Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Very low carb, egg fast friendly sugar free meringues

Hello! I'm back again with another egg fast recipe that I just know you'll love. This one is extremely similar to my last recipe for egg chips, but this time it's a sweet one. As soon as I made the egg chips it occurred to me that they bore more than a passing resemblance to meringues, both in shape and appearance but also in texture, so I figured that if I tinkered with them only ever so slightly, they would basically be a very good substitute for meringues!

So here you have them. In order to maintain your egg to fat ration make sure you eat the egg yolks that you don't use in this recipe, at another point during the day. I would suggest adding them to scrambled egg if you're making it, or perhaps using them to make mayonnaise.

You will need:
  • Three eggs 
  • A teaspoon of water
  • 1/2 tablespoon of powdered sweetener, I used Candrel, you can increase/ decrease this for taste

To make them:
  • Separate the eggs so you have just the white, as I said above, perhaps use the yolks after to make mayonnaise with. 
  • Add the water and sweetener and whisk together well until the mixture is stiff and will hold its shape on a spoon. 
  • Line a baking tray with foil and spray with some non stick spray, I don't always spray it but if you don't they'll need a little bit of additional coaxing to come off the tray. 
  • Using a teaspoon place small teaspoon sized dollops of the mixture onto the tray, I actually tried piping them, but it's not worth the effort as they don;t hold their shape in the oven. 
  • Place in the oven on a medium heat and check after five minutes, then keep checking every 2-3 minutes.
  • Once they have risen, hardened, and turned golden, remove and allow to cool for a few minutes
  • Enjoy! Three eggs will yield about 20 little meringues!
Good luck if you are egg fasting!


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Low carb mojitos

I have always had a fondness for mojitos, they're pretty much my go to cocktail of choice when I'm out (and not on plan) as they're so refreshing and I love the combination of mint and lime together. I do, however hate the ready made mojito mixes you buy which are not only full of carbs, but leave a horrible sugary coating on your teeth and whose taste does definitely not warrant the carb splurge.

Homemade Mojitos are however, a different kettle of fish, readily available ingredients, fresh and most importantly, reasonably hard to get wrong, unless you're my friend Rachel who somehow managed to make a clear version that tasted only of soda water with a strong hit of rum at the bottom- though more of that another time.

For two Mojitos, you will need:
  • One big lime, two if the limes are pretty small
  • I big handful of mint plus more to garnish
  • 3 teaspoons of sweetener, again you can still use sugar as the rest of the ingredients are pretty low carb, if you do you'll need about two tablespoons sugar, though it all depends how sweet/sour you like them as it's pretty personal. 
  • 100ml White rum (ie two double measures per glass)
  • Soda water
  • Crushed ice, though normal will do, just crush it by popping it inside a clean teatowel and beating it with a rolling pin
  • Two long Mojito Glasses or any wide long glasses. 

Then to make them:
  • Roll your lime between your hands or against the worksurface. This loosens everything up and is almost always a good idea when using lemons and limes.
  • Cut your lime into small wedges (about 7) and divide equally between your glasses, reserving one small wedge
  • Pop about 10 mint leaves into each glass
  • Add your sweetener or sugar
  • Use a muddler or a wooden spoon or rolling pin to muddle the ingredients together. Do this by bashing them, reasonably gently about 10 times. any more any you'll release the bitterness from the white part of the lime (I once learnt on a hen do cocktail class). 
  • Use your last lime wedge to smear around the inside of your glasses, and follow this by smearing a couple of mint leaves around the glass. 
  • Add the rum to the mixture 
  • Top your glasses to just more than halfway full with the ice 
  • Top up with soda water
  • Stir gently with a long cocktail spoon
  • Garnish with a sprig or two of mint
  • Enjoy and relax in the knowledge that there's less than 2g carbs in a glass!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Candles from the January sales

I thought I'd deviate from the usual food post to let you know about some of my sale purchases from the last month. This is a little bit for my reference as well, as I quite like looking through my blog and remembering when I ate certain things or when certain things happened. That's why I popped up the posts about Christmas and New Year; I thought they'd be nice for me to look at in the future. I also thought the post would be a good idea to help me to remember how much exactly I'd paid for things so I can gauge in the future if things are a good buy or not.

I have a pretty full on love affair with candles, have done for quite some time. I like to light them almost every night and think they completely change the atmosphere of a room. I change them up quite a bit and like to have a mixture of shapes, brand and scents. There are some really expensive brands that I like, and the brands in this post are mostly expensive ones as I can get the cheaper ones all the time anyway.

So, without further ado, here's what I got:

The White Company White Christmas Candle. This was such a good reduction- 50% off so cost £30 instead of £60. I actually got a few as I think they'll be great Christmas presents next year for people. It comes in a large glass jar and wrapped in cellofane and a ribbon and looks lovely in a cluster with a few different sized candles or alone as a statement piece. I haven't burnt mine yet as it's a Christmas scent so I'm saving it for next year as it'll take a long time to burn (hopefully).

The White Company Mustique Candle. Slightly less of a reduction for this one- it was reduced to £14 from £21. I love this scent and have done for a while. It's a really light, fresh scent. Again this comes wrapped in plastic and a ribbon, making it a lovely gift. This candle, and the previous one, are still in stock at the time of writing so go now!

Diptyque candles NEVER come on sale. I spotted them on Christmas Eve on Space NK, and quickly snapped up two. One has since been snapped up by my sister so I now only have one. They're gift sets with two mini candles in, one in Baies and the other in Tuberuse. I love both these scents and they're such treats as they're normally £20 each and this set was £21 for both. They're both floral, heady scents and linger for ages after they've been burnt.

Space NK Smoky Rose. This one was a bit of a fail, they were really reduced- from £15 to £5, and as a consequence I bought two. I was a little bit disappointed them, when they arrived as they're really small- 70g. This means at full price they're just £5 cheaper than a Diptyque or Jo Malone candle. If I had paid proper attention to them when ordering, then to be honest I probably wouldn't have ordered, though for £5 they're pretty good value. The smell is lovely though, a very deep, woody, rose scent.

I had actually bought these star tealights before Christmas in Aldi and they were £1.99 a pack which I thought was a pretty good price, we had them on our table on Christmas day and they looked so lovely when they were lit. I was so so happy then, when I saw these reduced to 69p in Aldi last week. They're deceptively big and really scented- the pale ones are vanilla, and the others are cinnamon.

Finally, not quite a candle but pretty close, is this Woodwick Reed diffuser from T K Maxx. This was in the clearance section and was reduced to £4 from £7.99 (T K Maxx price), though it apparently originally should have cost £16.99. I love Woodwick candles and their reed diffusers are so heavily scented. I've put it in the downstairs toilet as I like putting reed diffusers in small spaces so you can get the most of the smell. I love it, every time I walk past the room I get a hit of the smell and fall in love a little bit more.

So, that's it, a pretty good haul, and even though I'm getting slightly worried by how much I've spent, I think the more positive way to look at it is how much I saved! Hope you've managed to snag yourself some bargains and haven't been hit too hard by January blues! If you're interested, and quick enough, the two White Company ones and the Aldi candles are still in stock, and T K Maxx always have great clearance items!


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Very low carb, eggfast friendly egg chips

Sometimes you make something that is such a gamechanger that the urge to write about it is there with you constantly until you get chance to sit down and put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as is actually the case.

This recipe is one of those. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may well know that I was eggfasting before Christmas, it went really well, as it usually does, and I lost 6lbs in three days, and though I did go on to put 4.5lbs on over Christmas, I was actually pretty happy with that as I had been eating so restrictively beforehand and then during Christmas I ate pretty much anything and everything I wanted to. The eggfast is of course a pretty extreme and restrictive diet and there is so much demand for any recipe that involves using eggs in a slightly different way to alleviate the inevitable boredom that comes with eating so many of them for days.

Anyway, this is a little recipe that I tried then and I have been so desperate to share it, more so given the fact that my other eggfast posts, particularly this egg cloud and this egg and cheese bake post have had so much traffic over the last few days, clearly lots of you are eggfasting at the moment! It is such a great snack and great when you're feeling pretty sick of eggs and want something to pick at or snack on rather than something you have to eat with a knife and fork.

I can't pretend that this recipe is all my own doing, I did think of it when making an egg white omelette in the oven, then when I noticed how crispy it went it got me thinking about making lots of smaller ones instead that you could eat almost like crisps. I then went to Pinterest to see if such a thing existed and sure enough it did, here! I simplified it a bit though as I am pretty lazy, and did away with using a syringe to measure out each portion of egg white. I also abandoned turning them half way, and what was left was actually a super simple recipe that can be whipped up really quickly!

You will have to excuse the fact that these do not particularly resemble crisps/ chips, I took the photos the first time I made them, and I am well aware that they look more like mini Yorkshire puddings, but I then went on to make them several more times and by then I'd cracked the secret to making them look more crisp/chip like, the secret isn't complicated, basically use less mixture each time, and try and keep it all as flat as possible.

Without further ado then, here's how you do it.

You will need:

  • Two eggs 
  • A teaspoon of water
  • Some mixed herbs, or whatever your favourite seasoning is, some eggfast purists will not use any seasoning but I always have and it hasn't affected me, if it does affect you though, just leave it out. 
  • 2 tablespoons of very finely grated cheese. 
To make them:
  • Separate the eggs so you have just the white, you can perhaps use the yolks after to make mayonnaise with. 
  • Add the water and cheese and whisk together well until the mixture is stiff and will hold its shape on a spoon. 
  • Line a baking tray with foil and spray with some non stick spray, I don't always spray it but if you don't they'll need a little bit of additional coaxing to come off the tray. 
  • Using a teaspoon place small teaspoon sized dollops of the mixture onto the tray then flatten out with the back of the spoon, don't worry too much about this though, as the mixture is not that easy to work with. 
  • Place in the oven on a medium heat and check after five minutes, the original recipe suggests removing and turning, I don't bother with this though and it has never caused me any problems. 
  • Once they have risen and turned golden, remove and allow to cool for a few minutes
  • Enjoy! Two eggs will yield about 12 crisps/chips.
These are best eating as soon after cooking as possible but if you have some left just pop them in the fridge and then place back in the oven for a few minutes when you want to eat them, they'll crisp up again just like magic!

I hope you love this, I really do, my next venture is to try making them without the cheese but then putting them in an oven tray once finished for a few minutes and topping them with cheese and eating them nacho style!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

A low carb New Years Eve

I was planning to put this post up before New Year which would have been a far better idea as I was hoping to give people ideas of low(ish) carb food and drink to have at a party. However, as I was too busy being Christmassy I didn't manage in time. On the plus side, I wouldn't have had the photos so perhaps this might inspire you for next new year, or for any party actually as these ideas aren't New Year specific.

Anyway, I digress. We had a reasonably low key New Year, it was just the two of us, but I still wanted to make a semi-effort to make everywhere look pretty and partyish. I lit a lot of candles and turned on every set of fairy lights I could find, which was surprisingly many actually as I had a lot and then bought loads more when they started reducing them just before Christmas.

I chilled a magnum of Prosecco, I got this one from Asda,and it was so good. very dry, and just the perfect size bottle for two (Prosecco lovers)...

I decked the table out in all white, and covered it with some fake snow and other little sparkly Christmassy bits I found. I lit my favourite eucalyptus candle and burnt some rosemary and lavender oil in my oil burner, those smells together are my current favourites!

I talked about Fair vodka in my Green goddess cocktail post, and it's a new favourite, we miraculously had some left over. I also chilled some more light elderflower presse, some BLOOM gin, and some light tonic water (not pictured) so I had plenty of low carb options to be going on with!

I love these little cream cheese bites, they come out every year just for Christmas, and they do two different packs, these ones are topped with pesto but they also do an olive pack. They're called Appeteasers and they're super low carb so make the perfect nibble.

These cucumber and cream cheese little rolls are so niceand I often pop some in my lunchbox. They're so easy to make, just cut a cucumber in half lengthways, peel strips from it using a vegetable peeler. You then place a small blob of cream cheese (about half a teaspoon) at one end, and roll it up around it then place them with the end down so they stay in place. You can of course be a bit more experimental with what you put in the middle and I sometimes put a little sundried tomato or mozzarella balls in there. They also keep for a day or two so make a few while you're at it to snack on the day after.

These cucumber, feta and pomegranate bites are so so delicious, I got the recipe from Lorraine Pascale and you can find it here. They're actually quicker and far less fiddly than it first seems and they're a bit of a go to now whenever we have a party. I didn't use the dill this time and didn't actually miss it.

A little bowl of sundried tomatoes because sundried tomatoes are always a good idea. I also popped a little plate of raspberries there, the main reason behind this was that I had got them on offer earlier in the day, but the secondary reason was that I thought they'd be nice to pop in the bubbly (which they were!)

There was some additional food which I didn't photograph, but that wasn't for me and it wasn't low carb and it wasn't ready when I took these pics. You aren't missing much there though...

We started things off with a cheeky little vodka, elderflower and tonic, I served mine in a champagne saucer just because it was New Years and I figured I could use whichever glass I wanted to!

 Before pouring a couple of cheeky glasses of fizz to see in the New Year and sing Auld Lang Syne with. (Sorry about the spill, but it was 23.55 and I wasn't that desperate to get a good photo!)

We rounded things off with some little digestifs in front of the tree, served in these delightful LSA glasses. We had two each, again because it was New Years and you're allowed to indulge at times like that, and also because I knew I was starting a detox the following day and wanted one last bit of decadence! Mine were sugar free chocolate vodka and sugar free limoncello, both recipes I'll post about soon, as they're too good not to share!

And that was it, bleary eyed we stumbled upstairs and when we woke up it was very officially 2016. It's been a bit of a difficult year this year so really praying for a better one this time. I hope you all had wonderful nights whatever you got up to. Thank you so so much for all your support in 2015, and Happy New Year!

*Contains PR samples
© The Vegetarian Atkins Diary

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