Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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How to make apple pie

kaichronicles-make apple pie

It’s Sunday. And Sunday is my regular baking day. I’ve always loved to bake and now that it’s winter, I find myself in the kitchen a lot.

Growing up in Canada, dessert was a constant. Especially fruit pies. I really miss seeing fruit pies on menus in Australia. It’s rare so I make them at home. Expect to see a flow of dessert pie recipes here on Kai Chronicles. It’s my way of helping the world. One pie at a time.

Let’s start with a classic: apple.

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Recipe for Apple and Date Lunchbox Treats

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When I was a kid, my mother used to make date squares a lot. They weren’t my favourite but I still held fond memories of eating them.

I’ve always loved to bake and I’ve always baked homemade treats for my boy’s lunchbox. I was excited when I got my hands on my mum’s date square recipe and I used to follow it to a tee. My son has always loved them, even when I only put dates in them (as my mum did).

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the recipe and this is what I’ve come up with (it tastes like Apple Crumble/Crisp…yum).

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The best chocolate cake ever…

If Jo says this is the best chocolate cake, it must be. She doesn’t even like cake!! I have THE BEST chocolate cake recipe in my collection, passed down from a sister. I think I may have to have a ‘cake off’ in my kitchen. Watch this space. And leave room for cake.

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Yes, really. No exaggeration. In fact this cake is so good that it’s almost a community service announcement to share the recipe with you.

It takes literally 5 minutes to put together. I timed it. The longest part of the preparation is boiling the water for the coffee- which, incidentally, you don’t really taste…a good thing.

The recipe is here. You’re welcome.

I topped it with the best chocolate ganache slash sauce you’ll ever make too. This one takes some trust. You bring the cream to a near boil, drop the chocolate in, let it stand for a couple of minutes and then whisk the living daylights out of it. Although you might doubt, persist, which through it…the result is a glossy creamy chocolate sauce that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful.

Don’t worry, the recipe for that is here too.

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I made this as a birthday cake…

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3 soups you can easily make at home

blog oct 4 spicy lentil soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

Ahhhh, soup. It’s a nourishing, easy winter meal. I’ve been working at the local supermarket, stocking shelves, for the past 3 months and “my” aisle is the one with all the soups: packaged, powdered, tinned, boxed, microwavable – all the convenient types. And I guess there’s nothing wrong with them, if you like to consume additives and preservatives. Hey, I ate Campbell’s Tomato and Cream of Mushroom at least weekly for the first 30 years of my life. They are actually really tasty! But, here’s the thing. Soup is incredibly easy to make from scratch. I don’t even use a recipe. I get inspired from recipes but I usually just toss stuff in a pot and boil it together. So, ditch the tins this week and try a home-made, from scratch soup. Enjoy!

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Got a fussy eater in the house? 5 ways to smuggle healthy options into their food

How to be a Smuggler

Making healthy choices is usually not a top priority for children ( or some adults either). People who refuse to see the faults of the white stuff really shit me but it’s their health, eh? And by white stuff, I mean refined foods like white flour, pasta, bread, rice and sugar.

I do try to eat less sugar but that doesn’t mean I never have it or  the other whiteys (and sometimes that shits me but nobody’s perfect). Thankfully, I raised my son on wholemeal bread so when he gets white bread he knows it’s a “treat”, kind of like a chocolate bar. He also readily eats brown rice, wholemeal baking and pasta sauce with vegetables. But aside from the bread, he didn’t  always accept the healthier options (wholemeal or vegetables either). At first, I had to be a bit sneaky about it. My advice is to ease into a change and don’t ban the white stuff for good. I used to think moderation was unachievable but my choices seem to sway towards that notion these days.

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How to eat less sugar

Do you feel hyper, on edge, scattered, moody and hungry for most of the day? You may want to consider eating less sugar.

photo from Kraft Canada

photo from Kraft Canada

On April 9th, I made a 3-week commitment to eat less sugar  because I was feeling too addicted to it. I wanted to eat cookies for breakfast.

I was meant to have NO sugar but I failed last night when I ate a large piece of chocolate cake that my son made. It was his first cake and I wanted to be supportive. See what I did there? I came up with a great excuse why I had to eat that cake.

Never mind the cake. It was rich and delicious but it’s gone.

Now, I want to share some of my strategies for eating less sugar. Not NO sugar but LESS. We all know that our foods are too sweet but there are ways to get away from refined sugar – yes, I’m talking about refined sugar, the white stuff. Having less or no sugar does not mean you can’t have anything sweet. I think some people get confused by that. If you replace refined sugar with other sweet foods, like fruit or honey, the ride will be much smoother. But remember, they both have fructose in them so don’t over do it.

Start the day right

Eat a decent protein-based breakfast. I love to have free range scrambled or poached eggs on one piece of grain or wholewheat toast for breakfast. Trying spreading the bread with avocado instead of butter for a nutritious and delicious change. If I’m pressed for time, just a thick piece (or 2) of toast with sugar & salt-free peanut butter will do the job. Winter is fast upon us here in Australia so I’ll soon be having oatmeal or quinoa porridge with dates, nuts, seeds and banana.

Get fruity

Eat low sugar fruits like green apple and berries. But don’t be afraid to eat other fruits too. Don’t listen to people who turn their banana upside down (into a frown). A banana a day won’t kill you, in fact quite the contrary. Bananas have many benefits.  A banana packs a punch with potassium, energy, ability to regulate blood sugar, fills you up, low in salt, high in fibre and contains high amounts of tryptophan, which coverts to serotonin. *high 5*

Hydrate

Drinking water not only hydrates your body, aids bowel movements and gives you an internal wash, it keeps you full. Aim for at least 3 litres a day. Add lemon or apple cider vinegar for an added boost.

Tea Time

As well as water, I find drinking more tea (unsweetened) helps curb my cravings for sugar. For me, sugar consumption is linked to emotional eating, procrastination and boredom. Stick to herbal teas like: rooibos, peppermint, ginger, chamomile or any caffeine-free teas. You don’t want to replace your sugar addiction with a caffeine one or insomnia.

Replace it

There are myriad forms of sweeteners today. I use coconut sugar, raw honey or rapadura sugar if I have to have it. Be careful of alternatives like commercial honey, agave or stevia. Stevia has a chemical taste to it (in my opinion) so try it before you spend lots of money on  the powdered version. Agave goes through a process that basically turns it to something similar to high fructose corn syrup and store-bought honey gets heated to high temperatures that renders it toxic. Please stay away from artificial sweeteners. They are poison to your body.

Think ahead

Be prepared. Avoiding refined sugar means eating less processed foods and to do that, you must plan your meals and snacks. If you don’t, it’s much easier to sway towards to boxed dinner or a high-sugar snack for afternoon tea. Have a prepared salad, cut-up veggies, nuts & seeds; hummus & guacamole dips; crackers (check the ingredients for sugar) and cheese on hand to snack throughout the day. When planning your meals, keep it simple: protein, vegetables and a starch like potatoes or rice if you must. Pasta is a quick and easy meal, just be wary of store-bought sauces – they almost ALL have added sugar.

Bye bye booze

Sorry, but if you want to make a real change to your sugar intake, you will have to give booze a miss. Not forever, if you don’t want to. I go through cycles of drinking and not drinking. When I want to make conscious decisions about my health and diet, I always get on the wagon. Like I said, it’s not about forever. It’s more about changing your mind-set and taking a break. If you must have a drink, say at an event or party, go for spirits like vodka or gin. Try it with sparkling mineral water and lemon or lime. This makes a good low sugar alternative to beer or wine.

Think like a caveman

By now, everyone out there has heard of the paleo or caveman diet. I’m not a subscriber but I understand some of the benefits. They eat more animal products (great source of protein), more fresh produce like vegetables and fruit, honey, nuts and seeds and they eat little to no processed foods. If you stuck to this eating regime, there is virtually no option to have refined sugar in your diet. This article on Harvard Health Publications says protein is an important part of our diet. It’s used for building and repairing cells, muscles, and skin. I’m not one for eating huge amounts of meat, especially red meat, but eating nuts, free range chicken, eggs, legumes, fish and sometimes dairy products are a good way to get your daily intake (which is recommended to be %15 of your food). Click here for paleo recipes.

Are you trying to reduce your sugar intake? Do you have any other suggestions to add? Please share!