sacrificed myself and shared it with Nora, along with a cup of soup, instead of ordering a meal. Woe is me! 🙂

Nora holds her prize: the clawed crab leg at Local Ocean!

We told the waitress when we ordered that Nora had a special diet for epilepsy treatment and that we brought some food from home. As I expected, she said that their policy does not allow outside food, but she asked the chef and they decided it was alright. We were prepared to take our order to-go and sit out on the bayfront if necessary, but it was a cool and cloudy day and we preferred to eat indoors. I would hope that all restaurants are as accommodating when parents explain the situation, but I do understand that they are operating under the health code guidelines. I made a point of thanking the waitress when we were leaving and she shared that her nephew has epilepsy which is controlled with medication, but that he also cannot drink soda or other sugary things. I found that very interesting, possibly through trial and observations other epileptics notice that smaller diet changes can affect their seizure control. Anyone else aware of this? Do doctors discuss this with patients? We had not heard anything about it until we started researching explicit diet treatments.

And, wouldn’t you know it, she dropped a big chunk of her pre-weighed butter on the floor while she was eating. We had our scale along for measuring her crab, so we measured the lost bit and asked the waitress if she could bring a pat of butter. They don’t keep packaged pats of butter on hand and only serve garlic butter, but she was able to locate a block of frozen butter and cut off a bit for us. We are so thankful for her understanding and resourcefulness. Now we like Local Ocean even more!

Nora enjoying her homemade crab cake, al fresco. Yes, she dressed herself. And yes, those are leg warmers on her arms. It was her rebellion against my suggestion that she put on a jacket in the morning before we left.

And knowing that Nora likes crab cakes, I have twice made the crab cake recipe from the Keto Cookbook.

The first time I didn’t follow the cooking procedure as directed. I simply mixed the egg whites with the crab (I did use the canned fancy white lump crab meat suggested by the recipe, but could calculate it with fresh cooked local crab as well). I put it in the skillet and formed it into a patty while the egg cooked. The kids went crazy for those crab cakes! I will be making them often. Anders generally eats the same main dish as Nora, as do the rest of us if appropriate (I can’t eat much egg, so this recipe is out for me). It’s a good way to test whether a recipe has staying power, simplifies dinnertime, and helps Nora feel included. The rest of us just don’t add the extra butter or cream to our meal, and we add more veggies.

The second time I followed the recipe’s procedure. I used “Just Whites” powdered egg white (they should go back to marketing and re-consider that product name), whipped the egg whites into stiff peaks, folded in the oil and crab, then fried it in patties. It held together better while going into the pan, but it poofed up then fell as the air came out during frying. They ended up as flat oily slabs. Nora still devoured it, but Anders preferred my “mistake” method and I would have to agree. I also tried using the ring portion of a mason jar lid as a mold in the skillet to maintain the shape. That will be a good strategy going forward with the un-whipped egg whites, but I will oil the ring well to keep the crab cake from sticking to it.

The crab cake recipe is quite simple, as adapted from the Keto Cookbook.

Nutrition information for Crab Cakes. Analysis from

Crab Cakes
20 g Crown Prince Fancy Natural Crab Meat
15 g egg whites
9 g olive oil

Mix together and fry in oiled skillet on medium-high heat.

Makes 1 crab cake, 44 g. The portion in the Keto Cookbook is too big for Nora, so I scaled it down. This is a 2.3:1 ratio, so round out the meal with other sides to achieve the desired ratio for the meal. Our family is not at all fond of mayo, so Nora generally will have plenty of butter on a flacker or her high-fiber tortillas to boost her fat for the meal.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Recipes, Tips and Tricks by Christy Anderson Brekken. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christy Anderson Brekken

In no particular order... Instructor and Researcher, Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University. Educational background: University of MN Law School, 2005. MS in Ag and Resource Economics, Oregon State University, 2011. Teaches: Agricultural Law, Environmental Law. Mother: brilliant 9 year old boy; brilliant 6 year old girl with benign myoclonic epilepsy on a modified ketogenic diet therapy. Married to: Ted Brekken, OSU Department of Electrical Engineering. Ride: Xtra-cycle Edgerunner with kid seat; 400-pound cargo capacity. Grew up: Devils Lake, ND. Lived in: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Pohang, South Korea, Trondheim, Norway, Corvallis, OR. Interests: Cooking, knitting, eating, yoga, laughing, hiking, traveling, staying sane.

4 thoughts on “Back to our Local Ocean!

  1. Well, if there is any plus to being on the diet for us it would be that we don’t eat out near as much, especially no fast food (there are no options!) On the flip side traveling has to be very, very planned. My husband and son (who is on MAD version of Keto which is more forgiving/flexible) decided to go on a camping trip…just the 2 of them. Of course, the greatest challenge was the food and planning ahead; but they survived. We are 25 weeks seizure free!

    • Hooray for 25 weeks! That’s great!

      We have talked about camping this summer too, but so far we don’t have a trip planned. We have been out for short day hikes and realized that we should have packed more or different food, so we are learning by taking baby steps and now working up to bigger trips. We are getting much better at planning ahead and realizing that we can make it happen. Nora loves the beach, so we had to get back there this summer. Next weekend we will go back and stay at a friend’s beach house, so we will have a kitchen and I can make those crab cakes for her!

    • Yeah Kathryn, that’s the spirit! Even though I knew what I was looking for, I laughed out loud at the grocery store when I saw it on the shelf because it hit me, just like that. Sheesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *