Blog Posts

New Car! “Where’s our car? Whose car is this?”

first time riding in the 3rd row

On Friday, due to some issues we were having with our old car, we ended up trading it in while the girls were in school. We were so excited to surprise them at school and maybe confuse them just a little bit. You see, just a few weeks ago, while our car was in the shop, we picked them up from school in a rental they knew nothing about. That time, they looked all over the parking lot for our “lost” car. Once they figured out we were driving a different car, they automatically assumed we had gotten a new one. Of course, we explained that no, it was just a rental. So this time, when we picked them up, they couldn’t figure out what was going on at all. Where was our car? Is this another rental? Whose car is this? Is it ours? We “own it, own it?”

We hope you enjoyed this video! If you’d like to see more, leave us a comment and make sure to follow us on YouTube!

Keto Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with BACON (Recipe)

Today I’m going to share a recipe that some friends have asked for. But before I jump into the prep and ingredients, let me tell you a little about how this recipe came to be. Meatloaf has been one of my favorite foods as long as I can remember. To me, it’s the ultimate comfort food because I can associate so many happy memories with it. I grew up eating my Nana’s meatloaf, (my sweet Nana passed in 2010) and her recipe was unlike any other I would try as an adult for one reason – She did not top it with a sauce or ketchup mixture, at all. She only mixed in tomato JUICE for the flavor and let the meatloaf stand alone, as delicious as it was without any glaze needed. Her recipe was basically fatty hamburger, green peppers and onions, a handful of crushed cornflakes, all mixed together with a liberal amount of tomato juice and formed by hand into a loaf. She didn’t even use a typical loaf pan or a meatloaf pan. She baked hers in it’s own cooking juices (yummy fats for us KETO folks) in a casserole dish. This recipe of hers is so good, and so nostalgic for me, that I’ve lived my whole life not wanting any other kind, especially not a ketchup-y one. For that reason, I never ordered meatloaf in restaurants. I just made her version, at home.

That being said, when I thought about making a Keto-friendly meatloaf, one pretty cool thing occurred to me. My Nana’s meatloaf was pretty “Keto” as it was, once you took away the cornflakes. (And maybe used a little less tomato juice.) So, I decided to do a little experiment to see if those cornflakes were even necessary at all and also do what I could to make this recipe as low-carb as possible. Another thing I decided to do was omit the onions. For one reason, the carbohydrate content of onions tends to be a little higher than other vegetables.  Also, now, don’t hate me here – but as delicious as I once thought they were – I seem to be losing my taste for them, or at the very least not missing them when I omit them from dishes.

However, since I did decide to skip a few of her original ingredients, I wanted to think of things I could add that would keep it Keto but lend some new flavors. A quick google search had me deciding pretty quick to, (DRUMROLL HERE) stuff my meatloaf with CHEESE and wrap the whole thing in BACON!

Quite a few of the recipes I found online recommended using BabyBel cheeses for this and luckily, I had some that I had purchased because I was able to get a great rebate from IBotta. If you don’t know what IBotta is, it’s a fantastic app that gives you a list of certain items you can purchase at your favorite grocery store and receive cash-back rewards through Venmo or PayPal. (You can also choose to receive gift cards to your favorite retailers and restaurants.) Let the grocery shopping you’re already doing, make you MONEY! I use it every time I shop! If you sign up through my referral code, you can get up to a $20 Welcome bonus. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/ovasbor  . If you’d prefer to just download the app from the AppStore or PlayStore, you can still use my referral code for the bonus, just copy and paste it in. My code is –

ovasbor

Keep in mind that this recipe is one you’ll really be able to adjust to your liking. Experiment with other vegetables mixed in or even other bases if you’d prefer not to use the tomato juice. If you’d like, you could probably even top it near the end of the cooking time with some no-sugar-added ketchup. That’s just not for me. (My Nana would cringe and we can’t have that.)

Keto Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf


Servings: 4

Ingredients

16 oz ground beef (I use 73%)
¼ cup green bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup tomato juice (no sugar added)
Salt & Pepper
3 strips bacon, your favorite
3 Babybel cheeses

Instructions

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a clear, glass casserole dish with Olive oil cooking spray. Begin the prep by mixing the ground beef, peppers, tomato juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Once it was all combined well, I formed a loaf-shape and placed it in my glass casserole dish. Then, I made an indentation in the center, running the length of the meatloaf. (This is the valley for the CHEESE!) I sliced 3 Babybel cheeses in half and places those in the center indentation. (See the pics above) Once the cheese is in place, close the meatloaf up, re-forming your loaf shape and completely surrounding the cheese. Basically, just smoosh it all together, covering the cheese while taking care not to push the cheese through to the bottom of the pan. You want it to stay inside the meatloaf during the baking process! The good thing about using a clear, glass baking dish for this is you can peek under the bottom to make sure you didn’t do that. 😊 Last, but definitely not least, cut each of your three bacon strips in half and lay them over your meatloaf horizontally, slightly overlapping and going down the sides. Bake the meatloaf for 40 mins to an hour. The done-ness of your hamburger should be to your own liking. I prefer any ground beef to be pretty well done (a steak is a different story). Once mine is done, I remove it from the dish and place it on a platter for slicing. ENJOY!!!

If you’d like my super SIMPLE recipe for the roasted Radishes pictured as the side dish on my plate above, click here –
https://livingthejoneslife.com/2019/02/22/radishes-a-keto-replacement-for-potatoes-recipe/

This recipe (the meatloaf alone) is approximately 421 calories per serving, 2.9g carbs, 35.5g fat, and 22g protein.  

**The nutritional facts mentioned in this article are approximate, and were based on the most accurate information I could find online and may vary. Always double-check your own ingredients.

Guess what day it is! (And a day of food)

Just a quick check-in today and a day of food. It’s been a crazy week with the baby girl sick and missing two days of school. Who’s ready for Spring??? I know I am! I’m working on getting together MY recipe for the Cheese-stuffed Meatloaf you see here for dinner. It was surprisingly good with hardly any carbs at all. Keep checking back for that but until then, HAPPY HUMP DAY!


**I do have to tell you that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I would never link a product here that I did not like or use.

2 Eggs Over Easy with Sausage (A pretty regular breakfast for me)
Super Simple Spinach Salad with Bacon, a touch of Mayo and Everything Bagel seasoning. for lunch
You know by now that I love Trader Joe’s Everything but The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
Cheese Stuffed KETO Meatloaf with some of those yummy Radishes. for dinner
Click here for my recipe for the radishes: https://livingthejoneslife.com/2019/02/22/radishes-a-keto-replacement-for-potatoes-recipe/

Creamy Keto Parmesan Sausage and Kale Soup (Recipe)

Rain, Rain, Rain!

It’s been a SOGGY week here in southern VA and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to let up any time soon. I turned on the news earlier in the week and my weather forecast had just one piece of advice for the days ahead –

I don’t know about you but when it does nothing but rain for days, especially this time of year, all I want to do is read good books, wear my fuzzy socks and eat comfort food! If you’re interested, I’m currently reading  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and it is fantastic so far!

There is one plus side to all of this liquid sunshine. It’s been a great opportunity for me to practice converting some of my old (pre-keto), warm and comforting recipes to make them more Keto-friendly. And it wasn’t hard at all! Cut out the flour and any breading, change over the oils to healthier fats like Extra Virgin Olive Oil and butter and bam! Most things become “keto.” Like a lot of people, one of my favorite rainy-day foods is soup. I love all kinds of soup, but a lot of recipes include things like potatoes or pasta, neither of which are part of MY keto lifestyle. So what do I do? The simplest thing imaginable. I just omit them! I don’t try to replace them with anything and I definitely do NOT miss them. There’s no need for something as basic as soup to become some complex, culinary creation. And really, what is better than a great meal, made with just a few ingredients?

In my pre-keto days, I would have made this recipe with cheese tortellini. Now, I incorporate those same flavors with the addition of parmesan cheese and this recipe is now much lower in carbs, (so MUCH lower) but still so satisfying. That being said, let me jump into my little recipe for Creamy KETO Parmesan, Sausage and Kale Soup that has just a handful of ingredients. This is also an easy clean-up meal because it leaves you with only a couple dishes to wash.

(My usual disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I would never link a product here that I did not like or use.)

Creamy Keto Sausage and Kale Soup

Servings: 6 (approximately)

Ingredients

½ lb. Bulk Breakfast Sausage
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
Salt and Pepper
6 oz. Frozen, chopped Kale (half a package for me)
4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 Tsp Minced Garlic, I like Spice World, ORGANIC GARLIC – LARGE Container – 32 OZ
2 Tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream

Instructions

Using your hands, roll sausage into little balls, I like mine around the size of a gum ball. Add the sausage balls to a pre-heated frying pan, careful not to turn or move too soon. They really need to sear just a bit before messing with them too much or they may lose their shape or fall apart. Allow to cook until they are done, approximately 6 minutes. I did mine in two batches, so that I wouldn’t overcrowd my pan. Remove sausage using a slotted spoon and add to your soup pot. To the same pot, add in the chicken broth, water and salt and pepper. Heat on medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Add in the frozen kale and heat through. As soon as the soup returns to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer. Cook for approximately 15 mins, or until the kale is tender. At this point, you can add in the Parmesan, garlic and cream. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes. That’s it! You’re done and dinner (or lunch) is ready!

In my bowl, I like to add just a pinch of shredded cheddar cheese for some garnish and another depth of flavor. Experiment with your own and enjoy!

My serving size for this recipe is just a little over a cup, but that may vary. For me, this is basically a guilt-free recipe so I did have 2 servings.

This recipe is approximately 200 calories per serving, 1.4g carbs, 13.1g fat, and 12g protein.

**The nutritional facts mentioned in this article are approximate, and were based on the most accurate information I could find online and may vary. Always double-check your own ingredients.

Radishes, a Keto replacement for potatoes? (Recipe)

Radishes. Those pretty, little, reddish-pink, round things you slice up and put in a salad. You know those? Well, who knew you can also cook them? (Maybe you knew, but I didn’t know) Are you thinking, why on earth would I want to cook a bitter-tasting radish? If you are, I’m so excited to tell you that once you cook them, that tangy, peppery taste is left behind and a sweet, new flavor that is really hard to compare to any other vegetable emerges.  I’m learning that these little guys are so versatile and can be used as a potato replacement for those of us living low-carb or keto lifestyles. I’m sure there’s so many other ways to cook them but I thought I’d share my way and favorite so far. Here’s some general nutritional info on radishes. (raw)

One cup (a little over 100 grams) of radishes, sliced, has about

  • 19 calories.
  • 4 g carbohydrates
  • 0.8 g protein
  • 0.1 g fat
  • 1.9 g fiber

So what else do we already know about radishes aside from them being Peter Rabbit’s favorite food? We know that they are a root vegetable, and that root vegetables are typically left out of a Ketogenic diet. I did not know how high they are in Vitamin C, which has oh-so-many health benefits including reducing high blood pressure. (I think most of us can use some of that!) They are also a good source of fiber which can be hard to come by on a Keto menu. They also have calcium and B vitamins, along with many other electrolytes. And we all know how important electrolytes are on Keto, especially in the early days when we may be depleted. For all these many benefits, I’ve decided to make radishes a regular part of MY Keto journey. Here’s how I prepare them.  

**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I would never link a product here that I did not like or use.

Oven-Roasted Radishes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash radishes and remove the tops. Slice off the very tip-top and bottom end of the radishes and cut in half. In a baking dish, toss radishes with the melted butter, garlic, and salt and pepper or other seasonings of your choice.  Bake for 20 minutes or until soft. Voila! An easy side dish that makes very little mess in your kitchen. I like to dip mine in full-fat Ranch dressing.

This recipe as-is has approximately 134 calories per serving, 5.8g carbs, 11g fat, 1.4g protein.

**The nutritional facts mentioned in this article are approximate, and were based on the most accurate information I could find online and may vary. Always double-check your own ingredients.

Talking Llamas and other nonsense (Dad’s Snapchat Adventures)

I have discovered Snapchat. I am now 54 years young and have become slightly obsessed with the Snapchat app with all the filters. I joined to be as up to date as I could be. I have three older daughters and two younger daughters. So, I don’t want to be considered out of touch with what they are experiencing in the tech revolution. I also need the stress relief with the laughter and amusement it gives me. In my profession I have very stressful days and need an outlet. So thank you, Snapchat. I have been sending a lot of snaps to people and I might be a little strong with my use of it. However, everyone seems to be indulging me for now. Laughter, especially at myself, has always been a way for me to release the tension.  Being silly with my wife and girls is a great way for me to forget about the rat race out there. As this is my first endeavor as a blogger with the help of Erin, it may be short and sweet until I get the hang of it. So thanks for reading and here are some samples of my Snapchat life.

Chuck

9 Pounds Down! (and a day of food)

On my 10th day of Keto, my low-carb diet took from me…

9 POUNDS, guys!!

I’m a little late getting around to posting this and I have not weighed since, so it might actually be more. And maybe I should’ve waited until I got to a nice, round number, like say, 10, before I posted at all.

We all also know that pounds aren’t everything. But, I know that NINE pounds ain’t just nothin’ either! (Or just “water”) I started this new way of eating on February 9th, and I am FLOORED that I’m responding so quickly. So, I’m celebrating now.

That’s me, celebrating. She can jump higher than I can.

So with that being said, Here’s another day of meals. I’d like to be able to post one every day, but that would get boring, fast. I’m going to be honest with you, there’s a lot of broccoli going down over here right now. And we all know what broccoli looks like. It should be said that I could definitely NOT be eating so much broccoli – there are tons of veggie choices on Keto, but I just happen to really like broccoli.

**I do have to tell you that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I would never link a product here that I did not like or use.

3 Egg Omelet with Cheddar Cheese and Spinach
Spinach Salad with Bacon, Egg and Mayo for lunch
For flavor and extra crunch, I like to use
Trader Joe’s Everything but The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (Pack of 2)

Liver and just-a-few Onions with Bacon and Pan-fried Eggplant for dinner
I know this one isn’t going to be for everybody, but liver is full of important nutrients and while it does have carbs, they were easily worked in to my day’s allotment. 

My Keto Journey, The Beginning (and a day of food)

Where should I begin? I guess I better tell you a little more about myself. If you’re following the family blog, you know that I’m the Mom. 😊 But that’s not all I am! I am a wife, sister, friend and daughter. I love to cook, I’m a caregiver by nature and I also love to make art (mostly fiber art) and other crafts (more on that later.) And I definitely want to live a LONG time to continue doing all of these things.

But, I am also overweight. It just crept up on me after having Aidan; before I knew it, I didn’t recognize myself in photos! I should remind you that Aidan is now 6, so I’m not sure how sneaky it was when it “crept up,” but I didn’t notice it, at least not in the way I should have. It’s almost like I woke up one day and really saw myself. No defining moment, just, “Wow, is this really who I am?”

The answer to that is, NO. Or at least it won’t be for long, because as of a little over a week ago, I have totally changed how I am eating.

Before I get too far into telling you about what I’m doing, let me just say that this is not a one-size-fits-all thing and you should definitely not be drastically changing your own diet without speaking to your doctor first. I am in no way an expert (on the Keto way of eating or anything else) and I am definitely NOT a medical professional. This is just MY story and my account of what I am doing. Basically, just do your own research and take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt, and maybe a lime and a shot of tequila, for me, since I’m not having alcohol.

Ok, back to my story! Originally, I thought that the Keto lifestyle would be impossible to maintain. I pictured myself eating nothing but bacon and eggs and butter and I just knew there was NO way I’d be able to do that. (And I definitely didn’t like the sound of butter in my coffee.) Boy, was I wrong! It’s really so much simpler and easy to follow than I thought.

For most people, the Keto diet is all about the macros. The general rule of thumb that I found is to have your daily diet stay under 5% carbs, have 75% fat and 20% protein. In my research in the beginning, I found out that most people recommend counting your carbs (staying under 20 grams net, with some people choosing to stay under 50 grams net). I decided to start out at the high end and stay under 50 grams NET carbs. I did that for one day. Yes, you read that right. ONE day. Quickly, I realized that my all-or-nothing personality meant that I would decide to follow what some people call “strict” Keto – I am now staying under 20 grams TOTAL carbs per day (not net). I am watching my macros via an app on my phone (Google it, there’s a few out there but my favorite is the one that’s geared for FITNESS.) All of this sounds miserable, right? Wrong. I’m actually eating delicious food and I rarely feel hungry. I’m also down 7 pounds ALREADY! I feel better than I have felt in years and I’m actually having fun learning new ways to prepare our food.

If you took the time to read all that, thanks so much, but the short of it is, I am getting healthy. Finally. And it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. As I continue on my Keto journey, I’ll post here with updates, recipes and pictures of what I’m eating. For now, here’s one day of food for me. (Today)

**I do have to tell you that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Keto Bagel Breakfast Sandwich with Egg and Cheddar
I like to make my keto bagels with
Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour, 16 Ounce
Leftover Grilled Chicken with Steamed Broccoli for lunch
Keto Tacos with Cheese Shells, ground beef, spinach, sour cream and just a tad of salsa
for dinner