Quick and Easy Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Quick and Easy Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

A little while ago I shared this recipe for a healthy gluten, dairy and sugar free carrot cake on my facebook facebook .  I never got around to writing it up for my blog followers too.   This one uses banana and dates to sweeten rather than honey, and is deliciously moist.  It takes seconds to make and is so healthy you can eat it for breakfast!   I have made this several  times now and each time there is nothing left over – it’s quite a crowd pleaser.  I played around with a recipe that I found a little while ago and adapted it to the Thermomix. It is seriously SO easy either with or without a Thermomix.

I have written up both versions below 🙂

Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Thermomix Version

What you will need

  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten and aluminium free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 peeled carrot roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 organic, free range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pistachios or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup naturally sweetened craisins (or organic sultanas or goji berries) (optional)

How to pull it together:

Blitz 3/4 cup (approx 100g) almonds with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for 20-30 seconds speed 10.
Add 1 carrot (peeled) and 1/2 cup pitted dates. Chop for a few seconds speed 5.
Add 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 ripe bananas. Mix REVERSE speed 4 for 30 seconds.
Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup walnuts (or pistachios or pecans), 1/4 cup naturally sweetened craisins (or sultanas or goji berries). Mix REVERSE speed 4 for 15 seconds.
Put batter in a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes in a 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit   oven.

To make without the Thermomix

What you will need

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten and aluminium free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 peeled carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed so that it is liquid
  • 2 organic free range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pistachios or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup naturally sweetened craisins (or organic sultanas or goji berries) (optional)

How to pull it together:

(If you have a food processor you can blitz the carrots, dates and bananas.)

Mix 3/4 cup almond meal, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

Add 1 grated carrot, 1/2 cup pitted dates (chopped), 4 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed enough to be liquid), 2 eggs, vanilla and 2 mashed ripe bananas and mix well.

Stir through the nuts/dried fruit (if using).

Pour batter into a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes in a 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit oven.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Enjoy

XX

PS – if you like carrot cakes you might also want to experiment with another version of a healthy carrot cake I posted here.

Healthy Apple and Rhubarb Crumble – Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Healthy Apple and Rhubarb Crumble – Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

I used to love making an apple and rhubarb crumble which was so full of sugar even though it didn’t really didn’t need the extra sweetness!!  So I created this guilt-free version which I’m sure you will all love.  It’s healthy enough to eat the leftovers for breakfast!

(I’ve also included my Thermomix friendly version here.)

Healthy Apple and Rhubarb Crumble

What you will need:

For the filling:

1 green apple – peeled and diced

1 bunch rhubarb – trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces

1/2 cup pitted dates chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 cup quinoa flakes

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 teaspoon aluminium free baking powder

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup slivered or flaked almonds

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 tablespoons coconut oil

How to pull it all together:

In a large saucepan heat the coconut oil.  Add the apple, rhubarb, dates, cinnamon and vanilla and cook for about 5 minutes until well combined.  Set aside.

To make the topping, combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together (working the coconut oil into the dry ingredients) with your fingers until the mixture has the consistency of crumbs.  Pour over the fruit mixture.

When ready to serve, bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until deliciously browned and bubbling.

Serve with thick cream or coconut yoghurt.

The Shrinking Hubby's healthy crumble with coconut yoghurt

The Shrinking Hubby’s healthy crumble with coconut yoghurt

Thermomix version:

For the filling:

Put the dates, roughly chopped rhubarb, peeled and roughly chopped green apple into the mixing bowl.  Put the dial to lid closed position and chop turbo 3 or 4 times.

Add the cinnamon, vanilla and 2 tablespoons coconut oil (about 50/60g) and cook REVERSE speed 1 at 90 degrees for 5 minutes.

Pour into baking dish.

For the topping:

Add 1/2 cup (65g) brown rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon aluminium free baking powder, 1 up (50g ) quinoa flakes, 1/2 cup (50g) almonds,  1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup (70g) coconut sugar and 3 tablespoons coconut oil (about 75/80 g).  Mix closed lid position turbo a few times – until desired crumb-like consistency is achieved.

Pour topping over filling and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes until brown and bubbling.

Options:

  • You can use butter  (organic grass fed if possible) instead of coconut oil (50 grams for the filling and 100 grams for the topping)
  • You can use rolled oats instead of quinoa flakes (1/2 cup)

Enjoy XX

There wasn't much to have for breakfast the next day!!!

There wasn’t much to have for breakfast the next day!!!

Cinnamon and Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Cinnamon and Coconut Pumpkin Soup

We have really been getting some cold weather lately here in Sydney (obviously not as cold as many other parts of the world!), but cold enough to make me crave warm and hearty meals.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of comfort eating at this time of year as the body craves nourishment (and thoughts of bikinis and skimpy clothes are far away as we rug up with our coats, boots and scarves).

Soups are a great winter food because they are highly nutritious and comforting yet despite being relatively low in calories they can be very filling so you won’t feel any deprivation.  And although I don’t subscribe to the calorie counting approach, as I do not believe all calories are created equally, it is important to watch portion sizes for obvious reasons.

I find that cooking a big pot of delicious soup at the beginning of the week is a great way to sort out dinners or lunches for work or home, and so easy to freeze in portion sizes, reheat and serve.  I prefer not to heat up my soup in the microwave (I actually prefer not to use the microwave at all unless really necessary), but if I have to I never heat it up in plastic.  There has been so much research to show that chemicals from plastic leech into our food when heated – and let’s face it we get enough nasty chemical exposure as it is!  Rant over!

Now for my absolutely delicious Cinnamon and Coconut Pumpkin Soup.

I am fairly liberal with the quantities here, so feel free to experiment with your tastes.  Coconut milk/cream can be quite rich so be careful not to overdo it.  The cinnamon here gives the soup a delicous sweetness which will make it hard for you not to lick your plates!

Also – you can also roast the pumpkin a day or 2 before to make it quicker for you to prepare (but be warned – it won’t last long on it’s own in the fridge!!)

Note – if you own a Thermomix, I have included the Thermomix method below – enjoy!

Cinnamon and Coconut Pumpkin Soup

What you will need:

1/2 jap pumpkin or butternut pumpkin.  I used a large jap pumpkin from my sister’s garden (love fresh produce!) and chopped it in half.

1 large or 2 small onions roughly chopped

Coconut oil

Cinnamon

About 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock, or vegetable stock (if you want to keep this vegan), or water would be fine too – the flavours are very rich!  Here is a link to my easy slow cooker chicken stock here.

About 1/2 can of coconut milk/cream (full fat organic if possible).  You may not wish to add as much as this – it depends on the amount of soup etc – so perhaps add according to taste.

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Chives to serve

How to pull it together:

Chop up the pumpkin into fairly even sized cubes and place on baking paper in a roasting tray.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, sea salt and pepper.  You can spritz with a bit of olive oil (but please don’t use those aerosol cans – they are so bad for you!) and bake in a 180 degree Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven for about 40 minutes or until roasted through.

When the pumpkin is cooked or you are ready to make the soup, heat about 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large soup pot or saucepan and sauté the onion with a sprinkle of salt (to stop it from burning) until transparent.  Add the roasted pumpkin and toss through until well coated.  Add the stock or water until the pumpkin and onion are covered and bring to the boil.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, blitz the soup with a hand held blender or in a food processor.  Bring back onto the heat and add the coconut milk/cream stirring until well combined.  Serve with a sprinkle of chives.

If Using A Thermomix:

Add the onion to the mixing bowl and chop speed 5 for 5 seconds.

Add the butter or coconut oil and saute for 3 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 2.

Add the baked pumpkin and broth or stock to cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.

Add coconut milk and blitz speed 9 for 1 minute.

Season to taste and serve sprinkled with chives.

 

Hmmmm enjoy X

 

Quinoa, Kale and Haloumi Salad

Quinoa, Kale and Haloumi Salad

I really don’t need to say much about this recipe – the simplicity of these amazing and nutritious ingredients really speak for themselves.  It’s a great one to serve at a BBQ or to make up at the beginning of the week for lunches.  It’s seriously tasty!

Quinoa, Kale and Haloumi Salad – serves 4

What you will need:

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa – I have used both white and red with this recipe  – it depends what kind of mood you’re in really …

1/2 – 1 bag of baby kale

500 grams haloumi (thinly sliced)

1/2 cup flat parsley leaves (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet, smokey paprika
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a jar shake up the lemon juice,  paprika and olive oil with some sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  (you may wish to play around with this according to your taste)

How to pull it together:

Cook up your quinoa by bringing 1 1/2 cups of quinoa and 3 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot and let simmer for 15 minutes.  To add flavour you could add some lemon zest or a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.  You might also like to cook your quinoa in chicken stock rather than water – I haven’t tried this but it sounds delicious!

While the quinoa is cooking, brush the haloumi with a little olive oil and cook in a hot pan until golden.

Once the quinoa is cooked, toss through the baby kale and parsley with the dressing until well combined.  Top with the golden slices of haloumi and serve.

Enjoy!

 

Everything Tastes Better With A Dollop Of Pesto!

Everything Tastes Better With A Dollop Of Pesto!

I LOVE the smell of fresh basil – it sends my taste buds and endorphins crazy!  I also love whipping up a batch of homemade pesto – not only because it is super quick and easy, but it tastes delicious and adds zest and oomph to anything, it is super healthy, and when you make your own you can make sure you know what goes into it.  (Most commercial pestos use harmful vegetable oils rather than olive oil.)  So now I make my own!

Pesto is great as a dip with carrot sticks, spread over some salmon fillets (check out this yummy recipe here), in a mountain bread toasted wrap with some poached chicken or smoked salmon, tossed through zucchini pasta as a meal or salad (see how to make zuccini pasta here), mixed with some olive oil and vinegar for a zesty salad dressing, tossed through roast veggies or added to some scrambled eggs for a twist – there is just so much you can do!

Here is my simple recipe.  Feel free to play around with the quantities (the quantities here are really only a guide – the amount of basil for example might vary according to the size of the bunch etc (I tend to use as much as I have)…  You might also wish to experiment with the ingredients.  I love a lemony zesty flavour but the lemon isn’t a necessity here.  Also you might want to add some chilli (flakes or fresh) or play with the greens (think coriander, parsley, etc) or the nuts (think cashews, walnuts, pistacchios, macadamias) or even the cheese (think fetta, goats cheese, gruyere – oh yum!).

PS – I have added a Thermomix version below for those wanting to use their Thermomix or Bellini …

Basil 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 and process until finely chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.

pestoprocessor

If using a Thermomix:

Put an approximately  65 gram (2 ounce) chunk of Parmesan into the mixing bowl and blitz, speed 10 for about 8 seconds or until evenly grated.

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix speed 6 for about 3 seconds or until it reaches your preferred consistency.

You will end up with a deliciously chunky pesto.

thermomixpesto-300x300

Notes and tips:

You can freeze the pesto for up to 4 months in an airtight container.  (You could also freeze in a seal-able ice cube tray for easy portion sizing.)

Drizzle with a little olive oil to cover.  To thaw, place in the fridge for 3-4 hours, stir to combine and serve.

Enjoy (and if you haven’t already don’t forget to head over to my facebook page and LIKE it!  You can also follow me on instagram @theshrinkinghubby xx

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