Keto/Low Carb Creamy Chicken, Broccoli, and Mushroom Soup

Winter is hanging on even though spring is right around the corner. There's a chill in the air that's going right through my bones, so last week I thought I'd throw together a comforting, creamy soup that was low carb/keto with some ingredients I had on hand, using my trusty pressure cooker.

What resulted was a rich, hearty soup that disappeared all too quickly! I had a little left over from the first batch and was looking forward to warming up a bowl to enjoy after work. That was, until my daughter messaged me and told me she was sorry, she couldn't stop herself from eating the rest of it, it was so delicious!

So, I've been craving it ever since and made another batch last night. There are no leftovers this time! No, I didn't eat it singlehandedly, I had plenty of help! That's okay, though, it's so quick and easy to make, I can make it again in the coming week when the craving hits again. This soup is so good, I just can't keep it to myself, I have to share because I think you'll love it as much as I, and my household, do!
This recipe will work with either the Crock Pot Express (the brand I use) or the Instant Pot.

Let's get started with the ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken (or 4 thighs and drumsticks, bone in with skin on)
4 C water
1 8 oz. package fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch fresh broccoli
3 heaping teaspoons powdered chicken bouillon
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1 half pint heavy whipping cream
4 T Grass fed butter
Thyme, dried

The first time I made this I used the thighs and drumsticks. My preference is using those, but the whole chicken I used this time was very good.

Can you use skinless, boneless chicken? Sure, but you won't get all the flavor and fatty goodness you get when using whole chicken parts, but you may be able to make up for it with chicken stock or bone broth if you have some on hand.

Let's get to making some great soup, shall we?


1. Rinse chicken and place in cooker on rack with 2 cups of water.
2. Sprinkle salt and thyme on the chicken.
3. Secure top on the pressure cooker, making sure it's sealed and steam release is closed, and set on high pressure for 35 minutes.
4. When time is done, quick release the steam, and when fully released open the lid and remove chicken and rack, leaving broth from cooking in the pot.
5. De-bone the chicken, discarding skin (you could save the bones to make bone broth if you were so inclined!).
6. Remove about a half cup of broth and pour over cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
7. Place the de-boned chicken back into cooker pot.
8. Add 2 more cups of water, mushrooms and powdered bouillon and stir gently.
9. Seal cooker with lid again, steam release closed, setting cooker to high for 3 minutes.
10. Using a mixer, wand blender, or magic bullet, mix the cream cheese with the broth until smooth. (This tempers the cream cheese so it incorporates better into the soup broth and helps prevent separation).
11. After the 3 minutes, quick release the steam again, and remove lid.
12. Add broccoli that's been trimmed to yield only the crowns, and the butter.
13. Close cooker lid and steam release, and cook on high for 2 minutes.
14. Quick release steam when finished, and remove lid.
15. Stir in cream cheese.
16. Stir in heavy cream.
17. Add more salt to taste if necessary.
18. Serve to the delight of your family and friends.


Cheesecake Pancakes

These tasted for all the world like cheesecake. The husband could not stop raving about them! They have a good texture for not having wheat flour in them, but as all pancakes not made with wheat flour, don't expect them to be identical to regular pancakes texture-wise.

Cheesecake Pancakes

1 -8 oz. brick Cream Cheese, full fat, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C Whey Protein Powder, plain
2 T coconut flour
1 packet Splenda, or other sweetener proportionally measured to equal 2 t sugar
1/2 t baking powder
Coconut oil for cooking (or other oil of your choosing)

Cream the softened cream cheese with an electric hand blender. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated into the cream cheese. Add vanilla, mix, then add dry ingredients, mixing until well blended. Ladle onto griddle or pan, heated to a medium temperature, by a scant 1/4 C each pancake, spreading the batter out a bit after pouring. Flip when the edges start looking less glossy. When done, serve with your choice of toppings. Makes 16 small to medium pancakes.

If using vanilla flavored whey protein powder, omit vanilla extract.

Here is the macro breakdown, for half the recipe, or eight pancakes:

Easter Morning Breakfast/Brunch: Low Carb Creamed Eggs

One of my favorite Easter Sunday breakfasts before I went low carb was Creamed Eggs on toast. The high carb version uses a roux that the hard boiled eggs are mixed in with, but obviously the flour based roux is not a low carb option. So, being the ever vigilant low carber that I am, I had to fix this recipe so I could still enjoy it in my low carb lifestyle.

With such rich and delicious low carb ingredients to choose from, this task proved easy, and delicious, as the whole family gave it a unanimous thumbs up. After all the beautifully decorated and colorful eggs are hunted and found this morning, enjoy them on your breakfast plate with a quick and easy recipe:

Low Carb Creamed Eggs

2 T butter
1 C heavy whipping cream
8 hard boiled eggs, diced
Xanthan gum, a whisper
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Add heavy whipping cream and warm before adding diced eggs. Heat eggs in cream and butter mixture, then sprinkle with Xanthan gum and cook to thicken. If you don't have Xanthan gum this sauce can be thickened by cooking longer to reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a low carb minute muffin. I used this recipe, and added some garlic powder before nuking: One Minute Muffin.

Stalled On Keto/LCHF?

So you've got some excess weight to lose and you jump wholeheartedly into the LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) lifestyle. You diligently track your macros, making sure you're within the 70-20-10, or so, percentages. The first week or two you notice a downward trend in the numbers on the scale, then BOOM! Nothing. Nothing for weeks after that.

You don't understand because you've been following all the advice you've received on forums and in Facebook groups telling you to “up your fat” a bit (or a lot), you're drinking Bulletproof Coffee (sometimes several cups a day) and eating fat bombs, backing off on your protein intake, and still no loss, or worse, you've gained weight. Others look at you askew and wonder whether you're secretly eating Ho-Ho's and just not fessing up, but you know how steadfast you've been on LCHF. Sound familiar? Well, you're not alone. I see it so much on the forums and groups I frequent, so many people seeking advice for lengthy stalls, and the upping the fat thing? It's not working.

My own daughter was having this issue. I gave her the same advice at first that I saw so many others give, “Increase your fat. Drink more BPC! Eat some Fat Bombs!” She gained instead of losing. I then happened upon a comment on one of Dr. Peter Attia's posts. The commenter asked a series of questions, one of which was, “Could I be in ketosis where I only burn dietary fat for the production of B-OHB and nothing from stored fat? i.e for some reason the body has no access to stored fat and it uses only dietary fat as its energy source???”

Peter's response was this: “If in ketosis, but still consuming more energy than expending, unlikely to oxidize fat.”

That was the moment the light bulb appeared over my head, just like in the cartoons. Okay, perhaps not literally, but it really made sense. As your body switches over to burning fat for energy instead of glucose there is naturally going to be an initial weight loss. If you have a lot of excess body fat and you are adding copious amounts of fat in your diet, and are for the most part sedentary, even if you have achieved ketosis you are only going to use the energy from the food you are consuming instead of the stored energy in your body. This is not the CICO (Calories In, Calories Out) equation, but rather a “too much fuel in, not using stored fuel” situation. In this case the fuel we are talking about is simply fat. It's not really about too many calories because most people I see in this situation are eating far fewer calories than they did before converting to the LCHF lifestyle.

What is the solution here, then? Am I suggesting a low carb, low fat diet? On the contrary, no one should ever do a high protein, low fat, low carb diet as it's a recipe for horrible health issues and ultimately certain death if taken to that extreme. There are three methods that I hypothesize will work to get weight loss going again on LCHF:

1. Become An Avid Endurance Athlete. Peter Attia himself, as fit as he has become eating low carb, is an endurance athlete. He has used a high fat, low carb, ketogenic diet as a means to endure the rigors of long distance bicycling without having to resort to “carb loading” before, or glucose intake during, his rides. And that is who “keto-adaptation” truly benefits; those who need to make it through their challenging physical activities without hitting the “wall” that comes when glycogen reserves are depleted. Under these circumstances, “fat loading” would be beneficial, as these individuals no longer have much in the way of fat reserves in their bodies to use as fuel, so Bulletproof coffee and Fat Bombs would be the thing to utilize for them. Let's face it, though, this suggestion is tongue-in-cheek as most of us are just not into triathlons or biking for 8 to 12 hours a day. But, if you like those sports, keto is the way to go!

2. Utilize Intermittent Fasting (IF). IF allows the body to use stored body fat during the hours one fasts. This also can allow for a person to pretty much gorge on as much fat and low carb foods as they'd like during the window of time they allow themselves to eat. This “gorging” is self-limiting, though, as fat is very satiating and one finds themselves ultimately not being able to eat as much as they think they will in that window of eating time.

3. Quit Adding All That Additional Fat. Yes, eat fatty foods. Enjoy that Rib Eye steak. Just don't add the butter on top. Back off of the Bulletproof Coffee for a while, or at least limit them to a couple times a week instead of daily, or having multiple cups of BPC every day. Dump the fat bombs for a bit and eat real food, low carb meals. Don't worry so much about your “macro ratios,” and just eat what you know you're allowed to have on a low carb diet, and only eat until you are satisfied. Keep your carb intake at 20 grams or less a day, and you should break that stall in no time.

What Makes Me Shiver?

Or, perhaps the more appropriate title would be, "Why haven't I shivered all winter long, even though this is possibly the coldest winter I've ever experienced in my life?" But that's too long.

I had noticed that while others around me were visibly shivering on several shiver-worthy occasions, I haven't so much as had one moment of teeth-chattering body shakes. I mean, yes, I can feel it's been very cold outside, what with our "Polar Vortex" conditions, and arctic-like wind chills, but no reaction from my body to try an emergency warm up by shivering. It's almost as if my body is running so efficiently that it automatically turns up the heat when I most need it to. And that is sort of what is happening.

Evidently when one is in ketosis for an extended period of time (or is keto-adapted) the brown adipose in the body increases, as do the mitochondria housed within the brown adipose, which in turn causes thermogenesis. I guess keto-adaptation was timed perfectly for me with this frigid weather. Score!

Here are some interesting links about shivering (the first courtesy of Bill Lagakos of Calories Proper) and about brown adipose increasing due to a ketogenic diet:

To Burn Fat, You Could Exercise … or Shiver

 A ketogenic diet increases brown adipose tissue mitochondrial proteins and UCP1 levels in mice.

Regardless of the fact my inner furnace is working superbly right now,  I still loathe winter, and it may not be until spring that I take any progress shots, though progress is definitely being made. I am also spending a lot of my free time helping my eldest daughter ready her newest project: a low carb website complete with a community forum, recipe database and social networking function. The website is set to launch within the next two weeks, possibly sooner. If you'd like to help with the success of this endeavor to create a great spot on the Internet for all of us who hold low carbing near and dear to us as a lifestyle, a donation of any size would be most helpful and appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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LCHF Shopping At ALDI

Here in America where the economy is sucking for air and the job market is incredibly stagnant, what was once the Middle Class are now the working poor or those left jobless and in utter poverty. We are all pretty much in the same boat here, and stretching a dollar is a necessity so we can afford to pay our bills and eat.

I am fortunate to have a job, though things are always tight money-wise. One way I save money is shopping at Aldi. They describe themselves as "a discount grocery chain that operates over 1,200 stores in 32 states," although they are based in Germany and have stores in the UK, Denmark, France, the Benelux countries, the Iberian peninsula, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, Austria, Slovenia and, of course, Germany. The Aldi Company also owns Trader Joe's. I have found that Aldi is my go-to store, not only because of the values I can find there, but because they carry some much better products than what I can find at my local big chain grocery, and so many things that fit in very well with my family's LCHF lifestyle!

I had to go there after work today to pick up some items to make the best Keto pizza known to man (see this post), and found other bargains along the way. Here, let me share you some of the items I purchased:

  1. Pork Rinds, 99¢ per bag - My son and I love these for a snack on occasion, to dip or to eat just as they are. I love how they have highlighted "Og TOTAL CARBS" in a red banner on the front of the package!

  2. Shredded Mozzarella, 4 cup bag, $3.29 - I usually shred my own, but lack of time this evening necessitates me buying the pre-shredded. Yes, I know it is coated with non-clumping agents. I'll deal with it tonight for the time-saving factor.

  3. Pepperoni, 7 oz. bag, $1.99 - Mmm. For the pizza, with enough left over for a lunch for me tomorrow.

  4. Heavy Whipping Cream, 1 pint, $1.99 - This is the only cream I can find in my area which does not contain skim milk, which I guess the other stores use to save money on their end, passing on no savings to the consumer and jacking up the carbs in the cream. It does contain Carrageenan, but so does every other cream in stores around here. I really need my own cow.

  5. Grass Fed Ground Beef (!!!), 1 pound, $4.49 - My Aldi doesn't always have this, but when they do I pick up a pound or two.

  6. Spicy Brown Mustard, 12 oz., 99¢ - I love mustard. I also picked up a bottle of Dijon, same size and price.

  7. Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts with Sea Salt, 6.5 oz., $4.99 - This is dirt cheap for these wonderful, fatty nuts. And Sea Salt? Bonus!

  8. Tomato Paste, 6 oz., 39¢ - Again, for the pizza. I mix herbs and spices in with it for the pizza sauce. Oh! I also got large jars of seasonings (Basil and Oregano) today as well (not pictured) for 99¢ each!

  9. Sausage, 1 pound, $2.49 - Pizza topping, with enough left over to freeze for the next time I make pizza. All natural, no fillers or preservatives.

10. Pitted Whole Black Olives, 6 oz., 99¢ - Pizza topping once again, and also enough to freeze for the next pizza.

11. Mini Food Chopper, $7.99 - My food processor recently died after serving a long and productive life. This little baby won't replace that (and I can't afford to replace the food processor yet), but it will help me on some minor prep tasks for all kinds of things. Tonight it will chop the black olives, and perhaps some onion.

So, there you have the good life the LCHF way, on the cheap. I have not been compensated in any way from Aldi for my endorsement of their store or products, by the way. I just wanted to share that this way of life doesn't have to break the bank. Shopping at a discount grocery store allows me to have my pizza and eat it, too, and have some money to spare.

Last, but certainly not least, my gorgeous eldest daughter, who lost 80 pounds in 9 months on low carb, has started her own LCHF blog! Do me a favor and please visit and say hello!

The Big Fat Skinny