zesty lemon cream cups (very low sugar, gluten free, dairy free) | to her core

Lemon-y desserts are something I’ve only recently developed an appreciation for. For the best part of my life, anything dessert-like had to involve chocolate.

No arguments.

No compromises. 

I remember getting ice cream for a treat as a child, and then as an adult, and drooling over the delicious chocolate flavours, contemplating if it would be too indulgent to get three or four flavours in my cone, as there was no way I could settle on two. And being incredible skeptical of the motives of anyone who ever opted for the lemon sorbet flavour… What a waste of an icecream! 

I’m not sure if it’s my taste buds developing with age, but I’m slowly starting to appreciate other flavours. Don’t get he wrong – chocolate will always be my one true love. But I now realise that there is room for other flavours, and lemon is definitely making a strong case for itself.

zesty lemon cream cups (very low sugar, gluten free, dairy free) | to her core
These little lovelies were originally intended to be mini lemon cheesecakes. Until I made my Chocolate Zucchini Pudding for breakfast a few days earlier and remembered how well zucchini lends itself to pudding/mousse creations, without effecting the flavour.

And because I’m somewhat obsessed with including vegetables in nearly everything I eat, I arrived at the conclusion that zucchini would be a great addition to my little lemony tarts. I was right – it blends in beautifully and adds to the creamy texture.

Also – I’ve tried not to use too many sweeteners here – I don’t think they need it, and it’s always a good idea to cut sugar wherever it’s not neccessary. In the whole recipe there are only 3 dates and 2 Tbsp honey which works out to be around 7g sugar per cup. This is about the same as per two small squares of Cadbury chocolate. But you get a whole delicious, lemony cream cup instead, winning! 

zesty lemon cream cups (very low sugar, gluten free, dairy free) | to her core

Zesty lemon cream cups

Ingredients

  • Base
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 medjool dates
  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon rind
  • Pinch salt
  • Filling
  • 2/3 C chilled coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Grated lemon zest, to serve

Instructions

  1. To make the base, place all ingredients for the base in a food processor, and process until combined and sticking together when squeezed between two fingers.
  2. Place one tablespoon at a time of the mixture into a muffin tin and press firmly around the edge.
  3. Place in the freezer to set whilst you make the filling
  4. To make the filling, place the zucchini, lemon, honey and coconut oil in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  5. Measure out 2/3 cup of the thickened coconut cream (do not use any of the liquid, only the solids), and add to a bowl with the zucchini mixture, and use an electric beater to whip until firm, like whipped whipped cream (you can do this whole process in the food processor, though note it will be more of a softer, pudding-like texture as opposed to a thicker cream).
  6. Scoop the cream into the cups and top with the grated lemon zest.
  7. Place in the freezer for half an hour before serving.
  8. Store in the fridge.
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Image courtesy of Christian Bortes

Image courtesy of Christian Bortes

It’s great to have goals in life and aim for improving yourself and your surroundings – whether it’s through studying or training to work towards your dream job; continuous DIY around the house to end up with your ideal  home; or trying to eat healthy and exercise often to get your perfect body. But what happens when that study or training doesn’t pay off, or when your home handy(wo)man skills fall short of the mark and you end up doing more harm to your beloved home than good?

Striving for a particular goal can often lead to disappointment if that goal isn’t met, and often when the end goal is the only thing in focus, we forget to enjoy ourselves along the way.

Let’s look at it in terms of weight loss. We’ve all been there – summer is approaching, wedding season is hot on it’s heels, and you desperately want to lose 5kg  to look hot in your bikini at the beach, not to mention looking hot at your friends wedding to upstage your ex who you haven’t since since you broke up last summer. So you try to get to the gym most days, and push yourself in a spin class so that you leave the class dripping in sweat. You count calories and look to food choices that are low fat or “diet” options, and you get annoyed when someone chooses the new burger joint for your weekly catch up with the girls, and order the only salad option while they all happily devour their burger and chips.  

But for all that effort, you weigh yourself, and the scales read the same as they did yesterday. Or despite your best intentions, you end up skipping the salad and going down the burger and chips route – and why not throw in a few glasses of wine and then some cocktails afterwards as well? You then beat yourself up in the morning while trying to make yourself feel “better”  by digging in to some greasy hangover food. 

When we aim for a particular goal and focus solely on that one thing, we can lose sight of what else is going on in life, causing us to miss out on some of the other fun things that are happening along the way. We make choices with that end goal  solely in mind, for example choosing exercise choices that result in the highest amount of calories burnt, rather than picking exercise options you actually enjoy. Likewise, eating food purely to loose weight, rather than thinking what will nourish your body and what will lead to long term health.

And when we hit a hurdle or don’t quite get to the end goal – that weight just won’t budge, or we get sick of our diet and find ourselves eating “bad” foods again or not exercising – we feel disappointed and frustrated. We feel like we have failed.

I completely understand this feeling – I use to feel it all the time myself. I use to promise myself I wouldn’t touch the cheese and bread at a friend’s party, only to spend the next day rattled with guilt when I had “just one bite” then couldn’t keep myself away from the snack table for the rest of the evening. Or I’d go to the gym for a “proper workout” rather than meeting friends for a stroll and a gossip.

It’s not easy to change your mindset to get away from these negative thoughts and patterns. So.. how do you do it?

Instead of aiming for the end goal, aim for for the journey to get there. 

Be appreciative of your experiences and try to bring awareness to what is going on around you. Is it really more important that you lose a kilo or two at the expense of dinner with friends?

Exercise because you enjoy it, not because you feel like you have to.

Choose exercises you like, and exercise with friends and family to make it even more pleasurable.

Eat foods that nourish your body.

Eat mindfully and think about what you eat before you eat it – are you really hungry? Is that snack going to nourish your body, or is it going to going to bring you crashing down in an hours time.

Once you change your focus towards things you enjoy and start making choices that will benefit your long-term health rather than just a quick win, you’ll notice that you actually start to feel better, more positive, and ultimately,  healthier.

ginger and turmeric tonic - to her core
The dreaded winter lurgy hit our house a few weeks back – more so in the form of the dreaded man flu for the boy rather than anything too severe for me. As soon as the symptoms started to show, I went to the shop to stock up on fresh turmeric, ginger and lemon, and we had a few shots of this flu tonic over the next few days until we were back to good health – as well as over the following days, just for good measure.

This tonic will put hairs on your chest – but I actually quite like the strong taste. I think it’s quite nice watered down with some warm water and raw honey mixed in, and then sipped, but that’s probably not for everyone. Try it in a smaller dose in the first instance, and if your game, turn it into a full drink to enjoy daily during the flu season to keep the flu at bay.

turmeric and ginger flu tonic - to her core

Ginger

Fresh ginger root is spicy and pungent, with a lovely strong aroma and flavour and has been used for thousands of years in Asia to treat colds and sickness. Ginger is often used to aide digestion and alleviate symptoms of gastronomical distress and has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which may assist in relieving swelling and pain.

Turmeric

Raw turmeric root as a bitter, peppery flavour and a lovely golden colour. As with ginger, it has also been used for centuries in Asian traditional medicine for it’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The list of health benefits associated with turmeric is constantly growing as new studies emerge, and includes lowering cholesterol, cancer prevention, reducing the severity of bacterial and viral infections and providing relief for rheumatoid arthritis, among other things.

Lemon

These zesty little citrus fruits are rich invitamin C which supports immune function and helps fight colds and flus. They have also been shown to be useful in aiding digestion, combating skin aging,  and detoxifying and cleansing the liver.

Ginger and turmeric flu tonic for warding off the dreaded winter lurgy | to her core

Ginger, turmeric flu tonic

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp freshly grated turmeric
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp warm water

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass and stir to combine.
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