Thursday, 19 January 2017

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups marinara
1 can coconut milk
1/2 bunch basil
Salt & pepper to taste


Method

Add all ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth.
Heat over a medium heat and add seasoning as required.

Monday, 9 January 2017

I Quit Sugar Cleanse

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and NYE! As of January 1st I'm going on an 8 week sugar cleanse. I ate and drank a little bit too much over the festive season but honestly have kind of fallen off the healthy (ish) wagon since going to Australia in November. Before that I had been quite good with keeping healthy eating habit and regular exercise but like all routines, once you're out of them for a while they're gone :(
I'm determined to lose my post pregnancy weight (baby is 10 months old now so no excuses - plus I'm going to have to chase around a toddler soon) and get healthy in 2017! And I'm sick to death of wearing maternity clothes!! I'm usually not one for resolutions but this year I wanted to start fresh and try to quit sugar (and fit back into my regular clothes). My exercise goal is just 30 minutes of moving a day, usually a walk with the baby but yoga and pilates certainly counts!

I'm getting all my guidance from "I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson. The idea is that it takes 8 weeks to cleanse yourself of sugar (fructose being the main culprit) and then after that you can introduce back in natural sugars such as fruit and brown rice syrup. As an adult I have to say I'm more a salt addict than a sugar one but I do realise now that I was consuming sugar in places that were hidden like sauces and "health foods". In the old days sugar was a treat and you would have only consumed less than 8 teaspoons of sugar a day which is still the recommendation today. Most people exceed this ten times just by the hidden sugar that lurks in everything under difference names and guises. Most of us don't even realise how much we are consuming, which is pretty scary when you think of the terrible health issues attributed to sugar consumption. I also found "That Sugar Film" a real wake up call too!

So my goal is to cleanse myself from sugar over the next 8 weeks and then start fresh by attempting to consume 8 teaspoons (or less, preferably none) of sugar daily. I'm hoping to even lose some weight as a side effect ;)

Starting Stats:

Start Date:1st January 2017
Weight: 152.6 lbs
Arms: 12"
Chest: 37.5"
Stomach: 37"
Hips: 42"
Thighs: 23.5"

Week 1

Did pretty well the first day! Didn't really miss sugar at all. Had natural peanut butter on toast for band black coffee for breakfast and then had homemade hummus and celery/fennel sticks for mid morning snack and then had a wonderful vegan New Year southern feast at my BFfs house and she made sure there was no sugar :)
Boiled collard greens, black eyed peas ain vegetable stock, cornbread and sweet potato.


Second day had grits for breakfast, kale pesto (from the book recipe) and GF pasta for lunch.
Felt like something sweet after dinner so I had a cup of chai rooibos tea.

Kale Pesto


I made roasted chickpeas for snacks. Garam Masala ones from the book recipe and ones from my previously used recipe.


Third day I had avocado on toast and black coffee for breakfast. Left over collard greens and corn bread for lunch. Dandelion pesto with celery/fennel for snack. Lentil soup for dinner.

The rest of the week I made recipes from the book such as...

Summer Quinoa Tabouleh


Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seed Hash


Baked Polenta with Miyoko's Kitchen Sundried Tomato Nut Cheese, green onions, sage and thyme.


Pasta using dandelion or kale pesto (recipe from the book. Using the Parmesan cheese below...



Nut cheeses (sugar free!) with crackers is great for a dessert or a snack.
There is a recipe for homemade seed crackers in the book too.


This first week is more about cutting down sugar and substituting to get ready for the full quit in week 2-3 but I actually went the entire week completely sugar free with a cheat on the last day of a glass of red wine (which doesn't contain fructose so I should still be on the right track!).

Week 2

Doing pretty well so far, not craving sweets as much as I thought. Standard breakfast is toast with nut cheese, hommus or avocado and black coffee.

I made a few different recipes from the book, freezing some of the soup recipes,so I have plenty of variety in the fridge for lunches and dinners. I really loved the Cooling Avocado Soup, Foolproof Fennel Soup & Roasted Cauliflower Soup .I have the roasted chickpeas and hummus with veggies as snacks as well. I'm trying to drink lots of water but I also found mineral water and La Croix water to be helpful when you don't feel like water.

Cooling Avocado Soup


Week 3

Nearly at the end of week three and I'm down to 150lbs which is nice. I was starting to wonder if I'd lose anything!
Had virtually no sugar this week. a couple of things tripped me up just because I didn't realise the sugar content until it was too late but it wasn't more than 2 teaspoons total so I'm not too worried.

On the menu this week was Spiced Almonds, which were delicious and really great when you feel like something sweet.


The Fennel Soup was delicious!

I made the satay tempeh from the IQS website and had it with romaine leaves one night and rice another night. 

I made my stuffed acorn squash recipe but omitted the apple.


The broad beans and avocado on rice cakes ecipe was good, I used lima beans because I had them.
This was from the IQS website.




This Sweet Potato Soup was pretty good, I didn't have any red lentils so I omitted but wished I'd had them!


Herb Black Quinoa Muffins - from the IQS website (Although I used red quinoa...shhh)




Saturday, 31 December 2016

Vegan Products - December 2016

Sorry if there are some repeat items in here - sometimes I don't remember if I've tried something or not LOL. Also this might be my last post about vegan items for a while. I'm about to start a sugar cleanse and try to eat a lot less processed food.

Found these Carla Lee's Nut Tacos & Burgers at Wholefoods. They were pretty good, you can definitely tastes the nuts, it's a bit crunchy at times. I particularity liked the tacos because of the ease. I tried them both in the oven and microwave.



I've been looking for a powder stock that doesn't contain sugar, which seems to be hard to find! I found this Organic Gourmet Vegetable Bouillon stock cubes at Wholefoods. I haven't used them yet - they are for my sugar cleanse! 


New!!! I found this Follow Your Heart Parmesan shreds at Publix but saw that they had them at Wholefoods as well. They are so good!!! Already using them on everything lol
Was great for making pesto...



Found this Vanini dark chocolate at Fresh Market, I really liked the pear and cinnamon flavor.



I love Dr. Praeger's Kale Burgers and these California Veggie Burgers are pretty good too!


I've never tried the Sophie's Kitchen Smoked Salmon so when I saw it at Wholefoods I had to try it! Along with some vegan cream cheese and chives of course! Pretty good, not perfect but decent for sure! 



Nature's Gate Hemp Lotion was on sale at Wholefoods so I thought I'd try it. 


Hubby found these Sensible Portion "Pringle" style chips at Walmart and the sea salt and BBQ are vegan and GF!! They taste just like Pringles.
The Sea Salt was a bit too salty (and I LOVE salty) but the BBQ was perfect!


Found these Enjoy Life Plentils Margarita chips at Solomon's Ventures discount store so I thought I'd try them and they were pretty good. Tasted more like Garlic and Onion than Margarita though.


Found this All Natural Peanut Wonder Chocolate Spread at Solomon's Ventures discount store and saw it was vegan! It wasn't overly sweet and I wanted it to be sweet so I didn't really love it but if you don't like the overly sweet flavour you'll love it ;)


Found these Baby Mum-Mum teething crackers at Solomon's Ventures discount store for $1 so I thought I'd try them, especially since they didn't have sugar added, only fruit juice and I've been looking for something like that for my wee one! They are pretty good and baby likes them a lot. They melt quickly in the mouth too so haven't had any chocking problems.


I've tried Good Thin's crackers before but hadn't tried the rice cracker style. They were pretty good!


Hubby found me these Vega vegan GF protein bars I think at Walmart! I can't tell you how great they are! They taste like a chocolate candy bar but with only 200 calories! 


Lastly found these lovely vegan wines at Fresh Market! Both very nice and under $10!
Montes from Chile and Mezzacorona of Italy.


Xmas Lunch 2016

I hope everyone had a great Xmas 2016! Here's how my Xmas transpired...

Before Xmas the kids and I usually make cookies. We made Cinnamon Cookies but I ran out of GF flour so I used hazelnut meal which actually turned out pretty well!


Eggless Nog on Xmas Eve - of course!!


Preparing the Christmas Roast Vegetables (I did garlic rosemary potatoes, orange agave carrots and asparagus).


Preparing the Tofu Turkey!




After frying the Tofu Turkey pieces...




Tofu Turkey, Green Bean Casserole, Christmas Roast Vegetables, Golden Gravy and some vegan mash that my BFF brought :)




Delicious vegan wine I found for the occasion!


My first attempt at GF Apple Pie - turned out great. I ate most of it myself with some vegan vanilla ice-cream!





Vegan candy canes!