Saturday, August 13, 2011

One Year Sugar Free

I haven't written a post for a while now and am very happy to tell you that it is NOT because I have fallen off the wagon. (Like I did with Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig)

This is not me! (and I don't think it is really her!)

 It IS simply because my Sugar free obsession has now turned into a seemingly effortless lifestyle.

I feel like I have graduated from The University Of Wellbeing with a High Distinction in Eliminating Fructose from Your Diet.
In order to pass I had to master units of study such as Reading Food Labels in Search of Hidden Sugars and  Creative Cooking with Dextrose.

I am feeling so much better (both physically and mentally) than I did a year ago and have now lost 14kg.

 I delight in the fact that if I simply avoid sugar I will not regain the weight and will probably lose even more.

I have had my story published as part of an article on Sugar Addiction in an Australian Magazine,12881
and have managed to stay grounded despite my celebrity status.

Be warned the whole thing was not as glamorous as you might think. I was interviewed by phone, had to take and submit my own photo and got nothing as compensation (not even a free copy of the magazine)

That's me just right of the jelly beans!
In my post about Sugar Free Muesli one of my readers (thanks Caylow) had a great suggestion about turning my plain muesli into delicious Sweet Crunchy Toasted Muesli. My husband loves it so much that I have been making it ever since.
Making Toasted Muesli with a little help from my beautiful Grand Daughter

I start off with 10 cups of my Muesli (see recipe on previous post) and mix in 1 cup of Rice Malt Syrup (In Australia I buy it from Coles in the Health Food Section) and 1/2 cup Rice Bran Oil. Spread out the mixture on 2 baking trays and place in moderate oven. Keep a close eye on it (the edges will brown quickly) and stir the mixture around several times until it is a golden toasted colour. When it is cool store in airtight container.  It is so yummy served with natural yoghurt and berries.
Mmmmmm! Toasted Muesli to die for!
One of the biggest challenges for people trying to have a Fructose Free Life is the fact that you are forced to spend more time sourcing suitable food and ingredients and you inevitably end up spending more time in the kitchen preparing stuff that it is impossible to buy. Of course there is a definite up side to this in that you know exactly what you are eating but the down side is that a lot of people are time poor.

 I especially empathise with working Mums and wish that I could send them all a parcel of my home baked fructose free fare.

 For the time being sharing recipes on my blog will have to do.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally... My Chocolate Toffee Recipe....Just in Time for Easter

Easter Gifts for my Big Kids. Pink for girls and Blue for boys!

I know it's hardly traditional fare for Easter but trust me 
these Chocolate Toffees are very delicious.

I have been working on the recipe which I inadvertently created 
during my failed attempt making Fructose Free Chocolate.

 Since then, I have successfully made these twice and unsuccessfully once
 (not cooked for long enough and it was more like chocolate fudge sauce!)

The secret to my success was the purchase of a candy thermometer.

 I strongly encourage you to get one if you want to have a go at making these.

Maree's Chocolate Toffees

1 cup Dextrose
1/2 cup water
50g butter

Grease a 10 x 20cm metal loaf tin with extra butter

Place ingredients in a saucepan and stir over heat until dextrose dissolved.
 Cook until the mixture reaches the Hard Crack Measure on Candy Thermometer. 300F or 150C
Take off the heat and immediately add to this mixture

1/4 cup cocoa (that has been sifted)
1/2 cup full cream milk powder
1tsp lecithin powder or granules
 (found them in Health Food section of Supermarket)

Stir vigorously until combined and a bit longer if using Lecithin granules
 because they take a bit of work to dissolve.

Pour mix into greased pan and let it cool slightly.

When the toffee starts to harden use a blunt knife to mark it into sections. 

When cool either break or cut into bite size pieces.

This recipe makes 32 pieces of deliciousness!


Another Easter tip is to make some Fruit Muffins and Spice them up a bit.

Today I made some Spicy Banana and Blueberry Muffins. 

They are perfect for breakfast especially because 
one of the main ingredients is Weetbix.

They freeze well and keep for a few days. If you don't eat them all on the day you make them then pop in microwave for 30 seconds and they taste like they were freshly baked.

Who needs Easter buns when you can have a Spicy Fruit Muffin
I came across this recipe thanks to Kirsty.
and have made several different versions of it.
In this one I use 1 cup of blueberries and 1 and 1/2 mashed bananas. 
If you choose to add bananas then also add 
a tsp of bicarb soda to the dry ingredients. 
To make it a bit more spicy I add 2tsp of cinnamon and 1tsp of nutmeg.

Baked Cheesecke to die for!

On the weekend I made the baked cheesecake from the recipe in 
The Sweet Poison Quit Plan.
Oh my!
 It was incredibly delicious.
 David's directions for using foil to prevent water getting into the springform pan
 did not work for me and the base was a bit water logged.
 Still yummy though.
Next time I won't use a springform pan but will line 
a regular pan in such a way that I can lift the finished cake out.

Now for something completely different. 

Just want to share something about myself with you.

I love to cook but I also love to sew and create things!

Just a few of the Yo Gabba Gabba things I've made!
I have a 2 year old Grand Daughter and she is a big Yo Gabba Gabba fan.
Yo Gabba Gabba are having some live shows in Australia soon.
It's hard to buy and Yo Gabba merchandise here 
so I thought I would make my own.


It's such fun being a Nana!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fructose Free Fun Food

One of the most alluring things about sugar laden treats is the fact that they are usually very pleasing to the eye. It's almost impossible to walk past a display of pastries like this without stopping  for a closer look.

Nice to look at but prepare to pay for damages if you eat!

When I recently set out to make a Birthday Cake for my Daughter
(lover of all things sweet, especially chocolate)
 my goal was to make something visually stunning
to prove that being Fructose Free can be fun and flavorsome.

I am very proud to share with you my
Neapolitan Ice Cream Cup Cake Creation!

I made  a batch of chocolate ice cream using the recipe from the Sweet Poison Quit Plan. Lined a 12 cup muffin tray with  pretty paper muffin cups. Filled each cup half way with chocolate ice cream and stored in the freezer overnight. 

Next day I made a batch of vanilla ice cream (using the same recipe minus the cocoa). I then filled each muffin cup to the rim with some of the vanilla ice cream. I left the remainder of the vanilla ice cream in the churner because I was going to turn that into strawberry ice cream by adding a puree I had made earlier by cooking in a saucepan a punnet and a half of chopped strawberries, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup dextrose until it looks like jam. (Prepare this in advance and chill in the fridge before adding to ice cream)

I also added a couple of drops of red food coloring to the Strawberry mix to get the pretty pink color. An easier option for the strawberry ice cream would be to simply add some strawberry essence and food coloring.

While the vanilla layer was setting in the freezer I put the strawberry ice cream into a container in the freezer to harden a little before I started the next stage.

When the ice cream was firm  I used a spoon to scoop small mounds of strawberry ice cream on top of the vanilla and placed back in the freezer immediately. At this stage I took the cakes out of the muffin tray and worked on them one at a time to prevent them from melting too much.

When the ice cream cakes were well frozen  I then decorated with whipped thickened cream (which I had sweetened with a couple of spoons of dextrose to taste) and topped with a frozen raspberry. I cheated and finished them off with some sugar cake sprinkles that I still had in the cupboard. They are of course an optional extra!

I placed them back in the freezer ready to serve on my prettiest plate topped with the cutest candles.

This cake was very much enjoyed by all (fructose free or not). Good thing is that unlike a traditional birthday cake the leftovers of this cake can be kept in the freezer for weeks! Of course you can make the whole process a lot easier by making cup cakes from one flavor ice cream. (I can't help but show off a bit!)

Talking about showing off. 
Check out what I did with the No-Bake Cheesecake recipe in David's book!

Inspired by memories of The Cheesecake Shop fare I made a strawberry version by topping it with sliced strawberries (while still in the baking tin) and then making a jelly using warm water (about 1/2 cup), 2 tspns gelatine that has been dissolved in a small amount of the water and about 1/4 cup of dextrose. Color (a drop or two of red food coloring) and flavor to taste. ( I used rose water because I don't have strawberry essence) When jelly is cool but not yet set pour carefully over the strawberries and place in fridge to set.
The basic cheesecake is very delicious especially the cooked base made with coconut and almond flakes.

For those of you who prefer something crunchy. 
Here are photos of two more recipes from David's book that I recommend. 
I often wonder if more people would be convinced to give the Quit Plan
a go if the recipes in the book had color photos of the recipes in it.
My guess it would make the book more expensive and possibly seem less credible.

Almond Bread. Perfect With a Cuppa

Anzac Biscuits (my husband's all time favorite)
Finally, I would like to share with you a very special treat that was knitted by my clever daughter.
 The perfect gift for a reformed sugar addict.....Or is it?
100% Sugar Free, 100% Fat Free, 100% Food Free

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sugar Free Muesli

Inspired by a wonderful company in Australia that makes 97% Sugar Free Muesli which is packed full of nuts I had a go at making a version of my own.

It turned out to be such a delicious and wonderfully satisfying breakfast that I just had to share it with you.

I made a large quantity (3kg). If you want to make less then just adjust the amounts accordingly. It is basically 1/3 oats, 1/3 nuts and 1/3 seeds and coconut.

Chop chop chop....yummy nuts packed with good nutrition
Muesli Recipe
1kg mixed raw nuts chopped.
 (Equal amounts of Cashews, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds and Hazelnuts)
1 kg rolled oats
200g sunflower seeds
200g pumpkin seeds
200g sesame seeds
200g linseeds
200g coconut flakes
Chop the nuts. Mix all the ingredients together and store in  airtight containers.
Hey Presto! Yummy Muesli
Now that I have 3kgs of the stuff I thought I might use some of it to make some Muesli Bars. Below is the result of my first attempt. They were very moorish and delicious tasting but ended up rock hard. I had cooked the caramel mix for too long. (I really think it's time to invest in a candy thermometer) To make matters worse I had made them twice as thick as regular muesli bars. I ended up hacking them in to bite size pieces  to ensure that no teeth were broken in the sampling of my fare.
 Mmmmmm..... Crunchy Muesli Bites. Not all bad.

My Crunchy Nutty Muesli Bars 
Inspired by the kind of Muesli Bars I used to feed my kids when they were young (thinking they were a healthy snack) I decided to add some puffed rice to my next batch. I was hoping that this would make them lighter and easier to eat.

Puffed Rice without all the added sugar and salt
I bought Puffed Rice in the health food section of my supermarket. It has 1.1% sugar per 100g. I carefully monitored the caramel  making stage and I ended up with Muesli bars to die for! 

My Very Yummy Chewy Nutty Muesli Bars
Maree's Muesli Bar Recipe
3 cups Muesli
2 cups Rice Puffs
1 cup dextrose
125g butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Rice Malt Syrup or Liquid Glucose

Line a 25cm x 30cm baking tray with baking paper.
Lightly toast the Muesli.
Spread it out on a tray and put it under the grill. Pay close attention because the nuts burn easily (especially the coconut). You need to take the tray away from the heat several times and give it a stir around to enable even toasting.
Place toasted Muesli and Rice Puffs in a heatproof mixing bowl.
Place all the other ingredients into a medium saucepan and stir over heat until the butter and dextrose is dissolved.
Bring the mix to the boil and cook until (if you have a candy thermometer it reaches 248 degrees F) or if you don't until it reaches firm ball stage (when you drop a small amount of the mix into cold water and it forms a firm but pliable ball ) Cooking time varies due to size of pan and temperature of hotplate but it takes around 10 to 15 minutes. A good clue is that it's just about ready when the bubbling starts to slow down.
Carefully pour the hot caramel mix into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Place mix in lined tray and flatten it down with the back of a spoon.
Cut into bars when cool. Makes approx 24

A six pack to lovingly share with family and friends

Despite cooking and indulging in treats like this my weight continues to drop. I am happy to report that I have now lost 12kg. I still find it hard to believe that I have been able to feel and look so much better by simply reducing my Fructose intake.

My self esteem and confidence has also improved to the point that I now dare to share a profile photo of myself on this blog. In case you have not already noticed it is in the top right hand corner of my blog.

.....and here is another one!
A photo of me and the BBQ taken by me!
This photo is one of a series taken to go with my yet to be published interview with Body and Soul Magazine. Grrrrrr! The reporter initially told me that she would be sending a photographer to my house *thinking glamorous* but in reality I was asked to submit via email a few recent photos of my own. 
Enjoy this exclusive preview!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fructose Free Chocolate

In my recent tell all interview I was asked whether there was anything I really missed eating now that I follow the Sweet Poison Quit Plan.

Hmmmm. *Thinking*

"No. I really don't crave for anything sweet".

Just hours after the interview the question was still tumbling around in my head.
In bed that night the question was keeping me awake.
Yes OK, I confess. When I first started my sugar detox I really missed chocolate (even more than snakes) and after a month or so I still had fond memories of the way it coats your tongue with its silky, seductive, creamy, chocolate flavour.
(refer to one of my earlier posts Goodbye My Precious)
Mmmmmmm. What's not to love about a chocolatey, sugary chunk of fat? *drool*

Now go to sleep and make sure to send an update email to the reporter confessing this important revelation.
We don't want you to lose anymore sleep!

My secret chocolate confession doesn't change the fact that 6 months in I REALLY don't crave sweets (not even chocolate) and the whole exercise led me to ponder that giving up chocolate as part of the Sweet Poison Quit Plan might be a deal breaker for some.

It actually was for my daughter Suzanne.

This got me to thinking.

There must be lots of people out there that don't consider the Quit Plan because they simply cannot imagine that life is worth living without chocolate.

David is often asked the chocolate question and he is consistently dishing out this dirt to his followers when they ecstatically share their "Sugarless" chocolate bar finds in the supermarket or health food shop. His standard response is to give them the bad news that the sugar alcohol in such bars is probably worse than sugar as far as your liver is concerned. He then refers them to this website in Germany.

Where you can purchase this at a price that might put you off the idea of chocolate once and for all.

Filita Dextrose-chocolate
Fructose Free Chocolate

I have searched (and searched) the Internet unsuccessfully trying to find more fructose free chocolate and concluded that the only thing left to do was try to make some of my own. Then I would be able to share the idea with everyone and before you know it the whole world would be fructose free and I would be the next recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize........(jointly with David Gillespie of course)
Unfortunately my dream was shattered by the reality of my chocolate making experiment.
I found an online video on how to make chocolate. Too simple I thought. Just substitute the sugar for dextrose and the Nobel prize is mine!
This is the result of my first attempt.
Even I have to admit that it looks pretty good at first glance (especially for those still mourning the loss of chocolate) but I could tell when I was mixing it that it was not going to meet my high standards. The texture was all wrong. The dextrose did not dissolve and it had a grainy appearance and taste.
My husband, on the other hand, thought it was delicious and couldn't stop eating it. I encouraged him to indulge because it didn't appeal to me at all and after all I am the one who could do with losing some more weight.

In case you are still interested or desperate here is the recipe

Melt 125g of Copha in a saucepan over medium heat.
When melted add 3/4 cup dextrose, 6 tblspns cocoa, 4 tblspns full cream milk powder and a pinch of salt
(sift all the dry ingredients together before adding to the melted copha)
Spoon into moulds, a tin or just spread it out on a piece of foil and refrigerate till set.

Not all was lost though because my failure bought out the scientist in me and I started to experiment.

I tried substituting the dextrose for liquid glucose but I ended up with a disgusting glump of chocolate goo swimming in fat. FAIL. In the bin it went.

Next I tried dissolving the dextrose in some water on the stove and then adding the other ingredients. The result looked nothing like chocolate but it tasted so delicious. Here is what  I call my Chocolate Toffee Drops
My Chocolate Toffee Drops... delicious results of an experiment gone wrong
These taste amazing (just like Pascall Chocolate Chews but a bit harder). Suddenly I was feeling so inspired that I thought I might try to make a soft caramel toffee which (if it worked) would really impress both my caramel loving Daughter and Husband. I Googled "soft toffee" and found that it is made with cream rather than water and that it should be heated to 248% (blah blah) to get a soft chewy result. I don't have a candy thermometer but that didn't stop me from trying and I was blown away by my results and my husband is too busy chewing to comment.
I can't believe I made this chewy, buttery, creamy toffee!
Clearly, if I intend to document and reproduce these treats I will need to invest in a candy thermometer because my methods so far are pretty hit and miss. There's no use me telling you stuff like "Just keep cooking it until it looks right!" I also think I need to find something called Soy Lecithin which is an emulsifier found in chocolate. It helps the fat and liquids magically combine and contrary to my initial suspicions it is not a nasty food additive.
In the meantime, I am very proud to share the results of my experiments and vow to keep working toward my Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spillin' my Guts (what's left of them) to the Media in a Tell All Interview

I am busting to tell you all that I am now officially Almost Famous and it's NOT because I live next door to the teenage boy that recently caused  worldwide havoc on Twitter.

Meet Pearce the boy that lives next door (on the right) as featured in  The Age

It IS because I have just been interviewed by a reporter from Body and Soul magazine who is doing an article about The Sweet Poison Quit Plan for their glossy edition due out in May.

The interview was like a cross between a chat with a girlfriend (where you are left feeling you might have divulged too much) and a job interview (where you are left thinking you should have said more).

In order to get a better understanding of how addicted I used to be to sugar the reporter started by asking what my weakness was prior to detox. 

That was easy to answer.


 She wanted me to be more specific.

The Snakes and jellies that have no artificial colours or flavours and are 97% fat free. Practically a health food especially when followed by a half a block of dark chocolate!

Then she wanted to know how much of it I used to eat. 

I used to gobble down a whole packet of snakes in one go.

So would that be a 200g packet? 

Yes, but sometimes I got the packets that had 25% extra Free or the family size one if it was on special or the Party Sized packet that I had bought with the intention of making it last the rest of the week. *deep breath*

Here's the part where I really started to feel a bit sweaty and uncomfortable. She wanted me to put a figure on how much (as in grams or kilos) I went through in a week.

Ummm Errrrr OK. Lots. Several packets. Yeah. More than a kilo, probably closer to two. 

AAAArgghhhhhhhhhh! It's any wonder I was addicted to sugar and that reporter cleverly got me to spill the details of my secret addiction to her and she might possibly publish it for all the world (my husband included) to see.

So that's it.

I have done it.

Inspired by Oprah (and her recent secret sister situation) I thought I would get in first and confess to you, my loyal followers, the sordid details of my addiction before it makes 98th page news in a magazine.

People that are sceptical of David's Plan (mostly qualified Nutritionists) will no doubt conclude that I have lost weight simply because I have stopped eating lollies.

Lollies are high in calories and should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet they would say. 

But here's the thing. When I feel like snacking now rather than eating lollies I now eat chips, nuts, popcorn, pretzels instead which are also high in calories and somehow I am able to do this and eat any other food that does not contain regular sugar and lose weight at the same time.

Good thing is that the facts about sugar is starting to get more attention in the press and I was so happy to read that Sarah is now on board. 

Something tells me she might have a couple more people reading her blog than I do!

Bad news is that I have noticed that one of the big soft drink retailers is heavily promoting the fact that some of their fizzy drinks now don't contain any artificial colours or flavours.

Six months ago I would have been impressed and stocked up on the "healthy version" of soft drink. Lucky for me. I have seen the light (glaring as it was) and I am never going to fall for the old No Artificial Colours or Flavours trick again! 

I'll let you know about the interview if and when it is published.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seven Meals I Have Actually Eaten (whilst still managing to lose weight)

Good thing about being on the Sweet Poison Quit Plan is that main meals are generally OK to indulge in freely. You just need to be wary of sauces and condiments. My husband is a vegetarian and 6 of these meal examples I prepared are vegetarian.  Just substitute or add real meat and enjoy!

Roast Pumpkin, Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto topped with Shaved Parmesan  (you can add chicken)

Vegetarian Sausages, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Asparagus, Corn and Cauliflower
(I find the vegetarian sausages to be quite tasty and less fatty than the meat ones)
Vegetarian Sausages, Cous Cous and Salad
(I use the Ainsley Harriot brand cous cous. Just add hot water. Quick and easy only 2.5g sugar per 100g)

Vegetarian Burger with the lot.
Toasted wholegrain bun topped with lettuce, tomato, veggie burger, mushroom, fried onion, avocado, gherkin, egg and full fat mayonnaise
Chicken Schnitzel, Silverbeet, Potatoes, Carrots, Beans, Cauliflower and Broccoli
Fried Rice with Vegetarian  Mushroom, Beanshoot and Celery Omelette topped with a yummy sauce I made with Cornflour, Water, Chicken Stock Powder, Soy Sauce and Dextrose