Monday, August 30, 2010

Losing track of time..........

I suppose now that it's over 6 months, I'm finding it very hard to keep track of time.  *sigh*

I've passed the 15 kg mark now and I am happy that that milestone is under my belt (or should I say "not" under my belt!).  I have been convicted about my sugar intake again, and i know, even though I have expelled most refined sugar, the amount of maple syrup & honey I have is prob not so good, especially when trying to get the candida under control.  And with this in mind I did minimize temptations last week by not baking or making many sweets for the kids - I find when I cook, or make stuff, I struggle to control myself.  But then, of course, I had another dilemma, what to give the kids each day????  Yes, I did take an easy way out and buy some muffins and lamingtons from the bakery, and I wonder, what price my selfishness???  What should I be concerned about at the moment - giving the kids an unhealthy dose of refined sugar again, or keeping the temptations away from me.  I honestly don't really like muffins, so it is never an issue with me when bringing in "outside" ones.  However, baking them is different - there is nothing quite as appealing as a fresh, out-of-the-oven, crusty, homebaked muffin - and I'll always think: "better just check they're OK...."  

Now, I know a good argument would be - just don't give them anything sweet!  And I don't everyday, and there is always fruit each afternoon, but it is one of their pleasures I still like them to enjoy at times.  (And half the time I'm too lazy to think up creative snack ideas that they're not going to turn there noses up at!)  I do rice crackers and dip or cheese, fruit salad, natural corn chips, smoothees, and yoghurt - but I need more ideas.  Please post any ideas for this frazzled mother who is needing some fresh insight..........

My gym regime has changed a bit lately too - I am not doing any "weights" excercises or much cardio as such.  So what am I doing?  My PT has got me focussing on my "stabilizers" - the itty bitty muscles needed to give you balance and strength in everyday movements - mainly in legs and core.  So, my mornings are full of different "holds" - plank, lunges, squats, etc and precarious movements on balancing apparatus.  But, even without the boxing and dumbbells - my heart is crazy pounding, my legs seizing up excruciatingly, sweat pouring off everywhere and my gut so sore I feel it in every move!  However, because these little muscles are hidden deep down, I am not feeling so "buff"!  I am getting dragged down by my pouch - nothing seems to hide it, nothing seems to make it better, and nothing fits me so I look like the "success" I want to be!  Blah!  Now, if it really stressed me out, i could work better on my eating, and i could put my own extra excercise programs into place at home - but I can't!  And I think I know why.....

Once again I am looking at the world's view of me.  I am trying to feel lifted up by the ideals of others, and by standards that are superficial and worthless.   Just sitting here I am lamenting the fact, that once again, my time spent with God - soaking and seeking, has been frittered away again.  So instead, my soul starts seeking for man's affections, for an emotional high that does not come from glorifying and worshipping the Maker of the Universe, but from compliments - a temporary flush at best. And when you are self-seeking, pleasure is temporary, ups and downs more brutal, your confidence gets bruised and a loaf of nice crusty white bread looks soooo tempting, even though I'm not at all hungry. 

I long for the days when I relish time with God, my heart is singing, my time is used constructively and wisely, and food takes a back seat.  I love to get to the end of a day rejoicing in the blessings of the day, satisfied with exceptional self-discipline, content with jobs accomplished and acknowledging that my God is gracious in all things.  My time is so stretched at the moment, and while most occasions are joyful and enjoyable, some require so much preparation and planning, the stress becomes overwhelming and overshadowing, and I just feel unable and unworthy to finish a job properly.  But each day, I must continue to strive to rest in the Lord, accept His strength and refreshment, and perform in all things for His Glory!  And I will pray the same for you all........

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 27 - Sick of Baking.....15 min NO-BAKE goodies.

There are just some days I can not stomach the idea of MORE baking.  There seems to be too long a process to get to the end-product, and more than likely it will disagree with me, as I'm finding even gf or other more nutritious baked stuff, just gets too heavy for my belly, and doesn't make for a happy Kathie!

Don't get me wrong - I could never give up baking.  And I do normally bake every second day, as, knowing what's in what my kids eat, is more important to me than the time it takes to make something.  With 4 kids, it will always be a part of my life.   

But two things I've realised is:  if it's not baked, chances may be that there could be some raw goodness to be gained; and, there is less chance of using wheat or grains (as they ALWAYS need to be cooked) which is definately not a bad thing for kids and adults alike!  So this started me on a bit of a search for easy treats I could whip up without turning on the oven (not to say the microwave or stove-top wasn't used), were healthy, attractive to kids and wouldn't take me longer than 15 mins to put together. 

No-Bake Delicious Muesli Slice

2 1/2 cups of Brown rice Puffs or Rice Bubbles (I actually used Pure GF Rolled Oats and Brown Rice Puffs)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used macadamias)
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup choc chips (optional)

Basically you need 4 and 1/2 cups of dry ingredients so it can be ANY mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.  You can just use them as is, or do as I did, and lightly toast them in the oven till they had taken on a little colour.  I just mixed all the ingreds (except the choc of course), piled it on an oven tray and put it in the oven, keeping a careful eye on it and stirring it around every few mins.  Pour back into a bowl.

Meanwhile melt 4 tbsps honey, 4 tbspns butter, 4 tbspns peanut butter & 1/3 cup brown sugar (I used 2 tbspns of maple syrup or just add extra honey) altogether till smooth.  Pour over dry ingreds in the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Leave to cool for a bit and then add the choc chips, mix quickly and then pour back onto the oven tray and smooth over with a spatula.  Refrigerate till it hardens, then, slice up.  Be prepared, this is seriously more-ish!

Another note:  You must use butter for this as any margarine or oil will not allow this to set without baking.  Just as well I looooooooooove butter.

Honey-coated Frozen Bananas

I love buying the little ladyfinger bananas from the organic shop, and they are the perfect size for this treat!

6 little ladyfinger bananas
1/2 cup of raw honey
toasted shredded coconut or crushed toasted nuts
paddle pop sticks

Put a paddle pop stick up the middle of the little bananas to create a "handle" for the bananas.  Gently heat up the honey in a small m-wave bowl till it is nice and runny.  Dip the bananas into the honey until completely covered and then quickly roll it in the shredded coconut (or sprinkle over, whichever works better) till coated.  Lay on a plate covered in baking paper.  Repeat with the other bananas and then place the plate in the freezer till the honey is set solid.  Then yummy to eat!    And just a quick note:  yes, this can also be done with melted chocolate instead of honey - but you tell me which one would be better for you?! 

OK, now for a very HEALTHY treat:  Cashew and Coconut Bliss Balls 

This reminded me of the Ferrerro Rocher chocolates Raphaellos but sooooo much better for you.  You just have to remember to soak the cashews a few hours or overnight beforehand.

1 cup raw cashews soaked & drained
1 cup shredded coconut
50g honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla (do not forget this very important ingredient, it makes all the difference!)

Process altogether until fine and the mixture clumps together. Taste to make sure they are sweet enough for you, just add more honey if needed.  Roll into balls, and then roll balls in extra shredded or dessicated coconut to coat.  Put on a plate in fridge to set.  Seriously, this is the quickest recipe known to mankind!

And for the more adventurous:  Raw Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse

1 ripe avo, peeled and cored
1 ripe ladyfinger banana, peeled (optional, but I think it disguises any avo flavour)
3 - 4 tbsp cacao powder
1/3 cup raw agave
1/2 scraped vanilla pod (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 - 1 glass of water

Blend all the ingredients with 1/2 glass of water to start off with.  Gradually add the rest of the water until it reaches a very smooth thick consistency.  Make sure there are no lumps and just add more water or sweetener to get the right taste.  The banana should cover any avocado flavour but you need the avo for that perfect mousse consistency.  I didn't tell my kids that this was made from avocado and they ate it all, and raved about it!   I had a big bowl today for lunch with frozen berries sprinkled on top - really luscious and tasty.

My kids adore Smoothees so that is also a very filling snack that requires little effort and maximum flavour.  For a successful smoothee you need a thick base (bananas), something icy cold to make it frothy (frozen berries), liquid (water or milk or both), sweetener (optional - we use honey/maple syrup) and any extra flavour (such as cacao powder or coconut oil or flavoured sugar free yoghurt).  Smoothees are very filling and a great way to pump yr kids full of vitamins and anti-oxidants!

And last but not least - my most amazing discovery:  No-bake vegan choc oat cookies

2/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter if you don't care about the vegan factor!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups gf rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt together the syrup, cacao, oil and cinnamon in a pot and then boil for 3 mins stirring constantly (watch this as you do not want it to scorch).  Add to the oats, mix, and then stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  I then left it to cool a bit and mixed in a handful of choc bits as well but they aren't really needed.  Roll into balls, place on a tray, press down with a fork and then refrigerate till hard.  YUM!  10 out of 10 from the kids, and soooooo easy.  Just remember, they need to be kept refrigerated to stay firm.

WARNING:  All recipes are tested on children, so adults may not get a look-in!