IQS- Fructose friendly – Mini Lime and Coconut Cheesecakes.

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Giving up sugar had  relatively easy, but I do miss sweets, cakes, biscuits etc.

Not one thing in particular, but the texture of these foods…something creamy, cakey, crumbly and of course sweet.

I recently said no to some birthday cake, it was hard , it was my favorite continental cake, with chocolate and normal custard layersūüė¶

So I really wanted a treat.It’s also nice to be able to have dessert or something with a cup of tea.

So I had a look at some of the recipes on the ‘I quit sugar’ web page ( http://www.iquitsugar.com) and the lime and coconut cheesecake (http://www.iquitsugar.com/recipe/lime-coconut-cheesecake). looked yummy.

My twists on Sarah s recipes include using ginger in the base, this makes it taste nice and gingernutty, and also using pecans instead of hazelnut meal. I also made these into mini cheesecakes, in muffin cases to help with portion control. I forgot to add the vanilla bean seeds!

This made about 18 mini cheese cakes, if you have two muffin pans, you can make all the cakes in one batch, or simply use the left over mixtures when the first batch is done.

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Ingredients:

Base

150gs Shredded coconut

100gs of Pecans crushed in a mortar and pastel until fine like almond meal

60gs of butter melted

ground ginger to taste

Filling

2 packets of full fat cream cheese (500gs)

1 egg

1/2 cup coconut cream

1/2 cup or to taste of brown rice malt syrup

11/2 tbls or to taste of stevia powder

zest and juice of one lime

Steps:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin cases.

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2. Combine base ingredients in a bowl, press  just under a tablespoon, of the mixture into the muffin cases.

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3. Bake this in the oven for about 10 minutes, keep an eye on them as nuts burn easily.

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4. Turn oven down to 160. Combine all the filling ingredients in a food processor, and blend until well combined.

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5. Divide evenly amongst the muffin cases.

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5. Bake in the over for 25 to 30 minutes. Repeat with any leftover mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before eating.

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Teagzx

 

 

Make your own instant porridge/oatmeal packets!

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For a long time I have been meaning to do this…

Firstly to save money  Рthe brand that we like to buy is over $6 for 8 serves, but has added pepita seeds and cinnamon etc.,  that makes them yummy.

Secondly – if I make our own I can control the sugar, and thus I can eat them again as I’m avoiding sugar (the ones we buy have sugar, honey and sultanas added, and 10gs of sugar per serve!).

You can read about the health benefits of oats here (http://www.uncletobys.com.au/health-and-nutrition/all-about-oats/). Adding the chia seeds, pepitas, nuts and coconuts adds more fiber , protein and also some good fats.

I made these mainly for the man to take to work, so I added about four sultanas per bag, and some stevia powder, if I eat them I don’t have the dried fruit or sweetener, but add some frozen berries when serving.

I prepare these individually into small snack size zip lock bags, and make them in a bowl at home, or a container at work. It is possible to combine every thing in a big container, and scoop a serving as needed.

This recipe is adapted from ‘The Yummy Life’ (http://www.theyummylife.com/Instant_Oatmeal_Packets), where you will find 12 flavor variations and instructions on how to turn these packets into ‘overnight oatmeal’, something that looks similar to bircher muesli.

You can use rolled oats or quick oats, the added bran and chia seeds will make up for some of the goodness lost in the processing of the quick oats. I use the ‘secret’ revealed here (http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/10/the-secret-to-making-homemade-instant-oatmeal-packets.html).

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I process some of the oats, to make the end product creamier. I made enough for 10 packets, which is 3 cups, so I processed 1 cup until fine and mix it back with the rest of the oats (this is what I call oat mix).

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Ingredients -per package

1/3 cup of oat mix

2 tsp of milk powder ( skim, full fat, or even protein powder)

1 tsp of chia seeds

2 tsp of oat bran

1/8 tsp of cinnamon

pinch of salt

Optional

sweetener of your choice, I added 1/4 of tsp of stevia powder ( if you don’t have a problem with sugar, any dry type will work or add liquid when serving)

1 heaped tsp of shredded coconut

1 tsp of pepita seeds

1 walnut crumbled per packet

To assemble:

Simple add ingredients to a ‘snack’ size zip-lock bag.

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Steps to heat:

1.Tip packet into bowl or container

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2. Add about 3/4 cup of water (you could use milk but you all ready have the milk powder in the mix). Stir to combine).

3.Microwave on high for 1 minutes, stir and microwave for a further minute. Stir, stand to cool enough to eat (times may vary according to microwave, if you use whole rolled oats you will need to cook for 3 minutes.

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I have only ever made them this way, but if using quick oats, you  can make this by simply adding 2/3 of cup of boiling water, stirring and letting stand for a few minutes until thickened.

Don’t be afraid if it seems a little runny, it will thicken after standing.

Txx

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Nicoise in a Jar

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I like things in jars, and here is another good use for the many jars I have laying around.

Putting salads in Jars is a great way to make things them of time, and to keep the salad fresh, and develop flavors while they sit in the fridge.

The order of the layering is important, as keeping the lettuce away from the moist ingredients keeps it crisp, while allowing some to touch the dressing improves their flavor – in this case the tomatoes and onion.

They also look, really pretty. Depending on how tightly packed the jar is  you may be able to eat directly from the jar (shaking to mix), or as I had, added to a plate or bowl to mix and eat.

Nicoise is a classic French salad, I didn’t use olives as I didn’t have any, and used capers instead of anchovies for a salt hit.

The tuna, egg, potato and beans make a very filling salad. If you wish, replace the eggs and tuna with white bans or chickpeas for a vegan alternative.

You need two large size clean jars for this recipe,  mine where 750mls, but you can add more or less lettuce to fit a slightly smaller or larger jar.

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Ingredients: for two large jars (these make a BIG salad for one).

2 tins of tuna slices in oil, drained

2 boiled eggs cooled, and sliced.

1 cos lettuce, washed, spun and torn into pieces

10 cherry tomatoes – halved

1 red onion – diced

6 baby potatoes, steamed, cooled, cut into slices.

250 gs of green beans, steamed lightly and cooled, cut into thirds

2 tsp of capers

2 tbs of olive oil

1 tbs of red wine vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Steps.

1. Add oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to the bottom of the jar.

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2. Add tomatoes, onions and capers.

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3. Add tuna.

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4. Add the potato slices, carefully so that they are flat and cover the bottom layers completely.

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5. Add the green beans to cover the potato.

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6. Add the egg, reserving a couple of slices to arrange vertically against the jar for decoration.

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7. Place the decorative eggs slice against the glass, add the lettuce to ‘hold’ up the egg and fill the jar.

8. Screw on lid, and refrigerate until you want to eat!

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Txx

Chia Seed Pudding Jars!

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Here is another low fructose , highly nutritious recipe inspired by Sarah Wilson (http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/).

Although there are may recipe variations for these available on the net, in  paleo, raw, vegan circles.

Chia seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium and other nutrients.

I saw Sarah make these with Justine on “Everyday Gourmet'(http://www.everydaygourmet.tv/recipes/696-cashewy-chia-puddings) on channel ten, and since I have started watching my sugar intake decided to give them ago.

I use¬† lite coconut milk in mine because I’m not a fan of other dairy milk alternatives. However, Sarah makes her own cashew milk, and you can use any other nut milks, soy or dairy if you wish.

Really, you can use any flavorings, fruit, nuts etc you wish, to suit your style of eating. You may wish to alter the milk to seed ratio to vary the consistency.

This version uses low fructose berries, and I top with some nuts and a little shredded coconut.

A higher fructose, but more dessert like version that I have made, is adding half a fresh add before refrigerating and topping with half a banana when eating.

They do need to be chilled overnight to achieve a pudding consistency, and they last well for a few days in the fridge.

I generally eat them for breakfast, and sometimes as a snack.

Jars make the best containers, as they are easy to seal and shake when making them.

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Ingredients – Makes 2 jars

1 can of lite coconut milk or 270mls of liquid of your choice

2 tbs of chia seeds

hand full of frozen or fresh berries of your choice

To top – nuts of your choice and shredded coconut

Steps:

1. Wash and dry two small glass jar and lid.

2. Pour half of the coconut milk into each jar.

3. Add the half the chia seeds and berries in the jars.

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4. Seal the jar with lids, and shake vigorously.

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5. Pop the jars in the fridge overnight.

6. Top with desired toppings, and eat!!

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Txx

Sugar free Chocolate, Berry, Coconut Treat

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So I’m trying to limit sugar in my diet.¬† I have been dabbling in this for about a month, but have really been doing properly for a fortnight (since my last supper of sugar).

I’m reading ‘Sweet Poison’ by David Gillespie (http://sweetpoison.com.au)¬† and also have been reading Sarah Wilson’s (I Quit Sugar, http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/, ) blog . These writers and all the ‘no sugar’ movement is based on this theory – Basically,¬† we have only been eating¬† added sugar ( and thus excess fructose)¬† for a very short period of time, from an evolutionary perspective. The excess amount of sugar we eat is related to a whole host of health problems, including obesity. Specifically, Fructose, one of the types of sugar available in our diet is the main problem. For more info please see their websites.

They aren’t doctors and neither am I, do your own research before going down this ‘diet’ route.

But, how do I feel? Has it been hard? Have I lost weight???

Honestly I feel pretty good! Instead of sugar or sugary things, I have been eating more good fats, protein, veggies, and non-white carbs.

So, although I miss some things, I can have some really yummy things – olive oil, avocado, coconut oil and other coconut products, eggs, and in smaller amounts butter, full fat dairy and bacon!!!

I don’t get hungry between meals , so I don’t snack as much as I did before, and I don’t any energy highs and lows.

I’m losing weight relatively easily (I have been exercising everyday, but not excessively, about 30 minutes only).

I haven’t done the full ‘quitting’ thing, where you cut out all sugars (dairy, carbs, fruits, sugar alternatives, and table sugar) for a period of time, but I have cut out any added sugar and limited fruit. This means no sweet spreads, juice, soft drinks, and sauces. To do, this I generally have to make everything I eat. This has lead to me being much more organized than I have been before! Today I made breakfasts, lunches and snacks for the next few days!

You do miss desserts, candies, chocolates etc.

So I looked at some of the recipes available on Sarah’s site and this caught my eye (http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/2012/04/my-sugar-free-raspberry-ripe-2/)

It is really a homemade, berry coconut chocolate bar!!

It uses berries, which are a relatively low fructose fruits and rice malt syrup, which again is a fructose free sweeter (it has a flavor and consistency similar to honey).

This needs to be kept in the freezer, don’t be tempted to kept it in the fridge or at room temp, it will melt and separate.

Sarah Wilson’s Raspberry Ripe

1/3 to 1/2 a cup of coconut oil

1/3 cup of salted butter ( use salted, it brings out the choc flavor)

1/3 cup of shredded or flaked coconut

1/3 cup of frozen raspberries ( I had to add about a tbs of mixed berries, as I was down to my last raspberries

2 tbs of cocoa  or raw cacao if you have it

Steps:

1.Melt the butter and oil (in a pan or microwave…the oil takes longer to melt so add the butter a little after).4

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2. Stir in the cacao and syrup.

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3. Arrange the berries and coconut on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray or plate (a dinner plate is ideal ‚Äď the slight indent creates a good shape, reserve some coconut to sprinkle on top).

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4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the top and pop in the freezer for about an hour.

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5. When firm either break into shards or cut into wedges. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.

Due to the coconut oil, and intense cocoa flavor, it’s fairy moorish, though only slightly sweet. You won’t scoff it all, and you won’t feel horrible after eating it.

It is a beautiful thing

Tx.

A Vist to the Bad Chef at La Luna -Melbourne

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I was a lucky girl the other day and was taken out for dinner at La Luna, in Carlton, Melbourne.

Well, I made myself lucky. The man went here with is friends previously, and I was JEALOUS, so he had to take me.

This is the restaurant of Adrian Richardson, who Aussies might know from the T.V cooking show ‘Good Chef, Bad Chef’, shown on channel 10. Who, I admit, I have a little food crush on! This is the place to go for meat, he and his team, make their own small goods, and hang and age meat on the premises.

Please excuse the photos, the restaurant is fairly dark, and as I still feel like a bit of a douche taking photos of my food, I didn’t put my flash on, and I’ve had to edit the photos to brighten them.

I really wanted to try the chef’s feast, were the kitchen chooses for you, for $85 per person. But decided that was a little expensive and as we are ‘eating well’ probably too much food. However, after seeing the table next to us get it, we regretted it, every thing looked amazing and not too big portions, and they got to try more of the menu.

We shared the the Bacon and Onion Croquettes with Bacon Mayo. You can’t go wrong with bacon and mayo, can you? The mayonnaise had an insane savory smokiness. However, the man thought the Garlic Prawns he had at his last visit were better!

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I had the Pepper Crusted Hanger Steak with Salsa Verde. To tell you the truth I got this as a healthier choice, and wasn’t expecting it to be fantastic. But it was pretty good. It was really fresh and zingy. It was cooked perfectly medium rare, and hanger steaks have lots of flavor. The salsa verde, was fresh and piquant. It was served on a bed of wilted spinach.

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The man had¬† Crackling wrapped roll of roast pork, roasted vegetables, balsamic shallots. Again perfectly cooked, and the crackling was some of the best I’ve tried. The pork was topped with a really fresh shaved fennel mix, that he really enjoyed. But again be thought that the 500g Rib Eye he had last time was better!

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Then we shared a a dessert mezze plate – it was amazing and my last big sugar blow out, for awhile.

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It consisted of mini -Creme Brulee, Chocolate Brownie, Triple Choc Mousse, Raspberry Sorbet, and some other delicious homemade ice cream with a Sesame Tulle. Here it is after…

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The Brulee was awesome, and the sorbet was just yum fresh insane raspberry flavor!

The restaurants itself is quite small, with an extra seating area up stairs. As mentioned before it quite dark, with decor indicating the chefs love of meat. It could be quite romantic, however, it was very busy were there, and there was little elbow room between tables. It’s in a nice spot, with a little court yard type area adjacent, which provides a bit of a European feel.

Service is knowledgeable, friendly and efficient.

The best part? Adrian himself was there. Earlier in the meal, I saw in helping the floor staff set up extra tables. When we left he was near the cash register and asked if we enjoyed the meal, if we had enough to eat, and told us that it was ok to pick up the bone and chew on it at his restaurant. He then has a bit of chat to us about what were up to later. This was lovely, these days its fairly unusual to see these ‘celebrity’ type chefs, at their restaurants, and it was obvious that he really cares about the food and his customers!

Go there, soon. It will be pricey but worth it, EVERYTHING will be perfectly prepared!

La Luna Bistro on Urbanspoon

 

Healthier Brownies Two Ways – Beetroot, Sweet Potato, Dates and Prunes.

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Brownies are yummy, and everyone one around here seems to love them.

Alas, they are full of fat, sugar and calories (due to all the delicious chocolate, butter and sugar they contain).

Here are two healthier brownie recipes that I have made lately. I say healthier because they are still a treat.

To make them healthier I have added some veg to up the nutrition, and replaced some of half of the sugar with dates/prunes.

The first recipe still contains lots of butter and dark chocolate, but the second reduces the fat, and contains only cocoa to get the chocolate flavor.

To make the second even healthier you could replace all the sugar with the dates, use raw cocoa instead of normal, and replace the flour with coconut flour or almond meal (adjusting liquid and raising agent as needed).

Beetroot Brownies (adapted from August issue of Australian Good Taste Magazine)

Surprisingly you can taste the beetroot, and it really compliments the chocolate! These were really moist, and much like normal brownies.

Ingredients:

200g beetroot, peeled, chopped

175g butter

125g of a mix of prunes and fresh pitted date

125g dark brown sugar

200g of good dark chocolate

3 eggs, lightly beaten

75g of plain flour

35g cocoa powder

1/4 tsp of nutmeg

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

100g chopped walnuts

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line a 20cm square pan. Process beetroot in a food processor until finely chopped.

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2. In a small saucepan on low heat, mix prunes and dates with 1/4 cup of water, cook stirring occasionally until soft and mushy. Let cool.

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3. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 seconds burst, stirring in between until melted. Add beetroot, fruit mixture and sugar to bowl while stir warm, stirring well. Let cool for a few minutes.

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4. Stir in eggs. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Sift dry ingredients over the wet, and stir to combine, and stir in walnuts.

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5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for approx. 30 min or until center is just firm. Cool in pan. Cut into squares. Try not to eat immediately.

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Sweet Potato Brownies (Adapted from Martha Stewart http://www.marthastewart.com/312801/fudge-brownies)

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Ingredients:

4 tbs of butter (about 65gs)

2/3 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 cup of wholemeal plain flour

1/4 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

100gs of fresh dates pitted and chopped – about 8 dates

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

2/3 cup of sweet potato puree (boiled, processed and cooled sweet potato)

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 tsp of coffee powder

Steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 c. Butter an 20cm square pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat, and stir in cocoa. Let cool slightly.

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2. In a small saucepan, mix dates with 1/8 cup of water, cook on low stirring occasionally until dates are soft and mushy.

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3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Stir in sugar and date mixture into the sweet-potato puree,stir this and then the egg into the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together vanilla and coffee until coffee is dissolved; add to cocoa mixture.

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5. Add  cocoa mixture and stir until well combined. Spoon into prepared pan; smooth the top. Bake until surface of brownies looks barely dry and an inserted knife comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.

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They are very fudgey, and give you a nice cakey chocolate hit.

Tx