Saturday, 30 April 2011

a royal wedding party and chicken chive salad

hi everyone! i hope all is well, and i hope you all managed to catch a glimpse of the royal wedding yesterday!

mum and i popped over to visit my nanna and grandad to watch the ceremony yesterday. it was absolutely beautiful - i loved the dress so much, and thought the fanfare and choir were incredible!

we celebrated in true style - with a little flag each to wave every time we saw the queen, and a glass of champagne to toast the newly married couple :)

we also had a union jack cheesecake (a new york style from Waitrose, yum!)

and a delicious buffet lunch...

prawns, salad, fresh greens, coleslaw, pate, salami, tomatoes and quiche - i was a happy woman!

it's days like yesterday that make me so thankful for the 80/20 rule, because i could indulge in some quiche and cheesecake without feeling any guilt (though i did bypass the white rolls and margarine)... and it enabled me to have a fun time with my family and share the whole experience together without worry!

now onto a few of my latest eats & recipes:

chicken chive salad. simply mix cooked chicken with mayonnaise, dried herbs, salt and pepper. then layer on top of sliced cucumber, celery, radish, bell pepper, chopped homegrown chives, tomatoes, spinach and goats cheese. serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a little homemade sauerkraut.

tomato lentil curry - a leftover's dish. combine onion, garlic, tomatoes, soaked lentils, aubergine, peppers, sweet potato and any other vegetables in your fridge, with a little curry paste and a tin of tomatoes. let it cook in a slow cooker or on a low heat in the oven, for a few hours. serve with fresh parsley and a spoonful of yogurt.

currently watching: the new episodes of doctor who!!

inspirations 30♥04♥11

Thursday, 28 April 2011

coconut and cinnamon seed granola

so, the royal wedding is tomorrow - yey!! i'm heading on over to watch it on tv at my grandparents house with my mum. i'm taking a mahoosive salad with me and some fresh berries and soy cream to commemorate the occasion :)

without further ado i want to introduce to you the star of today's post:

 ♥ coconut and cinnamon seed granola

it's a very low-carb granola, and the reason for this is the accident that occurred when i tried to make soy flour cinnamon crisps - instead of crispifying, it sort of shmooed up (that's a technical term, of course) and crumbled everywhere, and my brain instantly thought 'ah, that'll make crispy granola instead!'

i've made granola's in the past - and i absolutely love having some around in a tub in the cereal cabinet. it just so perfectly rounds out a yogurt and fruit breakfast...

it tastes wonderful with a little nutmeg pear puree and greek yogurt!

so for all those of you curious to know how to make this low carb granola recipe, here is a brief how to...

coconut and cinnamon seed granola
- soak 1/4 cup sultanas for a few hours until plump
- combine 1/3 cup coconut flour, 1/3 cup gram flour, 1/3 cup soy flour with 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tbsp agave nectar and 1 1/3 cups water.
- place mixture in a large non-stick baking tray (i used my new Jamie double non-stick tray - i love it!) and bake for 20 mins at 180c until golden on edges and cracking in the centre. then remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins.
- crumble up the mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon, and place in oven again to crisp up for another 5-10mins.
- put 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 1 tsp cinamon, 1/4 cup linseeds, 1/4 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup dessicated coconut (although even more would taste amazing!) and 1/4 cup whey protein powder into a large bowl. then add in the crispy soy/coconut crumble mix.
- mix together 1/2 cup apple sauce, soaked sultanas, 1 dsp honey, 1 tsp molasses, 1/4 cup groundnut oil and 2 or 3 peach slices. blend until smooth, adding a little water or juice if necessary.
- mix together the wet and dry ingredients and bake at 180c until golden and crispy, giving the pan a good shake every 5 minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly. then enjoy!
 - this should keep in an airtight container for a good few weeks...

obviously this recipe is up for negotiation and experimentation...i loved the peaches to sweeten it, so next time i'll probably try just a tin of those and 1Tbsp molasses to see what that results in. but i'll probably still use the same combination of dry ingredients, because the texture and flavour is just so tasty!

i can't tell how many carbs it actually got in it, but it's not many, especially in comparison to a regular oat granola. and it's far lower GI than standard. i think it's worth the extra effort to make the bulking crumble mix, because it works so well!

i hope you all have a fantastic day tomorrow, and that you have fun being super patriotic ♥

currently listening to: pyro by kings of leon

inspirations 28♥04♥11

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

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the ever presence of diabetes

i just want to start by thanking you all for your support for my new diabetic youtube channel - i have been overwhelmed with your kindness and comments - and i'm so glad you all liked the new dark chocolate mousse recipe 

now onto today's topic: the ever presence of diabetes.

jasmine of wonderful diabetes blog silver lined recently wrote a post about how many times in one day she thinks about diabetes. she documented it for a day, just to see how frequently she had to think about something related to D. and the post is LONG. like seriously, very long. 

and i figured i couldn't help but agree - i probably think about it a similar amount of time. i can't help but be aware of it...each time my body twinges, or i get thirsty or tired, or am about to drive or do exercise, i think about my sugar levels. 

but i am SO glad that i do! i can't tell you how many other diabetics i've come across who pretend that they are non-diabetic and can do and eat whatever they like, but then end up in hospital or with a sky high hbA1c or with horrible complications at a young age. 

i tell you, i'd rather be aware of all that's going on, because when i am, i feel empowered, i feel strong... i think that it might be possible to have kids one day, and that i might live free of complications in the future.

and that's what all the work is for... it's investment into a healthy future.

so, no matter if i check my bg level every two hours, and i make sure i drink enough and spend time preparing meals so i know how much and what type of carbohydrate is in something. so what if i'm the person that orders oddly at the restaurant, or the guest who brings a salad to a host's dinner party, or the woman who has to go out for a walk when everyone else is sat relaxing.

there's a lot of people in the DOC and even doctor's that will tell you that you don't have to live a different life when you have diabetes. but my own experience tells me that this isn't true - the more i tried to be 'normal' the less healthy i became, and the more frustrated and depressed i was. 

it was only through accepting my diabetes, and managing it properly - to a point when it's actually a joy to check your level because you know it will be a good number not bad - that i have come to feel better, look better and not be afraid of what the future holds for me.

and yes, it can be annoying to live with it everyday - especially as it's pretty invisible to others - but i think all the effort you put in is totally worth it. so give yourself a pat on the back and feel truly blessed to be alive and thriving! and be grateful that you can walk, talk, eat, smile and enjoy life!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

1001 low carb recipes: a cookbook review

hello lovely readers - i hope you are having the most wonderful day! today i want to share a quick review of dana carpender's 1001 low-carb recipes cookbook...

this particular cookbook was bought on the recommendation from Dr Bernstein in the Diabetes Solution.on the quest to lower the carbs in my diet, i needed a tome i could turn to more frequently. something abounding with fresh ideas and new ingredient combinations that would tickle my tastebuds. 

i was thoroughly skeptical about the purchase - aren't 1001 recipes going to be low quality? won't it be full of fad foods, and odd ingredients? 

well, i was kind of half right. but i still am very happy to have this on my shelf!

this massive doorstop of a book (which i never fail to find in about 3 seconds flat because of it's red spine - bonus!) is packed full of simple recipes that are easy to create, quick to prepare and tasty.

the split of recipes is pretty decent, with a good section on vegetables. dana also includes meat & fish, sauces, salads, soups, breads, snacks and desserts (sunshine cheesecake or espresso brownies anyone?). of course with 1001 recipes there's no room for photos, which is pretty sad, but the book isn't about inspiration, it's about function.

it's about having a book on your shelf that you can reach for and cook from. and it's a great book to find standard, simple recipes too. i've opened this book to find classic fish flavour combos, and different ways to cook sprouts, and ways to flavor homemade burgers.

i've 'made' a few of the recipes already -the chocolate chip cookies (p501) and the oatmeal molasses bread (p116). although, both recipes had to be changed quite a bit because of the unusual ingredients they required...

well, ok, maybe Splenda isn't unusual. but it's actually kinda made with chlorine, and it has to be made by a human in a factory with chemicals, and our bodies can't actually digest it...well, then i take issue. especially as it's in a LOT of the recipes. anyway, i just substitute agave, maple syrup or honey or something natural - not sugar free imitation honey or polyol sweetener (some of her other suggestions).

and the thing is, i don't mind substituting in the least, because at this point i'm really used to it. but, i just don't know how seriously i can take a person that recommends that sort of thing. it's flawed nutrition advice, and if i weren't as much of a health info geek, then i might end up eating a lot of it if i cooked her recipes exactly as she says everyday...which is seriously health questionable. and also, with substituting for a more natural sweetener the carb count goes way up...hmmm.

anyway, the reason why i actually like this book is that, (Splenda aside) i can and want to eat everything in it. and it's got a really, really good index.

♥ i am looking forward to making: curried cauliflower salad (p150), kolokythia krokettes (p225), mexian flavoured whiting (p267), spicy peanut chicken (p311), peanut butter cheesecake (p520).

if you are interested in the sort of recipes and style you'll come across then check out dana carpender's blog, hold the toast for more info on the author. 

and please tell me - what's your opinion on Splenda and other artificial sweeteners? do you use them?

inspirations 26♥04♥11

Saturday, 23 April 2011

thyme butter sardines and overnight molasses bread

how is it that the sun is still shining here in england? it's so awesome!! i love that i've been able to do so much gardening at the allotment, and that i can walk the dog with blue skies. but my absolute favourite thing is that people are out and about with big smiles on their faces!

today mum and i went into town to do a little shopping and just mooch around. we picked up a super old copy of the neals yard bakery wholefood cookbook - which is plain awesome, with great recipes, and fantastic nutrition information. i'll give you a full review later, but i can't think of a better buy for £1 (and the amazon prices aren't bad either!) - it even has tips on blanching and freezing veg as well as a nutrition info for different types of seaweed. genius!

then we sat out on the cathedral green and ate a little picnic. homemade salad, a watercress scone from the market, a barbecued chicken satay from the chinese stall in the market square and a tiny tub of hunky punky chocolate booja booja stuff in a tub. oh. my. goodness. serious wow.

now onto my latest eats...

sardines in a thyme butter sauce with artichoke radish salad and broccoli

i love this way of preparing fish - just put the fish in some tin foil with a little butter, salt, pepper and herbs (fresh or dried) and perhaps a little lemon. then pop it in a hot oven for 10 -15 minutes until cooked (and the fish has lost it's translucency). this works for most types of fish and you'll get a prepared sauce with it as well as making sure it's not dry.

delicious proper pork chipolatas with mediterranean veg and sweet potato mash. we also had a friend's little boy round for dinner, and he absolutely loved his little bowl of food!

overnight molasses bread - this recipe has its origins in dana carpender's 1001 low carb recipes book, although i have adapted it to make it suitable for making without a breadmaker, and tweaked it a little ingredients-wise too. but this bread is ridiculously good, the combination of oats and molasses is stupendous! it's very difficult not to eat lots...

i hope you all have a fantastic easter, and enjoy spending time with friends and family over the weekend!

currently listening to: animal by neon trees (love this song!)

inspirations 23♥04♥11

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

inspirations 20♥04♥11

a homemade easter tree and aubergine lamb lasagne

it's been incredible being out in the sun today - it's 23c here where i live, and that's very hot for april in wiltshire! so, i've taken all opportunities to be out in it - walking the dog, sitting chatting with my friend Zoe, and just generally pottering doing some tidying and things.

i burn pretty badly usually, so am always careful to apply sunscreen and wear a hat - but i think this year i might actually tan - what with france, then australia and the weeks leading up to them at the allotment. i've got a good freckle layer already we'll see. this might be the year of the tan?

anyway, i don't mind being pale and freckly. i think it kinda suits me. but i've always joked with my mum about what i'd look like with a tan, and whether it was even a possibility for my skin tone (or my personality, because i'm not patient enough for sunbathing!). i've got a little swedish blood in me, so i think just more outside hours is probably what it'll take.

so, moving on, here are my latest eats and treats:

long-prep lasagne is incredible! there's something about the ridiculous length of preparation it takes that just makes it awesome... i layered it up with courgettes and aubergine instead of pasta, and i used lamb mince instead of beef in the tomato sauce (because it tastes better!), and just put really good cheese in instead of cheese sauce. and - it was so good.

low carb soy flour cinnamon muffins - these are a very luxurious delight, and kind of surprisingly fluffy (not crumbly, or flat - which is usually the case with gluten free cooking) - i followed the 'indulgent' recipe here.

herbes de provence red onion courgette hash, with chopped salad, greens and dill egg mayo

my homemade easter tree! i finally made one, using some twisted hazel branches and some cheap (thank you Rymans) egg decorations. i think it looks kinda pretty!

i'm so looking forward to Easter!!!

currently listening to: landslide by the dixie chicks