Low-Carb Instant Pot Pulled Pork

When you start a low carb lifestyle, you begin to realize how many things have sugar in them! As I started looking through recipes for pulled pork, I realized that I would have to improvise!20190127_151943

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (if you like a kick throw some extra in but be careful!)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Swerve brown sugar (erythritol)
  • 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C Water

Instructions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients to make a rub.20190127_151958-1
  2. Cover the entire pork with the rub. 20190127_152147
  3. Mix the water and vinegar and pour into the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  4. Slowly place the pork shoulder into the  pot. Try not to wash away the rub when placing into the liquid.
  5. Seal the Instant Pot and cook for 90 minutes.

Look at this finished product! Now all you need to do is to shred it! It should shred very easily. I usually let it sit a few minutes to soak up more juices.

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Now if you are thinking, I want to throw this yumminess into a bun, but don’t want to ruin you carb count. I have a great 90 second low carb bread you can make while the pork is cooking.

  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
  1. Mix all ingredients into a mug. I like to use the large mugs to make the bun a little wider.
  2. Microwave for 90 to 120 seconds depending on your microwave power.
  3. You want to let it cool and then use a knife to loosen the edges in the mug. Then dump it out.
  4. Once out of the mug, cut in half and place in the toaster for extra crispy bread. Almond flour can burn so just watch the toaster and decide when you think it is done.

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This bread is great for all kinds of meals. You can change up the seasoning to match what type of food you are making. It is similar to the texture of cornbread. It is more fragile in the sense that if you let your juicy pork sit in the bun for to long it begins to crumble.

NOW it is time to enjoy! A great meal without the carbs!

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Family Fun in Atlanta

My freshman year of college I lived a couple hours from Atlanta, Georgia and made numerous visits. I fell in love with its beauty and adventure. Since that year in college I have made sure to return when possible. It is a very affordable place to fly in to and is packed with fun things to do. I will barely touch the surface but I hope this inspires you to plan a visit.

City Pass

This is a great investment if you want to explore all of the big attractions. It is priced $76 for adults and $61 for children and gets you into 5 attractions. You will save about $50 dollars a person if you go this route. Click this link to find out more information.

Georgia Aquarium

This is the largest aquarium in the WORLD! The exhibits are fantastic and the animals are amazing. I have been twice and still feel like I haven’t seen it all! This is a part of the city pass or you can find cheaper tickets if you are willing to go in the evening or a military member. My first visit we used the City Pass and our second visit was shorter so we chose a day military members were free along with the evening option. We ended up only paying $25. Their WOW factor is definitely the massive under water tunnel, where you go through the middle of the tank. It really puts all other aquariums to shame.

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World of Coca Cola

I don’t even drink soda but I loved learning the history of this iconic drink. You start out watching a brief movie of the history of Coke and then you are set free to explore all the awesome memorabilia. My favorite thing is all of the Olympic torches. Afterwards, you can sample all the different products they make, even the ones from different countries! I can honestly tell you some of those drinks would never fly in the United States, haha! This is a City Pass option or $17 for adults and $13 for children. The second time we went we took advantage of the free military admission and only had to pay for my ticket. Quinn at the time was still considered free.

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Atlanta Zoo

The zoo is always fun and my favorite part was……the pandas! From what I researched there are only 4 zoos in U.S. that have pandas. They are a rare sight you do not want to miss unless you’re planning to visit San Diego, D.C., or Memphis soon. This is a City Pass option or $22.99 for adults and $16.99 for children. Military members and children 2 and under are free!

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CNN Tour

If you want to see what behind the scenes of a major news network looks like, then this is a must for you. I wouldn’t recommend it for small children, it is geared more towards elementary age and older. The prices vary depending on what kind of tour you are wanting.

College Football Hall of Fame

If you have a football lover in your family this is an absolute must! At the entrance everyone will get a badge that you will use through out the museum. They have a helmet for every college football team in the United States. They even had the helmet for the small college that Victor played for back in his “hay day!” You pick your team and it will guide you through the virtual part of the tour. One part of the museum talks about how tailgating came about! After viewing all of the memorabilia, you go downstairs to their practice field. You can run plays and kick the football just like the college players do every practice. This is a City Pass option or $21.99 for adults and $17.99 for children. Military and children under 3 are free!

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Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs! I visited this museum when I was in college so I can only imagine how interesting it is now. My favorite part was of course the giant dinosaur bones. They do a great job drawing the interest of young children and adults alike. They also have a 75 acre Wildwood forest that is open to explore. This is a City Pass option or you can explore their website to see pricing options.

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Centennial Olympic Park

The 1996 summer Olympics was held in Atlanta and they have done a great job turning this area into a gorgeous park that commemorates what once took place. You can take a stroll and see all the statues or visit the Olympic ring fountain, where you will find tons of children running through the water. It is more like a splash pad and can be a great way to cool off during the hot summer months.

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Hiking

If you really want to soak in the beauty of Atlanta, I highly recommend taking a hike. You do not have to go far to get out of the city and enjoy the mountains and waterfalls. Use this link to decide what would be a great hike for you.

If you are willing to put in some driving here is a link to some gorgeous waterfalls in Georgia worth visiting. The photo below is Tallulah Falls which is an hour and half north of Atlanta!

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The Varsity

This is an iconic eatery in Atlanta. I can’t say the food was amazing but the atmosphere was pretty fun! It is like walking back in time. All the cashiers are yelling “What’ll ya have, What’ll ya have” and they give out these cute hats for the kids to wear. They are known for their chili dogs, hamburgers, fries and onion rings (which are made fresh daily). It is a great place to visit with kids, because what kid doesn’t love hot dogs and hamburger!?

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Atlanta has so so much more to offer than what I’ve listed, but this is a great place to start! Depending where you fly out of you can definitely find flights for under a hundred dollars. Atlanta does have decent public transportation and if you stay downtown you will be close to most of the attractions listed. If you are wanting to explore further out I would recommend renting a car. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!

Resolutions

Every year people set New Year’s resolutions and some people say they will never do that because they don’t “follow the crowd”. I really think people make these decisions because it’s the time of year where just for a moment life slows down and they realize they don’t like where they have ended up. Not necessarily their entire lives but certain parts. Moms feel the mom guilt and decide they will clean more often, workout more, eat healthier, not allow their kids to eat so much junk, not worry as much, or don’t miss the important moments. Adults in general feel like they must do something better, be different, or relive the “good ole days.” Why do we do these things to ourselves? Everybody has different reasons, but I know in the end I do it to strive to be who God intended me to be. Sadly, I tend to get in the way of that person and usually when Christmas rolls around we are reminded of the birth of Jesus and I find myself getting a reality check. I do set goals, but I also know that God gives me grace. Here are some resolutions that help me create memories, meet goals, and love life…..

  1. Family Time
  • We try to be home at least once a week and intentionally not turn the TV on for an extended period of time. Sometimes it’s a weekday and from the time we get home until we go to bed no TV. Other times, it’s on a weekend and it doesn’t come on until the evening or at all. We’ve had weeks where this happens multiple times and other weeks where we barely make the day but I have realized some of the best memories are during those times.
  • Reading a book to the girls every night. This has been difficult at times but we strive to do it and not quit.
  • Carve time in for grandparents. Our girls spend time with my stepmom during the week while I’m at work and we make sure Victor’s parents see the girls weekly. My mom lives farther away so we video call and make sure that anytime we have an extended time off we hop in the car and make the 7-8 hour drive. It is absolutely worth it every time. When I here Quinn tell me she misses Nana and Peepaw and can’t wait to see them again it makes my heart smile. I spent my summers and holidays with my great grandparents and cherish those times.
  • Vacation, take one! It doesn’t have to be an elaborate over the top expensive thing. We do go to great places but it is on a budget! Your vacation could be to Grandma’s house, a friend who you don’t see enough, the next town over, or another state. All I can tell you is to make those memories because in the end that’s all you and your family will have. Stuff fades away.
  • Do not overbook yourself. I know that when our children get older things will get busier, but for now we don’t allow the girls to be apart of more than one thing at a time. The greatest gift you can give yourself and your family is time. If you choose more activities then show up for those things and let your babies know you’re cheering them on. We are not perfect and some weeks between work, Young Life and activities we realize we’ve over done it but most of the time we also know we did it together.

2. Personal Time

  • You have to have time for yourself, if not you might go crazy…….
  • Workout….this looks different for everyone and you have to find what works for you! I love to run outdoors and hate the gym! My husband loves to go to the gym and lift heavy weights with a workout partner. He works out before work, and I run when I get home. Working out can be taking a walk with your family, going to the gym, turning on a YouTube workout video and following along. ( I do this in my garage!) When you workout your body releases endorphins which is a natural stress reliever and makes you happy! Also, do not be one of those people who tries to do something they did in college and injure yourself which then causes you to quit the next day. TAKE IT SLOW and ENJOY IT!
  • Read a book. If you are like me, listen to an audio book in your car or while you’re running! Once in a while try to read a book that inspires you to be a better person not just the fictional stuff. 😉 my favorite books this year:
  • Love Does
  • Everybody Always
  • Love Lives Here
  • Girl Wash Your Face
  • Find a devotional time that works for you, I always wanted to be that mom that wakes up at 5 a.m. and reads her devotional, while drinking her coffee all before her children wake up….THIS IS NOT ME! I tried so hard that I almost felt like a failure. Then I realized God doesn’t care what it looks like, all He cares about is you and that you are seeking Him. So I read my verse of the day and then read my First Five app.( which usually blows my mind every time) All of this takes me 15 minutes or less and is usually done in between the time I’m getting ready for work. Most audio books I read are Jesus related, which pushes me to seek Him more. A few years ago I had a longer commute to work and I would listen to the audio Bible, and at the time it worked. All I can say is find what works for you. If it doesn’t look like what you expected, change your mindset.
  • Do something that makes you happy. I decided last year I wanted to write a blog and here I am! I can’t crank them out like some people but it makes me happy. I also like to create things so when I have time I take on projects with my kids, husband, or friends. Other times, it’s taking a spontaneous trip or visiting friends.

3. Serve Others

  • When I was younger serving others was almost easy. I had all the time in the world it seemed and for the most part I liked being around other people. Now I have kids and a job….life is busy. So what that looks like now is far from what I thought it would be…..
  • Make dinner for your friends or small group….Once a week we have high school kids over to our house and honestly they bless us more than we probably bless them. It forces me to clean my house and sometimes I get stressed but every time it is worth it.
  • Encourage someone with your words when you get a chance.
  • Even if you’re not the hugging type..hand them out when needed because it is proven we need them everyday to be happy.
  • Be intentional and listen…sometimes we struggle to listen to people who are hurting or going through something we don’t understand. Having been this person this year the best thing I can tell you is to lean in and listen. We aren’t always searching for the right words. We just want to know someone is hanging in there with us.

I know this post is long but I hope it brings you joy and peace and know that God gives a lot of grace. We always picture things one way and they usually end up another. Find what works for you and your family. The best gift God has given us is time and I hope you use it wisely.

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Dairy-Free Protein Shake

Once I surpassed running four miles at a time, I realized I needed a good protein shake to help support my athletic ambitions, but most protein shakes I’ve tried are disgusting! Plus, I am 95% dairy free, so I needed to find an alternative that would support and satisfy me. 20181201_150910

Ingredients:

1 scoop unflavored Pea Protein

2 Tbsp Cacoa powder

1 Tbsp Swerve

5-8 drops of liquid Stevia

1/2 can Coconut Cream

1/3-2/3 cup Almond Milk

ice as desired

( 1 scoop of collagen peptides unflavored) if desired

Directions:

  1. I throw all the ingredients into the blender/food processor except for the ice and blend well.
  2. I check for thickness and sweetness, add more almond milk or Stevia if needed
  3. I toss in a handful of ice and blend
  4. I love to put my shake in a mason jar half filled with ice…why? I don’t know it just tastes better!

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I would highly recommend using collagen peptides to help with muscle and joint health. It has really made a difference with my autoimmune symptoms, but everyone should support their muscles and joints! I do not get the gritty taste with this shake like most whey protein shakes. I would mess with the measurements to find what works for you taste wise, I use the coconut cream because it gives me a higher fat consumption. This could also be a meal replacement but of course try not to consume to much protein.

 

By the way this is kid approved, so you know it must be good! We throw in some whipped cream sometimes 🙂 Coconut whipped cream by the way!20181201_151024

 

Low Carb Pumpkin Cookies n Cream

If you have a craving for pumpkin but do not have the time to make a low carb version of pumpkin pie, then this is the cookie for you! I would honestly double this recipe because I was only able to get 8 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 tbsp Coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar Swerve Sweetener
  • 1 dropper liquid Stevia
  • 4 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 1/4 tbsp Kerry Gold Butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  1. Mix butter, egg, liquid stevia and vanilla together using a mixer. It works best if the butter is between cool and room temperature. 20181028_182227.jpg
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then mix with liquid mixture. 20181028_182320.jpg
  3. Add in pumpkin puree and mix until well combined. 20181028_182845.jpg
  4. Scoop out batter and place on a lined baking sheet. I only had foil, so I oiled it just a bit so they wouldn’t stick. Flatten the batter on the baking sheet to your desired thickness and roundness. I made mine fairly thin.20181028_183755.jpg
  5. Bake cookies at 350 for 15-25 minutes depending on your oven. My cookies were done but still nice and soft. I used coconut whipped cream for my filling but you could use heavy whipping cream, ice cream, or a cream cheese filling. 20181028_190953.jpg

 

ENJOY!

Chocolate Mug Cake

We love low carb/keto mug cakes! They allow us to satisfy our sweet tooth without all the unhealthy ingredients! This mug cake can be kept simple or you can toss in some extra goodness. 🙂

  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon erythritol
  • 4-6 drops stevia
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

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1. Measure out 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. If you are using coconut oil add a pinch of salt. It is not needed if you are using salted butter.

2.  You will now add in your sweetener. You can use the stevia and erythritol or just 1 1/2 tablespoons of erythritol. I prefer the blend. Also, add in your 2 tablespoons of cacao powder. Stir.

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3. Add your coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir

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4. Lastly, stir in your egg. Mix the ingredients until as smooth as possible.

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5. Add ins….we love to toss in some Lily’s chocolate chips and 3-5 raspberries!

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6. Microwave for 75-120 seconds depending on your desired texture and microwave power.

7. Finally, let it cool for a minute and add on whipped cream or coconut whipped cream if you are like me and can’t have dairy!

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I can make a couple of these in ten minutes and then I end up with happy faces like this one! 🙂

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Low Carb Fall Recipes

Autumn is my favorite season. With cooler weather and fun filled holidays, I get giddy inside. As I journey through a new season in life with my health and eating habits, I did not want to loose some of my favorite fall recipes. In my house we follow a low carbohydrate diet. We fall somewhere between the Keto and Paleo diets. When we started at the beginning of the summer it was hard but here we are 5 months later pounds lighter and feeling so much better! With that being said, I just want to spread the low carb love with all who are interested in jumping on the bandwagon! It is, NO DOUBT, a game changer in the way you look and feel!

One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner

I love this recipe! It does however have around 33 carbs per serving, so to help lighten it up I go heavy on the Brussels sprouts and light on the apples and sweet potatoes. I love to buy the shredded Brussels sprouts instead of cutting down the wholes. The Brussels sprouts cook down and it gives a “bed” of Brussels sprouts to lay your food on or beside. What is so great about this recipe is you cut everything up and toss it all on one pan to cook! Here is a before shot, as you can see I really like to load my pan up! It is mostly Brussels sprouts spread through out with extra bacon on top! I also put more of the seasoning spread through out the pan than what the recipe says to use. 🙂

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You preheat your oven to 450 and let this baby cook for about 35 minutes and……

***Disclaimer: I am not a food photographer…I do not know how to make my food pictures look mouth watering haha….

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This is not my recipe, I make my own modifications to fit my lifestyle so here is the link that includes a video! One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner, if you read her nutritional facts you will see the carbs are high with my adjustments you can cut that almost in half.

Low Carb Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie is heavenly! Not only is it low carb, but is almost dairy free! I can not tell the difference, taste wise, from the actual thing and many others have agreed!

You will need to start with the crust. The easiest crust recipe I have found so far is linked here: 3 ingredient pie crust . It does use butter which is where that little bit of dairy comes in, but the crust is tasty and easy to make. I do want to explore other options because once baked for so long the edges do brown pretty badly.

The filling is what makes this pumpkin pie gold in my book!

Here are my ingredients:

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  • 1 can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp Swerve Confection sweetener
  • 2 Tbsp Swerve brown sugar sweetener
  • 1 dropper full of Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. of pink salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz of coconut cream (it came out better when I did not shake it, so I wouldn’t use the clear part that settles at the bottom)
  • 1 low carb pie crust

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 F
  2. Mix the eggs, pumpkin, sugars, salt, and spices in a large bowl and mix until well blended.
  3. Slowly stir in the coconut cream and mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into the pie shell.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. At the fifteen minute mark, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake another 35-40 minutes. Insert a knife into the center and if it comes out clean then it is ready to come out!
  7. Let cool for at least an hour and enjoy! Refrigerate what is not eaten.

Side Notes:

This does not have preservatives in it so it is only good for about 5 days.

I do not like extremely sweet things so if you do you may want to add in some extra sweetener. I do think the coconut cream helps sweeten it more as well.

It taste even better with a little whip cream or coconut whip cream (for me)

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Never Enough Fall Festivities!

Because food is not the only reason I love fall, I decided I needed to make a new wreath for our door to welcome the season so here ya go! 🙂

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