Monday, December 26, 2016

Bacon cheddar cookies (low carb, gluten free)

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What kind of cookies do you make for people who don't eat sugar, prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners, follow a low carb diet, and generally aren't too fond of dessert? (Like, um, ME.)

I make Bacon Cheddar Cookies. Or "cookies," if you prefer. They're bite-sized, crumbly, full of umami, and completely addictive. With only five ingredients, these little nuggets are the perfect cookie-like treat for those who prefer savory to sweet.

Serve these Bacon Cheddar Cookies with a glass of wine, champagne or Prosecco. You can use fancy cheese (my favorites are made by Cabot and Kerrygold) or buy pre-shredded cheddar cheese at the grocery store. Either way, these Bacon Cheddar Cookies will be a huge hit.

Note: For the cookies in the photos above, I used pre-shredded mild cheddar cheese, and the anti-caking agent in the pre-shredded cheese keeps the cookies from spreading. If you use a higher fat cheese that you shred yourself, your cookies will spread more and get brown, crisp and crumbly around the edges. Don't worry: They will still be delicious, even if they don't hold together quite as well.

Bacon Cheddar Cookies

Makes about 36 2-inch cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups almond flour (fine is better than coarse)
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Blend on medium speed until everything is blended well and a stiff dough forms, about 1 minute. (If you prefer to mix by hand or with a hand-held mixer, that's fine; just make sure you mix it aggressively enough to get a cohesive dough.)
  3. Using a generous teaspoon of dough for each cookie, roll the dough into small balls. Place the balls on the prepared sheet pans, pressing them down slightly.
  4. Bake the cookies about 15 minutes, until the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet or on a rack.

Gluten free | Diabetic friendly | Low carb | Grain free | Sugar free

Friday, November 4, 2016

My health transformation story in DR. OZ THE GOOD LIFE

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The editors added the phrase "kick diabetes to the curb" and I've adopted it. Because that's exactly what I'm doing: giving diabetes a huge boot in the rear end and keeping it Out. Of. My. Life.

Enjoy the article. I think they did a great job. I've told the writer, Lambeth Hochwald, that she managed to capture my story exactly the way I would have written it myself. Which is the biggest compliment one writer can give another.

Read it online: 'I Ate My Way to Healthy:' Erika's Weight-Loss Success Story

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Big changes at Not Ketchup, my condiment business

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Erika Kerekes of Not Ketchup

Click here to support my crowdfunding campaign on PieShell - keep reading for details...

Many of you know that I am not great at asking for help. But today, I'm asking.

Not Ketchup, my line of all-natural sauces, is about to undergo a huge change.

By the end of the year, all five flavors of Not Ketchup will be made with zero added sugar.

And every new product I create going forward will be made the same way: sweetened with fruit and nothing else. No added sugar, no artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners. Sweetened by nature.

Why am I taking my business in this direction? It's simple: My health changed, so my life changed. And now my business is changing.

Which is why I need your help.

Diabetes: My wake-up call

In August 2015, shortly after the family photo above was taken, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I had been ignoring the warning signs for years, so when the actual call came from my doctor, I wasn't surprised.

But I was angry with myself. And determined to do something about it.

After only a few months of eliminating added sugar, careful low-carb eating and regular exercise, my blood sugar numbers were normal again. My diabetes is controlled, but it's never going to be gone. I'm going to have to eat mindfully for the rest of my life.

So long, sugar

I realized quickly that I am not the only person trying to cut down on or eliminate added sugar. While many people (including me) love my original Not Ketchup sauces, they do contain added sugar. And it's time for that to change.

Two of my Not Ketchup sauces are already made without added sugar (Tangerine Hatch Chile and Cherry Chipotle), and they are by far my most popular products on Amazon. Over the next few months I'll be adjusting the recipes for the rest of my Not Ketchup sauces, making test batches, redesigning and reprinting labels, and producing my first cases of the new *no added sugar* Smoky Date, Blueberry White Pepper and Spiced Fig Not Ketchup sauces. Everyone who's tasted the new recipes says they're even better than the originals, and I agree. I'm also working on additional flavors made without added sugar that I know you're going to love.

Please support my campaign

I'm running a crowdfunding campaign on PieShell to help me take Not Ketchup in this new, healthier direction, and I'm asking for your support. Any contribution helps, even if it's only $1. Rewards start at $30 and will be shipped in time for holiday gifting - wouldn't it be great to give your health-conscious friends and family delicious, unique, Paleo-friendly Not Ketchup sauces made without any added sugar?

And to those of you who have already contributed, thank you. Your support means the world to me.

Click here to help me bring my new, healthier Not Ketchup sauces to kitchens around America.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cream of mushroom soup

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The key to good cream of mushroom soup is a really good blender

There are three secrets to an aromatic, smooth, ultra-delicious cream of mushroom soup:

  1. High-quality chicken stock, homemade if possible
  2. Butter
  3. A high-powered blender
We eat a lot of mushroom soup, especially now that I am following a low-carb, high fat diet to control my diabetes. And yes, I am in love with an appliance. Why are you smirking? A kitchen appliance. Get your mind out of the gutter.

My Vitamix blender is my sweetheart, my crush, the apple of my eye.

An immersion blender is handy when you're making soup because you can puree it right in the pot. But it never gets totally smooth. I've made this cream of mushroom soup many times with an immersion blender, and while it tastes fabulous, it's always got a little texture to it. But the Vitamix produces cream of mushroom soup as smooth as milk. The cream I added just gilded the lily.

I'm a convert. The Vitamix is expensive (I bought it at Costco for about $400) but I think it's worth it. There's a lot of soup in my future.

Note: No one paid me anything or gave me anything to write this post. I bought my Vitamix with my own hard-earned money. And I intend to keep it for a good, long time. The link included in this post is an Amazon affiliate links, so if you click and buy anything, I will get a (very small) commission.

print recipe

Cream of mushroom soup
The better your blender, the smoother your soup will be. Flavorful Baby Bella mushrooms (also known as crimini mushrooms) add more personality than standard white button mushrooms, but use any mushrooms you like.
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound Baby Bella (crimini) mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped (use the stems too!)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Add the butter and oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. When the butter melts, add the chopped onion and saute about 4 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the mushrooms and chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer gently about 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.Transfer the soup to your blender, working in batches if your blender isn't big enough to hold the whole pot. Puree the soup in the blender until very smooth, 1-2 minutes depending on the manliness of your appliance. (Alternatively, puree the soup in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender.)Return the soup to the pot, add the cream, and stir just until steaming. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 servings

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cheeseburger stuffed mushrooms recipe {low carb}

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When I started eating a low-carb diet, my family's diet changed too.

My (healthy) husband and two (healthy) teenage boys do not and should not have to eat as carefully as I do. They don't have the health problems that prompted me to make these changes.

But I am my family's primary grocery shopper, meal preparer, refrigerator stocker and lunchbox packer.

I also have a full-time job and a side business to run (my Not Ketchup sauces).

All of which means I am not very interested in making two sets of meals - one for me and one for the rest of the family.

My protein-loving family loves most of the low-carb foods I have been enjoying. These Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms disappeared quickly. I glazed some of them with my new *No Sugar Added* Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup, and that was also a big hit.

I love these Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms because they're easy, fast, low-carb, and FUN. Dinner tastes so much better when you can eat it with your fingers, don't you think? These would also be a great low-carb appetizer for a cocktail party.

Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms


  • 12 large mushrooms (I used crimini mushrooms)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded or finely chopped cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup *No Sugar Added* Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup sauce


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Wash the mushrooms and carefully pop out the stems. Brush each mushroom with olive oil and lay it on the baking sheet.
  3. Put the mushrooms in the oven for about 10 minutes. The idea is to cook them partially before stuffing them to concentrate the mushroom flavor a bit and get out some of the liquid.
  4. While the mushrooms are cooking, mix together the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and cheese in a bowl. Roll the beef mixture gently into 12 balls.
  5. Remove the mushrooms from the oven, then put one beef ball inside each mushroom. Press down gently and smooth the beef mixture so it fills the entire hole and extends all the way to the edges of the mushrooms. If using the Not Ketchup, brush about a teaspoon on top of each stuffed mushroom. 
  6. Return the now-stuffed mushrooms to the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the beef is cooked through. Serve immediately with more Not Ketchup for dipping.

Preparation time: 45 minutes | 6 servings