Maple Popcorn

When conducting interviews at work the general rules is that everyone brings something yummy in for the panel to munch on in between interviewing potential future employees….ahhh crap, sugar free vegan doesn’t exactly scream fun and delicious snacks!

Naturally my go to thought was popcorn, my second thought was how can I make it better… Next stop…the internet. Bing bang boom *Maple Popcorn*

It really was delicious, exactly like the sweet popcorn you get at the cinema. I honestly have no idea why they don’t make it this way instead of adding all that refined sugar to it

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Ingredient:

  • popcorn kernels: I used 70g
  • maple syrup: I used around 4 tablespoons

Preheat the oven: 180 fan oven

 

 

Method:

Pop the corn and keep lid on to keep the heat in. Put the maple syrup into a pan and heat until boiling. Keep at boil for around 2-3 minutes. Stir to ensure it doesn’t stick to pan. Pour the crystallised syrup into pan with the pre popped corn and stir. I found that it goes a long way and if you keep stirring it around for a good few minutes you can cover all the corn.

Spread onto a baking tray (which you have already put grease proof paper on) and pop into oven for around 2 minutes. It really doesn’t take long at all. When you take it out you will notices that the popcorn has softened. Leave it to cool and it will harden up again. It will be stuck together so just break it up and it’s done! Next time I may try to compact it more and make popcorn bars 🙂 I might add some raisins, desiccated coconut or similar too! Definitely loads of room to experiment anyway!

 

 

 

Frozen Yogurt Slab

One of things that is getting to me about this no sugar nonsense is the treats. Yeah yeah I love popcorn and all that but what about the rest!?!?!?!?

I am now on a personal, heart felt, mission to find sweet snacks that “cut it”!

So, first off, I was inspired by ‘The Body Coach’ for this one.

You freeze some yogurt in a try, and add what you like. I added blueberries and chopped nuts. I think in the next one I’ll add some raisins too. This was a pain to get out the tray, think I need to use a bigger tray though, so I can spread it thinner. Anyway, it was really yummy . I actually used almond soya yogurt , so the options for flavours are plentiful. I may try blending it with strawberries next time too, oh maybe some dates too! (I never said this would be low fat!)

So there you have it! Not rocket science and I even took some pretty pictures!

Pad Thai (Thai stir fry)

For me the thing that makes a Pad Thai a Pad Thai is the tamari, tahini and the ribbon noodles. All the other ingredient are interchangeable ( in my opinion). In the traditional dish there is an egg, which I have forgone and found it tastes just as good without. I have made this a few times with different ingredient, pretty much just whatever I have in the veg box in my fridge. I will probably update this post each time I made a new variation. I honestly don’t think you can go too wrong as long as you have the base ingredient (tamari, tahini, ribbon noodles)

Recipe version 1

  • Half a red onionIMG_5438
  • Half an Avocado
  • Full pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 2x teaspoons of tamari (basically sugar free soy sauce)
  • 5-8 peanuts
  • 80g rice noodles (I use rice noodles as they are sugar free)
  • Handful of spinach

Method: Cook the rice noodles in boiling water (takes IMG_5450around 4 minutes), drain and place to the side. Add some coconut oil to a pan, when warm add a bit of chopped garlic and half the chopped onion. Put in the tamari and then stir in the handful of spinach and chopped pepper (I used a yellow pepper s that was all I had, but there are no rules, I would have used whatever colour I had) and the cut spring onions. After the spinach has ‘wilted’ add the noodles and then stir together with a spoonful of tahini on a low heat. Add salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chilli flakes to taste. and some of thechopped peanuts. Once this has all been stirred together, take off the heat. Add to a bowl and top with the avocado and sprinkle the rest of the chopped peanuts on top.

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Side note: When making a Pad Thai or a stir fry I like to chop my spring onions length ways. Whist this make no difference taste wise, it tricks me into I’m back in Thailand and it somehow seems more authentic.

 

Recipe Version 2

  • Big ol’ handful of spinach IMG_5526
  • Half an avocado
  • Beetroot
  • Half a red onion
  • Handful of peanuts
  • 80g Rice ribbon noodles
  • Handful of green beans
  • Tahini (tablespoon)
  • Tahini (teaspoon)
  • 2/3 spring onionsIMG_5534

Method:

Put ribbon noodles and green beans into pan to cook, should take around 4 mins. Add some coconut oil to pan, add garlic (if you want), chopped onion, spinach, spring onions, along with the tamari. Keep on low heat and add the noodles and green beans and stir in the tahini and some of the chopped peanuts. Once heated and stirred, its done!

Add to bowl and this is the point that I like to add the cold ingredient on top, which is usually just what I fancy. In this case its the avocado, beetroot and the rest of the chopped peanuts. Yum! By the time I took this picture I was on my second bowl and have already eaten the one with the beetroot and avocado on top! Oops…must work on portion control!

 

Making the transition to plant based sugar free

The first thing I did was scroll Pinterest for ideas, saving the things with ingredient in I knew I liked and becoming curious to try things Id never had before. The hardest part of this type of diet change is that you realises that you have no idea what is in your food. The more I researched the more shocked I was how much sugar is in EVERYTHING! Bread, pasta, sauces etc. This makes it nearly impossible to eat out, grab a bite so there is only one thing for it…fall in love with cooking, with how your food tastes and most importantly, get prepared!

I dipped my toes in before I dived in, It took me around a month to make the transition. I had been thinking about it for a while before I decided that the challenge was something I wanted to take on. I got to the point where I want to do everything I can to improve the quality of my life. 

The best thing about getting started is trying lots of foods you wouldn’t normally eat. I have pretty much replaced chocolate with dates, popcorn and honey…I have no issues satisfying my sweet tooth. Which I found quite surprising considering my favourite thing is marshmallows dipped in milk chocolate then covered in sprinkles and Costco carrot cake 🙂 

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Sugar and palm oil free nut butter are amazing, my favourite is almond and coconut hands down. 

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Nuts, dates, figs, coconut honey and popcorn go a long way as ingredient or on their own. 

 

 

Next up I went to the condiments. I stocked up on

  • coconut, sunflower and olive oil
  • Rock salt, pepper and chilli flakes (personal reference as I love chilli)
  • I looked around and found sugar free sauces in ASDA by the Blend Bros, who actually produce their products in Manchester, which was enough of an incentive for me to try them! Only had them a few days so far and as you can see the sweet chilli sauce is going down a treat. I’m not blown over by the ketchup as its very tangy but I also love the piri piri sauce.
  • I also have a cupboard full of raisins, dried apricots, prunes, seeds and nuts.