Rye #5 – Thin Rye Crisps

If you have ever gone to IKEA you most probably will have seen the massive, round rye crisps – with a hole in the middle. Essentially, that is what this recipe will make you – but slightly thinner (as this makes a more crisp, crisp!) and I make mine smaller so they are snack size for the children after school.

Why the hole in the middle? In older days when these were made, they were hung on poles to dry by the fire. Cute right?

The recipe is an adaptation of several recipes and my own experimentation! I have added bits from one, bits from another, therefore mentioned must be the recipes of London’s Nordic Bakery, Nigel Slater and Annie Rigg. You can, of course, just buy them at the supermarket but what would be the fun in that? These come out all different shapes and sizes, uneven and individual! Cute as a gift, maybe with a jar of homemade hummus?

As always, full of rye, seeds, quinoa – all great for you! Don’t consider this a diet snack because it actually is not meant to be! It is just a light and crunchy bread that tastes great! How to eat this? With dips – hummus, pesto, olive tapenade or with salmon and cream cheese, mackerel pate, cottage cheese, brie and peppers, as a side to any salad, in the children’s lunch box with a bit of butter on….so many ways! Hope you enjoy!

Thin Rye Crisps

100ml luke warm water
100ml luke warm milk
100g butter (can be substituted with a few tbsp olive oil or omitted)
10g fresh yeast
400g rye flour
100g plain flour
4 tsp small seeds – caraway, sesame, poppy or even sunflower seeds
1 tsp quinoa
1 tsp salt
Optional sea salt for sprinkling
 
  • Gently heat milk and water in a pan until finger warm (if you decide not to add butter, add a bit more water or the olive oil at this stage)
  • Put the yeast in a large bowl and pour the luke warm liquids over the top – whisk the liquids until you have dissolved the yeast
  • Measure out your flour, seeds, quinoa and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and combine until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the luke warm liquids to the mixture – combine to form a ball –
  • If you find your dough to be quite sticky this is also OK – it might be a bit tricky for yo to roll out the crisps later but once baked the taste will be fine. If you do not want it sticky, add a bit more flour
  • Leave in a warm place to rise for an hour – it will probably only puff up slightly but this is fine
  • Pre-heat oven to 210C
  • Once risen, on a slightly floured surface, roll out your dough – thin but not so it falls apart! Probably 2-3mm
  • If you want round crisps, roll little dough balls and use a rolling pin to shape – make a hole in the middle
  • If you want rectangular ones – cut them to that shape. Use cookie cutters to make hearts or other shapes too…cute for different occasions
  • Place the crisps on lined baking trays and punch holes in them with a fork or a grating board – works a treat! You may even be in the possession of a proper, Swedish thin crisp rolling pin…use it if you are!
  • Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt – if you like!
  • Place in the warm oven and bake for between 10-15 minutes – watch them carefully as they are not nice if burned but not crisp if undercooked. Dark brown is good.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack and store in air tight container.

Dough BallRectangular

For round thin crisps

After school snack or in the lunch box!

Rye #2 – Muffins with Rye,Raspberry,Strawberry and Quinoa

Eat and be very, very, berry healthy! Literally!

I discussed the benefits of rye in my blog a few days ago – if you missed it read it here – and this recipe is a fabulous example of a treat that is a deceptive bomb of healthiness! My children, and us adults, love them and I make them for after school snacks or as pudding when they have play dates.

Raspberries actually deserve a blog of their own but for now I will just mention a few of their benefits:

  • help to sustain energy levels
  • promote more youthful-looking skin
  • promote weight loss – this because raspberries have a low glycemic load which stabilises blood sugar thus keeping those bursts of “cravings” at bay! I am sure we could all benefit from a few handfuls of them after December’s food mania!
  • rich in vitamin C
  • fat, cholesterol and sodium free
  • high dietary fibre content
  • contain more antioxidants than any other fruit – thus helping to combat the free radicals created in our bodies by our consumption of:
    • Fried food
    • Excess consumption of alcohol
    • Irradiated foods
    • Air pollution
    • Smoking
    • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun
    • Excessive exercise

A few became many – sorry – but I was amazed at how good raspberries actually are for you! So go ahead, make these very easy and quick muffins and enjoy a treat that for once is really good for you and your children as well as gorgeous to look at not to mention smell – mind, body and soul fulfilled! 🙂

Rye, Raspberry and Strawberry Muffins – adapted from an Easy Living Magazine recipe

Makes about 8 large muffins

75g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
150g rye flour
100g plain flour
2 tbsp quinoa
50g chilled butter
175ml milk
1 large egg
100g raspberries
75g strawberries – halved
 
  • Heat oven to 200C
  • Place sugar and baking powder in a bowl
  • Sieve in the two kinds of flour – tip the grains left in the sieve into the mixture – don’t want to lose the goodness there!
  • Grate the butter – this is always really funny – strange feeling! Combine into the flour mixture using a fork – children happily do this bit

  • Add the quinoa – can be omitted but gives a nice crunch and is so so good for you!
  • Beat the egg and milk together in a separate bowl
  • Add egg/milk to the flour mixture and gently combine – do not overstir as this will make low, hard muffins. The mixture should be lumpy – far from smooth
  • Add the berries and gently fold them into the mixture
  • Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and cook for about 25 minutes – or until risen and golden brown!
  • Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying – they are also good day 2 but probably won’t last!

Enjoy, once again, the feeling of being the best mum or dad in the world when you hand your children these!

Read more on raspberries and berries in general here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry

http://superberries.co.uk/berries/

Sleep your way to happiness!!

How many times have you tried to lose a few pounds? How often do you find yourself yelling too much at your children? How often are you lacking motivation to exercise or cook healthily? Final question – do you sleep less than 7 hours a night?

The days I go to bed too late or have my deep sleep broken by someone needing a wee, talking in their sleep or waking inhumanely early, I am much more irritable, prone to be more short-tempered, and definitely have a higher tendency to feel stressed. I eat a lot more sweet and unhealthy foods and am much less fun, definitely in the eyes of my children! Like when they fill the sink with water until it runs onto the floor and through the ceiling into the room below…yeah…when I have too little sleep, that is not a good scenario to find myself in (or for my children to have created!!).

The link between sleep and mood, appetite and weight is not only easy to experience first hand  but also well documented. Over the past few weeks I have, due to feeling tired and de-motivated, been reading up on it and it has made me realise that it is very simple to hit these low energy phases but likewise, very easy to turn the energy levels back around.

Most of the research I have read centres around sleep and weight loss, with one study showing that “…men ate significantly more (an average of 560 excess calories in their daily diet) during the days after they were sleep-deprived, compared to what they ate after having a good night’s sleep” (everydayhealth.com article). For those not used to working with calories, 560 excess ones equate to roughly ½ a kg a week in weight! Amazing how sleep alone can affect our appetite this much.

Less sleep equates to less energy and lower motivational levels throughout the day – you will find it harder to get out there and exercise as well as harder to cook and prepare healthy meals. Instead, and you are probably nodding now, you will grab for food that gives you an instant kick – starchy carbohydrates and sugars – and a vicious circle is created. This is because your appetite controlling hormones have been thrown with sleep deprivation leading to elevated levels of ghrelin, which is appetite-stimulating, as well as reduced levels of leptin, which is an appetite-suppressing hormone (everydayhealth.com). So how do you turn it around!? A few tips – and they work!

  • Sleep is the linking factor so start by going to bed at a decent time, and do it regularly. Creating a good routine will make it easier for you to stick to bedtimes. Count back at least 7 hours from when you have to get up…the hours before midnight are the ones you want to catch – especially if you have children that wake before 6am!
  • Eat a healthy breakfast! This is critical to starting your day with energy and giving your body fuel to tackle all that will come its way. Have a read of my blog RISE AND SHINE for more information on why breakfast is important.
  • Snack between meals. By this I do not mean stuff yourself! Have a handful of nuts (almonds or walnuts) with a piece of dark chocolate or a carrot with some olives, some tomatoes and feta cheese, edamame beans, hummus and veggies….Having a healthy snack will keep your blood sugar levels afloat during the day and thus keep your mood steady! Less shouting at the children, less sweets and starchy carbs being eaten!
  • Exercise! At least 30 minutes, five times a week. Getting out into the fresh air will not only clear your mind and help keep you in shape but it WILL give you energy! It also helps keep your appetite balanced…So important! Read EXERCISE blog for more!
  • Eat healthily! Every magazine you read bangs on about 5 a day. I won’t! I don’t care how many a day you have – it’s not about getting the five in there but about enjoying a balanced diet every day of your life. It is a mind-set to be honest. You need to just go for it. DO IT. Decide that you will throw away the processed white stuff in your cupboards, your biscuits, the chocolates…get rid of it. If it is there so is the temptation to have it. Do not worry so much about the fat content (there are actually many many fatty foods that are good for you, in moderation), look more at the sugar and carbohydrates. This is what gets you lazy and tired…and overweight! Fill your bowls with fruit and vegetables and always have lots of nuts and seeds to hand. Salads are great and believe me there are so many gorgeous ones – it does not have to be boring!!!
  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine – at least in the afternoon and evening.  If you are struggling to get to bed early, or with waking in the night, don’t assume that a few glasses of wine or a beer will make you sleep better! It may get you falling asleep but once the alcohol wears off you will wake and probably find it hard to fall asleep again. Caffeine will prevent you from falling asleep – usually it takes 4-5 hours to get it out of your system. It would be very hard for me to live without my morning coffee but that is all I have. Not more than 3 cups of tea or coffee a day someone once told me – if you have more broken sleep is the result!

With the darkness and cold moving in on us it is so important to create energy in our every day. I like to feel alive! I like to wake and jump out of bed and look forward to the day ahead. I like to laugh with my children, not shout at them. I love the feeling of returning from a run, buzzing….I love good food – and I do not feel I am missing out on that by eating healthily. I just follow the 80/20 rule…eat really healthily 80% of the time and sneak in some naughtiness once in a while! Finally, I love to sleep! After a full day with exercise, the children and fresh air, there is nothing better than getting under the covers and letting the body have a well-deserved break!

These same rules apply to children by the way…are you helping yours to be happier?

Give it a go and let me know if you are feeling more energised!

(Some good articles I read on the importance of sleep)

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/sleep-more-weigh-less

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/seep-weight-loss-and-appe_b_566378.html

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-relationship-between-getting-enough-sleep-and-weight-loss.html

http://www.tree.com/health/sleep-disorders-effects-weight-gain.aspx

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/mood