Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Cups

When I first came to Canada I was convinced I hit a jackpot in respect to the country I decided to call my home. I still do, but for different reasons now – 16 years after I first set foot in this country than upon my arrival. Back then I marveled at the conveniences of daily life like the abundance of ready to eat meals, or the cheapness of processed foods and the ease at which one could  (and still can) avail of food at fast-food restaurants at a very small cost. 16 years ago those conveniences were extremely appealing to me because where I came from , even though they were available, not very many families could afford them – processed foods such as candy were only bought sporadically (usually on a payday that happened once a month), visiting a fast-food restaurant was only a special occasion thing and as for ready-to-eat meals in cardboard boxes – they were only slowly emerging at that time and had a very high price tag. So, all in all I had not to that point partaken in all the “eye-candy” nutrition that now all of a sudden was at my fingertips. And of course, I fell for those cheap conveniences – you can read about it more in my About Page, but I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next. Long story short – I’ve learned a lot about food in the past 16 years that now I chose carefully what I put in my mouth. That doesn’t mean I don’t like food or that I have some unhealthy relationship with food, if anything I’ve learned to understand food and nutrition better than ever before – I’ve taught myself about the dangers of malnutrition. And to me malnutrition does not only mean lack of proper food, to me it also means eating highly processed, fake foods. And this is why I spend time preparing my own food from scratch instead of going for the convenience of ready to go meals. Like I said I still like food and that includes treats  – that’s why, just like for my savoury meals I do not settle for store-bought treats. What you get from a wrapper is loaded with sugar and other additives that I would rather avoid in my diet. People who know me know not to offer me candy and we have an understanding that they can skip me when when they do their rounds offering people sweets. On the other hand, those who don’t know me, find me weird for turning down free candy. And I’m fine with that – the weirder the better. So, I came up with my own version of chocolates a while back that contains only the ingredients that I am willing to consume. This recipe was made for valentines this year – I guess I’m too slow for themed blog posts ;), but to have a lovely chocolate cup does not require that there be a holiday, does it? Hope you enjoy them nonetheless!

These beauties were so delicious that I almost felt guilty for indulging in them.

The ingredient list is fairly straight forward. If you don’t have vanilla powder on hand you can sub for liquid or skip all together. Same goes for Butter Rum extract – you can either use what you have or skip. I know Macadamia nuts are not a common occurrence in our households because they are quite pricey – so you can also sub. Those are not essential ingredients. So they can be replaced with something else or omitted altogether.

 

Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Cups
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 23
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 74
  • Fat: 8
  • Saturated fat: 4
  • Unsaturated fat: 3
  • Carbohydrates: 2
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 1
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 1
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Low Carb Sweets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Perfect treat that won't make you feel nauseous.
Ingredients
  • 80g Cocoa Butter
  • 50g Coconut Purée
  • 40g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 15g Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Dash of Vanilla Powder or Extract
  • Few drops of Butter Rum Extract
  • Stevia to taste
  • Macadamia Nuts or any other nuts of choice
Instructions
  1. Melt Cocoa Butter in a double boiler.
  2. Add Coconut Purée and integrate with the melted Cocoa Butter.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for Macadamia Nuts and mix well.
  4. Place a nut of choice in a silicone mold - I used a peanut butter cup mold, but any will do and fill up with the chocolate mixture to cover the nut.
  5. Place the mold on a cooling rack and slide into your freezer. I highly recommend the cooling rack technique, because otherwise you will make a mess trying to place the silicone mold into the freezer without stabilizing it first. It is rather flimsy.
  6. Leave it in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until chocolate has set.
  7. When fully hardened put the individual chocolate cups out of their molds and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

      I’m not sure how helpful my videos are, but these chocolates were so simple to make that it was a breeze to put together this little video. With the ease and really not much time put into making these I don’t see why anybody should settle for sugar laden factory made chocolates… Maybe I’m just an odd-one out – hell I know I am, but I like to know that I am putting only good quality ingredients in my food. Sure, it’s easier to pick up a chocolate bar at a grocery store, but it’s way more satisfying to make them myself 🙂 Enjoy and give me a thumbs up.

 

 

 

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Raw Vegan Chocolate-Goji Cookies

I will admit to being a bit of a snob when it comes to some dietary approaches. For example, I have always scoffed at such claims as Gluten-free, Vegan, Organic etc. I’ve always considered those labels just a money grab by big food companies who put them even on things that are inherently gluten-free just to be able to charge a premium for it. Just think about it, if water gets a label “gluten free” don’t you feel like you’re getting taken in? I do. So, I view products with these claims as gimmicks and if I want to make my meals follow a certain dietary approach I just make them from scratch instead of buying ready to go meals that supposedly are gluten-free, vegan or organic etc. Also, if you think that you are going to be healthier by following any of these “diets” think again, the gluten-free, vegan or organic versions of regular junk are still junk – they are just parading as better than the regular. This is not to say that if you really have a gluten intolerance, celiac disease or simply want to eliminate gluten from your diet because you believe eating gluten-free is healthier doesn’t mean you can’t do so, just don’t fall for the fancy packaged foods, because they are just as bad as the gluten variety.

I’ve mentioned in one of my previous blog posts that I draw my current inspiration from a vegan bodybuilder – as a result I inevitably ended up emulating some of her recipes. These are a modified version of her recipe and I can’t recommend them enough. If you are looking for an alternative to overly processed and sweet cookies that our grocery store isles are laden with, this is a recipe for you. They are a child’s play (literally) to make and you might be surprised how rich and decadent they are. If you do prefer a sweeter cookie you can make them as sweet as you like, but I opted out for very little sweetener. This way I was able to let the ingredients speak for themselves rather than making a sweet bomb.

Raw Vegan Chocolate-Goji Cookies
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 20.5
  • Serving size: 65g
  • Calories: 259
  • Fat: 19
  • Saturated fat: 2.6
  • Unsaturated fat: 12
  • Carbohydrates: 10
  • Sugar: 3.1
  • Sodium: 82
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 15
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: LCHF
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Decadent dessert to go with a cup of tea.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all the nuts, goji berries and seeds in a food processor and pulse until they are ground. They don't need to be ground extremely fine - pulse about 10 minutes. Not too long because you will turn them into a paste.
  2. Transfer your ground nuts, goji berries and seeds into a large bowl.
  3. Add melted coconut oil, nut butter, maqui powder, protein powders, lucuma powder and a few drops of stevia (more if you want a sweeter cookie)
  4. Integrate all the ingredients together.
  5. Add enough water for the dough to become slightly sticky - I think for me it was about 1-2 cups, but you really need to go by how the mixture feels and how well you are able to form your cookies.
  6. Weigh out about 65g of your dough and form into a cookie shape.
  7. Roll in some unsweetened coconut flakes and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  8. Transfer into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Notes
NOTE: As for my choice of protein powder that's what I had on hand so that's what I ended up using. Any protein powder will do - the ones I used are plant based, but if you prefer whey or casein you will be just as successful.

NOTE: The ingredients that are not easily found in the grocery store I personally purchased online (see links) but they are not indispensable in this recipe. They add antioxidants and minerals to my recipe but you can just as easily skip them with no repercussions to the recipe.

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Sweetener resolution update

My birthday marked exactly two weeks into my New Year’s Resolution to remove my dependency on sweeteners, which for a long time has been limited to SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia only. However, I started noticing that daily use of this sweetener caused me to want to eat more in general, regardless of my hunger cues – you can read about my reasons behind the need to scale down in my initial post. So if you are wondering how I’ve been doing with this, read on….

The day I committed to scale down on the treats and the following workweek was spot on, 100% void of sweet treats. Everybody I know has a hard time resisting treats in social gatherings, at work, at parties etc. and for me that setting is the easiest one to say NO to treats. Why? Because I come prepared : I know exactly what I am going to eat and how much – it’s in my lunch box. I’ve already calculated all the nutrition of my packed meals because I made them, so I know what went into them. However, if somebody brings in a dip and crackers to work or other sweet treats, I have no way of knowing how to calculate that into my day – even if I wanted to have some. That’s a bit extreme for some, I realise that, but if that’s what keeps me from indulging then I’m willing to make that work for me. During the workweek I behaved and did not indulge in any sweet treats during the day or at night. My challenges lie in the inactivity…

Think a relaxing evening with a loved one on a couch watching your favorite show or a Saturday afternoon lounging around the house or a lazy Sunday morning in pyjamas – those times are very taxing on my little brain. For some reason my hands keep wanting to bring treats into my mouth 😉 And that’s what happened the past two weekends – subconsciously I’ve planned out my meals for Saturday and Sunday that included my regular sweet treat – a big ass pancake for each night. So out of 14 days 4 of them I did include my sweetener 4 times to make a pancake, which I think is a pretty good start on my way to sweetness freedom. I know I can do better and in order to do better I need to remove the inactivity trigger from my life during evenings and on the weekends….

The fact that the last day happened to be my birthday and I became overcome with an urge to develop a new sweet recipe did not help at all! In fact, I may have overdone it on the sampling of the new recipe just a tad – but then again, birthdays only come once a year, right? Well, I think that mentality is what gets us in trouble in the first place – how many times have you heard your internal voice say: “This is going to be the last time I’m going to have some, because it’s *fill-in-the-blank-special-occasion*” ? I dare say a lot – I know I have justified an indulgence more than once in my life just because it was a holiday. So, I’m putting that mentality on trial along side the sweetener.

Having said that and having recommitted myself to get rid of my sweet tooth for good, I did end up with a bowlful of Coconut Chocolate Cups on my birthday, so I think it’s only fair that I share the recipe with you 🙂

Coconut Chocolate Cups
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: 30g
  • Calories: 231
  • Fat: 23.5
  • Saturated fat: 21.1
  • Unsaturated fat: 0.4
  • Carbohydrates: 4.1
  • Sugar: 1.8
  • Sodium: 8.1
  • Fiber: 2.1
  • Protein: 1.9
  • Cholesterol: 2.5
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Sweet Treat LCHF
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Watch out because you might get addicted to these - they are one of a kind.
Ingredients
  • 3 packages of Pure Creamed Coconut
  • 2tbs of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2tbs Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 15g Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 3tbs Coconut Oil
  • 10 drops of SweetLeaf Stevia drops
  • Extract of choice
Instructions
  1. Put the Pure Creamed Coconut in a double boiler and start mixing until you get a pretty runny consistency.
  2. Add 1tbs of Whipping Cream and mix - your mixture with harden a bit but as you keep mixing on the double boiler it will soften up again.
  3. Add Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil and Stevia as well as extract if you're using any. Mix well.
  4. Add the second tablespoon of Whipping Cream and mix well.
  5. At the very end add the Coconut Flakes and integrate them well into the mix.
  6. Pour out about 30g of the mix into a silicone muffin form and repeat until all the batter is used up.
  7. Place the muffin forms into the freezer to help set.
  8. When Cups are set gently take them out of their molds and place them in a container to store. I would keep them either in the fridge or even the freezer.
Notes
Note 1 : If you can't find The Pure Creamed Coconut by Grace at your local grocery store there is an alternative but it is somewhat more expensive. Nutiva has a product called Coconut Manna, which is a puréed coconut meat. A 425g jar will run you about 12-13$. The packets that I buy are 1.69$ for 141g. So when you do the math you're saving yourself a bit of change. My packets look a bit less fancy and you have to get your creamed coconut from a plastic bag, but at that price difference I'm willing to do some work.

Note 2 : I see people spending an extraordinary amount of money on cocoa powder and I just can't justify it when I know I'm going through so much of it - it is not an occasional ingredient for me. And to be perfectly honest I cannot tell the difference between the fancy cocoa powder packaged beautifully and enticingly and the regular store brand cocoa powder. And there should not be any difference because the ingredient lists the exact same thing. So I always opt for the store brand cocoa powder, but to each their own - any will do.

Note 3 : I found a nice section of very potent extracts at Bulk Barn and for this one I used a few drops of cherry extract. Mint would go well with these and maybe some heat in the form of chili powder. You could also sprinkle these with chipotle himalayan salt before you put them in the freezer to set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were very tasty – not too sweet, as I tried to hold myself back on the Stevia and they had a very mild coconut undertone. I enjoyed the shaved coconut flakes in them as well – nice texture addition. You could swap the coconut flakes and instead add nuts – I think whole hazelnuts would be great in these.

Hope you enjoy these little cups, don’t do what I did, though, because too much of the good thing isn’t that good.

I’ve put together a short instructional video to show how I usually deal with Pure Creamed Coconut – it took me a while to figure it out, but once I did I understood the ways in which I can use this product much better. Forgive the amateurish feel of my first real attempt at video making, hope you’ll enjoy it anyway 🙂

 

 

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Trail worthy Seed Crackers

I’ve been diligently working on developing trail worthy snack foods that will also fit into the type of foods I am willing to eat and I’m happy to say I’m finding ways of making this a success. I should also add that I have been slowly moving away from deriving my energy from carb sources and turning toward fats for energy – hence you will see more fat oriented recipes in the future. The reason for this is simple – I feel better running on fat rather than carbs. Carbs make me sluggish and make me crave more of them as opposed to making me feel satiated. Fats on the other hand keep me satiated  longer and I don’t get those common stomach pangs that you get a couple of hours after consuming a meal when you fuel yourself with carbs. The thought of being able to go without having to eat for longer periods of time without the discomforts of hunger is quite liberating, if you ask me. Hence these Seed Crackers are very high in fat. 

The idea of making my own Seed Crackers came to me when I spotted this bag at my favourite retail store –img_20160918_091012924_hdr-01 Winners.

Winners is a place where I go for a dose of things I can’t find anywhere else. I usually don’t bother with the Snack Isle and only scope the Spice Shelf of the Food Section –  as I consider the Snack Shelf nothing more than a glorified Candy Isle from the local grocery store. However, on one of my recent visits I found  this bag on the Clearance Shelf and picked it up to see the ingredient list – fully expecting to have to put it down. Often times, I will pick up a product just to see what’s in it and then promptly put it away because I deem it unworthy of my digestive system. 😉 However, this time I had to read the list twice to consider wether I wanted to put it back or purchase it. Have a look… these actually don’t contain anything that is bad strictly speaking – no questionable oils, no added sugars, just various seeds and grains :img_20160918_091028468_hdr-01

 

So I decided I’d give them a try for the sole purpose of trying to replicate them – because let’s be honest, I will never again find another bag of these at Winners and who wants to pay $4.99 (regular price) a pop for a bag this small? Not me.

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I took a serving of those crackers with me on a hike to Cape Spear Path and they were quite good! I would have preferred them to be slightly more salty and maybe have a spicy kick, but overall I did enjoy them. They were very light and quite portable.

So next time I needed some hike food I came up with my own version of these – I call them Spicy Seed Crackers. I have recently made a huge batch of them to be available when hiking happens:

 
Spicy Seed Crackers
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 37
  • Serving size: 10g
  • Calories: 182
  • Fat: 14.7
  • Saturated fat: 1.9
  • Unsaturated fat: 7.1
  • Carbohydrates: 7.1
  • Sugar: 0.6
  • Sodium: 198
  • Fiber: 4.2
  • Protein: 7.3
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Spicy Seed Crackers Recipe Type : Snack Cuisine: Hiking Snacks Author: Angelika Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 35 mins Serves: 37 These are crunchy and crispy little crackers, but what's most important they are quite suitable for taking on long distance hikes 🙂
Ingredients
  • 70g Pumpkin Seeds
  • 80g Chia Seeds
  • 72g Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 25g Ground Flax Seeds
  • 30g Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 5g Himalayan Crystal Salt
  • 5g Ground Pepper
  • 5g Garlic Powder
  • 5g Chilli Powder
  • 10g Tumeric
  • 5-6 Cloves of Roasted Garlic
  • 1cup water
Instructions
  1. Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add garlic and water and mix well.
  3. Set aside for 10 minutes for the chia seeds to absorb some of the water.
  4. On a baking sheet lined with some parchment paper spread the mixture evenly from edge to edge. You can use your fingers to do so or a large spoon. Make sure you spread the mixture evenly so that it bakes evenly as well.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes checking occasionally to make sure it's not burning up on the edges. You can also flip it half way through, but it might be difficult to do if the cracker isn't yet somewhat baked through.
  6. Remove from the oven and crack into pieces. I make them uneven, but you could score the raw mixture before putting in the oven and then crack them at the predetermined score lines for an even looking cracker.
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This is a double batch made of the above recipe and I am hoping this amount will last me quite a while – they are very dense calorically so you don’t need a lot to feel satiated – hence my serving size is only 10g.
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I have to say I think I really nailed it on the spice department – they are nice and salty and have a bit of a kick and of course plenty of pungent garlic in there.
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Such a delight to look at and eat of course.
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I decided I don’t care about the even size of these – they are meant to be more artistic, free flowing crackers. Evenness is overrated – just like the harsh, rugged edges of the East Coast Trail, these invite you with their varying forms 🙂

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Hope you enjoy making these yourself, as they are so simple even a 5 year old would be able to put them together 🙂 

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We’re getting duped

It boggles my mind how smart marketing can make us believe a food item is a healthy choice. Think about it; simple placement of the product in the store will lead the consumer to believe that it is in fact better than the same type of product that’s placed in an obviously unhealthy section of the store. Think Organic Isle sporting all the KIND type bars versus the Candy Isle with all the Snickers type bars. The obvious thinking from a consumer point of view will be to put Snickers type bars into the unhealthy category and the KIND type bars into a better (maybe healthy) category. But clearly, if you take the time to look at the contents of the KIND type bar you will quickly see that it does not differ that much in the nutritional breakdown from the obviously naughty bar. KIND is higher in fat whereas Snikers has more sugar added. 

BAR CALORIES FAT CARBS SUGAR PROTEIN
KIND 53g* 251 16g 30g 16g 4g
SINCKERS 53g 250 12g 33g 27g 4g

My verdict is that if I was in a dire need of food and all that was available was the choice between supposedly healthy bars and candy bars, I would opt for getting more fat than sugar and pick a KIND type bar to fuel myself. However, I will not be fooled into thinking that there is something inherently good and healthy about a KIND bar. It is for all intents and purposes a candy bar in my books – it has 4 different types of sugar added to it – hence it is a candy bar.

 

*Please note that the KIND bar is a smaller bar than the Snickers bar in weight, so in order to be accurate in comparing the nutritional value of both I adjusted the weight of the KIND bar to match that of the Snickers bar.  

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This is why it’s so difficult to figure out the healthy eating game these days

These days you don’t need to go to the library to seek information, you simply open up your computer’s browser and head to Google. You’ll get thousands if not millions of results on any given subject. Health and healthy eating being probably at the top in terms of how much we Google them. In a way it’s great, because the information is quick to find and very abundant. But on the other hand, there is a lot of misinformation floating in the virtual world, because everybody and I mean EVERYBODY can express themselves on the Internet. So you have to be extra cautious and use own common sense to discern what’s good and what’s bad. Some people prefer to seek the information on government regulated websites of various government agencies, like the FDA. In my humble opinion (and I can’t stress it enough that this is just my opinion and is not based on any research or study) this is not so good either. Let me elaborate.

kind

You might have heard of the big crackdown on a popular energy bar by the name of KIND by the FDA. Or maybe you haven’t. In a nutshell FDA expressed their disapproval for the KIND company using the word healthy to promote their energy bars. You can find those bars in the Organic / Health section of your store, so by default they are recognized by the consumer as a healthier version of a candy bar. Mind you, I would not touch the KIND bar with a 10 foot pole, but that’s not the point here.  The point is that FDA has it all wrong when they define what is healthy and what is not. They regulate what can be promoted as healthy and here are their criteria:

  • Have less than 2g of saturated fat (aka be low fat).
  • Contain no more than 480mg of sodium (aka be low salt).
  • Contain at least 10% of the DRV of Vitamin A and C, Calcium, Iron, Protein or Fibre.

To an average consumer this sounds about right. Fat is bad, so a healthy product should be low in fat. Salt in your diet is bad too, so it’s a no brainer that if a company promotes a product as healthy there should be minimal salt in it. That’s what we’ve been fed (excuse the pun) by organizations such as the FDA! Notice though, that in their criteria for healthy labelling they don’t include the content of sugar and its derivatives. So, by that logic, if a Snickers bar was low in fat and sodium and we pumped in some Vit A and C, Calcium, Iron and sprinkled it with some protein powder, it could potentially have a healthy claim written on it’s wrapper?!  Yet, a KIND bar that contains healthy nuts, hence making its fat content slightly elevated can’t be promoted as healthy. Like I said, I’m the last person to pick up a KIND bar in the Organic Isle of my grocery store – unless of course I’m going for a hike *wink, wink* – but I can clearly recognize the backwardness of the FDA’s definition of healthy. Healthy is what grows in the ground, period. You don’t need to measure its health claims, because you know that a carrot, a tomato, a green bean, an apple, a potato etc. are all good for you.   

Are you still puzzled with the whole FDA’s “healthy” criteria issue? Let me go on then. Fat is not the problem and neither is salt. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, I highly recommend reading :

  • Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig,  
  • Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes,  
  • The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz,
  • Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger.

Or watch That Sugar Film that I have blogged about before. 

And the list can go on of authors and scientists showing us that it’s not the fat or salt that are the villains here, but the sugar! 

 

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Is Social Media making us fat? If so, go make some Coffee Vanilla ice-cream fluff:)

IMG_20150813_191758There are very few of us around who don’t have accounts on social media. Even if you despise the idea of it, you belong to at least one of them. You might not be using it, but you’re “on it”. However, most of us use social media, we do it so that we can keep up on things that interest us, keep in touch with friends and family etc.. I use it to keep up on fitness and nutrition related subjects, I follow/subscribe to fitness and nutrition writers and other enthusiasts that I deem might have something interesting to say on these subjects.  

So what do I get out of social media? Mostly, good articles, books to read, other people’s experiences and let’s not forget good recipes. Now, before I get to those good recipes I have to mention the plethora of misinformation out there. You’re thinking “duh!”. Right? Yes, I know this is not any sort of revelation. Everybody knows that you need to be very cautious out there in the virtual space when you go on researching any subject. But let’s take an unsuspecting overweight person who has just decided to get fit and do something about their eating habits.

Before the internet era you’d probably have to go to the library or a bookstore, or maybe you’d seek help with your physician or other such professional. Today, your first point of information is the internet. You’re browsing facebook, twitter feeds and instagram and all of a sudden you realize that you can follow all sorts of people with pretty, delicious looking food on their instagram feeds. Not only that, but they also sport pictures of their physiques and you realize they all look better than you and you put 1 and 1 together and the next thing you know you’re assuming that these people eat all this delicious food and they still manage to look this good!!?? Hey, maybe there is hope! You can be skinny and eat your cake too! So you dig deeper.

You are now looking up certain tags on IG because you’ve acquired some knowledge and you know where to look. Before you know it,  you have found the latest craze that seems to be making people take selfies of themselves because the craze is supposedly making them look good. It’s called “If It Fits Your Macros” aka “IIFYM”, some call it “Flexible Dieting”. All you know, is that these people claim that you can and should eat candy and sweets that you love so much and still be able to look good. The proponents of this diet say that you don’t have to give up the foods you like to be fit and healthy. In fact, in order for your diet to stick and be sustainable (oh it’s a big word out there!) you need to eat what you like, as opposed to all that boring broccoli and chicken!! You come to the conclusion that these people must have it figured out (hence all the selfies) and the more you think about it the more it starts to make sense. It is quite sustainable and manageable to eat the foods that you enjoy, rather than the ones you don’t enjoy, that’s not rocket science. It’s easier to stick to it if you can eat candy all day and surely you will fall off the wagon if you have to eat the same boring veggies and lean meats. The question is : “Can it really be done?” Eating crap and looking good, that is? You try it and you buy into this idea and wait for it to work. But what exactly are MACROS? Oh you don’t intend to dig this deep. It’s supposed to be easy, right? So, you keep eating all the snickers bars, pop tarts and ice-cream because all the most hard core IITFYMers are doing it and taking pictures of it, so it will eventually work, you just need patience.  

But what you don’t know is that there are actually very few of these IIFYMers that do it right or for whom this Flexible Dieting is working. Very few of them are ripped and those who use this principle correctly are not sitting on the couch eating candy all day. The ones that make IITFYM work for them do it smart.

Of course it’s not all bad news and there are things you can take away from them. That’s the beauty of social media, one person creates something and others can learn from it, change it, modify, redistribute it. But ultimately it’s up to us, social media consumers, to sift through, observe, learn, discern, do more research but never blindly follow. You have to use your brain.

So here is what I’ve taken away from all the hype; the recipe for the Protein Ice-Cream Fluff is by no means my invention. Different versions of it have beenIMG_20150813_191750~2 floating on social media, particularly on IG for a while. Take from it what you want or need. I swear by it for the sole reason that you can make it very low calorie for a lot of volume and at night I am a volume eater. Today, my basic recipe (ice-cream only) will only be 189cal! Now, what you put on top of it is what will bump up the calories. The one pictured is 350cal, but if you skip the cream cheese and the nuts you can bring it way down.

INGREDIETS for Ice-Cream Fluff:

  • 1-1/5 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop of Casein Protein Powder
  • 6g Guar Gum (some people use Xanthan powder)
  • Extracts of choice I used coffee and vanilla
  • 1 tsp of instant coffee

DIRECTIONS :
Process on high in a food processor for 10-20 minutes until it becomes fluff. Place in a large bowl and put it in the freezer for cooling.

INGREDIENTS for Chocolate “brownie” curtesy of Kalli Youngstrom:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Walden Farms Syrup of choice 

DIRECTIONS:
Mix everything in a small bowl until it becomes a paste. Pour into a nonstick frying pan and fry, breaking it up so that it’s not flat, but rather crumbly like a brownie.  

INGREDIENTS for cream cheese spread:

  • 30g light Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 5g protein powder
  • 10g Natural (no sugar, no oil added) peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 tbsp Walden Farms Syrup of choice

DIRECTIONS: 
Mix well. 

To assemble your ice-cream fluff you will take the ice-cream bowl out of the freezer after couple of hours. Put your crumbled “brownie” on top, smear the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie and add any other desired toppings. Mine had carmel Walden Farms syrup and 10g of dry roasted peanuts. 

MACROS:
350cal, 36p, 11c, 17f. 

EVOLUTION OF THE ICE-CREAM FLUFF:
This one kept growing like a building under construction right in front of my own eyes. I did not plan it this elaborate right from the get go.

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This is what went into the freezer with the thought that there will be some toppings in the form of the brownie and Walden Farms syrup.
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Here I added the brownie, Walden Farms and cream cheese mixture crept in.
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And here I decided that there is lack of texture in my recipe and if this was on Food Network’s Chopped Chef Geoffrey Zakarian would surely chop me 😉

So here you have it, my nightly shenanigans with food 🙂 

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Cheesecake – the one desert that never gets boring, but sometimes nearly kills your spouse!

noproteincheesecakeI’ve made dozens upon dozens of different takes on this classic desert. Here is one of them if you haven’t checked it out yet. Most times, to change up the flavour, I’ll play around with different extracts – think vanilla, red velvet cake, rum, banana, hazelnut etc.. But the bulk of my flavour usually comes from protein powder. Now, I don’t see anything wrong with adding protein powder to my dishes. If you do your research, you’ll find good, high quality protein powders out there. But I do realize that they are pricey and not everybody is willing or wants to spend the money on it, especially given the fact that cheesecake, in particular, already has an abundance of protein from all the cream cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt that you make it with. So for this reason, in this recipe I’ve skipped the protein powder. Well, ok, there is another reason…. The last time I shared my protein packed treat with my spouse I nearly killed him! It gave him such bad stomach that once he went into the bedroom after consuming my treat I did not see him the entire day! He had to wait it out and the cramps went away, but wholly guacamole I would not wish this on anybody! So in the spirit of not wanting to hurt my loved ones this recipe does not call for any fancy powders. In fact, it’s pretty darn basic: 

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

  • Beat the eggs with stevia and chocolate extract in a food processor or by hand.
  • Add Cream Cheese and slowly start adding the Cottage Cheese in small chunks. It’s important not to add the entire 500g at once, because it may break your food processor, it’s very dry.
  •  In the meantime melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Simply put your chocolate chips in a small bowl and place it on top of a pot half full with water so that the bottom of your “chocolate bowl” is only slightly touching the water. Put the whole contraption on the stove and set the element to medium-medium high heat. There is no need to boil the water. Once your melting process starts you want to stir the chocolate occasionally.  
  • Add melted chocolate to your cheese mixture, mix well.
  • You may choose to add other flavourings to your cheesecake, I added 1/4 cup Walden Farms syrup. You can use cocoa powder, but I found it unnecessary as the chocolate chips gave my cheesecake enough of a chocolaty flavour. 
  • Once everything is integrated pour into your baking pan, I opted for a round one, but it’s up to you.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until done. Don’t let it dry out too much. You want it to be moist inside.

NOTES:

NOTE 1:  When a recipe calls for chocolate I do one of two things: I either use the Baker’s unsweetened 100% dark chocolate or Krisda Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips. For this recipe I opted for the latter simply because it has some sweetness from stevia and as I am not using a whole lot of sweeteners in here I thought Baker’s unsweetened chocolate would make the cheesecake bitter. 

NOTE 2:  Dry Pressed Cottage Cheese is my latest find at the grocery store! I’ve been using it for a while now, so it’s not a new discovery. It’s cottage cheese in its purest form without all the additives and crap that you normally see in a tub of cottage cheese. It’s practically fat free, 50g contains 10g protein and 1.8g carbs. And it’s ideal for cheesecake, but you have to be careful while processing it. If you put the entire package of 500g in your food processor without any added liquids the motor of your machine might not be able to run at high speed and will cut out. I usually either add liquids early on or pulse instead of going full tilt. Once the consistency is silky smooth there is no danger to breaking your machine, it’s just the initial start.

NOTE 3:  Chocolate Walden Farms Syrup is a product that claims to be calorie free as it is sweetened with Sucralose. Now it’s entirely up to you if you want to include it or not as there is always an ongoing debate concerning Sucralose. I like to have some on hand, but due to the calorie free statement on the bottle it does get used quite liberally, so let’s just say it does not last 😉 

MACROS:
I usually weigh my finished product and track my macros by grams. So for example this entire cheesecake weighs about 880g. 150g, which is a very generous serving is 268cal, 22p, 17c, 12f. 

And there you have it, Chocolate Cheesecake that does not kill. Yes, I have shared it with Randy and I think he approved, however he did not ask for seconds 🙁

Bon Appétit! 

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Cheesecake leftovers

A while back I graced this blog with a Cheesecake recipe. Ever since then, I’ve been making a version of this cheesecake every so often. It’s so easy to play around with this recipe that I simply could not resist. Even after numerous comments from the peanut gallery about yet another cheesecake coming their way. Yet, each time the cheesecake seems to disappear from the fridge. Well, not this time. This time, I decided to repurpose it! It was some chocolate/espresso coffee flavoured cheesecake and I’ve been nibbling on the couple of slices that were still sitting in the fridge, thinking what could I do to prevent myself from inhaling the rest of it by myself….  then it hit me. It was Sunday and lunch time was slowly approaching and of course, Sundays are for pancakes. But I couldn’t think how to join pancake and cheesecake together, so I decided to make a crepe and stuff the crumbled cheesecake inside!  

My crepes are so very simple and foolproof! Essentially what you’re getting is an egg white omelette, but don’t tell anyone, because an egg white omelette does not sound as fancy, refined and professional as a crepe. Oh là là…

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So, your crepe will consist of:

  • 10 Egg whites (or more, depending who’s over for lunch 😉
  • 1 scoop of your choice of protein powder.
  • Whip the egg whites in a food processor, add the protein powder and mix together. Add any flavourings of choice.
  • Voilà! Scoop out enough to cover a non-stick frying pan and flip when browned on each side.

Roll it with some of your cheesecake crumbled on the surface and transfer the rolled up crepe to the pan to heat them up a bit. I served mine with a serving of PB2 (powdered chocolate peanut butter rehydrated, of course) and walnuts. This is so easy and extremely versatile. You could swap for other fillings. This is what I had on hand and wanted to use up. But you could just as easily whip up some peanut butter and jam mixture. You could even add pieces of fruit, berries, sliced apples, sections of orange, anything goes. It’s delicious and nutritious and takes no time to make.   

 

 

 

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Sunday Pancakes

It’s becoming a bit of a tradition that lunch time on Sunday means we’re eating pancakes. I’ve been on the protein pancakes wagon for a while now and have to say that it’s quite difficult to be creative when you try to eliminate completely one macronutrient. And I’m referring to carbohydrates, hence protein pancake wagon.

Somehow, even in my household carbs have been shunned as the unnecessary evil. I’ve learned to limit them in order to lean out. It’s not rocket science. It works. But you can only sustain this for so long until your body demands them to run. You can turn to fat and protein only and eventually adapt to it by running your body on fat, but why would you? Why deprive yourself of the yumminess of carbohydrates? And mind you, I’m not referring here to simple sugars (yes those are yummy too). I’m talking complex carbs like oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes etc. They are used by your body and brain for energy and they taste heavenly. 

These days there seems to be an opposite movement happening out there – a movement back to carbohydrates. There is of course the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) that seems to have started it all. People who follow IIFYM regard carbs as the necessary goodness in gaining strength and building muscle, but they disregard the quality of said carbs and all macronutrients and micronutrients. As long as it adds up to their macros, it’s all good. But aside from the IIFYM crowd there is also more of a main stream crowd of bodybuilders and gym goes who seem to be promoting more than before the importance of carbohydrate consumption to build strong, healthy physiques. It’s not anything new, it’s always been common knowledge that protein (re)builds muscle and carbs give your muscles energy necessary to lift heavy weights. It just seems so much more prominent out there these days, with people advertising their macros right, left and centre, almost bragging how they can eat 270g of carbs a day. And I have to say it’s somewhat intriguing. Especially when you view videos of these people lifting quite a bit of weight. So you guessed it, I’m adding the good guys into my diet, because I too want to partake in the deliciousness and hopefully gain some strength (which I’m happy to report is increasing!!)

So with that in mind I’ve created these little beauties adapted from Anna Sward‘s cookbook.

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I call them Chestnut and Protein Pancakes and here is what you will need:

INGREDIENTS:IMG_20150405_120925

  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 scoops of your choice of protein powder (I used Gold Standard ON Casein Powder for thickness)
  • 50g Chestnut Flour (See note 1)
  • 2 TBS Coconut Flour 
  • Water to play with the thickness of the batter. 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a food processor whip the egg whites until stiff peaks can easily form.
  • Add the dry ingredients and any flavourings you desire. I added couple of drops of liquid stevia but you really don’t need a sweetener, as you protein powder will already have some sweetness and the chestnut flour has an inherent sweetness to it too. I also added couple of drops of coconut extract.
  • Now add some water to bring the batter to the desired thickness. You want it runny enough so that you can scoop an amount without it being too gooey. But it’s entirely your call. Anna calls for milk, but you can easily accomplish with with water. 
  • Spray your non-stick pan with some coconut oil and ladle a tablespoonful for each pancake and flip once you get some browning achieved. 
  • Served with the toppings of your choice. 

This recipe yields 16 small pancakes and here are the macros. I topped mine with 15g of peanut butter, sprinkle of sunflower seeds, 5g of Krisda Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 50g of the Red Velvel Fluff Ice-Cream 🙂 

MACROS per 1 pancake: 39cal, 0.4f, 3.6c, 5.1p

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