Keto NO BAKE Cheesecake

I am not a photographer by any means. I WISH I had lovely food pics to go with my recipe posts – especially this one. Maybe one day…

Then again, maybe not, because this cheesecake never sticks around long enough! Super simple to whip up in 10 minutes flat, the hardest part of making this zero carb dessert is waiting for it to set up in the fridge!

You only need 3 simple ingredients, a block of cream cheese, a cup of heavy whipping cream, and a zero calorie sweetener (we use Splenda).

The BEST THING about this cheesecake is that an entire 1/4 of it has only 267 calories. (WHAAAT???!)


Step 1: Soften the block of cream cheese in the microwave. Poke a few vent holes in it so it won’t splatter everywhere. Microwave for 30 seconds, flip and microwave again for another 30 seconds or so until you can easily spread the cream cheese around the bowl.

Step 2: Add about 6 packets of Splenda (or 1/4 cup of the granulated type) to the cream cheese. With a hand mixer, blend until smooth.

Step 3: Into a separate bowl, pour 1 cup of heavy cream. Beat on med-high speed with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. (Until it looks like whipped topping).

Step 4: Add the cream cheese mixture to the cream and mix thoroughly. 

Step 5: Transfer mixture to a shallow pie pan or dish and chill until set (approx. 1-2 hours). 

For a fall variation of this, we’ve added pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice, which was pretty good – but I just love the plain version so much!

Another variation we’ve tried is to add a single flavored drink packet (the kind for an 8oz. drink) to the cheesecake mix, instead of the Splenda, to create flavors like lemon or strawberry cheesecake!

If you’d like to add a Keto friendly crust, I recommend using almond flour. Simply mix about 1/2 cup of almond flour with a couple tablespoons of melted butter. I like to add ground cinnamon and a packet of sweetener to the mix too. Then press into the bottom of your pie pan before spreading the cheesecake on top. (I practice “intuitive cooking” so I usually don’t really measure this kind of stuff. Just eyeball it).

Again, this is such a simple recipe you can’t really mess it up! Try different things and if it doesn’t work out, you can always whip up an original!

Next time we make this, I’ll try to snap a pic 😉



Our favorite products for kids with sensory needs

My 4 (going on 14… anyone else have one of those?) year old daughter, K, was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder a couple years ago. She’s had issues with her ears since birth and it’s suspected that her SPD is linked to that. She has a HUGE noise sensitivity as well as some vestibular and proprioceptive delays.

We’ve been through therapy, took a break, and are looking to get back to an OT soon.  K just started attending a local cottage school (where I teach) one day a week and could use the extra support.

Over time, we’ve accumulated several things at home to help support her sensory needs. Amazon is a FANTASTIC place to find toys and tools for SPD/ASD kiddos. Here are some of our favorites:

1) OUTREE Kids Pod Swing Seat Hammock

Swinging is one of the best activities for sensory input. (Check out these  benefits of a sensory swing). We purchased this one for K and hung it in her room. It can support up to 170lbs. Pro Tip: If you’re hanging this inside, don’t use the anchor that comes with the product – use a different heavy duty anchor. The anchor that came with the product failed and caused the swing to fall, but the anchor we replaced it with has held the swing up fine.

This swing can be used indoor or out and, other than the anchor design, is a good quality product. The exterior is a canvas material, which is suitable for outdoor weather. My girl loves curling up in this with her stuffed animals!

2) Vanderfields Earmuffs for Kids

Noise sensitivity is a common symptom of sensory processing disorder and ASD. My daughter is literally terrified of flushing toilets, hand dryers, blenders, the vacuum…pretty much anything with a small motor. Or a big motor. Okay, pretty much anything that makes loud mechanical sounds. And water.

Bathroom trips in public were a NIGHTMARE before we purchased these noise blocking ear muffs. She’d stick her fingers in her ears and refuse to move. It’s incredibly difficult to get a child to use the restroom when they won’t use their hands.

These noise blocking ear muffs have been a LIFE CHANGER. Public restroom visits are a breeze now. If I’m blending a smoothie or vacuuming, I just give her advance notice and she grabs her ear muffs. These travel with us everywhere. She even uses them at night sometimes when it storms, since she’s also bothered by thunder.

These come in 8 fun colors – I let K pick out which one she wanted. They are cushy on the ears and expand to fit even my adult sized head (I’ve used them while operating a table saw). These do NOT cancel ALL noise, but rather lower the noise level by about 20 decibels. (For reference, normal conversation is about 60 decibels, while many household tools hover around 80-85 decibels.)

3) SENSO MEGA BUNDLE Sensory Chew Necklace – Silicone Chewy

I’ve sometimes found K biting her hands or fingers – especially when she’s upset or tired. We got a chewy necklace like these, from a birthday party, and she wears it out when we’re going to do something that’s particularly demanding on her senses. However, it’s currently lost in the abyss so this multi pack is on our list for the next Amazon order!

These are silicone, so they are soft on the teeth and won’t cause any problems for those who are allergic to latex (me!). If your kiddo is a chewer or just likes the oral sensation, then these necklaces are a MUST!

4) MarvelBeads Water Beads Rainbow Mix – 8oz

If you’re like me and are sick of dealing with kinetic sand and sticky slime, then these are the perfect alternative for you and your kiddo! Mine spent a good hour (or more!) squishing these around, scooping them up, filling jars, etc. They can also be frozen for a totally different sensory experience. If you’ve got a kiddo that needs tactile input, I highly recommend trying these out.

5) Seamless Socks

I don’t know about your kiddo but socks used to be the biggest pain and would inevitably cause a meltdown. That little line on the toes annoys me at times, I can only imagine how irritating it is to my hypersensitive sensory avoider. We started turning her socks inside out, but sometimes that still bothers her. These seamless socks are on our wish list right now! I love them because they are cute animal characters – which my girl LOVES. Her favorite pair of socks right now are a pair that, when you put your feet together, make an owl face. I’m thinking these will be a stocking stuffer for Christmas this year!

Do you have any products you have found that have helped your kiddo and supported their needs? I’d love to hear about them! Please share in a comment. 🙂


Unschooling Kindergarten: Our typical week

Since K is only 4, and since we’re following a pretty unstructured homeschool ideal, our routines look different each week.

The whole idea of “unschooling” is that kids learn by default. LIFE is an excellent teacher and there are plenty of ways to learn spelling, reading, writing, and math BESIDES sitting at a desk and toiling over worksheets or other busy work. For instance, cooking can be a great way to learn fractions and addition. Simply slicing an apple and having a discussion on the number of pieces as they are eaten covers basic counting and simple subtraction concepts. Reading together promotes letter recognition, phonics, spelling, and –whoa– reading skills.

Life provides plenty of opportunities to learn and as a skill or concept is needed, kids tend to be more ready and willing to learn it. When learning happens all the time, there is no separation of “this is schooltime” and “this is free time” – which, by the way, tends to promote the idea that learning stops outside the classroom and equates learning with work, which can make some kids dislike learning!

When learning is done spontaneously, when the child is interested and ready, it really flows much more smoothly!

I know, I know, K is ONLY 4 (5 in a few months) – so I can’t say for 100% certain that these ideals and what I believe will hold up in 5 to 9 years. BUT I’ve done plenty of research into unschooling and so far, I’m really not seeing anything I don’t like or that scares me.

AND let me just say, there is a HUGE HUGE difference between unschooling (life based, interest led, learning) and EDUCATIONAL NEGLECT (not taking an active role in your child’s education, not teaching or guiding them to learn anything). Unschooling parents are often incredibly involved. It takes actively observing your child to be able to identify where their interests are leading them at any given time in their life, and to help foster those interests and provide educational resources for them to learn from. Unschooling is NOT passive by any means!

So all that said, here’s what a week might look like for us:

K is currently taking gymnastics. She loves the class and it is helping her learn to follow instructions (listening skills), interact with other kids her age (social skills), work her body (exercise), do things on her own (independence). It’s also building confidence, and helping support her SPD/vestibular input needs.

I am a believer in natural wake times and slow starts to the day/week. Thus, we typically don’t plan much else for Mondays because as a sensory avoider, gymnastics actually takes a lot out of her system. I don’t like to make the mornings super busy so that she isn’t drained by the time gymnastics rolls around in the afternoon. But sometimes we might run an errand or visit a friend/have a short playdate.

I started teaching at a local homeschool cottage program this fall. Two days a week, 7 hours total. K is enrolled in the kindergarten program and only goes 1 day a week (4 hours). I love our cottage school, and I chose to be involved with this one in particular, because her grade level is interest-led. There is a routine to the day, but what they explore/study over a given period of time is determined by what the kids show interest in. Right now they are exploring building, and deconstructing, with various materials.  They also do things like circle time, writing their names, and open play.

While radical unschoolers might say this isn’t unschooling, because she is indeed in a class setting, I say I make my own rules and K was interested in going to a class so she is. She loves it and it makes her happy, so we’re doing it. She’s learning independence, practicing her social skills, and getting to do other fun educational activities – WITHOUT the pressure to perform, pass a test, or meet any specific educational standard or milestone.

After cottage school, we go home to unwind and rest our bodies. Again, we don’t like to pack our days to the max. So cottage school is all that’s ever on the agenda for Tuesdays.

Since I do work from home, I’ve got to sit at my desk at least every once in a while. The good news is, I run my own business so my hours are flexible. I’m in the middle of re-working my office hours since my husband just started to work from home full time for his company. In the future, I’ll probably start working more in the evenings, but I have been setting aside a full day on Wednesdays to get stuff done.

Since K is an only child, this has been leaving her to her own devices for much of the day. This is the one day we usually let her watch more of her favorite shows or play on the tablet longer. I hate it, because I don’t agree with letting electronics be babysitters, but at least I know she is watching educational shows on PBS or playing educational games on the tablet (see my post about our current favorites here).

As far as what she is learning on Wednesdays: patience is a big one and something she struggles with (as any kid does). Being self-sufficient. Self-entertaining and self-soothing. Math and Spelling concepts via her game apps. And PBS kid shows cover a whole gamut of topics from daily routines, to friendship and kindness, to math, science, reading, and more!

On Thursdays I have to teach at the cottage school, but K isn’t enrolled for Thursdays. She goes to my parents’ house for the day, and honestly, this is probably one of the most educational days for her. At their house she gets to pretend play all day. They have chickens and she’s learned to feed them and collect eggs. She’s helped them plant a garden. She explores nature and goes on hikes and other adventures. She has a slew of toys and books, dress up items, her own bouncy house, and basically anything she could ever want. Like honestly, her days there are what I wish I could give her. But I’m not in the life stage my parents are, I’m content with our lives, and I’m just grateful that she gets to experience having grandparents in a way I never really did.

What’s she learning? Socialization with adults and family bonding. Since I know her time there is spent doing what she is interested in doing, I’m confident in saying that Thursdays are unschooling at it’s finest. She’s learning. I might not be there to see it, but she’s learning.

Fridays are our adventure days. We have a few places we like to rotate through, such as the library, the science museum, the gymnastics sportsplex, the art studio, etc. Sometimes we arrange play dates. Sometimes it’s just me and her. Sometimes we grab lunch at Panera or IHOP. We go with the flow on Fridays. It’s a nice way to wrap up the week, reconnect, and get ready for a family weekend.

What’s she learning? Spontaneity, flexibility, transitions, and whatever else we talk about during the course of the day. Depending on where we go, she’s also likely learning something related to reading, spelling, math, engineering, art, science, music, etc.

And that’s it. I don’t sit down and plan lessons. I don’t write out learning objectives or goals. I’ve consulted a “kindergarten readiness checklist” and a few other educational milestone charts and she’s on par, if not ahead, of where she would need to be in a public school setting. I mean, the girl does addition/subtraction with digits up to 10! She’s beginning to show more of an interest in spelling and is catching onto some sight words. She can write her name (with some guidance on the letters) and she even knows some Spanish.

So I’m not worried about being more structured or having formal lessons. The best thing about homeschooling/unschooling is that it’s flexible. We’ll do what works for us, for as long as it works for us. If it stops working, we can change it! We can explore any subject for as long as we want to and we can skip any subject that we don’t feel particularly inclined to explore. We can integrate fundamentals into nearly any situation.

Some people hear unschooling and ask, “But how will they learn math?” or “How will they learn to read?”

To them I say that I highly doubt she’ll be 18 and unable to do any math or reading. It’s nearly IMPOSSIBLE in this day and age to go your entire life and NOT learn anything. I understand there are exceptions and I am privileged, so sure, this method might not work for everyone. But for us, it makes sense.

If you’re interested in learning more about unschooling, I highly recommend looking up Sandra Dodd. She’s written quite extensively on the subject. Warning, she does talk about RADICAL unschooling, which is applied to other areas of life outside of education. I do not subscribe wholly to those ideas, but here and there we take a little and apply it as appropriate for our family.

If you’re unschooling, leave a comment below! Always happy to connect with other unschoolers!



Our Favorite Free Educational Apps for PreK/Kindergarten

How much screen time your kiddo gets is a hot topic in today’s society.  Personally, I feel that electronic devices are neither good nor bad – they are a tool, and tools are neutral. In my opinion, what makes screens bad is how you use them. If you’re using them as an all day long babysitter so you don’t have to interact with your kids – I consider that a bad use. If you’re using them interactively with your kids, and they help bring you closer together, I consider that a good use.

In our house, we use screens as a tool for pure entertainment at times, but the majority of the time we are using them for educational fun.

I have an old tablet that I’ve set up specifically for my daughter. She doesn’t have free access to it, but it’s essentially hers. I’ve loaded it up with several games that are learning based and age appropriate for her. We get the tablet out every few days or so. It’s kind of a special treat to her to get to play on it! And I’m happy because she’s having fun learning! Unschooling win!

If you’re like me, then you’re probably constantly on the hunt for good apps. These are our favorite FREE educational apps (for preK/Kindergarten) – in no particular order.

ABC Spelling by RV AppStudios

This app is completely AD FREE, which as a parent I LOVE! I don’t have to worry about my little one accidentally purchasing anything. This app has 3 different games which help teach simple spelling of common sight words. There is a LOT of positive feedback during the game, including a character that routinely says “I believe in you!” which I just think is so powerful for little kids. Stickers and toys are awarded as your child completes levels.

Math Kids by RV AppStudios

Also by RV AppStudios is this an AD FREE math gem! There are 8 different game modes in this app, which covers addition and subtraction using numbers up to 20. (There is a setting to restrict math problems to use only numbers up to 5 or up to 10.) The UI is colorful and fun! My daughter spent an entire HOUR playing with this app and was SO EXCITED to come tell me about the addition equations she was learning. “1 plus 9 equals 10 Mommy!” will never NOT be adorable.

Khan Academy Kids by Khan Academy

This app is also completely free and ad free! It covers several educational topics such as letters & spelling, numbers & counting, reading, and logic. It also has a collection of books, videos, and coloring pages. I love this app for the variety. It has an automatic “learning track” which you can just resume each time you use the app, or you can handpick activities from the library. Highly recommend this app as an “all around” for meeting preK/K learning goals.

The Cat in the Hat Builds That

I love all things PBS, but this stand alone app is one of my favorites! It’s a STEM based application that allows kids to explore things like friction, velocity, bridge building, and other science and engineering concepts. It’s a little on the more advanced side for a 4 year old, but with a little help my daughter really enjoys this app.

Highlights Monster Day

This is a cute app that has kids guiding adorable “monsters” through daily habits and activities. From waking up to an alarm clock, eating breakfast, getting dressed,  and brushing teeth to school day activities and bedtime routines, this app is tons of fun! There are 4 monsters to start with, and each has a different routine. Additional monsters are unlocked as you play! This is an AD FREE app, but occasionally there is a pop up to subscribe to emails. It only pops up like once in an hour, so it’s not interrupting play time too much.

There are a TON of good apps out there, and I’m sure we’ll discover more as K gets older, but these are the ones we are loving on right now. Go check them out!

Got a favorite to share? Comment below!



Keto White Lasagna

If you’ve totally got a craving for the cheesy saucy goodness that is lasagna, but can’t justify the noodle carbs, then this recipe is just for you. A white sauce version with plenty o’ fats and protein!


1.5 lbs ground beef

1 or 2 yellow squash

1 green bell pepper

1 head/bag riced cauliflower

16oz sour cream

16oz cottage cheese

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup shredded parmesan

Garlic powder

Onion powder


Black pepper

Italian seasoning


1) Slice squash into thin medallions. Arrange on a paper towel and salt squash lightly to draw out excess water. Allow to set about 20 minutes, then press lightly with paper towels on top to absorb liquid.

2) While squash is resting, brown the ground beef and season to your liking with salt, garlic, onion powder, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Once done, set aside to drain. Press to expel excess liquid.

3) Preheat oven to 400.

4) Dice or mince green pepper.

5) In a clean skillet, sautee the pepper and riced cauliflower together until tender. Drain well, pressing to expel excess water. Add in cooked ground beef and mix thoroughly.

6) In a large bowl combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, Dijon, and almond milk. Add seasonings to taste.

7) In a large cassarole dish layer lasagna as follows:

Thin layer sauce mixture

Squash medallions

1/2 of the Ground beef/veggie mixture

1/2 of remaining sauce

Squash medallions

Other 1/2 of the Ground beef/veggie mixture

Other 1/2 of the sauce

8) Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and place in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy! This is ultimate comfort food!