CREAMY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SOUP

It’s getting decidedly colder in our neck of the woods, and I’m getting lazier. The natural remedy to this is SOUP. It’s pretty hard to mess up when making a soup, and your options are endless – the taste is up to you and it’s also fairly easy to keep it low carb if required.

Last night’s “winging it” soup came out beautifully, so I thought I’d share with you. Remember though, any recipe is merely a guideline – tweak to suit your own tastes.

I did add sweet potato mash to this soup, but that was a left over from a lunch ordered while out and I didn’t want to waste it, so this soup was carbed up a tad; usually I’d omit.

Ingredients

1kg frozen cauliflower
1 red onion
Garlic (I used pickled garlic cloves we have in the fridge, fresh is perfect)
Olive oil for roasting
Seasonining of your choice for roasting (I used chilli flakes and himalayan salt)
4 rashers streaky bacon
1/4 tub smooth cream cheese full fat
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tub sour cream
1 cup pouring cream
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tsp nutmeg

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Roughly chop cauliflower and onion, season as preferred, place on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for roughly 40 minutes – took mine out as the cauliflower started to brown.

Roughly chop bacon up and fry on high heat until crispy.

Place all ingredients in a large pot on the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, blend and serve!

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LOW CARB CRUSTLESS SPINACH, MUSHROOM & BILTONG “QUICHE”

I keep seeing photo’s of glorious looking frittata’s all over my social media feeds, and in an effort to create one myself I came up with this over the weekend as part of my meal prep for work lunches to go.

As it turns out, I created something closer to a quiche than a frittata; and the servings are filling enough to keep your macro goals intact if you’re banting or avoiding carbs, and this keeps perfectly well in the fridge for a week, ready to be grabbed and shoved in a lunch box at short notice.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 5ml beef stock concentrate
  • 2 cups shredded spinach
  • 100g biltong torn up into small bits
  • 1 small punnet white button mushrooms sliced
  • 3 TBSP chilli flakes
  • Grated cheese for topping

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, beef stock and chilli flakes and combine well. Place remaining ingredients in an ovenproof dish (the one I used was roughly 10cm deep with a diameter of 20cm), mix them well, and then pour your egg mixture over all of it. Ideally you want the egg to just cover the top of your dry ingredients. Cover with your grated cheese and pop in the oven for 40 minutes.

And you have a delicious “quiche” that can be enjoyed hot or cold! Easy, wasn’t it?

MACROS

I am LOVING MyFitnessPal; I’m using it to plot my meals in advance to ensure I keep my daily carb intake low, and I’ve now realised I can provide the macro’s for any dish I prepare too, and create my own foods and save them on the app for future use too 🙂 So, here you go, thanks to the app here are the key Macro’s for the total dish, as well as per serving, assuming a split into 10 portions.

total macroserving

 

 

 

BANTING FRIENDLY GOURMET EGG SALAD CRACKERS

I’ve joined a fantastic group on Facebook specifically for women (sorry men!) as a support group for all of us wanting to get healthier and fitter this year. You too can join if you head on over to the Shell Shocked Mummy Health & Fitness group – you’ll find a wonderfully supportive group of ladies, most of whom are following the banting / LCHF lifestyle.

Some of us in the group have joined a challenge for the month of February as well as additional impetus to get our A’s into G, and as such I’m watching what I eat like the proverbial hawk at the moment. I’ve even re-installed MyFitnessPal and customised my macro’s to fit in with the Banting lifestyle of eating; here’s a great post to show you step by step to achieve this over at EatFatLoseFat.

Being a part of the group adds accountability for me, and seeing everyone’s shared meals on a daily basis provides inspiration and a push for me to not be so damn lazy all the time and actually put that extra bit of effort and thought into my meal choices and creations 🙂

So, yesterday I decided that it was time to experiment, but I also didn’t want a “heavy” meal for dinner last night, so I came up with these and they were delicious! It takes a bit of extra effort but it’s worth it for the flavour and texture (back to that CRUNCH I miss so much on the low carb lifestyle!), and if you’re looking to impress guests here’s a starter that’s sure to please 🙂

BANTING FRIENDLY GOURMET EGG SALAD CRACKERS

“GARNISH”
If you are topping off with the roasted pepper’s and cherry tomatoes as I did (and why wouldn’t you?!), preheat your oven to 180C and get your roast on as this takes the longest prep time wise – I like mine a bit charred which equates to roughly 35 minutes; use your own discretion here based on your tastes. I coated with coconut oil and a srinkling of NoMu’s Smoked Sea Salt (this stuff is my crack!).

CRACKERS
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
Silicon baking sheet or Parchment Paper (I highly recommend investing in a silicon baking sheet; I got mine at Pick ‘n Pay for R129, but there are plenty options available online )

Mix the Paprika well with the grated cheese, and place roughly a teaspoon full in a circle on your wax paper or silicon baking sheet. Leave 3cm gaps between your circles, and be sure to not pile too high or thick as they won’t crisp up if you do so.

Bake in preheated oven at 140C for about ten minutes; keep an eye on them and remove from oven to cool as soon as your “chips” have turned a golden brown.

GOURMET EGG SALAD

Note: This made enough for 12 crackers with enough to spare that I’ll probably make exactly the same for dinner tonight again 🙂

4 large eggs, boiled and shelled
3 tbsp Hellmanns Real Mayo
3 chopped spring onions
2 tbsp chilli flakes
2 chopped pre cooked bacon rashers
4 finely chopped cloves of pickled garlic (optional, I just love pickled garlic!)

Mix all of the ingredients together and “mash” your eggs to a consistency of your liking.

ASSEMBLY

I placed roughly a heaped teaspoon of the egg salad on each cracker, and topped each with a sliver of roasted pepper and a cherry tomato for each, and VOILA! A beautiful looking snack that is tasty, filling, and low carb 🙂

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ALL THE Cooking Weekend – Zucchini Brownies, Cauli Pizzas, Cheesy “Bread” Sticks and Eggplant Pizza Bites

I cannot recall when last I’ve spent so much time in our kitchen! This past weekend was all about trying out new (and old and trusted) LCHF recipes to ensure we stayed legal and on the banting wagon. Some of us did better than others *cough cough looking at you Chicken cough cough*.

I’m now down 3kg’s since getting serious about what I eat again from 4th January. I really should be happier with my results as I’m only two weeks in and percentage wise that’s a fifth of what I want to lose, but somehow I’m not. When I got on the scale this morning I was actually rather disappointed – somehow my silly brain expected a miracle because I spent an extra 20 minutes on a treadmill walking this weekend HAHAHAHAHA. Anyway, it’s a start. ONWARD!

Here are the things we shoved in our faces this weekend.

Mini Cauliflower Pizza’s

Unlike most recipes for a cauliflower pizza base, this one doesn’t require ninja skills on drainage and odd scraps of material. I used a recipe from GirlVersusDough found on Tablespoon with two variations – I added an additional egg as well as a 1/4 cup of almond flour. Probably not strictly necessary but I felt it gave the “dough” a bit more substance and helps combat the natural excess fluid resulting from not going all ninja on your cooked cauliflower pre baking.

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Brinjal Pizza Bites

Sensing a theme here? 😛 I love eggplant. It’s an odd looking vegetable and as a kid I despised the things, but with age comes a more refined (fussy, if you ask the other half) palate.

I made these by slicing an eggplant vertically into roughly 2cm thick slices, coating them with coconut oil and popping into a 180 degree C oven for about 40 minutes, flipping them regularly. While that was going I made a simple tomato sauce base which was one can chopped tomato and onion mix (All Gold – they tend to have the lowest carb count from the canned mixes), a sprinkle of Xylitol, chopped chilli’s and a few dashes of Maggi Aroma sauce (my absolute favorite secret weapon ingredient!) and let it all simmer away until it thickened to my liking. I topped the brinjal slices with the tomato base, added a mix of grated mozzarella and gouda on top, sprinkled some mixed herbs over it all, and popped back into the oven for 10 minutes. These are damn tasty.

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Cheesy “Bread” Sticks:

I used up the remaining “dough” from my cauli mini pizzas to go with our braaied lamb chops yesterday to make a banting version of cheesy breadsticks, and they turned out damn well. Simply spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, thin your “dough” out to roughly 1cm thick, top with your choice of toppings and cheese (I put dehydrated olives, chilli’s and mixed herbs on mine as well as a mix of grated mozzarella and cheddar), and pop into oven on low temp (mine was at 100 C) for about 40 minutes, or until you’re happy with the colour and texture. I didn’t manage to get a great pic of these, and they disappeared fairly quickly, but here you go none the less 😛

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THE WEEKEND WINNER – Zucchini Brownies

OMFG. PERFECTION. Seriously – Karina deserves a damn medal for this recipe! The only thing I did differently to her instructions was to throw all my ingredients in one bowl and mix with spoon, because I’m lazy that way – she does dry first and then adds wet ingredients. So, her already easy recipe just got easier – my brownies were still ridiculously good. MADE WITH BABY MARROW’S. Yes, I know, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. These passed three sweet tooth tester’s palates, and all agreed they are fantastic. You don’t even feel like it’s a banting / low carb sub for a treat – it tastes just like the real thing. Here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites for you:

 

 
 Serves: 16 Brownies
 
Low Carb Zucchini Brownies are so incredibly moist and fudgy AND flour-less and healthy! All in one bowl! Hello low carb lovers!
Weight Watchers: 2pp per brownie!
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (use the smallest blade on a cheese grater. It should look like a puree).
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, measured in melted state (or sub with any vegetable oil you have)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup natural granulated sweetener (or granulated sugar of choice — coconut; white sugar) *See Notes
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup peanut flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or ¼ cup if you don’t like them too rich)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 squares Lindt 90% chocolate (or chocolate of choice), cut into pieces/chunks
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 176°C | 350°F. Line a 8×8″ baking pan with baking?parchment paper, or lightly grease with oil spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the zucchini, butter, oil, egg, sweetener (or sugar), and vanilla until well combined. Add the peanut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; folding through slowly until just combined. The batter will be thick but shouldn’t be dry. (It depends on how much liquid your zucchini has! If too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water). Fold in half of the chocolate chunks; pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle remaining chocolate chunks over the top.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies spring back when gently touched. (If testing with a toothpick, they will be very moist in the centre BUT they do set and harden when removed from the oven.)
  4. Allow to cool completely (about half an hour); cut into squares and chill to semi-set.
  5. If storing at room temperature they’re best eaten within 2 days. If refrigerating, they last 3-4 days.
 
NOTES
I use a sweetener that measures 1:1 with normal sugar. If using a stronger sweetener, measure the amount needed for ⅓ cup normal sugar.
 
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: per brownie Calories: 71 Fat: 5.6g Carbohydrates: 4.3g Sugar: 1.3g Fiber: 1.6g Protein: 3.4g
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So there you have it – a rather busy weekend in the kitchen and some truly good food, all legal if you’re banting / avoiding sugars and carbs.

Back on the banting wagon – NACHO’s!!

To say the last half of 2015 was a disaster for me fitness and health wise is an understatement, really, for many reasons I won’t bother going into – hence the non posting. As mum always said – if you ain’t got nothing nice to say…. (at least she said one good thing in her life, right? Hahahaha).

So, we’re not going to bother dwelling on the how’s or why’s of last years latter half suckage, but pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start again! Back on the banting wagon we go!

I’ve made a few great new banting friendly dishes so far this year, and I’ll be sharing them as time goes on, but we’ll start with a new one I tried last night from the Raising Superheroes cookbook that the other half sneakily ordered for us last year 🙂

It’s a tad on the pricey side as you need to use almond flour, but the results are well worth it. It’s difficult to find a decent “chip” substitute on a low carb meal plan that isn’t a veggie parading as a chip… This one comes closest to that savoury crunch and dippable fun I miss.

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 30g butte
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C
  • Prepare your non stick baking paper before mixing the dough – I used regular baking paper found at all supermarkets, and sprayed both sheets with non stick cooking spray for good measure too. Tow sheets needed that are the size of the baking tray you are going to use
  • Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly – if you have a food processor use that, I used a hand stick blender
  • NOTE: this “dough” is really REALLY sticky – that’s normal though they don’t warn you in the book
  • place your prepared dough in the middle of your baking sheet, place additional baking sheet on top of it and press down by hand until manageable with a rolling pin
  • I rolled mine quite thing – just make sure it’s all as even as you can get it to avoid uneven baking
  • Once you’re happy with the thickness, lift top baking paper sheet off, and using a knife or pizza cutter cut the dough to your desired shape / sizes so that they’re easy to “snap” once you take them out of the oven
  • Place the baking sheet with your prepared pre-cut dough sheet on your baking tray and pop into the oven for roughly 10 minutes – keep an eye on them so they don’t burn
  • When they’re a nice golden colour, remove and let them col for at least 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet
  • Serve with a dip of your choice – I used avo, feta and chilli

 

While they don’t have that absolute crunch that a regular maize / flour based nacho chip does, they’re substantial and firm enough to stand up to a rugged dip, and tasty to boot. You could also tweak the spices you add to your dough – my next batch will probably include a good dose of chilli flakes – your possibilities are endless!

Best ever baby marrows!! Blue cheese is the star!

Simple and not exactly a “recipe” but this one was such a game changer for my seemingly never ending search for vegetable dishes that are #LCHF friendly while still being simple and tasty, that I just had to share it.

Meet the baby marrow blue cheese sexiness that is totally #LCHF friendly and bloody delicious to boot!

We had ours with chicken last night and it truly was a delicious meal – this is the second time I’ve made the marrows this way; first time was with pork belly and it was just as great then. The flavour of these veggies are robust enough to stand up to even ostrich I’d say, and I’ll be sure to test them for exactly that in the not too distant future.

So, let’s get down to it – how to produce this mouthwatering twist on fried baby marrow’s. It really is ridiculously simple and very much “to taste”, so I’ve guestimated quantities in all aspects here, but be sure to try it and go with your gut – as long as blue cheese is present you’re all set 😛

Slice red onion and throw in pan with ghee, garlic and chilli (always optional, though why anybody in their right mind would omit is beyond me).

Now add sliced baby marrows, toss and cook until they’re almost cooked through.

Next, add a healthy portion of blue cheese.

Reduce heat to simmer, and leave until the blue cheese “caramelises” and is nice and gooey. Serve and enjoy!

My Cauliflower Base Pizza attempt #LCHF

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I’ve been threatening to do this for the longest of times, and finally got around to making the cauliflower base pizza last night – and the other half and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I used the recipe and instructions from The Lucky Penny’s post on caulipizza, and it worked out just great for me 🙂 The only variation for me was the temp and time – I did mine at 180 C for around 25 minutes before adding the toppings and popping it back into the oven for a further 10 minutes just to melt the cheese.

Here’s the ingredients and a summary of how to – for the detailed step by step post, visit The Lucky Penny here

Ingredients
Approx 3 cups cooked, riced cauliflower
1/4 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan
herbs and spices of your choice – I used Ina Paarman’s Olive & Rosemary

Preheat your oven with a baking tray lined with baking paper, or your pizza stone if you have one. Place your cauli rice in a tea towel and ring out as much moisture as you can. Mix the “drained” (exsanguinated?) cauliflower with the cheese and herbs, and compress into a tight ball. Now flatten out this “dough” ball onto your pre heated baking tray / pizza stone, into your desired shape (I made a flat pan pizza) and ensure your thickness is standard all the way through – you’re looking for about a 1cm thick base. Place in oven and cook for 10 – 20 minutes; keep an eye on the base and when it starts to brown and go golden across the top, you’re ready to put your toppings on.

Place toppings, put back in oven and cook until your cheese is melting and you’re happy all toppings are cooked / heated through to your liking. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes – this helps remove that “floppy soggy” factor 😛 Eat and ENJOY!

For my topping I used a homemade tomato base sauce, mushrooms and bacon (pre fried) and a mix of gouda and mozzarella cheese. The one baking tray split was more than enough for the two of us and was damn tasty!

For those of you who want to know, the “sauce” was:
1 x diced onion
1 x diced tomato
1 x packet All Gold Tomato Paste
7 x finely chopped green chilli’s
1 tbsp garlic (we love garlic)
2 tbsp Bushman’s Chipotle Ketchup – I added this for sweetness and to combat the usual tart flavour of tomato paste

If you’re craving pizza, I seriously recommend doing this – a bit of elbow grease required but well worth it!

start of sauce

end sauce

bacon and mush in pan