Tag Archives: Keto

Eat, Briefly- Steak Quesadillas (and the salsa I practically drink!)

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Wednesday was a looooong day at the office and I wanted something quick and comforting.
These quesadillas are filled with chopped up steak leftover from our last delicious grilled london broil (thank you, freezer!) and plenty of shredded cheddar. I brush the carb balance tortillas with coconut oil and bake for 10 minutes at 350, then broil for 2-5 minutes until the top is a little brown and crunchy.

The Hub had sour cream with his, which is fine, but I slathered mine in my favorite store-bought  salsa EVER Santa Barbara  Salsa Taqueria!  It’s got a fresh, spicy flavor that I love. Try it on eggs, cheese crisps, cucumbers, and cardboard  (j/k….. kind of. I’d probably eat it, if I had enough salsa.)

All that spice needs a refreshing drink to cool things down. Margaritas are yum, for sure, but I haven’t found a lower carb version I love l, andplusalso I wanted something easy!
Hello, Spiked and Sparkling!

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These little beauties are new to our market, and DELISH. Spiked sparkling water with a hint of fruit – my fave so far is the Grapefruit and Pomelo. Refreshing, fizzy, and not sicky sweet or heavy. Also 100 calories and only 2 carbs!  My only complaint is that I wish they came in cans, because these would be perfect for pool days! (Don’t be the jerk with glass at my pool!! I will hunt you down and rip you!)
Tonight we have a fun event that I will happily let blow my macro numbers… can’t wait to share it with you tomorrow!

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Filed under Beyond Easy, Drink, Eat, Eat - Briefly, My Faves

Eat, Briefly – Grilled Pork Chops with Brie

Last night’s dinner – grilled pork chops stuffed with Brie, and whipped cauliflower with bacon and cheddar.  So yummy.
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I made NONE of it last night.  You know Keri is all about the prep-cooking, and Jr’s evening T-ball schedule is making that prep pay off even more!

Almost every time I get the grill going to cook something, I load it up with extra chicken breasts or pork chops or even burgers, to be cooked until  JUST done. Then I cool them, seal them in zip-locks, and label them for the freezer.

Tossing whatever we will need into the fridge the night before means that we have food ready to be quickly heated and served for maximum taste in minimum time during the busy evening run-around.

For this meal, I cut a pocket in the side of the already-grilled chops and stuffed each with a smear of brie. (But long time readers know that Keri has long been a fan of stuffing a chop – hello 2009 blast from the past.)

Then I just heated it in the oven next to the whipped cauliflower I had steamed, whipped, and mixed with bacon and cheddar on Monday (always my big prep cooking day.)

Add more Vinho Verde and Tah-Dah – dinner on table after 10 minutes in the oven.

Later in the evening during our weekly viewing of Scream, the TV Series (yes, I know that MTv is not age appropriate viewing for our old ass selves, but we love a good Summer thriller,) we shook up some dirty martinis* with blue cheese olives.  Because you have to have a drink to choke on when the killer bumps off his/her next victim, can I get an amen?
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*sidenote – we are Tito’s vodka fans now.

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Filed under Be- Briefly, Cocktail Time, Eat, Eat - Briefly, low carb, Meal Prep

Eat, Briefly – Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad

I could eat Ceasar Salad every dang day.
It’s so simple and yummy and perfect.

For last night’s dinner I made this dressing, and added a little extra flavor by grilling the romaine for a few minutes.

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This is the secret behind the extra yummy grilled shrimp Ceasar salad at one of my absolute favorite local restaurants (shout out to Big Mac and Little Lu’s- Paul and his staff are AH-MAZING at what they do!)

NOT TOO LONG ON THE GRILL!!  Just mark up each side a bit for some extra char-flavor – it is SO GOOD with the dressing!!

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Sidenote- if you have leftovers of the salad, it is perfect the next morning with an over easy egg on top. (Sadly we did not have one morsel left last night, so none for me this go around.  ::pout::)

I had a glass of delicious Vinho Verde to go with dinner last night. It’s long been a favorite summer wine for me, and BTW, it’s fairly dry, which = lower carbs!

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2 carbs per 5 ounce glass!!

Tonight is a T-ball practice night for Jr, so I rely on my pre-prepped freezer stash of delicious proteins, and a little extra work that I did for a side dish last night – when we come home tonight we have a legit meal that will be on the table in under 10 minutes!

(But we will chat about that tomorrow.)

 

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Drink – Low Carb Revolver

Ok look….

It isn’t that there hasn’t been plenty of Eating, drinking, and being Keri of late.

It is that there hasn’t been much writing about it.

Truthfully, new recipes have been few and far between – low carb laziness has set in.

Lots of ginormous slabs of meat grilled or sautéed in butter or coconut oil.  Piles and piles of salads.  Eggs all ways, for days and days.  Zoodles until I fear repetitive motion syndrome might cripple my wrists forever.

Dry white wine, dry white wine, martini….  Repeat.

Not so much with the exciting, blog-worthy meals and drinks.

EXCEPT – that isn’t totally true.

Because let’s face it – ALL FOOD IS AWESOME!!

Andplusalso – WHO DOESN’T LOVE A NICE DRINK?

So, with that in mind – and in horror honor of my last week as a not-40-year-old (DEAR GOD,)  I give you:

KERI’S FINAL WEEK OF PRE-OVER-THE-HILL DINNERS AND DRINKS!!

Excited?  Of course you are not.

We are now officially within 7 days of the actual date, so I figure that I am entitled to get the last week of my 30s started off with a bang.  Keri’s favorite cocktail EVER is, of course, the Revolver. Alas, I will be saving any potential for higher carb cheats for closer to the momentous occasion. (After all, this celebration is a marathon, not a sprint people.)

So to keep my hankerings at bay, I have concocted a handy faux version that shares a lot of the same flavors, without the Kahlua carb bomb.

Presenting, the Low-carb Revolver.

WHAT YOU NEED AND DO:
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3 ounces Bulleit (or bourbon of your choice)

1 tablespoon sugar free caramel flavored syrup

1 dash bitters

1 or 2 tablespoons cold coffee (optional)

Combine all ingredients into shaker filled with ice and shake well to mix and chill.  Pour into a chilled martini glass.

mmmmmmm.
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That gets things started right, I’d say.  Tomorrow I will fill you in on what I am whipping up for dinner tonight.

 

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Eat – Ground Pork Two Ways

Oh hey, guess whose house has been infected with an unending late  Spring funk FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL for the past month!?

Yup – Jr got sick within a week of his end-of-March birthday, and I swear one (or more) of us has been cowering under a mountain of blankies of the sofa ever since.

But (knock on ALL the wood,) it appears that we are all on the mend, and I have some goodness to share with you.

A few weeks ago I found a ridiculously good price on ground pork, and (in between rounds of it being me on the sofa whimpering,) so I give you not one, but TWO fabulous ways to use ground pork.

They are both Low Carb, if you happen to be riding the Keto-friendly/LCHF/Atkins/South Beach/It’s carbs or my bikini/ other low carb-ish Train with Keri, but even if that isn’t your groove, you won’t miss anything with these delicious recipes.

  1. Taco-Stuffed Bell Peppers:

WHAT YOU NEED:
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1 or 2 bell peppers – (we use ½ a pepper for each serving and stuff it to VERY overflowing, resulting in 2 servings.  You can easily divide the filling into 2 split peppers and get 4 good servings from this recipe)

1 lb ground pork

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon (or to taste) ground cayenne pepper

1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (Colby Jack used here)

Avocado

(Other taco fixings/toppings of your choice would be totally tasty as well!)

WHAT YOU DO:
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a skillet brown the pork and drain the majority of the fat (I don’t like the pork TOTALLY dry,  but not drowning in grease either, so I drain off what I can easily get and leave the rest.)

-Sprinkle in the seasonings and mix to coat all of the meat.

-Add ½ cup of the shredded cheese to the mixture and stir to distribute evenly.

(BTW, at this point you can totally stick this mixture into the fridge or freeze in a zip top baggie until you are ready to use.)

-Clean and cut pepper(s) in half lengthwise, removing seeds and stem.

-Place pepper halves open side up on a baking dish (it should be big enough so they don’t touch each other so air can circulate all around the peppers.)

-Fill each half with the filling mixture and overfill generously.  If there is extra mixture I just let it spill into the pan around the peppers.

-Top each piled-up pepper with the remaining cheese

-Bake the peppers 20 minutes (add 5 minutes if you are using the filing mixture cold from the fridge.)

Eat up!

Meatballs and Marinara

WHAT YOU NEED:
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MEATBALLS:

1 lb ground pork

½ lb spicy sausage  (removed from casing if needed)

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 egg yolk

SAUCE:

29 ounce can plain tomato sauce

1 clove minced/pressed garlic

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

WHAT YOU DO:
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees

-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for meatballs and mix thoroughly (your very own hands work best for this, folks, get in there and give your mix a good smoosh and squeeze.)

-Place mix in freezer while you get the sauce assembled and simmering, This firms it up a bit so it is easier to work with.

– In a large, deep sided pot (I use my dutch oven) over medium low heat, add the minced garlic and cook just until you start to smell garlic in the air before adding all other ingredients.  Stir to combine, cover and bring to a simmer.

-Turn the heat for the sauce to low

-Remove meatball mixture from freezer and create 1 ½ inch balls on foil-lined, sprayed baking sheets.

(My sicky self was bad about taking pics of these recipes as they came together this time around, but I DO have this one – you can see they are a bit um, free form.. BUT FEAR NOT, they cook up beautifully.)
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-Pop them into the oven for 20 minutes.  Rotating them halfway through cooking time will keep the shape more uniform but it isn’t mandatory or anything.

-Remove from oven and add the meatballs to the sauce.  Turn heat up to medium and allow sauce and meatballs to simmer together for 5-10 minutes.

DIG IN.  These go great with pasta, or zoodles, or on bread or oopsie rolls as a hearty meatball sandwich.

But all that just gets in my way – I just want a pile of piping hot meatballs with shredded parmesan sprinkled on top most of the time.  Because yum.

So there you have it – Keri rises off her sofa, like a phoenix from the ashes, to answer the call of the kitchen.

Like you would expect that ANYTHING else would ever be my motivation.

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Eat – SO EASY Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce.

People have funny reactions to Hollandaise sauce.  Some people think it’s disgusting. If you are one of those people, I have two things to say to you:

  1. This post is probably not for you.
  2. We maybe can still be friends, but you cannot besmerch the good name of the Hollandaise, or it’s gonna get ugly fast.

Annnywayyy…

For those who know a good thing when they taste it enjoy Hollandaise, it can still be kind of a love/hate relationship.

Hollandaise, I’m afraid, gets a bad rap.  The reasons are two-fold, it seems – but I am here to clean up this sauce’s reputation, or at least strongly  plead its case.

“It’s fattening.”

Well….  it has a high fat content.  I will give you that.  There are some calories in there, for sure.  (My recipe has 182  a serving which isn’t insignificant, I get it.)

BUT for those of us partaking in a Ketogenic- Low Carb/High Fat nutrition plan, it is actually kind of a dream sauce.  It has the fat content that we rely on to keep us  feeling full and satisfied, AND burning fat as fuel.  Butter and eggs?  Those are LCHF staples!!

Regardless of your nutritional preferences, there is room in there for some fat.  You will enjoy what you eat, you will feel satiated for longer periods, and fat is important for keeping our bodies functioning properly. Come on, live a little.  Have the Hollandaise.

“It’s too hard to make.”

Yeah, nope.

I get it, in culinary school I was terrified making Hollandaise – it seemed SO complex, and so easy to screw up.  All of that double-boiler/ bain marie bullshit, trying to whisk like hellfire and stream in the butter.  AND WHAT IF IT DID CURDLE!?

THE PRESSURE!!!!

Except not at all – it is super simple and (I swear) actually pretty well foolproof – and I am a Grade A fool, so we can say it is “Keri Proof” if you do it like I do.  Here we go:

WHAT YOU NEED
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4 egg yolks

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

½ – 1 tablespoon lemon juice  (pardon my squeezy lemon, it was all we had)

Pinch dry mustard (optional)

Pinch cayenne pepper or dash of hot sauce (optional)

Hot Water (as needed)

*Makes 6 servings (but no one will judge if it doesn’t go down that way at your house, I promise.)

WHAT YOU DO

Place the egg yolks and lemon juice into the blender.  I start with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice because I don’t like a really lemony sauce.  If you do, you can easily adjust when finishing, but once you have over-lemoned, there is no unringing that bell.

I like a pinch of dry mustard in my Hollandaise, just to give it a little extra something in the background.  BUT, just a pinch.  I don’t want it to actually taste like mustard.  Some folks prefer to add a little cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick.  I am a traditionalist, but you do you – add either of those now if you would like:
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Cover and give the contents of the blender a pulse – 5 seconds or so.

In a measuring cup (or other microwave safe container with a pouring spout,) melt the stick of butter until it just starts to boil.

Remove the center of your blender top, turn the blender on to a low to medium-low setting, and slowly stream in the hot melted butter:
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Oh yeah.

People tend to over think this step – don’t be too fussy, let it all stream in, then let the blender run for 30 seconds or so and you will be good to go.

If it is too runny, let it sit a bit and it will thicken…  if it gets too cold, microwave for 10 seconds (it will curdle a bit, but see the next sentence to solve that problem.)   If it is too thick, or if the butter has caused the eggs to curdle up, then add warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and give it a good whisk.  It will come right back together and thin right out. I pinky swear.

Give it a taste to see if you want a bit more lemon, and then start finding stuff in your kitchen to drown in it top with the golden goodness.

This morning I actually used the whites that I had left over from separating the eggs, fried with a little bacon and one full egg to make a quick scramble.
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Hello, you beautiful sauce, you.

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Eat- Keto Friendly “Nashville” Hot Chicken

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I have a strange obsession with regional foods. Mind you, there doesn’t really have to be a personal connection to said region for me to feel the pull of the food it proudly claims as its own.

On the contrary – Keri doesn’t discriminate. Keri wants a bite of whatever is on your plate, no matter where you happen to hail.

It’s the reason I have two different King Cake recipes (one from scratch, one a total cheat. Both DELISH.) It also accounts for my occasional need to whip up a batch of Lobster Bisque, or my ongoing mission to find the perfect breading for my fried green tomatoes. I can’t wait until The Hub fires up the smoker we received for Christmas so we can start busting out batches of sauces and rubs from all the different regional BBQ styles our great nation has to offer. Goodness knows I have devoted enough time to extolling the glory of the the much revered Houston Green Sauce.

If there is a regional favorite to be had – I want to have it, regardless of how far my current geographical location is from the actual region.

However – my introduction to this particular regional food is kind of a shame, perhaps. You see, it is all about the KFC. That’s right – I’m talking about the currently buzzed about KFC version of Nashville Hot Chicken. After reading an article about the launch, I had to know more. KFC may have its 11 herbs and spices down, but there was no way I was going to trust KENTUCKY FRIED Chicken when it came to NASHVILLE HOT Chicken.

All my research left my mouth watering – oh how I wanted some. BUT (always with the but, Keri, ) two things stood in my way:

  1. There was no way in hell I was going to KFC for this – I knew it would fall sadly short
  2. The whole “riding the Keto/Low Carb, High Fat train” thing. Blowing my carb count sky high for the day on crap breading and super-sugary sauce? Sorry, no – Keri’s not givin’ up Them Gainz!!!

I took what I had learned and set out to make the best version of the chicken that I could eat and actually feel good about (and feel good after – no thank you starchy carb coma!)

I cooked A LOT of chicken – and some of it was super not good. BUT, I perservered (that is what I do for you people – I eat LOTS of fried chicken. You’re welcome.)

What I came up with is a really tasty, really spicy, crunchy spin on the NHC concept. Is it authentic? Well, no. It might be best to call it a cousin of the original. It is comfort food you can feel good eating, made with the deepest respect for the region that inspired it, and the people who proudly call Tennessee home.

WHAT YOU NEED:
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1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken cut into 5 or 6 pieces

1/2 cup coconut oil (for frying)

For the Marinade:

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons Tabasco style hot sauce

For the Dredge:

Dry:

1 cup almond flour

2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Wet:

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk (could sub heavy whipping cream)

2 tablespoons Tabasco

For the Sauce:

3 tablespoons Tabasco

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon brown sugar (could sub no carb sweetener)

WHAT YOU DO:

For this recipe, I find that smaller pieces of chicken get kind of lost, or something, with all the breading and the heat – but leaving breasts whole doesn’t allow enough contact with the marinade and leaves large amounts free of crispy breading (Sad panda.)  5/6 nice sized chunks from 1.5 lbs works really well for this.

Combine 1 cup of the buttermilk together with 1 tablespoon of the hot sauce:
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Add to a large ziploc bag with the chicken pieces, remove extra air, and allow to rest in the fridge for AT LEAST 1 hour, but no more than 10 (the acid in the buttermilk isn’t something you want to leave working on chicken breast for any longer than that!)

I like to set up a kind of dredging station- having everything ready to go before you start the messy process of coating is a good thing.
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On a large plate or in a flat-bottom pie pan, thoroughly combine the ingredients for the dry dredge.  In a bowl, beat the egg lightly, then add the remaining wet dredge ingredients and stir to combine.

Remove the chicken from the bag and pull all excess marinade off of the chicken pieces the drier the chicken, the more even the initial coating of the dry dredge ingredients turns out.

Pat each piece into the dry dredge ingredients and set onto an oiled wire rack:
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Then, working one piece at a time dip each first into the wet dredge ingredients, hold up and using fingers remove extra so that no large globs (sorry, there is no nicer way to say that) of the liquid dredge remain.
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Then, pat each piece into the dry dredge again, coating and allowing the extra to fall away.  I did not want to use a bunch of extra carb-y breading, so I kept the coating thin, using only a small amount for each piece and being careful to remove clumps.  Almond flour isn’t cheap – just as a side note- so I wasn’t going willy-nilly with a bunch of extra on the plate.  If things don’t quite even up, you can always mix just a bit more of the dry ingredients to cover the last bits.  I did not find it an issue and had no trouble coating all 5 of my pieces (without having a ton left over to feel guilty about or feel obligated to pile on the chicken.)
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and prepare a 2nd pan with wire rack.
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I use a two-step cooking process for this “fried” chicken.  For the first step, heat 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a large frying pan.  To test the heat, take a pinch of the leftover dry dredge flour and drop it into the oil.  Did it sizzle right up?  If so, your oil is ready for frying.

CAREFULLY add the coated chicken to the pan, and once you have placed a piece, do not move it around right away or the coating on the bottom might stick to the pan and not the chicken! (NOOOOO!!)  Keep the heat up on high for now, while you add all the pieces. The chicken will drop the temp of the oil, and keeping the heat high will allow for a quick recovery.  (Again, CAREFULLY – it is oil and it pops and bubbles and those tiny oil burns HURT.)
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Cook the first side for 3 minutes, then carefully lift one piece and flip.  If the piece does not lift easily from the bottom, you can give it another minute, but don’t go walking way to refill your wine just now or you will end up with chicken that is too dark on one side (trust the voice of experience.)

Let the other side cook in the same manner.
When you have achieved a nice golden crust on all sides of the chicken transfer it directly to a baking pan with  a non-stick-spray-coated wire rack.
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You want the air to circulate all around your chicken pieces in the oven, so the bottom stays crunchy (not squishy. Yuck.)

Pop the chicken into the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the thickest part of each piece reads around 160 if you are into that kind of thing (I am way more likely to just cut a piece open to check if my super-scientific “Keri poke test” is inconclusive.)

Pull the chicken out of the oven and let it rest a minute or two while you whip up the sauce.  Mix the three ingredients together and whisk to combine.

I can hear you all now “BUT KERI, SUGAR…  that is a keto-no-no, yo-yo!?” (Sorry, got carried away there.)

Yes.  Yes it is.  This is a small amount – and to me it is worth it to watch what else I am eating that day to allow for this because the brown sugar really adds the flavor and sticky consistency that I want here.  If you aren’t into it – try using the low-carb sweetener you love!  Let us know how it goes in the comments below so others can try too!

Drizzle that goodness evenly over all the pieces of the chicken, and then return it to the oven for just long enough to get that glaze all melty and starting to sink in a bit. (This only takes a minute.)
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Traditionally this chicken gets served with pickles and basic white bread – Oopsie rolls would be a yummy addition!  We know how Keri loves an excuse to Oopsie. This go around I had some yummy Quest Salt and Vinegar Protein Chips. Yassss.
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There you are – my take on Nashville Hot Chicken, with massive amounts of chicken-fried love for the good folks in Tennessee who give regional food stalkers like me a new  entry on my “must visit and eat” list.

 

*roughly 10 carbs per piece, with in between 2 and 3 of those being fiber. BUT that is assuming that a full 1/5 cup of buttermilk sticks to each chicken piece, (which would be gross!) and that you use every single bit of that almond flour (which is possible.)  Just for some perspective on carb count.

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