Apricot Oat Bars ~ South Beach Diet

Happy Friday Eve All!

SBDQECookbookAs you know from my post a few days ago, I’m back on the wagon…the proper eating wagon that is.  I have a couple of the SBD books (The original book, SBD Supercharged and the SBD Cookbook).  I decided to order a couple more so I got the SBD Good Carbs/Bad Carbs handbook and also The SBD Super Quick Cookbook.

I’ve only had the books a week and I’ve already made six recipes from the cookbook!  They all have been rather easy to put together and quite tasty also.  Tonight I’m making Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Mint Sauce which is another SBD recipe, but not from this cookbook.

I thought I would share the recipe I made early this morning.

These bars contain no flour at all and use rolled oats instead, so they are a Phase 2 food.  They are listed under the ‘breakfast’ section and make 12 bars, allowing for 1 bar per serving.  The recipe calls for peanut butter and dried apricots, but you can substitute another no-sugar-added nut butter, such as cashew and use dried cranberries or chopped dried apples or pears instead of the apricots.  It also calls for 1/4 cup granular sugar substitute (such as Splenda or Stevia) but I don’t have these in bulk, only in the small packets and didn’t feel like having to open who-knows-how-many so instead, used 3 tablespoons of agave nectar, which is allowed on Phase 2.  This comes out to less than one teaspoon per bar.

APRICOT OAT BARS

1/2 C natural creamy no-sugar-added peanut butter

1/4 C water

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large egg whites (about 6 tablespoons)

1/4 C granular sugar substitute or 3 Tbsp agave nectar

2/3 C dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 C walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 C rolled oats (not instant)

1/4 tsp salt

Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.  Line a 9″x9″ (23cmX23cm) baking pan with parchment, leaving a 2inch (5cm) overhang on 2 sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water and vanilla.

Add the egg whites and whisk again.

Add the remaining ingredients until combined.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat with moistened hands until even.

Bake for 15 minutes until crisp and set.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, the using the overhang, lift out of the pan.

Cut immediately into 12 bars.

Apricot Oat Bars

Store in an airtight container.  They can also be wrapped individually and stored in the freezer where they will keep for 3 months.

Great for a take-along snack or breakfast.  Pack one in your purse or backpack and it will be thawed by the tine you’re ready to enjoy it.  Have with a glass of low-fat milk for added protein.

Nutrition per bar:

154 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 7g protein, 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 62mg sodium

Enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

Wake up Sleepyhead ~ Time for Breakfast!

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day!

Yes, we’ve all heard it before.  Everything you read about the morning meal always states this; it has been pounded into our brains over and over again.

But do we all take heed?

I’m sure that most of us do and hopefully what we eat is healthy and hearty enough to get us through the mid-morning slope to lunch.  There are those who think that not eating breakfast will be better for them in helping to lose weight.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth!

If you are one of those people who choose to neglect eating breakfast, you’re in for a downward spiral every morning because studies have shown that later on in the morning, you’re likely to crave and most likely eat, high glycemic foods throughout the day which will send you on that glycemic rollercoaster and cause you to actually gain weight!

Research has shown that eating foods that are low on the Glycemic Index are better for you because they take longer to digest (therefore prolonging satiety) and they will also maintain blood glucose levels at a relatively constant state. Foods with a high glycemic index not only digest quickly, they can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, which makes you want to consume more high GI foods.

You say you eat breakfast?  What are you having?  A Triple Caramel Cream Espresso Latte with a doughnut or croissant does not constitute breakfast in my book.  Do you have any idea what is in those luxury coffees you get at those chain coffee houses, not to mention that doughnut you’re shoving into your mouth?  Take a gander at this.  According to the nutrition facts on this particular beverage, 44% of its calories comes from FAT! 44%!!!!!!!  And on the GI portion, there’s 52g of sugar.  in addition, the caffeine in the coffee doesn’t help with your blood sugar levels either.  The combination of sugar and caffeine are the two worst things to ingest together.

The effects of combining sugar and caffeine are devastating on the body. The blood glucose levels soar and then crash shortly thereafter, and when combined with caffeine, the enormous surge of energy from the sugar and the stimulant in caffeine lead to a crash of blood sugar within hours. The body then resorts to a vicious cycle of cravings. The swings that the two together cause create a desire for more carbohydrates than are actually needed. Over time, the craving results in an enormous imbalance in blood glucose levels.  As one who has hypoglycemia, I’m well aware of this and have paid dearly for my mistakes on various occasions, although less frequent, if at all nowadays.

So what should you be eating for breakfast?

♣ Unsweetened, natural yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and no-sugar-added muesli

♣ Smoothies made with yogurt, fruits, nuts, tofu or soya milk

♣ Rolled oat porridge cooked with dried fruit, nuts and seeds and sweetened with agave nectar or artificial sweetener, if desired (this was my breakfast today!)

♣ Whole-grain toast lightly buttered with a poached egg, fresh fruit

♣ Omelette stuffed with cooked fresh veggies and low fat cheese

♣ 1/2 of a whole wheat bagel covered with a light coating of low fat cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, cucumber, red onion, capers and dill

♣ Whole wheat pita stuffed with scrambled eggs, berries

♣ All-bran muffin with nut butter spread, fresh fruit

♣ Fat-free Greek yogurt with frozen berries, sunflower seeds and nuts, artificial sweetener or agave nectar, if desired

♣ Wholegrain toast with salmon and avocado, fresh fruit

♣ Buckwheat or wholewheat pancakes topped with lightly stewed fruit or unsweetened apple sauce

♣ Wholegrain toast topped with low fat deli ham and low fat cheese, melted, fresh fruit

♣ Rye toast topped with light cream cheese and fruit

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These are a few suggestions.  Can you come up with any other ideas?

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And as a reminder, here’s what you should not eat…

◊ Processed, high GI breakfast cereals, which is pretty much most of them!

◊ White bread, croissants, crumpets and pancakes

◊ Sugar laden jams, spreads and marmalades

◊ Full fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts

◊ Fat laden meats such as bacon and sausage

◊ Sweetened, processed fruit juices

◊ Sugar added to tea, coffee or on cereals

So start your day with lasting energy!  You’ll feel great, think more clearly and feel fuller longer so you won’t be tempted to grab a doughnut from that box someone brought in to the office and have a piece of chocolate cake from someone’s birthday.

If you do start to feel hungry, then have an apple with some peanut butter or low fat cheese.  If you’re just starting out with a low GI diet or just learning about it, at least try to ensure that you start your day right with a delicious low GI breakfast.

♥  Terri  ♥♥


Chocolate Milk Shake ~ South Beach Diet

Well here we are at the start of another dreary workweek.  And if the saying ‘April Showers brings May flowers’ is anything to go by, it certainly is here in the south east of England.  A few weeks ago a hosepipe ban was put in place in our neck of the woods due to drought conditions, however, we’ve been deluged with rain and hail over the past couple of weeks, particularly this past week.

Yesterday, while on a Skype call with the ‘rents, we had lightning and thunder and my mom said she heard it.  Imagine being able to hear thunder here in England across the pond in Pennsylvania!

I’ve been wanting to get outside to clear out my garden pots, but haven’t been able to as the weather is obviously not cooperating, so here I sit at the laptop.

While perusing for SBD recipes, I came across one for a chocolate milkshake…right up my alley!  It’s really simple as it has only 5 ingredients and takes no more than 5 minutes to make.

~~CHOCOLATE MILK SHAKE FOR SBD~~

6 ice cubes

1 C skim or low fat milk

1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp artificial sweetener or agave nectar

Crush the ice cubes in a blender.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.

Pour into a tall glass and drink!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Oat, Millet and Nut Bars

A while back, I did a post on Quinoa and thought that I would do another one on a different grain; Millet.

Although millet is most often associated as the main ingredient in bird seed, it is not just “for the birds.” Creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice, millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year.

Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. The most widely available form of millet found in stores is the hulled variety, although traditional couscous made from cracked millet can also be found. The term millet refers to a variety of grains, some of which do not belong to the same genus. – http://www.whfoods.org

I do make millet rather often and usually use it in place of rice or potatoes.  I simply just boil it up for about 30 minutes and add a bit of salt and olive oil or a small bit of butter and eat it that way…but I was looking for something different to do with it.

Rather than make them into a porridge-like breakfast cereal, I was looking to make them into bars, something like a granola bar or a flapjack.  Some recipes I came across used puffed millet.  I inquired about trying to make them puffy at home, but from what I read, that’s nearly impossible as a high pressure system is used which could not be replicated at home.  I also read that eating grains in their ‘puffed’ form reduces their nutrition value and also really isn’t that good for you due to the chemicals used to puff them up.

I did some searching and came across a couple of recipes for millet bars and decided to combine some ingredients from each to make up my own bars.  I will say that most bars of this nature do call for some fat (butter) and sweetener (agave nectar, brown sugar, maple syrup) although it doesn’t appear to be a great deal of either.  I will also say that at the moment I’m typing this, I haven’t yet made the bars, although by the time you get to the bottom of this post, I will have done so.  I started typing this last night, just to get a bit of a head start considering all these words were in my head at the time and didn’t want to lose them, especially since I knew I was about to have either a glass of wine (or two) or a martini!

So until tomorrow….

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Well here we are again (in case you’re wondering…martini) and the millet bars have been made, although they didn’t quite come out as I hoped.  They taste OK, they just didn’t stay together like they should, so they’re in chunks rather than bars.  I’m not sure why that is, perhaps I need to add a bit more liquid stuff or less dry stuff.  (side note:  I’m a day late in posting so these were actually made yesterday – today they’re a bit more set and held together and they taste pretty good!)

If you’d like to try your hand at these, please do.

*For the wheat bran/oat bran/wheat germ, I used a mixture of wheat bran and oat bran.  I didn’t have any wheat germ, but I saw recipes that called for it, so am including it here.  Use any mix of them you wish, or just use one or two of them – the choice is yours!

~~OAT, MILLET AND NUT BARS~~

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 C rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 C millet seeds

1/2 C wheat bran/oat bran/wheat germ*

1 C nuts, chopped (any combo of what you like – I used pecans, walnuts and almonds)

1/2 C seeds (again, any combo – I used sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, linseed/flax and hemp)

WET INGREDIENTS

1/2 C dates, chopped

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

2 Tbsp agave nectar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Grease a 9″ X 13″ baking dish or line with parchment paper and set aside.

Put all the dry ingredients onto a dry baking sheet and stir around with your fingers.  Place in oven and toast for 15 minutes.

While this is in the oven, combine the wet ingredients and the salt in a sauce pan large enough to hold all the nuts/grains. Heat gently and stir until warm and dissolved.  Do not let it boil or it will start to burn. (do as I say, not as I did!)

Remove the nuts/grains from oven and turn temperature down to 150C/300F.  Add the grains to the saucepan and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared baking dish and with wet fingers, press mixture down and flatten.  Be careful as the mixture will be quite warm.  If it’s too hot for you, use a pallet knife dipped in water.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan.  Cut them when just warm.  When completely cooled, store in a plastic bag or airtight container.

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I put the chunks into a plastic bag.  Whatever crumbs I had left, I put into a bowl and added milk.  It makes a nice cereal too!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Quinoa ~ It’s what’s for Breakfast!

Quinoa (keen-wah) is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. (Read more here)

Lately, I’ve been seeing recipes for making quinoa for breakfast.  I do have some in the cupboard and I’ve cooked it up as a side dish for dinner in place of rice a few times.  Unfortunately, I’m still not sure if I really like it.

So to try and acquire a proper taste for it, I’m trying it for breakfast.  It is also a food that is allowed to be used on SBD in Phase 2.

The ratio for cooking quinoa is usually 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or milk or a mixture.  When I made this, I needed to add a bit more water so your mileage may vary. (I used 1/3 C quinoa to 2/3 c liquid)

I used dried fruits such as raisins, sultanas, apricots, cranberries and currants, about 1-2 tsp of each.  It’s not necessary to measure these precisely, just use according to your taste.  I also added some slivered almonds and walnuts and used a mixture of soya milk and water.  I threw all the fruits and nuts into the pot with the liquid, brought it up to a high simmer and added the quinoa and let it simmer about 15 minutes.  It needed more time and more liquid.

After it was finally cooked, I added some sweetener (agave nectar) and milk (the same as I do for porridge).  It wasn’t so bad after the first spoonful, but I felt that I needed to add a small pinch of salt which did help by giving it a little nudge.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was taking the last bite that I realized I forgot to take a picture!  Oops, sorry!

If you haven’t tried quinoa in this way or any way for that matter, give it go and enjoy!

 

♥♥ Terri ♥♥

Banana Muffins for South Beach Diet

Good Morning all you wonderful people out there in blog-reading land!

It is a gorgeous Fall morning here in Broadstairs.  The sun is shining, the leaves are falling from the trees, it’s cool and crisp…and a bit breezy.  The kitties have all had their breakfast and they’re snoozing in their favorite spots: Alfie is curled up on the back of the living room chair…

Noddy…

and (Princess) Crystal…

are on the bed.   But enough about my children… 😉

At night, after we’ve eaten dinner and cleaned up the dishes and I’m finally settling in for the evening, I like to enjoy a little something sweet while I’m plopped in front of the boob tube.  Sometimes I have a piece of fruit and sometimes I grab a square or two of dark chocolate with a small glass of milk.

Then there are times that I want something a bit more substantial, like a cookie or a muffin (I’d really like a carton of Ben&Jerry’s!) but as I’m trying to behave, I don’t normally have those in the house.  If I want them, I’ll make them; at least I know what goes into them.

In the past few weeks, I’ve made the SBD peanut butter cookies and wholesome muffins, but wanted something different so I pulled out my desserts binder and flipped through until I came to my Banana Muffin recipe.

As you can see, it’s a pretty simple recipe, (and absolutely DELICIOUS!), but sets off a few alarms for me, mainly the flour, sugar and butter…the three main characters when it comes to most baking.

Such a dilemma!

How do I make these a bit healthier so that I can indulge without feeling guilty?  The flour is easy; just switch it to whole wheat flour, no problem.

One down, two to go.

The sugar…I’ve used agave nectar in my peanut butter cookies so why not try it in these?

Agave Nectar from the Groovy Food Co. (love their name!)

As agave is sweeter than sugar, I used only 1/3 cup…done.

The butter was a bigger problem.  What could I use to replace it?  Apple sauce?  Didn’t have any and didn’t feel like making it either, not just for 1/3 cup.  Veggie oil?  Nah, as I stay away from that…olive oil is better, but not for baking!

I have two ‘margarine’ type spreads:  Pro-Active (for helping to lower my cholesterol) which is not suitable for baking.  The other one is called Pure, made with soya beans (got this to help with the old hormone problems that happen to us ‘ladies of a certain age’).  I thought it too, wasn’t suitable for baking, but I double checked the label and low and behold!  It’s suitable for baking, cooking, frying, etc.  Woo Hoo!  So my problem was solved.  Banana muffins, here I come!

(PLEASE NOTE: If you are not able to find a soya based spread or similar in your area, then aim for a trans-fat free spread…make sure it’s suitable for baking)

You can try the original recipe above, which, did I mention is absolutely DELICIOUS!  Oh yeah, I did.

Or you can try it my healthier way, it’s up to you.  The only changes are to the main character of flour, sugar and butter.  The mixing and baking times and temps remain the same.

~~BANANA MUFFINS~~

1 1/2 C flour (white or whole wheat)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 bananas, mashed

3/4 C sugar OR 1/3 C agave nectar

1 egg

1/3 C butter OR soya-based spread or other trans-fat free spread, melted

1/2 C chocolate chips or chopped nuts or a mix of both (optional) (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350f/180c.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper cases or silicone cases (I use the silicone cases – love these!)

(Cooks Hint: The butter/spread needs to be melted – I put mine into the oven while it was heating up in a glass Pyrex measuring cup – saves energy by not using the microwave)

Sift all the dry ingredients.  In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients using an electric hand mixer.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry using a spatula or wooden spoon.

Spoon evenly into muffin cases.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool in tin about 5 minutes then remove to rack.

These freeze well should you desire to do so.

Tell me which recipe you made and what you thought of them!

The original recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS……. 😉

Happy Baking!

WHOLESOME OAT MUFFINS FOR SOUTH BEACH DIET

Do YOU know the Muffin Man??

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Good Day!  Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend so far.  I had the pleasure today, of doing a video call with my parents, brother A, sis-in-law J and niece. (who is the author of the blog RoadRagingFoodie – see my blog list below)  I haven’t seen or talked to A & J since we left London.

As we were chatting about different things, the subject of my blog came up and Dad asked what the muffins were that are shown in the main picture.  I told him what they were and he was asking me what was in them.  He then proceeded to ask if I ever put apples in them, or blueberries, or peaches, or bananas, etc. etc.

He wasn’t being serious however he was being his usual silly self.  I asked him how Mom has been able to put up with him for the past 55 years!  It must be love!  He may be crazy at times…well, most of the time…but I’ll say one thing…I wouldn’t want him any other way!  Love ya’ Dad! 😉

So, as he asked about the muffins, I thought I would share the recipe (and maybe Mom will make them for him…hint, hint).  The recipe is from The South Beach Diet Supercharged book, but I have tweaked it a bit to my liking.  Mainly, I’ve used Agave Nectar in place of the sugar substitute and I’ve added raisins and dried apricots.

WHOLESOME OAT MUFFINS

225g/8oz  fat-free natural/plain yogurt
75g/2 1/2oz  porridge/rolled oats
140g/5oz  wholewheat flour
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  baking soda
1/4 tsp  ground cinnamon (I use more…I love cinnamon)
1/4 tsp  salt
75g/2 1/2oz  chopped walnuts or pecans, or combination of both
2 Tbsp  raisins or dried apricots or dates, or a combination of these
5 Tbsp  Agave nectar or granulated sugar substitute
75ml/2 1/2fl.oz  rapeseed oil
1 large egg, beaten
5ml/1 tsp  vanilla extract/essence
2 Tbsp porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 220c/425f/Gas 7.  Coat a 12-muffin non-stick pan with cooking spray or line with paper or silicon cases.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt with 75g oats and set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the next five ingredients, flour through salt.  Stir in the nuts and dried fruit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Agave, oil, egg and vanilla.  Stir in the oat/yogurt mixture.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin holes, filling then about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp oats over the muffins.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes before removing the muffins and transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Wholesome Oat Muffins

I usually leave two or three out and freeze the rest as I’m the only one eating them.  When I’ve eaten the the last one, I take out another two or three.  They taste just as fresh as the day they were made (once thawed!)  Feel free to
warm them a bit in the microwave before eating.  They go great with a nice cuppa!

Enjoy!