Ginger & Lime Jello Cheesecake

I've been playing with the combination of jello (jelly for those of us speaking english on the bottom half of the planet) and cream cheese quite a lot lately, it makes a really spectacular fridge cheesecake. The best part of this is, it is so versatile: you can use any flavour combinations you want, you can leave out the base, you can combine it with plain jello - creating a layered cheesecake effect in a glass. There are so many ways to use this basic recipe.

I'm a big fan of ginger and lime, as if you guys haven't noticed, but I've also done a chocolate orange version of this cake with a few easy tweaks. Strawberry and chocolate, pineapple cheesecake with orange jello, raspberry and cherry cheesecake, blackcurrant and chocolate with whipped cream, are just some examples of where you can take this.

The calories in this are a little heavy because of the combination of cream cheese and heavy cream, if you want to lower them - leave out the heavy cream.  The bulk of the carbs in this recipe are in the chocolate base, so if you are looking for a lower carb sweet treat - simply leave out the base.

Let's talk about new years resolutions and micro-goals

We all compare ourselves to others. You've done it, I've done it. It's messed up but society continues to encourage us to do it. Weirdly enough, that isn't my issue. I compare myself to what I believe I should be. I compare myself to "idealised future me", which is an impossible comparison. I will never win. Because I could always be better. I could always be more successful, less distracted, more productive, thinner, learn to dress better, be more adult, be a better wife, be a better friend, do more (ugh, or any) charity work... You get the idea. I set these massive goals for myself that I am set up to fail at. I've said this before; my brain is awful, and that bitch hates me.

I achieved about half of my 2017 goals. I started a food blog, I hit 30kg lost, I went on a road trip with Waide, I networked more, I worked on my art. I did not however have my own exhibition (what was I thinking), lose another 15kg in 2017 (unrealistic much??), "grow my business" (my life took a bit of a detour this year), get a new business website (seriously, money. Hah), or even read the Sherlock Holmes books. In fact, of all of these, I am most embarrassed by the book thing. I am a fast reader. In 2016 I read 47 books. This year, 5, and 3 of those were rereads. My first thoughts "oh god I have failed", my second thoughts "what the hell psycho, who cares if you didn't read much this year... There's no afterlife syllabus that I have to complete. This isn't some kind of cosmic homework".

So my goal for 2018 is one thing: give myself a break. Instead of new years resolutions I am going to set micro-goals. Tiny, inconsequential, achievable goals. "start painting in the mornings", "go get my art turned into prints", "blog some more", "leave the house during the week". Things I can control. Things that don't loom over me like a 15kg (extra) goal I was never going to achieve. 2017 kicked my butt, in a big way. So I've realised something: I have to be kinder and nicer and more compassionate to myself because I can't count on 2018 to "be my year" because it really hasn't been working out that way so far. If you only do one thing next year, be nicer to yourself.

Rosemary's Rhubarb Pie

Lets preface this with: I don't usually tell my life story before recipes, I don't believe you guys want to hear about why I decided to make this specific meal for whoever I made it for and how they all went nuts about it and why it's connected to my childhood in some way. You're here for the food. That's okay, so am I.

That being said, this recipe holds a very special significance for me. My grandmother taught me a lot about baking and cooking. She was one awesome lady. Everyone loved her, you couldn't help it. She would invite you for lunch, teach you how to do something creative, feed you a roast of some kind and then give you a slice of pie. Her pies were famous. If you had the chance to have a mulberry or rhubarb pie at Aunty Rose's house; you did not turn that down. Those things were amazing. When I started keto I had to reconcile that there were a few things in my life that I would never eat again. My grandmother's pies, fruit mince pies and Christmas pudding. I was okay with all of this. I focused on what I could eat: cheese. My mother is a little more stubborn than I am. She decided that there was no way she was going to let this go. 

A few months ago she asked me for help coming up with a pie crust recipe. So we looked at Rosie's original recipe and figured out how to convert the carbs to well, not carbs. We had to try it a few times but when we finally got it to work... I almost couldn't believe this thing was real. We had made a pie crust that rivalled the real thing.

I know that sounds almost too good to be true but this crust browns nicely, it's flakey, it keeps its shape, the coconut flavour isn't strong at all and the best part: you can use it in savoury pies as well (with a bit of adjustment). My next mission - using it to make mince pies!

Keto over the festive season?

At this time of year you hear a lot of "oh, I'm just going to cheat on Thanksgiving, Christmas, <holiday of your choice>." Which unfortunately is usually followed by a few months of slippery slopes and then trying to get back on track. The first year that I did keto I actually catered my annual Christmas party for my friends and no one noticed/cared that there were no carbs in the food. I got a few comments about how much they missed my roast potatoes (I am really good at making those) but unfortunately there's no way to keto that. I made a bacon wrapped roast turkey complete with stuffing. We also had various salads, roast veggies, a few other meat dishes and a pumpkin pie for dessert. It was an amazing dinner. Calorie counting went out the window, but over holidays and birthdays I usually practice a "calories arent real" mentality.

This blog post is a collection of my own holiday themed recipes as well as some of my favourites from other food bloggers. I hope it helps and that everyone has a wonderful festive season.