Anyone who's followed me for a while knows I've been trying and failing for many years to lose weight but finally have been successful using ketogenic dieting and intermittent and extended fasting with the help of Dr. Wade Baskin. The photos above show my transformation from January of this year to today. I still have weight to lose and while I'd like to say I'm always consistent and motivated, sometimes I fail to achieve my goals. This week was one such time. Dr. Wade's group is doing a 5-day fast but I had to drop out less than halfway through. I've completed 5-Day fasts before, so it wasn't a case of being a newbie; I just had several things going against me this time.
Fasting, as I've mentioned before, is simple but it's not easy. I find it far easier to start a fast when I'm in ketosis and after Thanksgiving I certainly was not. I had some non-keto foods and way too many keto treats. It's also difficult for me to fast when I'm stressed out and the combination of running my business during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and solo parenting while my husband was away on business was just too much. Last night I was abnormally cranky and snapping at my kids all out of proportion to their behavior. I also made a bunch of mistakes sewing a scarf for an Etsy order and had to throw away a great deal of fabric I ruined. The kicker, though, was the onset of flu-like symptoms. I'll spare you the details except to say, while autophagy has amazing benefits, too much autophagy can be unpleasant to say the least. I ended up having a bowl of homemade sausage late at night in order to stop the autophagy without adding any more junk to my system. Breaking a fast, especially a long fast, can be dangerous. Most experts agree a small, simple meal of broth or meat works best. I was stuffed after just a few bites, and my stomach settled down, my headache disappeared, and my agitation calmed down so I could fall asleep.
Autophagy means "self-eating", named for the process through which the body begins not only using stored body fat for fuel but also clearing away damaged cells. Dr. Fung describes this phenomenon comprehensively in his book The Complete Guide to Fasting, which I sincerely recommend you read. If you start a fast after eating a bunch of junk or being exposed to a lot of chemicals or being under a bunch of stress or something to cause cellular damage, your body may eject these damaged cells all at once. I get migraines and stomach flu symptoms quite often from fasts of 40 hours or longer, which is because I still have a good 30 more pounds of fat to lose at least. One purpose of fat cells is to insulate the rest of your body from toxins. Your body places these in a cell surrounded by fat to isolate the toxin, so if you have excess body fat you can be sure it's full of lots of bad stuff. Fasting helps detoxify your body but let's just say sometimes this process isn't as gradual as one would hope! So, I failed at my fast this week, but it's okay. I did fast for over 50 hours, so I saw a great deal of autophagy, got back into ketosis, increased my growth hormone levels, and had a decline in insulin production (and increase in insulin sensitivity). I lost nearly all the weight I gained during Thanksgiving. I'm still having cravings for stuffing, my Thanksgiving favorite, so I will most likely switch to OMAD (one meal a day) and fat-heavy keto for the rest of the week to get that carb addiction under control. The reason Dr. Wade started these long fasts is because he read The Fasting Cure by Upton Sinclair and realized how many illnesses were successfully treated though extended fasting in the days before antibiotics. It's a very interesting book and another I recommend.
After a few days of strict low-carb whole foods I should be ready for a long fast. It's a difficult time for fasting, with all the holiday parties and in our case, birthday parties, so I'll do another post about holiday maintenance in a few days. What about you? Do you fast? How do you manage during the holiday season? Comment and let us know!
I got many compliments on my outfit today. Everything but the sweater (palazzo pants in blue or black, LipSense lip gloss, black bra) is available from my eBay store. The change in hair color and straightening of my normally-fuzzy hair is thanks to Overtone Coloring Conditioner. I'm using the Espresso Brown shade but they have lots of colors, including fun colors like red or blue and you can mix them to create your own custom color! Pro Tip: if you see something you like in my eBay (or any of my other stores) contact me using the form below for a discount! If you buy from me directly I can offer discounts of at least 10% -20% because I don't have to pay selling fees to a hosting platform. Make sure you contact me through THIS website though; I am not allowed to mention off-site sales on my store-hosting platforms.
Atelier Mandaline shops are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday so I can finish cooking all the Keto treats. You may place orders from my shops (link on the Home page) but they will not ship until Saturday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
It's been quite a while since my last post and I want to apologize. As a mom and small business owner life tends to get in the way of social media at times. For the past five weeks we have either been up in the mountains working on our new property or hosting guests and I've been completely overwhelmed just trying to get the basic housework and childcare accomplished. We had a Harry Potter Halloween, the result of me finding a Firebolt broom at the thrift store, so I had to shorten a cloak for my youngest. We wrapped up another soccer season just in time to start a new season of high school swim team. Our daughter is doing extremely well in school; she's 9th in her class, so we are exploring opportunities for her to improve her chance of scholarships to college.
In the shops I've been busy listing fall and holiday staples like sweaters and fancy dresses and home decor. These are starting to sell out already. I just added the Hogwarts crest shirts shown above to my Poshmark boutique. I'm proud to say that, while I'm still not meeting my ultimate financial hopes, I've almost quadrupled my income over the past year. I've been adding more streams of income as well as automating as many processes as possible. In that vein, I ordered my first thredUP bag today. I'm going to see how it works to have someone else photographing and listing a lot of my fashion pieces. ThredUP takes kids' clothes now, thank goodness, because I have about six full tubs of consignment kids' stuff to list and no time to do it. I am selling most of the kids' stuff I already have listed in economical by-the-pound lots. You can buy four or five pound boxes of kids' clothing for boys or girls, sorted by size so they're perfect for dressing your child or even to resell! I do not photograph every piece since I'm selling this way to save time, so you should not purchase these unless you're okay with buying "mystery" boxes. Most of my customers have been very pleased with their boxes so far. I only include pieces I would sell individually in my store: so only pieces in excellent to like new or even new condition. You can find these lots in my Poshmark, eBay, Depop, and Mercari stores. On eBay save 15% off any purchase of $50 or more through November 25th. Link to all my shops from the Home page.
In doll news, I am having a lot of success selling dolls for customization or parts, mostly on Etsy. I clean up Barbies or similar dolls, ball-jointed if possible, and sell them nude for you to dress or repaint. I have a bunch listed and many more on the way to the shops, just in time for the holidays! I'm glad these "blank" dolls are popular because it saves me a ton of time. It's an easy way to create your own one of a kind art doll as a special gift. It's also popular to use the fashion doll bodies for Blythe doll heads as they are sturdier than the Blythe factory bodies and fit the more affordable Barbie clothes. Look for a doll customization tutorial coming soon to the blog. That's my big interest in dolls right now and I love to share!
If you follow my Instagram you know I've now lost more than 50 pounds with the help of Dr. Wade Baskin. I want to lose at least 30 more so I'm working on back to back 48 hour fasts again this week. I've had trouble with insomnia while fasting so Dr. Wade suggested I cut back to 48 hour fasts. Dr. Wade is a great person to follow for weight loss advice and I highly recommend his group. It does take me out of my comfort zone though. I am not a person who likes to post photos of myself, but Dr. Wade says since he is providing his service to us free of charge he expects group members to pay it forward by sharing our results and methods. Dr. Wade has seen huge improvements in his health and those of his patients and group members following the unconventional advice to fast and limit food to mostly meat when eating and he wants us to help as many people as possible achieve optimal health.
At this point, you're best off following my Instagram or Facebook pages to keep up with me since I'm so short of time for blog posting or newsletter writing. I appreciate all of you who are still hanging in there following me when I've been so absent. Yesterday at a party I was telling my friend I feel like I'm so overextended I'm not doing anything very well right now. I know firsthand how fast this phase of life will pass, however. Before I know it I won't have any kiddos at home, so I'm trying to savor it while it lasts.
Last week I had two new-to-me patients in my doll hospital: the 14 inch Miss Corolle Classic doll and a Bitty Baby Twins doll. Both these little ladies needed eye transplants. The Bitty Baby was partially repaired at home but the owner couldn't get the second eye in and sent the doll to me to finish. She was the second person in as many days to have trouble inserting the second eye into a Bitty Baby. I am not sure what the problem was because the eye popped right in for me. If you are having trouble with your Bitty Baby I suggest you review the tutorial. Bitty Baby takes a Margon size 13mm eye, available in my Etsy and eBay shops (link from the Home page). I find rubbing a bit of baby oil or petroleum jelly on the back of the eye helps with insertion. Miss Corolle was a lot more difficult so I was glad the owner sent her in. I didn't think to take photos but I made notes of some particular issues with that doll.
I believe this is the "Miss Corolle" classic doll. There are a few different 14 inch Corolle dolls and this one is the older-looking body and face rather than the baby type doll. Miss Corolle lost her iris. Unfortunately the only solution is to replace both eyes, unless you were to find the same doll from which you could harvest an eye. This doll, like the 18 inch American Girl, does not use a standard eye size. Her eyes are wide but the case is shallow. In the Margon replacement eyes she takes a size 10mm. You may remove the eyes using the method illustrated in the tutorial above, except that since this doll has rooted hair you will need to line the inside of the head with an oven roaster bag before you fill it with water. When the head is warm the eyes pop right out. Her vinyl head fits on a hard plastic neck so there is no reason for a drawstring; you can just pop the vinyl head right off the neck piece.
The Margon 10mm eyes are too tall for the eye pockets so you can't use the boil method to insert the new eyes. You will need to use my cut method. You will need to remove the ends of the vinyl eye pockets inside the head. This will result in a vinyl tube with an open end inside the head. The fit will still be tight. I gently heated the eye tubes with a hair dryer. Then I used a curved hemostat to place the eyes on the tube and push them toward the front. Then I straightened the gaze so both eyes looked in the same direction and sealed them to the tubes with Aleene's Tacky Glue. When the glue dried I popped the head back on the neck and sent her home. Although it was a difficult repair I believe the doll turned out beautifully! This doll looks to me like the American Girl Wellie Wishers size clothing would fit her if you find one without clothing. My traditional eye repair kit (not the American Girl kit) will work for this doll, but if you have trouble you can always send your doll to my hospital using the form below.
Today in my doll hospital I got a new patient, a Bitty Baby Twins dolls named Harmony. Harmony needed an eye replacement and hair styling and while she was here her owner wanted her ears pierced as well. The American Girl Hospital will pierce the 18 inch dolls' ears but they won't do the Bitty Babies' due to earrings being considered a choking hazard. So before you proceed please consider if your doll will be a play toy and don't pierce the ears until your child is five years or older and you are confident they won't put the earrings in their mouth.
Choose the spot where you want to pierce the ears and scratch a little mark there so you can make sure the placement is even. It's easiest to put the earring just at the edge of the ear lobe rather than in the center of the lobe the way human earrings are placed. You want the earring to look like it's in the ear but not to have to pierce the thick ear vinyl. Choose the thinnest spot as close to the ear as possible. I use a sewing machine heavy duty needle for both the marking and the piercing. For vinyl dolls, it can be helpful to fill the doll's head with hot water prior to piercing to soften the vinyl. I forgot to photograph that step, but this doll's head was still soft from her eye replacement when I did the piercing.
Bring some water to a boil. This step is also mostly for vinyl, not resin or hard plastic dolls. You are going to use the hot water to heat the needle.
Place the needle in the hot water for a few minutes until it is very hot. Use a hemostat or other tool to hold the needle so you won't burn your hands. If you are piercing a hard plastic doll you will probably need to heat the needle by passing it through a candle flame in order to get it hot enough. That method will cause a black mark on the doll's face where you pierce it unless you wipe off the needle before you pierce the doll. Be careful not to get burned!
The needle should be so hot it's difficult to hold, so I use a napkin or cloth like an oven mitt to protect my fingers. Press the needle steadily and forcefully into the spot you marked previously. Press until the needle breaks though the vinyl.
Now you may insert the earrings. It's helpful to do this while the vinyl is still warm. If you are doing it later you can heat up the earring posts beforehand the same way you heated the needle. If you are going to keep the earrings inserted all the time it's important you choose gold or gold-plated posts. Other metals, including sterling silver, will oxidize and turn your doll's ears green. I use human earrings or make earrings myself from gold-plated posts. You can use wire cutters to trim the posts if they're too long. If you're having trouble with the earrings falling out you can bend the tip so it's square. You turn it while you insert the earring and it will hold itself in. This is how the Revlon doll earrings are inserted and that's why it's important to cut those posts before you remove the earrings. If you just pull the Revlon doll earrings out of the ears you will tear the vinyl ear.
Harmony's owner chose pink faux pearls for her and they're very cute! She's all fixed up and headed home. You can use the doll repair request form below to ask for a repair or service, such as ear piercing.
Today I'm cleaning my old shoes to get them ready for sale and I think most people will not have tried my favorite shoe cleaner: Thieves Foaming Hand Soap from Young Living! To be honest, Thieves is my favorite cleaner for just about everything. It smells divine, it's really hydrating and yet doesn't cause breakouts in acne-prone skin, the essential oils give every surface a lovely sheen, and it can be diluted with water about three times before it stops foaming, so it saves us money! You can purchase Thieves Foaming Hand Soap from the Young Living link on my Home page, and right now if you re-activate your Young Living account you can get one free with a 50 PV order!
The reason I'm selling my shoes is I am down two full sizes since 2017. I've lost almost 50 pounds and the place I am seeing it the most is in my feet! You might know! I am seeing some loose wrinkly skin under my chin but that's not really a positive. I'm hoping the autophagy from fasting will take care of that soon. I have really sensitive skin and a bone that sticks out of my heel so I almost only wear open front and back shoes like clogs. Otherwise I get terrible blisters. The trouble with this type of shoe is dirt gets in when you're walking outside and gets ground into the insole. I have thrown away so many shoes in the past that were perfectly fine except for the insole! And there isn't a good way to add a replacement insole; believe me, I've tried! Last year I had a new pair of expensive shoes that were already getting all yucky inside and I saw the Thieves soap sitting on the counter and decided to try it. It worked like a charm! So now it's my favorite!
So to use the Thieves soap, just pump some of it on the shoe and spread it all over.
Scrub the soap into the shoe, all over. I use a baby bottle cleaning brush for this. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off the soap. Check to make sure you got all the dirt and don't need to repeat the scrubbing process. Then just let the shoes dry. If you have a bright sunny day it's great for shoe drying because it's fast! Voila! Clean shoes!
These shoes, in size 10, are headed soon to my shops and I have more already listed. Most of the shoes I'm selling will be 10s but I have a couple 9s I'm thinking of listing. I mostly wear a 9 now but I have a couple pairs that run small and I'm not sure if I want them hanging around until I lose another shoe size! The closer I get to my goal the slower my weight loss goes and the harder it is to stick to the long fasts. I am about 25 pounds away from my initial goal weight. When I get there I will re-evaluate whether I want or need to lose more. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
I just want to start by updating my last post. We did end up finding a property in the mountains and we are under contract to buy it! It's nice piece of riverfront land and although it looks to us like it's on the side of cliff, the grading guy says it's just "moderate". We aren't building a house anytime soon; we will just be camping on it and fishing for trout. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. This has been a dream of ours for over 20 years and though we've been saving up for all that time the deciding factor in going ahead with the purchase is my income. It has become reliable enough to make us feel confident we could pay ourselves back (we borrowed from our savings to make a cash offer). When you follow my blog and click on my affiliate links and purchase products from me you help make this possible. I can't ever tell you how grateful we are! This land is close enough to our son's university we will be able to see him far more often, and if our other children attend the same university it will make it easier to be close to them as well. We close in one month and at that time I will officially be on vacation over the weekends. For one thing, we won't have Internet access and we may or may not have electricity, so I'll be off the grid! It's going to be weird to take weekends off; I've worked seven days a week since 1998 unless we went on vacation or something. I'm sure I'll get used to it however! I'll do my best to keep my customer service exemplary during the week.
I also have an update to a post from way last year concerning my "Doll School." There was only slight interest in the subscription doll school. I had the idea to send a lesson with instructions and supplies each month. The services that provide subscription billing were too expensive for the projected amount of students I would have and the coding to set it up myself was far beyond my capabilities. I have a solution finally: I already offer doll repair kits with instructions and supplies for various repairs. Now I am also selling instruction packets for specific dolls. These are copied from a vintage doll repair correspondence course. The school that offered the course is now defunct and the lessons are no longer under copyright. I have included my own tips in each packet as well. The lessons cover Cissy and Elise, Sweet Sue, Tiny Tears and Betsy Wetsy, Kissy, the Valentine ballerina, Thumbelina, Saucy Walker and Posie, and Suzy Smart. I also offer a packet with all the instructions.
This way, you can pace yourself. You can order the instruction packets as you need them and get supplies or kits from my shops to supplement the packets. I have an idea for the Ultimate repair kit with supplies (sort of a doll hospital starter kit) but I'm still trying to figure out how to make that affordable enough that anyone would actually buy it. You can order my Doll School lessons from eBay, Etsy, and now Poshmark!
That's right! Poshmark just opened a Home Market as well as a School Market. If you download the app with the code STUDIOMANDALINE you will get a $5 credit which you can put toward your doll lessons! You can link to all my shops from the Home page. My Poshmark doll supply offerings are still pretty slim; I have instructions and stringing kits but I'm still working on getting more supplies on there. My US wholesale supplier has unfortunately become quite unreliable and I have trouble keeping things in stock. I would like to order more custom goods from my Chinese supplier but the cost is much higher due to the recent tariffs and I have to order so many units storage space becomes a problem. I'm busily working out the kinks and I'll let you know when I get it all set up.
Besides Doll School I just listed a bunch of women's athleisure-style clothing from brands such as Pink Lotus and Miss Me. My enormous wholesale Foster Grant sunglasses order arrived today and I'll start getting those listed in the next few days. I have vintage Pyrex and Fire King and Nintendo 64 newly-listed in all the shops.
I hope your summer is wrapping up beautifully, and I look forward to seeing you in Doll School!
The Atelier Mandaline doll hospital is steadily busy, just the way I like it! I don't like to be swamped with other people's dolls because it prevents me from working on my own, but I absolutely love my bread-and-butter business to come through this, my own website, so I don't have to pay fees to sites like Etsy. The dolls shown above are my most recent patients, who visited the hospital for split repairs, blushing, re-stringing, and hair styling. Use the contact form at the end of this post to request a doll repair.
Please see my new price list for common doll repairs. These prices do not include return shipping. If your doll needs more than one repair or if you send multiple dolls I will offer a discount of some kind. Please be aware, this price list only applies to repair requests through this website. If you contact me using eBay or Etsy or another platform I will then have to create a listing for you to pay through that platform and pay fees to the platform. Many people prefer to pay through a larger, more well-known site, and I understand that caution, but prices on those sites are 20% higher because of the fees I have to pay. You may purchase doll repair kits from my eBay and Etsy shops and do the repair yourself to save money. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
My most recent patients arrived in pieces or very loose and with faded blush, messy hair, and/or splits in their seams. I gave them a good cleaning, then repaired the splits with epoxy, and restrung them. Then I styled their hair and refreshed their blush. I wanted to expand on my last post and tell you about some more of my essential tools for doll repair. First of all but not shown is Mr. Super Clear UV Cut Flat Matte Varnish. This is expensive but well worth the cost. It is the only varnish I have found which seals even pastel and watercolor on hard plastic without even a hint of stickiness. Here in the South the humidity level keeps most varnishes from drying properly and every other brand I've used has dried sticky. I am able to use pastels and even human makeup on my dolls now because this varnish holds it in place. The matte varnish is preferred for the vintage Madame Alexander hard plastic dolls, which were designed to have a "porcelain-like" finish. For composition dolls you may want to use the gloss version that mimics those dolls' original finish.
Another of my favorite tools for epoxy repairs and doll cleaning is a nail buffer. These have four or five sides and are designed to file ridges out of your nails and then smooth and buff them to a shine. It turns out, they work just the same way on hard plastic dolls! Even the roughest side is gentler than fine sandpaper and the small size makes it easy to use on miniature doll parts. The Cissette doll above had epoxy repairs to several seams. I used the buffer to finish-sand the epoxy. Then I painted and sealed the areas and used the Shine side to give the painted areas the same sheen as the original plastic.
My newest favorite tool is the Creative Options Small Rack System organizational box. Do you remember the part of Toy Story 2 when the toy thief hires a toy restorer to come repair Woody? Remember his cool tool box? I've wanted a box like that ever since that movie came out so when my husband saw this one he snapped it up. It was my anniversary gift this year. I love it for carrying my tools, from stringing hooks to bamboo skewers, and now I'm not always having to search for my hemostat or my epoxy! The only thing it's missing is the little doll chair.
The Atelier Mandaline hospital and shops will most likely have a slightly longer turnaround time for repairs and order fulfillment starting soon. I am trying to stop working on weekends, at least during the slower months of the year. The holiday rush will probably force me to work on the weekend but I'm trying to avoid it for now. I'm really proud of myself: It's only August and so far I've made double the profit of last year, even though I'm working less! I've been pushing myself to learn more and source better. More of my income is coming from my website and private label products, saving me on inventory and selling fees.
One reason I want to spend more time away from work, besides my kids growing up too fast, is we are embarking on the fulfillment of a long-held dream. For many years we've wanted to buy some land for a fishing and hunting camp. This weekend we are helping our oldest move into his dorm and then we have an appointment to view some land. I just can't believe we are at the point of actually viewing properties! I'm so excited I haven't been able to sleep all week! We've been wanting to diversify our investments and land seems a perfect place to put some money. The properties we are viewing are near our son's university, making it possible he could actually live there in the future and also allow us to visit him more often. I really want an income property for short-term rental. My husband is not interested in this, but I'm going to work on him. Maybe in the future you can experience the Atelier Mandaline Glamping Getaway! We are focusing on the best trout streams in the Appalachians so you can load up on quality wild protein while you relax. My long-term goal is to convert more of my profits into income-generating properties in resort areas like the beach and mountains. I have no interest in dealing with long-term tenants so weekend or weekly rentals seem perfect. I love the idea of income coming in without me having to be involved day to day; eventually I would hire a property manager to make it more autonomous. Please send all your most positive vibes our way that we can find and afford a suitable piece of land!
As always, some links on this site, including those in this post, are affiliate links. I get a small payment is you buy anything from eBay in the 24 hours after clicking the link, even if you don't buy the products I show. This costs you nothing and helps me keep my tutorials free for you.
At long last I am back to my blog! This summer has been something else. Our son's soccer team won the division championships, extending the season so it overlapped with the swim team season. Now swim team is nearly over and we are the champions in that league so far. We spent a week at the beach, not exactly a relaxing week, as we biked 10 miles and walked at last 2 miles each day as well as fishing and kayaking, but a fun week. I think I may have even lost a little more weight while on vacation, although my scale is broken and my new one hasn't arrived yet so I am not sure. It has actually been terrific to be away from the tyranny of the scale and just focus on my fasting and diet and enjoying activities I love. Maybe I won't open the new one for a while! I'm going to be out of town again next week so I thought I would squeeze a tips post in while I'm home. Today I want to talk about one of my top tools for doll restoration: the curved hemostat.
I always recommend hemostats as a necessary tool for doll stringing, but they are really useful for eye restoration as well. Many people who use my eyes have reported problems getting the eyes to look in the right direction after they insert them, especially if they're using the boil method. Other clients have trouble getting the eyes inserted into the socket from the inside. That's a particular problem with the Patti Playpal and similar dolls. My go-to tool in both these situations is my curved hemostat. A 6 or 7 inch curved hemostat will work great for a doll with a shorter neck. Dolls with longer necks may need an 8-10 inch length. You can purchase hemostats from my Etsy shop.
If you are having trouble straightening a doll's gaze from the front of the face you can grasp the back of the eye pocket with your hemostat and shift the eye that way. This method avoids the damage that can occur to the face if you are poking around the eyes with a skewer or other pointed tool. If you are having trouble grasping the eye rather than the socket you can cut a small slit in the eye pocket and open it just a little. That will allow you to grab the back of the eye to move it. Unless the slit is very tiny you will want to reseal it with tacky glue and let it dry.
If you are having trouble getting the proper sized eye into the eye socket the hemostat can help with that, too. Just gently heat the eye pockets inside the head with a hair dryer. When the pocket is soft use the hemostat to grab the back of the eye and insert it into the pocket. Then use the hemostat to push the eye into the socket as far forward as required.
Many vintage dolls, especially drink and wet dolls, are dirty and moldy inside their head. This is residue from being fed with their bottle and washed by their little mommy. I take a paper towel or cleaning wipe and use the hemostat to hold it so I can reach all the way inside the head to clean and dry it out.
This baby doll is all ready to return home with her new eyes! Besides purchasing eyes, hemostats, and doll repair kits, you can go to my Etsy shop to contact me about repairing your doll in my hospital. My hospital prices are higher on Etsy since I pay them a commission but some people prefer to pay through an established site. You can also contact me through this website to request a doll repair using the contact form at the end of this post.
In other Etsy news, I am now offering free domestic shipping on all purchases or bundles $35 or above! International buyers should contact me before purchase for a quote with the domestic shipping cost removed from the base price. My Etsy shop has really grown this year, even surpassing my eBay sales over the past few months. I can't wait to see it get even bigger as I implement all the new product ideas I have in my head!
As you know, when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes I worked hard to learn to cook foods to fit into the ketogenic diet. I have the hang of it now, and my son is doing great. We saw his endocrinologist last week and she was thrilled with his progress. His A1C is 6.5 and his sugars are totally flat, with none of the spikes or steep drops that cause organ damage. When he's at home he doesn't even need to use mealtime insulin! There are foods he still misses, so I'm always trying to re-create them. Tonight I made Keto Stuffed Shells, and it was a big hit. Everyone agreed I should post the recipe, so here it is!
Keto Stuffed Shells
24 Pre-Cut Provolone Cheese Slices, Non-Smoked
24 silicone muffin cups
1 large egg, beaten
2 TBSP cream sherry
1.5 cups ricotta cheese
1.5 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
2 drops Young Living Lemon Vitality Essential Oil
(purchase from the link on the Home page)
1 teaspoon Parsley
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces tomato paste
12 ounces water
1/4 cup marsala wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch dried stevia
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
Shredded Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Make the sauce so it can simmer as you make the shells. Heat the oil and saute the garlic cloves until fragrant. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, blend, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally.
To make the shells, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, fold the cheese slices into the silicone muffin cups as shown. They are easiest to work with if they aren't too cold, so you may want to leave them at room temperature for a while before you start. Place the cups on a pan and bake for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is just barely melted as shown below.
Let the cheese shells cool while you make the filling. Beat the egg and blend remaining filling ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat and stir, so that the egg is pasteurized but the filling is still thick and chunky, as shown.
Pull each shell away from the muffin cup and fold over to create a pocket.
Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of filling and fold the shell over it.
Tip each filled shell onto a serving platter or pan. Remove the marinara sauce from the heat and let it cool while you put the shells in the pan. You don't want the filled shells to get too hot as the cheese will melt again and the shells will fall apart!
To serve, plate the stuffed shells, top with the marinara sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. The texture is really just about perfect, like al dente pasta! These don't reheat very well due to the cheese shells melting when you try to heat them up, so I recommend making just enough for one meal, unless you enjoy cold pasta!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. It's been years since we had Stuffed Shells, and it was formerly a favorite of ours. It's economical, too. I can't afford meat all the time and if you've tried to feed a family the ketogenic diet all the time you know it can get pricey. There's no doubt, carbs are cheap fillers that help stretch out your food, but there's also no doubt they're nutritionally void. In fact, many doctors now consider them "anti-nutrients" that actually keep you from absorbing the good foods you do eat. This is an inexpensive meal I can feel good about feeding my family. I know some people can't handle dairy. It might take them out of ketosis or cause binges or GI problems. We don't have any of those problems, so we will put this into the regular rotation.
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.