Gluten Free Berry & Pear Loaf

Yummy! Moist! Easy!
I had a bunch of pears that I’d originally bought for our guinea pigs, but they weren’t eating them fast enough!
This is simple & doesn’t take long to throw together. 
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Dice up 4-6 pears & 8-10 strawberries & microwave for two minutes.
In a separate bowl mix 1.5 cups of gluten free self raising flour, a quarter if a cup stevia (or sweetener of your choice), 1 egg & two tablespoons of fat free Greek yoghurt.
Add the warmed fruit to the mix and combine.
Place in a loaf tin & drizzle some strawberry jam over the top. 
Bake for 40 minutes.
Cool & slice & serve with butter or jam.

This is great as a treat and makes about 10 large slices at 150 calories each or 75 calories per small slice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These need only three ingredients and are quick and easy!

You will need- 
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp PB2*
60g dairy free chocolate chips

Melt the PB2 & Coconut Oil in a microwave dish or jug.
Place the mix into large or small patty pans- I did a few of each. You should be able to fit a tablespoon or so per two mini patty pans.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Heat the chocolate chips until melted.
Remove peanut butter bases from the fridge and dollop enough melted chocolate on top of each base.
Place in the fridge until hardened.
Peel off the patty pans & enjoy!
I added a pecan to a couple as I had no peanuts in the pantry.
This mixture should make 12-15 mini cups or about 4-6 large sizes.
The mini Peanut Butter Cups are 65 calories each with 5 grams of fat.

*PB2 is powdered peanut butter that can be mixed with water to make Peanut Butter. It’s much lower in calories than regular peanut butter. It’s only available online ( try iHerb.com) at this stage. You could use a standard peanut or nut butter for this recipe.

Dairy free chocolate chips can be purchased at Coles in the health food section.

I only used dairy free because I prefer to eat Vegan.

Bean & Vegetable Soup

Easy, quick & healthy!

I love a good soup. 
Any kind sits well with me & my belly.
It’s easy to throw a bunch of vegies together to make any type of soup.
I always have a base in the freezer which I use when making risotto or soups.
It adds extra vegies & all that good stuff to meals without the added sodium you’d find in stock mixes.
For a basic base-
Boil 4 cups of water with 3 cups of chopped veggies.
I like to use carrot & broccoli.
Add a little salt or soy sauce.
Once cooked, cool the base & then blend. This is almost a soup on it’s own but very watery.
This is great to use when making risotto too, but I like to use onion, celery & tomato when specifically using it with rice.
To my carrot & broccoli base I added a can of four bean mix, chopped broccoli, diced white sweet potato, zucchini, carrot, celery, capsicum & spinach.
You can add herbs & spices or even a bit of pasta. I sometimes add half a cup of couscous which thickens the liquid and makes it a little more ‘hearty’.
The Wee Man enjoyed this for dinner too with toast soldiers. Soups are so versatile & I plan on making a lot more coming up to the winter season.

Daylesford

Spent a couple of nights away at Willow Brook Cottages in Daylesford. 

A quaint little place with six self contained cottages with a fireplace & cosy verandah. Perfect accomadation for what we needed but also very run down & actually for sale.
Perfect weather for our first day but woke up to a chilly foggy second morning.
Very small, cute town with a couple of awesome antique stores. Lots of vintage items to purchase from shoes to toys to old oil cans.
We visited the lovely Himalaya Bakery for a Vegan breakfast. They’re the first place I’ve found that actually use soy ice cream in their smoothies. Although I opted for a Tofu Scramble & fair trade organic soy chai latte. 

Tofu is light in calories & can be used as the high protein part of a meal. It absorbs any flavour and can be used in sweet & savoury dishes. Silken Tofu is usually used for a scramble as it’s airy and jelly-like, more ‘eggy’. 
Himalayan Bakery had a very good range of vegan, gluten free & dairy free options. Meals, cakes, milks & breads.
After our late breakfast we drove to Hepburn Springs & went on a few small walks & then on a hike through the Hepburn bush trails. 

It was a very pretty track that took a good hour to complete, we even spotted an Echidna.

It’s been a good couple of days away, good food & plenty of walking. Was the break I needed & felt good to just have points of just doing nothing & watching movies. 
We relaxed at night in front of the fireplace with wine & snacks.
We had packed fruits, low calorie dinners & protein bars to keep our energy up

We had a mix of Lara Bars, Luna Bars & Quest Bars. It’s always better to snack on fruits & veggies though, only opting for protein bars if you’re looking at replacing meals or pre workout.

My good friend Jess came away with me so it was a great to spend more than a couple of hours on catch up & a break for her too.

Banana Blueberry Bread

This is a gluten free healthier version of a traditional banana bread. It’s lighter in texture & very moist.

You will need:
2 cups gluten free self raising flour
4 tablespoons sweetener
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix these ingredients together.

In a separate bowl mix:
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 mashed bananas
I used vegan cream cheese & milk.
Just to make it dairy free.

Blend.
Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add a handful of fresh blueberries and half a sliced banana.

Refrigerate while heating the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Bake for 40 minutes.
I unfortunately don’t own a loaf pan so I baked it in a slice dish.
Cool on a wire rack.

This makes 18 small slices at 88 calories each.

Lemon Slice

 
This turned out better than I expected and is super low in fat & calories. 
Next time I will aim for a more biscuity base rather than using the Weet Bix. 
The cereal gave the slice more of a soft texture than a crunchy base.
You will need:
100 grams of stevia/equal/Natvia- whatever is your preference 
20 grams almond meal
6 Weet Bix biscuits
1 container of yoghurt- I used Chobani Greek yoghurt
1/2 a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
100ml of hot water to dissolve 2 tablespoons of gelatine
3 tablespoons butter, melted – I used Nuttlex

Begin by crushing up the Weet Bix and then mixing in the Almond Meal. Add the melted butter and once thoroughly combined, place in a small tray. Push the mix down with a fork to create a base.
You could always use crumbled biscuit such as Marie or Nicè for a crunchy base- this will add calories though.

Refrigerate for two hours so the base is firm. 
To make the lemon filling blend the yoghurt with the lemon juice. I used an electric mixer to get a lot of air into it & create a more fluffy texture. Add the sweetener & continue to beat for a good few minutes.
Dissolve the gelatine in the hot water and once all dissolved add to the yoghurt mix.
Remove the base from the fridge and pour on the lemon mixture.
Refrigerate for another 2 hours & then remove from pan and cut in slices or squares. 
There are many options with this recipe, it could be made gluten free, easily made vegan or flavours added or removed.
But for 39 calories a piece- I was able to cut 20 pieces from this recipe- it has enough flavour and taste to be a satisfying sweet treat.

 

15 Kilo Weightloss

So I’m nearly there.

I’ve lost 15.2 kilos with 4.8 kilos to go to reach my weightloss goal.
It wasn’t easy. But it was at least achieveable & I didn’t need to sweat it up at the gym or perform a zillion crunches.
I just looked at the situation logically.
How does my body feel and/or react to certain foods. And what exercise do I actually enjoy?
With the aid of a FitBit I was able to track my calorie burn progress on a daily basis & work out my intake from there…
It’s a simple equation that makes sense but acting upon it & sticking with it is the challenge.
For example- 
Burn more calories than ingested.
I think the downfall to this is the food choices. A food may be low in calories, but is it nutritionally beneficial?
Is it going to be satisfying?
Is it going to be enjoyable to eat?

 

Being creative with foods & trying new meals can make eating more of an event than something that needs to be done.
My purposeful exercise was a minimum of a one hour walk per week. Sometimes I couldn’t do this but I planned my times carefully and tried to attempt this a couple of times a week. Nothing strenuous or involved, an almost leisurely stroll listening to some upbeat tunes.
I also aimed for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day- easy when working in retail, but was actually easier than I first though when on my days off.
I also had a 2,000 calorie burn per day.
All this was measured using a FitBit that I religiously wore daily. It’s a fantastic, high tech pedometer which also tracks sleep patterns, weightloss & stairs climbed.
Foods that were high on my priority list were fresh fruits & vegetables. When I couldn’t purchase something in particular- tinned was more than suitable. I made a lot of salads, and ‘tasting plates’- a bit of this & a bit of that, anything from croutons to salmon to dip to prawns. 
I ignored Fat Free & Diet labelling & instead actually read the nutritional information, focusing on the calories, fat & salt & sugar. 
Calories are a measurement of energy, literally instructing the buyer on how many calories to burn to create obsolete calories.
Desserts & sweets were still on the list & I just came up with better, healthier versions of recipes & favourites.
Substituting ingredients for others, & making smaller portions meant feeling satiated and also successful.
I weighed weekly to keep tabs on my progress but mainly used my clothes & general feelings of wellness to judge how I was progressing.
Breads & pasta made me feel heavy & bloated so rather than cutting these foods out I had smaller portions & allowed them a couple of times a week. Bloating & general ‘blah’ disappeared & whether it’s a sensitivity or intolerance I felt much more in control & balanced.
After about six months my skin was better, bloating & hunger was under control & my clothes were loose!
I was fitting into pre pregnancy & pre any where close to pregnancy clothing. 
My meals are now lighter- in calories, fat & salt, much more nutritionally balanced & made from scratch. Plus cup cakes, slices & brownies are still on the menu.
I’m still focusing on my steps & burning calories but it’s become second nature & counting calories are not such a strict priority.

I’ve been enjoying, vegan & vegetarian meals, the occasional meat dish, lots of seafood & many varieties of fruits & vegetables. I’m hoping to lose a small amount more & really focus on being nutritionally balanced, fad-free & comfortable when eating foods & not worrying about bloating or lethargy.