The Shrinking Hubby’s Miracle Chocolate Brownies

The Shrinking Hubby’s Miracle Chocolate Brownies

Wow!  I thought that these might be popular – I mean chocolate is always bound to sell itself right?!  But I was blown away by the response I got from the photo of these brownies I posted on Facebook last night.  So as promised, here is the recipe!  I hope you and your kids enjoy these delicious and healthy treats!  (as always I have included Thermomix and regular methods below)

The reason why these are such a winner is because they are not only gluten and grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free, but they are also nut free which is great for school lunchboxes.  I have included a recipe for a dairy free chocolate ganache which makes these a decadent treat, but they would be just as nice without the ganache and much less messy for lunchboxes.  However my kids (and husband) did love the icing!

The kale is an added bonus, but it is not essential so if you really detest kale, just leave it out.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Miracle Chocolate Brownies

What you will need:

  • 500g (about 1 pound) sweet potato (peeled and finely diced)
  • 1 cup (40 grams) kale (shredded – stalk removed)
  • 200 grams pitted medjool dates (about 14 dates)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cacao
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 large organic free-range eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free (aluminium free) baking powder

Thermomix method:

Place the sweet potato and kale into the mixing bowl with 100 grams water and cook 100 degrees/10 minutes/speed 2/REVERSE.

When cooked, blitz 20 seconds, speed 8.  Scrape down and blitz 10 seconds speed 8.  You may wish to repeat to get the texture you like with the kale.

Add 200 grams pitted medjool dates (about 14 dates) and mix 10 seconds, speed 9.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix 7 seconds, speed 7.  Scrape down and repeat another 2 times until well combined.

Pour into a greased and lined square baking tray and bake for 18- 20 minutes, 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) until cooked through.

If you wish to ice the cake with my chocolate ganache (recipe below), leave in tin to cool slightly, then pour the ganache over the brownie making sure it is evenly covered.  Put in fridge until icing is set, then cut into squares and serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge (they won’t last long I promise!)

Regular method:

Steam the sweet potato and kale.  When soft blitz in a food processor with the dates until well combined and the kale is a texture you are happy with.

Add the remaining ingredients and combine well.

Pour into a greased and lined square baking tray and bake for about 18- 20 minutes, 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) until cooked through.

If you wish to ice the cake with my chocolate ganache (recipe below), leave in tin to cool slightly, then pour the ganache over the brownie making sure it is evenly covered.  Put in fridge until icing is set, then cut into squares and serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge (they won’t last long I promise!)

Chocolate Ganache

  • What you will need:
  • 100 grams good quality dark chocolate (I used 70 percent).  If you want to keep this refined sugar free you can use a dark chocolate that is sweetened with stevia
  • 100 grams coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional if you want a sweeter ganache – I didn’t use)
  • 25 grams butter or coconut oil

Thermomix method:

Place chocolate into mixing bowl and blitz 8 seconds speed 9.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook 3 minutes, 50 degrees, speed 3.

Regular method:

Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan and stir until melted over a very low heat.

I hope you enjoy them!  And be sure to let me know how you go in the comments 🙂

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten Free Sausage Rolls

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten Free Sausage Rolls

I love having a batch of homemade sausage rolls in the freezer to give the kids on those nights that you really don’t feel like cooking.  I’ve always made my own filling – thus ensuring they are full of a range of veggies, and organic, grass-fed mince.  I used to cook them with a store bought (butter) puff pastry until I realised that my kids reacted badly to gluten.  I then starting experimenting with making my own gluten free pastry after realising that it is impossible to buy a gluten free pastry that isn’t made with margarine or vegetable shortening – both which I avoid like the plague.   I won’t lie to you, gluten free pastry is not easy, it’s very fiddly and can be quite messy, but to offer my kids their favourite dinner knowing that it won’t cause them health problems is worth it!  (and as long as you manage to hide them from the grown ups these sausage rolls are a great freezer staple to have on hand!)

The recipe below makes enough filling for 3 lots of the pastry quantities below, so if you prefer, you can freeze the filling in batches to pull out and make a batch at a time as required.

I have made these both with and without a Thermomix, and I have included both versions below.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten Free Sausage Rolls

To Make The Gluten Free Puff Pastry

What you will need:

  • 90 grams ice cubes
  • 180 grams cold unsalted butter
  • 200 grams gluten free plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Thermomix friendly method

Place the ice and butter into the mixing bowl and blitz 15 seconds, speed 10.  Scrape down bowl.

Add the flour and salt and mix 5 seconds, speed 5.  Scrape down bowl. (the mixture will resemble crumbs – this is normal)

Turn dial to closed position and knead for 2 minutes.

Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Non Thermomix method

Place the ice and butter into a food processor and blitz until well combined (careful to stop before the ice melts too much).  Scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour and salt and mix again for a good few seconds until well combined.  (the mixture will resemble crumbs – this is normal).

Now this is the tricky bit.  You need to knead the crumbs by hand on a large chopping board.  It will be messy and sticky but persevere and try and get it all into a ball, quickly wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  This is the hardest part but I promise you it will come together and you will achieve a dough that you can use!

To Make The Gluten Free Beef Filling

What you will need:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 peeled carrot
  • 500 grams organic, grass-fed beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • fresh herbs (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Thermomix friendly method

Add the onion and garlic into the mixing bowl and blitz speed 5 for 5 seconds.  Scrape down bowl.

Add the zucchini and carrot and mix speed 5, 5 seconds.

Add the beef and mix speed 5, 15 seconds.

Add the almond meal, egg, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, tomato paste, salt, pepper and herbs (if using) and mix speed 5, 20 seconds.

Scrape down bowl and mix a further 10 seconds, speed 5 – or until well combined.

Non Thermomix method

Finely chop onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini (or blitz in food processor until you reach your desired texture.)

Add to a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well using your hands for best results.

How to pull them together:

Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Ok, as I said, using gluten free pastry can be really tricky.  I have made these several times, and honestly rolling them with a rolling pin is sticky and unproductive.  I have found that the easiest way to make them is to take sections of the pastry out of the fridge at a time (I usually do it in thirds) and roll into little balls about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons each, roll into a snake and flatten into a rectangular shape with your palm.  Pop a dollop of the beef mixture in the centre.  Quickly roll the pastry around to form a sausage roll shape.  (hence the rustic nature of these ones :-))

When you have made all your rolls, whisk an egg in a bowl and paint the egg mixture over the sausage rolls to give them that golden sheen.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for approximately 30 minutes or until well browned.  If you intend to freeze you can do so and then reheat them in the oven when you are ready to serve them.

Enjoy, and if you stumble across any tips for making the preparation of these any easier – please feel free to share your wisdom in the comments!

 

Surviving The Silly Season

I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that it is already December.  We personally have had a massive year filled with lots of exciting adventures but it has really flown!  So here we are at that time of the year when everyone is trying to squeeze catch ups and celebrations in before the year ends and 2015 rolls in.  

I know that when I am in my normal routine it is a lot easier to stay on track with my food and general well-being.  When you are eating out a lot more than normal it becomes challenging to stay in control of what you are eating and drinking, and if you don’t have iron-clad willpower (let’s face it – how many of us really do?!) then you can pretty much guarantee that you will over indulge.  

Here are my top 5 tips to staying on track during this crazy time.

1.  Drink lots (and lots and lots) of water.  Try and drink at least 3 litres per day.  If like us you are living Down Under  you’ll need it to help your body deal not just with toxins but also with the heat – and we are expecting a scorcher of a summer in Australia this year!

2.  Don’t let your training regime go out the window.  Make sure you commit to as many of your regular sessions as you can, and if you can pick up a couple of extra workouts to make up for relaxing your diet, then that’s all the better for you!  If you can find a training buddy to keep you accountable and motivated it will make it much easier to stick to your resolve.

3.  Don’t skimp on your sleep.  Yes there might be some late nights celebrating, but make an extra effort to turn the screens off and have early nights when you don’t have stuff on.  You should be aiming for at least 7 hours sleep – more at this time of the year would be even better!

4.  Eat more greens!  Full of essential nutrients to help your body detox and recover, eating more leafy greens at this time of year will really make a difference.  Throw a handful of spinach in your scrambled eggs in the morning, or in your protein shake.  Even better, now is a good time to make a green smoothie a daily ritual.  My favourite green smoothie is a blend of spinach, cucumber, lemon,green apple, ginger, turmeric, ice and filtered water.  I also like to add my supplements including a probiotic powder, greens powder and collagen.  All which keep me on top of my game!

5.  Try not to stress about it!  Stress is probably the most toxic thing you can do to your body.  It’s been a big year, why shouldn’t you be able to let your air down and enjoy yourself a little more than usual?!  Do the best you can but don’t beat yourself up for having a bit of fun over the next few weeks.  Just make sure you resolve to jump straight back on the wagon in the new year.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and all the best for 2015!

X

Alix

 

The Shrinking Hubby’s Egg and Veggie Scramble

The Shrinking Hubby’s Egg and Veggie Scramble

This is a fantastic way to start the day – especially after a good workout! It is tasty, filling and as always very nutritious!

It might look like a bit of work in the kitchen but it seriously only takes a few minutes to throw together.  If you are time poor it’s a good idea to chop up a couple of leeks and some veggies at the beginning of the week and just grab handfuls when you are ready to make it (rather than chopping it all every morning).

I don’t have it with bread and I don’t feel like I am depriving myself.  Apart from adding heaps of flavour, the coconut oil and butter make it really satisfying, and you’ll find you won’t be hungry again for ages. Enjoy XX

The Shrinking Hubby’s Egg and Veggie Scramble

(Serves 1)

What you will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or good quality grass –fed butter
  • 2 free range eggs (organic if possible), whisked quickly in a separate bowl
  • About 1 inch of leek
  • Mix of chopped veggies – e.g. zucchini, tomato, broccoli, beans, spinach, asparagus
  • Sea salt/freshly cracked pepper

How to pull it together:

Heat the butter and/or coconut oil in a pan.

Add the leeks and cook until browned.

Throw the rest of the veggies into the pan and stir through until well coated.

Add the whisked eggs and stir through until scrambled.

Serve and eat immediately.

Note:  If I have any leftover meat from the night before (e.g. steak, lamb or chicken) I add this with the veggies.  For a kick you can add some fresh chopped chilli with the leek or a good quality chilli paste stirred through at the end.

Enjoy XX

3 Home Workouts Guaranteed To Test You Regardless Of Your Ability – Guest Post By Jess Robinson of Lazy Girl Fitness

There are many reasons why it’s not always possible to get to the gym. It could be your kids, absent partners, lack of time and/or lack of motivation to walk through those often intimidating gym doors.  I am often relegated to my garage to train  and so I am always on the lookout for nifty little workouts that I can pull out and use.

Lucky for you guys, I asked my good friend Jess from Lazy Girl Fitness for a selection of workouts so you can start doing the same thing.  It doesn’t matter how fit you are! Here is an example of a beginner, intermediate and advanced workout to get you started.  I tried the advanced one with a good friend last week and it wasn’t pretty, we were a sweaty mess by the end of it, but it was fun and we felt amazing all day!

So give at least one of these a go this weekend and let me know how you feel after!  Thanks Jess!!!

We were a sweaty mess but it was loads of fun!

We were a sweaty mess but it was loads of fun!

3 Home Workouts Guaranteed To Test You Regardless Of Your Ability

By Jess Robinson of Lazy Girl Fitness

No matter where you are on the spectrum of fitness, planning a workout can be tough. How long should the session go? What body parts should I work? Why am I having a complete mind blank on ideas?

We’ve all been there.

Luckily, putting together workouts is one of my favourite things, so today I’ve done not one, but three for you! All are no-equipment bodyweight workouts that can be done anywhere – from the gym to your backyard or even your living room. And everyone’s a winner because I’ve designed a beginner, intermediate and advanced session.

No excuses guys!

Beginner Workout

This total body workout is a great place to begin, full of simple exercises that will get your heart rate up and your muscles into gear, When you’re just starting out, it’s important to include ample rest time in your program. As you progress, feel free to increase the intensity of the workout by decreasing your rest time and/or increasing the intensity at which you perform the exercises.

Lazy Girl Fitness Workout For Beginners

Lazy Girl Fitness Workout For Beginners

 

Intermediate Workout

OK we’re starting to really work now. Part one of this workout will send your heart rate skyrocketing. Part two is all about intensity – go as hard and as fast as you can (while keeping good form) and try to better yourself with each round. This workout isn’t a long one, but you should be dripping with sweat by the time you’re done.

 

Lazy Girl Fitness' Intermediate Workout

Lazy Girl Fitness’ Intermediate Workout

 

Advanced Workout

Yikes. You know that any session starting with five minutes of burpees is going to be a doozy! It’s a 45-minute full-body HIIT session that focuses on big movements for maximum calorie burn and finishes with a cheeky little abs circuit. If you don’t curse me by the end then I’ll be a bit surprised.

Lazy Girl Fitness' Advanced Workout

Lazy Girl Fitness’ Advanced Workout

 

Hope you enjoy them!

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 here, follow her on facebook at here or twitter/instagram @LazyGirlFit

PS – Jess is holding a Get Set For Summer 6 week bootcamp in Sydney in November – if you are interested please check out the link here.

jessandlou

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