Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe – Sweet Potato Brownies

A few months ago I started going to a local Cake Club, run by the friend of a friend. The idea is once a month we all get together to eat cake and natter. It’s that simple really. Everyone who comes must bring some form (any form) of cake and each month we have a loose theme to inspire us to try a new recipe. I love that part of it. I mean I love making cake, but how easy is it to just fall back on one or two tried and trusted recipes? Having a theme gently guides you to consider bakes you perhaps wouldn’t have done otherwise. This benefits not only the baker, but also the rest of the group. It’s made for some really interesting evenings, and even more delicious cakes to try!

This month’s theme was Vegetables (and Fruit), a cheeky nod to the healthy eating that tends to go on in January. We also welcomed, for the first time, a member who cannot eat gluten. As soon as I heard these two things I knew I had to make my friend Bethany’s Sweet Potato Brownies. Gluten and Dairy Free, I’ve made them once before, when Oscar was eating a GF diet. This time I have tinkered with the recipe ever so slightly and boy do they make the most moist and intensely chocolately morsels. I urge you to give them a go, whether you need a GF recipe or not.

On a side note, I have found these to bake much more evenly than traditional brownies, which I always manage to over or under cook. Always a plus!

Although you can microwave sweet potatoes (like you do jacket potatoes), I have found that baking them from raw, gives a much sweeter result. Prick the potato all over and bake on a foil covered tray at 230/ Gas Mark 8 for an hour, turning half way through. When done, peel, mash and cool before using.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Makes 16

Ingredients
  • 1 large baked sweet potato (approx 180g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 55g coconut oil. Often bought in it’s solid state, I’ve found it’s easiest to melt in the microwave on short bursts.
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 50g good quality dark chocolate chopped into chucks (or chips)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C /Gas Mark 5 and line a square (9 x 9) cake tin with grease proof/baking paper
  2. Mix sweet potato, eggs, vanilla and coconut oil in a bowl
  3. Mix sugar, cocoa, ground almonds, baking powder and salt in another bowl
  4. Sieve dry mixture to wet ingredients a third at a time. Mix well after adding each third
  5. When the two mixtures are combined, add the chocolate chunks/chips and stir
  6. Pour batter into lined tin
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle
  8. Cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing, in greaseproof paper, to cooling rack.
  9. Let cool completely before cutting

These brownies are delicious with a cup of coffee and a sense of smug satisfaction that you’re practically eating one of your five a day.

Sort of 😉

Sweet Potato Brownies – practically a health food 😉

 

Our Favourite Five – May 2016

The summer is well and truly under way in our part of the world. And this is what the Savage family have been enjoying this month.

1 Eurovision

Of course! What else could start a list of things my family has enjoyed in May? My husband put the televised song competition in our shared diaries as soon as the date was released! This year we found out our neighbours were as bonkers about the show as we are, so invited them to come down and watch it with us. It’s so much fun sharing the madness with someone else. Although to be honest, there was a lot less crazy in Eurovision this year. Much more slick and a little bit less fun for it unfortunately (I mean Justin Timberlake, while the votes were counted? Seriously? Sigh) Anywho, we had a lovely time just hanging out, drinking wine and commenting. Much as we all agreed we like Graham Norton as host, we were also in agreement that we miss Terry Wogan getting gently sloshed and more acerbic as the evening went on. And as a fitting tribute to the man, who died earlier this year, we were sure to raise a glass of his favourite tipple at song number 9 (his personal cue to start the evening’s drinking). It was an emotional moment. And yes, tears were shed!

To Terry

To Terry!

2 Ribs

Whenever I used to have friends over, pre Oscar, my go to choice of food was always ribs. They never failed to please, but I haven’t made them for years.  So, I decided to do them for our Eurovision shindig. In the past I have always marinated the ribs overnight (a Nigella recipe) and then baked them in the oven. What a faff! This time I decided to utilise my slow cooker and boy were they a massive hit! Tender and juicy and sticky and delicious. And so much easier to make. I bought the ribs from the butcher instead of the supermarket for a start and that made such a difference. They were so much bigger and had so much more meat on them! Then I just chucked them in the slow cooker with the following ingredients. Blooming gorgeous!

Spicy BBQ Ribs

  • 1 X 500g bottle of BBQ Sauce (I used a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray Barbecue Sauce)
  • 50g of brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp of cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1.3 lbs of pork ribs (I got a rack from our local butcher who cut them into individual ribs for me)
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Combine the bbq sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and chilli powder in a bowl.
  2. Salt and pepper the ribs. Place ribs in slow cooker, and cover in sauce. Cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours
  3. Devour.

I served them with coleslaw, roasted new potatoes and sweetcorn.

No, they weren’t Slimming World in any way, but saved for a special occasion, I’ll definitely be doing these beauties again. Only I may have to make double quantity next time! Yum!

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Delicious!

3 M&S Food Hall

A month or so ago Haslemere got it’s very own M&S Food Hall. Regardless of your opinion about whether our town needed a M&S Food Hall, you can’t deny that their food is good quality and often different to what’s on offer in the ubiquitous chain supermarkets (one of which is just over the road if you’re that bothered by it). I’ve found myself popping in throughout May. I bought some of the nicest and biggest (they were a ‘King’ variety) Strawberries I’ve ever had, to take to a friends house, a beautiful bouquet to say a big thank you to a neighbour, and on days when it’s all been a bit much and I need somewhere to take five, I am happy to admit I’ve been Found wandering their aisles. I’m not saying I’d get my weekly shop there, I wouldn’t. But for occasional nice ‘bits’, it’s been a boon.

The M&S Haslemere Coffee Shop has made a nice occasional change.

The M&S Haslemere Coffee Shop has made a nice occasional change.

4 Our deck

I’ve mentioned before that our garden is bigger than our house and as soon as the sun came out at the beginning of May, we were straight out there, tidying up the garden for the summer season. We have a long lawn, but a few years ago we also built (with the help of some very kind friends) a deck. Big enough to take a decent table and chair set, it’s becoming my favourite part of the garden. It’s definitely where I spend most of my time out there, so this month I’ve been adding a few sweet little touches. Cushions for the chairs, a parasol, a wall mounted planter and wild flowers in a jar have all made this corner of the garden a lovely little nook for eating, writing and just hanging out!

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Bright, comfy cushions from Sainsbury’s.

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Bluebells and rosemary, all picked from the garden.

Is this not the cutest planter you've ever seen? A perfect spot for my Thyme and Oregano

Is this not the cutest planter you’ve ever seen? A perfect spot for my Thyme and Oregano.

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I wanted a cream parasol, but picked up the wrong box in Homebase. Hey ho! Oscar doesn’t care and asks me to put the ‘umberella’ up as soon as the sun comes out!

5 Driving Lessons

I wrote about learning to drive a few weeks ago (you can read about why I don’t already have a licence here). It’s been a big part of May for me, although to be honest I’m not sure I’d call it a ‘favourite’ as such. It’s hard learning a new skill any time in your life, but the older you get the harder it is (not my words, words of clever science type people in white coats) and I am finding it hard. But every week I’m noticing little things improving and my anxiety (which behind the wheel has been at a spectacular all time high) slowly fall. Slowly. I’ve done four lessons and now I have a two week break. I only hope I don’t forget everything in that time!

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What have been your family favourites this month? I’d love to know!

 

 

Peanut Booster Bars for the sustenance of pregnant ladies

All my fellow bloggers appear to be pregnant at the moment, so pregnancy talk is everywhere on my social media! Swollen ankles, back ache, sciatica, the lot! And then the other day someone mentioned how hungry she is all the time and that took me right back! In my first two trimesters I ate much less than usual. I just wasn’t as hungry at all. But then in the third trimester I was ravenous constantly. Particularly in the mornings. At the time I worked an hour and a half away and to keep me going on the train I started taking a cereal bar with me. And then it was two. And by the end I was packing a picnic! And eventually shop bought cereal bars just weren’t doing it for me any more. So I found a recipe to make my own. Packed with much more goodness than commercially produced ones, they (along with the satsumas I was craving), kept me going until I got into work. Just!

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Me at 34 weeks pregnant. Already very swollen and very hungry!

And I hadn’t thought about them for aaaaaaaages, until talking to my hungry pregnant friend the other day. So I thought I’d share the recipe with you. They’re based on a River Cottage recipe, are utterly addictive and not just for pregnant ladies!

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Peanut Booster Bars for the sustenance of hungry pregnant ladies

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 125g no-sugar-added crunchy peanut butter (I use Meridian)
  • 75g honey, plus a little more to finish
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g porridge oats
  • 150g dried fruit. I used half raisins, half sultanas, but you could use whatever you like or have going spare
  • 150g mixed seeds. I used 1/3 pumpkin, 1/3 sunflower and 1/3 sesame, but again you can use whatever you fancy and in whatever ratio
  1. Line a square baking tin. Put the butter, sugar, peanut butter, honey and grated citrus zests in a deep saucepan over a very low heat. Leave until melted, stirring from time to time.
  2. Stir the oats, dried fruit and three-quarters of the mixed seeds into the melted butter mixture until thoroughly combined.
  3. Spread the mixture out evenly in the baking tin, smoothing the top as you go.
  4. Scatter the remaining seeds over the surface and trickle with a little more honey.
  5. Place in an oven preheated to 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden in the centre and golden brown at the edges.
  6. Leave to cool completely in the tin (be patient – it cuts much better when cold, in fact I used to keep mine in the fridge), then turn out and cut into squares (or in my case great big wodges) with a sharp knife.
  7. These bars will apparently keep for 5-7 days in an airtight tin. Or in our house, a couple of days. Ish.
    imageYes they have some sugar in them, but do you know what, these little beauties did me a real solid in what was a pretty difficult time in my life. So I can’t help but love them. Give them a go and let me know what you think!

Mrssavageangel Slimming World Week 14

I know, I know. I haven’t written one of these for the past two weeks. That’s due in part to the boy being off on his preschool Easter holidays. I find it so hard to concentrate when he’s around, particularly to write these posts, where I have to think hard about what I want to say. And if I’m honest it’s also in part because I’ve not had much to say. I gained 3lb over the Easter break. I stopped trying so hard when we went away and then it was so difficult to refocus when we came back. Why is that? Why is it so hard to fall back into negative habits, but so hard to stick to new positive ones?

Anyway, I’m disappointed with my results over Easter, but actually when I think about it (and look back at last year’s blog post) it’s almost exactly the same as what happened last Easter. And I pulled it back then. That’s good to know.

So this week, I actually started, albeit very slowly, to turn the tide, with 0.5lb off.

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So I’m back to having lost 13.5lb, dipping just back under the stone. And as that makes me sad, and I don’t like feeling sad, I need to change that asap!

And I plan to do that with the aid of a slow cooker.

My friends have been going on about their slow cookers forever, and this week I finally capitulated and got myself one. And I swear I may never use the hob again 😉. First day I had it I made bolognese and then on Saturday I got hold of the most enormous piece of brisket Waitrose were selling off cheap. Oscar loves watching the Buzzfeed Tasty videos at the moment (over and over!) and they occasionally have slow cooker recipes. One that really caught my eye was one with a huge piece of chuck steak. So when I got this brisket I had to try it. I halved a load of new potatoes, some carrots, placed half the brisket on top of the veg, seasoned and added Worcestershire Sauce, a splash of water and, 5 hours in, a couple of springs of rosemary and thyme. 6 hours on high and BOOM! We had the most amazing dinner. So amazing I didn’t get any pictures 😞. Anyway, the plan was to freeze the other half of the brisket and make pepperpot stew later in the week. Didn’t happen. We just had exactly the same meal on Sunday! Basically we ate half a cow this weekend! Half a delicious cow, mind. And this week I’ve already made Pork Vindaloo from the Slimming World Curry Heaven Book. I made double the amount and one half has already gone in the freezer and the rest is for dinner tonight. I’ll report back next week!

Syn free Slimming World pork vindaloo in the slow cooker!

Syn free Slimming World pork vindaloo in the slow cooker!

So other than slow cooked deliciousness, my other discovery over the past few weeks has been chicken burgers! When I wrote about how much I loved Heck sausages (they’re a freezer staple in this house and we buy them in bulk online!), the very lovely people at Heck Food sent me some of their Chicken Italia Burgers to try. Each burger is only one syn each and blow me if they aren’t blooming gorgeous! And so flipping versatile! I’ve had them as just delicious burgers with jacket potatoes and veg, but they’re fab chopped up and added to things too.

Heck Chicken Italia Burgers. In all their glory!

Heck Chicken Italia Burgers. In all their glory!

One lunch time I was planning to have burger, beans and mushrooms, you know, separately, then I decided to just mix them all together and accidentally invented a lunch time ‘Quick Casserole’. It was amazing and so filling!

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My own invention the ‘Quick Casserole’! Beans, one Heck Chicken Italia Burger and chestnut mushrooms. 1 syn for the lot!

And then another day, inspired by a picture on the IG account of @Shanonnagain58, I had a crack a Mexican style breakfast burrito. Chopped burger, with spicy scrambled egg in a BFree Wrap (1 x HEB) with a side order of mushrooms (I love mushrooms can you tell!). It made so much burrito ‘filling’ that I had trouble picking it up! Amazeballs!

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My attempt at a Heck Burger Breakfast Burrito! 1 Syn + 1 HEB for the wrap.

Who knew a burger could be so much more than just a delicious patty on a bun? I’m just off to place another massive order of sausages (seriously I think I have a bit of a problem with these sausages 😉 ) and I’m totally going to order burgers this time too!

So this week I’m feeling much more positive at my own capabilities than I have been. At least I am today (don’t you find it changes from day to day?). So lets take this a day at a time 🙂

love

Lisa

xxx

 

I honestly love these burgers. They are so delicious and at one syn each so easy to fit into the Slimming World plan. I’d like to thank Heck for gifting them to me. I was not paid to write about them and as always my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

Mrssavageangel Slimming World – Week 10

Hi howdy hey!

Where has the week gone? Seriously, I feel like I’ve done loads but I can’t remember a bit of it! This week’s sunshine has been much appreciated though. Soft sunlight, cold breezes, sweet smell of cut grass. Spring has definitely finally arrived in Haslemere. It’s been so… refreshing is the only word I can think of.

The health has been slowly recovering. Every day I’ve felt a little bit better and I’m coughing just a little bit less. However, I’ve been exhausted for much of the week. That’s what getting better does to you I guess. Especially when you can’t rest. Motherhood does that to you! You get no days off, you can’t call in sick. You push on. Because you have no choice.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. You’ll start to think I’m about to make an excuse for a gain or something. But I’m not! Ha! That shocked you didn’t it?! No some how, despite another week of inconsistent eating and not counting syns properly and a morning weigh in last week I managed to do this:

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So while I wouldn’t recommend illness as a long term weight loss solution, the lurgy clearly suits me ?.

As I had to weigh and run last week, I didn’t get my one stone award certificate. Got it this week though! Total lost now 1 stone 2.5lb (16.5lb)

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Due to said illness I’ve been sticking to tried and tested foods again this week, so no new recipes, sorry! We have had the Mexican Chicken Stew I wrote about a few weeks ago twice this week though and if you haven’t tried it I urge you to, particularly if you have a cold. A bit of heat is just what you need when you’re bunged up!

So with the health on the mend, I really have no excuse not to get back into the swing of the things. After all next week is Easter and our sojourn down to Devon and Oscar’s birthday shindig. I’m out tonight with my lovely NCT ladies, but other than that, well let’s just say I would like to lose 1 lb this week. For all sorts of personal reasons, but also because I’ve just ordered some new clothes and I’d really like them to fit! Eeek! ?

Have a lovely week and fingers crossed the sun hangs around!

Love

Lisa

xxx