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In my very last post I let you in on a little secret, something to help you shift that bulge forming around your middle (well, mostly my middle - but surely, I cannot be alone!). So you got my tip hot off the presses... and I am wondering how many of you have actually tried it out?

Cinnamon tablets. So how many of you complaining about weight around your middle, actually got out there and gave it a try? Just in case you were contemplating it but are still yet to give it a go I have some more motivating facts to share with you. I headed back to see my naturopath just this morning and he got out the trusty tape measure (Hands up if you like getting out the tape measure - said no-one, ever) to track my progress. It turns out I  have lost a total of 8cm off my waist since starting on the cinnamon tablets - if these things don't get your metabolism going, I don't know what does!! Yay me!

Now, let me say that I am not a big person to start with but I was getting quite depressed with this mass forming around my middle, so I am thrilled to have been able to shift it. I cannot say like actresses often do, "Oh, I just look like this, I eat whatever I want!" because that would be lying, there have been other things at play besides the cinnamon tablets but I've got to add the tablets did give me the kick start.

I have been dabbling in the world of quitting sugar. Not cold turkey, mind you especially over Easter (I'm not crazy!) but I have made a number of changes and I wanted to share them. I have also been experimenting with sugar free recipes with the kids. I can honestly say, up to this point I have not been overly successful but I shall push on.

Over the next few posts I will be sharing with you some of my recipe triumphs and fails and also my continued search for the ultimate sugar free, easy to carry, kid friendly, not full of artificial crap, put in your lunch box snack.
 
Today I give you, Kale Chips. You are probably pulling the same face my husband pulled when I said we were giving them a go, but save your nasty comments until after you have tried it cause they were very tasty! Both the kids and the husband enjoyed them as did I and they were delicious.

They are very quick and easy to make, here is how.

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees

Start with a bunch of Kale (looks kinda like spinach), rip the leaves away from the stalks (don't eat the stalks - they are bitter)

Then rip the leaves up into chip size pieces. Wash them and dry them off. Put them in a big bowl with a little bit of oil and some salt or spices (whatever you like) and toss it through with your hands.

Lay the leaves out on a baking tray lined with baking paper put them in the oven for about 5 minutes (keep an eye on them) until crisp.

Let them cool a minute and then toss them into a big bowl and enjoy them.

They have a very salty flavour already so don't go too crazy on the salt. Kale is supposed to be a super food - very good for you. I really enjoyed them. I hope you do too.

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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I have watched Master chef and drooled over the delicious culinary masterpieces they have created. Who hasn't? But let me take a moment to set you all straight. I enjoy the eating part, not the cooking. I know some people actually enjoy cooking, others  find it quite meditative,  I'm just not one of them. If I could have a chef drop around each day to prepare dinner I would be one very happy little woman.

So when someone like Adriano Zumbo comes onto a show like Master chef to hawk his latest product (oh, alright to demonstrate and pass on his skills) I am left wondering where I can go to eat said creation. It has never, ever, crossed my mind to create one of these edible works of art myself. I might add that visiting one of Adriano Zumbo's shops in Sydney has been on my to do list for a little while now and I hope to achieve it early in the new year (a girls gotta have a goal). 

In the meantime, I came across the Adriano Zumbo kits now available at supermarkets and went into overdrive. I mean, it's in a kit ... how hard can it be? So off I headed to the supermarket to purchase my Adriano Zumbo goodness and they had run out but a few days later I had some success. So I purchased the kit, it was $7.80 which is a lot for a packet "cake" but I really wanted to give it a whirl.

The kit comes with everything you need to create the delectable macarons include a circle stencil to make a template so you can create even sized macarons. You can also print the finished template out from his online site but since I had a nine year old lingering around waiting to be involved in the eating part of the macaron process, I put him to work.

Two piping bags were included in the kit. One for the shells and one for the creamy, salty caramel filling. They were easy to use and I was happy with the whole process.
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This was the piping bag for the filling. Just in case you were wondering why there are some little cooked macarons in the background.
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Piped and sitting for a moment, ready to go into the oven.
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Sitting and waiting for them to cool having just come out of the oven. I was really happy with the results.
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I'm no Adriano Zumbo but I was pleased with the look of these! We even managed to have a few left over and they were just as tasty the next day.


Using this type of kit was much more labour intensive than a regular chocolate cake packet mix but after a little trial and error with this first batch I was really happy with the results and even though the price was higher it was still cheaper than having someone else make me a batch of macarons.

The end result. They were absolutely delicious, they were a hit with everyone and I would definitely make them again.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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I have been working my way through a couple of lovely books based on the home and living a simpler life. Lemons and Lavender and The Edible Balcony have inspired me to try and live more in line with what I can make or produce rather than just purchase. Not that I am going to go all hippy and say I won't eat anything I can't personally produce and I will never enter another shop again but I have been giving the produce more, purchase less lifestyle a bit of a run to see how it fits.

So far I have produced a few big batches of my own home-made lemonade, which has been very tasty (even if I do say so myself) and grown my own salad sprouts. Wow, that is ground breaking I can hear you gasp! O.K even I know it's not but you have to start somewhere and to be honest I have actually enjoyed these couple of little changes.  I usually only drink water (sometimes a small glass of coke - but only if it has alcohol in it, or really what's the point) so having a cool glass of my very own home made lemonade was just lovely. I am even looking at picking mint from my garden and freezing a few leaves with water into ice cubes as a refreshing addition to it. I know - look at me go!

The only reason I decided to grow salad sprouts was so that I could show my two year old how something went from being a seed to something we could eat but I actually got much more satisfaction out of the process than I ever thought I would. I really loved adding my yummy little sprouts to meals and they gave my salads a little something extra, made me feel fuller and actually helped me feel a little lighter. Nice.

Anyhoo, I will leave you with my lemonade recipe and a how to grow sprouts - just in case you are inspired to take action.

I googled a lot of different lemonade recipes but basically just played around with it until I created something which made me happy.

Lemonade
Ingredients

* Lemon juice

* Water - use twice as much water as you have lemon juice, (if you don't want it too tart you can even have three times as much water)

* Castor sugar (some recipes mention 2 to 3 cups of castor sugar, but I would rather add a little more water to soften the lemonade than too much sugar - so pour in half to one cup and taste it to see how you like it. Once the sugar has evaporated of course. If it's not sweet enough - add some more)


Process

Pour ingredients into a big pot heat it up on the stove until the sugar evaporates. Let it cool down. Drink.  (Told you it was easy)


Sprouts
There are heaps of links on you tube with people showing you how to go about growing your own sprouts. Some of the videos take longer to watch than it takes to grow the actual sprouts. So I really liked this one.

I also liked the fact it demonstrated how to grow them using equipment from around the house instead of having to go out and buy fancy schmancy sprout growing equipment from the shops.
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I used a sprout salad mix. This is how much I put in to start with and soaked them for 8 hours. Next time I will put a little less in.
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Two days later. Still expanding and now starting to sprout.
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This was day three and they were ready to start adding to my salads.
At the very least this was a great little project to get a small person involved with because it didn't require expensive equipment and didn't create a huge mess.

Do you have any simple living tips you would like to share?

Cheers

Lee
 
 
Now I know this is a little from left field - I mean so far I have talked about my love of cake but not actually shared any recipes and all the talk with sugar at the moment is more about quitting it rather than embracing it.  Yeah, I know .... I'm a rebel. So you probably didn't see this coming but ... life's like that.

Using the cinnamon spice I bought as part of my  Coles Circle booty I  wanted to put together some simple recipes for lunchbox treats.

Today's treat are Apple turnovers. These keep really well in an air tight container for three to five days, so you could make them when you have some time on a Sunday and have lunchbox treats for the whole week.
1. Peal 4 to 5 medium size apples, core them and cut into slices. I used delicious apples. Put them into a pot on medium heat with a little water (so they don't stick) add some cinnamon sugar to make them nice and sweet. Cook them until they are soft but before they go mushy.

2. While the apples are stewing defrost two sheets of puff pastry and then cut into four even pieces.

3. Separate the four pieces of puff pastry and leave a little bit of space on the tray to work with.
4. Let the apples cool down a little bit so they don't make the pastry soggy. Then put pieces of the apple onto one half of a pastry square.
5. Fold the other half over to form a triangle and seal it shut with your fingers by pressing.
6. Push down around the two joined edges with a fork to make them look a little bit fancy.
7. Place all the triangles onto a baking tray with cooking paper (so they don't stick to the tray) and brush the top of each piece with milk and then sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon sugar on top.
8. Bake in a moderate oven for around 10 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You will know they are ready when they are puffed up and golden brown.
9. Two puff pastry sheets make enough for 8 tasty apple turnovers. They are really nice warm with ice cream or even cold the next day in lunchboxes. If you love sugar (and who doesn't!!) you could also top them with a little icing once they are cooled down.

This is a really easy cooking project you could even get the kids involved with.  

Enjoy,

Lee