Pancake Sunday – Paleo Style

We love pancakes in this house. It’s been a long standing tradition to have pancakes (or waffles) on Sunday.  We had a great recipe for good old fashioned pancakes with white flour & sugar.

When I started changing my lifestyle and eating, pancakes disappeared from the menu for a while – until I decided to experiment with some healthier versions.  I discovered  paleo style pancakes via Hunter Gatherer Gourmet, who are an NZ based business selling paleo cake mixes, slices & a pancake and crepe mix and decided to give it a go.  This is a great option if you just want a dry mix that you can add the wet ingredients to, they were yummy and did the trick.

Two weeks ago we had a crisis – no pancake mix.   I consulted Google and found a recipe by The Paleo Running Momma and decided to try my own from scratch. Instead of white flour, a tapioca flour and coconut flour mixed is used, along with mashed banana, eggs and coconut milk.   SUCCESS!   These Paleo banana coconut flour pancakes are so perfectly fluffy, moist and sweet that you won’t believe they’re grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free!

They were light, fluffy, rose well and absolutely delicious. The boys downed them pretty quick, I was so happy with them. Below is the recipe, which is the original from Paleo Running Momma with only 1 small change (I used rice malt syrup instead of maple).

Please don’t assume that just because these are ‘Paleo’ that they aren’t as good as ‘the real thing’. Give them a go. It’s a great alternative if you’re GF or are trying to stay away from white flour – or even if you’re not.

I get creative with toppings – some of our faves are fresh cut fruit salad with coconut yogurt, frozen berries heated in a pan for 10 mins and poured on top (YUM) and todays experiment was banana, pear and peanut butter.  They are wonderful plain with maple syrup too.

Here’s the recipe!

Paleo Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients separately, then add them to the wet mixture and stir until well combined and smooth.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over med low/med heat. These pancakes will cook more evenly if they cook on a lower setting for a bit longer.
  3. Coat the skillet or griddle with a thin layer of coconut oil, no too much, since you will add more after each batch.
  4. Spoon the batter by about 3-4 tbsp carefully into the hot pan and smooth into an even circle, 3-4 inches in diameter. Do not crowd! You can keep the cooked pancakes on a parchment lined baking sheet in 200 degree oven until ready to eat.
  5. Allow each pancake to cook on one side until edges are dry, bubbles form on the surface and the bottom is deep golden. Carefully flip and cook the second side until golden. Repeat for all pancakes, greasing the pan lightly with coconut oil between batches and adjusting the heat as necessary.

 

 

The Hunter Gatherer Gourmet Pancakes – we added blueberries

When The Numbers Stop Moving

I’ve been really fortunate to have steady weight loss since I started my journey.
Every week the kilo’s came off and I was riding high my friends! It’s such a buzz to see the scales reflect what you feel, but as you’ve heard me say before, the scales are not everything.

My weight loss has been consistent – until about 3 weeks ago.  It stopped. It just stalled and I sat at at EXACTLY the same weight for almost 2 weeks. I was confused, then disappointed, and then just really frustrated. The old me would have simply given up (and has done, several times in the past). My internal dialogue would have gone a little something like this: “Why bother, it’s not working, just eat whatever you like.  You can get back on track again later. You just need to reset your body”.

Not this time. I felt it creeping in for sure, those old bullshit stories we tell ourselves to justify our bad decisions. This time was different. I have had such a reset in the way I think about food, lifestyle and balance that I didn’t crumble at the first plateau. I won’t lie, it rattled me, but I had the right tools to actually sit back and THINK about this and reflect on some of my own advice that I’m pretty good at dishing out.  The scales are NOT everything – I say it all the time. They are not the be all and end all – they are simply one of the tools we use to measure our success.  We put so much stock into those scales, they become everything – and it’s so important that we break that cycle.

We need to be less emotionally tied to the scales and have more confidence in ourselves and our journey.  

How do we do that?  Trust yourself.  Put away the scales and reflect. Only you know what is going on in your head. Only you know what is going in your mouth.  If you stop and THINK and you’re honest with yourself, you likely know why the numbers stopped moving.  This is what mindful eating is all about.

For me, over time I had increased my sweet treats. Yes, they are all refined sugar free and they are the right kind of treat – but just because something is made with dates or maple syrup instead of refined sugar, doesn’t mean it’s a free for all.  Sugar is still sugar.
I was falling into an old habit of too many sweet things and I knew it.  I was heading out of balance.

It took me about a week to figure it out (and realise I wasn’t getting away with it!), and then a week to do something about it.  Treats have gone back to being just that – not something I have every day, and the weight started to move again.  Because I took the time to put some thought into what was going on, I figured it out and I fixed it. It wasn’t hard – I just had to go back to being super aware of what I was doing for a few days to reset my good habits!

I feel it’s also really important to keep your head in a positive space. It can so easily spiral out of control and break us. Don’t let it break you. Stay the course, do something that reminds you you’re doing awesome or you’re on track. A few days ago I decided to clear out all of the ‘too big’ clothes in my wardrobe. Thinking it was going to result in a few grocery bags full of clothing, I started trying on each item. I got such a confidence boost as old favourites literally hung off me. I ended up filling a large 90L container to donate plus an additional large box for selling.  Stuff like that makes you want to keep going and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

So, lets recap.

Be mindful. Think about what you’re doing and what you’re eating. If you have an inkling that something you’re eating is not good for you – you’re probably right.

Don’t put so much emotional investment in those scales!

Stay positive!  Look at some old photos or put on a pair of jeans that are too big for a confidence boost.

Finally, have a little faith and go easy on yourself. This is a journey, it’s not always going to be smooth sailing and they trying times are what can make or break us.

It’s ok to stumble, the important part is that we get back up.

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Reflecting on how far I’ve come!

 

Recipe – Raw Vegan Lemon & Coconut Slice 

Those of you who follow me on instagram, when it comes to food, know three things for certain  – I love smoothies, I have a sweet tooth and I love Cathedral Cove Naturals products. 

It started with the paleo cereals to put on my smoothies or bowls for some crunch, and then I discovered the coconut yogurts. I love yogurt, and when I started focusing on my health and the amount of refined sugar I was having, I really struggled to find a dairy yogurt that was good for me.  The lowest I could find was 6g of sugar per 100g, which is actually not too bad really and I made do with that for a while.    

Then I found  Cathedral Cove natural yogurt, how could this creamy goodness taste so good and be so low in sugar? There is only 1g of sugar per 100g and it literally has two ingredients – coconut cream and probiotic cultures. That’s it.  

I use it primarily as a topping or base – combine the yogurt with their cereal and some fruit and you’ve got heaven in a bowl (see my instagram for photos!) They also have several other flavours if you’re wanting something more decadent, the raspberry and chia one is my absolute fave (this one is slightly higher in sugar). 

After following them on instagram I’ve seen there are a lot of clever ways to use coconut yogurt, including raw baking. One slice caught my eye so I decided to make it yesterday. This recipe comes from their website and is really really delicious and super simple!  

Make it and let me know what you think! 

Ingredients

Base

1 Cup of Desiccated Coconut

1 Cup of Mixed Nuts (we used cashews and macadamias)

2 Tbs of our Raw Organic Coconut Oil

2 Tbs of Coconut Butter (or nut butter of choice)

1 Tsp Cinnamon

½ Tsp Ground Ginger

Filling
1 Cup of our Natural Coconut Yoghurt

1 Cup of Raw Cashews (soaked overnight)

Zest and juice of one large Lemon

3 Tbs of Pure Maple Syrup (or sweetener of choice)

½ tsp of Vanilla Powder

Garnish (optional)
Handful of chopped Mint, Zest of one Lemon, Chopped Macadamias

Freeze dried Strawberries

Instructions
Firstly, line a square baking tray or container with baking paper. 

To make the base add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until everything is combined. The mixture should be able to come together easily. Place the base mixture into the baking tray and press down firmly. Transfer to the freezer while you make the filling. To make the filling add all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the filling on top of the base layer and put back into the freezer to allow it to set over night or for 4-6 hours. Once this layer has set you can garnish it with the mint, lemon zest, macadamias and freeze dried strawberries. Prior to serving place the slice in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow it to soften.

Magic Potions 

I should start by saying I don’t actually believe in magic potions. 

A few weeks ago I noticed something new on my ace.  I’m hardly old, but I’m 40 and gravity (I fear) is starting to take hold. There, under my left eye – a bag. A really big one. So, I did what any modern girl would do – I  took to social media to ask for advice on ALL of the magic potions. I got a huge response, especially on Facebook. 
 I got so much great feedback and advice, ranging from ‘honey, there is no magic potion to help you now’, to my favourite ‘Embrace your body’. My Aunt even volunteered ‘If that’s all you have to worry about, then life is good’. Touché.

Out of all this, and peoples legitimate concern that I was going to take to my face with some needles, I would like to clarify something.

Whilst I don’t LOVE my new bag (just one, I only have one so far, we are not into plural yet), I also don’t hate it. 

It’s part of my face.

I actually love my face. If you can’t tell from all the selfies I take, you know now.

For years when I felt overweight and uncomfortable in my body, I never felt ugly. I was the big girl with the pretty face. If I had nothing else, I had that.

I know now that I had more than that, and it’s a shitty way to think about yourslef, but this is what happens to overweight young girls. So much value is put on your body from an aesthetic point of view rather than health. Us chubby teens learn(t) to rely on other things, like big shiny personalities and pretty faces.   

Like being a good sister, daughter, Aunt & friend. 

Like being kind, funny and generous. 

Larger than life. 

This face made me feel confident to do all of those things and I knew my smile made other people smile, and that was important to me.   

So my face falling a little and creating a few bags doesn’t actually concern me that much. It’s part of who I am, and sorry to be cliché, but I’ve earned the lines and bag (*singular). I’ve done a lot of smiling and laughing in my lifetime so far, and if the payoff is some lines and bags then I’ll take it. 

Now back to my original post – I found it really interesting hearing what skincare regime people use. I never put much value or importance on skincare when I was younger, but in the past 3-4yrs I have finally started paying attention.  

What started it was having my friend Jenna, who is a beautician and a bit of a skincare superstar, come to my home and teach my friends and I about organic skincare and how we should be caring for our skin. I have never ever been interested in science or biology, but listening to her talk about the effects of the things we put on our skin made me a believer, and I am now organic all the way!  I have been using organic products ever since. 

My next experiment is changing over my current skincare to a brand I have heard so many amazing things about, Tailor Skincare. This is an organic, NZ made, vegan range that I started using just one or two products of a while back, have absolutely LOVED, so now I’m taking the plunge to swap over my entire regime.  Their product ‘Hydrate’ has made such a huge difference to my skin so I’m keen to see what happens when I’m using it exclusively. 

So no magic potions – but good skincare is a must, as is making sure you’re being kind to yourself from the inside out! Drink lots of water, stay away from foods you know are so bad for you. Also important is pampering yourself once in a while. Today I am heading to Jenna’s amazing space, Beautea in Fitzroy, to be spoilt with a facial.  Self love is important and facials are at the top of my list! 
 

Participation

Yesterday was a milestone for me – and it was not at all scale related.  It’s what I call a non scale related win!  Not all milestones are about the next kilo lost, sometimes they are things that happen as a result of the weight loss – like fitting an old pair of jeans, someone complimenting you or noticing that your habits have changed.  It’s not all about the scales.

One of my biggest motivations for losing weight that I’ve been very open about is wanting to participate.  To be able to run around with my very active 6yr old boy, instead of always watching from a chair or the kitchen window.   I want to play without being out of breath and uncomfortable, I want him to grow up with memories of me being there, not on the sideline.

Bill is the active one, he always does the active things with Aiden. Yesterday at our little school cross country, after all of the races, the kids were told to grab a parent to do a run around the field. It’s one of those feel good parent participation activities that the kids love.  Anyway, Aiden automatically went to Bill, it hadn’t occurred to him that I would run.  So I said, “Hey buddy, can I run too?”.  Aidens face lit up, his little hand grabbed mine and he couldn’t get me to that start line quick enough.

I don’t think I will ever forget that moment, or the feeling, or the look on his face.  I almost burst into tears right there and then, but I was too happy.  His face, it was pride, I had made him proud and he was so happy in that moment.

So I ran!  I ran all the way around. I participated.  Bill & Aiden ended up leaving me for dust (they had a race to win!) but I paced myself and ran (almost) the whole way.  OK so there was about a 10 second pause half way, but you get the idea.

When I got to the finish line the boys were there cheering and handing out high fives. It was a wonderful moment.

To everyone else it was just a feel good kid activity, no one paid much attention, but for me it was a big deal, it was a big day and a massive achievement.

 

The Big TWO-OH

Today I reached a milestone, one that puts a big smile on my face. 20kgs weight loss. TWENTY KILOGRAMS.  Wahoo!
To put things into perspective, my 6yr old son weighs 22kgs. I’ve practically lost the equivalent of a 6yr old child, an entire human.  It’s a lot, and I’m proud.

I feel great. I feel better than great actually.  I feel liberated, free and without worry about this anymore. I used to spend so much time worrying about my weight, how I looked, how my body felt – it used to creep into my conscience all the time and I would push it out and try to ignore it. And now it doesn’t.

The biggest difference I have noticed, aside from the obvious physical things, is the removal of negative self talk. I’m a pretty good person, at least I try to be, so I don’t usually beat myself up about much to do with how I live my life, but I was ALWAYS beating myself up about my body, and about my lack of ability to do something about my current situation. I would lie in bed at night and talk myself into ‘starting tomorrow’ and give myself a good stern talking to. And then I wouldn’t. And then I would get mad at myself and the negative self talk and cruel things I would say to myself would start.

Negative feeds negative and once you get into that cycle, it’s really hard to get out of.    For me it was STARTING, and making changes that started the positive cycle and it eventually drowned out the negative. It’s so much easier to be positive if you are making positive changes and choices you know are going to make a difference.

I get people congratulating me as ‘it must be so hard’. I’ll be honest with you, really honest. Spoiler alert. It’s not been hard. It does not have to be hard. I have not limited myself, deprived myself, gone hungry or gone on binges and had to get myself back on some imaginary wagon.  There is no wagon.

I changed the way I thought.

I opened up my mind to trying new things and have been on an amazing path of food discovery – learning about nutrition and things that taste delicious that are also so good for me (who knew?!).

I changed the way I viewed weightloss and health.

I changed the way I thought about sustainability and the future, I want this to LAST.  There is no short term goal or event that I am doing this for. THIS IS MY LIFE.

I want to be strong and able.  I want to participate.  I want a better quality of life.

These are all really really important things to me.

Life changing things.

 

Recipe – Moroccan Chicken Meatballs

I’m back from my travels and actually happy to be back in my kitchen cooking.  It’s been 5 weeks since I could create much of anything, and tonight I’m excited to make one of my new faves.

A while ago on snapchat, I saw Jordan from With the Whittakers making some Moroccan Chicken Meatballs. I thought it looked really good but didn’t have any intention of making it until I was in the supermarket two days later and saw some free range chicken mince on special, so I decided to give it a go.  What I created was out of this world good – you need to read on!

I remembered most of what she said about the meatballs, so I whipped them up easily enough.  As I’m trying to keep carbs to a minimum I experimented without the breadcrumbs and substituted with almond meal.

The sauce was a bit different, I couldn’t remember what she put in except for canned tomatoes and coconut cream so I consulted google about moroccan flavours and added my own flair with some turmeric, cinnamon and a moroccan spice mix.  SO GOOD.   “I can’t believe I made that’ good. So incredibly delish!

I might add, Mr 6 and Bill devoured these.

Moroccan Chicken Meatballs & Sauce

To make the meatballs, mix together the following ingredients:

500g free range chicken mince
1 carrot grated
1 zucchini grated
½ cup almond flour
¼ whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 TBS Simon Gault Moroccan seasoning (or other moroccan paste or seasoning)
Salt & Pepper

Roughly roll the meatballs into balls and coat in some additional breadcrumbs (the mix will be quite wet).  Heat a pan with a little olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides.

While browning, mix together the following for your simmer sauce.

1 can of tomatoes (I used basil & oregano flavoured)
250ml of coconut cream
1 tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 TBS Simon Gault Moroccan seasoning

Once browned and a little crispy, pour the sauce over the meatballs in the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

We serve with cauliflower rice which is delicious, you can also serve with rice, couscous or quinoa.

Charmed Life 

I know I have a really nice life and I don’t like to complain. Please don’t read this as a complaint or a gripe about the incredible opportunities I et to travel with my work. It’s all pretty amazing, I write this as I sit in Frankfurt airport on my way to Lyon, then onward to Grenoble in the French Alps. Yes, it’s amazing, I work hard and I am a lucky girl, but leaving this little face is anything but easy. 

I cry every single time. Sometimes I don’t let Bill & Aiden come into the airport as I’m going to be a big cry baby in front of my son and I don’t want to upset him. I leave and it doesn’t get easier. It goes against all my Mummy instincts, I get an upset stomach and bad anxiety that something bad will happen while I’m not there. I also get anxiety that something will happen to me. The world is scary and a little shitty at the moment and I’m well aware that anything can happen at any time.  

But, I’m also a great believer in what will be, will be. It got me through years of infertility and it’s something I live by.  I am a worrier by nature but I am also a positive person so I’m fortunate that for the most part, I can talk myself around anxiety.  Sometimes it takes a little talk, sometimes it’s a lot of effort and coaxing and the internal dialogue is continuous. 

I often don’t speak about the difficulties I have when I comes to leaving Aiden. I know many mothers would give their right arm for a week or two away from their kids, and that’s natural. Most people I know are juggling more than one and I know my life seems easy because I have ‘just one’. Don’t tell me you haven’t thought it. And that’s ok, I don’t imagine to know what it’s like in your shoes, but most of you know I’d give up my right arm for another child too.  I’d be ok with a little more chaos – but I know our life would be different and I probably wouldn’t be able to travel for work like I am able to these ost few years.  To me it’s one of the benefits I get from having ‘just one’. It’s a term I hate, by the way, but that’s a whole other blog post. 

So here I am in Frankfurt ready to board another flight and start a manic week of meetings with my team.  This business trip is a short one this time, and I get to see my niece at the end of it, and my lovely boys just 2 weeks from now. 

I am so so lucky we live in a world with FaceTime and I get to see their faces every day while I’m away.  It also has to be said I’m so lucky to have a husband that is present, capable and amazing to look after our son while I’m away, and a wonderful mother who steps in to help as well. 

I have a charmed life. 

Recipe – Zucchini Fritters

I love a good fritter. If there is ever corn fritters on a menu, I’m all over it. Especially if it comes with a poached egg on top (and some bacon). YUM!

I’ve been known to whip up a fritter or two at home as well, but I’ve recently adapted my recipe to cut the flour (which is a recurring theme if you have been reading my other recipes).  So I replaced the flour with almond flour, and they came out perfect.  You can really do any variation of these, with whatever veggies you have. You can even make them with only  zucchini, but I don’t often use just one vegetable!  This winning combo was Zucchini, Carrot and Pea.  Tonight we made again and I added in very very finely chopped cauliflower and broccoli.

These are wonderful fresh and hot out of the pan with a poached egg & avocado on top, or add some fresh salmon and a side salad for lunch or dinner.  They are also great on their own!

Give them a go and let me know what you think!

Zucchini, Carrot & Pea Fritters
Makes 6 medium

2 zucchinis, grated
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 free range eggs

  1. Toss the veggies in the almond flour and baking powder
  2. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the vege mix and combine well
  3. Heat your pan with a little olive or coconut oil
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the fritter mix into the hot pan
  5. Cook until brown on both sides, usually about 4 mins each side

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