A Healthier take on Chocolate Milk

September 27th celebrates National Chocolate Milk Day, and who does not like chocolate milk.  But we do worry about the calorie intake, but how about a guilt free glass of chocolate milk.

Don’t you sometimes feel like something nice, but because you are so busy watching your calorie intake, or sugar or fat…or or or…well now you can relax.  You can enjoy this without any extra stress to your eating plan. All ingredients are diabetic friendly.

My healthy Decaf Soy Chocolate Milk

Makes 2 drinks

4 tbsp Soy Milk Powder
1 tbsp Decaf instant coffee
2 tbsp Nomu Skinny Hot Chocolate
1 sachet Canderal Yellow (optional)
2 cups ice
2 cups cold water

Place the soy milk powder, instant coffee, hot chocolate and sweetener into a blender.  Pour in the 2 cups water and blend, add ice.  Blend until ice is broken up enough to resemble crushed ice.

Pour into a glass, and enjoy an eating plan approved glass of chocolate milk!  This drink is a mere 120 calories, so allow yourself a little spoil on your diet!  This will be a great cooler when the weather finally warms up!

Again, keep in mind, balance is the key, and just because it’s low in calories, doesn’t mean you can have 3 portions.  All in moderation!

Enjoy!

Peanut butter & Banana & Granola Smoothie

I headed out to the physio early this morning, I like to make my appointment as early because he eases the pain so much that I come home and can fall into a deep sleep for a few hours before I head out to work to do the Easy Monday Night Dinners at the restaurant.

Today, he did a little acupuncture, which is always such a wonderful feeling, left with the heavy deep feeling, I was very happy to hear that he sure that its purely a muscle thing, and a joint that is misaligned and that it is definitely fixable. I do enjoy our little chit chats while he works his magic on my back.
Before heading out this morning, I decided that i would start my day with another healthy smoothie, with a great energy boost.

Banana & Peanut Butter Granola Smoothie

1 medium banana
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp granola
3 – 5 ice blocks
1 tbsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.

I love these flavour combinations. If you want to have it a little sweeter, just add some honey, as honey, although has the same sweetness as sugar, the body can break it down faster.

Tropical Chia Seed Smoothie

I bought Chia seeds a few weeks ago from Rawlicious, after it was suggested to me by a fellow chef. It is part of the Raw Foods / Superfoods / Juicing trend that is currently happening. Now having discussed this with a few people, I have a few thoughts on this topic.

I am all for using the best quality product available and affordable to you, organic or not.

I believe to claim you are truly organic, it is a full lifestyle choice and something you live everyday.
Superfoods are available freely, rather pricey and if you can afford it, rather use natural products than chemical substitutes.

Juicing your food can be dangerous if you do not do your research properly, your body requires certain nutrients to function properly, do not make the mistake of starving your body.
Going raw / juicing for certain meals, only if you have a balanced properly worked out juice combination, is a good idea, and can be a great way to an alternative way to get your 3 balanced meals daily or use as a detox program, but be careful of doing it wrong. I have seen this go wrong where the person doing it ended up in hospital.

So what are Superfoods? In a nutshell, superfoods are the most concentrated mineral and nutrient dense organic foods with nutrients in their natural forms easily absorbable and usable by the body. They are high vibration foods revered by ancient cultures around the world which provide maximum energy and healing.
I started the my exploration with Chia Seeds and experimenting with smoothies. I find smoothies can be a great snack, or even a wonderful breakfast, when done right.

Tropical Chai Seed Smoothie

1 banana
½ cup pineapple
½ cup mango
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp honey
lime juice
1 tbsp chai seeds

Put chai seeds into your soy milk and set aside for 20 minutes. The seeds will expand.
Cut your fruit into chunks, and place in blender. Blitz, slowly adding the soy milk until you have a smooth consistency. Add you honey and lime juice
To take this one step further, and make a healthy breakfast out of it, add 1 cup of granola to the mix.
Drink this right away as the addition of the chia seeds makes your smoothie very thick.

Chia Seeds are gluten free and the highest plant based source of omega 3, it is a high source of protein and calcium and support proper brain function. When inside your body, the seeds help you stay hydrated longer, and retain electrolytes in your bodily fluids. Easily digestible, the shells are easily broken down, even when swallowed whole. The flavor is very mild, the mild taste makes it easy to put in sauces, smoothies, breads, puddings, and whatever you want. They won’t really change the taste, but will add to your nutrition.

Chia seeds are energy enhancing, enhance stamina and endurance and very versatile. The seeds can be used to replace less-healthy fat in just about any recipe. You can use them uncooked in salad dressings, spreads, fruit shakes, ice cream, and just about anything you want. You can also add them to cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods. Chai seeds will help you lose weight, for two reasons. The first reason is that they are so filling that you will eat less of other foods. The second reason is that they actually bulk up and cleanse your body of old “junk” in your intestines.

Sunday Roast and Place In The Sun Shiraz…

I think a Sunday roast is a luxury that we tend to take for granted. Having Sunday off, I thought that would be exactly what I would do, although I didn’t do a traditional roast as such. I made a deboned leg of lamb, with roasted vegetables, with a cous cous salad and green salad.

I have had this cut of lamb in the freezer for a while, slightly to big to just have for 2 people, so I have had to wait for the right occasion. Sunday roast sounded like the perfect occasion!

Deboned Leg of Lamb Roast

Leg of lamb

olive oil
rosemary
garlic
salt
pepper
lemon juice

Make a marinade from all the ingredients, and rub onto the meat. Place in fridge for about an hour, if you have the time, you can do this the night before and leave it in the fridge over night. Remove from fridge and let stand to come to room temperature before you place in oven.
Preheat the oven to 160° C
Place marinated lamb into a roasting pan, cover with two sheets of tinfoil and into the oven for 3 hours.
Remove from oven and take the lamb out of the roasting pan. Let rest on a cool surface until room temperature.
Take the all juices from the pan and place into a pot, and bring to boil, add a glass of red wine and let cook out over a medium heat.
Place lamb back into roasting tray with vegetables and potatoes. Drizzled vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs of choice, I used mixed herbs.
Place back into the oven at 180° C for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Remember to let lamb rest again before you start slicing it.

Cous Cous Salad

we all know my great love for cous cous, this one I just fine diced whatever I had in my fridge.
Tomato, pickled onions, peaches, feta, pumpkin seeds , Verlaque mango chilli dressing and fresh parsley.
We enjoyed this roast with my MIL & FIL, a small thank you to them for all the help they gave with the wedding.

We got a bottle of wine from friends for Justin’s birthday, it was a wine I didn’t know, so we thought we would open that too, and wow, was I blown away. What a lovely bottle of wine, called Place in the Sun. So I did some research on this wine, and I have to say, I am very impressed, will be drinking more Place In The Sun Wines thats for sure!

The start of exploring organic and natural products…

One of the first few blogs that I started reading was Lavender & Lime, I love how Tandy uses natural, organic produce, and keeps things natural, unfortunately in the professional kitchen environments I have been in, and am currently in, this has not always been an easy task, we try where we can, however, due to costs and of “feet”, being 100% organic is simply impossible. So being inspired, I have decided to explore the world of organics, and natural products.

I have mentioned my great love for Green Tea Latte’s – I use to have my rhyme set…Green Tea Latte, Venti, extra hot, one pump… finding it really hard to obtain Matcha Powder, I have recently found Chai Tea Powder, which is just as fantastic and so healthy. However, there is this slight issue of the amount of milk one consumes when drinking 2 or three of these, Venti of course, how else?

Soya Milk is my answer. I know a lot of you are going…eeeeeewwwwwwww! And yes, I agree that soya milk is definitely an acquired taste, and not something one will order easily. I have gone one step further, and bought the soy milk powder. And started playing around with my Chai Tea Soy Latte.

With the Chai Tea Powder, and my Soya Milk Powder, I made my latte…
60ml Soya Milk Powder
310ml Water
2 tbsp Chai Tea Powder
Mix soya milk powder and water together until smooth. Heat until boiling, Using a cuppachino frother, froth your milk.
Put chai tea powder in a cup, fill halfway with the milk, and mix until all incorporated. Add rest of milk and serve.

Chai tea is Masala chai (literally “mixed-spice tea”) is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. The traditional masala chai is a spiced beverage brewed with different proportions of so-called “warm” spices. The spice mixture, called Karha, uses a base of ground ginger and green cardamom pods. Chai tea has great benefits, its a wonderful antioxidant, works as a digestion aid and an anti inflammatory.

The soya milk tastes nothing like whole milk, however, the nutty undertones are delicious, and I really enjoy it. If Chai Tea is not your cup of tea, try it with hot chocolate.

Now some interesting facts about soya milk powder:

A quarter-cup serving of soy milk powder contains 95 calories. Reconstituting this powder with water does not add any calories, although if you add this powder to a recipe, such as a casserole or soup, your total caloric intake will be much greater. One serving of this milk powder adds 5 g of fat to your daily diet, and 1 g of that fat is saturated; the recommended maximum intake of saturated fat stands at 16 to 22 mg per day. An article published in the May 2011 issue of the journal “Neuroscience” indicates that eating too much saturated fat regularly can make brain injuries worse, so monitor your meal plan carefully when consuming soy milk powder if you have one of these injuries to ensure you do not get more saturated fat than advised.

One serving of soy milk powder contributes 7 g of carbohydrates to your diet. You need far more carbs than this; the quantity of carbohydrates in this milk powder satisfies very little of the 225 to 325 g your body requires each day if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Consider serving reconstituted soy milk powder with cereal to increase your intake of this critical macronutrient. Soy milk powder also provides you with 3 g of fiber per serving. This amount accounts for 8.8 to 13.6 percent of the fiber you should consume each day.

Consume a serving of soy milk powder, and you take in 8 g of protein. Despite deriving from a plant source, the protein in this powder is considered complete — soy beans provide all the essential amino acids you require for your bodily function. You need 50 to 175 g of protein each day. Some people suffer reactions to the protein in regular milk, making them lactose-intolerant, but soy milk is lactose-free.

Soy milk powder is a source of iron. Each serving provides 6 percent of the daily recommended intake of this mineral. While the iron in milk powder may help ward off anemia, it may also have an impact on the incidence of breast cancers. Evidence published in the April 2011 edition of “Free Radical Biology and Medicine” reveals a connection between iron deficiency and breast cancer. More studies are needed to confirm these findings. You also take in 4 percent of the calcium you need each day in a serving of soy milk powder.

The Nutrition and Benefits
(http://soymilknutritionfacts.com/the-hidden-facts-behind-a-pack-of-soy-milk-powder/)

The soy milk which is sold in powder form on the market contains particular nutrients and the amount between a brand and the other brands are not the same. The good quality soy powder (milk powder) comes with lower sugar, higher calcium than the fresh soy juice and also zero trans-fat. The content of fat (saturated fat) is very low, therefore it can be called as healthy drink to complete someone’s diet program.
In fact, some brands add the cane sugar into the powder to give sweet taste too and some people cannot stand with such thing at all. Absolutely, the soy milk powder with very low (or even zero) sugar will be healthier and helpful indeed (particularly for people with diabetes symptoms.

Anyway, some people also debate about the process of such milk powder production. They often ask about the quality of spray-dried powder. The technical matter is involved into their consideration since the process will affect the nutrition fact as well. Keep in mind that the evaporation or the concentration of soymilk prior to spray drying is commonly less than the typical cow milk.

During spray drying process, the traditional equipment is still used. However, the modern equipment is still essential to spray dry the soymilk. After that, the process is continued to the agglomeration process to allow the powder dissolved in water. The right suitable process will not reduce or decrease the content of some beneficial substances which soy milk can possibly provide, such as protein, fibre, unsaturated fat, Isoflavon, Lecitin, Vitamins (A, C, E) and also the 8 types of Amino acid.

Besides the good benefits for healthy body, soy milk powder helps women to provide good nutrition during the early period of menopause. This kind of beverage can prevent Osteoporosis, keep theheart health, supply the good nutrition for people who live with diabetes and kidney diseases, and support the eye health through its genistein content. In short, you can start to live a healthy live much better by taking such powder milk to be a part of your daily life

Now having read that, you need to keep in mind that you are cutting out certain important nutrients which you need to substitute with either vitamin tablets, or balance out with your meals for the day. Not having your recommended daily intake of nutrients will cause more harm than good.

Soya milk can be used as a substitute for many things, its a great way to add “dairy” to a kosher dish, or if you are vegan, also can be used in baking to reduce the fat content, the possibilities are endless! My next challenge, along with the few that has been set out by bloggers is to use soya milk powder in a dish.

Apple Marmalade with Rosemary & Vanilla Infused Vodka

I got a couple of packets of apples from one friend, and a bag of oranges from another…I thought well, how could I combine these two…my mind went straight to marmalade…but I wanted something different…so I thought about the vodka flavours I have been infusing, trying to come up with the perfect welcome cocktail for the wedding in January…all these thoughts brought on this…

Apple Marmalade, with Rosemary & Vanilla Infused Vodka

Firstly, you have to infuse the vodka, and let it stand for at least 3 days.

½ cup Vodka
2 Rosemary Sprigs
Place vodka and rosemary together in a glass bottle, and keep in a cool dark area

½ cup Vodka
1 Vanilla Pod, split
In a separate jar, place vodka and vanilla together, and keep in a cool dark area

Let infuse for 3 days, remove the rosemary and vanilla and pour the two flavours together. I let the combination infuse for another day.

If you not going to cook with it, add a can of Sprite and you have a beautiful refreshing drink.

Apple Marmalade

1kg Apples (mixed) – Peeled, cored & sliced
1 large Orange, sliced, seeds removed
1 Large Lemon, sliced, seeds removed
2 cups white sugar
1 cup Rosemary & Vanilla Infused Vodka
2 Sterilize Jars (Read Tandy’s Post on how to quickly sterilize glass jars)

Place the citrus slices in a pot and pour 1 – 2 cups of cold water over, just until covered. Bring to a boil, add apples to pot, add more water, just to make sure apples are covered so they do not discolour.

Bring back to a boil and reduce head, let simmer until reduced by ¼, add the sugar stir until dissolved and let reduce until at least half, and your citrus slices are soft and sticky, stir gently occasionally.

Remove from heat, pour in vodka and leave to cool.

For the scones, follow this link to my Easy Peasy Scones

And while I am about it….Lavender & Lime has a regional & seasonal challenge for the month of September…this will be my entry…oranges being my season ingredient!

5 Days of French Toast Memories – Day 3

The Tease

The memory that brought this recipe on, I was just fresh out of high school, myself, my mom, a good friend Lianna, and her mom went one Saturday morning to the RedBerry Farm in George, and had such a blast picking strawberries, you don’t have to take everything you pick, but we did. We went home, belly’s full of strawberries, and packets of strawberries, ready for my Dad to WOW us with ideas of what we could all do with our treasure.

The best part about this recipe is just how diverse it is. I used strawberries simply because they are slowly making a proper appearance again, and I absolutely love these little balls of red, juicy, sexy happiness. I shared this with my good friend Chris-Mari, over wine, chit chat and laughter….exactly how food should be enjoyed!!

The common garden strawberry that we use is actually a hybrid species that is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. I love how it can be utilized in so many different ways, from something as simple as Strawberries dipped in Chocolate for a romantic night or a Strawberry and Chocolate salad dressing, preserves, used fresh or frozen, pie filling, ice cream, and of course mixing with Chantilly cream to fill my French Toast.

If you, for some reason, don’t like strawberries, you can use blue berries, or kiwi fruit, cherries, chocolate, pomegranates, grilled peaches….the list is endless! Be creative!

Inspiration of the Day: Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game

French Toast stuffed with Strawberry Chantilly Cream

2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 drops vanilla essence
4 thick slices of brioche
1 punnet strawberries
250ml fresh cream
3 tsp castor sugar

Whisk together the eggs and milk
Whisk Cream with sugar and vanilla essence to make Chantilly Cream, add some sliced strawberries to cream.
Cut a slit into the thick slice of brioche, and fill with cream and strawberry mixture
Soak the brioche in the eggy mixture and fry off until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with a nice dollop of the Chantilly & strawberry mixture, and a drizzle of honey (or chocolate, if you have time, make a decadent strawberry compote which will add so much great dimension to this simple dish)

For the Brioche, I used Gordon Ramsey’s recipe, (www.gordonramsay.com)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup (150ml) tepid milk
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for dusting
3 ½ cups bread flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten

1) Whisk the yeast into the milk with a teaspoon of sugar and set aside until it starts to froth.

2) Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl set on a damp cloth to hold it steady. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs and then mix in the remaining sugar. Make a well in the center then pour in the yeasty milk and all but 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg. Mix to a dough and shape into a ball with your hands.

3) Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and has an elastic consistency. Place the dough ball in an oiled large bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. “Proof” the dough by covering the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

4) Punch down the dough, then knead until smooth. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about a 1/8 inch (3mm) thickness. Using a 2 inch (5cm) cutter, press out 40-48 rounds, rerolling if necessary. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Tomorrow…The American Flight French Toast