Russian Syrniki (Reduced Carb)

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Who doesn’t love creamy fried goodness? I know I can’t get enough of it. About a year ago I shared my recipe for traditional Russian syrniki. They’re a hit around here. Delicious and creamy, then pan-fried in coconut oil. Even better when topped with sour cream and something sweet.

I’ve been craving syrniki as of late, however I’ve been on a diet and unable to enjoy them! I started THM, which is a diet plan that has different meal types. Some meals with moderate carbs and low fat, some with plenty of healthy fats and low carbs, and some have both if you’re trying to maintain or gain weight. I really enjoy this diet, because I can get all the carbs and fats my body needs, but while losing weight.

My original syrniki has plenty of healthy fats, so I needed to reduce the carbs. I first tried making them grain-free. Failure. I tried adding in some oat fiber hoping it would help them stand up while cooking. I must say, when the second failure comes after midnight when you’ve been sick and are starving it can be rather emotional. Thankfully I woke up the next morning knowing what I needed to do, and it worked! Instead of trying to take out all of the all-purpose flour I reduced it by two thirds, and supplemented with oat fiber, which has zero net carbs. Finally I could have my creamy fried goodness.

The cheese in these really give it a delicious flavor and texture. Think of a a mix of pancakes and cheesecake, then fried. Just talking about it makes me hungry. My favorite toppings for these are sour cream with orange marmalade or macerated strawberries (strawberries coated in sweetener then allowed to sit for a few minutes ’til juicy). 

Low-Carb Russian Syrniki
Serves 2
A delicious and creamy Russian syrniki (cheese pancake) fried in coconut oil. Serves two.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup strained cottage cheese or farmers cheese
  2. 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour or sprouted flour
  3. 2 Tbsp oat fiber
  4. 3 Tbsp Truvia
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/4 tsp vanilla
  7. coconut oil
  8. topping of choice
Instructions
  1. Place cottage cheese in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl or the sink and stir to get out as much extra whey (liquid) as possible. Measure out one cup and add to a blender along with egg, Truvia, and vanilla. Blend just until cheese is mostly smooth. There may still be some small pieces of curds, but that's okay, you're only trying to get a bulk of the curds smooth. If using farmers or quark cheese skip blending.
  2. Place in a bowl add flour and oat fiber, stir well. In a small skillet melt a small amount of coconut oil over medium-low heat. Spoon dough into the pan in 6 patties. Fry both sides until golden brown then place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve with your choice of toppings.
Notes
  1. Only 9 net carbs per serving. Carbs in the Truvia are excluded, as those types of carbs are not processed in your body as carbs and are supposed to be excluded.
  2. For those following THM this is an S meal type (low carb & plenty of healthy fats). Since on THM we don't count the carbs in our cottage cheese if it's the main protein source, we would only count the carbs in the flour, which would make this 5 net carbs.
Adapted from Traditional Russian Syrniki
Lavender and Honey http://www.lavenderandhoney.net/

Do you have a favorite dish from a different ethnic cuisine other than your own? When on a diet do you make your own recipes or adapt favorites?

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Connecting Through Video Games

-342 : guinea pig pwn[Source Katherine McAdoo on Flickr ]

Video games can be used in many ways. Culturally they are often viewed as a solitary activity, which prevents you from interacting with real people. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. While we were growing up a lot of people would be surprised that my sisters and I would play video games, however the way we play them is different from the typical social view. When we play video games we’re often spending quality times with each other. 

How does this happen, you might ask? Often when we were younger we would play multiplayer games. Doing this we would have fun helping each other towards a goal. Even when we were competing we knew the important thing was to have fun. We would also want the other person to do well. I have countless memories of spending sick days having fun with my sisters this way. We loved to play an old PS2 Nascar game and drive backwards on the track, just to see how many cars we could crash.

We still enjoy playing video games together. One favorite is Mario Kart Wii, it’s great for people of all ages, and you can change the difficulty level. While we don’t neglect other things in order to play video games, it’s great to do when sick or when looking for a group activity. Oftentimes when we play there’s a lot of laughing and it can even lead to deep discussions. Last week we discovered ArcheAge, a free-to-play MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). It can be difficult to find one that’s good and clean, so we were rather excited about finding this one. One of the nice things about ArcheAge is that while it does include magic in a way I’m uncomfortable with, that’s entirely optional. You can ignore that part of the game.

When playing video games it’s good to keep a couple things in mind. Mainly not letting it take over your life and to not to let the competition when playing with others get ugly. Thankfully while my sisters and I do enjoy doing well in games, we’re not really competitive. With our health conditions we also miss out on doing enough that when our health allows us to do something we’re not going to waste that time. 

The type of video game to get varies person to person. I think Mario Kart is a good starting place for most players, though. It’s a lot of fun and you can play it as a family or as a single player.

Do you enjoy video games as a family? Do you have a favorite video game?

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Creative Inspiration To-Do List

1294338_730399673640211_883499770_o1614446_974231185923724_2388365154315202970_o1658191_824116644268513_154548093_o Photo courtesy of my sister, Caroline Keeth. You can watch her vlogs on Youtube, view her photos on her Facebook page, or read her blog here. She also talks about writing a novel, being a dragon and burning down everyone you love if you take her gem (me), fear of spiders, cake, and all her nerdy feels on her Twitter page.

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Writers block. That’s a scary word for writers, we all have it from time to time. I usually inflict it upon myself, and it’s difficult to get out of. That’s why I recently started this blog series, to help those who may need a little help sparking their creativity. Hopefully trying something new can get your creativity flowing.

One way I often inflict writers block on myself is that I procrastinate. The longer I procrastinate the harder it is for me to actually start writing, and all my ideas feel stagnant. The more I write the more ideas I have. I have recently set the goal to write one new blog post a day, and it feels wonderful! I never feel quite like myself when I’m not writing regularly; I feel separated from part of myself. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with this challenge.

  • Listen to Anchor by Mindy Gledhill. 
  • Watch The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2.  
  • Read Entwined by Heather Dixon. A lovely and enchanting retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the brothers Grimm. One of my all-time favorite novels.

Do you have any tricks for writing regularly or for getting over writers block?

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Autumn Spice Aromatherapy Blend

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I am not a trained medical professional and therefore am not giving out medical advice. I am solely using this to share my experiences. Please talk to a qualified medical professional about any treatment options. Any links contained in this post are not affiliated links, I share them solely for your ease.

I’ve wanted an essential oil diffuser for quite some time, however there was always something else that was a higher priority. However, Sarah’s been suffering from headaches caused by the ravaging ragweed. Due to her autism she’s extremely sensitive to foods and medicines, which makes dealing with headaches even more difficult. Cue buying an oil diffuser. The first night we put it in Sarah’s room with a mix of oils for headaches and sleep, and it helped her stay relaxed the whole night! Quite an accomplishment, considering she tends to get herself worked up while in bed and yells out. The following day we continued to use it, with the same oil blend in the morning that we used the previous evening and later on a autumn spice blend I created. For the first time in a year and a half she didn’t lash out in anger, and stayed happy and playful. Such a joyful occasion! 

For my autumn spice blend I wanted something that could help with my brain. Due to the neurological side effects of chronic Lyme disease, sensory processing disorder, and auditory processing disorder I can use a lot of help in that area. I also wanted something that reminded me of autumn. What I came up with was a mix of orange, frankincense, cinnamon, and pine. The orange and cinnamon remind me of potpourri or hot wassail, which I would quite literally drink by the gallon every year when I had chronic bronchitis when I was younger. While growing up my mom would also walk us through my great-grandfather’s woods on his farm, as a story. She would describe the sights, sounds, and smells. Adding in the pine and the frankincense is reminiscent of those stories. Not only do these oils smell amazing together, but the orange is wonderful as an antidepressant; the frankincense for stress and anxiety; the cinnamon removes nervous tension and boosts memory; and the pine energizes, removes mental stress, is a mood elevator, and improves mental clarity, concentration, and relieves anxiety. 

I’m loving having this scent throughout the room with the oil diffuser, however I could also put it in a carrier oil to use topically. On the back of my neck and on the bottom of my feet would probably help the best, and this way if I can’t use the oil diffuser I can still have the wonderful benefits of this oil blend. You may notice I don’t use a specific oil brand. I’ve tried several different brands, and my favorite is currently Plant Therapy, which you can buy off Amazon. I’ve tried the supposedly better quality Young Living, but honestly, while I can notice a quality difference in Young Living and the Now brand, I find it equal with Plant Therapy. However, Plant Therapy is less expensive due to reasons well laid out in this article

Autumn Spice Aromatherapy Blend
A wonderful essential oil blend to help with stress, anxiety, mental clarity, and depression.
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Ingredients
  1. 5 parts orange
  2. 3 parts frankincense
  3. 3 parts pine
  4. 1 part cinnamon (or clove bud, for a gentler scent)
  5. Carrier (water if using in a diffuser, coconut oil if using topically)
Lavender and Honey http://www.lavenderandhoney.net/

Have you used aromatherapy or essential oils topically? Would you like to?

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A Choice: Live as a Shadow or a Songbird

Rose Red Photo courtesy of my sister, Caroline Keeth. You can watch her vlogs on Youtube, view her photos on her Facebook page, or read her blog here. She also talks about writing a novel, being a dragon and burning down everyone you love if you take her gem (me), fear of spiders, cake, and all her nerdy feels on her Twitter page.

Golden autumn light slowly creeping through the windows. Red berries bursting between branches. A cardinal and blue jay singing a duet among the trees. Wind, crisp with the coming winter and the smell of turning leaves. Steam billowing from a large mug, smelling of apple and cinnamon. 

Days are filled with such small blessings. Anxious and overly busy, or in a habitual state of obliviousness, people walk through life as shadows. They never truly experience the many colors this tapestry of a planet has to offer; instead they get through their days in a fog, looking forward to the set of the sun, just to be one day closer to the weeks end.

Weeks build up until they become years, and eventually years tower into a lifetime. These lifetimes aren’t built like the cities of old, such as Paris with her appreciation of beauty and indulgence in taste. These lifetimes build an industrial city, lacking in the beauties, built with day upon day working towards a mysterious someday. 

Let’s not waste away the beauties in this lifetime waiting for that someday. The Lord crafted this universe, and He incorporated His beauty into it. You can look into the eyes of a dear friend and see a magnificent nebula. Step outside and you see life, bursting from the ground and reaching for the sun, opening into a delicate flower. Listening to melodies can bring you to absolute joy praising the Lord, send you into contemplative melancholy, or can thrill you ’til you dance.

Instead of going through life in a fog, let it burst with light! Appreciate the way dust dances a waltz through beams of light; the way each petal on a flower has been delicately created; the sweet melody of a friend’s laughter; or the way the wind blows you onward, as if in eager excitement.

Don’t waste this day waiting for another. Live.

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