Perfect World: A review of a dairy free, no sugar added ice cream

it’s definitely recognisable as carrot cake, but I would’ve liked a little more of a peppery oomph from the cinnamon and the nutmeg…

So given my dietary requirements, I’ve had to give up on a lot of sugar-laden and carb-heavy foods in order to get and keep my blood sugar levels under control . It’s a change to my lifestyle that will have to be permanent, which in the beginning made me sad because I love carbs and sugar! But then I thought surely there must be some sweet treats that are still relatively healthy/low in sugar and can be had on the odd occasion when that craving hits. I’ve tried out a number of different treats over the past few months, and I’ll be reviewing them from time to time for you.

In this post, we’ll be looking at ‘a taste of carrot cake’ by Perfect World. This is a dairy free ice-cream made with no added sugar.

Ice cream in tub

I saw it on the Ocado website while doing an online grocery shop and had to give it a try.

You can find more information including the ingredients and nutritional values here: http://www.perfectworldicecream.co.uk/delicious-desserts/carrot

This is a relatively soft ice cream. It takes a few minutes to soften but can be scooped right out of the freezer if you’re not able to wait .. haha

Ice cream in cup

The flavour definitely is reminiscent of a carrot cake. I will say that despite it containing three different sweeteners, this wasn’t an overly sweet/sickly tasting ice cream. The sweetness was quite subtle and not too fake tasting as sweeteners can be. As for the spiced carrot cakey-ness, like I said, it’s definitely recognisable as carrot cake, but I would’ve liked a little more of a peppery oomph from the cinnamon and the nutmeg. There were enough juicy sultanas and crunchy nuts that were well distributed and added a nice variety of textures with each mouthful.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and will definitely re-purchase when I want to have dessert after a meal. If you’ve tried the other flavours by this brand, or any other dairy free/sugar free/low sugar ice-creams and other desserts, please share in the comments.

Until next time 🙂

 

spicy vegetarian sort of salsa wraps (with crunchy nuggets!)

I cut up two chillis for this… and I’m still unsure if it was a good idea.

Hey there

This is just something I sort of made up as I went along using what I already had in the kitchen. Enjoy!

From the fridge:

A generous handful of spinach leaves

One onion

Roughly 10 Cherry tomatoes

Two chilli peppers

One Avocado

Half a palmful of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

One lemon (you’ll only need half really)

From the freezer:

Quorn nuggets

From the bread bin/cupboard:

2 whole wheat sandwich wraps

A big pinch of cayenne pepper powder

A pinch black pepper

A big pinch of mixed dried herbs

A pinch of garlic powder

Put the Quorn nuggets in the oven as per the instructions on the packet. They take about 18 minutes to cook. While the nuggets are in the oven, wash and cut up all the veg (leave the spinach leaves whole and set aside along with the avocado for now). Be careful with the number of chillis you use, as there will also be black pepper and cayenne pepper in addition to the chillis. I cut up two chillis for this… and I’m still unsure if it was a good idea. (I ended up sipping on almond milk to calm things down – still ate and enjoyed the wraps though).

Put the chopped ingredients into a bowl, and add the coriander, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder and herbs. Squeeze half a lemon over the mixture and stir all together. This is kind of like a chunky salsa of sorts – not a very authentic one, but still full of flavour and very good in the wrap.

Once you’ve stirred up the tomato and chilli mix, set that aside and put your wraps in the oven (just place them directly on an empty shelf) for a couple of minutes on both sides. You want to watch them closely as you want them to remain flexible when folding them into the wraps. While the wraps are in the oven, slice open the avocado and chop into chunks.

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When the wraps are ready, take them out of the oven (also the nuggets should be done by now so take them out too) and lay them on a plate.

Make sure the spinach leaves are well drained from the washing, and layer them on top of the wrap as in the photo. Spoon some of the tomato and chilli mixture on top of the spinach leaves in the centre of the wrap.

Add to this, the avocado chunks and chopped up Quorn nuggets. Now your wraps are ready for eating! **warning** they will be very spicy, so you can adjust the amount of pepper and chilli in the recipe to taste.

simple all in one veggie roast

So one day I was swanning about the house in my PJs after coming home from work, and I knew I needed to make myself a good lunch for the next couple of days but I was feeling rather tired. I didn’t want to end up buying lunch while at the office so I thought up something simple but very healthy, low carb and tasty with the vegetables I already had in the fridge. I also had some Quorn sausages in the freezer so I thought I’d throw them in too. Behold, the birth of my all in one veggie roast.

Having looked in the fridge to see what was what, I saw that I had:

Cherry tomatoes

Mini Portobello mushrooms

Cucumber

Radishes

Shallots

Red onions

Garlic

From the freezer:

Quorn Premium Sausages – wild garlic flavour

From the cupboard:

Cayenne pepper powder

Powdered garlic

Black pepper

Mixed dried Italian herbs

Himalayan pink salt (optional)

Olive oil

You don’t have to use the same veggies or seasonings as I did, it’s really up to you and about using what you have, but the essential thing to help with the cooking of this dish is the olive oil and a decent array of herbs/spices for flavour. I also have purposely not specified amounts because again, it depends on what you want and what you have available. This is a very free and easy dish and it could come out differently every time!

Before you start prepping the vegetables, ensure you preheat your oven to around gas mark 5 or 6 (that’s 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius).

Now for the prep:

Get a chopping board and a big sharp knife, and peel, wash and slice all of the vegetables (except for the garlic cloves). When I was making it, I cut the radish and the cucumber into strips because I wanted them to caramelise and brown while in the oven. The onion, shallot and mushrooms I sliced into chunky rings and I quartered the tomatoes. You can cut the vegetables however which way you prefer and depending on what they are and how they’ll cook.

Take a large-ish (depending on the amount of vegetable) pyrex oven dish (a deep metal baking tray will also work) and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil into it and swirl/rub it around inside the dish.

Arrange the vegetables in the dish. I enjoyed putting them into little ‘areas’ in the dish. I’m weird that way.

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Just before going in the oven…

Crush the garlic cloves (I used a crusher) and sprinkle them over the vegetables in the dish and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Then add the rest of the seasonings – the peppers and the garlic powder (just a little) and the herbs (or whatever seasonings you’ve chosen). You can definitely experiment with this. If I’d had some, I would have grated some raw ginger on top and sprinkled a little fresh lemon juice as well I maybe would’ve used some chilli instead of cayenne pepper. Just put whatever you fancy.

Put the Quorn sausages in one corner of the dish and rub them with a little olive oil. Sprinkle them with the crushed garlic and seasonings.

Put the dish in the oven and bake until the vegetables have softened and browned slightly. Check and turn them as well as the sausages (the sausages will take a little while to brown).

You should end up with slightly caramelised, sweet and very flavoursome vegetables with very juicy well-seasoned sausages. The vegetables will have produced a lot of liquid at the bottom of the dish which would be great as a base for a sauce or gravy :).

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The end result

Introducing…

This isn’t just a ‘diet’. This isn’t just a phase of fitness obsession. This is about having a better quality of life for the rest of my life.

My name is Vee.

I was recently told that I was borderline type 2 diabetic in connection with a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). To help reverse my pre-diabetic state and avoid diabetes altogether I was advised to lose weight (about 10kgs/22lbs/1 and a half stone) and change my diet. I was encouraged by my doctor to join a local diabetes prevention group where I would be coached on the lifestyle changes I’d have to make in order to become healthier and reverse my prediabetes. To be honest, I wasn’t keen on the idea given my lifestyle and schedule, and I felt a little apprehensive about attending a group with strangers … so I determined I would lose the weight and change my diet on my own.

Thus begins a journey of self-discovery where I had to reconfigure my relationship with food and force myself to review my weight gain over the last ten years or so (I’d been in a bit of denial about that). A lot of googling workouts for weight loss, gyms, and diets to reverse pre-diabetes went on. I looked up information on the glycemic index, glycemic loading, carbs and sugar intake etc…. and to be honest, I was in a bit of a panic with all that information coming in. I kind of felt a bit overwhelmed. But somehow, I managed to figure things out and a major overhaul of my eating habits took place, along with implementing a more active lifestyle.

I took up training with a personal trainer once a week and started working out at home the rest of the time. After six months of doing this, I discovered I’d managed to lose about a stone in weight. I had another blood test and was told that my pre-diabetes had successfully been reversed. Of course, I was very pleased about this and quite proud that I’d pretty much managed to do this on my own, however, given my PCOS, I’ll always be more prone to becoming diabetic if I allow my eating and weight gain to get out of control. I still have a way to go yet until I reach my goal weight. So I’ve had to understand and accept that this lifestyle change has to become a permanent one. This isn’t just a ‘diet’. This isn’t just a phase of fitness obsession. This is about having a better quality of life for the rest of my life.

With all that being said, and me being me, I know that I’m susceptible to falling off the wagon from time to time and being rather lazy. So, this blog is a way of me maintaining some accountability for the way that I eat and the amount I spend on food (I previously used to spend an obscene amount on food from places like Pret A Manger, Leon, Wasabi, Itsu etc and I do like eating out at restaurants). This new way of living means I have to take the time to cook for myself more often and be inventive with it (I’m extremely fussy about the enjoyment of what I eat – if it doesn’t taste good, I’m just not eating it). While I do still eat out a lot, I’m more mindful of the choices I make and I have definitely cut down on the frequency of visits to those places.

I hope to share with you some healthy, (and very tasty) meals that I’ve adapted from things I’ve seen online or made up in my own experimentation in the kitchen with whatever I find in the fridge and cupboards. I’m not a fancy or complicated cook, but I do take flavour very seriously. These meals are what have helped me to lose fat, and have a better handle on my blood sugar levels. I’d also like to share and review the food products I’ve discovered for good snacking and treats between meals, that won’t have too much of an impact on blood sugar levels or weight loss and that I really enjoy.

I’m by no means a nutritionist or dietician, and I have no medical or health related degrees/qualifications, but the changes I’ve made have brought me to where I am now with my health, so maybe if you give it a try, it might work for you 😊.

I won’t blog about my workouts here – that’s something I’m still working on becoming a more permanent fixture in my life – I’m not always as consistent as I ought to be.  I really don’t enjoy working out haha … maybe at a later date, I’d be more willing to share that part of my life so that I can encourage others.

My other interests will probably creep in as this blog develops… but for now, we’ll just see how this goes.