Choir bakes

Apple cinnamon muffins

I’m part of a local amateur choir, and everytime we have a performance, we’re expected to bring something to share… with our audience. As I had just moved to a new diet where I was not consuming any gluten or any fruit for the first 14 days, but had plenty of normal gluten-containing flour and a few apples lying around, I didn’t mind making a double batch of apple muffins. I threw on some rolled oats to continue to increase the gluten content!

The recipe is based on Stephanie Alexander’s basic muffins from her Cook’s Companion book, but I doubled the recipe, added three grated apples (compared to the recommended two) and two teaspoons of cinnamon (as recommended) to the mix, and topped them with rolled oats. The topping didn’t quite turn out as I would have liked – I should have pre-toasted the oats or used a crumble topping to get  a nice change in texture to the rest of the muffin.

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Lo carb gluten free wraps

Fantastic wraps: gluten-free but still flexible!

My new diet really cuts back on carbohydrates (no fruit, sugar or refined carbs – complex carbs OK for lunch and afternoon tea/meal only), and after a few days of being confined to foods that could be eaten with cutlery I sought an easy recipe for gluten free wraps. I found a good post on the Healthy Indulgences blog that not only had a recipe for gluten-free wraps but also some good information on stocking a (low carb) gluten free pantry. I have to confess that my pantry is only just starting to get some kind of order since the gluten-free supplies stock-up.

I’ve been made aware of how non-flexible gluten-free wraps can be, so I was pleasantly surprised that these came out so well! The recipe is especially easy to go through successful if you have a sandwich press, take the desired quantity of mix, press down and in a few minutes you’ll have some wraps! If you’ve overcooked them and they’ve lost their pliability let them rest on a paper towel after pressing.

My wraps generally followed the recipe in the link, but with a very minor changes due to what I had available in the pantry. I used 3 tbsp ground LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond)2 tbsp almond meal1 tbsp buckwheat flour, 1/2 tsp protein powder1/2 tsp xanthan gum, 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder. The liquid ingredients were the same as in the original recipe. Later in the week I found that my local Woolworths stocked flaxseed so I’ll substitute 2 of the LSA tablespoons with flaxseed and make it closer to the original recipe. I also found I could add a bit more water and stretch out the mix to three wraps when made in a sandwich press.

Chocolate mousse sans chocolate

Chocolate and avocado “mousse”

Early into my new diet, I decided to try making an avocado and cocoa “chocolate mousse”. I blended 2 avocadoes with about 4 tablespoons of cocoa, added a touch of vanilla essence and a little maple syrup to sweeten things a little. It’s a lot healthier than a typical mousse, without losing too much of the fun of mousse! I made a second batch later with natvia in place of the maple syrup to make it more guilt-free than before!

While it’s healthier than a real mousse, it does have a fairly high calorie count due to the (good) fats in the avocadoes. I tend to split my mix into six portions, and add a little self control.

Fasted riding

My bike riding essentials (tools and tubes already on the bike!)

I don’t know what’s wrong with my body – I get hungry on rides and unless I refuel, my legs turn to serious jelly. One of the girls I ride with manages well without breakfast – another struggles in the same way I do. So it has to be (at least partly) conditioning. Last weekend was the start of my conditioning as I went on my first “fast” ride, where I didn’t have breakfast before the ride. It was a good ride to try it on as we had a newcomer to the group who I decided to sit with so that I wouldn’t push myself too hard! I took some muesli bars with me on the ride and boy did I need them! But at least I was able to ride the first 30 km or so to Manly with my lovely fellow riders quite comfortably.

Basement cake

Treasure Cake: the Boston Mud Cake with extra stuff on top

So I’m on a different diet to normal and not doing much fun baking or fun eating (cravings well under control, mainly because I’ve had none), so I thought I’d share the last piece of cake I ate before my current diet. It’s the Treasure Cake from the Cheesecake Shop. It’s essentially a Boston Mud Cake (which I do love), topped with custard-filled profiteroles and rolls of chocolate. Was nice but not amazing. So, if you asked which cake I’d recommend from the Cheesecake Shop, I would say plain ol’ Boston Mud Cake.

Batch cooking, the first attempt

Zip-loc bags: fantastic in the freezer, awful for the environment! 😦

So I shouldn’t be surprised, but I kind of am because I’m short on space. And didn’t think of batch cooking as a space saver, but it is when your freezer is full of meat cuts. Trim off the fat, cook it (loses moisture and shrinks), and BAM! Five portions of cooked meat in the ice cube tray, with the little tub of lemon zest. It was the only space I really had left in the freezer!!!

Cupcakes for cancer

I swear the turd-looking salted caramel icing was fab!

I was unfortunately too busy last week to help Baking Society more than just the one night in their attempt to fundraise for the Cancer Council. The process involved baking lots of cupcakes, icing them, transporting them to uni and selling them. For five days of last week. That’s a lot of baking… but it was fun (on the one day I helped bake!) – although I can understand why some who’d been helping each night were completely sick of it by Friday! However, they raised $4500, which I think is fantastic and a reflection as to why they were so tired!

Welcome FR70

The FR70 clearly has a more flexible strap than the FR60!

My FR60 met an unfortunate end – one that even DC Rainmaker’s FR60 had met. The strap tore. I still don’t understand how this could happen, but happen it did.  At least I’m not alone in doing this. However, the unit was only 4 months old! It was actually a replacement unit for my original FR60, which had internal fog occurring after about 10 months, so the second FR60 was out of warranty.

I was initially going to buy another FR60 to replace it, but when I read that the FR70 had a better wrist-strap I happily paid the extra $29 for the newer model. Also, I could really only get the FR60 cheap in lilac, and I struggled to bring myself to do it. The FR70 wrist-strap saved me from lilac. I actually had the option of repairing the wrist strap on my FR60, but at a cost of about 65% of the new FR70, it didn’t seem economical. Especially given that my tear was not a one-off.

The FR60/FR70 cannot be purchased without a heart-rate monitor, of which I already have one. It was a downside to purchasing another FR60/FR70, but at least the FR70 comes with the newer heart-rate monitor. I tinkered with the idea of getting a GPS enabled watch, but after doing the research found that the only one I really liked was the Forerunner 610 – the 910XT was nice in terms of functionality, but not so nice style-wise. It’s a bit of a tank. Style is why I went for the slightly larger men’s model of the FR70 – I wasn’t particularly keen on the pink or the swirls of the women’s model. The FR70 is a more discreet watch than the Forerunner 610, although it doesn’t look as clean (the 610 has a touchscreen, which removes the need for lots of buttons).

When I thought that the main reason why I would want GPS, I decided it was for when I cycled. Looking at the Edge 500 and Edge 800, I thought that I’d be far happier with that on my bike than I would be with the 610. So I ended up with the FR70.

Yes, they’re all Garmin as I already have the foot pod and bike sensors that are compatible with Garmin and the ANT+ system.