Lemon Keto Cookies, A Low Carb Recipe

If you’ve “gone low-carb,” you might get tired of seeing recipes for things you love, but that no longer fit your new lifestyle.  I’ve been eating Keto for a year now, and I can get by with relatively few treats, but when my daughters decided to join my adventure, my Pinterest feed became nothing but low-carb desserts!!  They want the health benefits of eating well, with all the frills too.

Recently, they were feeling deprived when their siblings enjoyed some Lemon Breakfast Cookies of the gluten-free, sourdough variety, so I whipped up these Lemon Keto Cookies, and they are every bit as good!

I make these as a breakfast cookie for my family, although they make a nice treat any time.  If you like a sweeter dessert, adjust the sweetener to suit your preferences.

Don’t forget to download the recipe PDF: Lemon Keto Cookies

Lemon Keto Cookies

**This post contains affiliate links. For any purchases made through these links, I will receive a small reimbursement which will help support our family in ministry.  We appreciate any support you give!**

The Ingredients:

Lemon zest

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Cut in the butter and add egg, lemon zest and juice.  Allow to rest 5 minutes for the dough to firm up.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a 1.5 TBS scoop, drop dough balls onto baking sheet and press flat with your hand.

1.5 TBS Scoop

Lemon Cookie Balls

Shaping lemon breakfast cookies


Bake and then allow to cool:  Metal baking sheets like the Air Bake brand will take 15 minutes.

Bar pans like Pampered Chef Brand will take a few minutes longer and the bottoms may not firm quite as much until after the cookies have cooled.

Yield: 10 cookies             Serving size: 2 cookies

Total calories: 253          Net Carbs: 2.9 grams           Protein: 7.9 grams          Fat: 19.6 grams

Macos were calculated on cronometer.com.  I have not included erythritol in the net carb count since it doesn’t affect my blood sugars.  If erythritol affects your blood sugars, or you are using substitute ingredients, please calculate the nutritional information on your own before trying this recipe.




My 1-Year Anniversary Eating Keto, and What I’ve Learned

Keto 1 Year Anniversary

While I have been developing gluten-free sourdough recipes to replace the recipes my family gave up when we gave up gluten, I have personally been following a Ketogenic Diet.

I’ve noticed that people’s responses to talk about the Ketogenic Diet can be rather strong, whichever way they swing.  So I’m not here to try to convince anyone to do what I’m doing.  I’m just sharing for those who are curious or can benefit.

A Ketogenic diet consists of low carbs, moderate proteins, and a high amount of healthy fats.  In a while, the body switches from using carbohydrates as a primary energy source to using fats.

I first heard of the ketogenic diet about 10 years ago when I happened upon Maria Emmerich’s beautiful and informative website.  I was intrigued by the diet’s therapeutic effect on individuals with Epilepsy, allowing many Epileptics to live free from seizures.  I spent a day reading through recipes and thought I’d return later to to learn more, but it was before the invention of Pinterest and, once I closed my browser, I was never able to find her site again (until last year). Chalk it up to God’s timing.

A decade later I was working with a client who was interested in doing the Ketogenic Diet and wanted help figuring it out.  I had to decline for lack of experience.

Today Keto is quite the buzz word, and there is a plethora of information out there, but I realized that in order to truly understand the diet and to be equipped to help others implement it, I would need some very personal experience putting it into practice.  Didn’t hurt that I still had a few baby pounds to lose.

At this point, I had already cut refined sugar out of my diet.  I took it a step farther by cutting out all grains, potato varieties, squash, high sugar containing fruits, and legumes.  Instead, I focus on healthy fats, clean meats and dairy products (organic and grass fed when possible), low carb vegetables, low sugar fruits like blueberries and raspberries, and sources of fiber such as nuts, flax, coconut and psyllium husks (which help make excellent “breads”).

I didn’t experience any withdrawal, but if you are accustomed to a diet high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, expect to go through a period of fatigue and cravings.  Drink lots of water and don’t be afraid of some high quality mineral salt, true unbleached sea salt or himalayan salt.

I have always loved high fat foods, it’s just that eating a carb rich diet makes it necessary to limit fats in order to avoid weight gain.  Eating a Ketogenic Diet trains the body to burn fat as it’s foremost fuel, and so fat becomes necessary instead of taboo.  I pretty much LOVE my food.  🙂  And that’s always a good thing, right?

I track my calories and macros (carbs, protein and fats) using cronometer.com.   I use their free version. It also keeps track of the nutritional content of my meals so that if my calcium, for example, is low–I know how to supplement.

The other feature I enjoy about cronometer‘s platform is that I can enter my own recipes and parse them into servings to keep track of nutrient and macros.  I can eat home-made and know exactly what I’m getting!  That is useful, no matter what diet you follow.

I learned how to do intermittent fasting, and enjoy it two or three days a week.  I don’t have to eat until I’m hungry and I can have a larger, more satisfying meal when I do.

I expected to lose weight when I began eating ketogenically.  I was counting on losing the baby fat and the stubborn belly fat, and I wasn’t disappointed.


{Picking up a co-op order.  Do I know I’m wearing a banana sticker?  Why, yes I do, thank you.  Every time my boys get a banana with a sticker, they give it to me.   🙂 }

What I didn’t anticipate when I began the Keto-diet?

  • A substantial increase in energy
  • Reduction in the amount of sleep I require
  • Cessation of swelling in my gums (almost immediately) and a halt to the recession that had become fairly regular (so far, so good)
  • Younger looking skin
  • Balanced hormones!  Going through school to become a certified natural health provider, I recognized I was on the path to early menopause.  Extremely light, and shortened periods had become the norm.  I was doing everything I learned to do with pH and diet to help swing the hormones back to normal, but no change.  A few months into my keto journey,  my period ceased for a couple months however, it came back, and at my 1 year keto anniversary I can say my cycle has officially returned to a healthy normal.  Just like in my 20’s. 🙂  Yes, this makes me happy.  Menopause will come, but on time, not early.  This took 11 months to achieve.
  • Flexible menus: I didn’t expect it to be this easy.  The longer I do this, the more I learn and the more flexibility I have in what I eat.  I’ve gone beyond just trying other people’s recipes to creating my own.
  • Low fasting blood sugars: Mercola, a huge proponent of eating Keto, suggests that fasting blood sugar levels in the 80’s, and better still–the 70’s, are optimal for health, so the 70’s were my goal.  However, my morning fasting blood sugar levels stay in the therapeutic 60’s with great energy.  This also makes me happy.  Really. Happy. 😀
  • No more joint pain.  I was developing the same pain in my knees and hands that my mom and her mom had when they developed arthritis.  No more.  Also, neck pain from a car accident more than a decade ago has been continuously improving.  Banish the inflammation!
  • The ability to fast on a dime.  When my church sisters have decided to fast and spend time in intercessory prayer, they have complained of headaches, spacey-ness, and plain ole’ ill health on the days they have fasted, making it difficult for them to focus on prayer (and focusing on prayer is the whole reason for the fasting!)  With today’s Standard American Diets, people often need to spend time changing their diets ahead, preparing their bodies for fasting, in order to experience success.  The Bible makes it clear that fasting is part of Christian life.  Sticking to a healthful diet can make it much easier to fast when prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Following a ketogenic or low carb diet that is free of sugars and “fast energy carbs” that spike blood sugar and insulin make it possible for me to fast immediately when prompted, and I never suffer the effects of withdrawal or low blood sugar.  The body is used to burning fat for energy.  It just switches to a different source of fat for the duration of the fast (body fat instead of dietary fat).
  • Keto buddies~ I have found encouragement in unexpected places, not the least of which turned out to be right at home.  My kids.

At Christmas I converted several of our favorite traditional treats into low carb versions that were truly hits.  I rotate my family’s menu between low carb choices and our traditional gluten-free healthy choices.  They enjoy it all.  I know, I am extremely blessed in this way.  No picky eaters at my house.  Makes providing for my family easy and enjoyable!

2 of my oldest girls have decided to eat “Mom’s food”.  That being the case, and me not wanting them to miss out on special food occasions the other kids might have (like lemon breakfast cookies) I have put forth the effort to create low carb versions of the treats they love.  These girls, 14 and 16, have also experienced positive hormone adjustments, clearer skin, and a healthy weight gain where needed. (Yes, low carb does not have to mean weight loss.  The right macro proportions can adjust body weight up when that is what needs to happen.  It’s all about a well formulated diet.)

Has a ketogenic diet hampered my ability to work-out and build muscle?  Not that I can tell.  I work out regularly, 5-6 days a week for 30-50 minutes, and though I’m not aiming to be a body builder, I have definitely rebuilt a LOT of muscle that was lost over the years I spent being inactive.

Do I plan to go off keto any time soon?

No.  I’m enjoying this lifestyle, and have a lot more to learn. I’m thankful for the positive health changes I’ve experienced.  I’m thankful the practical application will enable me to help others when the opportunity arises.  And I’m thankful for the client who pushed me to learn!

What does this mean for future food posts?  It means I’ll not only be sharing our gluten-free sourdough recipes, but also low carb versions. 😉  

My girls have always been concerned that they would have copies of our favorite foods.  In sharing with you, I am getting them all in order, pics and all.  I see full kitchen books in their futures!

Do you have questions about a low carb/ketogenic diet?  I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have a blessed February!  ~Linda

My Summer Fitness Challenge Results

I owe you an update on my Summer Fitness Challenge.  I am so aware.

I updated you on the first 30 days HERE.

If you remember, I wanted to get back in shape, close the gap in my stomach muscles, and I set a fun goal of getting back into my wedding dress by my wedding anniversary (August 31st).

July:  I had hoped to “knock the socks” off my husband at a wedding mid-July, and I think that mission was a success.  🙂

Willy's wedding together

I lost an additional 2 pounds (a record low for me) and began transitioning down to a pant size 5–something I never dreamed of being able to do.  I was targeting the belly, but the butt was being more cooperative.

August: I tried my wedding dress on mid-August.  It wasn’t quite as loose in the waist as I would have liked, but comparing to wedding pictures, I guess maybe it wasn’t as loose back then either.  The fit was pretty close, but I didn’t take pictures because I still had 2 weeks until our anniversary and my goal date.

HOWEVER, when our anniversary rolled around, I was pretty sure that the dress wasn’t going to fit all that well for another long spell. I had to wait a few more days to make sure…

And then, Semptember:

It’s amazing how 2 little pink lines on a pregnancy test can suddenly and completely change your perspective and rearrange your goals.

It’s totally NOT funny how after having a few babies it really doesn’t matter how much you exercise; that baby pouch remembers the pooch position right away.  I didn’t take a picture in the dress.

I did take a step back, and started praying and researching to determine how to maintain a Keto diet while accommodating my body and a precious baby’s needs during pregnancy.  There is virtually no information available on it, but I did develop a plan.

And yet, life doesn’t always go the way we expect…

One minute I was wondering who this new little life is, and the next I knew that I would never know this baby… not in this life.  Just a couple days before my birthday, I began to miscarry.

I know from the book of James that nothing passes into my life without first passing through God’s hands.  I don’t understand this loss; it hurts my heart.  BUT,  I know that I know that I KNOW that God is GOOD and that He NEVER makes a mistake.  There is always a purpose.  I don’t have to understand.  I need to trust.

October:  I’ve still been pretty tired.  I suspect my iron has been low, and so my energy is recovering as I work with my diet to provide the needed nutrients.  I also need time for my heart to heal, and that will help too.  So right now I am sticking with Keto, I have been exercising how and when I feel able while listening when my body says it’s too tired.  This too shall pass.

Progress:  As far as my goal to close the gap in my stomach muscles, the gap has closed by 50%. This is good!  🙂

And getting in shape? I have muscle tone again!  This makes me happy.

The wedding dress?  Well, I’ll try it on again soon.

I am researching gut healing, and reading Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book on the “GAPS” diet.  There seems to be more than one helpful approach and I’d like to find one that meets the unique needs of our family.  I’ve realized that some of the belly I’ve been trying to shed is not fat, but bloat, and some of our older “kids” are interested in doing a gut healing protocol.  We’re taking baby steps toward that goal; last week we picked up some grass fed beef from a local-ish rancher.

In a Nutshell:  No fun goal on the horizon, but only seeking to honor my commitment to God to care for my body, His temple, in all of this.

Did you set a goal for yourself over the summer?  I’d love to hear about your progress.





Pantry Tips for Starting Your Low Carb Journey

***Though there are many links in this post, there are no affiliate links… (I will not get paid if you buy something. 😉  )

So you are thinking about trying a Low Carb or Ketogenic diet platform to improve your health?  Good for you!  If you stick with it, you won’t be sorry, but to be successful it’s helpful to have a pantry stocked with the right ingredients, and know what to do with them.

A Ketogenic or Low Carb Diet is a low, low carb, moderate protein, and high in healthy fats nutrition plan.  The goal is to guide your body into burning fat for fuel instead of being a sugar burner.  Fat is a cleaner burning fuel, causing less oxidation, and is therefore healthier for your body.  Fat is the ingredient most needed and loved by your brain, nerves, and the membrane wall of every single cell in your body… the many trillions of them!  And, fats are satiating, which means they will keep you feeling full long after a meal of traditional carbs would have left you feeling hungry and moody.

To truly do this right, you need to use healthy fats:

Coconut Oil~ Coconut oil is full of medium chain fatty acids, the same as God put in human breast milk.  If it’s good for our babies, it has to be good for us!!  Unrefined coconut oil is the best thing to buy, but according to Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, even refined coconut oil is better than using most of the other oils on grocer shelves.  Refining the oil removes the “coconut-ty” smell and flavor, and can leave some chemical residue behind.  If you are near a Costco, they sell both types of coconut oil at a competitive price.  If you have an allergy or intolerance to coconuts, I recommend you look into the benefits of cooking with Palm Oil.

Olive Oil~  Once touted as the oil for everything, reserve olive oil for cold application.  This oil is vulnerable to hot temperatures and will go rancid when cooked, making it not so healthy for you.  Instead, use it for salad dressings.

Avocado Oil~ Avocado oil is great in cold recipes, but unlike most other oils has a much higher smoke point and will stay stable at higher temperatures. One study showed that the lipids (fats) extracted from avocados might prove photo-protective against harmful effects of radiation, such as sun damage, inflammation, and even skin cancer, if ingested before exposure.  I buy my avocado oil at Costco.

Coconut Milk~ The canned, full of fat kind, and also the unsweetened carton in the dairy department are both items I use.

Dairy~ You will find a LOT of low carb and ketogenic recipes from food bloggers all over that use dairy.  Cheese, whipping cream, more cheese… so if you don’t have any digestive issues or intolerance, get ready for some dairy.  Grass fed and organic is best as this is the only kind that will be guaranteed free of damaging hormones and heavy omega 6’s that can be present in “normal” dairy from livestock that is fed a heavy soy and grain diet that has probably been heavily sprayed with glyphosates.  I only use dairy sparingly.  I can eat it, no problem, but if I’m aiming to lose weight… well, I lose the dairy.  And if I want optimal liver function, I lose the dairy.  We’re all different, and if you are hoping to lose weight and aren’t seeing results, this is a good thing to cut out and see.

And what about Fiber?  A challenge that many people face when they go low carb is constipation.  Not good!  And not necessary.  So make sure to stock the following…

Nuts~  They are full of healthy fats, and fiber too.  The trick is to not eat too many.  Even though we want to eat more fat, it is easy to go over our fat allowance with nuts, and too much of anything is a bad thing.   Stock your pantry with walnuts and almonds and maybe pistachios, but plan, and measure.   Want a different kind of nut?  Look up the carbs, fat and fiber.  You want to count net carbs.  This means look at the total carbs and deduct the total fiber to get your net carb count per serving.  And then do the math.  Will this nut fit well into your target carb and fat count?

Nuts are much healthier if they are soaked and then dehydrated.  They also taste better, in my opinion, and are easier on the digestion.  To learn how, you can read this excellent article over at Gnowgflins.

Almond Flour~ This is used a lot in low carb receipes.  I get mine at Costco.  It is also available at Sams Club, on Amazon, and many other places.

Ground Psyllium Husks~ This can be used in bready recipes that are filling, provide fiber, and satisfying those cravings that are inevitable when you first pull grains and sugars from your diet.  In addition, if you find yourself experiencing some constipation, you can mix a tsp. or two with water and drink it to help bulk up your stools.  I buy this psyllium from Viva Naturals on Amazon and will be making recipe recommendations off of my experience with it.

Chia seeds~  You may like them, and if you’re a woman, soak them, use them for fiber, for a binder, etc… not recommended for men’s prostrate health.  😦

Coconut flour~ Yep, coconut is still good for you, and the flour is a good source of fiber as well as great for bready recipes.  The best value I have found for our neck of the woods is also on Amazon, from Anthony’s.  Check out the jokes on the bag… 🙂

Unsweetened, shredded coconut~ You may like this in a breakfast porridge, or many people just spoon some into a bowl with some coconut oil, stevia drops, and cocoa for a sweet fix.  Anthony’s Brand is often the best value.

Fruits and Vegetables~  Well, vegetables anyway.  This is where you will get most of your carbohydrates.  Avocados and tomatoes are actually fruits, and I use them, but they won’t satisfy your sweet tooth.  Carrots are starchy, so use them sparingly if at all, and potatoes are out–too many starchy carbs.  Go for asparagus, spinach and kale (unless you have a history or kidney stones), zucchinis, lettuce (not ice berg), peppers, other cruciferous veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.  You may find some veggies I’m not used to using.  I love onions, but they are a little high on the carb count so I use them sparingly and use leeks instead.  You may occasionally splurge on a few pieces of Granny Smith apple, a strawberry, or blueberries… that is up to you.  You can use the cronometer.com calculator to help you decide.

Protein~  Yes, you need moderate protein, so besides the nuts you want to have eggs and meats on hand.  Just keep in mind, “moderate” may be less than you think…

Eggwhite Protein Powder~ I like to make Maria Emmerich’s Keto bread, and you will need this Eggwhite Protein Powder to make it.

Sweeteners~ Yes!  I did say sweet.  Lots of the sweet ketogenic recipes you find use the “tols”, sugar alcohols, like erythritol or xylitol.  They are not sugar or alcohol, and typically don’t affect blood sugar, don’t cause cavities, etc… They are not completely absorbed by your body and so pass on out, unused.  Xylitol can sometimes cause a bit of elevation in blood sugars in some individuals, so monitor if you use it.  Most people notice no affect in blood sugars when using erythritol, and because it is fermented, it is less likely to cause digestive upset.  Both sweeteners should be used in moderation.  If you try them, make sure they are not combined with other low-calorie or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, or crystalline fructose.  Swerve is a well known brand of erythritol and is recommended by many food bloggers.  Personally, I bake for a family of 10, so I find it more cost effective to grind this brand into confectioners erythritol, and I put a little of the Sweet Leaf Stevia Extract in it to make it more comparable to sugar.  I also appreciate the fact that it is not made from corn.

Stevia~  I use stevia in many forms.  It is a natural food derivative, many times sweeter than sugar, and a little goes a long way.  I can be combined with other sweeteners.  And it does the body good, the whole leaf stevia being found to lower blood sugar levels and kill bacteria (even the lyme disease bacteria, better than antibiotics).

What kind of stevia?

I use the Sweet Leaf Stevia drops with vanilla a lot in my tea or other quick treats.  It comes in plain and other flavors, but I like vanilla and it is a cheap add on from Amazon Prime.  You can also get it from Swansonvitamins.com, Azurestandard, and your local health food store, among many retailers!

I also use the Sweet Leaf powdered stevia, and you only need a pinch for most recipes, so it lasts a loooong time.  This is also available at a value through AzureStandard.com.

A lot of foodies use Stevia Glycerite in their recipes.

The other good sweetener recommended for the Ketogenic diet is Lo Han Fruit (also called monk fruit) extract.  Recently featured on draxe.com for being a recommended ketogenic sweetener, along with stevia, it is many times sweeter than sugar and has many health benefits.  Watch out when you buy, as it is often combined with other unhealthy artificial sweeteners, so read labels.  I buy mine from Swansonvitamins.com, combined with inulin (a sweet fiber and prebiotic that feeds good bacteria that nourish the gut).  I use this in recipes I will share.

Real Salt~  Not table salt.  Use RealSalt brand, unbleached sea salt, or himalayan salt that is whole and rich in minerals.

Supplement Smart.  Take a good multi-vitamin.  If you aren’t getting enough iron or amino acids, look into taking dessicated beef liver.  Need more C?  Take rose hips.  Have magnesium on hand.  I recommend Plexus Biocleanse.  Just want to clean out your bowels and relax?  Magnesium Calm will do the trick.  Do probiotics.  Swansonvitamins does regular sales.  If you sign up for emails they will send you coupons that will make it worth your while.

There are a few other foods and supplements I will be sharing with you in future posts, but these are the main ones you can do without having to learn “how to”.  I hope this is helpful.  God bless.