One of the hardest things to give up is sugar and the most powerful and practical tip to helping you manage sugar cravings, is to always eat sweet things with protein and fat.  Step aside mass produced sweets and hello to this wonderful fudge!

The protein and fat in this wonderful recipe delay the release of the natural sugars into the blood stream, protecting you from insulin spikes.  And the sweetener used, coconut syrup, is lower in GI than white sugar and, combined with the natural sweetness of coconut, means you can use much less.

So when you sweet tooth becomes too much, here is an option that you can enjoy without the guilt!

Ingredients

Creates 20 small cubes

1 cup cacao butter buttons

2 tbsp coconut butter

2 tbsp coconut milk powder (optional, but adds creaminess)

3.5 tbsp organic cashew butter

3-4 tbsp maple syrup

1.5 tsp vanilla paste

1 tsp agar agar or powdered gelatin (optional, but helps to create a softer texture)

¾-1 tsp matcha green tea powder

Pinch salt

 

Freeze-dried raspberries and melted white chocolate to decorate (optional)

White Chocolate fudge 4
Method
  • In a bain marie, very gently melt together the cacao buttons with the coconut butter. Stir until smooth and melted, then remove from the heat.
  • Allow the mix to cool slightly, then place into a blender with the remaining ingredients and blitz smooth – don’t worry, the mixture will appear dark green, but it will lighten once it sets! Taste and adjust sweetness as desired.
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin, then place in the freezer to firm up. Cut into cubes, then store in the fridge and enjoy.
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One of the hardest things about eating healthily is managing the whole deal around cravings and snacking.  What we all need is healthy alternatives that we can reach for quickly, and which will help wean us off sugar and processed foods and, of course, taste delicious. If, at the same time, they can deliver a whole heap of nutritional and health benefits, so much the better.

These recipes will introduce you to some new and interesting ingredients and intriguing ways of flinging together delicious, nutritious and filling snacks that will go a long way to keeping your health goals on-track.

Magic Muffins

Sometimes, we all want to eat something quick, squodgy and satisfying.  Normally, when we’re craving insta-satisfaction, we would reach for the bread bin or biscuit barrel, but here’s a super-easy, quicker-than-quick alternative that is packed with good fats and Omega 3’s, protein, fibre and goodness that will meet all your requirements for instant snacking, without messing with your insulin levels. What I love are easy recipes that I can play with to ring the changes, and these muffins are just that. This is the infinitely versatile, perfectly sweet or savoury, magically- life-saving recipe that will be your ultimate weapon against cravings.

Basic recipe:

(Makes 1 huge muffin or 2 smaller ones)

  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 large free-range, organic egg
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter (almond, cashew, hazelnut, brazil nut)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or nut oil
  • optional sweetener of your choice ½ tsp stevia recommended
  • Pinch of salt

This basic recipe is good to go as it is, but you can add any number of different ingredients to create the perfect muffin for you.  Here are a couple of my favourite combinations – one for a sweet option, one for a savoury.

franmac.co.uk/recipes/country-living
 Sweet ingredients:
  • 1 heaped tablespoon any combination chopped dried or fresh fruit of your choice – eg: sultanas, dates, banana, berries, dessicated coconut
  • Maple syrup (optional, aim for as little as possible, depending on where you are on the no-sugar spectrum)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
 Savoury ingredients:
  • 1 heaped teaspoon nutritional yeast OR 1 oz grated cheese
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • chopped herbs/veggies of your choice – eg cumin, rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, onion, chilli, sweet pepper

Method                   

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mug.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly with a fork and then add the nut butter.  Depending on whether you are opting for the sweet or savoury version, add the appropriate ingredients at the end and stir well to combine.

Put the mug in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Tip your (slightly oddly shaped!) muffin onto a plate and enjoy.  It will be piping hot so take care!

So that’s the easy-peasy, done in a tick version, but if you like baking ahead, the basic recipe can also be augmented to be made up as a loaf, a savoury foccacia or a batch of muffins, baked in the oven.   Here are the details:

For Sweet Flax Banana Bread or Muffins
  • 200g flaxmealBanana bread 2
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • A couple of tablespoons seeds such as Dr Gaye’s Super Omega
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 5 organic, free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75 ml coconut oil
  • 100 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter of your choice
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped OR 2 tablespoons sultanas

Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine thoroughly with a fork, leaving the dates until the end. Put the wet ingredients, including the mashed bananas and nut butter in a separate bowl all together and stir well to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir again thoroughly.  Finally add in the chopped dates and stir to distribute evenly through the mixture.

For a savoury tomato and basil foccacia, loaf or muffins:
  • 200g flaxmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • A couple of tablespoons seeds such as Dr Gaye’s Super Omega
  • 5 eggs
  • 75 ml olive or nut oil
  • 100 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast plus 3 extra tablespoons water OR 100 g grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon smoked cumin

Savoury muffinsCombine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir thoroughly with a fork. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the oil and the water.  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Add the flavourings and stir thoroughly to distribute evenly through the mixture.

Whether you opt for the sweet or savoury option, here’s how you can also choose your format – loaf, muffins or focaccia:

For a loaf:  Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake at 180°C for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.  I usually check at 25 and 30 minutes.

For muffins:  Spoon into muffin trays or cups and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.  Check at 15 minutes to be on the safe side.

For foccaccia:  Allow mixture to stand for 2 or 3 minutes until it has stiffened enough to hold its shape.  Empty onto a flat, lined baking tray and spread with the back of a spoon to create the desired shape and thickness.  Sprinkle with a little sea-salt, garlic or additional herbs.  Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

So there you have it!  The perfect suite of gluten-and-dairy-free, low-sugar, high protein, low carb snacks and bread alternatives that will give you everything you need to manage and control your cravings!

Have a play with these recipes and add your own ingredients, to make them uniquely your own!  The possibilities are endless!

Send in your own personal favourite to hello@franmac.co.uk and we will feature it on the site!

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The temptations of Christmas can be overwhelming

If, like me, you start to feel a bit panicky around about this point in the year, this is for you.

For all of us who struggle with our weight, health or food intolerances, the temptations of Christmas can make for a roller coaster holiday experience. I have tried all strategies and learned the hard way.  The ‘what the hey, it only happens once a year’ approach has led to multiple food comas, rock bottom self esteem and a seemingly endless struggle to get back on track.

The alternative ‘I’m not going to let a single empty calorie pass my lips’, just leads to massive party-pooping and a sudden all out binge when it all becomes a bit much.

Is there a middle way?  I think there might be.  Finally, I think, I have worked out how to survive Christmas and enter the New Year, relatively unscathed and able to fit into my jeans.

It’s just about going with the flow enough to have a good time, but not so much that you’re drowning in egg-nog.

To help you manage the holiday season with éclat, here are a couple of my favourite Christmas recipes.  Designed to get some Ho-Ho-Ho into Wholesome, these recipes are light and delicious and will provide you with the armoury you need to manage the two big Christmas danger zones – the cake tin and the cheese board!

If you need more than this to get you through the Christmas Season unscathed, then download my FREE Christmas Survival Guide by clicking the link below.  It has everything you could possibly need to help you get through the Christmas Season including a 4-Day Reset Plan, just in case things go wrong!

Mince Pie Flavoured Amazeballs

There is no point in denying yourself the occasional sweet treat, that way disaster lies as it is just not realistically achievable for most humans!  But, by rolling all the flavours of Christmas into one delicious little ball, with my mince pie flavoured Amazeballs you get all the benefit of Christmas, with none of the drawbacks!

You can join me in my Christmas Kitchen as I prepare these delicious Mince Pie Amazeballs (my daughter calls them Crimballs!) in this video.

Join me in my Christmas Kitchen

And I will show you how to make these delicious Mince-Pie flavoured Amazeballs

Join me in my Christmas Kitchen as I demonstrate how to make these delicious Seasonal Treats.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cup (well, a mug really) walnuts
  • 9 pitted medjool dates
  • ½ cup sultanas, soaked in brandy (optional)
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor, or very powerful blender
  2. Whizz until all the ingredients are combined, stopping the machine and stirring up the ingredients from time to time as necessary.
  3. you are aiming for the point when everything starts to clump together but there is still a bit of texture to the mix.
  4. Roll the mixture into little bite-sized balls and then coat in finely chopped walnuts to coat.
franmac.co.uk
Although these mince-pie flavoured amazeballs are perfect for sharing and make the most amazing gift, I bet you'll want to keep them all to yourself. Yummy little nuggets of Christmassy gorgeousness.

Dairy-free Cashew Cheez

Cheese can be really tempting at this time of year, but it’s also very heavy on the digestive system, and a really no-no for anyone who is avoiding dairy. To help you get all the cheesy benefits without any of that gastro-intestinal distress, here is my easy-peasy-cheez.  Literally whizzed up in a second and versatile enough to be used as an alternative to cheese sauce in, for example, a veggie lasagne, dolloped into baked potatoes or alongside a chilli, or even popped onto delicate and sophisticated canapés.  The choice is yours and I am sure you can think up a million ways to use this super-versatile, uber-easy recipe.

franmac.co.uk
Deliciously cheesey tasting without any of the digestive drawbacks, this cashew cheez is the ultimate dairy-free stand-by.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours
  • 2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Water – for a cream cheese texture, you will need approx 2 tablespoons, for a dip, add more water to reach the consistency you prefer.
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • herbs and flavourings of your choice eg capers and dill (delicious with smoked salmon), chives (the perfect dip), tarragon and lemon zest, parsley, coriander ..

 

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients, except the herbs, into your food processor or high speed blender.
  2. Whizz until combined and a smooth, even consistency is achieved.  Add more water as necessary to get the consistency you prefer.
  3. Add the herbs and flavourings of your choice and either stir in by hand or pulse to combine.

I hope knowing there are some healthy alternatives to the usual Christmas pitfalls has inspired you!  If you would like to have more tips and tricks to help you survive the Christmas season plus and 4-day reset plan (just in case it all goes horribly wrong), then download my 20 page Christmas Survival Guide below!

Download your FREE Christmas Survival Guide

Everything you need to help you get through Christmas unscathed.

With 28 pages of strategies to help you manage temptation this Christmas, AND a 4-Day Reset plan in case it all goes wrong.  This is the perfect emergency kit to get through Christmas unscathed!

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