5:2 fasting day #11 – catering for many diets [5:2 recipe: creamy broccoli and garlic zoodles]

Yesterday’s fasting day came and went without much fuss. I had a late coffee (nearly midday), drank a heap of black and peppermint tea, and didn’t eat lunch until 4pm. For dinner I tried a new recipe, and it worked out really well. In my household at the moment we’ve got three different diets to cater for, depending on the: 500 calories, LCHF (low carb high fat), and “22 year old boy give me carbs and meat”. So cooking on low calorie days tends to be a fun experiment in creativity! Here’s what everyone at last night:

  • 500 calorie: roast broccoli and garlic zoodles with creamy carnation milk
  • LCHF: roast broccoli, garlic and chicken zoodles with cream-based sauce
  • 22 yr old boy: roast broccoli, garlic and chicken wheat past with cream-based sauce

Putting these meals together is pretty easy – firstly I prepare my own sauce in a different pan to everyone elses. I then pull out the required sauce for the pasta eater once it’s cooked, then add the zoodles to the pans of sauces to cook. I reckon it only adds 5 minutes to the total cooking time.

broccoli zoodles

Creamy Roast Broccoli and Garlic Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 200 grams broccoli (35 cal)
  • 3 tsp garlic (15 cal)
  • 100 ml Carnation Light and Creamy evaporated milk (98 cal)
  • 1/2 cup Campbell’s Real Chicken Stock (20 cal)
  • 250 g zucchini, spiralised (35 cal)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees (ish). Place broccoli florets on tray (give very light spray with oil if you have the extra calories available). Roast until soft, approx. 25 mins
  2. Fry garlic on a medium heat in a pan until fragrant and soft. Add cooked broccoli and stir through gently.
  3. Add Carnation milk and stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for a few minutes until hot.
  4. Add zucchini into pan, stir through and cook until soft and hot
  5. Serve!

If you’re cooking for other diets:

LCHF: cook bite-sized pieces of chicken in the pan before cooking garlic. Remove the chicken and place aside, then cook the recipe as above. Use full-fat cream instead of Carnation milk. Add chicken back in when adding the cream and stock. Add a big handful of parmesan cheese at the end of the cook and stir through.

22 yr old boy: Cook required amount of pasta as per instructions on the packet. cook bite-sized pieces of chicken in the pan before cooking garlic. Remove the chicken and place aside, then cook the recipe as above. Use full-fat cream instead of Carnation milk. Add chicken back in when adding the cream and stock. Add a big handful of parmesan cheese at the end of the cook and stir through. Serve with sauce poured over the pasta in a bowl. Stir well.

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5:2 fasting day 6 – and my best dinner recipe yet

I’ve reached the end of my sixth fasting day (I didn’t blog on day five, oops). Today something weird happened – I didn’t eat all of the food I’d allocated myself. I’m yet to eat my allocated apple on any fasting day, so that’s not surprising, but today I found myself arrive at dinner time having not eaten my cherry tomatoes at lunch or my cottage cheese in the afternoon either. That, combined with the apple, left me with an uneaten 188 allocated calories. Yippee!!

I also decided to give a new dinner recipe a go tonight- I’d planned another stirfry, but decided I don’t want to eat that too much, lest I burn myself out and never want to eat it again. So tonight’s dinner experiment was a creamy lemon tuna pasta (zoodle pasta), and it was GOOD!!! Like really good. Not good for a fasting day- good for any day! It comes in at about 270 calories.

Creamy Lemon Tuna Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 250 grams zucchini, spiralised – 35 cal
  • 50 g onion, diced – 14 cal
  • 1 tsp garlic – 5 cal
  • Small can of tuna in springwater, drained – 78 cal
  • Juice of half a lemon – 13 cal (ish)
  • 1 tsp French mustard – 6 cal
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 50 g Jalna natural greek yoghurt – 65 cal
  • 1 tsp veggie stock paste (calories unknown)
  • edit: paprika, to taste

Method

  1. Fry the onion until soft. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft
  2. Add tuna, mustard, lemon juice, water, stock and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add yoghurt and stir through
  4. Add zoodles and stir through the sauce. Keep on a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the zoodles are softened and hot
  5. Taste, and add paprika and additional pepper to taste
  6. Serve!

fasting day 6

I forgot to take a photo – oops! So here’s my day’s calories instead 😛

5:2, fasting day #4 – and a dinner recipe

So here I am at the start of fasting day #4. When I say start, I mean it’s 12:47 pm and besides my morning coffee I’m yet to eat. I’ve just made myself a cup of green tea- the hope is that if I have that, I might actually put of eating for a little bit longer than usual. Ultimately I think it will depend on how my brain goes- I can fill my stomach with water, but if my brain fades then I’ll need to eat.

5:2 so far has been an interesting exercise in reflecting on my usual eating habits, and what my body wants vs what my mind wants. Do I, for example, need to be eating breakfast on non-fasting days? If I’m fine up until 12:30 ish without food, then is breakfast just extra calories I don’t need? My PT says no, I should be eating breakfast. A high protein breakfast at that. I’m not so sure – so I’ll keep listening to my body to figure it out.

So, day four of fasting, and I’ll be eating the same dinner for the third time. I’ve tried two different dinner recipes so far – I’m in search for some more! I need to refine my second one a bit before I post it here, but for now I thought I’d share my stirfry recipe that comes in under 250 calories.

raw veg

Ingredients

  • 90 g red/spanish onion, sliced into strips – 22 calories
  • 150 g (1 bunch) asparagus, ends trimmed off, cut in half – 32 calories
  • 150 g mushrooms, ends trimmed, cut in half – 38 calories
  • 100 g snowpeas or green beans – approx. 35 calories (depending on which ingredient you use)
  • 124 g zucchini, cut in half lengthways then into 1.5 cm chunks – 19 calories
  • 100 g broccoli, cut into small florets – 30 calories
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce – 4o calories
  • 1 tsp cornflour – approx. 36 calories

Method

  1. In a frying pan or wok, cook onion until well cooked (if you’ve got some calories to play with, use a very small amount of oil for this)
  2. When onion is well cooked, add all other veggies (if you prefer non-crunchy broccoli, add this first for a few minutes)
  3. Stir cornflour into a small amount of water in a glass, then add to the pan (this will give you a thickened sauce)
  4. Add soy sauce, and salt/pepper to taste. You won’t need much/any salt, but go to town with the pepper!
  5. When veggies are cooked to you preferred softness, serve.

This recipe makes two decent-seized bowls. Depending on how hungry you are, it’s more than one serve- have a play with it, and adjust according to what works best for you. If you’re not so much of an end-of-day eater, you could easily have half of this portion for lunch and half for dinner, freeing up extra calories for snacking.

Note: when I’m not fasting, I make this stirfry with chicken. I just brown off the chicken before cooking the onion, remove it from the pan, and add it again to finish cooking with the rest of the veggies.

stirfry

(excuse the horrible pictures, but it gives you an idea!!)

And on a side note….

A Beard Cake- there's red velvet cake under all that blue icing

A Beard Cake- there’s red velvet cake under all that blue icing

And on a side note, a complete tangent, a completely irrelevant vein, I just had to share- after more than 12 months offline, one of my favourite bloggers is back at it, creating beautiful cakes and beautiful blog posts.

Check out the work of Kaitlin at Whisk Kid. Her writing’s great, her photos are great (even better this time around, actually), and her recipes are great. Her recipe index is always the first I check when I’m in need of baking inspiration, and her Old School Red Velvet Cake is one of my favourite go-to’s (I’ve put a couple of pictures of my various versions of the recipe below).

A word of warning to Australian bakers though- Kaitlin’s recipes use American measurements for an American flavour, so you might want to alter them accordingly.

That’s all!

Whisk Kid's red velvet cake with cream cheese icing

Whisk Kid’s red velvet cake with cream cheese icing

Whisk Kid's red velvet cake with cream cheese icing

Whisk Kid’s red velvet cake with cream cheese icing

 

Getting my body and my bank balance into shape [raw Thai salad with ginger lime chicken]

thai salad 1

Raw Thai salad with ginger lime chicken

 

Happy New Year!!

I just had a sudden thought. I know I want to be better at blogging, I know I gain satisfaction from writing it, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs. So this year I will commit to writing at least one blog post a week. I just had a little panic when I decided I wanted to do this and realised it’s the 7th of January, but I guess that counts as being in the first week of the year. Having said that, I’m going to go by calendar weeks (Sunday – Saturday) so I guess I’m behind… whatever. We’ll all deal with it, I’m sure!!!

Well, the holiday season has come and the holiday season has gone. Yesterday was my birthday, which I tend to count as the official end of my annual food and drink overload, which means it’s time to start the discipline again. The wine and cheese has been wonderful, but it’s time to return to reality. Over the season I’ve gained some weight, which is unsurprising, but really the collateral damage is a lot less than it could  have been. I’m up about 1.5 kg, which puts me 7.5 kg (ish) above my goal weight. Blegh. But it’s ok- that goal weight is not exactly a “I must hit this weight!!!” goal- realistically I want to get about 5 kg off in the next few months to feel healthy again. I definitely don’t feel healthy right now. I feel a bit bloated, my clothes are tighter, and I don’t feel as strong as I did. thai salad 2My energy is down, but I know that’s all food related. I actually stayed relatively active across the break, doing plenty of hiking and getting lots of km under my feet, but it’s just not the same as doing the hard weights-based workouts.

I’ve also found that over the holidays my bank account’s got a bit unhealthy too- which is also not surprising. But when I think about it, there’s several things I can do that will improve both my own body’s health, and my bank account’s health at the same time. At the moment it’s not so much a “I could do this” as a I must do this”. So here’s what I’m going to be doing:

  • Cut back from 3 PT sessions a week to 2
    Having said that, I will not do this if it is going to compromise the exercise I do each week. Part of this action is learning how to self-direct and self-motivate in the gym, particularly on the weights floor. I still want to be doing weights 3 times a week at the gym and doing a bodyweight/cardio workout twice a week at work as an absolute minimum.
  • Cook/prepare more food
    I was getting really good at this for a while last year. It was saving me money, and it was helping me eat the kind of food I wanted in my body. But life got busy, and it all slipped, and next thing I knew I was spending upwards of $22 just on breakfast and lunch, and eating out way more than was reasonable for dinner. So that’s going to stop. I’m going to pre-prepare breakfasts and lunches again, and think ahead for dinners. If I don’t have the time to cook, I’ll make sure I’ve got food in the freezer.
    I’ve never done week-ahead meal planning before- I tend to be an on-the-day buyer and cook, but I can see how much that will help save money and food wastage.

On Monday night I cooked my first proper dinner for a long time. When I say ‘proper’, I mean a meal that I though about ahead of time, looked up a recipe for and didn’t just slap together. I think there’s a big difference between cooking to eat and cooking to nourish (both body and soul). I really enjoy cooking when I have the time and space to do it, and that’s what I mean by cooking to nourish. It’s cooking with some love in it (nawww, that’s a bit corny!!).

Anyway, I made the most incredible Thai salad/raw pad Thai that I found over at elsaswholesomelife. I’ve included some photos of my version here, but seriously go check out hers- they are much much prettier! Thanks Ellie for this great dish- I’ve just finished eating it for lunch, and I’ll be making some more tonight. This stuff is addictive.

Raw Thai salad with ginger chicken

For the raw thai salad check out the original recipe– I pretty much followed it to a T, although I used rapadura sugar instead of coconut sugar, and omitted the edamame beans in favour of ginger lime chicken.

Ginger Lime Chicken

  • 400g chicken
  • 1 heaped tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 heaped tsp crushed ginger
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and stir, then allow to marinate for as long as you can (half an hour minimum). Place chicken on a lined baking tray and discard marinade. Bake for 20-25 mins at 180 degrees.

Leftovers for lunch! Yum!

Leftovers for lunch! Yum!

Blueberry & lemon cheesecake (raw, vegan, gluten and dairy free)

It’s bcheesecake 2een a while since I posted here. Ages in fact!! There are things I want to write about soon (triggers, achievements, frustrations, hiking….) but I have no time right now, so keep an eye out soon. Or reasonably soon, at least.

Since I’m pretty busy today but I’m also super aware of how long it’s been since I wrote anything, I thought I’d do a quick hello. I figure that a picture speaks a thousand words, so here’s a couple of pictures of  a raw blueberry and lemon cheesecake I made recently. Being raw it’s vegan, gluten and dairy free too (although when I say it is what I mean is it can be. I used honey (not vegan) and roasted nuts (not raw), but it doesn’t really matter. I used this amazing recipe from Raw Food Recipes and I’ve gotta say- 6 and a half cups of nuts in one cake is a looooot, but most definitely worth it for the number of portions you get. The lemon in this recipe gives the cake a real “cheesecake” flavour- I served it to a room of dedicated non-raw eaters, and they all loved it.

Anyway, enough writing. Enjoy the pictures.

cheesecake3

Struggle town [recipe: raw vegan berry cheesecake]

raw vegan berry cheesecake

Today I’m in struggle town. I’ve been there since last night. I want the chocolate, I want the baked goods, I want the muffins…. I want it all. But I haven’t had any.

It all started with a dinner time meeting last night, which featured Dominos pizza. Luckily I knew it was coming, so I turned up dinner in hand (red miso beef with asian greens from Sumo Salad, in case you’re interested), as well as a pear for snacking on and some mineral water to stave off the inevitable soft drink cravings. You know what? I did really well. I ate no pizza, no soft drinks, and no lollies, and I really enjoyed my dinner. That’s not to say I didn’t stare at the pizza and everyone eating it, of course, but once I got over that hurdle I was ok.

I got home last night and my boyfriend (I haven’t introduced him yet. Let’s call him J) was hunting for chocolate. I keep a bowl of the sweet stuff in my cupboard just for him- it’s currently featuring easter eggs and half a packet of Smarties, which says something about how much I go for the easter eggs (they’re still there! From easter! In April! I haven’t eaten them!). So last night he went on the hunt for chocolate and when he pulled out the bag of Smarties, which I normally don’t like at all, I lost it inside for a little bit. I reeeeeaally wanted just one easter egg. One of those tiny tiny Cadbury easter eggs. Or a Smartie!! Just one! What harm would that do!?

The answer is: it would do a lot of harm. I don’t want to crack, because once I crack it will all come flooding out. The thing is I don’t need that stuff- honestly, if there’d been any fruit or veg in the house I would have quite happily snacked on that alongside J’s chocolate consumption. So lesson learned- I need to buy more fresh stuff to keep on hand.

One of my hobbies is cake making and decorating (I know, not very handy right now huh?!) but I also really love reading baking blogs. The women (yes, they’re all women) who write them have such wonderful stories to tell, and such wonderful recipes to share!! Whenever I need a recipe I will never open  a cookbook- I will always turn to these blogs for inspiration. This afternoon I’ve been checking out one of my long-time favourites, I Am Baker. I’ve been following Amanda’s work for several years now, and even tweeted her photos of my own attempts at her great creations on occasion. She’s always lovely, and very supportive. This afternoon however, all I want is to ingest about 50 of her Chocolate Zucchini Cookies. How good do they look?! Now that’s just not going to happen, so in an attempt to diffuse my craving for baked goods I’m going to share with you a recipe I tried for the first time last week, for Raw Vegan Berry Cheesecake.

Yep, it’s raw. Yep, it’s vegan. Yep, it contains no cheese. But it does taste like cheesecake, it is easy to make, it settles a craving, and it’s a great treat without feeling like you’re cheating. Give it a go. Enjoy it.

Raw Vegan Berry Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from RawFoodRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours then drained
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple/golden syrup (if using golden syrup it won’t be raw)
  1.  To make the bottom layer, pulse the walnuts and dates in a food processor until they crumble. Continue to process until the mixture is ground up and sticking together when you squeeze it in your hand- like a pastry would.
  2. Press the layer into the bottom of a greased or papered tray- I used a brownie tray. Put in the fridge while you do the next step.
  3. To make the top layer, blend the cashews, berries and oil in the food processor until very smooth*. Add golden syrup to taste (you might want more than a 1/4 of a cup- I think I used less)
  4. Pour the top layer over the bottom one into the pan, smooth over, and leave in the fridge overnight
  5. Cut into squares and enjoy!!

*Note: I was using a pretty weak food processor and you can see my top layer didn’t come out super smooth. That’s ok- it still tasted great, and wasn’t an issue at all. If you’re wanting a really smooth ‘cheesecake’ texture, make sure you use a great processor

 

P.S- Please please please forgive me for that horrible photo. I promise I’ll do better next time I post something 😛