Goodbyes, celebrations and the tart that has it all.

Tart

The other week the boy and I had a party to celebrate our impending departure. We filled our house with beautiful fresh flowers, picked up some incredible cheeses (the most important guest at any good party) and had bubbles all round. It was a beautiful night with beautiful friends.

Tart2

You know what else was beautiful? These super cute mini “cream tarts” I made. They were paleo (duh), raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free orange and rosewater tarts – who knew one tart could be so many things!

Recipe makes 12 mini tarts

Ingredients

Almond Case

  • 1 cup mejdool dates
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup almonds

Cream Filling

  • ⅔ cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • ¼ almond milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp rice malt syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp rose water essence

Instructions

Get started on the nutty casing first by adding all of the ingredients into a blender and processing until roughly combined and sticky. I like mine to be fairly chunky and “rustic” (aka lazy), but finer is just as good.

Once you’re done with the base, line a mini muffin tray with glad wrap and split your sticky mixture into 12. Push your 12 pieces down into the individual muffin moulds until a tart case is formed. (You could also opt for larger muffins and this recipe would make 6.)

Then pop your cases into the freezer to set, whilst you get on with the cream.

Tart3

For the orange and rosewater filling, put the soaked cashews into the blender and process for a few minutes. With the processor still running, add the juice of an orange, almond milk, rice malt, rosewater and vanilla. Keep all this yummy-goodness blending away until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.

Once you have the desired consistency for your cream, pull the tart cases out of the freezer and fill each tart to the top (with the cream). Then put these into the freezer for a few hours to set. Your tarts can be kept in the freezer until serving (let them defrost for 10 minutes or so for cream to soften).

We popped some raspberries on ours, but anything you fancy could go on top. Seasonal fruit? Hell yeah! Toasted nuts? Yum! Cacao nibs? Why not! All of the above? Even better!

Enjoy.

Tart4

Advertisements

Kicking the habit: snaps for Ally.

SUGARFREEweek2

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have some amazing people around me. In the wake of my sugar detox decision, friends and family have been supportive (the boy has even started to drastically cut back too). There have been many questions about the reasons behind my latest life choice, yet I haven’t come across someone who is strongly against my decision. (Side note; having said this there continues to be a murmur of confusion. People seem baffled at the idea of what I can eat if I am cutting out sugar. They seem fixated on the list of no-go foods and blind to the variety I actually consume, they think I’m living on a diet of steamed veggies. Believe me confused ones, there is a lot more on my dinner plate than that.) Over a rather lovely girlie catch up the other night, my dear friend Ally, who has chosen to take this journey with me, told me of her first experience of and hater. Someone who effectively told her off for her choices, simply because they didn’t agree. By the sounds of Ally’s accounts, this hater didn’t even come from a place of education and was blindly wading into an argument without having read the books or done the research Ally had. Well that’s just kind of like doing a university project without and references – instant fail. It is also kind of like a pretty crap move on the friend front.

Luckily, Sarah Wilson (author of I Quit Sugar) has an entire chapter on what to do when you come across a creature like this. She writes rebuts to the most common arguments like “but sugar is natural” (she suggests we come back with “indeed it is, but so is petroleum and arsenic”). Or “cutting out fruit? That’s ridiculous” with arguments like “fruit contains fructose. And fructose is fructose no matter what package it comes in”. It’s also worth noting that fruit is not demonized by Sarah, it is merely avoided in the detox period to help you and your body re-balance, and also to remind yourself that, although nutritious, fruit does contain sugar and should be munched on mindfully.

SUGARFREEweek22

The argument that most people have being “we need sugar” is a little hard to retort with a one liner. But what I will say is this; Make sure you know what sugar you’re talking about. Table sugar is made up of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Glucose is in everything we eat. It’s pretty much energy. It is what our body and brain run off. We clearly need that, and as long as we are eating we are getting it in some form or another. The sugar being avoided in this detox is fructose. It is found in a lot of things, but most notably in table sugar, HFCS (mostly in America), agave, honey and fruit to name a few.

SUGARFREEweek24

The truth is, as with everything, moderation is the key. But the unfortunate reality is that we are not being moderate with our fructose intake. We are over consuming by the bucket load. It’s fine to have a small hit of fructose as much as everyday, but modern foods don’t give us that. Look at that label on your cereal/porridge/tea/tinned tomatoes/stock/everything you eat in a day. Seriously look at it. And before those numbers fade into your brain, absorb that 4.2g grams of sugar is 1 teaspoon. Visualize it. Count up through out the day how much sugar you are consuming. And yes the teaspoons in that orange juice counts just as much as the in that coke. Moderation is the key and it is why I (and many others) am starting to take the control, the moderating, into my own hands. If we want to eat sugar, we want it to be on our terms, with our knowledge and to be 100% aware that it’s occurring, so we can stand up and count it. We don’t want it to be sneaking in the side door cloaked with words like “all natural”.

SUGARFREEweek23

Sure this detox is extreme, and I won’t pretend it isn’t. But surely the fact that sugar in our diet has increased drastically in the last 100 years (the average person in the US consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year–compared to just 7 ½ pounds consumed on average in the year 1700. That’s 20 times as much) is far more extreme.

SUGARFREEweek25

All above images from pinterest.

Basically this post is a rant, a rant to people who think that the best way to approach other I Quit Sugar peeps, attempting to make steps to a healthier life, is to put them down.

So, mostly for the haters, but also a little for the confusers who only hear the cant’s and ignore the cans, I’m going to document everything I eat this week. In fact, I declare next week – food week! I will give you the inside scoop on how I like to pre-plan, what goes into my weekly trolley and what wonderfully scrumptious meals I get to eat.

I can, hand on heart, say that I’ve never eaten so well, so varied and so creatively. With the boundaries I’ve set, and the experiments I’ve started to do with my diet in the last few months, it has really challenged me to think outside the square. To push my go-to dishes and to create wholesome and nutritious food. And I’m loving it.

SUGARFREEweek23

I dare you to look at my diet over the next seven days and tell me it’s unhealthy!

I also dare you to put down my friends, *insert head wiggle and finger snaps* “don’t you go dissin’ ma gurl Ally”.

Mothers around the world warn “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Or, you can take my fathers life motto and add this little gem to the end of that sentiment, “unless you have a damn good argument to back it up”.

Bam.

Kicking the habit: acne cures and sugar fiends.

WEEEk1

I think I’ve discovered the cure for acne! No, maybe not, but the first and most insanely noticeable change since cutting out sugar has been my skin. It is miles clearer and my skin tone has evened out dramatically. Great!

What’s not so great is the crazy sugar fiend that roars her unattractive head at precisely 330pm and then again post dinner – like every day.

So yes, it’s seven days into my detox. To recap, I’m doing Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ eight-week plan. Technically the first two weeks are all about cutting back, so I skipped straight to week three, because I’ve been slowly cutting down my sugar for a few months now. For those of you a little confused about what I am or am not eating…

I have cut out all sugar. This (rather obviously) means I’m eating no refined sugar, and I’m reading labels like a nut job to check for sneaky sugar added (seriously – almost everything has it). No sugar replacement (sweeteners). No honey/maple syrup/rice syrup/any of those sorts of things (I know, I know, all that stuff is “all natural”, but it’s sugar, so its out). Finally, no fruit.

WEEEk12

The idea of going cold turkey on bananas is the part that sits funny with me, I can’t get my head around the idea that fruit could be negative. But Sarah has convinced me that this “detox” is simply that, it is a period of time to reset your body. Once I nip my sugar cravings/dependency in the bud, I can introduce the correct amount of fruit back into my diet.

I know its controversial, and I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers, my research so far seems to support Sarah’s notion that a couple of pieces of fruit a day is the best number to stick to on a daily basis (and no other sugars at all) once back to my normal eating (aka post detox).

Anyway, enough of the nitty gritty! Back to what’s been going on through out this week.

I’ve been easing up my paleo ways. I still completely believe in the benefits (and have been reaping them for some time) of primal eating, but I’m also painfully aware of my own limits right now. Cutting out so much and leaving myself with no “treats” at all is a bit tricky (especially for the early stages). So I’m letting myself indulge in a bit more dairy (think full fat milk/yoghurt and some cheese). I’m not going crazy with it, but if I feel the pangs of dessert cravings, a few slices of creamy cheese to satisfy my need to indulge are keeping me sane. As the weeks continue I can cut down and down on these last vices until I am pure, clean and brilliant!

WEEEk13

It has been a hard seven days, if anyone ever says kicking sugar to the curb is easy – well they are SO wrong. Simply living your life is tough on sugar free. It doesn’t mean you CAN’T do things like go out for dinner, but it means you have to be conscious of every single thing that passes you lips. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not always and easy one.

I’m starting to turn a corner and feel really good, I’m noticing that my energy is consistently up through out the day, I feel a lot fuller after my delicious sugar-free meals, and as I mentioned before, my skin clearing up.

Saviors? Peppermint tea (it’s an amazing sugar craving killer) and nuts (roasted, tossed with cinnamon, and mixed through yoghurt – serious sugar free dessert right there).

WEEEk14

Watch out for? Flavoured tea – If it’s fruit flavoured, likelihood is that they actually contain fruit (which isn’t bad, but if you are on this detox, they should be nixed). Another tea I found the other day was a “Crème Brulee” tea, and rather obviously that was PACKED with sugar, so read EVERY label. Bar none. Not even tea is safe from added sugar.

I’m having a love/hate relationship with the detox currently. But I am still excited to see how I feel, and how many changes I notice, come the end of this journey.

Hopefully the roaring sugar fiend stops popping in to say hi. Oh an I also hope people at work stop getting older – because all the cakes I can’t eat are driving me mental!

WEEEk15

All images from Pinterest

Blog at WordPress.com.