Sushi Celebration

We so rarely go out to eat at a restaurant with Nora. We have probably been out with her about 10 times since she has been on the diet, and I can only think of 2 occasions when she ate some of the food at the restaurant–only when we have been at the coast eating seafood. Usually we pack her food and bring it into a friendly place. Last night Nora started asking to eat at a restaurant out of the blue, and as it was the last day of winter quarter and spring break is here, we decided to go out for a sushi celebration and honor her request.

Going out for sushi feels pretty safe because the food is minimally prepared. Both of our kids love salmon sashimi and edamame is awesome for Nora. Have I mentioned that before? Edamame is awesome! I forgot about it for a long time until I found some in the freezer earlier this week. Here’s the nutrition snapshot of 30 grams of Cascadian Farm shelled edamame. It’s not high ratio but it’s low carb, and you don’t find even that much fat in most veggies. This is fairly representative of the nutrition information from other brands and generic versions that I can find listed online.

Edamame in the shell is also awesome because it keeps Nora busy and happy.  Last night she got 30 g of edamame, pretty much all of her dinnertime carbs. We calculated her portions before leaving home then brought along the gram scale to measure it out. To serve it, I estimate the number of beans she can eat in 30 g then count out the beans in the shells.

After the edamame is ready, I pop some beans out of the pods and add them to the scale until I get up to 5 g (it’s usually 6 to 7 beans, depending on the size). To serve 30 g, I need 6 times that number of beans. Then I count out the beans in the shells for her. Last night she got 40 beans, so at 2 or 3 beans per pod she ended up with about 15 pods. Doing it that way is an estimation, but it averages out the variability in the bean size by weighing a sub-sample of the beans in the serving. Nora loves popping them out of the shell and it keeps her busy at the restaurant or kitchen table.

For the rest of her meal, she got about 1 slice of salmon sashimi (25 g). We brought some flacker (6 g) with butter (7 g) and some “hot chocolate” (steamed cream and cocoa powder) to round out the fat in her meal. Everyone was happy. Anders loves sashimi too. We got 1 order of sashimi to split between the kids because Nora gets only 1 slice. We could have weighed more for her and compensated with more fat when we got home, but she was feeling “fat and satisfied.” Anders ate the rest of that order of sashimi, the miso soup, some edamame, and most of another order of sashimi because he was still hungry. He’s not a cheap date!

Then we went home and finished off our Japanese-themed evening by watching Ponyo together. A fun and easy night was had by all and Nora was happy to go to a restaurant. She loved the room with the traditional short tables. She kept exclaiming that the room was so small. She felt like a giant! And the waiter was super tall and skinny because he had to crouch down to serve us! It’s always fun to see the world anew through a child’s eyes.

Food scientist Nora

We were out of baked goods for Nora, which naturally leads to a cooking Saturday. And naturally, it leads to Nora in the kitchen with me. She’s a creative cook!

I like to let her experiment, so our usual procedure involves Nora looking in the fridge and picking out some ingredients. Then I apply my food knowledge to help her combine them to create something edible. While I was on the phone and barely supervising, she took out sticks of string cheese and sprinkled liberally with cocoa powder. Hmmm, interesting start.

We learned from G’ma Margie that string cheese is good when microwaved until gooey and taffy-like, so that’s what we did with her string cheese and cocoa to get Choco-Cheese. Microwave then mix! Nora ate hers up. Mine was…ok. I’m not sure that Nora will ever request it again, but it was a safe and fun experiment! We weighed hers out at 14 g of string cheese and 1/2 g of cocoa powder, which I built into a morning snack for her.

Our next experiment built off of the first recipe that Nora concocted, Blueberry Monster Mash. Today we made Choco-Strawberry Monster Mash. I’m tempted to call it Frankenberry, but that name has too much baggage! It’s simple and Nora loves to run the food processor. She enjoyed some with lunch and extra strawberries.

Choco-Strawberry Monster Mash
(Makes 10 servings at 18.9 g each)

60 g strawberries
100 g macadamia nuts
10 g coconut oil
1 g salt
15 g water
3 g Rapunzel Organic Cocoa Powder

Process all in a food processor until smooth and enjoy! Remember, if you use a different brand of cocoa powder, you must update your nutrition facts. As always, this is an approximation for your reference based on the ingredients and brands listed.

Monster mash has been a very nice addition to Nora’s line-up. We don’t have it made up all of the time, so it’s kind of a treat. She also likes to eat whole macadamia nuts, which she calls “crunchy munchies” and are a staple of the keto diet at a 5.4:1 ratio. Getting some extra coconut oil in here and adding some other sweetness with the berries packs in a lot of flavor and goodness, and still makes a 4.7:1 ratio that helps to round out a meal.

Our last experiment was in the breakfast realm. Nora gets tired of her same breakfasts, but it’s hard to have several things on hand. It’s also hard to let her choose in the morning because on work/school days we build her meals the night before from breakfast through afternoon snack and don’t have the time to change it up in the morning.

Today she decided that she wanted to go back to gingerbread for breakfast, but I’m giving it a new life as cereal, ala my Re-Purposing Recipes post. I decided to go for a cereal again because she was watching Anders eat Chex recently and said, “I can’t wait until I can eat that when I’m done with my diet.” She’s amazingly mature about it, but it also breaks our hearts a little bit. Giving her keto cereal is the least that we can do.

You could use Dawn’s original gingerbread recipe from I realized that I did not post my adaptation here yet, so here it is, in cereal form.

Gingerbread Cereal
(Makes 2.4 servings of cereal at 28 g each)

15g european-style butter, room temperature
20 g Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut meal
5g Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
5g Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour
20g egg, raw & mixed well
1g cinnamon
0.2g ground cloves
0.3g ground ginger
0.5g pure vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients well in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until smooth and well incorporated. Place dough in a ball in parchment paper and flatten, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300. Divide dough into 28g portions (it doesn’t come out even. I made one odd-sized cookie and calculated it into Nora’s snack today, or use it as a taste tester for the rest of the family). Space the dough balls 0n a silicone mat and cover with parchment paper, then roll quite thin with a rolling pin. Because you want to get it thin, I find it easier to roll it right on the cooking surface to avoid losing it in the transfer. You see here that I made a double batch, so I had 4 servings. No, they are not a uniform size or shape, but they are a uniform weight!

After they are rolled out, push the edges up to avoid a thin crumbly edge. Then use a knife to press down into the dough to score them into pieces–squares, rectangle, triangles, trapezoids  whatever has straight lines! Don’t drag the knife through or you will lose a lot of dough. My serrated-edged bread knife worked well.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until very dry and crisp. When they have cooled, it is very easy to snap them into squares. They were surprisingly sturdy little things! Now we have 4 servings of cereal. The nutrition information above puts them at 1.34 net carbs (precisely, from my spreadsheet) and 2.8:1 ratio. I will add 8 g of Organic Valley heavy cream thinned with water to make “milk” to serve a 3.5:1 breakfast of 156 calories. Serving this with 13 g of heavy cream will get you to a 4:1 ratio and 174 calories.

The longer we go on with the diet, the more I come to believe that it’s all about keeping Nora happy. When she starts complaining in the least, it’s time to get creative again.


Fruit Souffle

Hot out of the oven and still poofed up!

This one is adapted from a recipe shared by my friend Karen, who also keeps a lookout for Nora-friendly recipes for me. I didn’t have to do much to modify it; the original is from Primally Inspired’s Breakfast Fruit Souffle.

It was pretty easy to make, particularly if you have a stand mixer. I was burnt out on recipes with whipped egg whites until I got my stand mixer. It takes a bit of experience and persistance to get them fully whipped if you have a hand mixer, and lord help you if you are doing it by hand. I was intimidated by the notion of a “souffle,” but Nora eats it after it is cool anyway so no pressure to serve it before it falls. And you will see below that I whipped them all together then divided into 4 measured servings, which reduced the time in the kitchen.

Deflated after cooling, but still delicious!

Best of all, it was a smash hit! Nora ate hers so fast that I didn’t have a chance to take a picture. I always use a first-batch serving for the rest of the family to taste test, and when Anders tried a bite, he did his dreamy “this is so good I’m going to faint” eye flutter and smile. I agree, it was excellent.

But it is not high ratio. It’s only 1.5:1. If used as a snack or breakfast for Nora, I would pair it with 24 g of heavy cream (steamed or in tea) to get it up to a 3.5:1 snack totaling 170 calories. I think it is possible to sneak more fat into the egg mixture, but it’s also nice to have some food that are not so fat-laden on their own. I might experiment with upping the ratio another time. For now, it’s nice for the LGIT or MAD diet and works if paired with another fat to reach the desired ratio for the ketogenic diet. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free.

Nutritional information for 1 serving (50 g) of Fruit Souffle. The recipe makes 4 servings. Analysis from

Fruit Souffle
makes 4 servings

40 g strawberries
20 g blackberries
20 g raspberries
20 g coconut oil
32 g egg yolk
60 g egg white
6 g vanilla extract
2 g cinnamon
No carb sweetener to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Measure 10 g strawberries, 5 g blackberries, 5 g raspberries (all cut or broken into pieces) and 5 g coconut oil into each of 4 ramekins. If you use frozen fruit, put them in the oven while it preheats to thaw them and melt the oil.

Separate the whites and yolks from 2 large eggs. Weigh the whites, then whisk on high in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer for several minutes, until stiff peaks form.

While the whites are whipping, measure the yolks into a separate bowl and add the vanilla, cinnamon, and a bit of no carb sweetener of your choice. I used 2 g of Nora’s Cytra-K, which I use to sweeten everything for her. Mix the yolk mixture well. It turns out super cinnamon-y, which makes it light brown and extremely fragrant and delicious. I think a touch of sweetness is nice to balance it out if you use a no-carb sweetener, but it doesn’t require much.

After the whites are whipped until stiff, carefully mix in the yolks. I put them into the mixer on low for less than 1 minute and it turned out fine. You could also fold them in by hand.

Take the ramekins with fruit out of the oven if you have not already done so, and mix it up. Spoon 25 g of the egg mixture into each ramekin on top of the fruit. Place them in the hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until browning slightly on the top.

They came out beautifully puffed up, light brown and smelling of cinnamon. I let them cool on the counter so they deflated before serving, but we aren’t uptight about that kind of thing around here. I tried to max out the amount of fruit while keeping it under 2 g of net carbs, but it is still just a bit of fruit on the bottom. The egg mixture was so delicious though that it was very nicely balanced. A real treat with a good amount of protein and some precious fiber.