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The sugar-free recipe you need when only cake will do

So there’s a special or particular social occasion coming up and people are expecting CAKE! It’s like sugar dilemma 101.

Do you make a full sugar cake and just try not to eat too much of it (potential mental torture), or do you try a sugar substitute one (will they like it – risky business!) or do you try and make excuses (risk social isolation or ridicule).

First world problems at their best right?!

So what do you do?!! How do you navigate?

Maybe you’ve been asked to bake something for a charity cake bake or you’ve got people coming around for afternoon tea. It could be the birthday of one of your children or it’s your turn to bring in the office treat.

First of all, ask yourself how often this happens. If this is a frequent occurrence and you want to live a lower sugar lifestyle where cravings haven’t got the better of you, then it may be the case that you do need to manage some expectations and shift your activities. Doing this could be a whole other article in itself so I’m going to assume this is more a one off and focus on what actually to take.

Firstly you could seek a savoury cake or bake alternative. I have a few you can try:

However, I get that your friends or family just might not be overwhelmed with joy if they’re expecting something sweet with their cuppa and you present them with olives & spinach!

If this is the case then you could use this as a good opportunity to experiment with some sugar-free baking.

Savoury over sweet

Now, I don’t have many sweet recipes on this blog, simply because if you’re trying to change your taste buds and take reign over cravings, you need to be getting into the habit of savoury foods the majority of the time. When you do, there’s less need for sweet stuff.

I see sooooo many ‘sugar-free’ blogs that are just packed with sweet recipes and really if you’re successfully ‘low sugar’, you just don’t want to eat that stuff all the time. I do eat some sweet things and I enjoy them, but just not that often. I really don’t go out of my way to make them all the time and would rather get my sugar quota when I’m out socially – which can even occasionally involve eating real sugar!

That said, I’ve wanted one GEM of a sweet cake recipe on the website that you can use for social sugar situations that is relatively healthy.

Baking a communally sweet cake

Sometimes I like cakes and biscuits a lot less sweet than others, and so I appreciate not everyone may like the sweet potato and coconut cake.

When I say baking a communally sweet cake, I mean baking a cake that everyone likes and where they don’t have a clue it’s sugar-free.

If you’re keeping your low sugar efforts low profile then you just keep quiet, or you can wait for ‘this is delicious’ and then spring it on them that it’s sugar-free (maximum social points).

I’ve gone for a classic lemon and almond cake which is even gluten-free too (& you wouldn’t know).

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Now the important question… which sugar substitute did I use?!!

I have a philosophy that there is just not one best sugar substitute out there. I say that because I don’t think it’s a good idea to go hard on one particular thing and if something is labeled as ‘good’ then people can go to town on it i.e. eat it all the time thinking it’s healthy.

Yes brown rice syrup is low in fructose and on the preferred list, but that isn’t a license to over eat on it. I’d also advise you read this article on Authority Nutrition about it.

All sugar substitutes ideally should be consumed in moderation and if you do this, then it’s less significant which one you use (if you get what I mean).

For this cake I’ve used xylitol. I’ve written about xylitol here but I’ve used this sugar substitute because:

  • The cake recipe needed to substitute sugar in 1:1 and xylitol does that
  • I had never tried baking with it and wanted to experiment (I would encourage you to experiment with a variety too)
  • I wanted to share that there are different options and make the above point to you
  • A nice chap called Daniel at Total Sweet sent me some!

I have to say, that after seeing how well this cake came out and how delicately sweet it is without being sickly, I do like xylitol as a sugar substitute for baking. I also know that Total Sweet is quite widely available as I mentioned in my video review of it last week.

Now finally, we get to the cake..

Lemon & almond cake (sweetened with xylitol)

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Recipe adapted from www.simplyrecipes.com

Makes one cake (8 slices)

Note: You do need an electric whisk for this recipe and it’s quite important.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, separated and at room temperature (see how to separate eggs here )
  • 100g (1 cup) xylitol (I used Total Sweet)
  • 200g (1 ¾ cup) ground almonds
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom (or 3 pods freshly ground)
  • Zest of a lemon (about 1-2 tsp worth or until your arm hurts!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt

 Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a round 9-inch tine with greased parchment paper (grease both sides with butter or coconut oil)
  2. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks, lemon zest and 1/3 cup (about 30g) of xylitol until smooth with a wooden spoon
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, cardamom and baking powder. Add this flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth with a wooden spoon
  4. With an electric whisk, beat the egg whites where you start on a low speed and gradually increase. When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar (this helps maintain the structure of the cake).
  5. When the eggs have a lighter fluffy volume, add in the rest of the xylitol (2/3 cup) and beat again with the whisk, using the gradual speed increase again. Beat until soft peaks form.
  6. Fold these beaten egg whites into the almond mixture a large spoonful at a time. The first few you might not think it’s working but as you add more, a light cake batter will form.
  7. Scoop all of the mixture into your prepared tin and place in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm and slightly golden on the surface.
  8. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove from the tin and parchment and let cool for a further 10 minutes.
  9. Serve and impress all of your friends and family!

Have you tried baking with xylitol before? What do you do when you’re asked to bring/bake a cake for a wider group? Has this been a previous dilemma for you?!

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Avocado on toast: Your ultimate guide

So I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to avocado on toast. YUM!

Why? It’s a nifty, quick, super nutritious & tasty low sugar breakfast that appeals to many and is good breakfast if you’re weaning yourself off of sugary stuff.

A lot of people come to me saying they don’t have time for eggs in the morning or they are short on time.

Well, avocado on toast works around this problem because it is super quick. By the time your toast has toasted, you can peel and mash half an avocado. 5mins tops.

Benefits of avocado on toast

  • Healthy fats & something green in your breakfast
  • Source of fibre, potassium and antioxidants
  • Feels decadent & indulgent
  • Can flavour or fancy to taste (salt, chilli flakes, herbs, seeds etc.)
  • Filling because avocado is a source of protein & fat
  • Children & fussy adults generally like it too (I’ve found anyway)
  • Oh, nearly forgot this one…completely sugar and sugar substitute free!

On top of this, there are some recent studies that show avocado really is flipping good for you. Read about the 12 proven benefits of avocados on Authority Nutrition if you’re still not convinced (or feeling still a bit scared of the fat).

So how can you have it?

 

Chilli flakes & salt

 

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Cottage cheese & pumpkin seeds

 

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Ham

 

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You could also melt some cheese on top but I haven’t done this myself yet (I suspect it’s really good if you’ve had too many drinks the night before!)

I also found 7 other (more fancy) ways to do you avocado on toast on 700experience.com. Puts my pictures to shame and makes you hungry!

Don’t want to make? Eat out!

Of course you can make avocado on toast at home pretty easily, but you can also now get it out and about. Eggs will always be a brunch winner, but avocado on toast, now more widely available could be another winning savoury option.

I recently spoke to the lovely Natalie Glazee – author of The Nutritionista which is a nice little healthy website full of helpful interviews & reviews.

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Natalie knows the London avocado toast scene a lot better than I do so I picked her brains for list of places that could accommodate this sugar-free request.

Even if you don’t live in London, you could keep this list to hand in case you ever visited. I’ve certainly got some on my radar.

Note: Even if somewhere doesn’t do avocado on toast, you can always ask for it – I suspect quite a few places will oblige.

Do you like or have you tried avocado on toast? Is it something you’d consider? What is your favourite way? Comment below with any other suggestions!

 

 

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Savoury olive & almond flapjacks

Calling flapjack lovers, this recipe is AMAZING! I’ve been excited for nearly a whole week about sharing it with you because I know that cereal bars, flapjacks and all things like that are a killer for sugar yet can be handy to carry or eat on the go.

I used to eat flapjacks and cereal bars like nobody’s business when I was a sugar fiend so I’ve wanted to create a sugar-free option for a while now. If you find yourself at the mercy of cereal bars, flapjacks and quick grab sugary bars, these could be a great option.

You also don’t have the hassle of deciding which sugar substitute to use which can be a confusing business to say the least!

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Even though you might feel cumin is a no go first thing, you can definitely eat these for breakfast and i’d encourage you to break out of your comfort zone by doing so.

Alternatively eat them as a handy snack, have with your lunch, or use in the kid’s lunch boxes (maybe just omit the chilli flakes).

The pumpkin and chia seed topping is optional to simply boost the nutritional count and make them look pretty!

Savoury olive & almond flapjacks

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Makes 8 large bars or 16 smaller bites

Ingredients

  • 200g rolled oats (2 cups)
  • 300ml milk (1 ½ cups)
  • 75g almonds (½ cup)
  • 20g parmesan cheese (⅓ cup, grated)
  • 60g black pitted olives (½ cup)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line an 8-inch square tin with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, mix the oats, salt, herbs and spices together with the ground flaxseed
  • Add the milk and leave it to soak for 10 minutes whilst you prepare the rest
  • Roughly chop the olives, almonds and grate the parmesan cheese
  • Add these ingredients to the mixture, stir well
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and spread evenly
  • Sprinkle over the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • Bake for 45 minutes, remove and let cool
  • Slice into bars or squares
  • Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days

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More foodie and sugar-free meal inspiration

I’ve also just started a new Instagram feed @happysugarhabits which is solely dedicated to helping you beat the sugar cravings and get a daily dose of inspiration to help you embrace a practical lower sugar life and feel in control. I’ve got Fit Food Emma helping out so do follow and let us know what you think. This feed is to really help you so feedback is always welcome.

What do you think of savoury flapjacks and eating these for breakfast? Have you ever tried a savour flapjack before? Please do let me know if you try this recipe and what you think.

 

Protein chocolate mousse

Sugar-free cookie dough mousse

So many of the sugar-free recipes out there you read and then stumble upon something that you’re not too keen on – or is this just me?! Whether it’s a load of dates, agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia or even the better brown rice syrup, things are sweetened with something (even some of my recipes!).

I know a few of you have got in touch to tell me about Davina’s 5 weeks to sugar-free. I’m going to review her book in due course but yes she does use maple syrup and honey which still have a major fructose element. Recipes like this are great for transitioning off refined sugar to something slightly better and more natural alternatives, but If you’re trying to change tastebuds & cravings more significantly, maple syrup/honey substitution isn’t the way to go. I love Davina & what she’s doing but I’m telling you that the Mentor Me Off Sugar recipes & meal plan will get much more significant & better results.

So with all these sugar substitutes bounding around in ‘sugar-free’ recipes, I’ve really got a lot of time for recipes that don’t contain any of the above and are more truely fructose free. They’re just naturally sweet because of the clever combination of ingredients & flavours. My sweet potato & walnut cake falls into this category and is one of my most popular recipes.

So I’m excited to introduce you to a really unusual and clever sugar-free recipe courtesy of my friend Emma Charles (www.fitfoodemma.com & @Fitfoodemma on Instagram).

This mouse uses CHICKPEAS as a base. Yes chickpeas…in a dessert/mousse. Now before you start scoffing (I know my friends will!), I literally beg you to try this recipe. Since Emma sent it over I’ve whipped it up 4-5 times slightly tweaking it each time to my own taste. I just love how easy, quick and tasty it is. It’s pretty high in (healthy) fats & protein and so it’s ridiculously filling.

You could have it as breakfast, a snack or a treat in the evening when the post meal sweet temptation rocks in. It will satiate and satisfy you so much, you won’t want much else.

Sugar-free cookie dough mousse

Serves 4

Protein chocolate mousse

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ tin (120g) chickpeas, drained (I recommend KTC as they’re softer than most other brands)
  • 4 tbsp peanut, cashew, hazelnut or almond butter (100% nuts)
  • 100g ripe avocado
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 40g unsweetened protein powder (or 15g coconut/wholemeal flour)
  • ½ tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Approx. 55ml milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • Raw cacao nibs or 60g 85%+ dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

Optional toppings: unsweetened coconut flakes, grated dark chocolate

Method:

  • Blend all the ingredients except the dark chocolate together in a food processor or blender, then
  • gently stir through in the chocolate.
  • Taste and add a little more coconut oil or vanilla extract if you prefer a sweeter mousse. Add more milk if you need to make it slightly more runny.
  • Pour into four glasses or ramekins – shot glasses work well – and refrigerate for at least an hour (Laura – I eat it straight away, so impatient!)
  • Add your toppings and serve.

Emma’s Free ebook

Emma has launched a free recipe ebook with some brilliant and properly sugar-free recipes. It costs just £1.99 but if you use the code FITFOODJAN this month,  you can download completely free. She does tend to use a protein powder which I’m personally undecided on and tend to avoid (although I’m going to try the one Emma recommends). Just be careful when ordering things like protein powders so that you don’t order one with Sucralose or another artificial sweetener – protein powders can be a bit sneaky in adding something sweet (& usually very artificial) in. Anyway, I’ve been making this recipe with the coconut flour substitute (works fine) and on occasion just with an extra dollop of nut butter. The recipes in Emma’s book are really great – this girl has natural talent so check it out for some inspiration.

<Download Emma’s ebook HERE>

Are you absolutely mortified at the thought of having chickpeas in a mousse? Do you find it frustrating that so many ‘sugar-free’ recipes aren’t truly sugar-free? Have you got Davina’s book yet? Comment below and please let me know if you try and what you think.

 

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Warm turkey & cranberry Christmas salad recipe

The flavours of Christmas are so distinctive and popular that everything around this time of year can be flavoured with either a spiced fruit or a turkey-cranberry-stuffing concoction. I love Christmas flavours as much as anyone, but often the foods associated with them are not the healthiest.

What about salads?! Yes it can be done! Say hello to a very healthy and Christmas themed salad….

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Now, I can’t actually take credit for this salad as it’s a guest recipe by the lovely Emma Charles. Emma is a London-based foodie who fell in love with real food and heavy weights and hasn’t looked back. Her simple, purse-friendly recipes use natural flavours such as spices and cacao to replace sugar and sweeteners – which is of course, is right down my street.

Be sure to follow her great low sugar inspiration on Twitter at @FitFoodEmma or Instagram as @FitFoodEmma

Emma is currently helping me with some low sugar recipe developments (watch this space!).

I’m not saying too much yet but there are some really exciting things coming your way in 2015 to help you live lower sugar in the nicest way possible. If you’re passionate about this like myself and Emma, then please drop me a line as there could be lots of things to get involved with. Also don’t forget to make sure you’re on the Mentor Me Off Sugar front of queue get the first dibs on a kind, holistic sugar detox like no other.

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So, the recipe, in Emma’s own words…

The salad tastes great hot or cold (and has been approved by my very honest boyfriend!) and is perfect for anyone who wants to join in with the Christmas spirit without sacrificing their healthy eating goals. It’s packed with protein and all the carbohydrates are low GL so it will keep you full and not reaching for the quality streets mid-afternoon! I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was really disappointed by Pret only offering Christmas sandwiches rather than salads/non bread based options so hopefully this recipe will help bring Christmas cheer to your packed lunch!

Cranberries & sugar

The only source of sugar (fructose) in the salad are really the cranberries and then natural sweetness from the vegetables. Cranberries are a winner on a low sugar diet as they are particularly low in fructose with less than 1g per cup of them. Do watch out when buying cranberries however – because they’re not as naturally sweet as other fruits, they’re extremely prone to having sugar added to them in some form. You can however buy frozen unsweetened ones which are 100% sugarfree and of course you can buy them fresh. Avoid cranberry juice as this is a sugar bomb. Of course a little cranberry sauce on Christmas day isn’t perfectly sugar-free but hey, it’s Christmas day – maybe just don’t slather it all over your turkey and have some extra gravy instead ;)

Warm Christmas salad recipe by Emma Charles

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Makes 3 salads

Ingredients

  • 270g broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (pink Himalayan salt works well)
  • 100g leeks, sliced
  • 100g kale
  • 80g frozen unsweetened cranberries
  • 200g sugar snap peas
  • 300g diced turkey breast
  • 400g butternut squash

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c (160c fan oven).
  2. Microwave or roast the squash until it is soft enough to cut, then peel and dice into small chunks.
  3. Toss the squash, broccoli, leeks and kale in the olive oil and salt. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes, then add the turkey to the roasting pan and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  4. After 25 minutes, steam the sugar snap peas in the microwave until cooked. Separately, microwave the cranberries for 1 minute until the juices begin to run out of the fruit.
  5. Combine the roasted vegetables, turkey and sugar snap peas, then top with hot cranberries.

Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to two days – this recipe makes a fantastic healthy packed lunch.

Are you going to try out this festive salad? Let me know if you fancy this recipe and share with someone else if you’ll think they’ll like it too :)

Laura xx

salmon-leek-bake-whole

Sugar-free breakfast: Salmon & leek bake recipe

Have you ever got something out of the freezer, let it defrost and then realise you don’t need it for whatever reason?

I did this last week with two salmon fillets and so I decided to create a new recipe that would allow me to eat them for breakfast instead. The result is this delicious, easy and very practical breakfast bake. I had an insanely early start last week, travelling up to Preston on the 5:30am train from Euston (which required a 4:40am taxi!). This bake saved me from having to make do with a panini or instant porridge pot from the Virgin train cafe.

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With the good omega-3 fats, a serious amount of protein and the fibre from the vegetables, this is a superb #happysugarhabit breakfast that is mega tasty, easily transported and will keep hunger at bay about 10x better than a bowl of Shreddies!

It will set you up in the morning with a tasty savoury flavour and get your body burning fat and protein over a sustained period of time rather than an insulin-spiking quick release carbohydrate or sugary breakfast likely to have you starving for lunch…or even worse, craving sugary things at 11am! Another recipe similar to this is the feta & leek breakfast casserole.

Efficient cooking

I’ve tried to write the recipe instructions in a way that helps you cook this in the quickest time possible – telling you what to do and when, to ensure you’re as time efficient as possible. This is just me being process geeky (I used to be a process consultant) but it’s to help you when that ‘I haven’t got time’ excuse starts to come up.

If you find it helpful to follow such detailed instructions and cooking times then please leave a comment below and I will try to write more recipes with specific instructions of this nature. I will also time them accurately so I can add how long each will take (& if you can have a shower/feed the kids in the middle somewhere!).

So here’s the recipe….enjoy!

Salmon & leek breakfast bake

Makes 5-6 portions

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 small-med leek, 1 cm sliced
  • 1 small courgette, grated
  • 2 tbls cottage cheese (optional)
  • 2 tbls milk (again use almond if you want to be dairy free)
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 knob butter

Method

Heat the grill to medium, line a tray with foil and add the salmon fillets, seasoning with salt & pepper & a squeeze of lemon juice. Grill until cooked through (3-4 minutes on each side).

In the meantime, heat the butter in a pan at low-medium heat whilst you chop the vegetables. Add the leeks and courgette and slowly fry to soften for 5-10mins, stirring occasionally whilst you do the other bits.

Grease a baking dish with butter.

Remove the cooked salmon from the grill and turn the grill off. Put the oven on at 180C to preheat. Remove the skin from the salmon and roughly break up/chop.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, parsley, milk & cottage cheese together in a large bowl. By now your vegetables should have softened.

Drain the leeks and courgettes.  Add the drained leeks, courgette and chopped salmon to your egg mix. Combine well & season with extra salt & pepper to taste.  Pour into the greased dish, scatter with a little more dried parsley.

Bake in the oven for 40mins until cooked through (test with a knife in the middle). If it doubt, give it another 5 minutes.

Serve with a side of your choice e.g. spinach or avocado goes well. Alternatively just wrap portions in foil and use for breakfast/lunch/dinner on the hoof when you know you won’t have time to eat properly.

Can you see yourself eating salmon for breakfast and enjoying it? Are time saving process instructions helpful to you? Would love to know so please leave a comment below or ask me a question :)

Laura xx

The kindest sugar detox ever!

If you’re feeling like you might be ready to experiment with a structured sugar detox programme to help you develop a healthier relationship with sweet (& yourself in the process) then don’t forget to make sure you’re at the front of the queue to hear the latest around Mentor Me Off Sugar come the new year. This programme positively changes lives, attitudes and habits – I would love it to help you too!

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Sugar-free chocolate chip spiced pumpkin cookies

As I’ve mentioned before, some days I still crave cake. I don’t crave the sugar as much, it’s the real ‘cake’ texture with a cup of tea that I occasionally fancy. So I seek to develop recipes that can hit that spot without being overly sweet. My tried and trusted favourite to date is my sweet potato and walnut cake.

This recipe also hits the spot pretty well, but as with my recipes like this I will warn you that it is really low sugar.  Your carrot cake loving friend may not be falling over themselves to have another and likewise because they aren’t too sweet, you’re unlikely to eat more than 1-2 at a time.

I’ve used brown rice syrup but I also tried this recipe with a 50:50 blend of brown rice syrup and stevia (I used Natvia) which worked just as well. If you do want them sweeter, you can probably use the same quantity of a healthier higher fructose sugar substitute like coconut sugar, date sugar or raw honey. However they obviously won’t be as ‘fructose-free’ of low sugar.

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This recipe uses up any leftover pumpkin you have around but works just as well with butternut squash. I quite often roast two halves of a butternut squash and keep them in the fridge ready to use during the week. If I have any left over, I mash and freeze it in ice cube trays to use in recipes like this or, if I fancy it, in pumpkin/butternut squash porridge.

Because I made these more to my low sugar palate, I froze most of them so that I have a quick microwavable cake fix at home that won’t result in later sugar cravings. If you’re a cake fan, it’s a good strategy to try and it can help you break down your cravings i.e. work out if it’s a texture craving or a sugar/fructose craving.

Anyway, enough of my rambling…here’s the recipe…enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments below – would love to know how you go with these.

Sugar-free chocolate chip spiced pumpkin cookies

Makes 12 large cookies

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Ingredients

  • 125g butter (softened)
  • 190g rye or wholemeal flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tbls brown rice syrup (or Natvia or a mix of both)
  • 125g pumpkin mash (or butternut squash mash)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped(I used Green & Blacks 85%)

 Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Line two baking trays with parchment paper
  • Combine the butter with brown rice syrup (or/and Natvia) in a large bowl. You may need to melt the butter slightly if not soft enough. Do this by placing in a glass bowl and put in the heating oven for a few minutes to do so
  • Add the vanilla essence and whisk together
  • Add the egg and whisk until combined
  • Add the pumpkin mash, and whisk until combined
  • Combine the flour, spices, baking powder together in a bowl
  • Fold 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time into the wet mixture until all combined
  • Add the chocolate chunks or chips
  • Spoon 6 large tablespoons of the mixture onto each baking tray
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes until slightly brown

Best served when warm straight out of the oven with a glass of cold milk or a cup of tea!

Also a quick note..

Want to adjust your palate low sugar style so you need less sweet to satisfy? Mentor Me Off Sugar is unfortunately now closed for new enrolments but you can get to the front of the queue for the next kick off after Christmas 2014. Click here to get yourself on my priority radar and enter your details into the form.

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Loaf vintage

Spinach, olive & feta loaf

So on Friday I made a savoury loaf to fix a need for something bread-like with a cake texture. It came out beautifully and I have to share the recipe with you. I’ve had a slice with mashed avocado for breakfast this morning and it was a delightfully indulgent lazy sunday breakfast.

At first I was like olives at breakfast…can I do this!? However, I successfully broke down my olive-breakfast barrier going to new savoury heights. Try it! There are only a few and they just add something to this recipe. You can also freeze slices and either toast at home (make them thin for this) or defrost on the way to work.

Unfortunately I just didn’t take too many great pictures but the recipe will make up for it….

Loaf original

Spinach, olive & feta loaf

Recipe adapted from Sarah Wilson’s Paleo inside out bread from her I Quit Sugar for Life book.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour (swap for 3/4 cup arrowroot for gluten free)
  • 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 10 black pitted olives
  • 25g feta cheese
  • 25g parmesan cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • large handful spinach
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method

  • Line a loaf tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 160C
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground almonds in a big bowl
  • Whisk the eggs lightly and add the apple cider vinegar
  • Wilt the spinach in a pan with a little water or in the microwave for about 90 seconds. Drain and add to the egg mixture making sure it doesn’t all clump together.
  • Add the olives, cheeses, parsley & stir
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 40-50 minutes

Loaf close up

As you can see, I’m not strictly gluten-free. I naturally don’t eat much gluten as I don’t eat much bread, pasta or other wheat products that often (stick to a very wholefoods diet). However, sometimes I do like a nice cake like bake where I tend to use a slightly healthier flour like Rye.

If you do want to make this gluten free you can replace the flour with half the quantity of arrowroot but for this exact recipe I haven’t tried it myself. I may experiment with gluten-free more in the future but for now, I am just content being low sugar, in control and enjoying savoury breakfast experimenting!

Do let me know if you try this recipe or if you have any other great savoury loaf recipes you love?

Laura x

 

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Feta, pomegranate & mint salad

Lost for salad inspiration? Bored of that tuna number?

You’re in luck, I’ve got a beautifully colourful and nutritious low sugar salad that packs nutritional punch for a small amount of sweetness.

feta-pomegranete-mint-saladNow, you might be wondering why I’m posting a salad recipe which essentially does have some sugar in it, albeit it being natural. The reason is to show you that fruit can be part of healthy low sugar diet and if you particularly like it in salads, there are lower sugar options you can try.

This recipe contains a mere 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds which is roughly about 3g of natural sugar. A totally acceptable amount as part of a healthy low sugar and fructose diet. Other fruity salads I sometimes come across can soon rack up higher sugar amounts due to things like dried cranberries, grapes, raisins or a lot of apple. This one keeps it sensible. I also favour pomegranate seeds in a salad because they’re nutrient dense (packed with antioxidants), rich in deep red colour and they add unusual texture.

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So, if you want to have a go with fruit in a salad, this is one of the lowest sugar and tastiest ones to experiment with. A small portion of pomegranate seeds goes a long way and so this salad is unlikely to drive fructose cravings (although I’d avoid it temporarily if you’re on a period of concentrated fructose detox).

I don’t eat or buy pomegranate regularly but once in a while I like to pick one as a treat to a) keep things interesting (try new recipes) and b) ensure I keep a wide variety of foods in my diet.

If you’re going to let a little natural sugar in your diet, this is a lovely way to do so! Maximum punch for your sugar buck.

Feta, pomegranate & mint salad

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feta-pomegranete-mint-salad-square

  • Handful of spinach
  • 3 inches of grated courgette
  • 3 inches of chopped cucumber
  • 40g feta cheese
  • Small handful of mint
  • 2 tbls pomegranate seeds

Dressing

  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • ½ tbls lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

What are your thoughts on fruit in salads? Is it something you like or try to avoid on a lower sugar diet?

butternut-squash-coconut-soup

Sugarfree butternut squash and coconut soup recipe

Let me break this to you…Most shop bought butternut squash soup very likely contains added sugar in some form. It’s one of the sweeter soups to be aware of and is a usual culprit. You can avoid this added sugar by making your own with the recipe I’m going to share today.

First, if you are buying this soup…

Either sugar or honey (or sometimes both) are usually to be found on the ingredients list of butternutty squash soups and beware many shop bought ones have very long ingredients lists (which isn’t ideal from a simple and clean eating perspective).

Nevertheless, there is a range between products and you can get lower sugar ones that are better. Tideford Organic Butternut Squash Soup for example comes in low at 2.4% with no visible added sugar whilst this Tesco Butternut Soup is 10% sugar with refined sugar on the ingredients list. Just be aware of the range here and if you are still buying soup, find the best one in your local supermarket.

Note: Not all the sugar listed is necessarily from the refined source (some comes naturally from the vegetables) but it’s still a helpful indicator.

Anyway, save yourself the hassle of ingredient lists and go for maximum satisfaction by making this instead…YUM!

Sugarfree butternut squash and coconut soup

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Makes 4-5 portions

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)

Optional taste boosters

  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chilli flakes
  • Seeds of choice

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Method

  • Cut the squash in half, brush over with melted coconut oil and roast for 40-50 minutes at 180C
  • Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes and scoop out the flesh
  • Roughly chop the onion and fry in the other half the coconut oil with the garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric until softened
  • Add the butternut squash flesh, coconut milk, coriander and water. Gently heat to a simmer.
  • Blend with a hand blender then add fresh lime and chilli flakes to taste. Serve with pumpkin seeds.

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A few notes:

  • Roasting the butternut squash brings out the natural sweetness in it – there really is no need to add sugar to a butternut squash soup
  • The coconut milk is the healthy filling fat element in this recipe so full fat is preferable
  • I once had no ginger in stock so made this without and it still came out tasty
  • If you like it spicy, you can add chilli or chilli powder with the spices
  • Freeze leftovers for quick grab soup nights

Are you fan of butternut squash soups? Are there any low sugar brands you buy or do you like to make your own? Let me know if you try this recipe.