What you'll find here

This blog shares my life with you. Not the nappy changes or holidays or silly pictures of my cat part, but the diet and weightloss journey part. You will no longer find any specific diet on here, but rather the JANIE diet (as a very wise blogger suggested)
It's about what works for me and I really do hope you find lots of inspiration here and lots of super yummy food. If you still want the Dukan versions of stuff, please comment at the end of a given post and I'll be MORE than happy to give you my Dukan take on any of my recipes.

Monday, 2 June 2014

My friend, almond flour

Hi guys

To find time to write these days, is no small feat.  Every time I come on here, if I haven't been for a while, my favourite thing is to find that my weightloss ticker hasn't been updated in forever (duh).  This time, I've found that I've lost a whopping 3 kilo's in 5 months...

But, this is most definitely not to be snubbed at.  I've come to accept that my body will settle where it's happy and that I can only help it to get there, but not tell it by when it should get there.  This realization happened after I missed my January goal by about 18kg, and now I'm going to miss my July goal by 15kg. 
But, dear body, I'm okay with that now, and you can take your sweet time.

I'm also happy to report that I've thoroughly settled into the idea that discipline does not mean deprivation.  I've started to bake up a storm in the past few months and have produced some amazing grain-free, sugar free, very low carb baking.  It is truly astounding though, how little this kind of baking resembles the more traditional fair that I'm accustomed to, mostly in technique though.  I've literally had to take everything I know about baking and chuck it out the window. 
This said, clearly, there are some things that were just never meant for wheat flour, its low-carb alter-ego is just so awesome, that I can't believe the wheat alternative still even exists!

One such thing is a quiche crust.  You'll know that when making a perfect savory crust, it is key to keep things cold and not to overwork the dough, otherwise you are developing too much gluten and your crust becomes all hard and horrible instead of light and crumbly.  Enter:  ALMOND FLOUR.

There are few things on this earth as wondrous as this simple ingredient.  One has to bear in mind that it carries much higher moisture than wheat flour and is very high in fat, and therefor doesn't need any extra fat, but most of all - you can pretty much knead it for an entire afternoon and your end product will be light and crumbly and wonderful.

So, here's what I do
 2 cups of almond flour
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of mixed herbs (or what ever suits your filling)

Blitz this in the food processor and you'll end up with a firm ball of dough.  Press your dough evenly into what ever pan you choose to make your quiche in.

Bake it at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes until it's a beautiful golden colour.  The best part is there is no need to blind bake this puppy, it is utterly well behaved and will cook exactly where you left it on the edges of your quiche pan.
For the filling, I took a packet of streaky bacon, diced it and very slowly rendered it until every little piece of bacon was crispy and lovely and yummy.  I scooped out the bacon with a slotted spoon and slowly caramelised about 6 large sliced onions, until they started to look real jammy.

I then proceeded to add the final flourish to this ridiculously decadent quiche - grate 1/2 a cup of Gruyere over the base of the cooled down crust, sprinkle over the onions and bacon and pour over a little custard that you've make of 250ml of cream and one egg, beaten and seasoned.

Bake this at 160 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes, or until the centre is just jiggly.

Cool this beaut down to room temperature and enjoy! It's very rich and very filling, but is so satisfying.  You may want to serve it to non-believers with a nice salad, in case they feel completely unjustified pangs of guilt.

I hope you enjoy this and as always,

God bless
Janie B

Monday, 20 January 2014

Getting a right fit, against the grain

Hi guys

It's been nearly a year since I've set foot here, soon after my last post I went back to work after maternity leave.  Work has been busy to say the very least.
As far as weight loss goes, it has been a great year.  I've lost a whole lot  more and I'm slowly but surely reaching my target weight.
There has also been a lot of reading, reflecting, discussion and debating in 2013 - what do I want from my diet? Well, stating the obvious: I'd like to loose weight, secondly and by no means less importantly, I need to be able to have fun with it.  What is the point of eating steamed chicken and veg night after night?  Frankly, I'd rather chew my own arm off...funny, my husband feels the polar opposite.  He is of he opinion that diet food should be as bland as possible, he says I blur the lines between good and not good too much.  He of course has it completely wrong, it's all very black and white with my cooking, there are no grey areas and I stick to my plan 100%, he just hasn't come around to the idea of a way of life, as opposed to a "diet"

Slowly but very surely, I've been cutting grain out of our diet, and it's completely gone now.  Man, I had no idea how bad grains made me feel until I cut them out, not even just the super bad one, wheat.  My head is spinning with all the possibilities right now, there is so much available in terms of recipes for ANYTHING form a like-minded community on the Internet, who knew!
Don't get me wrong, I'm at no point going to start preaching grain free living to the masses, all I'm saying is, try it, do what works for YOU, what fits with your lifestyle and your household.

So, since I haven't treated you to any recipes in a long time, I thought I'd better produce a whopper this time around.  I just finished a plate of it alongside some roast chicken, and I can only say that if I ever revert to my previous devious ways, this might still end up replacing dauphinois potatoes forever...

Creamy Cabbage Gratin

Shred 1 head of cabbage and place it in a glass ovenproof dish, place knobs of  butter on top, cover in aluminium foil and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 1 hour, until the cabbage is tender.  Now dice one onion and cube 1 packet (250g) of streaky bacon and slowly fry in a pan until the bacon fat is rendered and the bacon and onion are nice and brown.  Mix in with the cabbage and add salt and pepper according to taste.  Pour a tub (250ml) of regular cream over, sprinkle some mature cheddar and bake till bubbly.

Obviously this is incredibly rich and I could barely manage about 3 tablespoons full, but it is 100% as delicious as it sounds.

I hope you have a wonderful week and God bless

lots of love,
Janie B

Saturday, 16 March 2013

When the moon hits the sky like big pizza pie...

Hi guys

I was so excited to write my next post about the most delicious aubergine I'd ever eaten...Then I had 10 minutes to kill while waiting for my trainer and was googling food (as always) and came across the most bizarre thing I have ever heard of - cauliflower pizza.

Now I for one stand firmly against food substitutes, especially one this bizarre.  I mean pizza is pizza, don't screw with the man.
But strangely enough, I found so many recipes, some of them from reputable sources and one of them from the diet and healthy living anti-Christ, Paula Deen.  Logically, it couldn't be that bad then.

So here's what you do:

You take one medium head of cauliflower and chuck it in the food processor until it's nice and fine.  Place the product in a glass bowl and cover with cling wrap and microwave on high for about 5 minutes until the grains are soft.
Wait for it to cool and add half a cup of finely grated mozzarella, 2 eggs and some salt and pepper.
Take this mush and place it on a baking sheet covered in foil sprayed with lots of non-stick spray, use your hands to shape it into whatever shape blows your hair back.  I made mine just less than a centimetre thick.  Bake this at 200 degrees Celsius for around 20 minutes until firmly set and the edges start to brown.

Okay, now comes the pizza part.

Spread on some tomato sauce (I just used plain passata from the jar), sprinkle on your grated mozzarella and place what ever toppings you want on top.  Since this was highly experimental, I just used some finely sliced smoked chicken.
Place the pizza (can't help but cringe a little when I call it that...) under your grill/broiler and let it sit for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and golden and bubbly.

I sliced mine with a pizza wheel and I was very surprised by how a slice stayed in one piece while being chomped like a regular pizza.

The verdict:  I liked it.   I think my husband is very sceptical about it, has difficulty wrapping his head around the idea, but the point is - it's NOT a pizza, but what ever the hell it is, I really really like it.

To make changes to your lifestyle requires a new way of thinking about food, especially if these changes are to be permanent, and as for making a pizza crust from cauliflower - I'm totally okay with that.

God bless

Janie B

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Meeting the cousins

Hi guys

This weekend I flew up north with the baby so he could meet his maternal aunt and uncle and the cousins.  I was rather nervous for a couple of reasons: 1) babies and planes don't mix 2) no dad for 5 days, so no one to give baby to for an hour to get some much needed nappage myself 3) major changes and babies also don't mix (his sleeping pattern took a serious knock) and 4) and this is the biggest one of them all: my sister-in-law is a PHENOMENAL cook, and I don't take throwing around complements like that lightly, as a product of my own culinary vanity.

I was absolutely terrified of this last part.  Bracing myself, I made the trip up north and was greeted at the airport by a svelter-than-usual looking sister-in-law, which of course prompted me to ask - what is going on?  The answer came as music to my ears, I could practically hear Julie Andrews bellowing "The hills are alive with the sound of music" out over the pick-up and go parking.  She had given up wheat and sugar.  I was safe.

We had a discussion about the new way we ate and it turns out she lost 5 kg in a month and a half by just eliminating wheat and sugar - she still had any other kind of carbohydrate, and still indulges in her drug of choice - the humble potato: mashed, boiled, but especially deep fried.  Her story just reminded me of exactly how toxic sugar and gluten are. 
I do also believe that each person has a carbohydrate threshold, if I ate things like potato chips, I'd almost certainly pile on the weight, which is not true in her case.  Like her, I think we all need to push the limits and see what works for us.

So, recipe time.  I've been eating a lot of aubergine lately.  Now that I'm eating fats again, aubergine is just the most wonderful thing in the world.  You simply can't prepare a good aubergine without a good glug of oil.

I have no idea what to call this recipe, but I've been making it for some time now.  And over the course of this weekend, the two of us just took it to a whole new level.

Aubergine and tomato tray-bake
  • 2 medium sized aubergines or about 300g of those dwarf ones (my fav) - sliced or in the case of the little ones, halved
  • the same amount of tomatoes - peeled and sliced thickly
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 rounds of feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
Place the aubergines and tomatoes on a baking tray or large oven proof dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Douse with a good amount of olive oil - I use at least a 1/3 of a cup.  Season with salt and pepper and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes, turning the veggies halfway through.  They should look nice and caramelised.  Crumble the feta over and put back in the oven for a final 5 minutes.  Now sprinkle over the vinegar and stir gently with a spatula and garnish with a handful of toasted pine nuts.
I have one more aubergine recipe up my sleeve, but I have to make it myself first (something I ate in a restaurant)
I hope you enjoy this one!
God bless
Janie B

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Big change: your help needed!

Hi Guys
 When I say big change, I mean huge.  After 3 weeks on Dukan I've barely lost 4 kg, it just broke me and I sat down and looked at every thing I ate, and realised that I really ate pristinely, the weight was just not moving.  I was especially bummed because before I fell pregnant I lost 12kg in the first month, and this time I did everything by the book, PLUS I'm training like an animal.

So I decided to go to the dark side.... I've started doing Atkins.  I've been at it for a week today and I've lost 3kg on it so far.  I know you guys will probably hang me out to dry for it, but right now, for me it works and who knows, perhaps I'll switch again some day.

So I want to ask you guys for your opinions: should I continue here and post my recipes (clearly I'm a much better Atkins cook than a Dukan cook), or should I start a new blog?
Please let me know what you think.

God bless
Janie B

Monday, 18 February 2013

Big fat greek

Hi guys

No, I'm not Greek, but the big, fat part is still true, well, at least we're working on that and today's recipe is decidedly Greek.  Very Dukan, but Greek.

Today marked the start of my third week with my personal trainer, honestly, I get so tired that I hardly feel like I've made any progress during the workout.  But it is in the minutes/hours AFTER the workout that I can feel the HUGE amount of progress I've made.  Honestly, my expectations of what I want to achieve in the two months with a trainer are a little ridiculous, but hey - aiming for the stars and reaching the moon ain't half bad in my book.

A thought crossed my mind last week while standing in the line at Woolies, waiting to pay for some of their delectable charcuterie (our Vday treat), I was being assaulted from all angles by the sight of sweets and chocolates and all manner of evil stuff - you know how those ass holes line the yellow brick road to the till...
I thought to myself - I'm running the gauntlet.   And by keeping my head low and keeping my eye on the prize (the till in this case) NOTHING can stop me, I am an invincible warrior running towards my goal!!

About the Greek part - my cooking repertoire is very reliant on a very versatile Italian type mince ragout.  Today I decided to switch things up a little, inspired by some beautiful Asian eggplant I bought from a market on Sunday.

Can you guess??

  • 1kg of VERY lean mince (I use venison)
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 tins of copped tomatoes (liquidised)
  • 3 eggplants, sliced about 1 cm thick
  • 500 ml skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to season
  • a tablespoon of Parmesan (I grate it with a microplane, so it's not even 3 grams)
Season and bake the eggplant on a baking tray sprayed with non-stick spray at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.
Brown the onion, add the garlic and mince and brown.  Stir in the nutmeg, cinnamon, herbs and tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper
Temper two eggs with some of the warm mince and mix into the mince mixture.
Now bring the milk to the boil and use two tablespoons of the milk to mix in the cornstarch and pour back into the milk.  Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.  Bring to the boil until thickened.
Place the eggplant in the bottom of an oven proof dish, pour the mince on top, white sauce goes on top of that and finally the Parmesan (again, I grated very finely, used like 3 grams, just to get the sauce to brown)  Now bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes.
Enjoy! And break a plate if you must!
God bless
Janie B

Friday, 8 February 2013

Busted chops

Hi Guys

So I started with my personal trainer on Monday, as I told you last time - a real pit bull, doesn't let go kinda personal trainer.
On Monday I nearly died from doing 20 sit ups, today I could manage 3 sets of one minute each - yay me!!  Which also brought me to a new realisation about myself - that I have absolutely NO shame lying flat on my back in the middle of the gym, just panting and feeling sorry for myself, no shame I tell you.

Do you remember the post where I went on about shopping in your own closet and about how cool it was to start fitting into some old jeans again?  Well, at about 16 weeks into my pregnancy I started wearing maternity clothes.  My closet was so full and I needed to make space.  So what was this rocket scientist's strategy?  I chucked out ALL my fat clothes.
Yup, you heard right.  Somehow I reasoned that it will keep me motivated to not gain so much weight (let me just tell you that at this point I had already gained about 15 kg) so heaven only knows what I was thinking... obviously epic fail.

Needless to say I'm still wearing my maternity clothes 10 weeks after the birth of my son - how tragic is that. Or is it?  I've decided that no way in HELL I'm buying new fat clothes, in another 10kg I'll fit into the biggest pair of jeans that is in my closet, and what's 10 kg? NOTHING I tell you! That's like one month of work right? RIGHT??

SO here to keep me and all of you motivated is a delicious and totally Dukan friendly recipe that will blow your socks off!  I've made a couple of yum things during the last week, and I reserve those recipes for future posts.

I hope you'll forgive me for another quiche recipe, but this is just so good.

Butternut, onion and smoked chicken quiche

  • About 2 cups of diced butternut squash (small dice, about half a centimetre)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • about 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to season butternut squash and onion
  • 4 smoked chicken breast fillets - diced up to small pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of fat free milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • some fat free feta
Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Spray a fairly large ovenproof dish with non-stick spray.  Toss the butternut, onions, thyme, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper together and place it on a large baking sheet that you've sprayed with non-stick spray.  Roast for about 1 hour, stirring twice, until nice and caramelised.
Whisk the eggs, flour and cornstarch together.  Mix the veggies and chicken into the egg mixture and place some feta squares on top.
Pour into your ovenproof dish and bake for 40 minutes.  I most enjoy this dish at room temperature.

Happy cooking and God bless!

Janie B