Friday, January 31, 2014

Hair Diary || Jumbo Twists and Then What?

Wore small twists for 3 weeks.
Right now I am wearing jumbo twists (not pictured) in an flat-twist updo after about three weeks in small twists.  After that, I'm not quite sure what I want to do with my hair yet.  I have been craving braid extensions -- as I always tend to do during the winter season -- but I don't know that I have to patience to do them myself nor the courage to let someone else do them for me.  I have also been toying with doing back-to-back weekly jumbo twists in February, but that may be too much manipulations.  What is a gal to do?  I have some things to consider ...

... in the meantime, here are a few more hair pics:

Back shot of the small twists.

Side shot.  Circa week #2.
I undid a few twists in the front to create bangs ... and jazz things up a bit.
Better shot of the front bangs.

The new batch of whipped shea butter (the multi-oil one) that I mentioned in an earlier post.
Definitely loving it.

And it melts instantly.

'Til next time!

Mixology || Coconut Banana Deep Conditioner


Here is a yummy recipe (from The BraunSugar Blog) for conditioning your tresses!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 bananas
2 tbsps coconut oil
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Combine all ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
Blend until extra smooth.  Make sure that there are no banana lumps.  (They are hard to remove later.)

RECIPE CARD:


Check out The BraunSugar's post for more details.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

chocolate protein cookies


These chocolate protein cookies are packed with protein and good fats, so they make a great quick breakfast or snack. My boyfriend eats a few of them for breakfast most weekdays because he never has much time in the mornings. Ideally, we would all make the time to sit down to a nice relaxed breakfast, but this isn't always possible. That's why I keep some of these cookies on hand: I think a couple of these is better than no breakfast at all (which, for some, can lead to overeating later in the day). 

I use Mayvers Hazelnut & Cacao Spread (which is just hazelnuts blended with cacao powder) to make these, and I add a few extra tablespoons of cacao powder to make the cookies a bit more chocolatey. But adjust the amount of cacao powder to suit your taste. 

ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • ? cup Mayvers Hazelnut & Cacao Spread (or plain hazelnut butter or another nut butter)
  • � cup raw virgin coconut oil, softened
  • � cup rice malt syrup *
  • 1 egg
  • � cup plain protein powder
  • 2-3 tbsp raw cacao powder (or more if you like things quite chocolatey) **
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt 

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 170�C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Pulse the cashews and shredded coconut in a food processor until you get fine crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, you can place the nuts and coconut in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin or other object until nicely smashed. I sometimes take this option if I've had a bad day and want to release some anger (seriously).

3. Combine the Hazelnut & Cacao Spread (or nut butter), coconut oil and rice malt syrup in a large bowl, then beat in the egg until well combined.

4. Stir through the cashews and coconut, protein powder, cacao powder, chia seeds and salt.

5. Roll the mixture into balls and press into cookie shapes, then place on the lined tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges. 

Makes about 25 cookies.

I store the cookies in a sealed jar in the fridge. They are fine at room temperature, but I think they stay fresher in the fridge. They have a harder texture straight from the fridge, so if you'd like them softer, let them come to room temperature before eating.

* I use rice malt syrup because it's fructose-free. You could substitute raw honey if you prefer.

** If you're using plain nut butter instead of the Hazelnut & Cacao Spread, you'll need to add at least 2 to 3 tablespoons of cacao powder to get a chocolate flavour.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Penultimate day working away

My proper replacement started today so I got to repeat the handing over work stuff with extra trying to teach someone new about the project stuff aaarrrggh.
Morning I glanced out of the office window and it was bloody snowing!!! Very light and very short lived but of course it put images of being trapped up here in a hotel I have to pay for out of my own pocket because I'm not working here any more so from then on I spent more time weather watching than looking at my PC...
My replacement is even more cynical and jaundiced in out look than me, so that was good anyway...
Somehow I managed to overwrite yesterday's post with this one and lose yesterday's completely. I'm not sure how that happened... Ah well,it wasn't very interesting anyway.
For my last night st my hotel I decided to treat myself to a meal in the restaurant with TWO glasses of one (one a celebratory prosecco, then a glass of merlot). As always it's not the best restaurant ever, but it was tasty and more or less Paleo if you ignored the vegetable oil that was probably used to cook it with.

Tomorrow I'm going home!!! I'm leaving work around 12:00 so I shouldn't have any traffic issues, and my brother is coming to visit us for the weekend - which will of course include a day out in London. Watch this space....

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: cold meat & salad
Tea: butcher's steak with sweet potato fries and a little chilli spiced creme fraiche
Snacks: dried fruit, grapes & Greek yoghurt

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calm

Thanks Diane,  I think you're right about the stress - specifically the stress I've been feeling working away and really feeling unable to control my environment here. Now I have only 4 more days, even though I like everything except the location of the office, I feel like a weight has been lifted and I guess that is making me feel far more relaxed generally. Including about food - though in the case of yesterday it's helped by the fact that it's TTOM and therefore I can 'explain it away' without feeling it's a sign of overall weakness, greed or apathy :-)
I'm actually considering doing food & drink things this week I've been wanting to do but avoiding because if it's good it might become a habit - such as trying the fish & chip shop across the road from my hotel, or possibly trying a dish in the hotel restaurant that I've been considering from the beginning. Tonight I just went into the hotel bar and had a bunless burger and a glass of wine after being caught in a sudden downpour coming back from Tesco; I followed it with a hot bubble bath and I'm contemplating an early night since I was woken up in the middle of the night by my radiator making strange banging noises last night.

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: prawns, a hardboiled egg, and salad
Dinner: bunless burger topped with cheese & chilli with fries (a tiny portion)
Snacks: cashews, Greek yoghurt, wine gums whoops oh well...




Monday, January 27, 2014

hazelnut 'praline' truffles


I love praline (crushed, caramelised nuts). But making praline unfortunately involves A LOT of sugar. So I came up with these truffles, which have a praline vibe thanks to the use of hazelnut butter, the caramel-like flavour of rice malt syrup and vanilla. The truffles are high in good fats, low in sugar and fructose-free.

Hazelnuts can be expensive (and sometimes hard to find), so I have used raw cashew nuts as the base. Cashews have a really mild flavour, so they work well as a base. The hazelnut element comes from the use of hazelnut butter. I use Mayver�s brand Hazelnut & Cacao Spread because I always have some at home (it�s delicious). It�s simply hazelnuts ground to a paste with a bit of added cacao power (that�s it - no sugar, no added oils). If you can�t find this brand, you could simply use plain hazelnut butter with a tablespoon of cacao powder (or just leave out the cacao powder, as it�s just a background flavour). I roll the truffles in ground hazelnuts at the end, but you could roll them in another ground nut or some shredded coconut if you prefer.

I usually make small batches of stuff like this (to avoid eating too many), but I made these for a friend�s birthday so the recipe yields about 35 truffles. If you�re like me and struggle with moderation, I recommend making these when you know you�ve got people to share them with!

ingredients
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • � cup coconut flour
  • � cup Mayver�s Hazelnut & Cacao Spread (or � cup plain hazelnut butter)
  • � cup rice malt syrup *
  • � cup raw virgin coconut oil, softened
  • � tsp vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ground hazelnuts for rolling

preparation

1. Process the cashews and shredded coconut in a food processor until you get fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a large bowl and stir through the coconut flour, Hazelnut & Cacao Spread (or hazelnut butter), rice malt syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and salt.

2. Roll the mixture into balls, then roll the balls in the ground hazelnuts and set them in the fridge. Store them in the fridge, as the coconut oil in the truffles may start to melt at room temperature.

Makes about 35 truffles. 

* I use rice malt syrup because it's fructose-free. But you could substitute raw honey or pure maple syrup if you prefer.

Last week working away�hurray!!!

I had another lovely weekend visiting my Dad though the weather was very unhelpful yesterday. I have to confess I did nag them a bit about using horrible processed fats � margarine and vegetable oils � but they taught me a lesson by offering me Lincolnshire plum bread, which I adore and can�t resist despite its not being remotely gf, so that taught me a lesson Winking smile

We mostly ate healthily and deliciously - on Thursday we had pan fried salmon with ratatouille,  Friday a lovely Caribbean Beef Stew (which I will be making and will tell you more about then), Saturday I cooked Chinese - barbecued pork and a beef stirfry (with rice), and Sunday Bolognese sauce over pasta for them, cabbage and courgette for me.

On Saturday we went to Newark on Trent (technically in Nottinghamshire but only a 25 minute drive from their house.) I loved the town centre and now have another place I'd like to live some day Smile It's a town not a village, but not massive, yet it had no less than 4 independent butchers and a market 3 times a week - my kind of town Smile and lots of beautiful historic buildings � it�s a long term market town with Civil War history, including a ruined castle destroyed by the Roundheads following its surrender on the orders of Charles 1. There is an ugly industrial end but that doesn�t spoil the town centre�

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Yesterday it poured with rain from about 9am to 2:30pm and was really depressing. I was champing at the bit to go for a walk but when we eventually ventured out around 2:30 the wind was so cold we did a quick circuit of the village then went back to the house and shifted furniture around (they're having a ceiling replastered and needed to clear out the room). Then I fell asleep on the sofa. Twice. I'm like some kind of rock star.

I slept a bit last night but woke up early and was tired enough to drink excessive amounts of coffee again today. I also had a carb slip (see below) but managed to stay gf, which is after all the most important thing for me. I'm feeling slightly (too?) relaxed about food this week now that there's only a few days till I reclaim my kitchen so it doesn't bother me too much.

I caught the train back this morning as usual when I visit Dad and then walked from the station � almost 2 miles in total I believe, so that was good as it was the only real exercise I got today. Given my (probably psychological/pathological) problem sleeping on Sunday nights I never seem to have the energy to train on Mondays. On top of that lack of energy, I�ve also had back ache all day, probably arising from the 2 mile walk with a heavy rucksack on my back AND heavy laptop case (my work laptop � not exactly slim-line) in my hand. 

Food today:

Breakfast: hard boiled eggs

Lunch: ham & a packet of crisps (oops - at least they were gf)

Tea: cold meat with salad and Greek yoghurt

Snacks: natural yoghurt, cashews, ok I was going to hide this but I need to not do that, Trek cocoa brownie bar & small bag Randoms Sad smile

Friday, January 24, 2014

Really Exciting Developments over in HGK

Hi all!

Just thought I would check in with you this freezing Friday afternoon. I know you are all wondering what the heck I am doing if I am not spending so much time blogging.

That was a joke.

But I am really excited to tell you that I have two new kitchen appliances on their way to HGK as we speak.



First, an Excalibur Dehydrator. I NEED to make my own oil-free granola. I can't wait any longer.

And second, a Cuisinart Yogurt Maker.

I also ordered the dehydrator sheet trays and a strainer to make Vegan Greek Soy yogurt from regular soy yogurt.



Now, before you start to worry about me, I want to tell you that neither of these appliances were impulse buys. I have been thinking about the dehydrator for probably close to four years, and the yogurt maker for at least six months.

I do want to tell you that I inherited my propensity to overdo it with kitchen gadgets and appliances from my mother, who continues on her quest to stock her kitchen with every possible useful thingie to this day, including a brand new pizza stone that I am sure she can barely lift. So I do come by it honestly.

With my new found freedom from my own self-imposed pressure to blog, I have opened up time and space in my life to start researching and experimenting with making more of my family's food from scratch.

I'm so excited, I can't even tell you!

I'll let you know how it goes . . .

Ciao! Hope you've got a fun weekend in store for you.




Thursday, January 23, 2014

Relax...

I decided to skip ahead in my book from reading the horror stories to the section on how to improve your health through the specific plan in this book. Given the amount of trouble I often have controlling what I eat myself I think I can safely push aside the obsession with changing what other people do! Thanks for your comment this morning Diane, you are absolutely right -  taking things with a pinch of salt and reducing stress right... Starting Now!
Interestingly I realized something after I posted yesterday (and it was reinforced by Deniz's comment today) - and that is that while I'm worrying about what I believe to be excessive carb consumption, they are equally concerned about what they believe to be excessive restriction of perfectly acceptable, even healthy foods. Anyone who's read this blog for a while knows how much my eating has varied over the past few years, from alternating between omnivorous and vegetarian eating on a daily basis / spending a week being vegetarian to trying a raw food detox, to alternate day fasting, low fat high protein, to high fat low carb... They were all done or attempted on the basis of reading materials that convinced me they were at least worth a shot, and the majority of them didn't work for me, mainly due to sustainability issues. On top of that the only long term success at weight loss I can really point to in my own history was actually the result of calorie counting, fundamentally a low fat diet, before I started blogging. So who am I to say that next week / year I won't discover that this is wrong for me too? I'm already frustrated by the lack of weight loss I've achieved so far - though not by how I feel overall when I stick to it for long enough to feel the effects - so maybe I should just relax and keep an open mind... Even about the lifestyles I'm not currently following :-)

I am actually back at my Dad's house now, which is as lovely as always. There any only 2 things about starting my new job next week that make me a little sad, one is that I like my current team (though I also like the one I'm going back to), and the other is that I'll be further away from Lincolnshire. I really don't know why I've fallen so in love with the place, or why I feel so at home there, perhaps it's some subconscious memory of living there the first 5 years of my life, but I talked about it with my brother last weekend and he feels a lot of the same things. Whatever the reason I truly believe I'll end up moving there myself some time, although not for a few years given the lack of employment up there.

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs with red pepper, leek & mushrooms
Lunch: chicken breast (roast) with pickled salad vegetables & a satsuma
Dinner: pan fried salmon fillet with homemade ratatouille followed by a piece of gf rocky road tray bake
Snacks: cashews, Greek yoghurt

Camille Rose PRODUCT REVIEW!

This product review was provided by my sister (whom you can find on Fotki).


I received a full 8oz size of Camille Rose Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment from The Coconut Water Collection No. 02. The owner of Camille Rose, Janell Stephens,  was kind enough to send it along as an additional goody with an Aloe Whipped Butter Gel replacement. I had ordered the Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel from another online shop and it was leaving a white cast in my hair. I contacted the company and they sent along a fresh replacement jar of the gel, a sample size of their Algae Renew Deep Conditioner and a full 8 oz size of their new Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment. There was no charge for any of the items I received and I was not asked by the company to provide this review. 

The Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment is described as a treatment that "combines super hydrating, thirst-quenching coconut water, aloe vera juice, tropical butters and oils to deeply penetrate and provide maximum moisture and shine."

Some key ingredients include coconut water, palm kernel oil, aloe vera juice, argan oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrolyzed keratin and a bunch of other hair nourishing oils and butters. 

I love that it contains a small amount of hydrolyzed keratin, which helps to fortify the hair so that it retains its texture and holds onto moisture. Keratin is also the most compatible with hair since hair = keratin + water. 

My Hair:

I have mainly low porosity, fine 4a hair that is high porosity and prone to breakage at my crown. My hair is also protein sensitive, so I use moisture-based products in my regimen and use light protein in moderation. 

How to Use:

There is no description on how to use the 
Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment
, but it is described on the front as a "concentrated rinse-out conditioner for silky, soft hair" so I assume you would use it like other conditioners after shampooing. 

How I Used Product:


I cleansed my hair then applied the Treatment.

The texture of the 
Treatment
 is thick and creamy. The color is a light gray/off-white and it smells like a coconut cream pie with vanilla wafers ;]  It's a pleasant natural smell that doesn't linger. 

As I applied the Treatment, I noticed the slip, creaminess and observed how it was absorbing into my hair.  I did not have to use a lot and I was able to apply it to wet hair without it foaming up.  I rinsed it out after 5-7 minutes, but I assume you can leave it in for more or less time.  This is naked hair right after rinsing out the Treatment.



My hair felt moisturized and had a high sheen. I could feel the oils and butters in my hair after rinsing, but my hair felt nourished and not coated. The Treatment also gave my hair a nice elasticity.  As my hair air-dried, it remained moisturized and springy. I did notice that the Treatment did not leave my hair as smooth or defined as my usual moisturizing deep treatment does, but it was surprisingly more moisturized and detangled. I proceeded to style my hair and let it air dry. 



Overall, I really enjoyed using the 
Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment. 
The oils, butters and keratin all gave a nice balance of moisture and elasticity. I am pleased that Janell has created a product valuable to any textured hair routine. The Treatment is not a filler product, but is useful if your hair benefits from conditioning treatments that provide moisture and strength---the cornerstone of most hair regimens.

This review is my personal experience and impressions of the product. 

Protective Style Lookbook || Twisted Side Bun

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)



Model: Gabe

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Chunky twists that flat twisted into a side bun.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dilemma

I'm reading an excellent new book about the impact of carbs (esp grains) on the brain - it's called Grain Brain, by Dr David Perlmutter, and is absolutely fascinating in the explanations of links between excessive carbs, grains generally, and especially gluten and brain disorders including depression, Parkinson's & Alzheimer's, ADHD & autism among others. It's kind of worrying as well though, because based on what he has to say I'm getting concerned about the current & future health of several of my relations, especially my Dad, who's on statins, and my mother's diabetic OH. I can't make them change what they're doing and I'm not qualified to really analyze the data I'm reading - it's compelling to me but I'd probably be as involved if I was reading an equally well-written treatise recommending a vegan lifestyle or a low fat diet - but I'm freaking out slightly at the idea of increased risk of Alzheimer's for both of them (in Dad's case especially as his father had Alzheimer's, but being diabetic seems to be a massive risk factor too) So what do I do? They both eat bread by the ton, pastry and other gluten sources as well, and both are stubborn & set in their ways and I'm not willing to annoy them or push them away by banging on about something they neither of them are interested in, but also don't want to lose them prematurely if it could be prevented. Arrrggghh maybe I should just not read this kind of book and live in blissful ignorance instead... Come to think of it last time I visited Dad I was spreading germs all over the place and he resisted infection and is fine so maybe I should just shut up and stop worrying about him...
As I'm getting closer to returning home I'm also trying to plan how I'll be eating massively better than I have been. I've got loads of whole30 approved recipes bookmarked, I'm building a shopping list and already planning menus for the first week back - I'm actually getting excited about getting back to where I want to be!!!

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs cooked with red pepper, leek & mushroom
Lunch: chicken lentil soup from the canteen. The lentils make it non-paleo but it was the only Gf option on the entire canteen menu
Tea: cold chicken & salad
Snacks: cashews, Greek yoghurt, hardish boiled egg

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Floating

I slept reasonably well last night, but was horrified when the alarm went off and felt quite groggy - I had some wine and a Nytol before bed to guarantee sleeping, and it worked! But it was hard getting out of bed and I had to come back in 3 times after leaving the room through forgetting one thing after another. As a result I had lots of coffee - more than usual by far - and felt like my head was floating somewhere near the ceiling most of the day. I was fairly busy at work, which was lucky as I didn't have time to embarrass myself snoozing at my desk!
When I got back to the hotel I was torn between going to Tesco for some finger food or going to the hotel pub for something. In the end the pub won because it's been such a horribly cold day here that cold meat seemed really unappealing. As I was trying to make up my mind there was a knock on the door - a maintenance man come to change a bulb in the room. It should have taken 2 minutes but when he went to take out the old bulb there was a loud bang, a spark, total darkness & a smell of burning... So it took closer to 45 minutes and involved a new light fitting being fetched and installed, by which time it was late enough to go straight to the pub for tea. I picked a very spicy dish but as do often is the case it really wasn't spicy (I hoped it would blow my head off a bit!) Ah well, still it was tasty.

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with red pepper, leek &  mushroom
Lunch: homemade soup from Well Fed 2 - Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup. Very tasty! And some Greek yogurt
Dinner: chicken wings & coleslaw
Snacks: cashews and a few pork scratchings

Fourth HGK Blogiversary and State of The Blog 2014


Did you know that blogiversary is an actual word on Urban Dictonary? Pretty funny, right? Well, I'm excited that on January 23, 2014 this blog is having it's fourth anniversary. And since you guys are the only people who might actually care, I wanted to mention it here.

Which pretty much brings me to the point of this whole blog post. Where am I with this thing these days? In my last post, I alluded to the fact that things might be a changin' this year.

I'll blog when I can.

I'll do reviews of Eat to Live recipes as I cook out of the Eat to Live Cookbook, which I do miss having taken a vacation from it for about two months. But I won't be plowing through it as I was in the last half of 2013.

I might not write many original recipes this year. I'm kinda feeling like I want to go back and enjoy all of the wonderful recipes that I have been making these past four years--both my own "original" creations and those recipes that I have loved out of other's cookbooks. That doesn't leave a lot of time for research, testing and photographing of original recipes.

I've also been really thinking lately that the world just might not need more new recipes. There is something so amazing and yet bizarre about the profound proliferation of new whole food plant based recipes over the past 5 years. In 100 lifetimes I would never be able to try all of the new and exciting recipes that have already been created. It's hard to justify using my spare time to create new recipes in an already overcrowded space.

Edited to note: Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. I'm already working on a "new" soup recipe for the Instant Pot (Red Lentil with Cauliflower and Indian Spice). It's not a "new" soup in any way, shape or form, what's new is that it needs directions for how to make it in the Instant Pot. If it works, of course I'll have to blog about it! Come to think of it, if there is anything that needs more recipes in this world, it's that Instant Pot . . .

I'm doing a heck of a lot of yoga right now and loving it. Blogging takes up an inordinate amount of my free time, time that if I am really honest with myself, I should have been spending exercising these past two years. I'm done deluding myself and I'm already back in an "exercise is my number 1 priority" mindset.

Read more �

Monday, January 20, 2014

raw chocolate mousse tarts


Whenever I have a beautifully ripe avocado, I make a simple raw chocolate mousse. And to make it a bit more exciting, I serve it in little raw tart shells. The beauty of raw desserts is twofold: first, they tend to be really satisfying as they�re packed with nutrient-dense ingredients; and second, their preparation simply involves a bit of whizzing and stirring. Unlike many raw desserts (which can be high in sugar due to the use of a heap of dried fruit), these tarts are fructose-free and low in sugar.

It sounds odd to use avocado to make chocolate mousse, but the avocado gives the mousse a smooth, silky texture without the need for any cream (not that I have anything against cream � I adore it � but this recipe is great for those who are lactose intolerant, and why not get a good dose of healthy avocado fats with your mousse?). The cacao powder and sweetener ensure it doesn�t taste like avocado. I�ve given approximate quantities for the cacao powder and sweetener, as you should adjust it to suit your taste and the size of your avocado.

ingredients

For the tart shells:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • � cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp raw virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 2 tsp rice malt syrup (optional) 

For the chocolate mousse filling:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3-4 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1-2 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • Pinch of salt

preparation

1. To make the tart shells, whiz the cashews, shredded coconut and cacao powder in a food processor until you get fine crumbs. Stir through the coconut oil and rice malt syrup (if using).  Press the mixture into your tart pans (I use 4 x 6.7cm mini tart pans with loose bottoms, which makes it easy to pop the tarts out of the pans once set). Place the tarts into the fridge or freezer to set.

2. To make the chocolate mousse filling, whiz the avocado, cacao powder, rice malt syrup and salt in a food processor until smooth. You may need to turn the processor off and scrape the sides of the bowl a few times to ensure everything is combined well.

3. Once the tart shells are set (i.e. hard), pop them out of the tart pans and fill with the mousse.

4. Keep the tarts in the fridge right up until the moment of serving, as the coconut oil in the tart shells will start to melt at room temperature.

Makes 4 mini tarts.

NB: I use a 20ml tbsp. If you have a 15ml tbsp (if you're in the US or UK), you can measure out 4 tsp in place of each tbsp. 




Another week

The weekend wasn't very successful with 3 walks - all under 3 miles - no training and too many carbs including mood enhancing ice cream and culminating in a Krispy Kreme lemon meringue doughnut (which weirdly gave me no gluten ingestion symptoms.
I've  been feeling quite down for a few days - fat, ugly, unfit, old etc etc etc... Just the result of being run down after the bug of last week combined with a long term hatred of the view in the mirror... I'm still congested and have a lingering cough that's really irritating now.
Another Sunday night with no sleep last night - I can't say how glad I am to  have driven up here for the last time. This weekend I'll be catching the train to visit my dad and the following Monday I'll be travelling approximately 12 miles to the office I worked at last. And that will also mean reclaiming the kitchen, regaining control of what I eat, and hopefully a proper run at being whole30 compliant (probably not the 1st weekend I'm back as my brother is visiting us and we'll be going into London for the day - but after that will do)

Food today:
Breakfast: 1 sausage, 1 egg, 2 rashers bacon and a slice of black pudding
Lunch: homemade cream of cauliflower soup (recipe in Well Fed 2) and Greek yoghurt
Dinner:
Snacks: 1 hard boiled egg, an apple and a satsuma

Saturday, January 18, 2014

salt + vinegar kale chips


I first came across the concept of baked �kale chips� in Sarah Wilson�s I Quit Sugar Cookbook. They are delicately crispy and a great vehicle for carrying flavours, like my favourite combination - salt and vinegar!

I won�t lie; kale can be an acquired taste. I know a lot of people who have tried store-bought kale chips (usually dehydrated) and the reaction has been �tastes like dirty cardboard�. If this is you, I would still say try this baked version. My boyfriend, who does not hesitate to tell me if something I cook tastes �too healthy�, actually loves these. It�s a great way to get some greens in. The only thing I would say is be careful not to burn them, as they will go bitter if overcooked. You want them to crisp up but not go brown. I find they only take 3-5 minutes, so keep an eye on them (I open the oven door every minute or so to check on them).

As far as salt goes, I use Himalayan crystal salt because it�s high in minerals. It sounds wanky, but it is much better for you than standard processed table salt. You could also use sea salt, if you prefer.

ingredients
  • Bunch of kale
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar)
  • Salt (Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Remove the stalks from the kale, tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl.

3. Drizzle the kale with some olive oil, a splash of vinegar and a good sprinkle of salt. Toss well so that each leaf is coated in the oil, vinegar and salt.

4. Place the leaves on the baking tray in one layer. If they don�t all fit in one layer, do them in batches (if you pile them on top of each other they won�t crisp up).

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 3-5 minutes until just crispy, but not brown.
























Friday, January 17, 2014

Healthy Hair on Youtube: EClark

So, I had to find out who the beautiful natural behind all these photos (on pinterest, on hair care sites, etc.) is.  Well, her name is Ebony Clark.




She has gorgeous natural hair that she has been growing for up to nine years.  She also does fabulous and creative styles with her tresses.  Check out her hair story below and her YouTube channel!

Study || Olive Oil, Antioxidant Power, and Skin Protection


A 2000 study suggests that topical application of virgin olive oil after UVB exposure can reduce UVB-related skin tumors.  The thought is that the antioxidant power of the oil is responsible for this benefit.  (Extra virgin olive oil is said to have a "potent antioxidant effect".)

SOURCES & OTHER READS:
PREVENTATIVE EFFECT OF OLIVE OIL AGAINST UV-INDUCED SKIN CANCER (2000)
PREVENTATIVE EFFECT OF OLIVE OIL AGAINST PHOTOCARCINOGENESIS (2000)
VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AS A SKIN PROTECTOR (2009)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Home again

The cold is now an annoying persistent cough and bunged up nose so I'm feeling virtually human today - almost, as I can still only breathe through my mouth. Which is fetchingly adorned with two enormous cold sores as a result of the dryness and chapping caused by non-stop nose blowing. I'm so sexy I have to beat the men off with a club.

I was happily free of carb craving today, and I also avoided feeling too bad after my overindulging yesterday - even the non-gf fish & chips didn't affect me apart from being such a big portion that I felt stuffed.
I'm working from home tomorrow so today I had the joyfulness that is working a full day before driving 145 miles home mostly in the dark. I'd be a massive liar if I said that I like days like this (next week I'm back to see my dad and then on my last day I'll work Friday morning in the office so it's the last time I'll be doing it) and it always leaves me knackered, so once I got home I really didn't want to do anything except collapse in a big puddle on the sofa. Instead we went out to wetherspoons to eat, got rained on (hard) and then went straight to bed - which is why this didn't get posted yesterday.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: 'fajitas' - spicy pork, salad & stuff served in a wrap - then unwrapped & dismantled before eating.
Dinner:lamb rogon josh with rice (so not grain free) and beer..
Snacks: Greek yogurt, cashews

Healthy Sweets for My Peeps. The Epic Vegan and Mostly Whole Foods Dessert List.

Hello! Long time no blog post.

Yes, I know, it's so cliche. The blogger who apologizes for not blogging enough, but somehow I feel the need to do it. I'm so sorry.

I'm going to be saying that a lot this year. Shifting priorities, evolving realities. It is what it is.

I wish things could be different. And that's not b.s.

But here I am right now, working on this blog post that is months in the making. The one that I promised you so long ago and never finished. But suddenly I need to finish this. No other blog post is more important. LOL.

You see, on Facebook, I was putting out there my struggles with food, particularly with non-Vegan, highly caloric, sweets that are a regular part of my work environment. I'm sure that I'm not alone! And we were "discussing" strategies for resisting treats and developing a strong resistance muscle to tempting foods that are not a part of our plan.

My 2014 strategy is to remember that the eggs, butter and other animal derived ingredients are a product of systems that bring horrific pain to animals. That has helped me a lot in the last few weeks. My resistance muscle is slowly growing bigger again.

And then a few readers gave me the greatest idea: Stock the work freezer with my own healthy Vegan treats and never have to feel like I want to indulge in the unhealthy/non-Vegan treats again. Eureka!

Read more �

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

smoked trout with avocado + greens


This salad doesn't really need a recipe, but I love the combination of flavours so I thought I'd share it as a bit of inspiration. It's the kind of meal you can throw together when your brain has given up for the day (often at lunchtime).

I always keep a packet of smoked trout or smoked salmon in the fridge for quick meals like this. Smoked fish has so much flavour, so it's the perfect ingredient to make an otherwise boring salad tasty. It also adds a good dose of healthy fats and protein (useful for brain function, if you're having one of those days).

ingredients

  • 50-100g smoked trout (or smoked salmon)
  • Half an avocado
  • Various greens, such as a couple of handfuls of rocket or baby spinach and some leftover broccoli
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper

preparation

1. Grab the bowl you want to eat from. Scoop out the avocado, in chunks, into the bowl. Throw in the greens. Drizzle with some olive oil and a little pinch of salt. Toss to combine (with your hands - if you want to keep washing up to a minimum).

2. Top with the smoked trout and season with cracked black pepper.

Serves 1.

On the road to recovery

For the first time today I just feel like I have a cold, rather than hit by a superbug driving a train. It's almost pleasant. So I will endeavour not to be all moaning & whinging for today (while making no promises for tomorrow...)
I woke up this morning at 1:47 (you may have noticed that was the  time of my last post - I'd written it at a much more civilized time & then forgot all about it while taking a hot bath and attacking my blood blisters with scissors) but actually managed to go back to sleep and was so asleep - and so comfortable - I was really shocked when my alarm went off. For a change I have fairly quiet neighbors at the hotel this week so I'm not spending every night jumping awake every 4 minutes.
I hate to admit it but I went off the rails today. You wouldn't think it from reading my food diary but I've not had much appetite while I had the plague, but instead of making the most of the opportunity that offered I settled for grabbing anything that remotely appealed in the hope that it might taste nice enough to eat properly. Today my appetite was back - but mainly for carbs. I'd like to think it was my body demanding what it needed for healing but I don't think that's the case so I won't kid myself. I did use having been feeling so rough as an excuse to eat what I wanted though... It's not surprising I guess that that meant carbs;  I definitely find that eating carbs makes me want carbs, and the cold 'treatments' I've been using have had between 1 & 3 different types of sugar in them, so I guess once I stop feeling breathless eating meals (due to not being able to breathe at the same time as chewing, not because I'm too weak to lift a fork) I'll have to wean myself off the carbs AGAIN...

Food today:
Breakfast: sausages & bacon
Lunch: broccoli & bell pepper soup; breadless ham & cheese sandwiches
Tea: fish & chips Aaarrrggh why why why
Snacks: Greek yogurt, cashews, eat natural bar, snickers, wine gums...