Saturday, 16 November 2013

.Healthier snacks.

If you follow me on Instagram (make_it_perfect), I did promise awhile ago that I would share some recipes for some healthier snacks that I've been cooking lately. 
About a month ago I got all hard core and decided that I was going to quit sugar...I was awesome for about 2 weeks and then school holidays kicked in and Harvey stopped sleeping and I lost motivation. I felt great while I was doing it though and it really wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I read "I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson, it is a quick, interesting and motivating read and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make some healthier changes to their eating habits. Although her approach is extreme, even if you aren't wanting to totally get rid of sugar there are a lot of good tips to take away and make little changes for good in your diet. She uses rice malt syrup a lot as a sweetner - you can get it at health food stores or the health food section in Coles. It is a little midler in sweetness than honey but really yummy especially drizzled over some greek yoghurt.
Another recommendation is "Sweet Poison" by David Wilson. I bought his cookbook and it has a whole heap of yummy sweet recipes that are all fructose free. David is an advocate for using dextrose (a form of pure glucose) in replacement of sugar in cooking, I managed to track some down in Coles but you won't find it in the baking aisle - this stuff is used for brewing beer so look in the home brew section! In my experimenting I think that dextrose is best for cakes and muffins, not so good fro anything you want to stay nice and crisp like biscuits. Here's a picture so you know what you are looking for:
So, if you are like me and a total sugar/sweet/chocolate addict, these two books and websites are great to help get you educated and make some changes...I'm trying to get motivated to get back on track before the silly season rolls in!
When it comes to eating well, I don't have a problem with breakfast, lunch and's the snacking in between that kills me. Particularly if I'm really hungry, I always find myself reaching for a quick sugar hit to keep me going. I'm sure that there are lots of people out there just like me, so here are a few recipes that I've been using that are much healthier than the originals and taste just as good too!

If you do a google/pinterest search for bliss balls, you will come up with HEAPS of great recipe ideas. Basically they are made with a combination of nuts and dried fruit, plus other good things to give extra flavour.

The ones on the left are chocolate bliss balls made with:
1 cup cashews
2 Tbs raw honey or rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla
8 mejool dates
2 Tbs cacao or cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut oil
Place all ingredients into the thermomix or or processer/blender and process until smooth. Roll into balls and roll in coconut. Chill and store in fridge.

The ones on the right are apple and apricot bliss balls. I didn't write down the exact measurements but I used dried apricots, dried apples, almonds, brazil nuts, coconut oil and rice malt syrup, then rolled balls in coconut.

This caramel popcorn has become one of our all-time favourites. I love that it is good for us and still just as yummy as a sugar-laden homemade caramel popcorn recipe.

1/2 cup popcorn kernels, popped
3 Tbs coconut oil
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1/4 tsp salt
pinch baking soda

Heat coconut oil, rice malt syrup and salt in saucepan until bubbly. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until it becomes golden and a bit thick. Add baking soda and mix quickly.
Place popcorn in a large, greased baking dish. 
Pour caramel over popcorn, mix to coat.
Bake in 140 degree celsius oven for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

This muffin base can be used for any fruit muffins - try replacing white sugar in cakes or muffins with dextrose. It isn't as sweet as white sugar so the taste won't be exactly the same. Also, dextrose soaks up liquid in a recipe so you might have to add a bit of extra liquid to get the mixture to the usual consistency.
2 cups SR flour
1 cup dextrose
2 eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup buttermilk (or milk mixed with a Tbs vinegar)
250g frozen raspberries
1 apple, grated
Place flour and dextrose into large bowl. 
Whisk eggs, oil and buttermilk together in a sepearate bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.
Stir thorough fruit.
Divide between 12 muffin holes and cook in moderate oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through.

The one thing that has been an absolute lifesaver, especially when I get to that 3pm slump (and could easily devour a block of chocolate if I had one around!) is green smoothies. I tried making green smoothies ages ago and they were always yucky, I can't remember what I did at the time to know why they were so gross, but I was really turned off! A friend shared some recipes and samples with us at a recent Relief Society activity and they were so good - I am hooked now and can't do without my afternoon green smoothie! They are also great if I can't be bothered cooking dinner (the kids have them with a piece of toast!) or I've been too busy to eat properly throughout the day. 
You can add pretty much anything you want to a green smoothie, the key is to blend them like crazy because if you are left with any lumpy bits from the greens it can be a real turn-off! I blend mine for 1 minute on speed 10 in the thermomix, and sometimes a little longer if it needs it.
My favourite combination is:
handful baby spinach
handful baby kale
1 orange
1 lemon
1 cup frozen mango
1 banana
coconut water (or water or almond milk)

YUM! There are heaps of recipes and ideas on this website, Simple Green Smoothies. I've played around with lots of different combinations, but I can't beat the one above.

Hopefully these recipes and ideas help you out with some healthier snack options. I'm already feeling motivated to get back on track!


Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad said...

Ripper! I love the look of all of these. I have been battling a sugar addiction and Sarah Wilsons book has really helped me too. Thanks for sharing these, I'm always looking for inspiration :)

Sarah @ Hunting for Ladybugs said...

I too am trying to be more sugar conscious with my familys' diet. I couldn't get over the amount that's in sauces, particularly BBQ and tomato. I found this great recipe that the kids will accept and and thought you might like to try it too. It has more everyday ingredients than the massive list in the Sweet Poison suggestions and tastes just like it's full sugar version. I just keep ours in an old sauce bottle in the fridge so it looks just the same as before.

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