Lemon Coconut Creme Paleo (and Candida-diet friendly) Cake!

As I mentioned before, a close friend of mine has been struggling under the confines of a very restrictive diet (Phase I of the Candida-diet) and the lack of variety has been very draining on her.

Her birthday was last week and I knew she was very upset that not only could she not indulge on her birthday with a drink, a birthday cake was totally out of the picture.

Or was it?

I decided I was NOT going to let her celebrate her 28th birthday without a sweet treat to make it special. Working with no grains, no sugars, and limited approved ingredients would make for a challenge, but I was ready to test my culinary prowess.

This is what I made my best friend:

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What you are looking at is:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, and 100% Paleo-Approved.

And, most importantly, DELICIOUS.

How did I do it?

Well, if you recall, a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with a Candida-approved Italian bread recipe that turned out REALLY well.

Running with that variation, I decided to see if I could turn a savory bread into a sweet cake with some mild variations. After FOUR experiments (using different measures of coconut milk, eggs, and flour ratios), I came up with the following PERFECT cake mix:

PERFECT PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON CAKE:

3/4 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut fiber
1/2 cup granulated Stevia
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon, with pulp

The cake would be prepared like any other cake: dry ingredients are first in the bowl, and then you’ll fold in the wet ingredients.

Place dough (it’ll be thick, but pliable) in a 9″ round cake pan that you’ve greased ahead of time. I used organic coconut oil spray, but you can go with whatever oil you prefer.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

But what is a CAKE without icing?

Now, I knew I’d never recreate a perfect, fluffy icing …and if I did, I realized it would be very temperature-weak, since it would have to be comprised of coconut oil which melts at pretty much any temperature over 72 degrees. So, I decided to forgo a traditional icing and aim for a lemony, zesty glaze to drizzle on top. After dabbling, I landed on the perfect recipe cited below.

ZESTY PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON ICING GLAZE:

1/3 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
4 tbsp coconut oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 egg white
1/3 cup stevia
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract

The icing is best prepared in a sauce pan on the stove, stirring NONSTOP until it thickens. Pour over cake while still warm. You’ll have a ton with this recipe, so think of this like a Lemon Tres Leches cake!

And there you have it! My best friend got to enjoy a slice of REAL CAKE on her birthday, and I had a real win in the kitchen!

For those of you worried about calories, the entire cake was roughly 2,100 total (with the icing included), and that worked out to about 10-12 slices, depending on how heavy-handed you are with your servings. If anyone wants a full nutritional breakdown (I have it!), let me know!

So, what are you waiting for? Time to start baking!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Birthday Survival

So, I officially survived another year. I’m 31. Yikes!

Saturday, 7/11 was my 31st birthday and it was spent having the time of my life with my husband.

He surprised me with reservations to Disney’s Be Our Guest restaurant, one of the hardest venues to book out of all the dining options. It took him almost a month and a half of constant refreshing on the reservations page, but he did it.

The food was AMAZING, the decor was right out of the movie, and the child in me was on cloud nine for the duration of the evening.

While I did work out that morning, the last thing on my mind was diet — I enjoyed everything I wanted to, and I have no regrets. I spent my 31st birthday with the joy and wonder of a child, and the candy-consumption to match. It was glorious.

Now that the weekend is behind me, though, it’s time to resume my clean eating. I’m not going low-carb, but I am watching my sugars, aiming for high protein, and lots of healthy fats to compliment my veggies. Let’s hope 31 is my healthiest year yet!

Weight: 132.8
Height: 5’3″Pant Size: 4/6
Shirt Size: XS/S
Happiness: OFF THE CHARTS!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Low Carb Diet Underway

OK, OK. Let me start this post off by saying this: I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

I’ve been very good about not stressing my weight for several weeks, and just eating well (for the most part) and exercising, trying not to pay attention to the scale but focusing on how my body feels instead.

Well, after a weekend of binging on junk food and drinking copious amounts of Tequila, the scale was NOT my friend this morning.

And, coincidentally, I’m just 12 days away from my 31st birthday/.

Yeah, so, about that “peace with my body thing” …it’s crunch time.

My husband and I agreed to hold one another accountable to a low carb, moderate-to-high fat diet between now and Friday, July 10th to see if we can undo some of the damage (aka, spare tire chub) caused as a result of our weekend-drinking for the past few months.

We grilled a bunch of lean meats (chicken breasts, turkey burgers, etc) to get us through the work week, and stocked up on spinach, kale, and broccoli to make our meals as healthy as possible.

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STACK ‘O MEAT!

Between now and July 10th, we’re aiming to eat under 25g carbs per day (easier said than done, by the way — EVERYTHING has carbs!) and stick to 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day.

My lunch pal at work has 4 cups of broccoli, 3 chicken breasts, spicy deli mustard, and 2 cups of spinach.

For breakfast, I actually made my go-to egg muffins, which are just egg whites, whole eggs, turkey bacon, and broccoli mixed together and baked in a muffin pan:

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Just five minutes of prep and then 15 minutes in the oven to get a dozen of these little beauties, which are roughly 70 calories each and taste amazing!

My hope is to go from today’s weight (133.2 – yipes) back down to 127-128 in time for my birthday on July 11th.

Now, before you go saying, “Heyyyyy, you can’t safely lose that much weight in 10 days,” please know that I’m expecting to lose 2-3 lbs in the next two days purely from water weight.

My husband and I had a lot of salty and decadent foods this weekend, and it’s pretty normal for me to drop 1-3 lbs between Monday and Wednesday just from the shedding of the salts from my system. So, realistically, I’m aiming to lose about 2-3 lbs in the next 10 days, which is doable with moderate exercise and a clean diet.

I’m not going to go to any extremes; my goal is just to tighten up a bit between now and then to ensure I can enjoy my weekend on the beach, which has become a birthday tradition.

Wish me luck!

~ Tori

Countdown?

Uh oh. It’s that time of year again. I’m just six weeks away from my birthday, and the nudging voice inside my mind has begun its annual bleating.

This is the time of year I normally commit to a rigorous exercise regime, an über strict diet, and a nearly fanatic pursuit of the “ideal body” to flaunt on my birthday.

I’ll be turning 31 this year. Yikes. The years have flown by, haven’t they?

Last year, I was at the lowest weight of my [adult] life on my birthday: 123.8.

This year, I’m sitting around 132-134 (I haven’t weight myself in over a month, so I’m not sure) and I feel good. Yes, I’d like to get rid of the pooch of my waist and the chub on my thighs, but I feel strong, well-rested, and self-secure.

Since quitting my second job in mid-April, I’ve spent the last two months focusing on repairing my health from the ill effects of sleep deprivation, and I’ve finally reached a point where I feel my body has gained balance. I feel like I’m repaired, though not fully 100% just yet. The scars are healing nicely, though.

Even though the alarms in the back of my mind are sounding, I’m choosing to ignore them this year. If I weigh 120 or 140 on my birthday will not matter: what matters is spending the day with the people I love, and celebrating a life being lived to the fullest.

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Last Month

Uh oh. Today is June 11th. Crap.

That means I’m officially one month away from my thirtieth birthday.

For the first few weeks of my Dirty Thirty Weight Loss Challenge, I had been very strict with my diet and exercise and the weight poured off. I went from 131 to 125 in the span of 10 days (a little fast), but have since stalled out and even gone backward a bit.

I’ve been REALLY into sweets lately and it’s showing on the scale – I’ve been stalled between 127-128 for almost two weeks. Seeing the calendar today was exactly what I needed: a swift kick in the butt and a reminder that I’m not getting any younger. It will only getting harder to lose this weight the more I postpone it, so I need to kick myself into gear and finish what I’ve started.

Starting today, I’m back on clean eating (with a small, daily cheat permitted – I am human) and a rigorous exercise program.

My goals will be to stay under 1,300 calories, stay moderately low carb, and to burn at least 5,000 calories per week through my workouts. That means intense gym visits, but I know I can do it.

The goal: under 120 by 7/11/2014.

Let’s make it happen!

Bon appetit, my friends!

Tori

Monday Manifesto

As of today, I’m officially 54 days from my birthday.

This is the big one, the birthday I’ve been dreading for years: THIRTY.

This is the birthday that officially says goodbye to the naivete and excuses of youth and slams me smack-dab into the center of adulthood. I’m old enough to know better and yet young enough (at heart) to recognize what I’m missing out on.

I envisioned my life to be very different by 30. When I was a teenager, I imagined that with my 30th birthday came children, a minivan stocked with soccer equipment, and the body of a fitness model.

(For some reason, I always thought a minivan was cool – perhaps because I was the only one of my friends that didn’t have siblings and I found the conveniences of a minivan to be luxurious beyond measure. Broaching 30, I’m kind of excited I don’t have a minivan.)

While 54 days isn’t enough time to pop out a football team (hallelujah!), it is enough time to recommit to my fitness goals and see tangible results. Since my fitness/nutrition/health is the one thing I am in control of in this crazy, hectic world, I’m dedicating myself to it for the next two months.

Today’s starting weight: 131.2

Goal weight (by July 11th): 119 or less.

Current jean size: 26/27 (between sizes 4-6, depending on brand)

Goal jean size: 24/25 (size 2)

Diet plan: Mostly Paleo, but allowing dairy.

Calorie goal: Under 1,300/daily.

Fitness plan: 60 minutes elliptical/5 days per week. Walk 60 minutes per day. Strength training 3/week.

Accountability plan: doubling my bets on GymPact and taking weekly measurements/photos/weigh-in to post here.
(Look for the infamous “Weigh-in Wednesday” posts to return!)

So, there it is. Here’s my Monday Manifesto, my public declaration of goals in the hopes that all of you can help me stay focused, stay centered, and stay motivated.

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

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Vingt à Neuf (because everything sounds better in French)

So, another birthday has come and gone. It’s official. I’m 29.

I have entered the last and final year of my 20s.

Boy, that went fast.

I had just gotten into the groove of the 20s, feeling like I was coming into my own. Now, suddenly, I’ve gained sight of the bridge leading into my 30s. Whoa, slow your horses there, friend. I’ve only just set the cruise-control on my 20s and it’s already time to slow down, shift gears, and prepare for the ascent into those trichotomous digits? No, no, no. I’m not quite ready for that, thanks.

I’m 29 and I still feel like I’m 21. I’m a college student (for the second time), I drink more of my calories than I eat (whoops), and my weight is still yo-yo’ing more than it remains still. Shouldn’t I have better control of that on the brink of the triple-decade?

As you can probably guess, I did NOT hit my goal weight by my birthday. In fact, I packed on two pounds, bringing me back to 144.

Lovely.

I was 134.4 [my lowest since grade school] just before the holidays, and I’ve been spiraling out of control [OK, that’s slightly dramatic, but you know what I mean] since Christmas dinner.

Will my 29th year of life bring me some stability?

Will I suddenly, on the cusp of “true” adulthood, find balance in my diet, in my exercise, and in my body image? Or will I spend this last year of my 20s just as obsessive about food and numbers on a scale as I had for the decade prior?

I’d like to say that I am starting 29 with a renewed sense of self-worth and purpose, but really, I’m just starting it with a muffin top, a lingering hangover, and a wish for another piece of birthday cake.

Hmmmmmm.

Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow. Until then —

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori