Chocolate Hearts, Raspberry Pie and Parfaits – Valentine’s Day is on its Way!

(Thought I would re-post this from last year as Valentine’s Day is once again upon us – Yum!)

Valentine’s Day is coming up! We wanted to give you some “mmm mmm good” ideas so you would have plenty of time to plan ahead. ♥

Simply click on the title to get the recipe:

Super Simple Chocolate Hearts

Or footballs, trucks or legos  – whatever works for you 🙂


 Raspberry Chocolate-Bar Parfait:


Oh My  – Scrumptious Raspberry Pie!


If there are chocolates and treats – then there must be Keto Joy!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Raspberry Chocolate-Bar Parfait

This was the second treat featured on our Valentine’s Day Page:


Yes, it is that amazing!

You need three things for this recipe –  One bar of “Skinny Chocolate” (click here for recipe), raspberries (fresh or frozen), and cream. 

(See “Recipe Tab” for exact measurements)

First, measure ratio amount of cream and whip:


Next, add sweetener of choice:


Finally, break you bar of “Skinny Chocolate” into small pieces:


Next, Layer the whip cream, raspberries and chocolate bar into a glass:



And then….

Stand back and admire the scrumptious fruit of your work!!!



Keto Joy!

Daily Disciplines – Reaping A Harvest!

The other day  I received a question on what supplements Autumn takes. I thought it might be helpful to list out everything – just so that if you have come to this blog as a “newbie” you can get a rough idea on what supplements might need to be taken. However, it is EXTREMELY important for you to be working with your dietician as to what YOU will need for yourself, or your child.  Again, EVERYONE is different.

When we first started the diet, Autumn could not swallow pills – to this day, she still has a hard time.  We tried practicing early on, but it seemed to cause more stress than progress.  She can take very small capsules, but found it very difficult to swallow anything large. So what was our solution? Being faithful to what she could do. I could not do what she does, and I would prefer her to do it my way 😉 but as long as she gets the vitamins down – all is well!

Here is a picture of all her vitamins: It looks overwhelming, but…


It is split up three ways during the day:


First AM:

Autumn always has at least 1 Tablespoon of Coconut oil – it is either part of her breakfast food– as in the Apples and P-nut butter recipe – or straight off the spoon. And I take mine right along with her!

We just put some in a metal cup and melt it on the stove:


After breakfast:

1 – Levo-Carnitine* – crushed on a spoon and taken with a bit of water.

½ – kphos (Prescription) tablet dissolved in water.

1  – 5g Iron

1 – A and D capsules (When we had her check-up lab work, we found her to be low in these.)

This is what the Carnitine (a before and after of the pill crushed up) and K-phos look like:


Late Afternoon:

Every afternoon around 4:00 Autumn has her “Vitamin Snack:”

We measure out about 5 grams of butter, and add:

½ tablet daily vitamin – crushed up.

2  – Bone Basic  capsules are opened up and added into the butter.

¼ of a Kelp capsule open up and added in to butter.

All of this is stirred up and spread on a “Keto Cheese Cracker” (See page 118  in the Keto Cookbook or check out my post: “You can’t eat Just one.” 

She then somehow puts that all in her mouth and drinks water at the same time to swallow it down – again, not my way, but it works – and she does not complain!

She also has 1 more Levo-Carnitne, and another ½ kphos in water.

She has this, along with Kale chips, cheese and pecans – and sometimes her “keto soda” or “keto-tea”- and she has had this everyday since May of 2012! This works for her – she enjoys it (well maybe not the butter vitamin cracker 😉 ) – it may not work for you, or your child might like some variety.  The point is, it is doable – you can work something out.



In the evening before going to bed, she takes one last levo-carnitine (crushed up with a little water on the spoon).  If I feel she might be getting sick – or if there is sickness in the house, I also have her take some of the Vitamin C powder  – which also has magnesium  and that can help with constipation.

There have been times when Autumn’s TC02 levels were too low and her Anion Gap too high so our Dieticain advised that she drink approximately 1/2 tsp baking soda in water and have her drink it twice a day to bring the acidity down.

*A note on Carnitine:  When we first started Autumn on the diet we did not know if we should use carnitine or not. On her first set of follow-up labs, her carnitine was low so we started her on an over-the counter brand. Initially that helped, but then her levels became low again. Several months later on another follow-up lab test we found her to be low again- despite quite a high dose of the over-the-counter, so we started her on the prescription strength, levo-carnitine. The result has been an improved carnitine ratio which increased her ketone levels. This allowed us to lower her ratio and thus were able to add more fruits and veggies.  The dose she is on is actually lower than what is typically prescribed for her weight, but with her ketone levels raising quite high, it was a good dose for her. Once again, I have found the blood ketone monitor to be an indispensable tool. Without having the monitor, we would not have seen the levels rise. Here is an explanation of carnitine from our dietitian:

It is quite common for carnitine levels to go low on the diet.  Carnitine is like a shuttle bus that carries fat into the mitochondria, where it is burned for energy.  A normal diet would be analogous to having a shuttle bus show up when there are 5 people at the bus stop.  Everyone can get on the bus.  A ketogenic diet is analogous to having a crowd waiting at the bus stop, and not everyone can get on the bus unless more shuttle buses are added. 
Our bodies can make carnitine, but many children can’t make enough carnitine to meet the added demands of the ketogenic diet.  A carnitine deficiency can cause ketones to go low, weight loss can occur because not all of the fat is utilized and the body doesn’t get enough calories, and children can have more fatigue and less endurance.  In more severe cases, carnitine deficiency can cause metabolic acidosis and cardiomyopathy (heart problems).  So it is important to make sure children are routinely tested while on the ketogenic diet, and to supplement with carnitine if a deficiency develops.

Some people have asked what labs we do:

Suggested Laboratory Tests For Ketogenic Diet

Once again, this is posted as a general guideline for testing. Please be working with your doctor/dietitian to be covering your needs!

Baseline lab draw, then after 3 months and then every 6 months:

Comprehensive Metabolic panel
Lipid profile
CBC with Differential
Betahydroxbutarate (if you are testing with your own monitor, this may not be necessary)
Carnitine, Free, and Total
Uric Acid
Vitamins A,D,E
If on meds, Anticonvulsant medication levels
Check with Dietitian/Dr. on: Acylcarnitine Profile, Quantitative

Vitamin C
Vitamin B12, folate
Iron Saturation/Binding Panel
Clotting screen

Notes on Autumn’s Labs:

Make sure to give a Vitamin D supplement, especially if you live in the northern part of the country.

Autumn’s neutrophil levels and platelets have tended to run on the low side on the diet. Some research literature suggests that that is a side effect of the diet. We were quite concerned so we did take her to see a pediatric hematologist, and although he did not know why, he felt the diet was probably causing the lower levels. Her over health has been excellent so he was not concerned.

We always kept an eye on the TC02 and Anion gap as that was an indeiation of acidity in the body. When those numbers were off, we made sure Autumn was drinking baking soda daily to bring the acidity down.

The faithfulness of taking these vitamins daily have lead to some of the best lab work since she has been on the diet – and it has been almost 22 months!


As with all things in life, it is the daily discipline in all the small stuff – taking the vitamins, exercise, daily watching what you eat, how much money you are spending, brushing your teeth, watching your tones and attitudes – daily – that often pay off big dividends over time. Yes, it can be boring, wearying and tedious, but…. 

“Do not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not.” (Galations 6:9)

“He who is faithful in the little things, will be faithful in much.” (Luke 16:10)

“A man reaps what he sows.” (Galations 6:7)

“Sow a Thought, and you reap and Act;

Sow an Act, and you reap a Habit;

Sow a Habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a Character, and you reap a Destiny.”

The diet that helps build a Destiny 😉 – Keto Joy!


“Munch-Time” Sandwiches – No bread required!

One of Autumn’s favorite super-quick meals that she has for lunch or dinner are salami “sandwiches.” Hormel has an all natural, nitrate/nitrite-free brand. Now, I know “Natural” does not necessarily mean “perfectly free from anything bad,” but hey, it is a step in the right direction.

So, here you go: Salami, cheese, butter, carrots, lettuce, cream – with chocolate drops if you like, and either coconut or fish oil – oh, and a bit of mustard – it is missing from the picture, but you gotta have a bit o’mustard to with that salami. 🙂

(Click on “Recipes” tab for exact measurements)


First, measure out ratio requirements of all ingredients:IMG_0311


Then, spread the butter unto the salami and put together a sandwich:IMG_0315


Add a glass of milk, which is cream mixed with water, yes she gets the yummy creamy stuff – add a few drops of chocolate – or any other flavor if you like.


For the added fat needed (depending on your keto-ratio) you could add more cream, use some mayonaise or add some nuts.  I am a big proponent of getting in oil at every meal – and Autumn actually prefers oil to mayo  – which is fine by me. Sometimes we do coconut oil, sometimes cod liver – the health benefits are super with either. She just takes the oil right off the spoon before eating. 


And then it’s “Munch-Time” 🙂



Oh, This is the Life!

What has the ketogenic diet allowed our family to do? Celebrate new life!   Autumn just became an aunt this past week!

Big Brother Kyle and wife Hope had our first grandchild – Maximus!


They live in Colorado, and we live in Indiana but they wanted to have both moms out for the birth.  Because of the diet – and because Autumn can – at age 9 – manage the diet with just a little supervision, I was able to make the trip.

I was able to watch my first-born son behold his first-born son…


And then it was my turn…

mom and baby

Oh, this is the life! 


At some point I need to get back to posting some more recipes….although looking at Max, it might have to wait till I get back home 😉 Keto Joy!

Cultivating Creativity…From the Heart

When all of life seems to revolve around food, how can you divert your thoughts from it? Cultivate some creativity!  What does your child (or you) like to do, or what can they learn?  The idea is to get away from thoughts of “consuming”  something to thoughts of “producing” something. Produce a riveting, heart-stirring song for others to enjoy,  put color on canvas that captures expressions of the heart to give as a gift, training for excellence – with all your heart – in a sport, putting pen to paper for captivating poems or stories that stir the heart,  or perhaps sewing a stunning item to wear, that thrills your heart! Culinary arts – the gift of making that keto meal look so special – is a great way to put your creativity to use!  The girls and I are always on the lookout for special plates, cups and stemware to bring that “celebratory” touch to each meal, that warms the heart.





Autumn and her sisters have learned different skills throughout the years and last year they were working on two different projects – Brazillian embroidery and knitting a new type of scarf with fabric clips.  The colors of both seemed so vibrant, refreshing and delightful –  kind of how seizure-free days felt like.



Someone suggested we should start an etsy site – so we did! We had one comment that said the scarves were the perfect “go-to” item any time you may need an idea for a gift, and that the bows were a perfect “stocking stuffer.” The site is listed under our “Creations” tab or you can click here:     For the month of December we have all items 20% off – simply use the coupon code KETOJOY20 when checking out.

Cultivate an appetite for producing extraordinary gifts and talents- that celebrate life – from the heart!

Best time in History for ”Keto-Thanks”

Ok, so for any of you on the ketogenic diet, or who are considering it, ponder the following: 

Think of having to do this diet without having any product labeling information – how in the world was that even possible?!  

Think of  having to hand-calculate the fat, protein and carb ratio amounts!  Can you imagine how time consuming that was?! That amount, and intensity, of math is far greater pain than my eight labor and deliveries were!  Beth Zupec-Kania surely you have crowns in heaven waiting for you for the creation of the KetoCalculator 😉 

Think of having no internet support groups/forums/ resources.  For us, the Charlie Foundation has been a life-line.  For others who may be reading this, you may have your own favorites.  The people we have had the opportunity to “meet” – even though not face-to-face –  have so blessed us as we have wept with those who are weeping and rejoiced with those who are rejoicing.  Knowing we were not alone. Watching, learning and  growing in grace, in so many ways, with all those who share similar burdens has been a very special part of our journey.

Thank you to all who have gone before, persevering, pressing on, clearing the way, creating new tools and giving light to those of us traveling behind you on our keto journeys. May we be as faithful to help those behind us!

If you have the blessing of being on the diet at this moment in history, give GREAT THANKS today!!!!  Truly, KETO-THANKS!


 I thank my God upon every remembrance of (all of) you, always in every prayer of mine, making request for you with joy.”

Phil. 1: 3-4

50 Pounds of Mashed Potatoes….to Bless With!

We have the privilege every Thanksgiving season to provide a banquet feast for all the invalid residents of a local health facility where we meet for church.  This year we provided the 50 pounds of mashed potatoes that were needed for one of the evenings. Potatoes are pretty high carb, so although Autumn may not be able to eat more than a tablespoon or so – she can cook them up and serve them!




Many of the residents are part of our Sunday congregation. We cook up and bake all the Thanksgiving goodies, set up the tables with festive fall decorations and candy favors, meet them at the door with hug or a hand shake, warmly inviting them to a home-style evening of fellowship – complete with lots of piano playing, harp, flute, violin….  and singing! Never let the diet keep you away from the opportunity of serving others!




“But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they have no means to repay you. “(Luke 14:13)



IMG_0225It is more blessed to give, than receive” (Acts 20:35)

It’s Sunday, so…..

…That wonderful smell must be chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven!

Chocolate chip cookies are to Sundays what pizza is to Fridays….Mainstay Yum!

Warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven are the one food that EVERYONE in our family of 11 (and counting) agrees are absolutely the best food life has to offer (well almost :)).

So of course we had to find a recipe for Autumn as  well – and we did!  Sometimes she will have these along with a chocolate or vanilla shake or chocolate milk!

Here is what you will need (Click on “Recipes”tab for exact measurements):


Weigh and combine all ingredients in small dish:


Put dime size amount of batter on parchment-lined cookie sheet:



Place in 350 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes depending on your oven:


And serve up! That is once again…Keto Joy!


Pain Levels The Playing Field

Although we never discussed it, Tresa, Kate (the moms in the video) and I, along with perhaps many other people we have met on our keto journey, may not share the same political or religious views; we may not even share the same taste in music or movies.  But that never prevented us from respecting each other as human beings – that I would say – are made in the image of God. You don’t have to agree with people on everything, or accept everything others believe, to give help or accept help. Giving grace, responding with respect, honoring in humility.

Don’t ever hesitate…if you can help.


Love thy neighbor as thyself. (Mark 12:31)