Thursday, November 13, 2014

Juicy

Last month I had a terrible experience. I became abandoned and alone, in a foreign country, without my phone.

In Harrods.

Harrods is freaking enormous. I was terrified.  Jason and I became separated when the toy department lift doors closed, with me on the inside, and him.. I dunno, checking out the lego.

I went up a floor, came back down, and he was not there!  I thought the best idea was to stay where I'd last seen him. That got boring after 10 minutes, so I did something I haven't done in years: got a green juice at the nearby stand.  It cost a lot, but was delicious, and so, through my trials and tribulations, I rediscovered juice.  Then I wandered down the stairs and rediscovered Jase, he was kinda pacing around the building, rightly assuming that eventually I had to emerge from one of the (many) doors.  

Him: "what took you so long?"
Me: "I was getting a green juice"
Him: "....."

By a quirk of kismet, on our return to NZ, a friend mentioned he planned to offload a very nice, once-used slow press juicer (this one).  Now it is mine.

I've been making green juices (that one's got orange and dandelion inside, looks aliiiive doesn't it?):


I'm so enraptured with this thing. It can munch a whole unpeeled orange, accessing all the inflammation-bashing, cholesterol-balancing flavonoids that hang out in the skin. That's brilliant.


It can even get the juice out of ginger or turmeric.

and this stuff
adds a healthy citrus-y punch to black bean brownies. Here's the vegan version:


and non-vegan
Both are delicious and don't look so different in real life as they do in the pics. The next post (realistically, that's about 10 days away) will be a vegan black bean brownie recipe. It's been extensively tested and is nearly ready for release.

Juicing. Are you into it?  Scared of all that fructose?  Got any favourite juice recipes?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Spring Broccoli and Pomegranate Salad - Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, SCD, Pegan


Just want the recipe?  Click here for the printable version.

Non-organic broccoli is a personal compromise that I live with, quite happily.  My lame excuse is not the price difference of $1.45 vs. $4.99 or that broccoli is particularly low in pesticide residues (it's average) but because bug patrol does my head in.


By the time I've extracted any carefully hidden, sleepy caterpillars from my pricey head of organic greens, I've lost half the florets, 20 minutes of my life and any appetite for broccoli. Oh, and the will to live.

Anyway, whether you sympathise with my plight or not, please absorb the most important fact about broccoli: it's very good for you. It's full of folate, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, choline, vitamin C and even has a tiny bit of Omega 3. It will make you gorgeous (disclaimer: results may vary).  It's also packed with vitamin yum when properly prepared, and not boiled to the traumatising mush that may have wrecked your childhood. 

Omigosh. I just realised something.....

Buzzword alert~!  this recipe is pegan = paleo / vegan. Yes, it is a thing.


get it?
Spring Broccoli and Pomegranate Salad

For the Salad

1 Pomegranate
3 heads of broccoli (or thereabouts)
Almonds - raw, roasted, salted, activated, lazy, your call. The amount is also up to you.
Strawberries (optional)

For the avocado dressing

1 avocado
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra light olive oil (approximately)
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Method:

Cut up the broccoli into large florets and blanch them.
"How to Blanch Broccoli" from the Food Network .
Blanch the broccoli by throwing florets into boiling water for 30 seconds, then draining and pouring into ice water. When cool, drain and set aside. Keep in the fridge to keep cool.
I don't use 'ice water', just cold water.

Assemble everything in a salad bowl. If you have issues getting the seeds out of the pomegranate, lifehacker has you sorted with a pomegranate seed extraction video.  He does rant on a bit at the start, so I'd recommend skipping to 1.32 for the actual instructions.


Dressing:

Put the avocado flesh, cider vinegar, honey, salt and a little olive oil into the food processor.

Blend until smooth, then add more oil until the dressing is your desired consistency. Check the taste and adjust levels of vinegar, salt and honey until you really like it.

Stir the dressing through the salad. It is done.

This salad keeps for a few hours in the fridge, but is best when fresh.  Before adding the dressing to this one, I packed out some of the salad and sprinkled with lemon juice. That became part of the next day's lunch.

Any FODMAPs people out there that want to come up with a compliant dressing?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm Back!

The jetlag is gone, I've cleared my inbox of 20 bazillion invitations to become 'the man of her dreams' (really? do people fall for this?), submitted a bunch of uni stuff, shipped off a pile of orders to my oh-so-patient Sana customers, and now lunch is in hand and I have a little blogging time before settling down to a couple of hours thesis research.

Today I thought I'd just show you my lunch and then a few travel pics that haven't already made it to Facebook:


So, we were away five weeks. It was wild.  The schedule was:

Rome



and just to prove it wasn't all pizza...

Florence

That's me in the middle

Certaldo


This is where we stayed. It's an old monastery: Fattoria Bassetto

Milan
Having issues with the self-timer

Liechtenstein
Lots of time with our crazy family
France (Colmar)
Gorgeous little town, with some quirks


Germany (Rust - Europa Park)

We stayed in the park in a theme hotel (back in Italy? not quite)

That's me screaming my face off. Miss J is beside me with the face paint on.

Switzerland (Dornach)

The Goetheanum. A cool building designed by Rudolf Steiner. It was completed after his death.



Then back to Liechtenstein for a few days before jumping on a plane to England

Bath

Where there are, indeed, ancient Roman baths.


We did tea in Bath

Cornwall
And Cornish mead in Cornwall, cheers.

Lunch at the cutest little pub near Cothele House

Tintagel castle ruins (legendary birthplace of King Arthur)

Exeter

Very nice digs in Callington (Cadson Manor). This is a family home and the hosts were the nicest people in the world, also very good cooks.  You know it's greatness when the little tray of freebies in your room includes a pretty glass bottle of sherry, and two fancy glasses.

That's our hire car. I didn't want to give it back.

and back to London

I think everyone's seen London pics... here's something different: 
the smoothie stand at Camden Lock.

Any questions, comments, funny stories about what happens when you drink real Cornish mead? :-/

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hello from Europe 2

Well, the android blogger app, on which I just painstakingly tippy tapped the first version of this post, decided to discard the words and post only the pic...

So, as I was saying, Jason and I are currently wafting around Europe, seeing things and eating lots ;) I had planned to blog while travelling but my laptop did not survive the trip :( and blogging on the tablet is more than I, or anyone sane, can take.

Therefore, just like me, Fit to Blog is on hiatus until 25 October. If you'd like to follow along, please find me on Facebook (email sara.lake AT gmail if you can't find me).

X
Sara

Hello from Europe

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No-Bake, Vegan Chocolate Marble Cheesecake


Click Here for Printable Recipe

I really shouldn't use the 't' word, should I?  If I slip up again, it's best to remember that, in my world, 'tomorrow' might mean 'the next day' or it could be interpreted as 'sometime soonish'. Sometimes the requirement to make money just cuts into my blogging time (I know! So unfair...). 

I also took a night off to see The 100 Foot Journey, which is definitely worth a look.  A reviewer described it as 'feel-good food porn', and that's pretty accurate. The food shots fired me with a passion for French cooking, and Indian. Why did they have to ruin it with  *spoilers!* a depressingly predictable bit where the oppressed Indian boy gets propelled to greatness by a rich, white French woman (of course he did)?

Without further waffling on, below is the recipe for my Vegan Chocolate Marble Cheesecake. The next post is going to address how to fit such treat foods into a healthy eating plan. There is so much crazy around this issue right now, that it deserves a blog work up before my brain seizes from trying to process an unprecendented influx of irrationality.

For now, just let me confess that I do eat treats like this, about twice a week, smallish serving.  I love vegan desserts, but it's not for moral reasons. I personally think that vegan desserts are just the best. They deliver on taste, keep very well in the fridge or freezer, are often no-bake and easy to make, present few worries about food poisoning, and as a welcome side-effect, are often (but not necessarily) more healthful. Here ya go.

Ingredients: 

For the Base: 
1.5 cups almond flour
1 cup of pitted, chopped medjool dates
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp cardamom

For the Topping: 

3 cups of cashew nuts (soaked for 3 to 5 hours)
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
½ cup coconut milk or coconut cream
½ cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
 2 Tbsp Raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

For the Optional Ganache:

4 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or other preferred sweetener
1 tsp vanilla essence pinch of salt

Instructions:

For the Base: 

Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, salt and cardmom in a food processor. While it is running add the dates slowly, allowing each handful to be fully processed before adding another.

The base is ready when you squeeze it and it sticks together. Add more dates or a few teaspoons of water if not sticky enough.

Press the base firmly into the bottom of a springiform or silicone baking pan and set aside.

For the Topping:

Drain the cashews and blend them in the processor at a high speed until they are relatively smooth.

Add the coconut milk, vanilla and salt and continue to blend until the consistency is very smooth – like cream cheese.

While the processor is running, add the liquid sweetener and coconut oil. Blend until any and all nutty lumps are gone.

Drop large dollops of the mix randomly on the base Use half the mix.

Add the cacao to the remaining mix and blend. Drop the chocolate topping into the gaps left between the vanilla dollops, then swirl the topping exactly once with a knife.

For the ganache:

Melt all incredients on low heat in a saucepan then pour over the cake Freeze for at least two hours until solid, remove from the pan and let sit in the fridge for about half an hour before eating.

Nom, nom, nom.

Source

And here's a 'Berry Chocolate' version (just added berry powder and some fresh berries to the 'vanilla' part of the above recipe).





Saturday, August 02, 2014

Example Day - July (Weekend Day)

Middle of winter, glorious sunny day!  I just got back from a short walk up a slippy, muddy hill and couldn't feel better.  I hope the trees don't get confused and start to blossom.  Are they smart enough to realise this is an abnormally warm coupla days?  Nature can be whacky sometimes.

It's time for another example day.  The next one will be a working day, so you can see how it all rolls when I have to navigate the office.

Breakfast - Pancake with Berries


Pancake made with 2 eggs, a tbsp almond meal and dash of salt.

That's green tea in the cup. 

In order to get to the eating part more expeditiously, 
I tend to cook the pancake and defrost the berries simultaneously.  
Like so:

I sprinkled erythritol through the berries, but have in the past stirred some honey in.

Lunch - Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

This one came out of the freezer. Leftovers from a dinner last week.

The mysterious lump in the middle is a piece of poached white fish (terakihi).

As it didn't feel quite substantial enough, I added a tbsp of white rice left over from 
last night's Thai takeaways (it was a lazy Friday around here)


Mid-Afternoon

Green Smoothie.

Kale and WPC. Nothing else.
I'm not usually so virtuous on a Saturday, but, I felt the need for a little penance from last night. 
The reasons for this shall become clear momentarily.

Dinner - Apricot Chicken

The one hasn't actually happened yet (it's 4.30pm), so here's a pic taken previously 
and a link to the recipe.

And here's why I was slurping green goop, instead of munching my usual 85% Green & Blacks mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  

I've been working on a recipe for a vegan no-bake cheesecake and it worked out nicely, very nicely. It seduced me with promises of healthy MUFA's, cacao polyphenols and paleo-ness and then delivered with an explosion of flavour.

erm... did I just take 'food porn' to a whole new level? *blush*  


I'll share the recipe for this feisty beasty tomorrow.  You have been warned.  ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Random Acts of Real Life Eating 1

When browsing the blogosphere, it's quite easy to get the impression that foodies have it sorted.  Every meal is a well presented "event" and each snack a lovingly constructed work of nutritious art.

Real life is not like this.  Reality is not a scripted cooking show.  It's more like improvised theatre. You usually have to wing it. In fact, making good choices on the fly is an essential skill of staying healthy in an unhealthy world.


Much of the stuff I eat doesn't make it onto the blog. It's way too idiosyncratic, and none too photogenic. Not only that, but it's usually thrown together in a frenzy and scoffed before it crosses my mind to take a pic.  

Here's a (possibly disturbing) insight into my 'time to eat' thought process when working from home. 

... hungry! (stomach goes grrr.. grr..)

What shall I have? (looks in the fridge, sees the leftover bits of pumpkin pie cake that weren't pretty enough for the photoshoot).  That'll be fine.


But.. it needs something else.  What?

I feel like...... (opens the freezer), ah! Blackcurrants! Yay for antioxidants.

..but they're frozen. :(

What's the quickest way of defrosting them?  Frypan. There we go.

Better put some water with that or it'll burn.  I wonder what it would be like with chocolate? (throws in a couple of spoons of raw cacao powder).

Mmmm.... probably too bitter now (add a few spoons of erythritol.. taste test... good... dash of salt).


Ok, good enough.

Splat.


And now it needs some.....? (looks in the fridge).  

Yogurt.  Buffalo or Sheep's Milk?

Buffalo is already open.  That one.

 Done.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Protein Pumped Pumpkin Pie Cake - sugar-free, grain-free

I read a study recently, where hidden veges were used to secretly get people to eat fewer calories.  They didn't even know that their mac'n cheese had been spiked with vege pulp. Sneaky little researchers!

Today's recipe is a little more overt than that, because the main ingredient is clearly pumpkin, and it's called "Pumpkin Pie Cake", which is a glaring clue. However, it's still a deceptively tasty way to get a healthy dose of veg.  


Although grain-free and sugar-free, this recipe does contain protein powder.  That's not exactly ancestral nutrition, but if you are ok with it, then it's good way to pump up the protein of baked goods.

In this 'pie-cake' thing, I've used Sana unflavoured protein, but you can make it with a vanilla flavoured one and leave out the erythritol and stevia. The result is usually firmer as the thickeners tend suck up a bit of moisture. The vanilla recipe was in the last Sana newsletter.


Ingredients

I've linked up the Sana products below, but you can use whichever brand is available, just check for additives.  The stevia particularly is quite difficult to get without freeflow agents added.

3 cups loosely packed pumpkin flesh
1 cup unflavoured whey protein concentrate
Optional: 1/4 cup coconut flour (this makes the cake much more firm)
3 eggs (or 2 eggs, 2 eggwhites)
1/4 cup erythritol
1/2 tsp stevia (no fillers!)
cacoa nibs to sprinkle on the top
tsp cinnamon
tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Method

Mix everything in a food processor.  I have noted that, if you leave out the coconut flour, and aren't afraid of raw eggs, the mix makes a nice eggnog... just saying.

Pour into a baking pan (I used a square silicone one), sprinkle with cacao nibs and bake for 20 minutes at about 160C. When done it should be bouncy to the touch.

Turn out while still warm and let cool on a rack.

I often eat this for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt, but it's also good for mid-afternoon or post-dinner munchies.

Ok, back to the kombucha! I'm experimenting with a 'second ferment', this time by adding kiwifruit for 24 hours after removing the 'shroom. It adds a certain exotic fruitiness.  I wonder what else would work?  Berries?