Ginger slice (paleo style).

I made some rather amazing ginger crunch to see me through my refined sugar free week. I love experimenting and trying different recipes out, this one is a slight adaptation (basically just more ginger) from an amazing food blog Petite Kitchen. Taking time to make and have healthy (well, healthier) versions of our favourite treats is a great way to have the perfect thing on hand when a craving kicks in. I promise, a slice of this will 100% satisfy that sweet tooth and although (as with everything) it’s still a treat and wolfing down 20 slice won’t do you or your digestive system any favours, a few squares after your evening meal won’t have you feeling guilty at all.

GingerCrunch

The base:

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup dates (pitted)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

The icing:

  • 3 heaped tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp honey
  • 4 tsp ground ginger

GingerCrunch1

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Grease or line a slice tin (I just used a cake tin because I don’t have a slice tin).

I roasted raw cashews because I find most store bought roasted cashews come with heaps of added salt that is not to my taste. Feel free to do the same, or use store bought roasted if you like them, or hell even plain raw works too! Blend these in a food processor with your pitted dates, water and ginger (until it starts to look dough like).

Push this base mixture into your greased/baking papered tray (try to get it even).

Bake the base in the oven at 160°C until golden (this took me about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on yours as times can vary). Leave to cool completely.

GingerCrunch2

In pot on the stove, mix all of your icing ingredients (coconut oil, honey and ginger). Heat slowly on a low temperature until the honey is just getting soft (the coconut oil should be fully melted), remove from the heat and whisk. After a minute or two the icing should become thick (sort of like caramel like).

Spread the icing on top of your cooled base and pop in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours to set completely.

Remove from the fridge – slice and enjoy!

GingerCrunch3

Nb These tasty treats are best kept in the fridge and stored with baking paper to separate them (as they can get sticky).

Advertisements

My thoughts on a sugar free week.

Today I finished my personal ‘refined sugar free week’ challenge. Today I also have a horrid migraine. I think this headache is completely unrelated to my week, because I felt pretty much great the entire time. And I (surprisingly) didn’t find it that hard.

When I left you last I was preparing myself for work cake time and guess what – I survived! The remainders of the cake even sat there for large chunks of the afternoon and I was completely un-phased. Result.

TheCake

Over the next few days I noticed a couple of things. Malls are unfriendly places for those trying to make healthy choices. Shopping centres not only have a thousand sweet “bars”, it’s also chocker block with candy ads ready to entice. Also, movie theatres are hell. It smells like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and feels like every person around you is not only consuming sugar, but also staring at you while they are doing it.

Other than those two tricky situations I really enjoyed going off refined sugar.

The boy seemed intrigued by the idea too and we started switching out our usual bowl of fruit for breakfast for bacon and eggs (so yum) to reduce some of fructose intake.

I think I’m going to continue. I won’t currently follow dear Sarah’s 8 weeks detox plan, because I know I don’t respond very well to complete cut-off situations (I am just SUCH a rebel), and I have a few things coming up within the 8 weeks time period that I want to fully experience and enjoy (yes, I’m talking birthday cake).

994277_10152961215540370_269982188_n

But I am going to continue with pretty much completely cutting out refined sugar and playing with the idea of keeping my fruit intake to a couple of pieces a day. At the end of meals with out sugar I felt full and satisfied. My skin looks great (if I do say so myself) and I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would.

I felt like a stronger person for saying no to the things that weren’t helping my body this week.

My thoughts on Sarah’s book? It a good read, and I recommend it. I would personally prefer an entire chapter on eating out. The truth is, people do it a lot, and ensuring that the food you order is sugar free is near impossible. Maybe a guide to ordering? Or some great cuisine options? For me I also like to get down to the nitty gritty a bit more that this book allows. I’ve been substituting by reading “Sweet Poison” by David Gillespie – this is a lot more medical and in-depth, but it did help me to understand a lot more of what sugar has actually been doing to us as a society in the past few hundred years.

SugarPoisen

This sounds like I’m preaching and believe me – I’m not. I do whole heartedly believe that “all things in moderation” is a great, true and healthy motto to live by. I think the notion of swearing off sugar completely is unrealistic and unnecessary. But I do like knowing what I am putting in my body, I like being educated on what a piece of red velvet cake will do to me after I’ve demolished it. I think one of the worst failings of our society is that we simply do what we want, and think of the effect on ourselves or the people around us later. The people who write these books and follow these lifestyles aren’t crazy, they are dedicated to what they believe in. Like athletes who train twice a day. I myself, I don’t want to win a gold medal in a sugar free lifestyle, but I sure as hell don’t want to blindly wade through my life not understand what my body needs. I am looking forward to using the tools and information these week has given me to move forward and fold it into my everyday life.

GingerCrunch

On that note, tonight I am off for an Italian extravaganza with six courses of non-paleo sugar laden food that I will eat up, enjoy and not feel guilty about in the slightest. Because I gave my body this week of health – now I am going to give it a night of pure indulgence, and I can’t wait.

The science of shoes.

Runready

I went to Shoe Science last weekend, it turns out the boy has done himself an injury with all our running and needs to sort himself some proper (and slightly orthopedic looking) trainers. I thought I would head a long for the ride and get my running style checked out too. So, I nervously ran in front of the camera (not a good angle for anyone) and low and behold I was told I have the perfect run! It turns out that I have infact mastered the technique of running on the balls of my feet and effectively bouncing along. Also my shoes are great too (and they are seriously cute, unlike the boys new fluro green number). I run in Sketchers Go Run (but they have just released the Go Run 2 which I am sure is better, faster. stronger etc).

I’ve found that by having a style of running I wanted to achieve , when a run gets tough its what I focus on. If I focus on getting each step as perfect as I can, the run stops seeming so bad.

Maybe I’m becoming a bit of a runner.

Hey girl.

Every season, scratch that, every minute I fall in love with a fashion trend, and it’s usually one that would have those around me in stitched over how ridiculous I look. At the moment, that love is for leather track pants. I think the oxymoron of creating something so usually associated with hangover Sundays out of buttery-soft luxury leather is perfect. The gorgeous contrast of an oversized fit and elasticated waste band paired with pin-thin stilettos makes me all gooey and warm.

trackpantsphoto from carolinesmode.com

Alas, I need to end my love affair. Not only do I simply know that the folds of fabric that look amazing on catwalk models would drown me (and my small stature) out. I also know that although there are some damn good rip offs (see below), my heart is with the real deal and if I could coddle myself in the actual leather I wouldn’t be happy (aka high maintenance) – and I don’t have the budget for that.

leather

So I will just have to be content with Google image search and a Pintrest album devoted to my love. Very much like my endless bookmarks of Ryan Gosling memes.

What I wore today.

I got myself some new trousers this weekend! I paired them with a cropped jumper, ankle boots and a giant beanie to battle the cold.

WIWT   Trousers Topshop, Necklace The Warehouse, Boots Mi Piaci, Beanie Boohoo, Clutch Mooi, Sweater from the depth of my wardrobe and I have no idea where it cam from – sorry!

I quit sugar days one & two.

So, its two days into this no sugar thing.

Saturday went well but lunch presented a bit of a conundrum. You don’t really realise what could possibly be in the food you order at cafes until you are tasked with eliminating something completely. Did my grilled zucchini with tahini sauce have sugar in it? What about my grilled eggplant stack?? What was hiding in there? I think I was safe. But it did give me a new perspective on people who have to cut things out for medical reasons, especially sugar. That bad boy is tossed around every kitchen – and not just in desserts.

LunchSugar

Sunday was off to a great start, I even made some amazing sugar free ginger slice (recipe and info to come very soon). The troubles came when night fell (dun dun duuuun). I go to my parents for a big old Sunday roast every week, which I did, but we usually finish the night with a chocolate fest and I did notice that my small square of ginger slice looked a lot less exciting in the dim light of chocolate. My eyes were searching the chocolate bowl for my usual suspects (yes my parents have a chocolate bowl, plus a never ending supply of biscuits, coke and all things tempting and no, they are not suffering the consequences and are both annoyingly svelte). Despite the longing, I survived and walked away with my head held high and my tummy refined sugar free.

It is now Monday and I’m at work where a bag of rather amazing lollies was just shared around. On top of that, cake is coming out in 30 minutes and counting for a staff birthday. I’ve armed myself with another couple of pieces of ginger crunch to see me through this tough time.

Not quit sure how I will mange the week, but I know I will. (I have committed to it on the internet after all – that’s like swearing an oath right?). The thing that’s really baffling me at the moment is how anyone can resist this stuff on a permanent basis without completely uprooting their life (and being a bit of a weirdo)?

Mid-winter in Europe.

Celine1All images from Celine Rita’s facebook page

I might be a tad bias, hell I love the good old NZ, but we really do have some amazing (and slightly undiscovered) talents. One such talent is Celine Rita.

She is somewhat known, especially in the kiwi fashion industry, she has a small (but perfectly formed) following and has her own boutique (where she both sells and creates her piece).

In my opinion, she’s on her way to being seriously big because her clothes are simply beautiful.

I was lucky enough to head to her latest preview, for her mid-winter collection that was inspired by the designer’s trip to Europe last year. And with the lace, bright colours and heavy knits I loved that I could loose myself in something a little more appropriate for the weather outside.

My picks? Any of the leopard print, the cute bold print play suit and the forest green sumptuous winter coat. To check out the full collection go to the Celine Rita website here.

254193_10151543484799300_950368267_n 168292_10151543486344300_246994573_n 264518_10151543486429300_302050116_n 575833_10151543487564300_141763933_n 166008_10151543484924300_517335130_n

She quit sugar.

Today I woke up feeling awful. The type of awful I used to feel on Saturday mornings when I was 19. My head was pounding and my stomach was in knots. But last night I didn’t drink. In fact alcohol hasn’t passed my lips in almost two weeks. The reason I felt this way was sugar.

Last night, a friend of mine came over and we had a very tame Friday night with a heavy focus on chatting, reality TV and hot beverages. Sugar free hot beverages even. But after she left, with the taste of (faux) chocolate in my mouth I went crazy. We don’t keep much sweet stuff in the house, so like a freak I frantically searched the pantry (wildly throwing things around the kitchen). I came across a stash of cooking chocolate. I ate the lot. It was a sad affair, and I went to bed quite upset with myself.

The truth is I wasnt angry with myself for eating chocolate. I have, on the whole, a very healthy diet and a pretty active life style, so some treats every now and then is totally fine. I was angry that something took control of me to the extent that this craving did.

So, when on our usual Saturday morning wonder around town, I came across this book…

Image

I’ve only read a couple of chapters thus far, and boy does the idea of quitting sugar scare the shit out of me. But it also interests me. Even if simply cutting back lessens some of the ridiculous “need” I feel it would be good.

I’m going to start with week 1 of Sarah Wilson’s 8 week sugar-free guide. I know that in exactly one week the boy and I have a rather lovely dinner planned and I will not say no to the included dessert in that degustaion. So, for now I will do week one of the guide and review it once 7 days is up (over dessert), to see if continuing the journey is something I want to do.

Sarah suggests that week one is a simple cut back and trying to remove as much refined sugar as possible. So the rules I am setting myself for this week are:

1 No refined sugar at all. (This includes the hidden sugars you find in packaged foods.)

2 No agave. (Or processed sugar replacements.)

3 Fruit & honey are all good.

I should be OK as I don’t usually consume too much refined sugar, but a conscious effort to stop will be tough.

Especially on Monday – I know there is a rather amazing sounding birthday cake at work for our Deputy Editor’s birthday. I may have to experiment with some nice refined sugar free recipes to keep me at bay when the cake is handed around.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Maybe you should join me?

Playing with paleo.

Imageimage courtesy of instagram.com/glassons

So, I’m going to admit it right here on the internet, I’m a fad diet freak. I haven’t tried them all (that sounds like way too much hard work), but I have thought long and damn hard about each and every juice detox/cabbage soup diet/fasting scenario out there.

This time its different. (Or it will be exactly the same and in a few weeks you can all point and laugh at my foolish claims of being a changed woman).

A friend of mine at work has been talking about her Paleo lifestyle for a while, initially I thought she was nuts. How could a life with out pasta every day possibly be worth living right? Wrong! So it is with great ambition, much recipe research and the occasional argument with the boy that I have decided to play around with Paleo. I say play around because I am far too unorganized and uncreative (and a little unwilling) to commit to a full Paleo diet, but if I try to eat Paleo 70-80% of the time – well I think I will be doing pretty well.

So, “what is Paleo?” I hear you cry. Or at least I hear my mother cry it because I know the concept of no wheat, no grains and no legumes throws her into a food spin. So just for you mum….

Paleo is a healthy lifestyle that tries to emulate that of the Paleolithic era (think cavemen), efore the agriculture boom etc. It’s a great diet for people who have intolerances or suffer from upset tummies. For a more detailed breakdown on what you can and can’t eat check out Robb Wolf’s website here (paleo extraordinaire). Basically, eat unrefined, real, clean food and run like the wind from anything processed.

Get it? No, me neither really. But I recon figuring it out along the way is half the fun.

So whether you want to join me, or just laugh at my attempts, here is the start of a Paleo(ish) path with a handful of amazing cheat meals at great restaurants thrown in for good measure.

Is it spring already?

I wish. I’m sitting here in two layers of knitwear, a pair of stockings with leggings over the top and some old ski socks (I know, I’m so chic, I tell you ski gear the next big thing). Before you start sounding like my parents – yes I do own a heater, and no I will not switch it on, because my money is reserved for much more important things, like shoes. Not heat.

However, even in the freezing temperatures, I like the hope that a new season of collections brings. Whether it be Chanel or Glassons I get excited at the prospecting of creating a new me, a me who will be glamorous, effortlessly chic and warm.

One particular collection I await every year, with bated breath, is Ruby.

Coming up for us this spring, and hitting shops in the coming weeks (starting on July 13th) is Ruby’s The End collection. “Drawing inspiration from the film ‘Plein Soleil’, and recent adaptation ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley,’ The End looks at the brighter side of these films, focusing on the beauty of the Ingénues at the heart of these stories, and the colliding American and Italian worlds.”

RubyLooks1

RubyLooks2

Basically its beautiful. And relaxed. And it does exactly what spring collections should do, it whisks you away to a little holiday in your head, where you walk the streets of Rome in that exact full length shirtdress and bow detail ballet flats. I love the prints, the stripes and the colour choices that manage to be both bold a soft all at once.

And these are just my must-have’s. There is so much more to the collection hitting the stores and online. Plus their other in label Liam. Oh, and high summer pieces.

I can practically feel that heater money being spent already – best grab another pair of socks.

RUBY The End Sweater Dress

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.