Healthy Christmas Puddings (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free)

Healthy Christmas Puddings (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free)

I love these little puddings around Christmas time.  They have all the delicious flavour of a traditional Christmas pudding but won’t leave you feeling bloated and awful.  I made these in my Thermomix, but they are easy to make without.  I have written up both versions below.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Healthy Christmas Puddings

(makes 8 small puddings)

What you will need:

  • 250 grams (9 ounces) fresh dates (pitted)
  • 1 orange roughly chopped (leave the skin on!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (extra for garnish – optional)
  • 30 mls (2 tablespoons) brandy – optional (but it is Christmas!!!)
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 200 grams (7 ounces or about 3/4 cup) almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

How to pull it together (using a Thermomix)

Put the dates and the whole orange (roughly chopped) into the bowl and blitz speed 6 for 5 seconds.  Scrape down bowl.

Add 1 cup of water.  Cook 100 degrees, speed 1 for 15 minutes.

Add 30 mls brandy (if using) and blitz for 30 seconds speed 9.

Add 200 grams almond meal, the dried fruit and almonds, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix reverse, speed 5 for 15 seconds (or until well combined).

Grease 8 small pudding ramekins with coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle about a teaspoon of slivered almonds into the bottom of each.  Spoon the mixture evenly into each ramekin.  Place filled ramekins into a large baking dish.  Create a bain-maree by filling the dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover all the ramekins with a sheet of baking paper and top with foil pressed tightly around the edges to seal.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 1 hour 15 minutes.

If not eating straight away, they refrigerate beautifully.  When ready to serve steam (or heat up) for about 8 minutes, invert and serve with a dollop of cream or if you prefer some homemade custard.

How to pull it together (without a Thermomix)

Place the dates, whole orange (roughly chopped – keep the skin on!) and 1 cup of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the dates and orange are soft.  Set aside to cool.  Add the brandy and whiz in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed.

In a separate bowl, combine the date paste, almond meal, dried fruit, almonds, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.

Grease 8 small pudding ramekins with coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle about a teaspoon of slivered almonds into the bottom of each.  Spoon the mixture evenly into each ramekin.  Place filled ramekins into a large baking dish.  Create a bain-maree by filling the dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover all the ramekins with a sheet of baking paper and top with foil pressed tightly around the edges to seal.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 1 hour 15 minutes.

If not eating straight away, they refrigerate beautifully.  When ready to serve steam (or heat up) for about 8 minutes, invert and serve with a dollop of cream or if you prefer some homemade custard.

Enjoy!

Forceful Delight – guest post by Charby Ibrahim, The Ancestral Body

Today’s guest post, by Charby Ibrahim of The Ancestral Body is a great read!  For those of us who try and eat well, sometimes it’s those awkward social situations that let us down, and not necessarily by choice.  Please read and enjoy, and be sure to check out his website The Ancestral Body.  Charby’s story is inspirational and you will really enjoy reading his posts.  He has some great workouts and recipes on there too!

(PS – If  after reading Charby’s story you are looking for some healthier cake options – I have a few on my website.  You might like to try my quick and easy carrot cake here, my apple and zucchini loaf heremy vanilla cupcakes here or my chocolate protein balls here.  You don’t need refined sugar and grains to enjoy a sweet snack!  Enjoy!)

Forceful Delight

By Charby Ibrahim, The Ancestral Body

An overly firm handshake, a boisterous greeting, a forceful slap on the shoulder, a little banter. Ok, where’s this going? He may as well have lifted his leg and used me as a lamp-post. Yup – Awkward. Even when he makes fun of my shirt, questioning my sexuality, I smile and nod… compliment his ‘lovely’ house. Clare, his wife, shoots me an apologetic glance, served up with a warm hug. I remember why I’m here. We’re old friends; great friends! Geoff comes with the package these days though. I can handle that. “9 beers in, mate!” Geoff announces, interrupting the embrace. “You’ve got some catching up to do, CH-arbs!” A harsh CH- sound, and we’re in nickname territory. I don’t correct him. It’s a different story in my head, a few expletives added. SH-arby! “I’m ok, Geoff. Maybe I’ll grab a glass of red wine in a minute,” I reply. Clare, as though reading my mind, steps in. A brief reprieve – “Speech time guys. The cake is ready!” Time for Geoff to shine. His 15 minutes of fame. Laden with slurring jagged tangents, and anecdotes from his ‘playing days’ – Aussie Rules Football, that is. His son, whose birthday it is, gets the odd mention too. Made in the image of his mother, the kid smiles bashfully between sips of the black fizzy stuff.

Flash forward – “Just eat the f@#king cake, mate!” Two tiny balls of spit fly in my direction. They’re homing in… one lands on the already infamous piece of sweet spongy cream, and the other assaults my left cheek. I wipe it away with an exaggerated gesture… I’m not sure why. Actually, yes I am. I want him to know that he’s out of control, that there’s a strong chance he’ll regret this tomorrow. I even throw him a cheeky smirk. So often I’m the mediator, keeping the peace, politely navigating my way through awkward situations. Not today – I’m not about to be bullied by a man taking umbrage over a piece of bloody cake. Geoff fires up again – “So what… You think you’re pretty good ay? Standing around judging us all. It’s my son’s birthday. It’s my son’s birthday cake! What’s a bloody Health Coach do anyway? Please!” The plate, and a smear of pink cream, now pressed up against my chest. “No thanks, Geoff.” He holds it there firmly, glaring through me. The pointed edge of the square plate digging in hard now. Still, I don’t flinch. Instead, I take a slow sip of my wine, breathing in through my nose. My first glass. I must be miles behind now.

The birthday boy is wrapped around Geoff’s leg, and I spot Clare’s look of concern over Geoff’s broad shoulder. She’s been here before. “Eat. The. F@#king. CAKE!” he thumps. The room falls silent. A pause in the music. An audience to boot. Growing up as a Lebanese kid, I was no stranger to having food forced on me – and even more recently, I know I’ve rubbed the odd host up the wrong way with my ‘peculiar’ food choices. Most of the time though, they could care less. I tend to load up before arrival, pick at what takes my fancy, and we get on with the party. This time it’s different. I’ve been drawn into a one-sided cock-fight, and folks seem more interested in the spectacle than dragging this bloodied rooster away.

“This is my house!” he declares proudly, staring me down. Judging by the football trophies lining the walls of his ‘man-cave’, he isn’t lying. It’s definitely his house. Confirmed. Team photos from 1995 through to 2003. His face growing sterner, tougher, as the years progress. He was promised a long career, but it just didn’t eventuate. One can’t help but wonder if the subtle limp he carries around has anything to do with it. I figure it’s best not to ask at this juncture. A big frame, strong, towering over me, taking up space; much like the houses he grudgingly builds these days. A solid bulging barrel chest, and a round belly way out in the front cabin- not in any of the photos, but a new addition – not quite lived in. “It’s OUR house!” Clare promptly reminds him, “…and you’re being a dick… AGAIN!” They lock eyes for a few seconds, and I’m almost relieved that the attention has shifted, and the pressure eases off my sternum. A new feeling of unease though; the fight response kicks in. What might transpire between the happy couple when the crowd disperses eventually?

Clare’s stare is harsh and piercing. She wears him down. Geoff’s hand forgets that it’s holding the plate. Slowly falls limp. His body folds into itself, starting at the navel. He just about disappears – The cake is sliding slowly off the plate. I watch it with gleeful anticipation, instead trying to stop it. SPLAT! He wears it well down the length of his left leg and shiny shoes. Time for this guy to exit stage door left. I finish the last sip of my wine, grab for my coat, and I get the proverbial truck out of there.

All this talk of cake has my sweet tooth crying out. As soon as I arrive home I snap into action; a fresh batch of gluten free, honey sweetened, dark cacao brownies. Down the hatch with a very generous serve of raw cream, and a handful of mixed berries. You might be asking ‘why’ then? Why didn’t you just eat the damn cake, Charby? The truth is, I really do love a sweet treat, but the refined sugar and the gluten really punish me these days… AND I have an aversion to being bullied. We are social creatures though, and even I turn a blind eye to food quality when I’m out at restaurants, BBQs, functions, and parties in the name getting along. I don’t want to know what kind of oil they’re using, whether the veggies are organic, and what kind of life the animal on my plate lived. I might never leave the house otherwise. So, I compromise. There are some non-negotiables though, and sometimes I say ‘NO’… kindly. A three day gluten hangover just ain’t worth it for this sensitive little monkey. So, I’m making a stand here and now. I’m saying NO to forcing cake on unsuspecting guests. Just say NO… thanks!

PS – The very next morning I received the loveliest apology… from Clare.

Disclaimer- In order to protect the people mentioned in this story, I have changed their names. In order to protect the integrity of the cake, I changed its colour.

About the author:

Charby Ibrahim is the man behind ‘The Ancestral Body’ – Nutritional Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Teacher, Speaker, and Writer. A graduate of The University of Melbourne, The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, and The Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, he has written countless articles for prominent online publications and blogs, is a proud member of Physical Activity Australia, and engages in education programs at both local schools and The Royal Children’s Hospital. Charby’s journey has been a personal one from the outset. He went back to ‘Eating Real Food’, lost a stack of fat, got fit, and is now using his own life skills and experience, on-top of over a decade in education, to help others find the combination of lifestyle factors that best suit their needs. Charby is also a co-host of The Primal Shift, one of Australia’s most popular health podcast shows.

charbyafter

 Stay connected to Charby Ibrahim via The Ancestral Body:

Apple and Zucchini Loaf (sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free)

Apple and Zucchini Loaf (sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something sweet on here and I’ve had this little number up my sleeve for a while but just couldn’t get it ‘right’!  I am really happy with this version so I thought I’d share.  You can substitute the coconut oil for macadamia nut oil, and I would love to try it with butter (I’ll let you know how I go).  It is best warm from the oven with a spread of salted organic butter and a cup of tea – yum!  I hope you enjoy …

PS – I have included a Thermomix version and a non-Thermomix version below …

The Shrinking Hubby’s Apple and Zucchini Cake

sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free

What you will need:

  • 2 peeled apples
  • 1 peeled zucchini (courgette)
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (preferably aluminium free)
  • ½ cup medjool dates (pitted) (about 90 grams)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 5 organic free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

For garnish:

  • 1 apple sliced
  • Approx 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or rapadura sugar)

Thermomix version:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Put 2 apples (peeled and cored), 1 zucchini (peeled, topped and tailed) and ½ cup (90 grams) dates into the mixing bowl.  Mix for 5 seconds speed 6.  Scrape down bowl.

Add the coconut flour, chia seeds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and sea salt and mix about 30 seconds speed 5/6 or until mixed together.

Pour (or mould – the mixture is quite doughy) into a lined and buttered/oiled loaf tin and top with slices of apple and a sprinkle of coconut (or rapadura) sugar.

Bake for 30-45 minutes in a moderate (180 degrees Celcius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven until golden brown and cooked through.

Non Thermomix version:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Put 2 apples (peeled and cored), 1 zucchini (peeled, topped and tailed) and ½ cup (90 grams) dates in your food processor and blitz.  Add coconut flour, chia seeds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and sea salt and mix well.

Pour (or mould – the mixture is quite doughy) into a lined and buttered/oiled loaf tin and top with slices of apple and a sprinkle of coconut (or rapadura) sugar.

Bake for 30-45 minutes in a moderate (180 degrees Celcius/350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven until golden brown and cooked through.

Enjoy!

How To Start Living A Healthier Life Today – By Jess Robinson (Lazy Girl Fit)

Today’s guest-post is written by a friend of mine Jess Robinson who is as passionate about health and fitness as I am.  It’s got some great advice about how to get started.  For most of us who are overweight or have friends or family or a partner who is struggling, it’s getting (us or them) started that’s the hardest part.  There is always next week, Monday, next month, next term, next year.  Our minds can come up with a million reasons why not to start today, but once you have made the commitment and taken some action it doesn’t take long to reap the rewards.  When we eat well and exercise, life is so much more enjoyable than when we eat badly and live a sedentary lifestyle.  Focus on getting healthy, and your waist line will reward you.  Here are some great tips on how to do just that!  I hope you enjoy this great post!

How To Start Living A Healthier Life Today

By Jess Robinson (Lazy Girl Fit)

Whether you’ve got 7kg or 70kg to get rid of, there’s no doubt that losing weight is a daunting task. No wonder it’s so often pushed to the back of your consciousness – a problem for Future You to deal with. But what happens when there’s no more procrastinating, what happens when Future You becomes just You?

The fact is, being overweight is a contributing factor to many chronic illnesses. It can also make it harder to keep up with your kids and more difficult to conceive in the first place, not to mention being downright uncomfortable. I’m sure this is nothing you haven’t heard before, but I say it anyway because I want you to realise that it doesn’t have to be this way – you can stop being overweight, you can feel good about yourself and you can foster healthy habits.

In my opinion, the best way to ensure you get the results you want is to stop focusing on weight loss and start focusing on health gain. Here are a few tips for getting started.

1.  Set yourself small, weekly goals.

‘This week I will take five 20-minute walks’; ‘I will eat green, leafy vegetable with dinner each night’; ‘I will workout three times this week’. Make these smaller goals achievable and tick them off the list once they’re done.

2.  Set yourself big goals.

In my opinion, these goals shouldn’t be weight related. Think ‘I will be able to run 3km/5km/10km by this particular date’; ‘I will be able to do 5/15/30 toe push ups by this date’; ‘I will finish a fun run by this date’. It doesn’t really matter what the goal is, as long as it’s tangible, and it stretches you outside your comfort zone (but not so far you go running for the hills!)

3.  Keep a food diary.

I know – it’s scary. But sometimes you need scary to help you move forward. I would suggest two weeks of diarising all food and drink you consume.

4.  Don’t go on a diet; make a lifestyle change.

Spending hours on a treadmill each day and starving yourself for eight weeks will help you lose weight, but it’s not good for your body and chances are you’ll pile the weight back on as soon as you start eating like a normal person (which inevitably you will do).

5.  Enlist the help of a professional or two.

Nutritionists, personal trainers, psychologists, doctors – there are plenty of qualified people out there who would relish the idea of helping you. You just need to ask.

6.  Drink more water.

Kickstart your metabolism first thing in the morning with a glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon juice. A glass of water before each meal can also help you to feel satiated.

7.  Get the whole family involved.

If you’re trying to make positive changes in your life, it makes sense that your family should be involved. Not only will they benefit from the lifestyle changes you make, it also gives you a live-in support network to discuss any achievements and issues with.

8.  Small lapses should not equal large punishments.

Nobody is perfect all the time, and punishing yourself for having ‘bad’ food by binging on more food is not the answer.

***

The human body is pretty amazing, and being fit, strong and healthy is the best way to show your appreciation for it. To help you kickstart your journey to better health I’ve put together a simple, no-equipment circuit that you can do in the comfort of your own home. I hope you try it out!

At-Home Circuit for Beginners

 [30 seconds per exercise]

  •  Jogging on spot
  • Push ups – your choice of wall, incline, knee or regular push ups
  • Static lunge – left leg
  • Supermans
  • Bridge
  • Crunches

[Repeat 3-4 times; rest 15-45 seconds between exercises)

Static Lunge

Static Lunge

Wall Push Ups

Wall Push Ups

About The Author:

Jess Robinson is a certified personal trainer, outdoor fitness instructor, writer and sub-editor, based in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. She created Lazy Girl Fitness in the hopes of building a positive online community where everyone – from the fitness-crazed to the fitness-phobic – can come together for workout ideas, conversation and empowerment. She also needed somewhere to post pictures of her dog.

You can read more on her blog lazygirlfitness.com.au here, follow her on facebook at facebook.com/lazygirlfitness here or twitter/instagram @LazyGirlFit

Jess Robinson and Lou www.lazygirlfitness.com.au

Jess Robinson and Lou
www.lazygirlfitness.com.au

Zesty Salsa

Zesty Salsa

It’s so quick and easy to whip up a tasty little salsa and makes such a refreshing change to steamed veggies or a green salad.  Don’t be restricted what I’ve used here – you can use what you’ve got in the fridge, some organic corn kernels would be nice here too.  We enjoyed this with salmon but would be delicious with chicken or steak.  It is the perfect accompaniment to my chicken schnitzel (recipe here).  I had the leftovers with a little bit (1/2 cup) of brown rice and a tin of tuna for lunch the next day – was really yummy!

Zesty Salsa

(serves 2-4 as a side dish)

What you will need:

  • 1 Avocado diced
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • A handful of button mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green chilli (seeded) finely chopped
  • 1 roma tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped
  • About a 1/4 cup of fresh Coriander leaves (cilantro)

For the dressing:

  • The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

How to pull it all together:

Shake or whisk all the dressing ingredents together.  Combine the chopped up veggies into a bowl.  Gently toss the veggies with the dressing and serve!

 

 

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