Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Candied Pecans

Yahoo, I've crossed another one off the 2010 recipes list! I've been meaning to make this one for ages, and how glad am I to have been able to eat it finally! These are so delicious, I challenge anyone to make a batch and not scoff at least half of them that day...

The recipe was brilliant, though I put my cooked nuts on baking paper instead of a plate, so i knew that it wouldn't stick at all. And I used mostly pecans, and only a few walnuts. I find it really difficult to locate a store that sells walnuts that aren't rancid...in fact i'm not sure i've ever had walnuts that aren't slightly off tasting. So, the pecans are definitely my favorite nut for this recipe. I love love love the maple/cinnamon combination, it just works so perfectly.

You can find the Candied Nuts recipe over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, my most favorite new healthy blog find.

Monday, 25 January 2010

A Sweet Treat: Carobio

Yep, this is another of my little odes to particular food cupboard items. This time its a new found favorite, and a very naughty treat, Carobio.

I saw this on the shelves at the health  food shop and just had to try it. I've never actually tried anything with carob in it before, and i guess i was looking for an option that looked appetizing and not tooo health-foodie. So, Carobio was an obvious choice.

And I have not been disappointed at all by it, in fact I think I'm rather addicted. It tastes so good on hot toast, and it melts in the most delicious way, so it's almost like eating melted chocolate-y carob. It's really rich and flavoursome too, and though it's obviously NOT chocolate, it does have the same texture and depth.

As for health benefits, I don't honestly see that there are any, apart from that it's a great alternative for those who can't eat cocoa or dairy.

In comparison to other chocolate type spreads it doesn't fair too badly per 100g:
Protein - 7.3g Carobio, 6.4 Nutella, 4.6 Green&Blacks
Carbs - 42.5g Carobio, 56.4 Nutella, 53.7 Green&Blacks
Fat - 46.1g Carobio, 31g Nutella, 36.4 Green&Blacks
kcal - 592 Carobio, 530 Nutella, 559 Green& Blacks

The ingredients list reads quite well; vegetable oil and fat, corn syrup powder, carob powder (15%), hazelnuts (13%), soy powder, soy lecithin, vanilla. This is the same percentage of nuts as Nutella, but way more carob/chocolate (about twice as much).

And in the carob vs chocolate debate, I am definitely on the fence. Carob has no caffeine in, but cocoa has flavonoids and stearic acid. Carob is alkalinizing, but chocolate is acidic. Carob has a tenth of the fat of chocolate, and way more vitamins too. Plus there's no fermentation process involved.

I suppose I'm still on the hunt for a low GI chocolate spread that tastes really good and is practical too. Perhaps literally melting dark chocolate might work, or making my own ganache with dairy free cream and agave? That sounds really good doesn't it?! Yum.

Well, I will definitely enjoy finishing the jar, but I won't allow myself to buy another one, it is after all ludicrously expensive, and a one-off treat. It's like spreading gold on toast.

Oh, and it's vegan by the way. And organic.

Friday, 22 January 2010

educating yourself

definitely one of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy is to keep educated...to keep reading and rereading helpful books and health information.

i am a complete addict to reading about low GI foods and healthy diet related things, but unbelievably it's taken me a long long time to pick up the insulin pumping books my mum bought back when i first got my pump.

all those bits of paper are all the notes we took in the first few training sessions, which were pretty interesting to read in themselves. but i really wanted to retrain myself about basal rates, and there were lots of helpful things i can't believe didn't really sink in since i first learnt everything.

 - it takes 5 hours for all the insulin to be absorbed. i think this is just a changing of age thing...that it takes longer to absorb as you get older, but no-one has told me this really, so i haven't adjusted. instead, up until 2 days ago when i read the book, i would correct my level 2 hours after bolusing if it wasn't back to normal. now, i know that i should wait a bit longer and it should be back to normal before my next meal, and if it's the perfect level i'll know to have a little snack to keep me going to my next meal. when i was younger and my metabolism was faster i guess it would have gone in that quickly, but it certainly doesn't now.

 - there's all these phenomenons in the night and the afternoon. there are common basal types for diabetic, of which i fall into two categories: the night time high and the afternoon low. i have adjusted my basal rates accordingly now, but i hadn't fully appreciated that this was common and at what times of day i should edit my basal to account for this.

anyway, my levels are fast approaching normality thanks to this knowledge, and a drastic change in the way i handle things.

i've edited my basal rates throughout the day, so they are higher at night and lower in the middle of the day. plus i've stopped food grazing, and unnecessary snacking: if my levels are good then i ought to need a snack twice a day to keep them on the right track.

i've been checking my levels way more over the past week. havoc for my poor fingers, but great for my levels. and thanks to my 'diamedic' iPhone application I can really see where my sugar levels are going and keep tabs on them much better.

perhaps i'll look into getting a more recent insulin pumping book to keep myself 'in' on the latest news! any suggestions?

gluten free pizza

this was another of the items on my 2010 recipes list: gluten free pizza.

i've wanted to make it for a while, because i was convinced that somewhere along the lines i would be able to eat more of it or something?! anyway, as it turns out, there's such a ridiculous quantity of carbohydrate in just one slice, that 4 slices are still WAY too much, and I had pizza fatigue as usual.

mind you, it was delicious, even though i should have stopped at 2 slices and put it back in the fridge. i need to try a buckwheat crust, which would have significantly less carbs in it. and i've found a recipe at (you guessed it) nutrition kitchen for a buckwheat pizza crust. the toppings we had were lovely, piled high with roasted red peppers, tomato, mushroom and pesto. and a small sprinkling of cheese...i must try some dairy free cheeses in the future too, as we are trying to reduce the amount of dairy we eat, significantly.

anyway, here is my first attempt at a healthier pizza:

i guess i'll just have to keep on going with the whole pizza idea until i acheive perfection, and i will persevere... it's my mums favorite food, so i'd like to eat pizza with her sometimes, that'd be nice.

for those of you that want to know what flour i used for the base: it was Doves Farm Gluten Free Bread Flour, and the recipe was on the side of the packet...which is now in the rubbish bin, oops. But it definitely had a lot of oil in it, and i think it was a hot milk mix. it was a pleasure to mix up by hand. i would make it again for like a picnic or something where i only eat 1 bit!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

learning about waxing

so i did my next beauty therapy course: waxing!

it was a weird thing to learn about but not too difficult to do. there were loads of new things i learnt about, and so i wanted to give you guys the opportunity to ask anything about waxing you want...

and i will answer it in the next post. have a fab day!

breakfast brown rice pudding

i made some brown rice pudding yesterday evening, and saved half of it for breakfast this morning, and it really is rather yummy. i never thought it would be so creamy and gooey, but am very thankful to say it is. and for breakfast it tastes way better with some extra cinnamon and organic soya milk. and a side serving of fruit smoothie and green tea with lemon.

the recipe that i followed was from Fran's House of Ayurveda, and called Brown Rice Pudding, oddly enough! the things i changed were...i used vanilla rice milk instead of almond milk and i totally omitted the ghee. plus the recipe took much longer to cook than it stated in the recipe, it had to simmer for almost two hours until it finally went goopy. but, it was worth the wait, dairy free and low Gi, this rice pudding was delicious!

i have found another brown rice pudding recipe too which i might try. but they've definitely got too much carbs for anything other than breakfast i think. i'm going to the shops today to find some ingredients to make some more items on my 2010 recipes list!

Staying Positive & Resisting Food Envy

I know several of you struggle with keeping positive, and I can assure you that I do too sometimes. And really the best way that I know to keep thinking positively is to get some perspective.

When I was younger and sulky my mum always would remind me of how fortunate I am in comparison to other children...I can still walk, I can still see, I have a good brain, I have a lovely family, etc. This is by far the best way to keep a diabetic level headed.

It's only an illness if that's what you make it, you can't let it rule you. I'm never a diabetic, I just happen to have diabetes.

Another way I learnt to encourage myself is to make special versions of things. For example, healthy pancakes or dark chocolate mousse, which would make me feel super healthy and happy. Once you realise that the things you can't eat are bad for you anyway, I think it makes things a lot clearer.

I know that for a young child who wants to eat cake and cookies and stuff it can be hard, but I reckon if I were the parent of a diabetic I would try super hard to make sure that they never felt left out and always had their own more delicious looking food so they weren't tempted. Make them feel proud of their food too; not all kids will find a raspberry whole wheat muffin so tempting, until you put some dark chocolate chips in it and wrap it in a really posh muffin wrapper. That kind of thing will make it look posh and expensive without actually being so...and it'll make the child much more proud of their food. It's like the kids whose sandwiches are cut into triangles instead of rectangles; it just shows more love and thought has gone into the food - i was always jealous of the triangle sandwiches!

Also, it's important to keep just healthy food in the house, and make all the family eat the same low GI food as the diabetic. Giving them separate meals will just make them feel worse, I can assure you. It should be only when they can make the choice of eating something different that it's ok for them to have a separate plate...otherwise I would suggest all eating the same til then (and that'll probably be when they're 18 and leave home).

You need to encourage the healthiness of the food, and not negate it. And disguise meals too, make them look like regular meals, and don't mention that it's whole wheat or low GI until they're old enough to understand why that's important - and they're the ones to mention it.

Also, if it's an important event where there's special food, like a birthday or Christmas, then don't tell them they can't have something. Let them have a small sliver of birthday cake and make some low sugar mince pies. Let them feel a part of it, it's even more important on these occasions that they join in.

If it's you that's the diabetic, then you just need to be prepared for the consequences of your actions. I can quite happily not eat real pizza or real ice cream because I know how ill I feel afterwards. I am sensible when I'm at a buffet to choose lots of vegetable dishes and avoid the pastry things. And I know that choosing sensibly will have a huge effect on how long I remain healthy. It's important not to abuse your body, and eating healthily has a massive impact on your long term health as well as the short term.

If your child or you are feeling really depressed about diabetes, then it may just mean a change of doctor. My old doctor made me cry and feel like nothing I did would change the future of my health. But a soon as a I switched to a specialist doctor who understand A LOT more about how I was feeling and coping, I wanted to feel better and knew that all the effort I was making was actually making a difference to my health. I want to go to see the doctor knowing that I've done everything I can to keep myself well; so that they are proud of me.

If you are looking for some motivation then think of a couple of things, how you want to outlive your parents so that you can look after them when they are old instead of the other way around, and how you want to be a great parent when you are older and have enough energy for your kids. If it's your child that needs motivation, then short term motivation is probably better and you could also set up goals and targets with them. For instance if they can drop their average sugar level over a week or decrease their HbA1c level next time they go to the doctor, then you'll take them horse riding/swimming/cycling in the forest/berry picking. Let things not be motivated by food, but some healthy family activity!

I hope that helps some of you struggling parents out there and keeps you diabetics happy. My last thing to say is that, it's not realistic to be positive all the time, sometimes what you need is a really good cry before you can move on. Don't forget to get the perspective in your life and work hard towards a longer, healthier and happier life! Remember too that if you are looking after yourself you will naturally feel happier and more positive!

If you want some healthy recipes you can either check out my healthy eating blog Not Just Apples or go to the Enjoy Healthy Eating website, where there's plenty of nutritious recipes.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

future favorites

ok, so you all know about my favorite runway of the season, Chanel, which just blows my mind, and makes me want go to Fabric Land right now and get metres of trimmings, as well as dye my hair blonde.
but of course there were others that caught my attention, so if you haven't looked at any runway videos or pictures yet, these ought to definitely be on your list ♥:
  • 3.1 Phillip Lim - oh the shoes...
  • Alexander Wang - we all know that the braid or plait as we know it in the uk will be everywhere this summer
  • Anna Sui - i must learn from the mistress of prints and patterns, perhaps i can take a course in not being afraid of mixing 101
  • Badgley Mischka - classic, with a twist, and lots of cream = divine
  • Carolina Herrera - pure elegance. and the hair was AMAZING!
  • Erdem - the trend leader for this season it would seem, loads of lace and florals on the runway
  • Isabel Marant - the styling was amazing, it was a version of formal casual that i kinda love
  • Karen Walker - ruffles, red, stripes, leather waist belts and totally vintage style
  • Luella - the black, faint floral print, short sleeved tea dress was just stunning
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs - blue and red are THE colours of the season, mixed up in all sorts of ways
  • Moschino Cheap & Chic - amazing 60s styles and awesome prints in general
  • Oscar de la Renta - really 'proper' but amazingly on trend and elegant
  • Ralph Lauren - if you love vintage, then...oh my word.
  • Roberto Cavalli - floral and chiffon was very pretty pretty, but the models on the runway looked really mad - i like the contrast
  • Rochas - vintage style and vintage colours too - navy blue, ochre, mustard, tan, and the little hats were very Chanel's first-ever-creations inspired
  • RM by Roland Mouret - potentially my absolute 100% favorite of the season next to chanel, it blew my mind, the colors, the cuts and the artistry, WOW
  • Sonia Rykiel - i want to join in on the amazing 80s party with tons of glitter and big belted cardigans
  • Tory Burch - simple, easy to wear day look that i want to copy entirely
  • Twenty8Twelve - wearable rock chic, the coral stripey pieces were gorgeous
as for trends of 2010...i am definitely thinking that it'll be floral, lace, nudes, shorts and vintage style that will rock the realway. i'm already on ebay searching for bargain to kit out my wardrobe for this season! oh dear, here i go again...and i'm off to london on saturday, so i'll definitely be hitting anthropologie sales racks to see if there's anything left on them. i hope there will be.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

nutrition kitchen

i don't often post about other blogs on here, i guess that's partly because there aren't a whole lot of super accessible healthy blogs out there that i've found yet...you know, the type where you want to cook everything and know it'll  be good for you. i hope that's what this blog will become eventually.

so, when i found the whole life nutrition kitchen a few weeks ago i was sooo happy! i wanted to wait a while to see whether new posts were regular and as equally yummy as the ones that had gone before it. and i;m happy to say that they are most definitely very tasty looking and healthy too! this will be a regular read for me now...

i've already added their flourless almond cookie recipe to my 2010 recipes list, but i defiinitely want to add some more...
  • quinoa salmon burgers
  • raw cinnamon sunflower truffles
  • candied walnuts

  • chocolate agave frosting

  • thai coconut fish sticks

  • cashew cream

  • dairy free, sugar free strawberry coconut ice cream

  • nori rolls with sticky brown rice

these recipes are interesting and just sound so gooood, i mean dairy and sugar free strawberry and coconut ice-cream...it just doesn't get any better. of course this means i ought to get an ice-cream maker, but i'm sure it was about time anyway!

go to http://www.nourishingmeals.com/ for loads more tasty and healthy recipe ideas! and if you know of one similar that i haven't found yet please let me know ♥

Monday, 18 January 2010

baking with teff flour: lovegrass pancakes for breakfast

you must all know by now just how obsessed i am with pancakes for breakfast, i don't think there's any happier way to start the day. and if done right should not be a big messy time-consuming, unhealthy thing.

in fact, my healthy pancakes that i've made before are a saturday regular in this house, and occasionally a monday or thursday or sunday too!

but today i want to share something totally new to me, and hopefully to some of my lovely readers too. i stumbled upon an article the other day about new superfoods for 2010, and on it was this grain called teff (or lovegrass ♥). it caught me eye because it's low gi, gluten free and has an awesome nutrition profile! so, i went straight on to ebay and bought a 100g pack of brown teff flour from the spiceworks - highly recommended company as the delivery was super speedy - i also brought some hemp flour but haven't tried it yet.

the obvious way to try out a new type of flour, for me anyway it's pretty clear, is to make pancakes, as you can really tell the texture and flavour of the flour quite easily. plus they are simple to make, and not so much effort if it turns out that the flour is horrible.

well, i made scotch/american pancakes instead of my regular 3/4 size ones. i added 1 egg, 130ml organic soy milk, 100g brown teff flour, 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder and a drizzle of agave nectar (that was just fear that it wouldn't taste nice, so i thought it ought to have a tiny bit of something sweet just in case! so not necessary though). add them in that order to a measuring jug and keep stirring with every addition.

heat up a large based, non-stick frying pan to a medium-high heat, with some oil in - i used grapeseed oil which worked pretty well. make sure it's spread around the entire pan very well or else the pancakes will stick. cook three at a time, wait until they bubble and flip over.

the verdict:
 - YUMMY AND DELICIOUS! this is such a tasty flour, with some real depth of flavour, it's perfect for cold, wintry mornings. it would taste great with fruity toppings (honey fried apples,mmm), maple syrup or honey. add some spices or raisins to the mix for a scrumptious treat. my mum decided that some dark chocolate chips would really compliment the flavour, and that could be true, but we didn't have any in the cupboard yesterday...(ps. always add the choc chips after pouring the batter into the pan to ensure even distribution)

the teff flour got the thumbs up from mum, and so we'll be keeping it in the store cupboard from now on if we can find a cheap place to buy lots of it - http://www.naturallygoodfood.co.uk/ seems to be a good option for UK customers. i've seen that waitrose sell teff flour mix, which is unfortunately mostly corn starch and only 30% refined teff plus loads of other unnecessary additions...i won't be buying that. i've yet to check out my local health food store, and the biggest supermarket near me to see if they have any.

there's also some tasty healthy pancake recipes to be found online...

Levels, levels, levels...

I know you probably don't necessarily want to hear too much wailing from an insulin dependent diabetic who can't keep control of their levels, but perhaps some of you might find it comforting to know that even the most  experienced pump users run into sticky situations, and then how they try to work their way out of it!

i've mentioned when i've had bad levels before, but that might just be one or two over twenty and i'll have a pretty good idea of the cause. but the levels i've had since after christmas have been ridiculous and inexplicable.

generally once levels get high they are very difficult to keep back down again, so it's always best to prevent that through exercise, healthy eating and regular set changes. but we all know that some of these can slip out of falter quite easily, can't they? actually, i think my problems started once i got back from my round the world trip (see some of my previous posts for more info) as i went from a very active routine on not much basal insulin to one with very little exercise on the same amount of insulin - and i didn't figure it was too different that it needed a change, what a silly person i am!

fyi, whenever you change your routine, do a fasting blood glucose to redetermine where your basal rates should be at, as they will almost definitely need to change along with your everyday activities! if you don't know what a fasting glucose is, it's basically where you fast for one meal, and check your levels every hour within that period. it's a very effective way of checking your basals are right. there's just one tiny problem with it...you have to start with a good level - something i've not been able to do properly yet!

so what i have done to keep myself in order with these levels is:
  • to change my infusion set - i find that different batches of sets can sometimes be the problem, so open a new box if it doesn't seem to work well on the second change.
  • to eat super wisely - i always do this anyway, but writing down what you eat, how much and when can help to determing whether this is making a massive difference on your levels - any secret fats?
  •  to up the exercise - which becomes increasingly difficult when you start to run out of energy, but a walk is always good, just make sure someone is with you
  • to keep drinking loads of water and do ketone tests, if you show signs of ketones you might have to go to hospital for permanent supervision as this is really dangerous
  • to get a good amount of sleep - your body will need rest and recuperation to restore it's body back to health, which will take some time for sure, give it the chance to have good sleep by going to bed earlier than normal
  • to phone the hospital after 3 successive days of trying and constantly bad levels you don't understand - i spoke with a nurse who insisted it must be my basal rates or an underlying illness (i now have a cold and a much higher basal rate!)
well, i still haven't got the levels down properly but they are much better. i'd like to be able to put my set somewhere else to help with better absorption but i don't have a lot of fat in my arms or thighs, like at all, so i don't know how that would work? i'll sort my basals out first and then let you know...

have a great day all of you!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

lucas' papaw ointment: review

i absolutely adore this stuff!!!

in fact this is the perfect lip balm, and i'm going to be super upset when i finish the tube.

i got it the first day i was in oz last year, and i've been using it ever since. it's just amazing value for money, and there's only one ingredient in it - fermented papaya.

i don't think there's anything better, actually I may make this my number one product of the whole of 2009 (and probably 2010)!

Monday, 11 January 2010

26 dresses

thanks so much for the amazing response to the last post about my favorite bloggers of the moment, i love when you guys leave messages, and I am super happy to share some of my new inspiration with you all. hopefully i'll get to doing posts like this regularly throughout the year as I'm always on the search for new inspiration, and blogs are most definitely the place for that!

so, on Saturday as well as buying a new coat for my sister in law in Laura Ashley - who always have an amazing sale with loads of vintage style - and going fabric shopping in my local town, i did a massive wardrobe overhaul. it was intense. but entirely necessary.

so saturday morning, i took everything out of my wardrobe and walloped it onto my living room sofa, got my mum to sit down with some very important homemade signs, 'take', 'toss' and 'get creative', and started to go through item by item.

it's an incredibly freeing process, but the sad thing is that most of what got thrown out was stuff that is super colorful, which is what i've had for the longest, what i wear most of the time and what gets dirty the quickest too. the sad thing is that the black bin bag ended up being filled with a beautiful rainbow assortment of colours, and my wardrobe is left helplessly dark in colour. so, straight onto ebay and topshop to get loads more basics to inject back color to my wardrobe.

the other thing is that the pile of get creative stuff is really big, and full of lots of brown things i'd like to dye dark purple or navy - which is far more interesting - and lots of things that are slightly broken or need a little hemming or adjusting.

there is a pretty large pile of things for charity too, just things i've not worn more than once, and a lot of things that never really fitted me properly.

anyway, i learnt a lot from the process:
  • that i should never buy something if it doesn't fit properly, i won't wear it, no matter how much i think i will
  • that i love coral, almost everything that i had worn to death was in that color, and now there's hardly anything coral left in my wardrobe (tear)
  • i love half length sleeves. again, so much of the stuff i had to throw out due to wear and tear had half length sleeves, and most were cardigans too. i think i must like them.
  • i reckon i'm pattern phobic, there was hardly any pattern in my wardrobe. this must be a sign that i need to get more creative and be a little braver; or perhaps i'm destined to wear simple block colours for the rest of my life...boring?
  • that last year's resolution to buy more dresses ended pretty well, with at least 26 dresses in my wardrobe, which is a pretty good percentage
  • that i don't wear exciting tops that often. there's still plenty of tops that don't get a lot of wear, that i've had for ages. i'm not sure why? i guess i just wear ribbed tanks all year round for layering, and it doesn't get much more exciting than that. i always swore i'd be a dresses person anyway.
  • i've got more jackets than i thought. awesome ♥
  • that i have no interesting tights or leggings - i guess when i'm limited on money i tend to buy boring, staple items, in sensible colors, which would now explain why i have several pairs of black leggings and a gazillion items in dark grey. i must must must try to be more creative, even though i have negative money.
  • that going through my wardrobe is a fantastic process, that i should definitely do at least twice a year, so i can focus my shopping correctly and sensibly
and here are my 12 tips for clearing out your closet, which i've done a yt video for as well, here:

 - 1. Do your clearout in December or June, before the sales.
 - 2. Do it in the morning, after a good breakfast. That way you have enough energy to go through all your items, and you can see them in good light.
 - 3. Have someone else there whose opinion you trust. Someone who sees fit rather than trend preferably.
 - 4. Get some awesome music on in the background, to keep the atmosphere fun and upbeat.
 - 5. Take time to have a snack and a cup of tea. Keep hydrated and energised as it can be quite draining.
 - 6. Make some excellent Toss/Take/Create signs, so it’s more fun.
 - 7. Go through each item individually and work out when you last wore it. If you haven’t worn it in a while, why not? Is it the colour, fit or style? Try it on.
 - 8. Be honest. If you love the style but it doesn’t fit right, give it to charity and find one that fits beautifully.
 - 9. Have a creative pile for things that need adjusting, dying, re-hemming or re-purposing.
 - 10. Write down a list of things you’ve thrown out from over-wear, that you want to replace, and then write a list of things you think would make your wardrobe more versatile.
 - 11. Have a full-length mirror close by so that you can see exactly what you look like in your clothes.
 - 12. Start with things that are on hangers, as these are often the hardest to decide on, the least worn and the most complicated to get in and out of.

river cottage everyday: a review

some of you might already have realised just quite how much i love river cottage, and wish i actually had enough money to replicate such a project and live a self-sufficient life, but for those of you that don't, you do now!

River Cottage Every Dayi went round to babysit at a friends house yesterday, and on the side they had a copy of hugh fearnley-whittingstall's 'river cottage everyday' cookbook. it is AMAZING! you know you're going to adore a book when it has a really good 3 page breakfast introduction about the importance of exciting breakfasts, and making time to actually eat it properly - as part of this years resolution, that i sort of started last year, we now make a time for breakfast and eat together, we also decide what we'll have the night before, so if buckwheat needs to be pre soaked or a whole wheat pancake batter needs to be made we have already done it, but also that we are starting our day in the most exciting way...french toast, pancakes, swiss muesli, granola, yum yum.

there's also a little chat about why you should eat unsulphured apricots instead of the orange sulphured ones. something that really needs to catch on, and i'm so glad that hugh is on that train. the unsulphured ones taste SO much better, honestly.

most of the book is supremely healthy, without being obviously so. i love how most of the recipes include wholewheat instead of plain white, and how he uses honey instead of loads of sugar, and advocates fruit as a fantastic sweetener. all the meals seem really balanced, and quite low-carb. he's not really a big cheese person, but he does love meat, and a good proportion of the book is given over to it. however, he has a whole section for vegetables too, and has loads of yummy and interesting ways to cook up veg that won't take too long.

his love of seasonal food is catching, and his everyday cooking ideas are practical as well as delicious. some of the recipes i'm adding to my 2010 recipes list are:
 - nut butter: he recommends spreading it on toast with bananas on top
 - tabula kisir: this is a sort of tabbouleh, a recipe i've wanted to learn for ages, as it's so tasty
 - broad bean hummus: interesting idea, and a slightly english-ified version of the original, he also makes his own flatbreads, which would definitely go well with it. i can't wait to try it!

there's also some really interesting packed lunch ideas, that are actually very different from the standard, as well as pretty healthy! so, i'll be trying these out soon for sure. here's my lunchbox mixes to try:
 - hard boiled eggs, cold boiled potatoes, tinned sardines, cooked green beans, olive oil
 - french beans, cold chicken, toasted blanched almonds, with garlic, honey, mustard dressing
so basically more interesting potato or chicken salads.

if you haven't read through it yet, i highly recommend it for a supremely interesting read, with loads of practical recipes too! i'll just have to hope for a copy of my own for my birthday ♥

Friday, 8 January 2010

Diabetes in the Snow

Amanda asked me this question:
We had not been to cold country, had never experienced snow/winter. Do we need to take special care or precaution for pumpy during winter ?

Now, I feel I am vaguely able to answer this question, seeing that I am currently looking out at 3inches of snow (and have been stuck at home for the last few days because of it!). Snow isn't something we usually get in England, and when we do everything shuts down or doesn't function properly. But it is nice to look at isn't it?

As for managing diabetes and an insulin pump there's only a few things you need to keep in mind in the winter:

  • eating more: a sad but true result of being cold or stuck at home is that one tends to eat more, and i've definitely noticed this whenever it snows. so, it's good to make sure that you've got a good stock of healthy snacks stored in the house and no bad stuff (chips/pizza/cheese - not good, but my mum tends to keep them in the freezer). plan your meals ahead, and don't oversnack or eat too much comfort food, as you'll probably upset your infusion site - i've done this a couple of times, and you end up bruising your set by pushing too much insulin through.

  • lack of exercise: for some this isn't such a problem, as for example, I love to go for walks in the snow, and it does help me from getting 'cabin fever' from being trapped at the top of our hill. But for others, I can definitely see how it's possible to want to hibernate all winter and exercise as little as possible. But, may I recommend heading out in the bad weather every morning just for a brief moment, in order to get your systems started for the day, and breathe some deep breaths of fresh air.

  • the cold: of course, living in a colder climate will in turn effect the absorption of insulin into your body: aka it will be slower and less absorbant than it will in a hot climate. so make sure to do a fasting basal check and change, and keep a close eye on your sugar levels. to help the absorption you can have a hot bath or a session in a steam room or sauna, and make sure that the place you spend most time inside is nice and warm. this is REALLY important, because this will effect how long your sites will work for; you might have to change them more frequently in colder weather.

  • illness: this is obviously something that winter brings, and some people appear to be more prone to catching colds and viruses more than others. but illness can definitely effect your sugar levels, and if you are at all worried about your levels whilst you are ill you should ask someone to come and look after you. if you start vomiting or passing out, then you should definitely head to the hospital. -i personally don't get ill that frequently as I keep exercising and eat super healthy food.

  • blood circulation: definitely important to remember to keep your feet and hands really warm during the winter, as diabetics are far more likely to have problems with these body parts later in life, so you need to take good care of them whilst they still work. (if you are working at a computer all day, keep checking your hand temperature as it can drop fairly low without you realising) if you're heading out for a walk bundle up with a pair of gloves/mittens and wrist warmers too, scarf, hat and as many pairs of socks to keep you toasty.

  • be careful: there's lots of weather related accidents this time of year, so be careful and don't do anything unwise like jumping on ice, or driving in a blizzard. make sure that your health gets priority.
that's really all i can think of at the moment, i hope this is helpful! any more questions, please ask...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

healthy buckwheat apple waffles

well this was another of the recipes on my 2010 recipes list, and i definitely think i'll be perfecting this as the year goes on, but this is at least a start to the low everything waffles.

i did a lot of research on healthy waffle recipes and my favorite was a spiced apple wholewheat waffle recipe over at recipegirl (i also liked this and this)

so, i tried it out, obviously slightly amended -as always- due to what i had in stock and that the consistency seemed a little off when i had mixed everything together.

Here's what i used for 2 people:
1 large egg
1/3 cup filtered water
1/3 cup soya milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 small Gala apple chopped into tiny cubes (or grated)
1 cup flour (a mix of buckwheat, wholewheat, plain, gluten free)
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves)
1/3 tsp baking soda
sprinkle of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

i mixed all the wet ingredients, and then added the dry. pop it into the waffle machine, and this made 4 yummy waffles, which tasted delish with honey, but would also be scrumdidlyumptious with maple syrup.

i've now tested it with pear instead of apple, which was lovely, especially when i added a few dark chocolate chips too. wowee!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

sild on rye and breakfast soup

i've been playing with a new camera, which means that my pictures will be of much better quality (though i still don't know all the amazing things it can do!) and hopefully all the food looks as delicious as it does in real life: which is really the important thing.

so, here am I, sharing a few things i've eaten in the last few days:

 - sil on rye with salsa: which is raw swedish fish and probably an acquired taste (though it's almost certainly completely different to what you think) on rye bread which is another acquired taste; but both 100% delicious!

- breakfast soup: i wish i were the actual genesis of this idea, but i can't be, even though i haven't seen it in cookbooks or on the net. basically i put frozen mixed fruits in my blender with a half cup soaked almonds some water, some agave nectar, some linseeds and sesame seeds and vanilla extract. i processed it until smooth, then served in soup bowls with sprinkles on top. it was miraculously filling and fabulously fresh and yummy!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

buckwheat porridge

the first new recipe of the year, because i was absolutely sure that it wouldn't fail and would taste absolutely scrumptious. plus i found a packet of organic buckwheat at waitrose for only 99p so I thought it wouldn't matter so much if it went horrendously wrong.

then i went on a mad mission all around the internet to find somewhere that would give me a buckwheat porridge recipe, and i found two main types: the soak and process or the boil. and because i don't have a food processor (at least not at the moment) i went with the boiling method! i was convinced after i saw this beautiful breakfast photograph of it, and so this is the recipe i went with.

for 2 people
  • take 1/2 cup buckwheat groats and soak overnight, or for at least 20 minutes

  • once soaked, drain off the liquid and rinse well. then add the groats and 1 cup of water to a saucepan. add your chosen spices and dried fruits, i used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, a couple drops of vanilla extract and a 1/4 cup organic sultanas.

  • lay the table all nicely so you can really appreciate your breakfast, no matter how early it is or groggy you feel

  • boil until all the water has gone, and it looks like this:

  • serve with sliced fresh banana, organic soya milk, honey and a cup of green tea with lemon

i would definitely give this recipe a massive 5 stars because we've had it every morning since!!

ps. 1 down, 51 to go!
pps. check out other healthy breakfast recipes!

healthy recipes to try in 2010

ok, so you know i was trying to come up with 52, one for each week of the year? well, i just couldn't get that many...and yes i trawled all my files, folders and cookbooks! instead i got halfway, and i have decided to keep a list on my wall to add to when i think of something else, which then allows for me to write on recipes that my favorite bloggers come up with...

anyways, here are the ones i came up with:
and the following from nourishingmeals.com (check out this nutrition kitchen post)
and the following from the healthy indulgences blog:
UPDATE 2011: Although I didn't complete all of these recipes in 2010, I did enjoy trying out the new ones I did. And I can only hope I can create the others in 2011...

the importance of a nice hot bath

this is something extremely important, and is a very natural, healthy thing. A nice hot bath. It cleanses and detoxifies naturally, and is a great remedy for skin ailments.

basically, i can totally tell the difference between when i've been having quick showers and when i've had long soaky baths. my skin is smoother, cleaner and in much better condition after baths than showers i find. i know some people find baths a bit gross, but i know there's nothing more relaxing after a long day at work.

some people find it even better to light candles and have mood lighting, but given i don't have such a luxurious bathroom with space for candles or fancy lighting, i just fill my bath really deep, lie back and close my eyes. sometimes i'll put music on, but most of the time i just appreciate the silence.

i never take a bath if i'm in a hurry, i think that would be the most unrelaxing thing a person could do. also, it sets your mind wrong, if you associate baths with speed then it'll be difficult to unwind next time you're in one.

so the best way to enjoy your bath may be:
  • to have it as hot as you like, there's not much point in a warm bath, it has to be hot!
  • add some proper bath salts, as natural as you can, and maybe scented with lavender
  • have your towel ready, it's such a nuisance to have to search for it whilst you drip
  • make sure all the products you need are close to you, you don't want to get out of the bath to get your shampoo or body scrub, that just breaks the magical relaxation
  • don't hurry yourself, leisurely massage ever inch of your body until you are clean, it's supposed to be luxurious

baths are also great for warming your whole body up after a winter's day, easing muscle fatigue or unrest, chillin you out and destressing you - which is in turn very beneficial to the skin, opening up the pores on your face - have a cleanser, face scrub or exfoliator at the ready.

go and pour one right now...

i've just made an updated skincare routine video for all of you guys to see too...check it out!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

my hopes and wishes for 2010

i do hope that all of you enjoyed the holiday season, and that this year brings you all the happiness and joy that you deserve!

i had a fantastic time this christmas, and got to share all sorts of wonderful food and laughter with the people i love most. is there anything better in life? i may be 22 but i don't think there'll be anything better than that.

anyway, so this year is blatantly going to be amazing! i'm excited for it, and looking forward to taking on every challenge that comes to me. my main aims include building my own business and branching out, paying off debts and finally getting my own dog. but the more exciting aims, and the ones that will keep me going throughout the year no doubt are: to have flowers in the house always, to make and perfect one new dish each week (more of this to come!) and to make more of my own clothes (which i've already started - have a look on my other blog alissa loves)

so i'm currently sat writing my 52 new recipes for 2010, which is pretty difficult and involves browsing through all my cookbooks and my recipe folder. actually it's not difficult, it's just long, as i have a few criteria to follow...mainly that all these recipes should not be healthy baked goods, rather a more branched out and healthier selection of vegetable, salad, breakfast, traditional, contemporary, raw, vegan, etc, etc, recipes.

i've already got quite a selection, but i do reckon that my evening might be a long one as i've only got 14 on the list and its just quarter past eight. hey well, i can't think of a more pleasant way to spend the evening. of course, i'll let you in on the list, and you'll get to check out my trials and tribulations this year by reading right here on this blog!

can i tell you a secret. there's an amazing cafe in chichester called cafe paradiso which is a vegetarian restaurant with some really delicious and nutritious food. i went there when i went to the theatre recently and i really could have eaten everything on the menu! yum yum.

oh, and a massive thank you to the lovely person who gave me a fantastic cornbread recipe! very much appreciated, and i can't wait to try it out.

blog inspiration

i'm constantly inspired by all of you, i really really am, so as a beginning to the new year, i'm gonna share with you all some of my new found favorites (including a lot of vintage bloggers)!

1. strawberry koi 2. sleepy fawn 3. liebemarlene 4. vixen vintage 5. leproust 6. sally jane vintage
7. the velvet bird 8. the little deer 9. the vintage society 10. lay me in some tall grass 11. pearls in your hair 12. left hand endeavour 13. lulu letty 14. sacaton june 15. smile because it happened
16. the snail and the cyclops

Friday, 1 January 2010

here's one i made earlier

i made these two dresses yesterday, i suppose my last creative burst in 2009, and i’ve definitely wanted to make these two for ages now. the first is a old long-line tshirt cut short and a skirt added with pockets too, and the second is an old dress, which i only ever wore as a skirt (i wore it when i went to stourhead), turned into a dress by making a strapless tank top from some black tshirting.

i think i like the second one better, but i’ll blatantly wear both loads all year round. i’m looking forward to making lots more stuff this year, given that my first 2010 resolution is to make more of my own clothes. if you’ve got any secret sewing tips or hand stitching ideas, let me know. i’ve got a couple more items to repurpose in a similar way, including a 90’s floral dress, and a pretty green top, which will both end up as dresses i’m sure. perhaps tomorrow!?!

i’ll be sharing some of my fantastic blog inspiration shortly with you all…look out for it!

ps. i’ve been wearing my leather boots from the first picture loads lately, and when i went to the cinema to see 3D Avatar (which is AMAZING by the way) on Wednesday the two girls in front of me were also wearing similar ones! anyways, i still ♥♥♥ them.

Partying with a Pump

Ok, well this is blatantly something that comes with maturity. i’m sure of it. or, a very strong will and sensible head. both of which i guess i’m slowly acheiving!

this last couple of weeks has really seen an interesting set of sugar levels, and i’ve been trying to fathom why they should be so. and here’s what i have concluded:

- partying and pumps generally don’t mix, but they can work if you plan them out properly and you check you sugar level frequently. and it’s even more important to check your levels and look after yourself before and after the occasion, or around the party season in general!

basically, i had amazing, near perfect levels from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, but the week before and the week after were incredibly rubbish. partly due to it being a time of rest = no exercise = bad control. and also due to the different types of food and change of routine – both bad and not so easy to control.

anyway, i was totally psyching myself up and preparing for amazing levels on the three most festive days, and totally missed the before and after parts. next time i must learn to be aware the whole holiday season.

but, when it comes to specific parties there’s a few things to keep in mind to keep your control good:

- if there’s dancing, make sure you change your basal rates as the level tends to plummet in the middle of the night otherwise.
- make sure you ascertain the timings, like when it starts and when it finishes, and prepare yourself for an early exit so you don’t throw your routine off balance
- if there’s food don’t be afraid to ask what type, ask for a special meal or ask when you’ll be eating. this is very important!
- figure out how long it’ll last and what kind of activities there will be, so you can be prepared for all eventualities
- in case of a party you must attend that’s secretive or you can’t quite get all the details, take spares of everything with you, and loads of snacks and emergency supplies to keep in your car.

basically just don’t be afraid to ask anything, don’t be shy, and make sure that you LOOK AFTER YOURSELF to the best of your ability. some times you might feel annoying or a bit pestering asking all these questions, but it will help you enjoy the party more, i promise!!

as always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments sections and i’ll get right on with answering them!

happy new year!

hello to all of my wonderful readers! i hope you’re as excited about this new year as i am…2010 is blatantly going to be amazing right?

i love the amazing hope that lies on this day. it’s so wonderfully filled with possibilities, and things you could do. i definitely feel like this decade is going to require me to be a bit braver and step out of my comfort zone (difficult but possible) so that i can achieve all that’s out there for me to do.

so, i thought i’d share my new year’s resolutions/goals with you, so you can all hold me to them, and i feel accountable to someone. i make loads of business related goals too, though i won’t share these with you (it’s the wonder of being self-employed)

  • make more of my own clothes
  • pay off credit card
  • read 6 classic books
  • make at least 1 YouTube video every week
  • have flowers in the house at all times
  • learn to paint
  • get a puppy

well, i think these are all fairly do-able (i achieved all of my goals last year!!). i’ve already started on some of these things, like my own YouTube channel and i’m in the middle of Pride and Prejudice too, and yesterday i made not one, but TWO dresses out of old fabric and old clothes. i’ll show you them soon. mum bought a new camera  in the sales as well, so i can definitely keep up with creating more outfit posts, hopefully, and of a better quality.

anyway, i spent last night with some friends watching Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, which had Dizzee, Florence, Paloma and Tom Jones on it. fantastic. it’s really funny too.

like i say, i really hope that you all fell pretty happy and excited for this next year, and the next decade – the teenies! HAPPY NEW YEAR!