As anyone who has followed my blogs knows, I have always had a weight problem. For reasons I’d rather not delve into as of yet (someday), I’ve used food for comfort since I was 9 or 10-years-old. People have many forms of escape to dull the pain of living, from drugs and alcohol to athletics or a well-worn book. For me it was mostly food. Sure, I dabbled in drugs during my youth, but stints with LSD and cocaine were more about fitting in, having fun and expanding my mind as opposed to easing the aches and pains of reality. For me, food was the ultimate safety net, the bastion of comfort and pleasure, the hole I would crawl into so frequently, that it’s taken all my life to finally emerge from its dangerous embrace.
Since June of 2018, I have been on the ketogenic diet. Like many, I scoffed at its validity, unable to believe that a diet based on healthy fats could do anything but hurt me. One of my best friends, who knew how miserable I was in my own skin, would continuously urge me to try it. Just jump in with both feet and give it a good go. Well, I finally took her advice and now that I’m seeing the other side of the rainbow, there’s no turning back.
So many things about me have changed over the past year. The most obvious being a loss of 65 pounds and over 25 inches all over my body. In addition, I’ve been able to get off of the high blood pressure medication I’d been on for 5 or 6 years and I have more energy than I have had since I was a teenager. No more afternoon naps. No more fear of walking several blocks, even in the debilitating, New Orleans summer heat. Best of all? My whole relationship with food has changed drastically.
Being a food writer, I pretty much have to think about food all of the time. But now it’s a choice, rather than an obsession. Before I started keto, I would think about dinner while I was eating lunch. I would plan out a nightly dessert. I would have no qualms about inhaling a large bag of crunchy Cheetos in one sitting, especially paired with chocolate. My morning coffees contained not only a healthy splash of chocolate milk, but a few tablespoons of sugar. If I was in a bad mood, I ate. If I was in a good mood, I ate. When going on vacation, all I could think about was the next meal. I was an addict and I believe that if I started eating simple carbs and sugar again on a regular basis, I would be an addict again.
Everything has changed for me, for the better and I am still enjoying delicious food while losing weight instead of my health … or my mind for that matter. I only wish I would’ve started sooner! This is the ONLY diet, or as fellow keto-ers say “way of eating,” where I can enjoy great food, lose weight, gain health, and I am never hungry.
On that note, here is a recipe for an almond flour crust, keto-approved quiche that I made last night. Like any quiche recipe, feel free to mix and match your cheeses, protein and veggies, but if you’re keto, be sure your vegetable choices don’t include starchy or sweet roots like potatoes and carrots. Pretty much anything that grows above the ground is good!
Andouille Sausage, Spinach & Mushroom Quiche
For the crust:
1 1/2 C. super fine almond flour
1/4 C. olive oil
T. Italian seasoning
For the filling:
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 Andouille sausage (I like Paul Prudhomme’s brand), sliced into half moons
1 1/2 C. sliced button mushrooms
4 C. fresh spinach, chopped
5 large eggs
1/4 C. heavy whipping cream
Pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 C. cheddar cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°
Combine the almond flour, olive oil and Italian seasoning until it comes together, almost like dough. Using your fingers, press the flour mixture into a quiche or pie pan, pushing it up the sides as well, and ensuring there are no “holes.” Put the prepared shell into the oven and pre-bake for 10 minutes. After baking, set aside.
Saute the onion until it’s translucent and add sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Cook down the onion and mushrooms until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the sausage to brown. Finally, add the chopped spinach with salt and pepper until it is all wilted. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs, whipping cream and nutmeg till well-combined.
Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on the bottom of the almond quiche crust. Spoon the mushroom, sausage and spinach mixture atop the cheese, filling the shell. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the sausage and veggies (you may have extra depending upon the size of your pan). Then top with remaining cheese and carefully place in the oven with a layer of tin foil (or a sheet pan) underneath to catch anything that might drip. Bake for 20-25 minutes, let it cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!
I like serving my quiches with a side salad, roasted Brussels sprouts or pancetta-wrapped asparagus.
Keto on, my friends!