Tag Archives: recipes

Birthday Plans with Psyllium

It’s my birthday today, and I’m determined to not blow myself out of the water completely – so to speak. So far so good, with the support of my husband and my adopted sisters – yes, you know who you are – I haven’t stuffed my face yet with the chocolate cake that I made yesterday for the Cafe, and this despite every opportunity presenting itself. Nor have I eaten a single piece of the amazing rocky road I made – stuffed full of dates, prunes, walnuts, and yes, marshmallows – so, in other words, I believe I’m doing pretty darned good. But it’s only 11:30 in the morning and it’s going to be a long day. In an effort to be mostly good, I’ve just made myself eat psyllium porridge, which tends to keep my hunger and cravings at bay.

2 Tbsp Psyllium Husks
2 Tbsp Thick Cream (make sure it’s not wheat thickened, people!)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I always use the organic pure, real stuff, not the fake stuff!)
2 tablets of Stevia (or whatever sweetener you’re comfortable with)
Add hot water to your taste, mix, and endure – I mean, enjoy.

If I’d had a little more headspace and foresight, I’d have made Chocolate Psyllium Puddings instead, but silly me didn’t, so porridge it was. The Chocolate Psyllium Puddings – I think I mentioned them in the previous post – are a tasty treat, completely sugar-free and fill you up while satisfying your brain with the idea that you’ve just had something bad, especially if you add whipped cream to your treat.

2 Tbs Psyllium
1 Tbs Thick Cream
1 Tbs Cocoa Powder (I use Cadbury’s Bourneville)
2 tablets of Stevia
~ 200ml boiling water

That should make around two serves – I split them across two little ramekins so I can fridge them and eat them individually. They do need a little while to set, unless you like them runny, but they are well worth the sit! If you’re throwing a party, they’ll make for tasty desserts that you can enjoy right alongside your guests without feeling guilty!

Psyllium also regularly makes it into my eggs – scrambled, omletted, or otherwise – and after a while you get so used to them you don’t even remember that they’re there. Much awesomeness. Just always remember to drink enough water or you’ll give yourself a stomache-ache from hell, if not worse.

Clear skies,
Vee

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A Word About: The Dangers of Boredom and Cookies

So I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to get bored. Not just with what I can eat but just in general: I get bored. The boredom really hits home when there’s nothing going on at the Cafe and I’m surrounded by food that I shouldn’t be eating. No fun really. The troubling thing is, the boredom tries to translate itself into eating. This might also be because I tend to start baking when I get bored and there’s nothing going on. For example, the other day the Cafe was dead and I really do mean ‘dead’; a handful of customers, nothing to do, all the cleaning done, nothing to tidy up…so. bored. So, to alleviate said boredom, I decided to bake cookies. In this case, Chocolate-Marbled Shortbread. I can’t eat it on my current carb count, but they sell quite well and I was out so hey, what the hell.

Hurdle 1: do not eat the cookie dough. Easy enough with a little bit of stubborness. Hurdle 2: do not ‘accidentally’ make a tiny cookie that you can’t sell so you need to eat it. Also done. Hurdle 3: don’t eat the batter while you’re making the cookies! Harder, but done. Into the oven they went. Awesome, twenty whole minutes of not being able to eat a cookie even if I could! I busied myself tidying up the mess I’d made while getting the cookies together; boredom alleviated for ten minutes.

Made some Cocoa-Pysllium Pudding for tomorrow – that’s another five minutes gone, and at least I’ll have a guilt-free treat for tomorrow if I feel the need for something sweet (yay for stevia!). And then the oven timer goes off, and the cookies are ready.

Nothing in the world is harder to resist than freshly baked, straight out of the oven, shortbread chocolate cookies. At least for me. They are my nemesis right alongside cranberry-chocolate scones. That nemesis-status gets amplified tenfold when I’ve got nothing to keep myself occupied: boredom is evil! So they were sitting their cooling on the rack while I wrote a little bit, mulled over the wording of a poem, got bored with that and scrubbed some dishes instead. They’re still cooling in the background, spreading their delicious, decadent perfume through the Cafe – hopefully inducing customers to come in, but no such luck. Just me, the husband, and these damned cookies.

Hurdle 4: do not eat the cookies. 

That’s it. Just don’t. Don’t let the boredom win. Find something else to do, even if you’ve already done it: polish a window, scrub the floor, take out the trash, go for a run, make up a game using chopsticks and a hairdryer (safely!) but whatever you do: do not let the boredom make you eat those cookies!

Clear skies,

Vee

The Art of Deconstructing Meals

The skill of deconstructing food is one that any LCer should explore.  So what do I mean by ‘deconstructing’ food? It’s something I’ve become rather good at, even if I say so myself. It came about when my husband decided we were going to have hamburgers for dinner one night; naturally that meant no bread for me, no ketchup, no caramelised onion. What it did mean was that I received a plate with two hamburger patties – made from scratch, no breadcrumbs, and only a little red onion! – served alongside beetroot, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and a lightly-spiced mayo. It was, literally, a deconstructed hamburger – and I ate every last bit of it.

So, clearly, deconstructing is all about serving food in such a way that you’re not eating the wrong carbs. It’s easy enough to do with homemade hamburgers, but what else can you do? Pasta and sauce? Spaghetti bolognaise? You’ve been avoiding these, no doubt. My mother-in-law has taken to replacing my serves of pasta with gently-boiled cabbage instead – not quite the same, but definitely better than just sauce. Speaking of, try to make your sauce from scratch, that way you know what’s gone into it and you know that you’re not eating hidden carbs in the form of sweeteners or thickeners.

In our household we also get spectacular salads with every dinner meal; which is fantastic, except that sometimes there’s bits in there that I’m not eating like onion, shallots, or crunchy noodles. That’s alright though, I just scoot those to the side and don’t eat them; it’s a fiddlier form of deconstruction, but it’s still a deconstruction!

There’s a whole heap of meals you can do this with, especially if the rest of the household/family isn’t eating LC. Just make sure you’ve got an idea of what’s actually gone into the food and you can pretty much work around the carbs. Obviously there’s meals you can’t do this with, but for the most part a little ingenuity goes a long way.

Anyone have any deconstructing stories, ideas or tips? I’d love to hear about them!

Clear skies,
Vee

Sites of Interest: ‘Fat Girl Living Low Carb’, ‘Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes’ & ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” ~Maya Angelou

So, my second ‘Sites of Interest’ post! Exciting. I’m going to try and do one of these every month so that you’ve all got fresh information to look at instead of getting stuck with my rambling words every day.

This month we’re taking a look at my new favourite blog for motivation and recipes: Fat Girl Living Low Carb. I stumbled across this blog quite by accident only to find a wealth of information pertaining to LC recipes, foods, ideas, and just general fun. Those of you who are stuck for something to eat really need to hop over there and have a look! Her writing style is fresh and entertaining, and her articles are always honest and tend to be accompanied by fantastic pictures. There’s nothing like some serious visual aids to help the imagination along. The recipes she provides are very simple, but provide beautiful complex flavours, and on top of that, they’re divided into categories for easy access!

If you need even more recipes, why not jump over to Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes, another great resource for a diverse amount of recipes. Linda’s got a great variety, classifying all her recipes into courses and including some scrumptious snack and dessert recipes. This site also has a page dedicated to ‘Odds and Ends’ which contains all sorts of useful tools for anyone’s weight loss journey,  such as tips and notes on sugar-free syrups, exercise tapes and dvds, and a hidden carb calculator. I like using this site for ideas and its resources, the links Linda provides are very useful and should be part of an LCers arsenal.

Finally, you’ve got to look at Mark’s Daily Apple. Focusing on a ‘Primal’ diet, this site is chock full of awesome information, tips, links, and resources. If you’re looking for a place to start a Primal LC diet, this is the place to go. The only ‘downside’, if you can call it that, is that is a sponsored site; I don’t really care about that, but someone else might so I thought I’d put it up there. But hey, keep in mind that sometimes you’ve got to consult expert advice to temper all the great grassroots information we’re building here! 🙂

And that’s it from me for today! Happy browsing and happy Low-carbing!

Clear Skies,
Vee

A Word About: Sugar Alcohols

A lot of us on LC will explore the constrictions we place upon ourselves, and that often means we will jump for joy when we discover something that has ‘sugar-free’ or ‘low carb’ written on it in big fancy letters. Let’s face it, we’re putting ourselves through a series of serious changes by cutting out things we like; we’re going to be looking for alternatives for the things we can’t have. That means trying to substitute flour things with cauliflower crusts, or almond meal, or something; we’re only human, we’re going to want to duplicate our favourite carb foods. Imagination is the only limitation here!

But what about sugar? I used to like sugar in my tea, I certainly miss my ability to eat muffins and cakes. Well, there’s a whole host of artificial or alternative sweeteners that we can turn to, but this is where the waters get a little muddied. We don’t want to ingest anything that’ll mess up our good record so far; so nothing that affects our insulin levels, and you probably want to avoid anything with a high kilojoule count. So where does that leave us?

Well, we’ve got a few choices: artificial sweeteners, stevia, or sugar alcohols. There’s a lot of drama revolving around artificial sweeteners, a lot of arguments saying that they’re carcinogenic and have other detrimental health affects. In all honesty, I don’t know. The research is still inconclusive and wherever you look there’s conflicting data. I’ll try to explore a little further and get back to you in a later post. I’ll do the same with stevia, the natural alternative to sugar – I really want to focus on sugar alcohols in this post.

Sugar alcohols derive their name from their molecular structure: kind of halfway between an alcohol molecule and a sugar one. They’re not either of those things: they’re not sugar, and they’re not alcohol.  What they are is a type of carbohydrate also called ‘polyols’. They occur naturally in plants and are extracted from plants as syrups or powder. There’s several different types of sugar alcohols, but if you’ve been browsing labels and ingredients lists you’ll most likely have come across these three: xylitol, malitol, and sorbitol. Good on you for taking notice and doing the research!

Alrighty, down to the nitty-gritty we go.

Sugar alcohols taste sweet – though maybe not as sweet as actual sugar – and are often used in products promoting themselves as sugar-free. Unlike sugar they don’t mess around with your teeth and so people use them in sugar-free chewing gum – go ahead, check the side of that packet, is one of the three in there? I’ll bet it is! These substitutes, however, also come with a bit of a warning: they’re not always completely digested or absorbed by our bodies and that can lead to some serious gas, bloating and stomach aches, not to mention diarrhoea and burping! These affects vary from person to person and depend on which sugar alcohol is ingested. For example, remember those sugar-free liquorices I was talking about when I was sick? Yeah, those had malitol in them. I thought nothing of it because I have little to no reaction to sorbitol or xylitol  – and I do love my sugar-free gum.  Apparently, however, malitol is my worst enemy.  I had an immediate reaction: bloating, gas, and a stomach ache. I was blocked up for days! I’ll not be doing that again, let me tell you; no more malitol for me, ever. Apart from the occasional stick of gum to help with nausea, I’ve managed to avoid sorbitol and xylitol, but I’m glad that I can have something if malitol is definitely off the menu.

Which brings me to erythritol. Unlike the other three, a large amount erythritol does manage to get digested and absorbed so there’s less left in the intestines to fester and cause any ill side effects. In addition, it’s meant to have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels. I have yet to experiment with this, so I can’t really give you an real world experience, but if you have used it – had it in candy, baked with it, etc., I’d love to hear about it.

Remember: whatever you’re replacing anything with go with moderation, start slow and build up, don’t go crazy all at once because you’ve done the research and it says you can definitely eat this! The theories are there, but your body might react differently to things! No one is the same, we’re all special and unique snowflakes (etc.,etc.,etc.) so just keep that in mind: you might have a different reaction to something than the next person. So go carefully!

Clear skies,
Vee

Sites of Interest: ‘I Breathe…I’m Hungry’ & ‘Holistic Squid’

“The problem with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” – Terry Pratchett, Diggers

One of the most important things about doing anything new is to know what it is that you’re doing, and why. At least, that’s my opinion. That means you’ve got to keep an open mind and make sure that you’re putting the right information into it. Let’s face it, there is a lot of data out there about low-carb eating; and never mind all the conflicting facts we get blasted with if we dare look up other diets. I’ve put in that quote from Pratchett to make you think about what you read, hear, see… not all the information out there – and, hey, that includes this blog! – will be 100% accurate or suit your needs. There’s a reason why I keep telling you to check with your GP – not just covering my ass! 😉

So where should you look to get accurate information? How should you go about researching this? Well, honestly, I can’t speak for everyone here, but I just go to Google, type in a few keywords and use that as a jumping platform. I dive into a whole load of information and read, read, read. I take notes too, you’d think I was back at university – but what can I say, that’s just the way I work: find, read, notetake, digest, write. My IB English teachers would likely be upset with my waffling on in a lot of places – I am sorry, Mr. D, Ms. R – but I figure some of my uni professors won’t mind the new tone. But I digress…

Finding information. Where to start? Well, rather embarrassingly I tend to start my searches at Wikipedia – don’t freak out. Aside from the fact that Wikipedia isn’t exactly the most reliable source on the net – and indeed, those of you at uni will lose marks if you start citing it! – but I like to use it like a shotgun: it provides me with some terminology I can then look up, and, in addition, most of its articles come provided with a tidy little bibliography that allows for further research.

Which brings me to some key blogs that I like using – these are in no particular order, and they’re just a small sample, but they’re among the best ones I’ve found – for inspiration, motivation and information:

I breathe…I’m hungry is a fantastic blog run by Mellissa Sevigny, complete with a vast range of recipes – a large selection of which are low-carb – and a great collection of tips, guides, and eating plans. Mellissa writes in a witty, quick-flowing way that makes it enjoyable and easy to read her articles. She’s got a wide variety of recipes, ranging from sweet to savoury, which makes it a one stop shop for cooking inspirations. The menu/eating plans she publishes are extremely easy to follow and accessible to even the most rookie dieters amongst us. Take for example her entry on the Egg Fast Diet; a quick read will tell give you the cliff notes and all the information you need, all backed up by her own experiences with the plan itself. To be honest, I’ve yet to come across a better description of eggs and why they’re such awesome superfood for a LC diet.

Another site I like to visit is Holistic Squid. With a funky name like that you can’t really go wrong, but for further detail: this site is written by Emily, who believes in real food, healthy living and how those things go hand in hand. She’s got food plans, new ideas, and a great writing style. In addition, HS is also a great source for those of you with children or thinking about getting pregnant. It’s not strictly a ‘LC’ page or anything, but it’s a great source nonetheless.

And I’ll leave you with those two sites to look over. I’ll try to point out some other good ones as we go.

Clear Skies,

Vee

The Problem with Pancakes

This morning it’s dark, rainy, generally miserable and wet: yes, winter’s finally here. For me, this means making sure I don’t dive head first into sweet custards, tarts and cakes. I don’t do well in the cold, and my cravings for comfort foods go through the roof. I particularly crave pancakes, a left over from my dad making pancakes for us when we were little and surrounded by the snows of Europe. Of course, I can’t have my dad’s pancakes right this moment for various reasons; firstly because he’s not even in the same country as me at the moment, and secondly because of the flour.

Sometimes the things I can’t have get depressing and I go through a longwinded conversation with myself about why I’m putting myself through this and whether or not it’s okay to have just one more cheat day this week. 9 times out of 10 my common sense wins out: I want to lose this weight so I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and find alternatives. Luckily for me, there’s a variety of ways to make LC pancakes – none of them come close to the actual thing, in my opinion anyway, but they fulfil my needs adequately enough for it not to be a complete disaster.

My particularly favourite thing to do is to make Peanut-butter  & Cream Cheese Pancakes. Yes, they’re as insane as they sound. The basic recipe goes like this:

1 egg
1-2 tablespoons of cream cheese – I like Philadelphia, but use whatever you feel like.
1 tablespoon of good peanut-butter – and by ‘good’ I mean the lowest carb count you can find.
Throw together in a blender and mix until light and fluffy. Have a hot fryingpan with melted butter ready. Pour in mixture in thin layer(s). Seal both sides and voila! LC pancake.

I usually just have one, mainly because the peanut-butter is a little higher in carbs than I’m allowing at the moment, and because they’re incredibly filling. I also prefer them plain so the PB can shine through, but if you leave it out you can have it with other LC things – you could go bacon, for example, or, if your carb limit will allow it, a tiny bit of thinly sliced apple in the mix as you cook it.

The other comforting thing I can make to fix my pancake craving is a really quick pan-quiche, for lack of a better name. It’s kind of like a fluffy omelette I guess.

2 eggs
Fillings – I usually pick spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes in the right amounts
1 cup Ricotta or 2 tablespoons cream cheese
Put your eggs and cheese into a blender with the spinach. Blend until mostly smooth pour into a hot frying pan and top with your other fillings. Pop a lid on once the base is set and let it go. It should rise up and become firmish. If you’re stuck, put the whole thing into the oven or under the grill.

The great thing about quiches is that you can make them in varying sizes, fill them with just about anything, and they make great party food.

The important thing is to make sure you don’t get bored with what you’re eating, so mix it up, try something new, do something you’ve never thought of trying before! If you get bored, hop online and search the wealth of recipes that are out there – some of which I’ll share on here – but there really is a lot of LC stuff out there and it’s just waiting for you to give it a shot, who knows, you might find something awesome!

Do you have any favourite recipes? Please feel free to share! I’m always looking out for new things!

Clear Skies,
Vee

Have a look at this blog for more inspiration!

Skinny Enchiladas

Here’s something to have a look at. I haven’t tried this yet but it sure looks tasty and satisfying! Definitely something worth having a look at, especially if we get tired of the same old recipes over and over again – there’s only so many ways I can stomach eggs and avocados.

Clear Skies,
Vee

hedonism, health and fitness

I love food! (good entrée, right?)

Seriously, I love food! Moreover, I love great, delicious and highly nutritious food. That is why, this recipe is one of my favorite recipes of ever! The downsize of it, is being a bit complicated to (or to clean after). If not so messy, I would have enchiladas every weekend!

I have been discovering a new side of mexican cuisine I had never noticed. Sure, I noticed several years ago how delish mexican dishes are, but, now I am looking at them from the health point of view, and, is amazing! Naturally, one can always cook mexican with a healthy twist – cut creams, use sweet potatoes instead of white ones, replace fatty cheese for low-fat).

I usually serve these skinny enchiladas with a portion of guacamole  and pico de salsa, I think it really brings colour to the plate.

Looking into some ingredients present…

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The Comfort of Cooking » Creamy Lemon Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes

I came across this recipe that I’m definitely going to try out. If you’re stuck for LC ideas, Low Carb is Not Boring is a great way to have a look: not only does she post awesome recipes, but she’s got great ideas too. It’s important to look at a wide range of sources! The best way to lose weight is to find what works for you, and that won’t happen if you only look at a small silce of the wealth of information that’s out there!

Clear Skies,
Vee

PattyOpinion

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it looks absolutely fresh and delicious!

Creamy Lemon Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes

YIELD: Makes 2 large servings / 4 side dish servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. reduced-fat (Neufchatel) or regular cream cheese

1 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and peeled with a julienne peeler into “noodles”

1 heaping cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large nonstick skillet set to medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cream cheese and lemon juice, stirring until cream cheese has melted into a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Add zucchini noodles, tossing to coat in sauce, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the zucchini noodles – They…

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