Friday, June 21, 2013

Belly Fat

Belly Fat, that annoying spare tyre, muffin top or whatever euphemism one would like to use, it's one of the most frustrating areas to try and fix.

An interesting article in the latest Australian Healthy Food Magazine gives an outline about how dangerous belly fat actually can be to our health. But what are the causes?
According the article, written by Stephanie Osfield, there are a number of reasons why fat can accumulate around the middle.

Hormones, simply overeating, alcohol, menopause, not enough sleep and stress. What's really interesting are the effects that this benign muffin top or beer belly can have on our bodies.

"Belly fat is often a sign of fat hiding in the abdomen," according to Tim Crowe, Associate Professor of Nutrition at Deakin University.
This is known as visceral fat and it can accumulate around organs such as the kidneys and heart. It's actually metabolically active, which means it pumps hormones and inflammatory chemicals  into the body. In women, this can lead to excess oestrogen which can lead to fertility issues, and I'm sure problems with menopause too.
Those chemicals and hormones are linked to conditions such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. How can that happen? It's just a bit of a spare tyre, isn't it?

For example, visceral fat continually releases excess fatty acids directly into the bloodstream. These then are processed by the liver and cause an increase in the production of other fats such as the 'bad' cholesterol, LDL. As if that isn't bad enough, the chemicals released by this visceral fat can prevent glucose from moving around the body and instead keeps it in the bloodstream causing levels to rise. So, the body tried to get rid of it by producing more insulin. This excess insulin in turn causes the insulin receptors to shut down and you get insulin resistance - bango wango - you're looking at Type 2 Diabetes.

Other health risks include dementia, osteoporosis, migraines and breast cancer.

BUT! There is good news! Nutrition and exercise...fancy that! Yes, as soon as you cut back those calories, the visceral fat is the first to go. As far as exercising, you don't need to do crunches, weights or sit ups by the dozen. In fact, a nice little tidbit I read in the magazine stated that:

"The marketers of the heavily advertised Ab Circle Pro exercise machine were fined $25 million in the US for deceptive advertising."

A little simple cardio will help. Anything that makes you breathless - climbing stairs, power walking, swimming, dancing and aerobics.

By following the the 80/20 idea (80% nutrition/20% exercise), visceral fat will reduce substantially along with that annoying spare tyre!
I know I've gone down a few notches in my belt.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

iPad/Tablet Stand

For those of you, like me, who use their iPads or other tablets to access recipes, being able to use your iPad in an upright position is so much easier.

I've bought a stand, but it's not much chop. The iPad still falls over. So, I'm going to get myself one of these super, duper Kribbits!

Rather than spend forever typing up all the information about them, I'm copying and pasting from Helene's Super Kitchen Machine website. I'm in partnership with Helene and sell these products through my blog. The price includes delivery from Canada to Australia.

Finally -- the best iPad stand for cooks and kitchens!  
The KRIBBITT iPad stand is a universal tablet holder that fits all devices (including the iPad mini and other brands from 14cm). Click to see video.
SIX reasons why this is the best iPad stand for kitchens: 
  • fits so many devices, not limited to one model of iPad or brand of tablet
  • fits so many places! ideal in the home and outdoors: at the beach, poolside, on boats, airplanes, schools, hospitals & practically everywhere else. Easy on/off, switch between devices and family members easily
  • easily adjust to multiple viewing angles to reduce eye fatigue & muscle strain
  • even works with 'smart cover' on(Just fold the cover back and set your tablet into the Kribbitt.)
(I like this bit, as the stand I have now does not allow for my smart cover)

  • easily adjusts for landscape and portrait 
  • hangs securely from standard door pulls found on most upper kitchen cabinets. Very stable and not permanent, easily removes in seconds if you need to open the door. (No screws or drilling! Click here to see how it works.)
What else makes this iPad stand special and different from the rest? 
  • latex-free rubber for secure non-slip placement even when scrolling and typing
  • lightly grips thigh for stability when seated, remains balanced on uneven surfaces when lounging
  • choose your fave colour: blackgreenpink, frosty/clear.
  • provides a comfortable handle for ease of presentations, shooting video, taking pictures, moving between rooms 
  • light, compact & durable:  take it anywhere
  • customize to your preference, and adjust as often as you like... there is no single way to use the Kribbitt, it's all up to you!
  • child friendly: soft but strong rubber cushions the tablet if knocked over by a moving pet or rough play
  • KRIBBITT is made by hand in Canada (by a dad who invented it for his kids). 
All kit prices include world-wide airmail shipping
Great in the house, car, and outdoors, this revolutionary iPad holder will quickly become your best buddy in the kitchen.
Just click the graphic at the top right hand side of my page to go to the online store for this fantastic product!!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Flat Hamburger Buns & Vegemite Scrolls

When I have a burger, I don't want it to be all bun, I like to load up the fillings. I love those flat, round buns that you can sometimes get from the supermarkets, but most often from chain bakeries such as Baker's Delight. But, I've always wanted to make them myself.

I have a brilliant recipe for bread rolls from called Bread Rolls in Under an Hour. And, you certainly can make them in that time, but I do prefer a longer prove time. The rolls are gorgeous and soft inside and there's a recipe for a lovely crunchy topping.

I won't reprint the recipe here as the link will take you to it. I prove in my Thermomix bowl for about an hour or so until it's almost popping out of the top. Once shaped, I allow them to double in size, another hour or so.

To make the burger buns, simply cut the dough into 8 pieces, as per the recipe and put two aside. Make the 6 pieces into a round shape and stretch out as much as possible to flatten. Place onto a large baking tray that is lined with baking paper or a silicone mat, leaving room for spreading. Place a piece of baking paper or a lightweight silicone mat over the top of the rolls.

With the remaining two pieces, join them together and roll out into a rectangle shape. This will require some patience as the dough will want to spring back to it's original shape. Persevere.

Mix some Vegemite with butter and spread over the dough. Add some grated cheese and roll into a log. Cut into 1cm pieces and place on another lined tray that will fit over the rolls.
Cover with a cloth and allow to prove until doubled.
In the last 10 minutes of proving, preheat the oven to 225 degrees C.

Bake as is on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove top tray and place on a shelf underneath for a further 5 minutes.
Remove scrolls and allow to cool a little before placing on a rack. Check that rolls are cooked by tapping the base of one. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Makes a fantastic steakburger

Hamburger Bun the next day ready for the toaster
Cut in half to reveal a lovely fine texture and soft interior.



Friday, June 7, 2013

Leftover Almond Meal

If you're making your own almond milk from the recipe on my blog, then you'll have leftover meal from your DIY efforts. This isn't strictly almond meal as a lot of the goodness has been extracted. But, you can make almond flour. Almond flour is gluten free, high in nutrients, low carb and very expensive to buy.

As you make your milk, put the pulp aside until you have a reasonable amount. It's probably a good idea to freeze it while you're building up the quantity.

Place it onto a baking tray and into a very low oven, 50 - 60 degrees C. Leave it for around three hours until it's completely dry. Place into a food processor, blender or Thermomix and blitz until fine. Place into a glass jar.

Here's a link to some recipes using almond flour:
If you google almond flour recipes, you'll come up with loads.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Easy Almond Milk

Almond Milk is a perfect addition to the morning Herbalife shake and it's so easy to make. This is my own recipe and can be made in a food processor, blender or the ultimate machine, Thermomix.

I have read where it's advisable to soak the almonds in hot water overnight to 'release the goodness', but I rarely remember to do that. If you do, that's great.

Boil the kettle first - use filtered water where possible. Place 60 - 100g raw almonds into machine. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil, a splash of maple syrup (optional) and a dash of pure vanilla extract. Add 960g (about 1 litre) hot (not boiling*) water from the kettle and whizz for one minute.

While it's whizzing, prepare your strainer. Simply a piece of muslin, a wire strainer and a large jug. Place the muslin into the strainer and over the jug. Pour the liquid into the muslin. If you have a small strainer just do a bit at a time. Allow to drain and help with a spoon. Gather the muslin into a ball in your hand and squeeze out carefully until all liquid has been extracted. Refrigerate in a glass bottle. Use within three days.

Makes around a litre.
*If you use boiling water, the nuts will cook and absorb the water. Make sure it's no hotter than 60 degrees.

Check out this blog post to see what to do with the leftover almond meal.