keto breakfast: egg muffins

We have friends on various diets and have explored quite a few ourselves, trying to work out a healthy lifestyle that uses local ingredients (whenever possible). Over the past year, I have been enjoying a low carb lifestyle that has helped me lose 30 pounds and bring my blood pressure back to nice low numbers!
One of my favourite fast foods on this diet are these "breakfast muffins".... so nummy and filled with the ingredients I need to eat.

10 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter
3 cups baby kale and/or spinach, chopped
2 thinly sliced brown mushrooms
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
10 eggs
1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt, or full fat sour cream
green onion or parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 F. I use my silicon 12 muffin pan with a cookie sheet underneath. I recommend that you just make 10 muffins and leave the middle two spots of the muffin pan empty. They just don't cook as quickly as the ones around the outside and it creates problems for deciding when to take them out of the oven!
Cook the bacon over low heat until crispy. Crumble or chop the bacon slices, one into each muffin cup. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan and add butter. Cook the mushrooms a bit until wilted, divide among the muffin cups; then do the same with the kale or spinach. If there is any bacon fat left, you just add it to the eggs when you beat them.
Shred the cheeses and add to the muffin cups.
Beat the eggs with the yogurt or sour cream & reserved bacon fat until frothy. Season with pepper & your choice of herbs. Divide into the 10 muffin cups and top with chopped green onion or parsley.
Bake for about  35 minutes until firm.
Great hot out of the oven, but I like to have a few leftovers in the fridge for our hikes.

doggie biscotti

After successfully making dehydrated liver treats for our dogs, and years of creating doggie cakes and treats, I think I have created an amazing and versatile recipe that my pups just love.
The joy of this recipe is that you can substitute any ingredient depending upon what you have in your kitchen at that time of year.

  • 1/2 cup good quality fat - butter, lard, peanut butter etc
  • 2 eggs including the shells (crushed)
  • 1 cup grated or chopped fruits or veggies, fresh or dried - carrot, potato, celery etc (do not add raisins, grapes, garlic or onion)
  • 1 cup cracklings or other finely chopped meat (opt)
  • up to 1/2 cup of other liquids from your pantry - soup, milk, yogurt etc
  • 1 cup flour or oats
  • 1 cup oats

Heat oven to 350 F and line a cookie pan with parchment paper.
Mix the ingredients in the order shown, adding more or less flour and oats if the batter isn't the consistency of cookie dough. It will be sticky. You want to be able to form this batter into a long flat loaf on the pan, a little water on your hands may help!
Flatten out the loaf to about 3/4" high and bake 30 minutes until firm and golden around the edges. Cool the loaf on a rack for 15 minutes, then slice into 1/2" bars. Lay on their sides on the lined cookie sheet and return to the oven for 30 minutes, flipping over half way through. Cool on a rack & store in your fridge.

My big dogs have no trouble sitting for a piece of nice dry doggie biscotti!

italian plum torte

My favourite fruit tree in our yard is the Italian purple plum tree at the back of the garden. Finally big enough to produce plums a few years ago, we now get buckets of plums every year. I love them fresh off the tree, dried, stewed and this recipe is now in the top five cakes I make.
The edges are crispy, chewy goodness and the middle is soft, fruity cake!

1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
20 (approx) Italian plum halves, fresh or defrosted
2 Tbsp brown sugar
icing sugar

Butter the sides of a 10" spring form pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom. Heat oven to 350F.
If you are using frozen plums, make sure they are mostly defrosted.
In a small bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In large mixer bowl, cream the butter and add the 3/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar. When well creamed, add the eggs one at a time, orange zest and vanilla.
Reduce the speed on your mixer and add the dry ingredient mixture just until nicely blended.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and pat into place with damp fingers. Place the plum halves on the dough so they are not overlapping. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp brown sugar and place in the middle rack of the oven.
Bake for about 1 hour. Cool your cake on a wire rack before removing it from the pan. Place on your cake board or plate and sprinkle with icing sugar.
We served this Christmas eve with whipped coconut cream for those not able to tolerate dairy.

Whipped coconut cream

1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Refrigerate the coconut milk in the can for at least an hour. Open the can and separate the liquids from solids by scooping off the solids into a bowl and pouring the liquids into a cup. Set aside the liquid coconut milk.
Beat the coconut milk solids with icing sugar and vanilla until blended. The more you beat it, the softer it gets, so stop before it's thin. Refrigerate your whipped coconut cream until serving.

country rooster sausage

Farmers occasionally have old hens, or extra roosters and we were usually told that the only thing you can do with the stringy old birds is to make broth.
I disagree.
We like to make them into the most delicious sausage.
We were recently gifted with three roosters, and having an extra rooster of our own, we were able to create 8 pounds of sausage of two kinds this afternoon.
You could also make these recipes from turkey or duck. Use both dark and light meat plus the skin for fat.
We made the first 5 pounds into this recipe from earlier this year: and the rest into this delicious breakfast sausage:
Be sure to keep everything super clean, and cold. Whenever you are not actually handling the chicken, it should be on ice or in the fridge. Wash everything in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water.

Maple Breakfast Sausage

3 lbs chicken meat & skin cut in cubes
2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves, cinnamon, mace & allspice
Mix the chicken meat & sage leaves and put through the grinder with medium course grind disk. Mix in the maple syrup and seasonings. Put through the grinder a second time with finer grind disk.
Let rest overnight covered in the fridge before cooking and it tastes even better!
Either form in to patties or links and freeze whatever you won't be cooking in the next couple days.

Duck Livers with Eggplant & Mushrooms

We had a great summer raising our Muscovy duck herd, with twenty six ducklings successfully raised to maturity. Thanks to Pat Hanson at Andtbaka Farm (The Farmer's Gate) for doing all the dirty work of harvesting and plucking!
The freezer is full and we have lots of duck livers for pate. So many livers that we reserved 9 livers and made this fabulous dish. It's both low carb and perfect for Will's Low FODMaP diet. My serving was presented with spinach on a bed of sauteed cabbage and Will had his on a bed of rice.

9 duck livers cut in bite-sized pieces (about 1" square)
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried hot pepper flakes (I used Thai pepper)
3 large mushrooms sliced thinly
1 long Japanese eggplant cut in half, then in 3/8" half moon slices
1/4 cup duck fat (can use bacon fat or butter if you like)
1/4 cup butter1 Tbsp slivered fresh ginger
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brandy
2 green onions (just the green), sliced
pickled banana pepper rings 

Prepare all the vegetables & livers. Season livers with salt, pepper & Thai pepper flakes. Set aside.
Melt duck fat in a large pan or wok. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium heat until wilted, then add the eggplant slices. Saute until starting to brown. Remove from pan.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in the pan. Saute the ginger for just a minute and then add the livers. Cook until just brown on both sides. Squeeze lemon juice over the livers, then brandy. Add back the vegetables, and cook just enough to warm it all up again.
Serve over rice, spinach or sauteed cabbage. Garnish with green onion and pickled banana peppers.
This was so good!

fig jam with lime

Our Black Mission fig tree has been producing a fantastic number of fruit this year considering it is not very large yet, just 7 feet tall and nearly as wide.... more a bush than a tree, but I have made two batches of jam and still have enough to try some other recipes.
This jam recipe turned out absolutely delicious.
First, get your jars into the water bath & get them boiling to sterilize the jars. Then start chopping! This will take about 36 small figs. 

6 cups chopped ripe figs
1 fresh lime
2 Tbsp lime juice
7 cups sugar
1 tsp butter
1 pouch liquid pectin

You are going to use nearly an entire lime, first I grated the
peeling finely. Cut the lime in half and squeezed the juice, measuring to see if you have 1/4 cup, then chopped most of the lime flesh into tiny bits, throwing away just the hardest end bits. Add to the chopped figs in a large pot. If you don't have 1/4 cup of lime juice, add lime or lemon juice. Add sugar & butter. Stir until well mixed.
Bring to a hard boil that can't be stirred down. Add pouch of pectin and bring back to boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and stir 5 minutes.
Carefully fill sterilized jars to 1/4 inch from top, wipe the rims and cap with sterilized lid & ring. Place back into the water bath, cover and bring to boil. Boil 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and let them sit until cool before labeling and storing in a cool, dark place.
Make about 9 jars of ruby coloured jam.

GF Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Mocha Fudge Frosting

Great gluten-free cake that everyone will enjoy. Great texture, great flavour, great crumb... oh my goodness!

3 oz bittersweet chocolate melted in top of double boiler
2 1/2 cups Gluten-Free flours (I used 1/2 cup each of brown rice flour, white rice flour, light buckwheat flour, tapioca starch and corn starch)
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup of either mayonnaise or sour cream, or a mixture of both
2 cups sugar
1 medium zucchini grated finely, and gently squeezed to remove some of the water. Should have about 2 cups grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large oblong baking pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate.
In a bowl, mix the GF flours with xanthan gum, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
In large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy. Add mayo &/or sour cream. Mix well. Add melted chocolate. Add sugar. Mix well. Add dry ingredients, then zucchini.
Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 55 minutes.
Remove from oven and either cool before frosting, or pour this warm fudge frosting over the cake while still warm, then allow to cool before serving.

Mocha Fudge Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp instant coffee
1/3 cup milk (or milk substitute)
1 pound icing sugar
In medium saucepan, heat the butter, cocoa, coffee & milk until the butter melts and the mixture is just a little bubbly. Remove from heat. Add the icing sugar and mix well. Pour over your cake while still warm. Allow to cool a bit before serving.