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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake

Jess and Tom here!

We were craving carrot cake, but struggling to find a gluten free vegan recipe for one that didn't require a long list of weird ingredients we didn't have to hand, we decided to wing it and make it up using the contents of Jess' cupboard. And it worked. It worked so well we ate most of it in one night. Now, as happens quite often in our joint kitchen ventures, the exact method and quantities got blurred a little by wine (now Jess is eating clean this should happen less now!). But anyway, these ingredients make a large, gluten free, vegan carrot cake. 

1 cup ground almonds
1 cup plain gluten free flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp brown/demerara sugar
3 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 cup raisins/nuts (optional)
1-2 tbsp dairy free milk
2 bananas, mashed
1 orange, juiced and zested

I think the general gist of the method is to combine the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, then add them together. The mashed bananas, juiced orange and grated apple and carrots add plenty of moisture so no additional fat is needed.  Then, once this incredible smelling cake had come out of the oven, we decided it was too good not to be iced. So we made our own orange-almond frosting up:

1 cup icing sugar (probably more like 2 or 3 cups, we just kept adding til the consistency was right)
1 orange, juiced and zested
2 tsp almond butter
2 tsp dairy free butter/spread
1 tsp vanilla essence

Add orange juice and zest to the icing sugar and mix, adding the vanilla essence along the way. Then add the butters and beat them in until you have a glossy frosting. Add more icing sugar as required until you have the right consistency.

Please do let us know if you know of a better way to spend an evening than eating carrot cake, drinking red wine and watching Girls?

Anyway, sorry this isn't the most useful recipe in the world. But do give it a try and let us know if you come up with something as amazing as we did!

Apple Blueberry Protein Bars

Hey, it's Jess today!

So, in another attempt at this whole lose fat/gain muscle thing, I've started another diet. I'm on day 6 of it now and haven't yet failed - yay! This time, I'm following the LiveFit Trainer plan, created by Jamie Eason. Just look at her, and you'll see why this seems like a good idea. Sadly, I am going to have to start the plan again exercise wise as my back and knee have been giving me grief all week so I've had to rest early, so I will start again. But the basis of this plan as far as food goes is to eat clean, high-protein meals every 2-3 hours. Meals generally consist of a decent sized portion of lean protein, a restricted portion of clean carbs (think brown rice, sweet potato, does allow certain types of pitta bread etc. but we're keeping this gluten free too), and unlimited vegetables as long as they're grilled, boiled or steamed (OK, I kind of failed, I fried my broccoli last night because I couldn't face it boiled again). Oh, and you're meant to consume 10 egg whites a day. Which I am not, because that would involve spending £60+ a month on eggs which isn't feasible on my stipend. But anyway, I am trying. And clean eating feels good, I haven't been bloated for six whole days or felt guilty about anything I've put past my lips, which is always a good start :)

So one of the small meal options on this plan is homemade protein bars. A recipe for carrot cake bars is provided, as well as chocolate, lemon and pumpkin flavours, but all the recipes include sweeteners such as Stevia or Ideal, which I am really not a fan of using. So I adjusted the recipes to suit what i want to use, and went for apple blueberry flavour.

Makes 8 servings:

1 cup oat bran
2 scoops vanilla whey protein
4 egg whites
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
125g blueberries (1/2 mashed, 1/2 whole)
1 apple, grated
1 tbsp milled flaxseed (optional)
2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
50g flaked almonds (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine egg whites, mashed blueberries, grated apple and a tbsp or two of water. Mix two bowls. Pour into pyrex dish and bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C.

Simple enough. Divided into eight portions, one bar provides 141 calories, 12g carbs, 11g protein and 7g fat. All the ingredients are approved for livefit, I just edited the original recipes by leaving out the unnatural sweeteners and using blueberries instead. And I added flax and chia seeds to add some omega fats and fibre, and the almonds make them a little denser and add some protein. These could easily be left out though. Mine turned out great though and will definitely be having them as small meal/snack options throughout the day.

(Sorry, I don't know how to make this vegan, when on a diet that requires you to consume 10 egg whites a day veganism isn't something I can really think about :( )