Sunday, 19 February 2012

Summer Deck Update

So this is pretty much where I spent this weekend.

It's like Brisbane just suddenly realised it's February and it better turn up the temperature. It's been a real stinker of a weekend.

I've spent a bit of time peering over the deck railings and making mental lists of all the jobs that need to be done in the garden and then plopping down on the lounge totally at peace with the fact that none of them are going to get done today.

We picked up the outdoor lounge on sale at Freedom a few weeks ago - I thought it was a bit of a shame to get it at the end of the summer, but it's been brilliant and it's really encouraged us to get outside and utilise the deck a bit more. When I come home from work and stretch out on it I somehow don't feel as guilty as I would lying in front of the TV.

And although Mr Tchotchke loves it too I think he regards it as a new battleground for his ongoing war against over-cushioning..

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Paleo Carrot Cake: Cavemen Deserve Treats Too

To treat myself for making it through four weeks of Paleo eating I whipped up a little Paleo Carrot Cake on the weekend.

It really didn't hold a candle to my favourite ever carrot cake at Bourke st Bakery in Sydney, but for a Paleo interpretation it was pretty good.

I started off with a recipe from Make It Paleo, but adapted it and reduced some of the quantities when I realised that their carrot cake probably cost $40 in ingredients... Here's my interpretation.

Alecia's Paleo Carrot Cake

3 carrots, grated
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
15 pitted dates
5 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
small tub of cream cheese
1 tsp ground ginger
a few walnuts to garnish

1) In a bowl, pour 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup water over grated carrots and pop in the fridge for an hour.
2) In a mixmaster bowl, combine sifted coconut flour cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
3) In a microwave safe bowl, add 1/4 cup water to the pitted dates and microwave for 30 seconds. Mash the mixture with a fork and then microwave for another 30 seconds and then mash again.
4) Add the mashed date mix to the flour mixture, and then add eggs, vanilla and coconut oil. Mix well.
5) Remove bowl from mixer and add the maple syrup marinated carrots. Fold through.
6) Grease a round springform pan with coconut oil and pour in the batter.
7) Bake in a 175 degree (Celsius) oven for 35 mins or until your skewer comes out clean.
8) In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese with 1/4 cup maple syrup and the ground ginger, and then when cake has cooled, frost cake with cream cheese icing and garnish with smashed walnuts.

If you're used to massively sugary carrot cakes then this isn't going to cut the mustard - but if you've been living on meat, veggies and green smoothies for four weeks then this is actually pretty good.

If I was going to make it again and wasn't being so Paleo-strict, I'd add 1/2 cup self raising flour so that it would raise a little more, and a little bit of icing sugar to the cream cheese frosting because I found the paleo version borderline savoury - but otherwise it was delish. 

And since it was so god-damn healthy I didn't feel guilty polishing off a few slices to celebrate nothing really particular on a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Pasta Fiend Goes Paleo

So I've been conducting a little experiment. A little food experiment - a Palaeolithic experiment to be exact.

I'd read a bit about eating "Paleo" - but I think it was this post on Sarah Wilson's blog that kicked me into gear and inspired me to give it a try. I've been having a few issues with my skin and thought I'd see if it made any difference, as most anti-inflammatory diets are no dairy and no wheat.

"Paleo" eating takes things a little further - with strict followers consuming no dairy, no grains and no legumes (so no corn, no beans, no peanuts - the list goes on). So basically you just eat lots of meat, fish, fruit and veggies. The rationale is that our bodies aren't designer to easily digest dairy, grains and legumes, and we should eat like paleolithic people did.

I bought the above book "Make it Paleo" and set out to give Paleo eating a try for a month.

As an avid pasta lover I predicted I wouldn't last a week - but actually surprised myself by how relatively easy it was. I've just finished four weeks - and although I allowed myself a few little cheats on the weekend (rice at asian restaurants, doughnuts at the markets..) to keep myself sane - I reckon I've been at least 90% paleo.

And what's the result? Well, I feel more energetic, less hungry all the time, and I think its improved my skin. I think planning ahead was a big part of getting me through four weeks - and "Make It Paleo" was really great for simple mid week lunch and dinner ideas.

Am I going to stick with it? Kind of. I'm going to try and keep it up on weekdays and continue to allow myself a little more freedom on the weekends. Because god I miss pasta. And cheese. And I'm sure even Paleolithic cavewomen treated themselves once in a while.
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