When all else fails bring your own dish

This evening I was going to a function where everyone was bringing a covered dish and I was concerned there wouldn’t be any keto friendly food to be had.  So I decided to contribute, one to be hospitable and two to ensure I wouldn’t go off the rails with my food choices.

Easy Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Casserole
Deviled eggs
Grilled chicken thighs seasoned with Butt Rub

I rushed out of work, stopped to pick up a pack of chicken thighs and a variety of blocks of cheese to shred for the casserole and headed home to cook.  Well, the three dishes were a hit and needless to say there were no leftovers to be taken home.

So when all else fails, bring a dish you know you can eat so you can stay true to your new eating habits.  There is always a way…and here’s to discovering whatever that is for you.

Cauliflower and kayaking

Everytime I stroll the produce aisle I always get my steady Eddie items….zucchini, yellow squash, spring mix, spinach and tomatoes. Well upon my last visit to Walmart I picked up an artichoke and two heads of cauliflower. Jennifer had sent me a pic of some cauliflower with cheese and it piqued my interest. And then I remembered eating smashed cauliflower a couple of times and I really enjoyed it as a mashed potato substitute. So I found the most delicious recipe on pinterest provided by kalynskitchen.com for baked cauliflower and decided to give it a try tonight. I highly recommend you checking out her site for delicious healthy recipes. I know this won’t be the first I try from her site!

I love dishes with only a few ingredients and this one qualified for sure. Cauliflower, butter, fresh cracked pepper, fresh grated parmesan, fresh grated sharp cheddar and third of your choice, as long it melted well, to top it off.

Finished product

I am over the moon for this dish! It’s like a healthy mac n cheese! And being that it’s just me, I have premade keto meals for lunch for a couple of days. Thank you for sharing this deliciousness with the world Kalyn Denny, we are all the better for it.

I accompanied my cheesy cauliflower with two grilled chicken thighs seasoned with my favorite rub. If you’ve been following this blog you know what that is, if not…you need to get busy catching up here.

Now living a keto lifestyle is not the only thing I’m doing to get healthy. I have been walking the Lake Murray Dam every night for the past four days. It is 3.3 miles over and back. Last time I went I actually ran some of it and I’m working up to running the entire thing but baby steps.

I always hope that someone I know will be driving by, see me and honk!
“Love locks” on the Lexinton side of the dam
Five Francis turbines

Now today I took a break from the dam and set out on a new adventure with my friend Jen. You see I went kayaking for the very first time a couple of weeks ago with Jen, being her sister was kind enough to let me use her kayak and today we were going again. The first time Jen took me out on Lake Murray where the water is still except for a wake or two created by a passing pontoon boat or jet ski. This time, being she gave me an A+ for my first time out, we went launched into the Saluda River. Yeah baby, this is going to be good!

Our vessels getting ready to set off into the morning mist. Mine is on the right, equipped with my trusty fishing pole gifted to me by my friend Brett.
Packed a keto friendly snack for our trip
Captain Kirby navigating her vessel into the unknown

We were out on the river for 4 1/2 hours! What an upper body workout! Instead of launching at the top of the river and going with the current back down Jen suggested we paddle upstream and then relax, get in some fishing and enjoy the ride back down. Well, I thought at several times my arms were going to give out. At one point we decided to get out and pull the kayaks along the shore because the current was just that strong. Eventually we passed the rapids and got to a calm part of the river to where I could fish and we could just really enjoy the beauty.

A family of turtles basking in the sun

At one point we both got startled by a screech, which turned out to be a blue heron launching from the brush. We decided maybe we were near her nest so we continued on. Jen even saw a snake, which I do not have a picture of for obvious reasons.

Ahhhh… to be young and foolish

Well I didn’t end up catching any fish but what I did end up taking home was a wonderful memory of an awesome day spent on the river with a great friend. Here’s to living life to its fullest and making memories along the way.

Run Kirby Run!!!

I know that for me to loose weight and tone up diet alone won’t do it. I know this from past experience. Exercise is a must. So today I got myself reacquainted with my nemesis…the damn dam. You see I used to run the Dreher Shoals Dam a time ago prior to my surgery and now I have committed to walk the dam everyday after work. Notice I said walk. Baby steps folks…baby steps. To go over and back is 3.3 miles, which is a smidge more than a 5k. So you heard it here first people, I am committing to cross that dam everyday by foot.

Eventually I’ll get back to the point of running again but just for today I am okay with just walking. Now for what was on today’s menu.

Spinach and parmesan omelet with of course a side of bacon, along with an uncured beef hotdog.


Being I got out of work early today I didn’t have to rush through making lunch.  I did take my hard boiled egg along with my cuke, tomato, avacado and red onion to work with me but being I left early I decided to cook instead.

I don’t know if I’ll ever cook inside again!

I decided to grab the 2nd rib eye out of the fridge along with a zucchini and on the grill they went.  Only seasoning them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and of course Butt Rub for the steak.  For another side I tossed together cucumbers, tomato, avacado, a hard boiled egg and drizzled with Skinnygirl balsamic vinaigrette.

Keto doesn’t look so bad now does it?

I still have to work on getting the whole breakfast thing down pat but I’ll get there.  This diet has been alot easier than I imagined.  I suppose when you are ready anything is easier.  Willingness is always the key…

The purge….

Being eating on keto is very different than the way I used to eat  I had to make some changes to the inventory in my cabinet and refrigerator.  Hence the purge.

My bags of carbs going bye bye

Most of the food in my apartment was processed, prepackaged and high carb/sugar stuff so it had to go.  The only thing I left in the fridge that I won’t be eating was a bottle of ketchup just is case company wanted some for a burger but everything else went.  I loaded up the bags, there were actually more than the two in the above picture, and brought them to my dad’s.  Just because I don’t eat it doesn’t mean it has to go to waste.

Look ma…no bun!

For lunch I decided on two hotdogs, sans the bun of course, with a pickle and a salad of spring mix, tomato, a garden fresh cucumber and an avocado drizzled with Skinnygirl sugar free balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper.

Burgers work without the bun too

My sister had invited me over to grill out and asked me to stop at the grocery store to pick up burgers.  While walking the aisles I tried think of something for a side.  Normally I’d pick up a container of potato salad, some potato chips or a bag of frozen french fries.  What’s a newbie at keto supposed to do?  I headed right to the produce section and grabbed some asparagus, zucchini and tomatoes but avoided the corn due to it’s high carb content…lesson learned from yesterday.  Kelly had some provolone at the house already so I was set!

My new best friend

On a couple of keto recipes I noticed almond flour as an ingredient so I picked some up.  Looking forward to using it to create some crispy good eats.

Tomorrow’s lunch

My keto mentor Jennifer told me how important meal prep is when on keto and I have struggled with this aspect alot.  So I am breaking the cycle and beginning tonight with planning tomorrow’s lunch today.  I referred to one of my keto food lists, rummaged through my fridge and began to plan.  I hard boiled 4 eggs, 2 for tomorrow, for my protein.  Then I cut up some red onion, cukes and tomatoes and threw them in a Tupperware with some kalamata and manzanilla olives and drizzled them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.  I left an avocado by my coffee pot so I don’t forget to put it in my lunch bag so I can add it to my tomato & cuke concoction.  I am very determined with my change of diet and it has improved my outlook on how I see myself and has cemented the goals I’d like to accomplish.  Just call me Keto Kirby from now on!  If it works work it…so I will😊

Who knew corn on the cob had so many carbs?

Well I certainly didn’t know that there are 35 net grams of carbs in one ear of corn!  I’ll take a half of ear from now on.

So I neglected to post my delicacies from yesterday so here they are…

Tuna with bacon and sliced tomato for lunch.  And water of course!
And for dinner it was the first time at Waffle House that I didn’t order a waffle!

Sooner or later I imagine bacon grease is going to start emitting from my pores but that doesn’t phase me one bit.  I love the smell of bacon almost as much as I love the smell of coffee.  Maybe I’ll patent a new cologne.  Let’s see, what should I call it?  I’ll have to think on that.  Back to the food!

After work I stopped at the Walmart to get three things…hairspray, makeup & shout stain remover.  Well $100 later I have a refrigerator full of awesome ingredients to prepare my keto healthy meals.  And yes, I actually remembered to get the three items I set out to the store to get!

Oh rib eye…how I love you so
So happy to have a grill again!

I went all out and bought a two pack of rib eyes.  Threw one on the grill, but not before I seasoned that bad boy with some Butt Rub and olive oil and the other went in the fridge.  All for me!

But before that beautiful piece of meat went on the grill I prepared some sides to go with it.  First was Baked Zucchini Fries, which is a recipe I found on pinterest compliments of Downshiftology by Lisa Bryan.  I encourage you all to check out her site!  If you are wondering why there isn’t a photo of the finished product, that is because I didn’t fully follow the instructions.  I used aluminum foil because I didn’t have parchment and that was a big mistake.  Those zucchini stuck to the foil and I almost couldn’t pry them off!  A few “F” bombs later I shrugged my shoulders, wrote parchment paper on my ongoing shopping list on my fridge and carried on.

The ingredients in the left photo are for the lemon aioli dipping sauce.  Oh my…when I ran out of zucchini fries I started dipping my steak and anything else I could find in it being I was that good!

Unfortunately the tomato isn’t from my little patio plant but the cukes are from Gary and Carla’s garden

I sliced the cucumbers, diced up the tomato and drizzled them all with balsamic vinegar then added salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Threw those in the fridge with the dipping sauce and forged on.


There’s the culprit for those sneaky net carbs!  Corn.  I must say one thing that has been extremely beneficial to me by embarking of my keto journey, it is giving me an amazing education on the nutritional value of the foods I eat.

Better than anything I could’ve paid for at a restaurant!

So there it is folks, the end result of my kitchen being blown up.  Don’t you just wish you could take a bite of the steak?  Or dip one of those scrumptious zucchini fries in the lemon aioli sauce?  It took alot of work but I had a blast cooking it.  And knowing that I made it from scratch, with all fresh ingredients, made having to clean that tore up kitchen all worth while.  Healthy eating everyone…you’ve only got this one body, treat it good.😉

Grill is up and running here at Kirby’s Kitchen!

So today is day 3 on the keto diet for me and I feel great! Well…except for my stomach growling from time to time but as my sister once said “Nothing tastes better than being healthy feels”. I subbed in healthy for thin because I by no means want to be “thin” or “skinny” and just want to be comfortable in my own skin. Now on to today’s meals…

For breakfast I made a strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and coconut smoothie but I forgot to take a picture of it. Hey, cut me some slack being I haven’t blogged in over a year! I subconsciously probably didn’t take a picture due to the mess I made with my Ninja Bullet. Regardless it was delicious and quite satisfying.

A trick is to serve your meal on a salad plate so it appears as if you have a larger portion

For lunch I had tuna mixed with mayo, salt and pepper atop a bed of fresh spinach, sharp cheddar cheese, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with a side of sliced avocados. I drizzled it all with some sugar free Skinnygirl balsamic vinaigrette. Very filling but didn’t feel blown out and weighed down like after going to Wendy’s for a 4 for 4.

They say you eat with your eyes before the food ever touches the lips…

For dinner I finally got to break in my new bbq I just bought recently! I grilled bone in pork chops seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and Butt Rub. What is Butt Rub you ask? The most delicious spice that is good for just about anything! It as was introduced to me by my good friend Cam, being she always uses it to season her steaks.  Thanks Cam!

Fun fact…the cactus toothpick holder was my mom’s ❤

I also grilled some zucchini seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. As another side I tossed together fresh spinach, avocados and tomatoes for a salad. Nothing beats food cooked on the grill in my book.

Only 5 ingredients in this recipe!
This is the consistency you should have when all is said and done.
Macgyver ramikans 😁

Of course now I needed something for dessert, right? Once again I hit up pinterest in search of a keto approved sweet treat to end the day and this is what I found. The keto equivalent to a frosty! I need to invest in some small glasses for all the new things I am making but I put on my thinking cap and was able to macgyver these solo cups to fill my need. And you know what? These little cups of heaven actually satisfied my sweet tooth!

I am really enjoying this keto journey so far. I feel great about myself, physically feel better and am excited about cooking new dishes. I love to cook and this diet has reinvigorated my desire to do so. Life is good…

My new keto/carb conscious lifestyle

If any of you out there have been keeping up with my blog you know two things.  First, I haven’t posted on here in over a year and second, I deal with an ongoing  struggle with my weight.  My good friend  Jennifer told me about keto and it intrigued me, although I didn’t know if I could commit fully to the entire lifestyle change.  But I am willing to try and willingness is the key to anything.

So I am going to try and incorporate the principles of keto to the best of my ability, coupled with a rigid walking regimen and kayaking with my other friend Jen, to see if I can’t get some weight off and tone this body of mine.  My “Jen” squad to the rescue!


I did an initial food shop today and also purged alot of “junk” that doesn’t work with what I’m attempting to do here.  Amongst the items in my grocery cart were as follows:

Avocados, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, lemons, organic almond butter, unsweetened cacao powder, coconut milk, fresh spinach, corn on the cob, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, Skinnygirl sugar free balsamic vinaigrette, chia seeds, a block of parmesan cheese, bacon, pork chops, chicken thighs, pickles, uncured beef franks…and I think that about sums it up.  I already had some Stevia at the house so I didn’t have to pick that up.  I pinned a couple of keto smoothie recipes and downloaded a keto shopping list to keep me on track too.  Isn’t  the internet wonderful!  Well….for the most part it is but that’s a topic for another blog.

So let me share with you the first thing I prepared for dinner this evening…

Fresh avocado slices with a jam packed with deliciousness omelet

Oh my…this omelet was to die for!  Definite foodgasm moment over here in Kirby’s Cafe!  The ingredients I used were some fried up bacon, fresh spinach (which I wilted in that magical liquid left behind by the bacon), fresh grated parmesan, tomatoes and garnished the top with diced avocados.  I paired it with a side of sliced avocados being I remember Jennifer telling me that avocados played a big part in what she ate.

I am very excited about this new journey to becoming the healthiest me possible, as well as for the fact that I have returned to putting pen to paper, or I should say thumb to key, blogging once again.  I hope you all haven’t forgotten about me…I look forward to sharing my life with you once again.  Trusting the journey…one day at a time.


To fly or not to fly….

Usually when I travel it is by car but due to unexpected events I now find myself a frequent flyer. I have flown back and forth between S.C. and N.Y. at least 4 times in the last 2 months and each time I fly I get better at it or more prepared at least. On one of my flights, the turbulence was so bad I found myself sweating perfusely and praying to the big guy to please not let the plane go down. The plane was shaking so bad that the drink on the tray table beside me went flying. Good thing my neighbor had sharp reflexes. One time when I was flying a long time ago, I had to exit a plane and jump down an inflatable slide while it was still on the tarmac. Good times.

I do understand flying is a necessary evil, especially for this trip. It’s just about impossible to drive when you only have 2 days and you are 13 hours away from your destination. But believe me, if flying was absolutely not an option I would’ve driven and made it work. Some people are worth making the effort. For my Donna June I would travel to the ends of the earth, barefoot, over hot coals and broken glass if that’s what it took to get to her.

For you see, Donna’s mom has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. Donna is staying with her temporarily until her new home is ready for her in Pennsylvania. Donna’s sister Suzanne and her husband Pete are building an apartment in their home so that mom can go live with them being she is unable to stay alone any more. I can’t even begin to express the admiration and love I have for Suzanne & Pete, along with their daughters Amber & Alyssa, for opening their home and hearts to allow mom a safe place to live and being willing to make the necessary changes to make that possible. They are pretty amazing people and I am very lucky to call them my family.

Until the apartment is ready and mom’s house in NY is sold Donna is staying with her and has been there since the end of January. Hence, me flying so much. I probably should’ve gotten one of those credit cards that you get travel miles for but I dont anticipate flying much after mom moves to Pennsylvania.

The drive there is a lot nicer than the one to NY. I like to take I 81 being it is very scenic and takes you through the mountains. Also there is no going through NYC. Even though I was born, raised and learned to drive on Long Island I get little pangs of anxiety when I go back and have to drive. Southern State Pkwy, LIE, even Sunrise Hwy all make me yearn to go back home to SC. Regardless, I prefer to drive.

So that’s it. If I had my choice I’d drive everytime. For all of you out there in cyberspace that fly, I wish you safe travels with clear skies.

Sometimes you just need to get the hell out of dodge for the day…

Some times in life you just want to run away. Run away from people, places, things and sometimes even yourself. That’s what I did yesterday and I took a friend along for the ride. Where did we go? Where else would you go when you want to escape? No, not Margaritaville for all you “parrotheads” out there….the beach!

Folly Beach

So I have been without a car for quite sometime due to an unforeseen life situation (one of the ones I was running from). My family, so eagerly and graciously, has allowed me to use their vehicles, carpooled with me to work and driven me all over like Miss Daisy. I am extremely grateful for that. However, I decided to rent a car to give myself the illusion of independence for a week. I was going to rent a jeep wrangler but I would’ve had to get a part time job in addition to my current one to afford that (my dream is one day to own a jeep). Anyway, when I arrived at the rental place the gentleman who was checking me in said “We have an upgrade for you. I promise, you’re going to like it.” I said okay, signed the contract and outside we went. Well, when he walked me over to the car I thought there was a mistake. I pulled out of the lot in a BMW SUV! Now, not only am I physically running away from my problems but mentally running away from my current economic status thinking I’m a Kardashian driving around in this car.

Wow right?

So I have my wheels, now all I need is good tunes, some company and a cup of coffee and all will be right with the world. Donna has been out of town for quite some time and has taken our car with her so she doesn’t need to hitchhike around town. This is why I am without a car and the reason why I needed to recruit company. Now you get it? Good. Let’s move on…

So after I figured out how to work this fancy space car I am now in possession of, I head out to pick up coffee and my friend. We decided our first stop would be Charleston, to take in some sights and more importantly get some delicious, FRESH seafood.

One of the best places to get seafood in Charleston

Now I’ve been to Hyman’s at least twice before and each time I’ve been there the food has been absolutely divine. Today was no exception. We ordered an appetizer and 2 entrees.

Fried Green Tomatoes

The only problem with the fried green tomatoes was that it took the waiter some time to bring us out the cajun mayo that came with it. They are made with local Wadmalaw Island green tomatoes. The breading was light so it didn’t overpower the dish. I enjoyed the taste of the tomato itself and the canjun mayo was good because it added just the right amount of spice without the heat.

Hush puppies

I am sorry Donna had to miss this. These by far are the BEST hush puppies I have ever had. Seriously….They were so good I took whatever we didn’t eat home. (I actually had some for breakfast with my coffee this morning!) They were fried to a deep golden brown and had a firm outer crust but a smooth, not grainy, texture on the inside (kinda like me…hard on the outside but soft on the inside) To eat these with any type of condiment would be almost criminal. Eat them plain and let your senses taken in all the deliciousness that these little puppies have to offer.

Calamari, crab cake, fried okra and hush puppies.
Shrimp & grits

I decided to order way too much food and went with the trio of calamari, shrimp & grits, crab cake with a side of fried okra and of course more hush puppies. I barely finished the whole thing (some of the fried okra was sacrificed due to my stomach not having the capacity to fit it all) but all that I did eat was great. The shrimp were crisp and firm to the bite, probably being that they were just pulled from the water. That’s what is so great about eating in Charleston. All of the seafood is harvested right there, locally. The grits were smooth, on the thinner side and creamy. The calamari could’ve had a thicker, crispier crust to them but the taste itself was very good. The crab cake had just the right amount of breading which allowed you to fully experience the flavor of the crab. The fried okra was just that…fried okra.

Crab cake, Mac n’ cheese and hush puppies
Salmon & grits

Michele was smarter that I being she only selected the entree with 2 items unlike gluttonous me who picked the one with 3 items.

We exited the restaurant via the gift shop. Yes, Hyman’s has a gift shop. As we were perusing, a woman that worked there said being we dined upstairs we were entitled to a free magnet. Well, if it’s free it’s for me so I took my magnet and here is what it said. I placed this magnet on my fridge so it can be a daily reminder for me.

To burn off some of the calories from lunch we strolled over to the Charleston City Market on Market Street to do some shopping. I ended up buying a Rice Beads anklet. I never knew the story of the Rice beads. If you don’t know it either here is the story…

Rice Beads

Where to next? Folly Beach. I started out with shorts and a tank but ended up with sweats and and tank due to it not being as warm as I would have liked. I refused to put on a jacket with hopes I could will the weather warmer by wearing a tank top. Not so much. Regardless, hot or cold, the beach is wonderful. Just sitting back on a blanket mesmerized by the ocean is my meditation. It truly puts everything in perspective. How very vast that ocean is and very how tiny I am. I am but a small cog in the big wheel of life. I am not as important as I think I am.

Folly Beach

Dessert and coffee please! We turned that beemer around and headed back to Charleston. Next stop Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe.

Almond Joy cake with vanilla ice cream and a cappuccino with a shot of mocha
Mixed berry pie with vanilla ice cream and a cappuccino with a shot of vanilla

Anytime there is a line outside that is a sign of either one of two things…either that is the only place to eat or the food is that good. I was grateful it was the latter that the line was long outside of Kaminsky’s.

My cake was soooo good but I was confused by the name of it because there was no coconut to be found in it. Plenty of sliced almonds but no coconut. The mixed berry pie had strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with a delicious crust which reminded me of Thanksgiving with hints of nutmeg in it. After I took my last sip of my cappuccino I was done. The sweetness of that drink pushed me me right over the edge. Oh brother am I full.

I could not have asked for a better day. Even though it didn’t warm up as much as we would’ve liked and we were missing a friend that was supposed to come with but wasn’t able to, it was picture perfect. The food was delicious, the sights were magnificent and the laughs were oh so needed. Two chicks beach bound in a BMW, escaping the monotonous ups and downs of everyday life….that is the stuff that movies are made of, no? Netflix, I’ll be waiting for your call…. 😉

In the mood for a steak…

As I sit in my recliner watching the Nancy Silverton episode of “Chef’s Table” on Netflix my stomach begins to growl. Why do I torture myself watching these food shows when I know that there is not a damn thing to eat in my house and I always get hungry when I watch them? I can’t answer that question for you…

So I texted my friend Jennifer to see if she would be my date and accompany me to dinner. When she asked me what I was in the mood for I replied “steak”. We don’t eat much steak at our house being Donna isn’t particularly crazy about red meat. Maybe a hamburger every once in a while but no steak. Me, I like me a big ole ribeye. Yes ma’am! And that is what I was in the mood for. As I asked Google what steakhouses were located in the Harbison area Texas Roadhouse came up. I have never been there so off we went.

Texas state flag atop the restaurant.

Jennifer did the “call ahead seating” thing but even with that there was a 40 min wait. Go figure. I guess it is Saturday night in Harbison after all. Well, it was worth the wait. For starters I got us an order of fried pickles. Jennifer said she didn’t want any but I still got them. I ran a 5k today damn it so I’m gonna eat whatever I want and as much I want.

Fried pickles. Yum!

Then of course I got a salad. I always get a salad if it is an option on the menu. It was very good with lots of toppings. I especially like the croutons. They almost melted in your mouth, not hard at all.

House salad with thousand island dressing.

Now for the main course. Jennifer ordered bbq chicken with a baked potato and applesauce. She enjoyed it very much.

Bbq chicken, baked potato and applesauce.

I went all out. I ordered a 10 oz. Ribeye with grilled shrimp and a loaded baked potato. I tried a little of the house steak sauce, which was delicious, but the steak was seasoned so well it didn’t even need it. It cut like butter and was cooked perfectly. The potato put me right over the edge because it was so good that I couldn’t stop eating even though I felt as if the button was going to pop off of my pants. Oh yeah, I wore sweatpants so that very incident wouldn’t occur.

Ribeye, loaded baked potato, grilled shrimp and garlic roll.

The whole night was wonderful. There is nothing like being in the mood for something and then actually scratching that itch with that exact food you were craving. Thanks for helping me with my itch Jennifer. Life is good.

Me and my dear friend Jennifer.