Friday, September 27, 2013

I Quit Sugar :: Week 6

Wow, great week! There's not a lot to say about week 6 as it was much like week 5, in that my cravings have pretty much disappeared altogether. Although, I did have a moment when I walked past Donut King and thought it would be nice to have a donut but, otherwise not tempted to fall into old habits. 
At this stage in the program we are able to reintroduce a bit of fruit into our diet which has been nice. Still keeping it to a minimum though. 
I'm half way through week 7 now and when I got on the scales for a weigh in (a few days ago) I was a little chuffed to discover I had lost 2 kg since the first week. I had also lost 2 1/2 - 3 cm off my bust, waist and hips! Did not expect that. I haven't even been exercising, and I didn't think I had a lot of excess weight to lose. But apparently I did, and just by eliminating the lollies and chocolates, and high fructose foods I have dropped in size. Hubby had also lost a few kilos!
Anway, will leave you with the above yummy sugar free pancakes that I [partly] devoured the other day. Recipe was taken from Sarah Wilson's 'I Quit Sugar' book. You can also find it on her website www.sarahwilson.com.


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Apple Tarte Tatin

For our 'French' date last night I made Apple Tarte Tatin for dessert. I'd never made nor eaten this dessert before and I was delightfully impressed by its simplicity and flavour. I was also shocked at how much sugar is required! SO sweet! Not only because we're on detox but also because we want to limit our sugar [fructose] intake, I used Stevia, instead of the usual castor or brown sugar. I also did some experimenting with quantities but this just wasn't the dessert for escaping 'sweet free'.

Ingredients
40g butter
1/2 sheet puff pastry
1 granny smith apple
4 tbs Stevia
Coconut cream to serve.

Method
Preheat oven to 250°C. Melt butter. Grease 2 ramekins with a little of the melted butter. 
Halve the apple and place cut side up in each ramekin. 
Sprinkle 2 tbs stevia over each apple and drizzle the remaining melted butter over each one. 
Using base of ramekin as a guide cut 2 circles from the sheet of pastry.
Place on a baking tray and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15 mins or until bubbling, and you notice the sugar caramelizing.
Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 230°C. Place a pastry circle over each ramekin and tuck down the sides using a spoon (so that the pastry hugs the apple). Return to the oven and bake for a further 8-10 mins or until pastry is golden.
Turn out onto plate and drizzle with any caramel left in the ramekins. Serve with some cream, ice cream or, as we did, some coconut cream for a healthier option.
Makes 2.
Note: I experimented a little with the Stevia/sugar quantities. I made two tarte tatins using 2 tbs (which we had for dessert) and then I also made one with 1 tbs and another with just 1/2 tbs. The ones pictured above were made with 1/2 tbs and 1 tbs and as you can see, they aren't overly caramelized. They were nevertheless sweet enough! But the tarte tatins using the full 2 tbs did taste better, and was the right amount to form a good caramel.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recipe :: Lemon Chicken Roast

Thought I'd share my chicken roast recipe with you all... Because it is so delicious! It has a subtle lemon flavour with a crispy skin and is tender and moist on the inside. Very yummy!

Ingredients

1 whole chicken
1 lemon halved
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Paprika
Rosemary

Method

Preheat oven to 220°c. Rinse chicken under cold water, including cavity. Pat dry with a paper towel. Squeeze one half of the lemon over chicken and rub into the skin. Put both halves of the lemon into the cavity along with the garlic and tie legs together.
Rub a small amount of oil into the chicken and season with paprika, rosemary, salt and pepper. In a normal oven cooking time should probably only take an hour but our oven (our dodgy oven) takes about 1 1/2hr to do a roast. I also rotate the baking dish half way through.

I bake veggies in a separate dish and, lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and chilli flakes. I leave them to bake for as long as the chicken takes but cover with foil for the first half of cooking time.

I make gravy using the juices and it gets a lovely lemon flavour.



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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Date Night Project :: Charcoal Sketching

On our most recent date night on Monday just gone, we made homemade pizzas together and we also  sketched/drew head portraits of each other with charcoal. 
The pizza was delicious as always and, thanks to a fellow blogger we were let in on the the secret to making a professional pizza! It worked a treat. Can't believe I never realized how it was done?!

Upon finishing our yummy pizzas, in a candlelit setting on the balcony, we then pulled out the sketch pad and charcoal sticks. We probably spent about a half hour sketching each other before revealing our finished artwork to the other person... we had a good chuckle! Neither of our drawings looked like our subject but it was a lot of fun. I have displayed our portraits in a couple of square frames.
The picture in the middle was a little creation of mine. Created by 'smacking' a bunch of kisses onto some sketch paper (possibly a little odd)! I plan to hang all 3 frames horizontally above our bed. This was a great date night project... give it ago!

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I quit Sugar :: Week 5

Week 5 was great! It was the first week since starting the detox that I didn't feel like I was struggling with my cravings. Up until week 5 I had this horrible feeling [and desire] that I was going to have a huge chocolate and lolly binge as soon as the detox ended. It sounds terrible but I was even looking forward to the finish line and then having a 'pig-out'!

Week 5 and now part way into week 6 I am feeling great, particularly this week. Although my cravings were diminishing last week I was struggling with headaches and some nausea but, having read the relevant chapter in my I quit Sugar book, it mentioned that some people at that point in the program would start to feel unwell. Its your body going through withdrawals and its a good thing! 
I'm also looking at the 'sweets' in the stores and on marketing material and thinking how disgusting (I can't think of a better word to best describe my feeling) it is, as oppose to wanting it. I just don't have the desire to eat them. ITS FANTASTIC!
Below is the 'Sweet Green Meal-in-a-Tumbler' that I blended up yesterday, its really yummy.
Sweet Green Meal-in-a-Tumbler
Recipe from 'I Quit Sugar' by Sarah Wilson



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Friday, September 13, 2013
So I've been really loving all the 'flower crowns' out there. They are delightfully pretty and feminine. But it's kind of an indie look which I don't tend to pull off. It's not really my style. I'd love to give it a go though and thought I might try my hand at making one. They are so easy to make! 

You will need: 
Pliers
Faux flowers of your choice. $2 shops and spotlight stock them.
Head band 
Floral tape (opt.)
Floral wire (you won't need this if your flowers are wired)

If your faux flowers are wired just coil each one around the headband in an arrangement of your choice. Trim stems with pliers if need be. If your flowers aren't wired, hold flower at the stem in desired position and begin wrapping the floral wire around both headband and flower. 
Continue adding flowers until you get the desired look. The floral tape can be used to cover any 'mess' or sharp ends. Alternatively you could hot glue some felt on the inside to give a neat finish.

Click here for some other ideas.


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

DIY Candle Jar


Pour some soil into a medium size jar. Use enough soil that you don't have to reach too far down to light the candle.
Sit a tea light candle on top of the soil, pushing down slightly to position.
Tie several rounds of string around the jar at about the level of the soil so that it hides the tea light. I used cooking twine but raffia would look  great. 
Add a few simple faux flowers and your done! 
I doubt anyone would need instructions for this but thought I'd share. Its so simple and pretty.



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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Quit Sugar :: Week 4

Hmmm... well... on Saturday evening I went out to dinner with the sisterhood girls and we dined at the 'Buzz Cafe Restaurant'. Such a lovely restaurant with mellow music, soft lighting and a gorgeous view overlooking the water. It was so lovely to be dining in such wonderful company with great food and a relaxed atmosphere. 

However, the night took a turn much unexpected when all six of the girls I was dining with suddenly pounced on me like a cat to wool, and they tied me to my chair! Before me they set the most amazing desert I'd seen, it was some kind of almond chocolate panforte with a dollop of ice cream and a drizzle of strawberry syrup. And well, they gang fed me! Spoonful after spoonful, it was just dreadful and it tasted awful.

Okay so your after the true story right? Well yes I did eat an amazing desert and no it didn't taste awful. We had all ordered our meals and all but two meals were brought to the table. Myself and a friend didn't recieve our meals with the others and after some time we brought it to the waitresses attention. By now the other girls had just about finished their meals. The kitchen staff had made an error and they were very apologetic and gave us all a free desert to make up for it. Hmmm, yes, what was I to do? Everyone was getting a free desert off the menu because I and another didn't get our meals on time and, I kind of felt like I deserved the desert. The best part was that it was free and the worse part was that I broke my detox with no good reason. Theres no excuse and I am feeling quite guilty, so much that I wasn't even going to mention it on here but I wanted to continue to be transparent on this journey of mine, and now you know my weakness! My detox continues.

Coco-nutty Granola Recipe by Sarah Wilson. Great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
On a better note, I have otherwise been enjoying not having so much junk food in my life. As I've become more aware of the sugar content in foods I've also realized how much rubbish I had been filling my body with. On a much too frequent basis. It is such an awesome feeling to have done away with my habitual sweet-snacking. I usually make healthy substantial dinners and I can't believe that I was counteracting that by having a packet of lollies here and there! I mean, what was the point of making sure we have healthy meals if I was only going to eat lollies and chocolates in between?! 
Thanks to the detox program I've been able to replace my unhealthy snacks with some wholesome ones which still taste great!
Above is a picture of some Coco-Nutty Granola that I made using [homemade] activated nuts. Granola is great for breaky or morning/afternoon tea. I like to serve it with natural yogurt and, have found it to be quite filling (hubby thinks not so much). 

Now you're all probably wondering how hubby is going with the detox? Well he was doing great until Fathers Day came around and, he decided to eat the tasty celebratory foods offered at morning tea after church... he caved. I had actually thought he was doing away with the detox but on Monday he was back to the 'sugar free' ways. I didn't realize until a few days later. He's not much of a sweet tooth nor a sugar addict so even if he had discontinued detoxing he would not have hindered me. I'm a hindrance to myself as you've learnt already! 

Poached Egg with Bacon. A yummy sunday breakfast.


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Monday, September 9, 2013

September Date Nights

Its been over a month since we introduced date nights, and it's been really great to have that one night of the week set aside just for each others company.

We didn't have date night last Monday because we had family visiting from interstate but here is a whats on for the next 4 weeks.


2nd sept - no date night, family visiting.

9th sept - poker night *wink wink

16th sept - We're going to make pizza together and then draw portraits of each other (good luck to me, I  can't even draw scribble).

23rd sept - A 'French' theme night. We going to cook a French dinner and watch Amelie, a french movie.

30th sept - Cheese and wine on the balcony. Discuss date night ideas for the next month.

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Are you up to the challenge?

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I posted a pic of some Batic fabric given to me by my brother. I was asking if anyone had any ideas of what I could make with it, other than using it for its usual purpose as a sarong. A fellow follower suggested making a 'pirate scarf'... that's right a pirate scarf, my thoughts exactly! 

I honestly don't think I could pull off the somewhat indie look but I feel a challenge worth attempting coming on. I suggested the style dare in a comment and in reply it was suggested that we take on this challenge for Sundays church wear?! Okay, so now it's not just a pirate scarf but I also have to sport it at church! I'm not going to use my new Batic fabric but I will take on the challenge. Anyone else up for it? 
Below are some examples of how a 'pirate scarf'is worn, for fashion not costume. 
On Sunday I will post my look and I'd love to see yours too! Post to Instagram and use #mamaessyfashiondare.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Quit Sugar :: Weeks 2 & 3

Okay, here I am finally with an update on my "I quit Sugar" detox. On Sunday just gone I completed week 3 and, my it was tough! Week 2 was still in the 'cutting back' phase and I was still allowed to eat sugar in very small doses but then week 3 came along and it was 'cold turkey' time. No fresh or dried fruit. No juice. No muesli or muesli bars. No jams. No condiments containing sugar eg. bbq and tomato sauce. No flavoured yogurts. No honey. No chocolate, soft drinks etc. And basically nothing with more than 6g sugar per 100g.

It was particularly tough because I had my parents and one of my brothers make a spontaneous visit to Darwin and, it gave me that holiday feeling. 'Holiday feelings' tend to come with celebratory food! I wanted to chill out with my family with chocolates, cake, lollies and a bottle of soft drink. Its what you do right?! I was strong enough to resist but I did make a few mistakes along the way.
In the [welcomed] chaos of having 3 extra people bunk in our 2 bedroom unit I ate a few fruit bars and didn't even realize till days later that I ate them - and wasn't supposed to. I also ate a bit of carrot which I later found out is high in fructose. Not really the kind of sugar I'm addicted to and need cutting back on but I did feel like I had let myself down a little. Oh and I've also had an issue with low milk supply (breastfeeding) so along with a herb called 'Fenugreek' (which by the way is a miracle worker for getting your supply back up!) I also took Sustagen which contains a fair bit of sugar. At this point I had to weigh up what was important and of course it was Samson's well-being. I contemplated whether there was even any point continuing the detox if I couldn't do it thoroughly?! I felt like I had failed what I so desperately wanted to achieve.
The two foods that have really helped me through my challenging moments have been natural yogurt with cinnamon and bacon and egg cupcakes
I came to the conclusion that surely it would still be better for me to continue even if I couldn't follow all the rules. The purpose for me doing the detox program was to break my addiction with 'sour worms' and 'chocolate coated licorice', and to replace them with healthier snacks. Although I've made 'Sustagen' the exception I have been keeping to the rules of the detox and I am feeling proud about that.  I will no doubt do the detox again somewhere down the track.

Something else that has also been challenging is peoples negative responses to others wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. I've discovered that there are some narrow-minded and condescending people who think its ridiculous to cut back on sugar. I don't believe I've pushed my 'detox' ways on others, and other then here on my blog I don't tend to talk much about it, or at least not in a way that should make others feel bad about their own eating habits. So its been very frustrating that people will try and bring you down with negative comments, which anyway reads to me that they need to make you look bad in order for them to make themselves feel/look better. I am part way into week 4 and I shall not be moved by negativity!



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