Category Archives: recipes

Maple glazed pecan nuts (great for Halloween!)

Halloween has become a sugar-fest that can be hard to survive if you’re trying to stick to a way of eating that is gentle on your blood sugar. But rather than just throwing in the towel and using it as an excuse to binge (and feel horrible after), there is always the option of finding something yummy to make that doesn’t give you quite such a crazy sugar rush. I reckon these maple glazed pecans are the perfect answer – full of protein and healthy fat (to help balance the effects of the carbs from the maple syrup), and utterly delicious too. I’m definitely whipping up a batch before the ghosts and ghouls come out on Saturday night!

maple pecans

Ingredients

30 ml (2 tbsp) coconut oil

45 ml (3 tbsp) pure maple syrup (NB. “maple flavoured syrup” is NOT the same thing!

pinch of sea salt

2 cups pecan nuts

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 200’C.
  2. Spread pecan nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the maple syrup and salt, stirring continuously.
  4. Bring the maple glaze mixture to a gentle simmer and then add the toasted nuts, still stirring all the time.
  5. Make sure the nuts are well coated in the glaze, continue to simmer (stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Tip the pecan nuts onto a piece of waxed paper or baking parchment paper to cool.

 

Gluten-free seeded super-bread

This recipe has been quite literally life-changing. I was really missing eating bread (have you SEEN what is in shop-bought gluten-free stuff?) and so this recipe has fulfilled a real ’need’.

It’s really versatile – can be savoury or sweet and behaves like ‘proper’ bread so I don’t feel deprived or annoyed that I’m not eating a crusty granary loaf from the village shop. What’s more, the gluten-eaters in the family also love it so we don’t end up having to bake twice.

Its really easy to make – just four simple steps (mix all the dry ingredients together, add water, leave to absorb it for about an hour and then bake). I’ve been enjoying playing around with the ingredients a bit – it seems to work well with different types of nuts and seeds. I think my favourite version so far is walnut and sunflower seed. I’ve also found that using a self-raising gluten-free flour (or adding some baking powder) really helps to lift it a little, otherwise it can be a little ‘dense’.

Recipe – Gluten-free, Seeded Super-bread.

(Based on a recipe from the Deliciously Ella blog (which was in turn based on a number of other recipes from around the internet)).

 

1-superseed-bread2

 

200g gluten-free flour or brown rice flour

350g seeds (pumpkin and sunflower work well)

200g nuts (I like almonds and walnuts)

3tbsp psyllium husk powder (this is essential to bind the bread)

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

500-600ml cold water

Seasoning

Herbs (optional)

 

1. Grind the nuts and seeds finely in a food processor (you can leave a couple of handfuls out so that the bread has some whole seeds in it too).

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together and season.

3. Add the water slowly and stir. Leave for about an hour so that the water gets fully absorbed.

4. Place in a bread tin and bake at 200’C (400’F) for about 45 mins (test to see if it is cooked using a clean knife – it should come out of the bread ‘clean’)

I love this bread straight from the oven with butter and honey or marmite, toasted with avocado and a squeeze of lemon juice or with a bowl of veggie soup.

Pecan Pie squares

Here is a lower GI version of a favourite of mine – Pecan Pie. Before I properly committed to being gluten-free and low GI, I used to LOVE getting the pastry versions of this from the supermarket bakery bit as a Saturday treat. However, this version is wheat-free, dairy-free and sugar-free (but uses maple syrup to sweeten both the topping and the base).

NOTE – You can reduce the amount of sweetness even further (and I think it still tastes great!), but its really a matter of preference. If you’re new to low GI you might find it takes a while to re-educate your taste buds not to expect so much sugar in things … but it is WELL worth making the effort to do this.

 

Shortbread Base:

50g sesame flour

100g brown rice flour

60ml (4 tbsp) melted coconut oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) sunflower oil

30ml (2tbsp) maple syrup

small pinch of salt

 

 

Pecan Topping

120g chopped pecans

100ml maple syrup

50ml coconut oil

1 tbsp ground almonds

1/2 tsp arrowroot (or corn-flour) to thicken

30ml (2 tbsp) coconut milk (or whatever kind of milk you want)

Himalayan pink salt

 

For the Shortbread base

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180’C/ 350’F and line an 8×8 inch square tin with baking parchment.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl
  • Press the mixture into the bottom of the tin and bake for approximately 15 minutes (it should be just beginning to turn brown). Set aside to cool.

 

For the topping

  • Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan, stirring frequently. Simmer the mixture for approx. 5 minutes while whisking frequently. (The coconut oil and maple syrup won’t mix well until you add the rest of the ingredients in the next stage).
  • Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  • Dry roast the pecan nuts in a small pan on a medium heat for about 5 – 8 minutes or until they begin to turn brown. Remove from heat and sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt.
  • Mix together the ground almonds, arrowroot and coconut milk in a small bowl and leave to sit for a few minutes.
  • Whisk the nut milk mixture into the (cool) maple/oil mixture until smooth.
  • Add the chopped pecans and mix again. Pour the topping onto the cooled shortbread base and distribute evenly.
  • Bake at 180’C/ 350’F for 20 minutes (the filling should be beginning to set). Remove from oven and cool.
  • Chill in the fridge before cutting into squares and enjoying!

pecan pie 2

Sweet Potato Fries

If you are committed to making healthy eating a life-style choice rather than something that you have to summon huge amounts of willpower to stick to,  you need to get clever about food swaps. Most foods that we regard as ‘treats’ (which are so often those that are full of empty calories with little nutritional value) can be upgraded in some way so that your body actually gets something USEFUL to work with while you FEEL like you’re indulging.  While you can find some smart food swaps in the ‘PCOS Friendly Eating – The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts’ eBook, check out this recipe for a nutritious, satisfying alternative to chips.

Did you know that according to NHS guidelines, regular potatoes don’t count towards your 5-a-day? The good news is that sweet potatoes are a delicious alternative that DO count. They are full of carotenoids which can help to strengthen your eyesight as well as boosting  your immune system. Plus, their natural sugars are released slowly into the bloodstream (making them lower GI) without the blood-sugar spikes often associated with weight gain and fatigue.

Try out this tasty side dish for an effortless way to continue your healthy eating.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
  • Seasonings (optional)

Tip: I’ve used thyme, smoked paprika, black pepper and a pinch of salt (a delicious combination). Some cinnamon works well too.

sweet potato fries image

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200*C
  • Slice a sweet potato into ¼ inch fries (small slices allow the fries to become crispy rather than soggy) and spread evenly into a baking tray.
  • Drizzle the coconut oil over the sweet potato and toss well to evenly distribute the oil. NOTE – in the UK coconut oil is often solid at room temperature so you may need to melt it first.
  • Generously sprinkle the seasonings over the sweet potato and toss well.
  • Place the baking tray in the top half of the oven to ensure your fries get crispy.
  • Bake for around 25-35 minutes. After 15 minutes you can use a fish slice to turn the fries over so that they cook evenly.
  • Enjoy!

Banoffee Pie Chia Pudding

Banoffe Pie Chia Pudding Image

Struggling with food cravings is quite possibly THE most common reason I hear for why healthy eating plans are ditched. A strong craving for something sweet and creamy can have you reaching for the nearest milk chocolate bar. While the odd ‘treat’ isn’t necessarily a major issue, many women find that one thing just leads to another and before they know it, it’s a full-on binge (“I might as well eat that now – I’ll restart the diet tomorrow” – does that sound familiar?!)

A really useful cravings-taming trick that I recommend, is to identify what sorts of foods you tend to crave and then make sure you have a healthier alternative (that still ‘hits the spot’) close to hand.

This healthy ‘Banoffee Pie Chia Pudding’ can really satisfy if you are craving something sweet and creamy. It only takes a few minutes to prep, and not only is it dairy-free, gluten-free and free from refined sugar – it’s crammed full of ingredients that are postitively good for you and so it is completely guilt-free too!  

 

Creamy Banoffee Pie Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

–        3tsp chia seeds

–        1/3 cup of dairy-free milk (I’ve used almond)

–        2tsp of all-natural almond butter

–        1 Handful of almonds

–        1 banana

1. Crush the almonds and put at the bottom of a glass.

2. Drizzle the almond butter over the crushed almonds.

3. Slice up the banana and layer it on top of the almond butter.

4. Pour in the chia seeds and the dairy-free milk. 5. Keep it in the fridge overnight (the chia seeds will soak up the milk and become creamy and soft)

6. Enjoy!

Would you like to explore what underlies your food cravings? Join me on 16th October 2014 at 8pm (GMT) for a FREE webinar all about PCOS and cravings and how to understand them. You can reserve your spot here.

Indulgent, guilt-free, chocolate pudding

I get strong carb/sugar/something creamy cravings around the time of my period. Having a batch of this made up in the fridge ensures that I don’t end up with my nose in the biscuit tin or my daughter’s Easter Chocolate stash (yes she still has some left – how does she do that?).

This delicious, indulgent, guilt-free chocolate pudding is incredibly quick and easy to make (will take about 5 mins out of your day) and sets in about an hour in the fridge (but tastes yummy when its still runny too!). Please note that this recipe is quite sweet so you might want to reduce the amount of maple syrup if you’re trying to re-educate your taste buds to like less sugar.

 

Indulgent, guilt-free, Chocolate Pudding

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup tahini

1 cup dairy-free milk (I like rice/almond or coconut best)

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons raw cocao (or more if you like it really dark)

1 tablespoon lecithin granules (buy from a health food shop)

 

1. Blend all the ingredients except lecithin granules until thick and creamy.

2. Add lecithin and combine well.

3. Pour into dish or individual glass bowls and set for an hour in the fridge.

4. Delicious served with fresh strawberries or raspberries.

IMG_2478

Would you like to explore what underlies your cravings further? Join me on 16th October 2014 at 8pm (GMT) for a FREE webinar all about PCOS and cravings and how to understand them. You can reserve your spot here.

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