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Wholemeal Apple Loaf - Sugar Free and Dairy Free

Thursday 31 July 2014
We have two apple trees in our back garden, both overloaded with ripe apples.  Of course I encourage friends and neighbours to pick as many as they like, I will not have good fresh produce going to waste.  We do our bit to use them up too with various apple concoctions and recipes.  Given my current dietary restrictions, sugar laden cakes, pies and crumbles are out so something more wholesome but still delicious was in order.

The sweetness in this loaf comes solely from the grated apple so use a sweeter variety if you can.  The loaf is a delicious wholegrain bread which is fab eaten whilst still warm from the oven or left to cool and devoured with a cuppa or as a lunchbox treat.  I had some warm topped for an afternoon tea snack, it was delicious and moist.  

You could add sultanas, dried apricots or other dried fruit to the loaf if you want but of course that would add natural sugars.  I'm going to add some foraged blackberries to the next loaf.

Wholemeal Apple Loaf - Sugar Free and Dairy Free

500g grated apple, we used about 10
300g plain wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking power
3 free range eggs
60 ml oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or in my case a large dollop

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.  Line a 2lb/800g loaf tin with baking paper or a liner.

Measure all the ingredients into a bowl.  Stir gently until completely combined, don't be tempted to beat the mixture or over mix it.  

Spoon the mixture into your prepared loaf tin.  Top with some sliced apple if you wish.  Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.  Check the loaf after 45 minutes cooking time, you may need to cover the top with foil if it is browning too much.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Here are a few other delicious no so naughty bakes:

Carrot and date loaf with cinnamon walnut frosting (gluten-free, vegan recipe) from Emily

Low sugar carrot cake muffins from Sarah

Sugar-free Cake from Peter

Super Quick Chicken Dippers

Wednesday 30 July 2014
I've been such a bad blogger lately, posts have been few and far between.  It turns out that Gestational Diabetes and endless Morning Sickness are not a good combo.  Added to that, all 3 girls are on Summer School Holidays and the weather has been very hot indeed.  Blogging has taken a back seat to getting through the day most days so apologies for the lack of recipe inspiration of late.

I am gradually getting back into recipe development as and when I have the energy and feel well enough to do so.  Thank you so much for your patience.

As part of my low GI diet to help manage Gestational Diabetes I have been modifying recipes and creating meals that suit my dietary needs but are also family friendly.

These were a real hit for a tasty and easy dinner after a day out and about in the school holidays.  It takes no time at all to coat the chicken so will also be a handy recipe for when school starts back and quick dinners are required.

Super Quick Chicken Dippers

2 Tblsp plain wholemeal or white flour, I used wholemeal
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander or flat leaf parsley
500g chicken mini fillets or chicken breasts sliced thinly
a little oil

Mix together the fresh herbs and flour on a plate then coat the chicken strips on all sides with the herbed flour mixture.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat, add the chicken and cook for a few minutes each side until cooked through.

I served ours with a green salad, crudites and a garlic and herb yoghurt dip.

For other tasty chicken dipper recipes check out these:

Chicken Katsu Curry Rice from Kavey

Crispy Lemon Chicken Goujons from Katie

Chicken, Apple and Sage Nuggets from Elizabeth

Our Family Meal Plan this week - 21/07/14

Monday 21 July 2014
Last week was a long and challenging one. Scorching hot weather combined with medication that didn't agree with me at all meant I felt dreadful most of the week.  Am feeling a little better now, thankfully and counting down the last few shifts at work.  Blogging has definitely taken a back seat, along with all other 'work' type activities this week.

I can't wait for all 3 girls to be on school holidays, 14yo finished on Friday but younger two finish this Wednesday.  It's going to be a challenge getting them to school for the last 3 days with their older sister being able to have fun at home whilst they are still in school.

I am feeling rather huge and tired so dinners are definitely low faff and need to be suitable for the diet I am on because of gestational diabetes.  So far I am managing to keep it fairly well under control with diet and only have to have insulin once before bedtime each night.

Breakfasts will be cereal and milk or toast and spread with a piece of fruit for afters.  We will have pancakes and crumpets on the weekend.  

Packed lunches will be sandwiches with crudties, a piece of fruit and a small baked treat.  I'll be having salads.  Weekend lunches will be Crustless Quiche and lunch with friends on Sunday.


Roast Chicken with Salads (homemade coleslaw, potato salad, crudites and tomatoes)

Satay Chicken Noodle and Lettuce Cups

Mini Chicken Lattice Pies with salads

Mini Frittatas with Sweet Potato Wedges and Salads

Homemade Wholemeal and Lentil Pizzas

Honey Soy Salmon with Stir Fry Vegetables and Steamed Greens

Homemade Burgers on granary rolls with salads

The Shopping List should be back next week, once again I ran out of time before having to dash off to work.  Don't forget to check out other Meal Plans over on At Home With Mrs M.

Our Family Meal Plan for week of 14/07/2014

Sunday 13 July 2014
It's another week of meetings and clinic appointments this week.  Thankfully the meetings are mostly in the evening and when I have clinic appointments my husband will be working from home so he can collect the kids from school.

I have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes which means that I need to limit carbs, eat wholegrain carbs, limit sugar as much as possible and eat at regular intervals.  I also have to test my blood sugar several times a day and have at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.  Being forced to follow a strict diet and eat regularly is a good thing as I tend to get busy doing things and not eat regularly enough, I don't mind wholegrains as we eat a lot of those anyway, however the lack of the occasional hot chocolate and baked treat is slightly harder to cope with.  My family probably won't notice much change in the way we eat as a family, I'll adjust my meals and portions as I need to.

There's no shopping list this week as I ran out of time to compile it before I dashed off to work.

Breakfasts will be toast with spread, using homemade granary bread, or cereal and milk with a piece of fruit for afters.  I will probably make Crumpets one day on the weekend.

Packed Lunches will be either ham or cheese and chutney salad sandwiches on granary bread with crudites, yoghurt and a small baked treat.  My lunches will be salad based with some protein.


Spicy Mixed Bean and Vegetable Lettuce Cups (I'm using lettuce cups instead of tortillas.)

Salmon with Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad and salad greens

Warm Mixed Vegetable, Chickpea and Halloumi Salad

Chicken Kebabs with brown rice, steamed greens and mixed vegetables

Beef Koftas with Salads

500g minced beef
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
pinch of salt
a few grinds of black pepper

250g couscous
500ml hot vegetable stock

shredded lettuce
2 carrots, sliced into batons
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced

Put the beef into a mixing bowl with the onion, cumin, garlic, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into 6 long sausage shapes around soaked wooden skewers. Place on a foil lined oven tray and grill for approximately 10 - 15 minutes until cooked through.

Put the couscous into a large mixing bowl and cover with the hot stock. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 minutes then stir the couscous with a fork to fluff up the grains. Serve the koftas with the couscous and salads.

Salmon Bake with salads

1/2 cup plain wholemeal flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 free range eggs, beaten
500ml milk
100g butter, melted
415g can pink salmon, drained
1 onion, finely chopped
70g grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the eggs, milk and butter. Then add the drained salmon, finely diced onion, grated cheese and chives. Mix everything together until just combined. Don’t over-mix it.

Grease a large ovenproof dish then pour the mixture in. Cook at 180ºC for about 45 minutes until the egg has set. I’ll be serving this with salads.

Don't forget to check out all the other Meal Plans in the linky over on 
At Home with Mrs M.

Homemade Wholemeal and Lentil Pizzas

Saturday 12 July 2014
My children were home from school as it was closed to due industrial action and wanted to make homemade pizzas for lunch.  In an effort to keep them fuller for longer and increase the fibre and protein content of the pizzas I kneaded a well drained tin of lentils into the dough after proving.  

My plan worked and there wasn't the usual request for an afternoon snack, and I was able to freeze a couple of pizza bases as we didn't need to use all the dough.  The trick is to roll the bases really thin so that they are crispy rather than stodgy and less pizza base and more vegetable topping is healthier as well.

Homemade Wholemeal and Lentil Pizzas

400g wholemeal bread flour
7g sachet instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tblsp oil
250ml lukewarm water, approximately

Measure all the ingredients into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until a dough forms, adding a little extra water if necessary.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove until doubled in size

Drain 400g tin of lentils and rinse well.  Set aside to drain very well, you want the lentils to be as dry as possible to avoid adding excess moisture to the dough.  

Once the dough has proved knock it back and knead through the lentils.  Divide the dough into portions for each pizza base.  We used 100g - 150g of dough per base which was enough for each person to make a decent sized pizza.

Preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan and line several oven trays with non-stick baking paper.

Roll out the pizza dough thinly on a well floured surface, transfer to a lined oven tray and then top with your choice of toppings.  Our toppings were: homemade 7 vegetable tomato sauce, courgette, pepper, sweetcorn, spring onions, ham and grated cheese.

Bake the pizzas for 15 - 20 minutes until cooked through and the cheese is bubbling.  Serve with a salad.

Warm Mixed Vegetable, Chickpea and Halloumi Salad

Friday 11 July 2014
I decided to make myself a warm salad for lunch today, packed with vegetables and with some lovely cheese. Having gestational diabetes has forced me to think more about what I eat and when I eat. No more just grabbing something quick or skipping meals because I'm too busy or too lazy. Having to look after myself more is a positive thing, both for me and bubs, and I am getting used to having more structured meal times during the day.

The salad was delicious! Use whatever you have on hand, it is versatile and quick to make. You could use lentils instead of chickpeas, add some grated carrot or tinned sweetcorn, add some chilli flakes for an extra kick or use shaved Parmesan instead of halloumi.

Warm Mixed Vegetable, Chickpea and Halloumi Salad

1 or 2 large handfuls of spinach
75g cooked chickpeas
1 courgette, finely sliced
1 pepper, finely diced
1 Tblsp oil
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
50g halloumi
sliced tomatoes
fresh mint and parsley to garnish

Put a frying pan over a moderate heat.  Wilt the spinach in the frying pan then set aside on a serving plate.  Add the chickpeas, courgettes and pepper to the pan with the lemon juice and oil.  Cook until the courgette and pepper soften slightly.  Remove from the pan and pour over the spinach on the serving plate.  Fry the halloumi on both sides until golden then sprinkle over the salad with sliced tomatoes.  Sprinkle over 1 Tblsp each of chopped fresh parsley and mint.  Serve immediately.

I am adding this salad to Speedy Suppers, created and hosted alternately by Sarah and Katie.  Katie is hosting this month.  The theme is Salads.

Speedy Suppers

I am also submitting this salad to Extra Veg, created by myself and Helen, it is a blog challenge to encourage us all to add extra vegetables to our meals.  Juggle Mum is hosting this month.

I'm also linking this recipe to Four Seasons Food, hosted alternately by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg.  Louisa is hosting this month. 

And finally, I've entered No Croutons Required, the blogging challenge created by Jac from Tinned Tomatoes and hosted by Lisa this month.

I have Gestational Diabetes

Thursday 10 July 2014
My new constant companion.
Becoming pregnant this time was a huge shock, but a blessing nonetheless.  I've had, and still have, bad morning (more like 24/7) sickness and low blood pressure.  This past week I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.  I had escaped the condition whilst pregnant with our 3 daughters but not this time.

I had a 2 hour long hospital clinic appointment, was given a Blood Glucose Monitor which I have to use 6 - 8 times a day, and put on a strict low sugar, low carb, low GI diet.  I need to return to clinic next week to see if the diet restrictions are working and my blood sugar is stable enough or whether medication will be needed.

Our diet is fairly good, or so I thought until I went through it in great detail with the dietician.  I cook lunches and main meals mostly from scratch so modifying those recipes should be fairly straight forward.  There is sugar hidden in almost all packaged foods of some description so all will be avoided and of course I shan't be able to indulge in cafe cakes, biscuits, cups of hot chocolate, etc.  However, all is not lost! There are loads of delicious foods I can eat and I shall be experimenting with baking, creating low sugar recipes and making low GI, low carb meals.  We eat mostly wholegrains anyway but I shall be making sure there's no white flour, white rice or other high GI carbs in our meals and baking and carefully watching portion sizes too.

I have chosen not to have artificial sweetners.  I am not a fan of chemical and artificial additives to anything, especially food.  Loads of people have dietary restrictions due to allergies, health reasons or simply by choice and now I have joined their ranks.  I allowed myself one day to get grumpy and moan about it, then I got over myself.  I'm going to get on with creating tasty recipes to fit in with the restrictions I have been given, game on!

Homemade Crumpets

Tuesday 8 July 2014
We had a leisurely brunch yesterday because all of us were at home.  The Tour de France was in Cambridge so work and school were closed for the day.  When I usually make crumpets it's a fairly free form affair, I just dollop the mixture into the pan and my crumpets are not perfectly round but still delicious.  I was sent some Crumpet Rings to try out by Viners and I must say the OCD in me likes the perfectly round crumpets I made.

Homemade crumpets taste so much more flavoursome than store bought ones.  My husband and daughters smothered them with butter and tried out honey and golden syrup but the favourite topping by far was my homemade blackcurrant jam.  Whether you have crumpet rings or not, try out the recipe, you'll be reluctant to go back to shop bought ones if you do.

Homemade Crumpets

250g strong bread flour, I used 100g brown bread flour and 150g strong white flour
7g sachet yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml water, lukewarm
275ml milk, lukewarm

Mix all the ingredients together until a smooth batter forms.  Leave to sit for an hour covered with a damp tea towel.  After an hour the mixture should be bubbling and have risen.

Put a frying pan over a moderate heat and add a little butter.  Grease the insides of the crumpet rings.  Put the crumpet rings in to the frying pan and dollop 2 - 3 tablespoonfuls of the mixture into each crumpet ring.  Each crumpet ring should be about half full.

Cook on a medium to low heat for 7 - 10 minutes until the surface has bubbled and dried out and the crumpet has shrunk back from the sides of the crumpet ring.

Carefully remove the crumpet rings from the pan, they will be very hot, I used tongs.  Flip the crumpets over for a minute to brown the tops.  Serve immediately or save for later, you can pop them in the toaster to heat them up.

Our Meal Plan For Week of 07/07/2014 - £56

Monday 7 July 2014
It's an unusual week in our household this week, my 14yo is away for the week on a Geography field trip and, due to the Tour de France and industrial action, my younger two daughters are not at school for two days.  I'll be in London all day one day, when hubby will be working from home, and have a couple of clinic appointments and evening meetings to fit in as well.

As usual I will be baking our bread and tortillas/flatbreads and use salad greens, chard and fresh herbs from our back garden and allotments.  I have included the cost of store bought items in the meal plan to make it easier to calculate costs.

Breakfasts will be toast and spread or cereal and milk with a piece of fruit for afters.  Weekend breakfasts will be pancakes one day and crumpets the other.

Packed lunches will be Calzone with crudites, a pot of yoghurt, a piece of fruit and small baked treat. Lunches on the days when we are home will be Homemade Pizzas and Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes.


Spicy Bean Burritos with salads - Meatfree Monday

Chickpea, Pepper and Chard/Spinach Frittata served with mixed vegetables - Tuesday

Spicy Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Couscous and Steamed Greens - Wednesday

Sticky Glazed Salmon with Stirfry Vegetables and Noodles - Thursday

Quesadillas with salads - Friday

Homemade Chicken Goujons with Sweet Potato Wedges and salads - Saturday

Spaghetti with Chickpeas, Chard/Spinach and 7 Veg Pasta Sauce - Sunday

Shopping List

35 items: £56.15

Packets and Cereals
1x   ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g)                                                    46p
1x   ASDA Wholefoods Cous Cous (500g)                                                  68p
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)                     65p
1x   ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                     99p
1x   Ankara Makaroni Vermicelli (500g)                                                      78p
1x   Cook Italian Wholewheat Spaghetti (500g)                                           £1.00

1x   ASDA Chosen by You Oriental Vegetables Stir Fry (500g)                    £1.00
1x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                                          75p
1x   ASDA Chosen by You Cook from Frozen Salmon Fillets (400g)            £3.00

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x   ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g)                                            £1.14
3x   ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g)                                                      £1.62

Dairy and Eggs
4x   ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                                 £4.00
3x   ASDA Chosen by You Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                           £3.00
1x   ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)                                         £2.00
1x   ASDA Chosen by You Mature Somerset Cheddar (300g)                      £1.69

Fruit and Vegetables
4     ASDA Red Cabbage by Weight (100g)                                                 27.2p
2x   ASDA Spring Greens (500g)                                                               £1.36
15   ASDA Bananas by Weight (170g)                                                        £1.73
4     ASDA White Cabbage by Weight (100g)                                              23.2p
3x   ASDA Whole Cucumber                                                                      £1.47
1x   ASDA British Iceberg Lettuce Loose                                                    49p
2x   ASDA Round Lettuce                                                                          £1.00
2x   ASDA Celery                                                                                      £1.60
1x   ASDA Garlic Loose                                                                             25p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g)                                                       £1.36
1x   ASDA Spring Onions                                                                           49p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Brown Onions (2Kg)                                                98p
2x   ASDA Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)                                                               £2.00
2x   ASDA Spinach (350g)                                                                         £3.00
2x   ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg)                                                                         £1.66
2x   ASDA Apples (1.2Kg)                                                                          £4.00
4x   ASDA Smartprice Pears (500g)                                                           £3.16

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x   ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g)                            £3.98
1     ASDA Butcher's Selection Free Range Chicken Legs by Weight (500g)          £2.44

2x   ASDA Chosen by You Large Tortilla Wraps (8)                                    £2.00

Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery websites, and are correct as of 7 July 2014.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

Our groceries cost £56.15 from Asda. As usual I compared the cost of my shopping, had I shopped elsewhere our groceries would've cost £62.32 from Sainsbury's and £63.10 from Tesco.

Don't forget to check out all the other Meal Plans in the linky over on 
At Home With Mrs M.

Banana and Dark Chocolate Chip Swirls

Sunday 6 July 2014

I'm frequently experimenting with recipes to use up over-ripe bananas and decided this time to make a sort of Chelsea Bun with a chocolate and banana filling.

I used the Chelsea Bun recipe from this post and make a filling using:

3 over ripe bananas
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate chunks

Mash together the banana, cinnamon and vanilla until a paste forms.  Spread the paste over the rolled out dough, sprinkle the chocolate chunks over the top.  Roll up the dough and slice then prove and bake as normal.

These delicious swirls are great with a cuppa for an afternoon tea treat!

I'm adding these Banana and Dark Chocolate Chip Swirls to No Waste Food Challenge this month as I used up over-ripe bananas.  Created by Elizabeth's Kitchen the challenge is being hosted by Anne's Kitchen this month.

I'm also adding this recipe to Credit Crunch Munch as the bananas were reduced for quick sale when I orignally purchased them.  Created by Helen and Camilla the challenge is being hosted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake this month.

Extra Veg - June Round-up

Tuesday 1 July 2014
I hosted Extra Veg in June which is a blogging challenge created by myself and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours as a way to encourage us all to incorporate more vegetables into our meals.

There were lots of fabulous entries, thanks to all who linked up and took part!

Miso-tamarind roasted potatoes wedges with locally sourced, garden salad items

Juggle Mum created a Pasta 'Fakeaway' using courgettes instead of pasta to make a scrumptious quick lunch. 

vegetable ribbon 3 cheese 'pasta' fakeaway

The Taste Space made some delicious Laotian Larb Tofu Lettuce Wraps, a very tasty and healthy vegan dinner.

Laotian Tofu Larb Lettuce Wraps

Green Gourmet Giraffe baked Apple and Pumpkin Pastries with Spiced Red Wine, a fab dessert for a dinner party or special treat. 

The co-creator of this challenge, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours, made Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Dukkah Crunch.  A flavourful and healthy lunch or light supper.

Camilla from Fab Food 4 All created a delicious Prawn Curry, perfect for a family supper.

Searching for Spice made a light, flavoursome and healthy Turkey Chilli perfect for summer.

Sarah from Maison Cupcake created a super healthy, very quick and delicious Kermit Soup which was a gorgeous vibrant colour.

Raw green soup with cavolo nero, coconut and butternut squash Vitamix recipe

Caroline made a tasty Posh Cheese on Toast for a substantial lunch treat.

Eat Your Veg bravely cooked an Easy Peasy Vegetable Stir Fry with a class of KS1 children.

The co-creator of this challenge, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours, made a Chocolate Hazelnut Green Smoothie.  A great way to start the day, or a healthy and tasty afternoon pick me up.

Choclette created Chocolate Bean Burgers with Hot Chilli Sauce, a fab summer dinner guaranteed to wake up your tastebuds.

Camilla made a Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper and Chorizo Soup.  A delicious vibrant soup packed with flavour.

Extra Veg in July is being hosted by Juggle Mum so head over and link up your sweet or savoury recipes that feature vegetables.
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