Almond & Orange Florentines

I like to cook, therefore I like to listen to the Splendid Table. When I saw this Almond Florentine recipe on their website, I knew it would be keto-possible. Worked like a charm!

IMG_4313It is so easy, delicious and look at that fancy little cookie. Who could resist? It was a simple way to make an elegant holiday treat for Nora, and a batch with a little sugar for the rest of us!

A tip of you are making them for the whole family: reduce the sugar by at least half. I reduced the sugar a bit, and found them very very sweet. The orange still comes out, but I would like to taste the almond flavor too. The sugar is only for flavor, because Nora’s came out fine with no sugar at all.

One more tip: Kids like to zest oranges with a cheese grater or zester. Anders did the whole orange for me. Just make sure that they get the colored peel and avoid the white pith. Get them busy in the kitchen!

Nutrition information for 1 almond florentine cookie (recipe makes 10). Nutrition information provided by

Nutrition information for 1 almond florentine cookie (recipe makes 10). Nutrition information provided by

Almond & Orange Florentines
(makes 10 servings, 1.43:1 ratio)
30 g Egg whites
100 g Sliced almonds
2 g Orange zest

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a heavy baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper brushed lightly with vegetable oil.

Measure and briefly beat the egg whites. Then gently mix them with the sliced almonds and orange zest. Measure 13 g portions of the mix to make little mounds on the lined pan, spaced a bit apart. Dip a fork in a small bowl of water and flatten each mound. Make them as thin as possible without big gaps between the almond slices.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

Nora's cookies on left, rest of family's on the right.

Nora’s cookies on left, rest of family’s on the right.

You can add a drizzle of high-quality dark chocolate for extra flavor. I use Green & Black’s 85% dark chocolate. Melt a square in a small silicone pinch bowl by putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Check and microwave again briefly if necessary to melt it.

Put one cookie on the gram scale and tare it. Drizzle the melted chocolate on to the cookie until you reach the desired amount. I used 1.5 grams of chocolate on Nora’s, which added 0.41 g carbs, 0.15 g protein, 0.75 g carbs (9 calories, 1.33:1 ratio).

The ratio is very low for her, so we make “hot chocolate” out of heavy cream and a pinch of cocoa powder, steamed with the espresso machine’s attachment. Lovely holiday treat.


Nora gets popcorn! What a revelation! I read on another keto-mom blog that popcorn was her son’s favorite snack, and I was kinda like “shyeah, right. Not gonna work for Nora. Too many carbs.” Sorry I doubted you Sara. Now I’m with it.

I did look up the nutrition facts on popcorn after I saw that blog post and still thought that it wouldn’t work easily. It didn’t have as much fiber as I expected, and Nora could probably only have a few grams. I thought that her few grams would just look pathetic next to a serving that the rest of us would get. And I didn’t have any popcorn in the house, so that was also a big barrier to trying it.

I was motivated to try it again because her class is having a popcorn party tomorrow for their accumulated good behavior. I bought some popcorn to test it out. Super easy way to make plain popcorn for everyone: put some plain kernels in a small paper bag and microwave it for a few minutes, take it out when the popping slows down, or it will burn. That’s it! You will never eat that chemical-laden microwave popcorn again!

For tomorrow’s popcorn snack, Nora will get:
4.5 g popcorn
5.5 g butter (melted on and drizzled on popcorn)
5 g melted coconut oil mixed with 8 g ground macadamia nuts and a drop of banana flavoring, chilled to make a “cookie”


162 calories
3.3 g carb
1.2 g protein
16 g fat
1.3 fiber
3.5:1 ratio

And look at all that popcorn! A near proper bowl! It is super carby per gram, but it’s so light that you get a lot of popcorn per gram. That’s the key to success.

This will be her morning snack at school when everyone has popcorn, so we will load her breakfast with protein and very little carbs so that she is evened out by lunch. She is excited! And it sure helps that she is up to 14 g carbs per day, on her way to 16-17 g. We can easily squeeze in a few extra carbs with snack.

I am sure that popcorn will also become a favorite snack for Nora too.

The simplest keto meals

Ted here. This post is about the very simplest keto meals. Especially from the perspective of the secondary cook.

Christy is a food wizard. She gets food. She can create new things from basic components. She can produce batches of treats for Nora that we can use over the week. That is not an area of significant competence for me, but I can certainly make simple keto meals for Nora. So what do we do when energy and time are low, more complex treats are not available, and Nora needs to eat? Here is our most basic template for an easy lunch (or dinner).

Start with a base of avocado. Avocados are stellar. They are at about a 3.5:1 ratio on their own, plus they are fibrous. They can be simply diced, or spread as butter. We’ll generally start with 20 to 30 grams of avocado for a meal. Macadamia nuts (see more on them below) can also serve the role of a meal base. Both avocados and macadamia nuts work well to start the meal calculation because they are both high ratio, and give you a solid start on all four of the major constraints: carbs, protein, fat, and fiber.

The major sweet parts of the lunch come from apple, red pepper, carrots or berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries). Peppers and raspberries get priority because of their high fiber and low carb content (relatively). Apples, blueberries, strawberries, and carrots pack much more of a carb punch, so those are added if the other major constraints are met and there is still a bit of carb to give. Generally there will be 5 to 30 grams of total fruit, depending on the mix.

Cheddar cheese is the primary protein base. Nora likes it, it is easy to cut and weigh, and it has a good amount of fat too.  It is versatile too in that it can be served sliced, cubed, shredded, melted, or melted and reformed.  Something like 10 grams to 20 grams is typical. Sliced turkey and ham are also popular. Ham is nice because it has some fat. Sometimes we’ll put cream cheese and butter on the sliced meat and roll it up to get more fat in there.

Cream is our primary fat, either mixed with water and a few drops of vanilla flavoring to make “milk,” or steamed in our espresso machine with a pinch of cocoa powder. The amount of cream will be between 10 and 40 grams, depending on what else is in the meal. We’ll might also look for opportunities to put butter on or in things. The other two big fat delivery mechanisms are macadamia nuts and kalamata olives. Those are especially nice if I want to avoid liquids (i.e., cream) in the meal, for example, with a packed lunch. Macadamia nuts do have some carbs, so it will use up some of that allotment, but their high fat and high fiber content provide a significant tradeoff for that. Kalamata olives are one of very few foods that have both fat and carbs, but no protein, so they make a natural keto complement to meat and cheddar. However, they have no fiber.

The fourth constraint. Generally I check for fiber when I am satisfied with the amount of carbs and the ratio of the meal. If the fiber content is too low — we shoot for about 11 grams of fiber for Nora over the day — then I’ll circle back and see if I can trade something out for more raspberries, macadamia nuts, or Flackers. Flaxmeal is another option, and can be mixed in with any butter in the meal.

Lastly, we’ll check to see if there is a reasonable variety of textures and tastes. Meaning, is there something creamy and something crunchy? Is there something sweet and something salty?

A typical, very simple lunch:
8 g apple
15 g avocado
15 g cheddar cheese
8 g Flacker with 8 g butter
15 g macadamia nuts
13 g cream with water and vanilla flavoring to make “milk”
3.52:1 ratio
2.5 g carbs
6.9 g protein
33.1 g fat
4.4 g fiber
336 calories

At the bare minimum, if I have avocado, cheddar cheese, raspberries, and cream, I can cobble together the most basic tasty meal that satisfies all the constraints. Add some sliced meat, other berries, apples, peppers, carrots, cream cheese, macadamia nuts, kalamata olives, and Flackers, and we can switch things up enough to keep the simple meals interesting from day to day.

Blueberry Panna Cotta

Oh panna cotta! Where have you been hiding for the last 2 years? Why has it taken so long to discover you?

I’ve been a little obsessed with a cookbook put out by a fabulous restaurant in Portland, Toro Bravo. I haven’t even eaten there personally, but I’ve heard a lot about it. One of my life goals is to eat there. It’s 2 hours away, and often a 2 hour wait. It’s an attainable life goal; I like to have a few like that.

I’m reading this amazing, honest, detailed and hilarious cookbook, which has all of 7 dessert recipes, and start reading about panna cotta. John Gorham, owner, chef and author (who is free with cussing), tells about tasting the best ever panna cotta made by a pastry chef he worked with. The pastry chef replied:

This is the simplest recipe known to man. You can’t fuck it up. You can’t make it not amazing. It has four ingredients and takes five minutes and is foolproof so long as you pay attention.

Nora's Thanksgiving panna cotta, extra fancy.

Nora’s Thanksgiving panna cotta, extra fancy.

I’ve made custard. I’ve made ice cream. I’ve heated and stirred and cooled cream-based desserts. Panna cotta means “cooked cream.” I just assumed that something so Italian and so revered had to be difficult. The secret is out, and I’m making panna cotta. It was our Thanksgiving dessert.

The beautiful thing about panna cotta is that it doesn’t require sugar to make food-science magic. For ice cream, you need sugar to lower the freezing point. In baked goods, sugar plays a role in texture. In jams it makes the pectin gel. But all panna cotta really needs is cream and gelatin, and it gives back a soft luscious creamy dessert that can be flavored any way you want it.

The Toro Bravo recipe calls for gelatin sheets, which he claims are the key to success but require attention to detail. Contrary to the pastry chef’s opinion, it is “fuckupable” (his word, I’m just quoting here). I couldn’t find gelatin sheets at our fancy grocery store and I’m an old hand at powdered gelatin, so I found a recipe from another of my favorite chef-bloggers, David Lebovitz (and his recipe). He uses powered gelatin, and that’s good enough for me.

I’m up to 6 ingredients here. You have to use water with the powered gelatin, so that adds 1. I also included a bit of that whey protein I’m trying to use up. This recipe has so much fat that adding enough berries to get it to a 3.5:1 ratio was a heck of a lot of carbs at a time for Nora. The whey protein is undetectable in the panna cotta, but provides some needed protein to lower the ratio.

I used blueberries because Nora loves them and they are beautiful, but you can use any berries you like. Just adjust the amount of berries to get the correct nutritional breakdown. Blueberries are the highest-carb berry that we use, so if I substituted strawberry or raspberry it would be even more berrylicious!

Nutrition information for 1 serving of Blueberry Panna Cotta (recipe makes 8 servings). Nutrition information by

Nutrition information for 1 serving of Blueberry Panna Cotta (recipe makes 8 servings). Nutrition information by

Blueberry Panna Cotta
(makes 8 servings)
250 g Organic Valley heavy whipping cream
180 g Frozen blueberries
3 g Vanilla extract
2 g Gelatine powder
40 g Cold water
4 g Ultimate Nutrition whey protein powder

Warm and cream, vanilla and blueberries together in a small saucepan until the blueberries start to give up their juice and all is warm. Blend and mash them together so that they are well distributed.

When making a batch recipe, I’m concerned that one of the servings will be carb-heavy and often add the carb component separately to each serving. You can certainly warm the blueberries separately and divide them evenly on top of the cooled panna cotta, which I would recommend if your kid is very sensitive or just starting the diet. You need to be sure that every serving is what it says it is. I’m now comfortable doing this for Nora, but I was not always and I’m still careful.

Measure the cold water into a medium sized bowl, so that the water is broad but not very deep. Evenly sprinkle the gelatin powder over the surface of the water and let it sit, undisturbed, for 5 to 10 minutes.

If you want to be able to turn your panna cotta out on to a plate to serve, lightly grease 8 small cups with coconut oil. I just served ours in the cups. We used wine glasses for our fancy Thankgiving dessert, but I did the rest in ramekins and small tea cups.

Pour the warm cream mixture into the water and gelatin and stir well, so that the gelatin can dissolve completely and evenly. You won’t be able to tell, so stir a little longer than you normally would just to be sure.

Divide evenly into the 8 prepared cups, about 60 g each. Depending on how long you warmed the cream, you might have lost a bit of water. You could measure them at 59 g each to be safe and not come up short. If you incorporated the blueberries into the cream, make sure you get about the same number of chunks in each cup (this will depend on how big your blueberries are. If you are really uptight, count them and divide by 8!)

Chill for at least 2 hours to set until firm. If you make David Lebovitz’s recipe for the rest of the family, I think he skimps a bit on the gelatin, or ours just had to sit much longer to get a firm gel. Add a bit more gelatin than he suggests if you want to be able to eat it sooner rather than later.

One last tip: If your cream is clumpy and separated, you will probably get a thin layer of grainy butter at the top of your panna cotta. It’s doesn’t ruin it, but you should know. Keep the lumps out if you can.

Warm Flax Blueberry Cereal

It’s been cold here with beautiful blue skies. How cold? The chickens’ water was frozen this morning. It’s cold for Corvallis.

It turned out so blue from the blueberries!

It turned out so blue from the blueberries!

It’s also cold season. Nora came home with a scratchy voice, wracking cough and low fever yesterday, but thankfully she is in good spirits today. Anders woke up with a fever and has spent most of the day dozing. Poor kid. Now they are re-watching The Sound of Music. That will keep them quiet and still for 3 hours.

To warm up in the morning, I made Nora this warm Flax Blueberry Cereal, inspired by the flax cereal in The Keto Cookbook. Yes, it has protein powder in it, from the big jug I am trying to use up, 1 gram at a time. You may omit it and adjust your recipe! Nora loved it and licked the bowl clean. This formulation is 3.5:1.

One recipe Flax Blueberry Cereal, analysis by

One recipe Flax Blueberry Cereal, analysis by

Flax Blueberry Cereal
8 g Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal
5 g Coconut oil
19 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
12 g Frozen blueberries
5 g Walnuts, in pieces
1 g Ultimate Nutrition whey protein powder
Dash of cinnamon
Drop or two pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Measure all ingredients into a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, repeat until combined and thick like oatmeal.

If it gets to thick, add a bit of hot water to thin.

It’s a bit much to measure out on a busy morning, so I plan to mix up the dry ingredients for several separate servings and store in small baggies. Then I can just add the coconut oil and cream each morning, microwave and serve.

Frozen Yogurt Recipes

Frozen yogurt is yummy and easy! It’s also a nice way to pack in a little extra protein. Nora LOVES them. Sometimes I get extra special thanks and hugs after she has one of these.


Back when Nora started on MAD she needed so much protein and we had a hard time getting enough calories into her because she was always full. Back then, I bought a humongous container of unsweetened whey protein powder to sneak more protein into her diet and now I’m determined to use it up. It has the nice added property of making the smoothie a little extra thick. Honestly, I think that going more keto is easier on her because she gets enough calories from a smaller amount of food (remember, fat has more calories per gram than protein). We don’t have to wrestle more meat and cheese into her, which is a relief after always missing the protein mark with MAD.

Frozen yogurt is easy to whirl up in the food processor. I made this recipe for 7 servings so that I can whip up a batch after school and feed her 1 serving immediately as a smoothie, then freeze the remaining 6 servings in the popsicle molds for 6 more after-school snacks. Score.

As always, use these recipes as a guide for proportions and calculate using your own ingredients, checking with your dietician and/or Ketocalculator for exact nutritional information. You could concoct your own with any frozen berries that you like and to find the appropriate ratio for your child’s needs.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 8.39.06 PM

Nutrition facts for one Berry Frozen Yogurt Pop, 72 g each. 2.3 g net carbs, 3.51:1 ratio. Nutrition information from

Berry Frozen Yogurt
100 g Greek Gods Traditional Plain Greek Yogurt
262 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
50 g frozen blueberries
80 g frozen raspberries
14 g Ultimate Nutrition plain whey protein powder
No-carb sweetener to taste. I put 1 packet of Cytra-K into the mix.

Weigh all ingredients except protein powder and blend in food processor or blender until smooth. While blending, add in the protein powder and continue to blend until very smooth.

Weigh out a 72 g smoothie and serve immediately. Weigh the remaining mixture into individual popsicle molds, 72 g each, and freeze.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 7.37.53 PM

I impulse-bought these Tovolo bug pop molds at the end of summer, and I calibrated this recipe to fit into them. They make a larger pop than I had been making for Nora previously, which is nice as she grows older. They are also nice because 2 pops fit into 1 leaf-shaped stand, so I can put 1 leaf-stand on the gram scale and weigh out 2 popsicles. They fit on the scale better than some popsicle mold stands that are larger.

As long as the food processor is dirty, I just throw in a bunch of extra berries, yogurt and a bit of protein powder and make some smoothies and popsicles for Anders too. No reason for the keto-kid to get all of the treats. His seem super easy without measuring! Of course I use different popsicles molds for his, larger ones that I can’t use for any of Nora’s popsicles. And his are much deeper berry colored without all of that cream. It’s not tough to tell them apart.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 8.54.29 PM

Nutritional information for one serving of Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt, 51 g each. Not shown here: 0.4 g fiber, lowering net carbs to 1.9 g. 3.53:1 ratio. Nutritional information by

Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt
90 g Greek Gods Traditional Plain Greek Yogurt
175 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
10 g Ultimate Nutrition plain whey protein powder
24 g Green & Blacks Organic 85% Dark Chocolate
8 g Bob’s Red Mill vanilla extract
No-carb sweetener to taste. I use 1 packet of Cytra-K.

Makes 6 servings with 4 g of chocolate in each. It is important to make sure that the chocolate is evenly distributed to get the correct carb count and ratio. To get it right with minimum effort, first weigh the chocolate and chop in the food processor until it is quite fine. Scrape out as much as possible and divide into 6 popsicle molds, putting almost 4 g in each because there will be a bit left behind in the food processor. Try to get it as even as possible.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 9.01.10 PMFor these, I use Tovolo Ice Cream Pop Molds. They accommodate around 50 g of mixture. I have 2 sets for some reason that I can’t remember, and for some reason I made this recipe to make 6 servings. Nobody is perfect.

Next, mix the remaining ingredients in the food processor. You will pick up any bits of chocolate that were left behind, but that’s ok because it will be fairly evenly distributed and it’s just a bit. If you want to be extremely precise, mix everything except the chocolate then scrape 4 g of chocolate into each pop individually.

Measure 47 g of of the yogurt-cream-protein mixture into each pop mold. This 4-pop stand also fits well on my gram scale. I just measure one out, tare it, and measure the next. I have to rotate the popsicles around so that I can easily pour into the next empty one. After all are full, carefully stir to distribute the chocolate bits, although kids won’t complain about getting a bite of chocolate at the top! Snap on the handles and freeze. Enjoy the delight of serving a fancy ice cream pop to your keto-kid.

Peanut Butter Whipped Cream

The Splendid Table on National Public Radio is one of my favorite shows, and it’s based in St. Paul, MN where we once called home. Lynne Rossetto Kasper knows and appreciates her food and the science behind cooking.

A recent post on their website caught my eye: 10 ways to flavor whipped cream. Many of these would not work on the keto diet, and all would need the sugar removed, but it planted a seed of an idea. One day Nora’s lunch had a lot of whipped cream included with berries. Too much whipped cream for her taste (I know, how is that possible?) She also had a little peanut butter with butter mixed in to top a Flacker, so to get the rest of the whipped cream down I mixed the peanut butter in with the whipped cream. Lunch went down just fine.

25 g serving of Peanut Butter Ice Cream with 4 g Green & Blacks 85% Dark Chocolate

25 g serving of Peanut Butter Ice Cream with 4 g Green & Blacks 85% Dark Chocolate

This week I decided to try out a batch of dedicated peanut butter whipped cream made in advance and ended up with 2 snacks: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, and Peanut Butter Whipped Cream. Small difference, but here’s why.

First I tried mixing 10 parts cream to 2 parts peanut butter, but it was too heavy for the whipped cream to hold it and remain fluffy. That batch was turned into ice cream, in 25 g servings. Topped with Green & Blacks 85% Dark Chocolate makes a special treat–you can melt it in the microwave in a little silicone pinch bowl, or shave it into chips with a knife. I tried out some myself. I love chocolate and peanut butter, particularly in ice cream form.

The whipped cream recipe that worked was 10 parts cream to 1 part peanut butter. It has a more subtle peanut butter flavor, but holds up well enough to be called whipped cream. Nora is having it with blackberries today, just because she wants to.

1 serving of Peanut Butter Ice Cream, 25 g. Also contains 0.26 g fiber. Analysis by

1 serving of Peanut Butter Ice Cream, 25 g. Also contains 0.26 g fiber. Analysis by

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
100 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
20 g Adams 100% Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
5 g Vanilla Extract

Whip the cream until almost stiff, then add in the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Divide into 5 servings of 25 g each, then freeze.

Remove from freezer 15-20 minutes before serving to let it soften and mix. Top with shaved or melted 85% dark chocolate to reach desired ratio.

Ice cream without chocolate includes 0.26 g of fiber, for 0.64 g net carbs. Ice cream alone is 6.17:1 ratio.

Nutrition Information for one batch of Peanut Butter Whipped Cream.

Nutrition Information for one batch of Peanut Butter Whipped Cream.

Peanut Butter Whipped Cream
100 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
10 g Adams 100% Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
5 g Vanilla Extract

Food science experts say that the best way to make whipped cream is to keep everything cold. Place your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer before you start and keep all ingredients cold.

This time I placed all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl together. Whip for about 2 minutes on high until stiff.

Breaking this out per gram, this peanut butter whipped cream contains 0.01 g net carbs, 0.02 g protein and 0.41 g fat for a 11.84:1 ratio. Serve the an amount that makes an appropriate-sized snack with berries or another food to achieve the proper ratio.


Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Spring! The world is blooming and life gallops on. We have so much going on right now that I have not had much time for blog posts or recipes.

Nora and Luna share a moment a few weeks ago. This is when we realized the chicks should get outside before they started exploring the house.

Nora and Luna share a moment a few weeks ago. This is when we realized the chicks should get outside before they started exploring the house.

In addition to the normal spring activities with school, soccer, baseball, piano, friends…we also added four backyard chickens to our brood! They are about 8 weeks old now and looking like little hens. In a few months we will have the freshest of the fresh eggs for keto meals.

In other big busy news–we are moving to a new house! I have been trolling for a house that will give us more space, including a bigger kitchen, and get us on the right side of the busy street we cross daily on our bikes. We also chose a neighborhood with an elementary school that offers full-day kindergarten with a dual-language Spanish immersion program. Nora adores language and will be in heaven there, in addition to the benefits of learning a language when young. We are excited about our move, but it’s adding to an already busy spring.

And in keto-news, Nora’s big news story was intended to get the word out about the keto-diet for other families in the area and it worked! A nearby family contacted us because their little guy was getting progressively worse while on 2 drugs and they had been thinking about diet therapy. After talking with them he really took a turn for the worse and they were able to get in to Doernbecher Pediatric Neurology (the best, where Nora goes) for treatment and started the diet. We feel their suffering while watching their little guy struggle and trying to get the help that they need, and we are thrilled to be able to help them get on the right path. We delivered some keto-treats and shared our support last weekend and he is doing better already. In June we will meet with the keto-team at Doernbecher to official start a support group for families. All good work to keep us busy.

On to Nora’s latest favorite recipe! We’ve had these for months now, and it’s finally time to share. These are also adapted from The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking cookbook, where they are called Chocolate Pecan Cookies. I left some pecans in the recipe, but substituted hazelnuts for most of it because Bob’s Red Mill makes a hazelnut flour but not a pecan flour, and hazelnuts have a little lower carbs per gram. Nora loves them and we hope other keto-kids love them too.

WIMG_3425e started out serving them simply with enough cream cut with water to make “keto-milk.” They hold together well enough for dipping.

On the same note, we also served them as chocolate cereal for awhile, crunched up with “keto-milk” of cream and water. Last time I was down the cereal aisle, chocolate cereal in still in fashion, although I won’t buy it for Anders!


Next we started serving them as a large snack of 2 cookies with whipped cream in the middle. It’s either like a big Oreo, or an ice cream sandwich if you prep it then put it in the freezer for awhile. Very satisfying. This would make a great snack to send to school for a special treat when there is a class birthday or some other event.


IMG_3447Then one day Nora needed a smaller snack so I make a little food art with whipped cream and a tower of strawberries. That was a hit! Nora took this to a friend’s birthday party because I didn’t have the time to make cupcakes. The cookies keep in the refrigerator for a week or more, so making a batch will give you the base for several good snacks.

The cookies are also fairly fast and easy. It helps to have some pecans pre-ground, but it’s a small amount to put in the food processor or coffee grinder, which is my preferred way to grind small amounts of nut or seed flour when needed.

Only 0.8 g carb per cookie, and 2.56:1 ratio! Nora gets up to 3.5:1 ratio with 2 cookies, 12 g whipped cream for 178 calorie snack. For the strawberry stack, 1 cookie, 12 g whipped cream and 10 g fresh strawberries for a 114 calorie snack, 3.5:1 ratio.

Nutrition information for 1 Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie. Nutritional analysis by

Nutrition information for 1 Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie. Nutritional analysis by

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
(makes 24 cookies at 14 g each)
10 g Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxseed Meal
100 g Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour
50 g Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
20 g Rapunzel Organic Cocoa Powder
5 g Baking powder
3 g Salt
20 g Pecans, roughly ground
58 g Egg
50 g European-style Butter, melted
11 g Pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).

Combine flaxmeal, hazelnut meal, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and pecans. Here, I added a packet of Nora’s Cytra-K for sweetness. Add a no-carb dry sweetener of your choice here.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, melted butter, vanilla, and a liquid no-carb sweetener of your choice if desired.

Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir well until a thick, sticky batter forms.

IMG_3131Weigh out 14 grams of dough per cookie. You can roll them in your hands to make a ball then flatten into rounds, as they will not spread when cooking. Place on a prepared silicone baking sheet or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for a total of 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking. Transfer to wire rack and cool at least 15 minutes.


Toasting Bread

Please note: This recipe and nutrition information is developed by a parent. It is not medical advice. Use your best judgment when preparing and serving foods on the ketogenic diet, and ask your dietician before serving if you have any doubts. 

I promised to post a bread recipe long ago. I wanted to try this out a few times before posting it, and it’s finally time to share. Note that a stand mixer is required to make this batter. I don’t want to be responsible for the loss of another hand mixer. (Click on pictures to see larger image).

Having a bread on the keto diet seems to be really important to a lot of kids. I can imagine that it would be critical for older kids who remember “normal” food and see sandwiches around them at school. Nora’s biggest loss when she first started the diet was toast, although we don’t think she really remembers “toast” as the rest of the world knows it.

Nora has especially enjoyed this bread as peanut/almond butter (and butter) and keto-jam sandwiches, but it also holds up well enough to make grilled cheese or toast!

To be clear, it does not have the consistency of wheat-based loaf bread. It is a quick bread and even smells like banana bread to me, even though there is not a hint of banana in it!

This recipe is adapted from the “Toasting Bread” recipe in The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking. There are several similar recipes in that cookbook. The key to this one appears to be the egg whites, which give it a dryer texture after toasting. But after I substituted heavy cream for milk, it’s not exactly a “dry” bread.

I have to address how to use a loaf recipe in the ketogenic diet, because our typical procedure is to pre-weigh the batter and then cook accurate single servings. In this recipe, you will bake the loaf then cut servings of varying weights, and you have to know how to account for that. I’m using these calculations for Nora’s meals because I have verified it myself and we have had no problems. But if your kid is very sensitive or just starting the diet, you probably want to stick to recipes that weigh the batter into servings rather than these batch or loaf recipes that rely on good estimates. I want to be very clear about my procedures here so that you can make the best choices for your kid’s diet. If you are using LGIT or MAD, you are probably just fine with this bread. For the keto diet, you may want to pre-weigh the batter and post-weigh the bread when it is done and do your own calculations. Or weigh it out into smaller loaves so that it is all pre-weighed and adjust the cooking time accordingly. (I also explained this in the Holiday Cookies post, but eventually decided it was much easier to pre-weigh the cookies. Slicing bread to a certain weight is easier than weighing and calculating for each baked cookie.)

The recipe and nutrition information is for one whole loaf, 1169 g of batter. To convert this to nutrition information per gram of baked bread, I weighed the loaf when it came out of the oven and cooled, which was fairly consistant from loaf to loaf: 1057 g. It is lighter than the batter because water cooks out during baking, while the macronutrient breakdown remains the same. Therefore, I take the nutrition information for the full 1169 g of batter and divide it by 1057 to get the per-gram nutrition information (sorry, no fancy nutrition panel for this):

Nutrient             Per gram               40 g serving
Net carbs:         0.033 g                     1.31 g
Protein:              0.117 g                     4.67 g
Fat:                      0.357 g                   14.28 g
Fiber:                  0.075 g                      3.0 g

Ratio:        2.39:1

To calculate it into a meal for Nora, I choose an amount that will fit into her meal, usually 30 to 40 g. Then I cut a piece of bread to that weight. See above for the breakdowns for a 40 g slice (or 2 very thin slices). It packs in a good amount of protein and fiber! A typical meal would be 35-40 g of bread, equal parts natural peanut butter and butter (8 g each, could use almond butter instead), 8 g keto mixed berry jam (could also use crushed raspberries), and 30-40 g of heavy cream steamed with a touch of cocoa for “hot chocolate.” Hits the spot for a kid!

Toasting Bread
(nutrition info for batter, whole loaf)
227 g Bob’s Red Mill Organic Golden Flaxseed Meal
227 g Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal
32 g sesame seeds
32 g sunflower seeds
20 g baking powder
3 g Bob’s Red Mill xanthan gum
3 g salt
340 g Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
285 g egg whites (about 6 eggs)

Preheat the oven to 375. Line the bottom of a 4.5 x 8 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat with oil.

Weigh the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, then grind to flour in a clean coffee or spice grinder. You could opt to leave some of each whole if you prefer whole seeds in the bread. Combine with remaining dry ingredients: flaxeed meal, hazelnut meal, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, and mix well.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the cream and egg whites. You may add a non-carb liquid sweetener here if desired. Blend with paddle attachment thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients, and mix on medium for 2-3 minutes, until you have a thick, sticky, aerated batter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes until golden and springy when pressed in the center.

Transfer to wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes before turning out of the pan. Loosen around the edges with a thin nice. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Store in the refrigerator.

Because Nora eats so little at a time, I cut the loaf in half to use half and freeze half. She can eat sandwiches for awhile, move on to other foods, and when she asks for bread again I can just get the other half loaf out of the freezer.

When you read the ingredients, you probably thought (as I do), “what about the egg yolks!?!” I’m always trying to use a whole egg. This recipe is the perfect match to keto ice cream on a big cooking weekend! That recipe requires about 6 egg whites. So there you have it. Bread and ice cream. You have everything you need for a very happy keto kid, and no wasted eggs parts.


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.