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[Recipe] Self Saucing Chocolate Cake

12190796_10153811213152160_4155680206197715560_n Today is our 6th wedding anniversary! Since we’ve had a pretty amazing year already between 3 weeks in the US in May and a spur of the moment 10 days in Austria, we decided to keep our anniversary low-key. When I asked Tim what he wanted, he asked for pulled pork and a gooey dessert, the kind like you can get a Frankie and Benny’s. A dish my Aunt Barb made came to mind, which was like a brownie baked in a pie pan that made it’s own sauce and I remembered it was out of the Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s on Page 200 of the spiral bound (US) version and is called a Hot Fudge Sundae Cake. I’ve made it once before, but this time I wanted to scale it down to 2 servings, convert it to UK measurements, and work out the syns for Slimming World. As listed in the cookbook, the original serves 9 and has 10 Syns per serving (basing it on calories only as I don’t have the size of a serving to plug it into the calculator). I wanted to scale this down to serve 2 (no leftovers means no temptation!) and I also wanted to make it diabetic friendly and use some sugar substitutes. It still comes out to 10 syns, so changing the sugar didn’t matter and I will list the recipe using both regular sugar and sweeteners.

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I baked this in a small Corningware dish my mom gave me when I moved. It’s an individual casserole size, so an individual pie dish would work for this or possibly dividing it in half into two ramekins (but then you would need to adjust cooking time). There also is a recipe for a Melting Chocolate Pudding on the Slimming World website which has 9 syns per serving, but I didn’t have individual microwaveable pudding containers and I wanted to be a bit more creative.

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Self Saucing Chocolate Cake
Serves: 2
Syns: 10 per serving (it’s 9.25 if you use sweetener products)

You Will Need:
Cake –
50g self-rising flour
15g Truvia baking blend OR 30g caster sugar
1/2 TBS cocoa (I used Green & Black’s Organic)
25ml semi-skim milk
1-2 TBS water
1/2 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Topping –
25g Splenda for baking Brown (or 50g brown sugar)
1 TBS cocoa
100ml very hot water (from the kettle)

1) Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
2) Combine flour, Truvia, and 1/2 TBS cocoa in the ungreased small casserole dish.
3) Mix in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and 1TBS of water. If mixture is still dry, add an additional Tablespoon water.
4) Spread mix evenly in dish.
5) Sprinkle batter with 1 TBS cocoa and brown sugar.
6) Pour hot water evenly over the top.
7) Bake 25-30 minutes until cake is cooked (Will be gooey on top. Stick a spoon in to check the cake)

Serve hot with custard or ice cream!

For the pulled pork, all you need is a piece of pork butt or shoulder (cut off all visible fat) and a batch of Slimming World Barbecue Sauce. Just toss it all in a crock pot and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours. I put ours in the crock pot last night before we went to bed and it was ready by the time we woke up and then I left it on warm until Lunch. We served it on top of wholemeal rolls (my HEB for the day) with smash, corn on the cob, and mixed vegetables.

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DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

Photo of Tim and I taken by Eric Stocklin

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Recipe] Vegan Reduced Sugar Brownies

11242166_10153368646662160_951110048_o Mmm. Brownies. Though, I must admit, these are more cakey than a usual brownie, but still. Yummm.

Last Thursday, we had our steam-up and we had a few friends present. I like to bake things when we play trains in the garden, but last time I made 24 cupcakes, we only had about 8 people show up and Tim wound up taking the cupcakes into work, so this time, I waited to see what the numbers were and needed something that would be quick to make. I immediately remembered a recipe for Vegan Brownies I made years and years ago (at least 10!) when I was vegetarian. I decided to change it a bit to make it more diabetic and diet-friendly. I did NOT calculate the syns for this recipe, because the original is in US measurements and all of my syns are calculated based on metric measurements, but I might go back and try to convert everything. Oh, and the best part is you only need an 8″ pan to mix AND bake them in!

You will need:

1 1/4 Cup flour (you can use plain or wholegrain. For denser brownies, I would only use 1 Cup)
1/2 C Truvia baking blend (or Splenda for Baking or Half Spoon…or regular sugar)
1/3 C cocoa (I used my good ol tin of Hershey, but I can’t wait to try this with Green & Black’s Organic)
1 tsp baking soda (if using bicarbonate, use 1 1/2 tsp. I happened to have a box of Arm & Hammer)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 Cup vegetable oil (You could probably sub in apple sauce. The next time I make this, I’m going to use applesauce)

And the magic ingredient:
1 tsp Red Wine vinegar (or other vinegar, but not balsamic)

Optional: I also added in a bag of dark chocolate chips (not Vegan) and white chocolate chunks (also not Vegan)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F)
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in an 8 inch square baking pan.
3. Create holes in each corner of the dry mix and pour a wet ingredient into each corner.
4. Stir to combine. This is where you can stir in any add-ins such as chocolate chips, m&ms, 2 TBS of PB2, etc.)
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes or you will have a crumbly mess.

Edited to add on 14 April 2015: If you use regular Truvia instead of the sugar blend and you do not add any additional chocolate chips, this recipe comes to 56.9 syns total. Cut into 16 it is 3.5 syns per brownie!

Enjoy!!

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Recipe] Slimming World Friendly Chocolate Cupcakes

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I really wanted cupcakes today. It’s a Sunday, so I either had to bake with what I had or what I could buy at the local co-op. I searched on the Slimming World website and found the recipe for the chocolate log….but I didn’t have the ingredients for the filling. I  also prefer to reduce sugar where possible, so this is my cupcake recipe loosely based off the chocolate log. This should make 10 cupcakes for a total of 15 syns or 1.5 each.

Posting this from my phone, so I don’t have my usual disclaimers. But please double check your syn values if you use different ingredients.

Recipe:

50g self-rising flour
50g Truvia  baking blend
15g cocoa powder  (my American self used Hershey cocoa)
4 eggs

Preheat fan assisted oven to 180 (think that’s 200 on a regular oven)
Combine dry  ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Whisk eggs until foamy (I used an electric whisk)
Spoon dry mix into eggs and gently stir.
Spray 10 silicone cupcake cases with frylight and evenly spoon in mix (about 3 dessert spoonfuls per case).
Bake 10-12 minutes until edges come away from the case.

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Slimming World: Success with the Countdown to Success

S7 S14 S21 Club10

Wow. I joined Slimming World 12 weeks ago and bought a Countdown to Success….and well, I’d say it’s been a success! Tonight was my week 12 weigh-in, and not only did I achieve my Club 10, but I also got my 1 1/2 stone award. Yep. 10% lighter than I was at the end of October. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.

I also kept track of my measurements in an excel spreadsheet and I’ve managed to lose 28.5 inches overall in 12 weeks AND my BMI has gone down by more than 4. Even more amazing is I’ve lost over 4 inches from my belly, something that as a PCOS sufferer is really hard to do!

I’m getting there.

Slowly, but steadily. I had a few wobbles in the past 12 weeks (gained 1 lb at our wedding anniversary week, gained 1 pound over Christmas), but overall the trend has been down. I might only be dropping a pound or two per week, but it’s all going in the right direction.

And honestly? I don’t miss the junk food. With 5-15 Syns per day, I’ve still been having “junk”, just in moderation. A Lindt truffle is 4 Syns, so when I have one I get to savor the flavour and enjoy it instead of just shovelling it into my mouth. Or biting into a crumpet with a little bit of Flora light spread on it. Even drinking an Options hot chocolate becomes a taste event as the hot chocolate is 2 Syns per 11g (one sachet). Sometimes I save my Healthy Extra A and use it to make a milky Options hot chocolate before bed. Most of the time my HEA is cheese. If you put milk in your tea, you can either take it out of your HEA or you can count it as .5 syn for a splash, so I tend to spend my syns on milk and go for the cheese. Our consultant said she doesn’t like having cheese because of measuring it out, but when you start to shred it, it really becomes quite a lot of cheese! I got a hand crank grater from Wilkos for less than £2 and that makes it super easy to grate. Or I’ll stir Philadelphia Lightest into some pasta for a take on macaroni cheese.

When it comes to my Healthy Extra B, I sometimes struggle. Especially when crackerbread got removed from the options! But 2 Alpen Light bars or 2 Hifi Light bars count as the HEB, and that includes some chocolate variations. A couple of Ryvita topped with cream cheese is both my HEA and HEB at the same time. Lately, I’ve been eating 2 slices of wholegrain bread from a small loaf for toast. The most important part is carefully measuring out your As and Bs. Argos sells a cheap digital scal for a fiver, and most measuring jugs, cups, and spoons can be had for less than £1 for a set at Wilkos.

And the free and superfree food! Some of the things that are free are Amazing! Baked beans, Mullerlight yougurts, rice, pasta…..all unlimited. All free. Fresh/raw fruit….superfree. Veggies? Do whatever you want to them and they’re superfree. And don’t forget your lean meats, bacon with the rind cut off, quorn mince (and some other products, like quorn hot dogs!), mince with less than 5% fat…..All unlimited. I have made so many meals totally free, which saves up my Syns for treats later.

So what has a typical day looked like in the past 12 weeks?

Breakfast – Baked beans and scrambled eggs done with fry light (sometimes on Toast as my HEB), sometimes an omelette with my HEA cheese), mullerlight yogurt, an apple, a banana. On days that we have extra time, I do a Slimming World “grill up” – grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, bacon without the rind, and eggs. I’ve made breakfast sandwiches combining my HEA & HEB with eggs and bacon. And always a cup of coffee with a splash of milk (.5 syns) and a cup of tea with milk (.5 syns). Sometimes I’ll enjoy a glass of Innocent Orange Juice (2 syn per 100ml), though I haven’t had juice in ages. Usually if I want orange juice, I’ll mix up some orange sugar free squash (FREE).

AM snack – a cup of green tea (milkless) and an Alpen bar or Hifi Light bar (3 Syns or half my HEB). Usually another piece of fruit or a handful of cherry tomatoes.

Lunch – Salad, a jacket potato topped with Tuna and lightest mayo (1 syn per TBS), a grilled gammon steak (no rind) with fresh pineapple and a fried egg, If I haven’t had my HEA and HEB yet, sometimes I’ll do Ryvita with lightest Philadelphia topped with some chopped veggies. For a dressing for my salad, I’ll take some fat free fromage frais or Total 100% greek yogurt with some dill and other herbs in it (free) or a 1/2 Tablespoon of some imported Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (.5 Syn). I usually round out the meal with a mullerlight and an apple, banana, some grapes, or strawberries.

Afternoon Snack – A cup of green tea, and some veggie sticks. for a dip, I make one out of greek yogurt or fromage frais and some dill and other herbs.

Dinner – We might use some syn free barbecue sauce (recipe coming soon), a HEA worth of cheese, bacon, and some chicken breast to make hunter’s chicken served with lots of steamed veggies. Or I might put some salmon with lemon pepper and dill in the steamer along with some potatoes and other veggies. If I haven’t used my HEB for the day, I might blitz some wholemeal bread and make breadcrumbs for fish and chips or chicken nuggets. Occasionally we’ll have a pasta based dish, since pasta is free, but I’m still on the low-ish carb thing and I’d rather eat potatoes than pasta for a carb! On Sundays, I do a full roast with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.

Bedtime snack – Options hot chocolate (2 Syns) with a splash of milk to make it creamy (.5 syns) and a pink and white wafer biscuit (2.5 syns)

At this point, I usually tally up my syns for the day to see if I can have anything else. If I eat everything listed here, that’s 12.5 syns for the day so I usually will end it at that especially if I had any other cups of regular tea with milk, but if I had less than 10 syns, I might break into the chocolate and have an Lindt truffle.

I still sometimes keep a food diary. My cousin suggested a journal to track things, and Slimming World encourages you to track your first four weeks. I very religiously tracked for my first 4 weeks and continued on until around week 8. Then, I only tracked things when I felt like I needed to keep track, like if we ate a meal out. But I find tracking my food a very good tool and while I don’t want to track food for the rest of my life, if it works, it works.

And next week? Another Countdown to Success. 12 more weeks. If I can lose another stone and a half, that will bring me within a few pounds of my first target!

Are you interested in joining Slimming World? Check their website for your local group’s information! Their website also has some great taster menus for you to try out before you join, and several women’s magazines have been running coupons this month to get your first week for free!

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Have Yourself a Diabetic Christmas Part 4

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The last Christmas recipe I have to share with you all uses Carbquik. I did not make this cake for Christmas, but I made it for New Year’s Day when Tim and I ate our Christmas dinner (since we had dinner on Christmas Day with his parents). I found this recipe for Low-Carb Pound Cake on the Low Carb Friends website, where it says this contains 1g of carbs per serving. I don’t like the taste of Carbquik by itself, so I replaced part of the Carbquik. If you wanted to make this with just Carbquik, you would need 3 and a half cups of it. The way I made it has a few more carbs than that per serving, but I don’t know exact amounts.

Low Carb Pound Cake

You will need:
1 1/2 Cup Carbquik
1 Cup Wholegrain Flour
1/2 Cup Ground Almonds (or Almond Meal/Almond Flour)
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
3/4 Cup Splenda for Baking
3/4 Cup Butter (softened)
200g Cream Cheese (one pack/8 oz)
6 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
Pinch of Salt

-Pre-heat the oven to 175C.
-Butter the sides of a Bundt pan (I’m sure other cake pans work just as well!)
-Combine Carbquik, Flour, Ground Almonds, Coconut Flour, and salt in a small bowl
-In a larger bowl cream together Splenda for Baking, butter, and cream cheese.
-Add eggs one at a time to liquid mixture. Add vanilla.
-Slowly add dry mix to the wet until it is well blended.
-Pour the mix into the cake pan and bake for 45-60 minute or until a toothpick comes out clean.

We had this for Strawberry Shortcake with some fresh berries and cream. It’s so tasty and low-carb that you don’t feel guilty sneaking a piece for breakfast the next morning!

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Have Yourself a Diabetic Christmas Part 3

December 2012 152cheese

Another big part of Christmas dinner is of course, the dessert. I had already made the Christmas Pudding full of sugar and booze, so I wanted to try to make something with less sugar. I really wanted to make a cheesecake, so I searched for several sugar free versions to create mine. Unfortunately, the topping is NOT sugar free as I could not find any sugar free pie filling, but I DO have a recipe for making your own sugar free cherry topping I will try out some other time. I can justify the sugar in the topping only because you really don’t eat that much topping anyway.

For the Crust —
2 Cups Ground Almonds (sometimes called almond flour or almond meal)
4 TBS Butter, melted
2 TBS Splenda for Baking

For the Filling —
600g Cream Cheese (3 packages) – room temperature
3 Eggs
1/2 TBS Vanilla
1/2 TBS lemon juice
1 Cup Splenda for Baking

For the Topping —
1 Can pie filling, any flavour. Sugar Free if you can find it

-Preheat the oven to 200C.
-Combine the ingredients for the crust and press into bottoms and side of your pie dish.
-Bake crust for 12-15 minutes until it is firm and golden.
-Remove from oven and set crust to one side.
-Cream together cream cheese and Splenda for baking.
-Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
-Add lemon juice and vanilla.
-Pour filling into cooked crust and place in the oven (still at 200C)
-As soon as you shut the oven door, immediately reduce temperature to 125C. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE BAKING THIS. Alternatively, you can use a water bath.
-Bake for 60-90 minutes. If your oven has a glass door, check by sight. The cheesecake should form a mound and look firm. You can open the door after an hour to check on the cake. A cake tester inserted should come out fairly clean, with bits of firm cheesecake clinging to it. If the cheesecake is still runny, leave it in the oven for additional time.
-Let the cheesecake cool completely before adding the topping.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Have Yourself a Diabetic Christmas Part 2

December 2012 140short

When my family bakes Christmas cookies, we always made more than one kind, so of course I wanted some variety. I am a big fan of the Scottish Shortbread you can get in the tins from Marks and Spencers, so I decided that would be my second type of cookie. I scoured the web, and I found a recipe posted by someone who calls themselves “mrsnorris”. Now, whether they intended to be a Harry Potter reference or their name really *is* Mrs Norris, the fact that it could be HP related instantly caught my attention to base my recipe off of.

You will need:
160g Butter, softened (I used Stork)
4 TBS Splenda for Baking (the original recipe calls for regular Splenda, but I find the Splenda for Baking doesn’t leave an after taste the way regular Splenda does, but feel free to use the sweetener of your choice)
100g White flour
100g Wholegrain flour (my wholegrain was also self-raising, but I don’t think this matters)
1/8 tsp Salt

-Preheat the oven to 180C and line your baking trays with parchment paper.
-Cream together butter and Splenda for Baking until fluffy.
-Slowly add flour and salt.
-Work dough into a ball.
-Flour your worktop and gently press (or roll) the dough out until it is about a half inch thick.
-Use a biscuit cutter (or shapes) to cut out the biscuits, re-rolling in between. You should be able to fit a dozen per cookie sheet. If you don’t have any cutters you could use a glass dipped in flour or just cut them into fingers with a knife. You will need to re-flour your worktop each time you re-roll the dough.
-Optional: you could brush the tops of each cookie with some egg and sprinkle a tiny bit of dyed* Splenda for Baking to imitate sprinkles, but they are just as good plain.
-Refrigerate each baking tray for 15 minutes before baking (I did this by putting the first sheet in and setting the timer. When the timer went off, they went into the oven and the next tray went into the fridge)
-Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Keep an eye on them as if they overbake they get very crumbly (as we discovered!)

Once again, these were a big hit and no one could tell they were sugar free! Just makes sure you tell people ahead of time as some people are intolerant to artificial sweeteners.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Have Yourself a Diabetic Christmas Part 1

December 2012 030cchip
My first Christmas dealing with my diabetes, and I think I did okay. I had some mince pies ( but never more than one in a single day), I had a few glasses of wine (again, never more than one), Ate a few small pieces of chocolate (Tim bought me an advent calendar, but I only ate the chocolate on a few days), and I indulged in a small piece of the Christmas Pudding I had made (just to taste it as I had never even had it!). But I also only drank sugar free fizzy drinks or slim tonic water, ate low-carb, and avoided the starchy foods – no potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc. So overall, I did pretty good.

Making Christmas Cookies are a HUGE deal to me as it’s been a family tradition since forever. Fortunately, my mom sent me some Splenda Blend for Baking and some Splenda Brown. Both these products I have been unable to locate in the UK, but you can order them through importers on eBay (though it will be pricey, it’s worth it!)

The first thing I needed to do was bake some chocolate chip cookies as those are my favourite cookie of all-time and Mom also got me some sugar free chocolate chips! However, don’t go crazy looking for them. I compared the bag of SF chips to a bag of Toll House, a container of dark chocolate chunks from Waitrose, and to some plain chocolate chips from Asda and they all contained around the same amount of sugar per 100g. After I added the bag of SF chips I decided it needed more chips anyway, so my cookies wound up with a combination of Hershey Sugar Free, Toll House Semi-Sweet, and Waitrose dark chocolate chunks. They were amazing and no one could tell they were sugar free!

(This recipe was modified off the back of the Hershey Sugar Free Chocolate Chips, so is measured using US measurements)

You will Need:
1 Cup white flour
1 Cup wholegrain flour
1 tsp baking soda (or 2 tsp Bicarb of Soda if you don’t have access to American baking soda)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup butter (Soft – I used stork out of a tub)
1/3 Cup Splenda for Baking
1/3 Cup packed Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 Cups chocolate chips or chunks (sugar free, semi-sweet, dark, or plain. Using milk chocolate will add more sugar)

-Preheat the oven to 200C and line your baking trays with parchment paper.
-Mix together the flours, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
-In a larger bowl, beat butter, the two Splendas, eggs, and vanilla.
-Slowly mix in the flour.
-using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.
-Drop by teaspoons onto your baking sheets. You should be able to get 12 on a sheet.
-Bake each sheet for 9-12 minutes until cookies are golden.
-Cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then continue to cool on a baking tray.

Makes about 3 and a half dozen soft cookies, depending on how big you make them. I went through THREE batches of them this season because everyone loved them so much.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Recipe: Low Carb Chicken Fingers (Diabetic Friendly!)


[Nuggets, shown with a big pile of Ranch dressing made from powdered ranch dressing mix and creame fraiche]


[please excuse the mobile phone quality and half empty plate!]

I’ve been whipping these up for the past few months, and I realized that I hadn’t shared the recipe, so I thought I would remedy that. This recipe works well with diced chicken (for nuggets), mini fillets (for fingers), and even with boneless chicken breasts if you want to make chicken Parmesan.

You will need:
-Boneless, skinless chicken (breasts can be used whole, diced into nuggets, or sliced into fingers)
-Equal parts ground almond and grated Parmesan cheese. Depending on how much chicken you have to coat, start with 50g of each and use more if you run out. (or do what I do, and just dump some in a bowl. LOL)
-100ml single cream or milk (if you run out, use more)
-1 egg
-1 tsp paprika
-1 tsp oregano
– a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
Pour cream or milk into a bowl and whisk together with the egg. Combine the ground almonds, Parmesan, seasonings, salt and pepper in another bowl.
Coat each piece of chicken by first placing it into the bowl with the egg/cream mixture and then into the “breading” mixture.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken (breasts will take longer, nuggets might only take 15 minutes). Topping should be golden in colour and if you poke a toothpick into the chicken the juices should run clear.

Serve with your choice of dip and a side salad. To serve this as Chicken Parmesan, you don’t need to pre-cook the chicken, just add it to a dish with some sauce and top with a little grated cheese, then bake!

Tim has decided these are better than the frozen ones from the grocery store. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could try frying them in a few centimetres of oil or in a deep fryer instead of baking them. I’m too chicken (hah!) to attempt to fry things in oil on the hob!

These are diabetic friendly as they do not contain any breadcrumbs or flour and are also suitable for a low-carb diet. Other recipes suggest using coconut flour, carbquik, ground flaxseed, and other non-flour options. Before using low-fat Parmesan cheese, read the label to make sure they are not full of sugar, as is the case with many low-fat cheeses.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Diabetes Three Months On

I’ve now had diabetes for three months. Or at least, I was diagnosed three and a half months ago. I probably had diabetes for a little longer and it was going unmonitored. I’ve learned a lot since my diagnosis, and I still have tons to learn. I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned in the past 90 days. When I had my check-up with my diabetic nurse at the three month mark, she was proud of me for losing a stone of weight (14lbs), dropping my Hb1ac to “safe” levels, and for not having high cholesterol. I also at this point, have no need to go on medication, which is something I am VERY pleased with avoiding. At the end of the appointment, Karen told me “keep up the good work, I’ll see you in December”!!

By no means is this post meant as a definitive guide to diabetes, it’s just my personal observations and what’s worked for me. You can feel free to add comments with what works for you, but I would appreciate it if you don’t post negative comments. Like I said, what is working for me might not work for everyone. I had to wade though an awful lot of “you should do this/you shouldn’t do that” before I decided what was right for me. You’ll probably have to do the same.

+There are loads of different symptoms for Diabetes, but they also can be symptoms for other illnesses and you might not have any symptoms at all. I know, that’s not very comforting. The worst thing you can do is go through the list of symptoms to try to convince yourself you do or don’t have Diabetes. In the end, the only thing that can prove you do or don’t have it is a blood test.

+ Not only are there Type 1 and Type 2, but there also are people who are pre-diabetes, and women who only have gestational diabetes. I also just found out it’s possible to be both Type 1 and 2 at the same time.

+ All Type 2 diabetics are not alike. Some might take medications to help control their diabetes (pills), others might have insulin shots, and some like me don’t take any meds and are just on diet control.

+ To further complicate things, the same foods don’t trigger everyone, nor does the same diet/eating plan work for everyone. a lot of diabetics use a simplified Atkins diet, a South Beach diet, or a Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) diet. What’s been working for me is reducing my carb intake, and changing what kind of carbs I eat.

+ Refined sugar is bad any way you slice it, but we CAN allow ourselves the occasional treat at birthdays, weddings, Christmas, etc. As long as you’re not going to a birthday party every week, that is!!

+Related to the above – I’ve learned to carefully think about “treats” before I have them. For example: Do I really want to eat that piece of grocery store cake or would I rather eat a homemade slice of sponge? Would I rather have Walls ice cream, or hold out for the local dairy?

+”White” foods shuold be avoided — white bread, white flour, white rice, potatoes, etc. The only white food I can think of that is okay would be egg whites…. and salt. Yeah. White = bad. LOL

+ “brown” bread, rice, and pasta really isn’t that much better for you, but you can get away with eating them. I apply the same rule to flour-based products that I do to treats above. I consider if I really want to “waste” my carbs before I eat. I wind up eating a lot of Ryvita instead of bread because I have decided not to spend my carbs on generic bread items.

+ Fruit = sugar. Not that I didn’t know this before, but the sugar in fruit isn’t something I’ve ever thought about before. Even the fruit that is supposed to be “good” for you can mess with your blood sugar levels. HOWEVER, some fruits contain “good sugars” or contain fiber, which means it’s slow release. Apples can be had in moderation, as they are full of fiber. It’s still better to eat a piece of fruit instead of a piece of chocolate.

+ Some vegetables contain sugar and are just as bad for you as a piece of fruit. Corn is bad. Potatoes are bad. Peas are ehhhh.

+ Reducing carbs is good. Like, amazingly good. And it’s been pretty easy for me, IMHO. For me, personally, I’ve cut out ALL rice. I’ve limited my bread intake, and now ONLY ever have brown bread/grainery bread/seeded loaves. I’ve limited my pasta intake by LOADS – down to once a fornight instead of several times a week and only use whole grain or spinach pasta. I didn’t eat potatoes for the first three months, then I was told an occasional potato was fine — as long as it’s no bigger than the space between your fingers if you take your thumbs and pointer fingers and make them into a circle with your fingers and thumbs overlapping at the nail. I also was told it’s okay to have three small egg-sized boiled new potatoes. Again, it’s all ON OCCASION, and depends on what else you’ve eaten in the day or with the meal.

+We’ve also cut out a lot of fast food. I think we were probably at the chippy, chinese, or pizza at least once a week before. Now, we go very infrequently, and usually only if we have other people over. At the chippy, I pick chicken nuggets or fish (and then don’t eat the breading) and Tim will get a large chips so I only eat a few chips instead of the lot. Chinese is pretty much ALL bad, but ours do omelettes, so I order one of those…I’ve found the Chinese/Oriental buffets are better options for me because there is such a large variety to pick from. We’ve only had pizza I think three times in the past three months…and again, that’s something I used to eat and make a lot!

+Don’t believe everything you read, because there will be conflicting information. Don’t believe everything your nurse tells you, either (particularly concerning the NHS diet guidelines if you want to go low carb). Go with what works for you. If you have a daily meter, use it and as they say on DAUK “eat to your meter” — that is, if something spikes you, either eliminate it or eat it less often, and if something doesn’t spike you, add it more often to your diet. I don’t have a meter as Karen told me I did not need one. I debate on and off about getting one, but it’s just one more thing for me to forget to do every day and if I can put off having to do it for a little bit longer, I will.

+Losing weight makes an immense improvement. Even just 5-10% of your overall body weight. My recent weight loss was more than 5%, but less than 10% of my original body weight. My goal is to lose at LEAST up to the 10% mark by August. The BMI chart claims I should actually lose about 50% of my original weight. However, I’m not going to stress myself out over it. If I drop 30-40%, I’ll be pretty darned happy.

+BMI charts aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Don’t ignore the BMI charts, but at the same time, don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s a good guideline, but if you can’t meet your EXACT target for your height, don’t stress about it….

+Stress is bad for diabetes. Which is kind of ironic, because if you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, your stress level is probably sky high! But do try to eliminate the causes of stress in your life, or invest in learning some relaxation techniques.

+Let’s get back to sugar. You don’t have to avoid ALL sugar, just consume less of it. When you look at the nutritional information for items, look at the per 100ml or 100g and check the sugar content. Less than 10g of sugar per 100g is okay, but under 5g per 100g is even better. I also was told if an item has a higher sugar rating, but most of the sugar comes from fruit, it’s okay to have. Fruit juice is okay, provided you don’t have a lot of it (100ml) and you drink juice made from fruit not concentrate (the innocent juices are great!).

+should you count carbs? That’s up to you. So far, I haven’t sat down and done an exact count on how many carbs I have per day, but I do know that I am having less carbs than before simply because I have been eliminating items I formerly ate daily. But I still look at the number of carbs in what I eat, and just like with bread and cake, I decide if it’s worth spending my carbs on. I just got myself a Collin’s Little Gem carb count book (used on Amazon UK for 1p!) so I can look up food while we’re on holiday. The carb book doesn’t list sugar, however, so you’ll have to use your judgement there.

+You CAN still have alcohol, just less of it. A half pint instead of a pint, a single rum and diet coke, etc. I’ve chosen to eliminate alcohol from my diet, though I probably will have a few diet shandys (from a tin or made by me with diet lemonade) while we’re on holiday.

+You also don’t have to give up chocolate! I was told that two fingers of a Kit Kat bar are okay, eating 2 Cadbury’s Heroes/Celebrations/Roses/Quality Street are okay, etc. But like anything else, I consider what I’m having first. I’d rather get to eat a small square of dark Lindt or Ritter Sport over something more generic.

+Foods labelled as “Diabetic” are not the end all and be all. Did you know that Frank’s Diabetic ice cream actually has MORE sugar in it than regular Wall’s ice cream? If you read labels, you can tell which items are better for you. In many cases, the “full fat” versions of items actually contain less sugar than those labelled as “diet”, “low fat”, or “fat free”.

+Just because something says it’s safe for diabetics or is sugar free doesn’t mean you can gorge yourself on it. Some of the artificial sweeteners can cause a laxative effect, something you don’t want!

I think that’s everything I’ve learned from various sources in the past few months. If I think of any more, I’ll add them! I hope this post can help other people.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Recipe: Sugar Free Fairy Cakes (Diabetic safe!)

WOWEE am I ever excited. We’re having a garden party steam-up on Sunday and we are serving food. Lunch of course, includes a few sweet treats and with my new diagnosis, I knew I’d be out of the running for eating cakes….and there’s nothing worse than making something you aren’t allowed to eat. So, I decided I was going to figure out a cake recipe I COULD eat, and then decided since I needed it to be taste-tested (by my husband and mom who’s visiting from the US and by my friend H who also has diabetes), I would do fairy cakes (cupcakes). This recipe is in US measurements. I wouldn’t try converting it down to grams due to Splenda being lighter than regular sugar weight-wise, but you can use a regular mug for measuring as long as you use the same one for everything. This recipe uses the low-carb baking mix, Carbquik, which can be purchased online from several retailers in the US and UK (I buy mine from AvidLite). You can use regular flour, but there will be more carbs (and sugar if you use white flour) in it. Carbquik has 2g of carbs per serving (one serving is 1/3 cup, which is approximately what is in one fairycake).

You Will Need:

2 Cups Carbquik
2 tsp Baking powder
1 1/3 Cup Splenda (regular Splenda, not the baking blend sold in the US)
1/2 Cup butter (or margarine/Stork/suitable substitute for baking)
1 Cup Milk (skim or semi-skim is best)
2 tsp Vanilla
2 medium-sized eggs

-Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
-Sift Carbquik, baking powder, and Splenda together.
-Add butter and beat until fluffy.
-Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition.
-Slowly pour in the milk while mixing and add vanilla.
-Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
-Should make 18 regular-sized cupcakes.

Cool on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

1/2 Cup Butter
3 Cups Powdered Splenda (recipe to follow)
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1/3 Cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla

-Sift together powdered Splenda and cocoa and set aside.
-Beat butter until fluffy.
-Add milk.
-Slowly add Splenda/Cocoa mixture and beat well. Add vanilla.

Your icing should be nice and creamy. If it’s too runny, add more powdered Splenda or cocoa. If it’s too thick, add more milk a teaspoonful at a time.

To make Splenda Powdered Sugar:

Combine 3/4 Cup Splenda and 2TBS corn flour (cornstarch) in a blender and mix until it is a fine powder. You can use this in any recipe that calls for powdered sugar/X-10/confectioners/icing sugar.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Sharing a Secret – The Resuts of my Blood Tests

There’s been something weighing on my mind for the past several weeks and at fist I didn’t want to tell anyone — not even my family — but then Tim convinced me that I should tell my mom and his parents and then I branched out and told a few local friends who I thought could help me, I told one of my cousins, and I told a close friend who knows what it’s like to deal with this. I haven’t told any of my other close/best friends, for which I apologize. I should have come and told some of you sooner than now, but I just didn’t know how to word things and I didn’t want pity, and even with just the small group who know I’m already being given loads of (often conflicting!) advice.

When I went to the GP a few weeks back for the results of a blood test (done for unrelated reasons), my glucose level came back high. Dr Howard wanted me to do another Glucose tolerance test (the last one had been done in August 2010), so I had that the following Monday, and my results appointment with Dr Howard the following Friday.

My glucose level was 11.4. Under UK guidelines, I have diabetes (Type 2) (the cut off is above 11.1).

I had to wait over a week before I could see the diabetic nurse, and it was an AWFUL week. I didn’t know what to do and I spent the week cutting out as much junk from my diet as possible, and switching a lot of my habits around. I eliminated all white flour from my kitchen (my MIL got a huge bag of things), most of the white sugar (I left a little for guests who need sugar in their tea!), and anything else I knew was now on my “nono” list. I researched and picked up a few diabetic cookbooks and talked to my friends. A plan started to form.

On Monday, I saw the diabetic nurse. She confirmed that I was “barely” diabetic, with my Hb1ac level at just below 50 (which I understand is about 6.7%). If it was above 50, I would need medication, but as it’s just under, I’ve been advised to work on controlling my diet for the next two months when I’ll go back in again for another review. While it’s not possible to reverse diabetes or never have it again, it IS possible to eliminate actively having it provided I change my diet and stick to it.

I have decided to go low-carb and have eliminated bread from my diet. I now have lots of wholewheat wraps for my sandwiches and no longer have toast in the morning. I do my best to have breakfast every day – Weetabix, yoghurt with fruit, or an Atkins bar.

Baking is going to be the toughest thing to handle, but I’ve found low-carb flour (Carbalose and Carbquik) and I’ve also replaced my white self-rising flour with whole wheat self-rising flour.

I’ve also had to eliminate potatoes from my diet, which has been really rough!

So that’s where I’m at right now. My primary GP would like me to lose 2 stone (28lbs) in the next 6 months, but then he mentioned August to me, so who knows? I have managed to lose about 5 pounds so far in the two weeks since being diagnosed, so at least I’m on a good start.

Advice, products to get, and recipes are more than welcome, but if I start getting conflicting advice, whatever the GP and nurse say will always win.

The above will be cross-posted to my blog, facebook, and LJ. Anything appearing below this paragraph is specific to that page.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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