Ginger ice cream – no added sugar

Ingredients

4 egg yolks
1 cup double cream
1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated fresh peeled ginger root (grated with a micro grater)
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup finely chopped dates

Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk them together. Heat up the milk and cream until it’s almost simmering, then slowly drizzle it into the egg yolks whisking all the time. Return the custard to the pan and gently heat, stirring constantly until it coats the back of your spoon. Remove from the heat, return to the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Allow to cool completely before either freezing or using an ice-cream maker attachment on your mixer.

This ice cream is especially delicious with stewed rhubarb and strawberries, or with fruit pie. Enjoy!

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Almond Crust Pizza

Almond crust pizza for 2 people

Ingredients

3/4 cup of almond meal

1 large egg

Salt and black pepper

Optional herbs such as teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, sage or oregano

A tablespoon of olive oil

For the topping

1 onion chopped

2-4 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 tomatoes chopped

Salt and black pepper

Mozzarella or parmesan cheese

Method.

Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Mix together the crust ingredients in a bowl. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and grease it with some olive oil. Spread out the pizza crust mixture to about 8 inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile sauté the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes until they are soft, add tomato puree and cook for a few more minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes to soften up the tomatoes.

Then assemble the pizza with the tomato sauce, cheese as desired, and any other toppings of your choice.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Photo credit: John Buss

 

Oat macaroons

Ingredients

1 cup of plain yoghurt
2 cups of rolled oats
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
½ cup of desiccated coconut
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ cup of dried fruits of your choice – raisins, dates, dried apricots etc., chopped if needed
1 egg
2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds or other seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons of almond oil (or other vegetable oil)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix everything together in a bowl. Spoon out the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes.

These cookies have no added sugar, and they are very tasty.

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Protein Supplements

Personal trainers in gyms often recommend extra protein in the form of powders and bars to boost muscle mass and improve performance. Does the average person need this extra protein, does it work as promised, and are there any downsides to consuming all that extra protein?

Two main sources for the protein in manufactured supplements are milk and soy.

1.       Whey protein is derived from milk.

2.       Soy protein from soy beans.

Do they improve muscle mass and performance? The research has shown mixed results and the evidence is not strong enough to be certain that this kind of protein makes any difference.

The average person in the USA is not suffering from a lack of protein. It is easy to get adequate protein from readily available actual food without the need to resort to supplements. Plus, real foods come with vitamins, antioxidants and more.

What might be the risk from taking extra protein?

1.       The Food and Drug Administration does not check the safety of supplements with the same scrutiny as medications, so you must fully trust the manufacturer that their products are safe and accurately labelled. You can check for supplements that are known to be tainted at FDA.

2.       There are many possible side effects. See the Mayo Clinic’s list here and for soy here.

3.    Supplements may contain other ingredients that are supposed to increase muscle mass such as creatinine or androstenedione. A recent study looking at these kinds of muscle building supplements found an increased risk of testicular cancer among men.

4.       Commercial body-building supplements can be expensive, may even cost hundreds of dollars each month.

5.       You might end up gaining fat from the extra calories in protein shakes and bars, especially if sugar has been added to boost their palatability.

6.       This is not just about you, as there is also a potential risk to the environment. Is it even possible to know the chain of industrial processes that go in to producing protein supplements? What is the carbon footprint of the manufacture of these products and are they derived from organic milk and soy beans?

Why trust industrial profit-driven companies to provide your body with nutrition? Why not eat and drink fresh food, preferably from local farms? It may mean a little more work to chop and cook, but the food will be nutritious and there definitely is evidence that fresh foods are beneficial to health. If you feel the need for extra protein, why not just simply eat more protein rich foods such as eggs, beans, milk, yoghurt, cheese, tofu, or meat.

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No-added sugar Chia pudding for two

Ingredients
  •  1/2 cup full-fat plain yoghurt
  • Juice of ½ Meyer lemon or ½ orange
  • ¼ teaspoon of orange flower water
  • 2 chopped dates
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios

Mix together everything except the pistachios. Divide the pudding between 2 bowls. Top with chopped nuts and chill for 8 hours.

I make this in the morning after breakfast and it’s ready at dinnertime. It is a great recipe to play with using the mixture of yoghurt and chia as a base with the dates to bring sweetness. I have also made it with lime juice and some toasted coconut, or with a sprinkle of ground cardamom and without the citrus juice.

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Raspberry and Chocolate Custard Pie

This recipe makes a chocolate crust, but eliminate the chocolate if you prefer a plain version. No added sugar, and it’s delicious!

Ingredients

For the pastry

4 oz whole wheat pastry flour

2 oz butter

3-4 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 beaten egg for wash

For the custard

4 large egg yolks

20 fluid oz of cream

1 oz freeze dried raspberries or other fruit of your choice, crushed to powder

To prepare:

First make the pastry, sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, rub in the butter and then gently bring together the dough. Put in a plastic bag in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Put a fluted flan or quiche pan on a baking tray. Then roll out the pastry, line the pan. Now you are going to bake “blind” which means putting a piece of parchment paper in the pie and filling with beans or rice. Then bake for 15 minutes. Take out the pan, remove the paper and beans. Brush the inside of the pastry with the egg wash and then put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven.

Next it’s time to make the custard. Whisk the egg yolks and dried fruit powder together. Bring the cream to a boil, then whisk into the egg and fruit mixture. To avoid spilling the custard, put the pie pan back into the oven and gently pour the custard into the pie while it’s still in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the custard is set with a slight wobble in the center.

Allow the pie to cool before turning it out of the pan.

Sprinkle cocoa over the top and serve with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt.

 

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A nurse's guide to healthy living

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