Almond Flour Basics for Keto

If you master this basic dough, then you can make endless snacks and meals from it with little to no thought or stress.

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Here’s my advice with almond flour: get some and use it sparingly. I like to make small amounts to really test recipes and control my portions. If you follow a recipe just cut the measurement in half or more the first time; this helps to experiment with the flavors before making a large batch of something you might end up hating. I learned this the hard way of course, but let me save you the trouble. My style is not for everyone, but I think the more comfortable you are in the kitchen experimenting with food, the more successful you will be staying on the diet. You can call it a lifestyle style if that makes you feel better, but a diet is the food you eat so it doesn’t have to be negative.

So, keep it simple and relax. Pay attention to your portions and don’t make almond flour creations the base of every meal or you might slow your weight loss progress. Almonds are good, but they are calorie dense and easily add up after being ground into powder, which is a another reason to decrease the portion size if you’re trying to lose weight.

Basic Almond Flour Dessert– figure out your preferred combination of ingredients and then you can add any keto friendly toppings later. I suggest mastering the base.

Mix some flour in a mug or small bowl with cocoa powder, stevia, vanilla, egg, baking powder( just a pinch),..maybe some salt or cinnamon if you like those flavors. Microwave it for about a minute and half maybe less, eat it and see if you like it. I don’t like to measure stuff because if the process is super involved I am much less likely to repeat it or be able to do it fast when I really want something sweet right away. So less is more here, I start with a big spoonful of the almond flour and another big spoonful of cocoa and then add a pinch of this and that and see how it goes. You will taste it and know if you have enough vanilla or if you want it sweeter. You can add a sprinkle of stevia on top if you think it’s not sweet enough. Or I have added whip cream, peanut butter or even butter to make it more appealing. It’s just a few bites but it’s so dense and decadent that you’ll be surprised at how filling and rewarding these little desserts can really become.

Almond Flour Pancake- another basic that can be a base for several toppings once you have the basic batter how you like it. Just try it.

I again use a small bowl or measuring cup to keep down on the overall portion. Anyways, shake some flour in, add a milk of some kind, or better a heavy cream, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and stevia then mix to your desired thickness and heat a skillet, melt butter, fry your pancake. I top it with butter, sugar free syrup, or an over-easy egg and a slice of bacon. This is my lazy weekend breakfast. It’s one pancake and it’s heavenly. But something to remember is that it’s one, not a batch. If you make a batch then you might eat the whole batch. It’s unlikely you’ll start over and make another one after you have sat down and enjoyed your meal. *(sidebar- enjoy your meal. Turn off the tv and take a few minutes to taste your food and think about it. I have eaten a whole plate of food watching tv and reached down wondering what the hell happened to it. It’s a good meal, you made it, so enjoy it.)

Number three and worth the effort is the famous Fathead pizza crust. You can Youtube this one for several videos but basically you are using a lot of cheese mixed with almond flour and an egg. I used ricotta cheese in place of cream cheese and it worked fine. But these girls make it quick and easy. You can learn it. Use the base, add your own favorite spices and enjoy it!

I made this several times with lots of success. The last few times I seasoned the crust with Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning and added no toppings. I cut the crust into little pieces and used it for various snacks all week. It took some willpower to not overeat it, but it’s very dense and filling in small portions. I eat the first one, then pack up the rest as soon as they cool so I am not tempted! I remind myself that it will be worth it at the next meal to have something keto friendly and ready to go.

It works well if you form it into two or three pieces on the baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. I like to flip it after about 5 minutes and cook it evenly on both sides; this flipping process takes a little practice but a wide spatula can help.  Also I coated my fingers with olive oil when I was spreading the dough because it is seriously sticky. You can use water to wet your fingers and spread it out that way too.

If you master this basic dough, then you can make endless snacks and meals from it with little to no thought or stress. In my experience the easier you can make basic building blocks of meals you like, the more likely you are to sustain the new lifestyle.

Bottom line: You need to enjoy this, make it fun and keep messing with it until it tastes really good!

Enjoy Food Again

Fast food is a problem and perhaps that’s because we are so detached from the cooking, the source, and the enjoyment.

What if we slow it down a little? What if we think in the grocery store, hang out in the produce section, and see what’s new and fresh? What if we think about our next meal and plan it and cook it slowly while we think about the flavors and the ingredients? What if we sit down and savor each bite? What if we bake some cookies from scratch? What will it look like if we change the thought pattern about making food? (Michael Pollan has a documentary called Cooked, and it’s based on his book by the same name.) Here’s a link to view a preview of his Netflix series. He learns how to cook, bake and take time to enjoy the process as he explains the origin of cooking and really examines where we are right now as a food obsessed culture.

car-swivel-food-tray-0

The truth is so glaringly obvious that it’s hard not to see it when it comes to food. Fast food is a problem and perhaps that’s because we are so detached from the cooking, the source, and the enjoyment.  For example, I slam a burrito in the car (my food drug of choice) on the way to wherever I must be getting to and then I don’t feel full or satisfied, but that’s ok because there will be a snack bar, food truck and coffee bar every step of the way I am most likely going. Let’s say anywhere there will be people, even a soccer game that last less than an hour, will be met with food that Madeline’s mom packed in a cooler stuffed with enough to feed the pack for 3 months should a disaster strike the soccer field and leave everyone stranded. And who wants to go out for pizza after the game we just grazed our way through? Don’t worry about being hungry there will be more food at the next place and when I get home I will still be hungry because I haven’t really eaten any actual food all day. So, I open the fridge and look for something, I don’t know what I want, just something that is fast and delicious before I head to bed. It’s silly.

I’m saying it doesn’t have to be this way and of course I am not the first person to rant about it. But one thing leads to another and I am just observing my own habits and seeing that once I slow down and slice some vegetables and cook some meat I feel good about the meal I eat. I like to cook, but I have to stay home to do it and that’s the trick. Staying home for a couple hours and thinking about it, caring about the meal and the process is something that is ancient and instinctual for humans. Perhaps we have backed away from the ritual that made a meal sacred and something very spiritual and essential has been lost. And maybe that is why most meals are not filling the void that we have mindlessly created.

My practice for today will be to search for something sacred in the food I am eating and preparing. I want to enjoy the flavors and savor the moments that I am eating and see if I can get back to my ancestral roots of honoring the source of life that makes the meal possible. I might start saying Grace again, why not be thankful for every meal?