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!

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini ‘Noodles’

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini ‘Noodles’

This dish was seriously tasty and super quick and easy.  I’d been craving pesto spaghetti and this really did the trick without the refined carbs.  My pesto recipe uses lemon juice so the tangy flavour works brilliantly with the salmon, although if you didn’t want the fish you could have a bowl of the Pesto Zucchini noodles on their own too!

I have tried many spiralisers to make vegetable ‘noodles’ and the GEFU Spiral Slicer Spiral Fix is by far the easiest and most effective I’ve used.

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Serves 2

What you will need:

2 Salmon fillets

About 1 cup of the Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto (link here or see below) (you may wish to use more or less depending on your taste)

4 Zucchinis (courgettes) topped and tailed

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Lemon wedges (if using) to serve

How to bring it together

Create the zucchini noodles using a vegetable spiraliser.  Place noodles in a colander, sprinkle liberally with good quality sea salt and drizzle with a splash of olive oil.  Toss and let sit for about 30 minutes.

When ready to prepare the meal, you can either barbeque or pan fry the salmon (brush with a little olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper).

Meanwhile heat the pesto in a fry pan or wok, when warm, add the noodles and toss until they are coated and the noodles are heated.

Place the noodles on a plate and top with the salmon.  Sprinkle with some chilli and serve with a squeeze of lemon if desired.

Enjoy!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto

What you will need:

1/4 cup pine nuts dry roasted (you can do this in the oven on some baking paper or in a non-oiled pan on the stove – keep an eye on them – they can burn quickly!)

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 small garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons good quality organic minced garlic)

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Place the pine nuts, basil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor (I used my Thermomix) and process until finely chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.

Tasty Spiced Chicken

Tasty Spiced Chicken

This is a fantastic spice mix and works well on any cut of chicken – I have used it on Chicken Marylands and baked it for a dinner party, you could use a whole chicken cut into pieces or last night we had it on Chicken thigh fillets barbecued with some coconut oil.  I think it would make a delicious whole roast chicken too.  It’s really very versatile (and so ridiculously easy!!)

Tasty Spiced Chicken

Spiced Chicken Mix

In a bowl mix together the following spices:

  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (cilantro) seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

spices

How to pull it together:

Put the chicken cuts you are using (I used organic chicken thigh fillets) in a clean plastic bag with the spice mix.  Toss well until Chicken is covered.

Cook to your liking!  We barbecued these in some coconut oil  which added a  delicious flavour, and served with some blanched asparagus for a light yet very tasty meal.

Enjoy XX

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

Here is a new delicious and fresh salad which is full of flavour and nutrients!  We have had it with some pan fried salmon for an easy mid week dinner (and leftovers were perfect for lunch the next day) or it goes beautifully with a curry.  I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of this one in our house this summer :).

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

What you will need:

  • About 1kg (2 pounds) of diced pumpkin
  • Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teasoons ground cumin
  • 1 400g can (14 oz) of chickpeas (preferably organic and salt free)
  • 6 shallots (scallions) chopped
  • 1 large lemon juiced and rind grated
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves (cilantro) roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (dry roasted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped feta
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • salt and pepper

How to pull it together:

Line a large roasting tray with baking paper and turn on oven to 200 degrees celcius (390 degrees Fahrenheit).

In a large bowl mix the pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons ground coriander and 2 teaspoons of cumin.  Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and toss to mix so that the spices coat the pumpkin.

Lay the pumpkin out on the baking tray (keep the remaining marinade in the bowl) and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse the chickpeas.  Place them in the same bowl as the pumpkin and toss to coat.

After the pumpkin has been roasting for 20 minutes, add the chickpeas to the tray and roast for a further 10 minutes.

In a jar or a bowl mix/whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and lemon rind, salt and pepper.

Steam the green beans for 2 minutes (or blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes).  Drain.

In a large bowl add the roasted pumpkin, chickpeas, 1/2 of the chopped shallots, beans, coriander, feta and dressing and toss gently to combine.  Top with remainder of shallots and pine nuts and serve.

Enjoy XX

 

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

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