She’s Baaaaaack!

Afternoon Tea 2

It’s been a while since I wrote a ‘Sugar Free Pav’ post and I think it’s about time for a new one. In my absence* I have been baking up a refined-sugar-free storm and the Pav’s have well and truly firmed up some new family faves.

Here are The Pav Family’s Top 5 Sugar Free Faves

Chocolate Log Cake


    Number one HAS to be The Sugar Breakup’s Chocolate Log Cake. This has been an absolute hit, even with our sugar-loving friends and family. So much so that I now make this every time I go somewhere (which means I get to eat something for dessert!) and every time we have guests over. It is decadent, rich without being sickening and oh so easy to make. I know I have mentioned The Sugar Breakup a number of times on the blog and they are featured regularly on my Instagram feed but seriously, get on to it people! Their recipes are easy to follow, work every time, are refined sugar free and taste so GOOD! The tip
    s and instructions they use, make their recipes fail proof and trust me, I have had many failures! The chocolate fudge ganache topping for this cake is heaven-sent and even though it is part of this cake recipe I think it is so versatile it deserves it’s own spot on the Top 5!
    Chocolate Fudge Ganache Milkshake
    The Sugar Breakup’s Chocolate Fudge Ganache topping is delicious. I have discovered SO many uses for this fudgy goodness and I intend to keep discovering! The recipe uses dutch cocoa which is more processed than raw cacao or even regular cocoa but as I only eat it in small quantities I allow myself this little luxury. The recipe uses coconut oil which makes it #dairyfree as well and it is really good that way but I actually prefer it made with unsalted butter in place of the coconut oil.So far I have used it

    • As a ganache on the Chocolate Log Cake
    • As a topping for #refinedsugarfree Raspberry Chocolate Brownies
    • As a chocolate dip for strawberries (my fave)
    • As a flavouring for milkshakes (it does go a little solid but I don’t mind that and I also add a scoop of #refinedsugarfree chocolate ice-cream from the Sweet Poison Quit Plan)
    • Melted in milk to make a hot chocolate…OH MY!!!
    • As a hot fudge sauce on #refinedsugarfree vanilla ice-cream
      Grain Free Muffins
    Detoxinista’s grain-free muffins are ridiculously easy to make and I whip them up regularly to have in the pantry as a handy snack. I have changed the recipe a little by replacing the honey with rice malt syrup (as RMS is fructose-free) and I omit the chocolate chips. I sometimes use blueberries instead of raspberries but our favourite is banana where I omit the berries and add 2 mashed over-ripe bananas and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Sometimes I use vanilla powder instead of essence (depends what I have in the pantry) which changes the colour but not the flavour or texture. These muffins have become a lunchbox/guilt-free breakfast for Bob and I but I admit the kids are not huge fans. They will eat them straight out of the oven but popping them in the microwave for 20 seconds the next day obviously excludes them from the teenage menu, as that requires an added step to the teenage-friendly ‘pantry-to-mouth-in-one-go’ movement!Jam
  4. JAM
    I considered trying to mix it up a bit and finding another non-Sugar-Breakup favourite but the truth is I would have been doing it for the sake of mixing it up and not giving you our genuine top 5! We all love The Sugar Breakup’s jam and it has become a genuine staple in the Pav household.
  5. Granola To GoGRANOLA
    Something that is ALWAYS in our pantry is I Quit Sugar’s Coco-Nutty Granola. It is a great-tasting, nutritious and filling breakfast, which we eat with natural yoghurt and berries or half a banana. I sometimes add 1 cup of rolled oats to the recipe when I make it, which I know removes it’s ‘grain-free’ status but I’m not too fussed about that at this stage and there are times when I just like to have oats! When I leave the rolled oats out I reduce the rice malt syrup and the coconut oil to 2 tablespoons each.Fudgy Goodness
    I know I am meant to stop after 5 but I couldn’t resist adding this one in at number 6. The Sugar Breakup’s Vanilla Ice Cream. After a few disasters with my gorgeous new ice-cream machine I discovered this scrumptious recipe! Again, it is easy to follow, straightforward and delicious. ‘Nuff said.

*Now here is where I address the ‘elephant in the room’!

I have been absent from Planet Pav for a little while and I have been torn between trying to acknowledge and explain that absence as best I can and just getting on with a new post and pretending nothing has happened. Unfortunately (or fortunately for you, depending on how you look at it!) I am unable to share any details on here at the moment anyway so this is actually a little of both – a brief acknowledgement of my absence AND my getting on with a new post!


Another Top 5


Seaside daisies in my garden

Seaside daisies in my garden

I have found myself wanting new ‘things’ this week, a new frame for some art, an ice-cream maker, nail polish, make-up, clothes, books (can one ever really have too many books – me thinks not!), bed linen, crockery etc. It may be because I have a birthday coming up or it may be that I have wandered on to the path of materialism and for some reason think ‘things’ will make me happier. I’m not saying ‘things’ aren’t wonderful when they come my way but they certainly don’t define me or make me happy (not for longer than five minutes anyway!) Either way it is time for me to look at and be grateful for what I have not what I want.

The top 5 things (in no particular order) I am grateful for this week, are –

  • My extraordinary children. They never fail to surprise me with their warmth, love, compassion, understanding, support and mature attitude to some very difficult situations.
  • “Me time”. It is just that – time for me to do whatever I choose at that moment. Whether I choose to ‘do’ something like take myself out for a movie and a hot milk, or stay at home and read a book or potter around in the garden, “me time” never fails to rejuvenate and lift me up. This week “me time” has been spent baking, gardening and reading.
  • Blog With Pip. I did the BWP October course (oh ok, I’m actually still doing the course even though it finished this week!) and I am so grateful for everything about it. I am thankful for everything I have learnt and still have to learn but most of all I am thankful for the wonderful new friends I have made. I must admit I did not think it possible to feel such a connection with people I met online but I do, I really do. I have met kindred spirits this month so thank-you Pip and thank-you everyone else who opened themselves up to the BWP experience, I’m hooked!
  • Seaside daisies. Aren’t they just gorgeous? Every morning when I’m out walking I see them and they make me smile. Their petite pink and white flowers just brighten everything up and make even the ugliest brick wall look pretty or the most boring garden look alive. And they are so easy to grow – my kind of flower!
  • The return of my baking mojo. I lost it for a while when I quit sugar, but now that I have my head around fructose-free alternatives she is back with a vengeance! I have been baking everything from muffins and cakes to chocolate, biscuits and pancakes and I have so many more delights to try. This is a whole new world and so very exciting!

Isn’t it interesting that so often the things we are grateful for are the people we love, the memories we have and the natural world we live in, not the ‘things’ we get xoxo

The Seinfeld Post

This post is a little like George’s idea in Seinfeld’s ‘The Pitch’ episode “the show is about nothing…nothing happens on the show”. That is this post in a nutshell – nothing in particular happens really!

What a funny old post this has turned out to be! It started with excitement about having my writing mojo return last week, and then I started to offload a little about how busy I have been, which in turn has prevented me from seizing said writing mojo opportunity. Then it became a list of the things I have been busy doing, which led to another waxing story (geez Louise enough with the waxing stories!!!)

After that I started to write about a wonderful post I read from All Our Days about following our passions and setting great examples for our kids (I highly recommend having a read), which then morphed into me discussing said passions or lack thereof. Somehow I found myself pouring out all of my innermost thoughts about life and my negative inner dialogue and the fact that I overthink EVERYTHING!


Too. Much. Information!!!

I was then in danger of posting nothing at all because I couldn’t make up my mind about WHAT to say!!! My head (and computer screen) was swirling with tid-bits of nothing in particular.

Thankfully I deleted most of that blog dump but I did keep a few snippets that I’d like to share with you.

  • I find it interesting that when we start to feel better and brighter after having felt a little flat for a while, we fill ourselves up to the brim so that if we’re not careful we can become too busy and be in danger of falling down again. That’s what I did for the last week and a bit, but I scheduled in some ‘me’ time yesterday and I was loving myself sick while I sat in the sun with my beautiful kids listening to Sade and eating my tuna salad!
  • I quit full-time work about 18 months ago for lots of different reasons but one of them was to show my kids that happiness, real, palpable happiness and contentment doesn’t come from how much money you earn, it comes from many different things but one of them is knowing and loving who you are.
  • Feel free to change your amazing minds time after time.” I love this quote from Sarah at All Our Days. It is so ME. I am constantly changing my mind…about most things. My passions change, my interests change, my wants and needs change…oh and I have a VERY low boredom threshold, seriously, it’s so low I am often bored by breathing! It still surprises me to this day that I managed to stick with university long enough to get a degree!!! So thank-you Sarah, I will start to give myself permission to keep changing my mind and enjoy all of the many different experiences coming my way 🙂


It’s nice when people listen to us isn’t it? So thanks for listening to me talk about nothing, your ears (and eyes) are very much appreciated!

* And Bob is pretty chuffed that I referenced Seinfeld – his fave show 🙂


The Joys of Parenting Teenagers

Gotta love teenagers don’t you? I am about to name and shame my gorgeous 19 year-old son and I do feel a little bad but I just couldn’t resist. In fairness to Lachlan I must preface this post by saying the following behaviour is VERY out of character for him (no really, it is!) There are many wonderful things about parenting teenagers but like all stages of parenting there are some lows on that roller coaster ride and we are no different. So at the risk of embarrassing the Pav’s, here is a snippet of one of those moments.

On Friday night Lachie worked and then toddled off to his friend’s place for a couple of ‘quiet’ beers. Bob gave him a lift and Lachie was going to walk home in the morning. “No worries,” we said, really happy that he was thinking ahead and not planning to drive. If I’m honest, we were actually a little chuffed at our fabulous parenting skills. You know – ‘oh aren’t we such good parents! Isn’t it wonderful that we raised a son who is so responsible that he won’t take his car with him when he’s going to be drinking’, that sort of thing.

I said goodbye with the usual “love you, be safe and call if you want us to pick you up.” So you can imagine my surprise when Bob and I had finally stopped patting ourselves on the back long enough to get to sleep (just) and my phone rang at 1.15am. Apparently our lovely Son had decided not to stay the night at his mate’s and instead brought said mate to our house and had no key to get in, and could I please open the door and of course it was all very funny.

Upon asking why they had walked home in the middle of the night I got a blank stare followed by a loud laugh and then “we don’t actually know” amidst fits of giggles. Now call me observant if you must but something told me those few quiet drinks had become a few loud drinks. They were understandably miffed when I declined their invite to have a drink with them, however they seemed genuinely upset when Bella rather rudely declined (who needs sleep when you’re working in the morning?)

I left them with strict instructions to keep it down and get to bed and went to try and get some sleep myself. No prizes for guessing the sound we woke up to on Saturday morning – it involved retching and a toilet bowl. Not altogether pleasant but not unexpected. After more parental-winning back patting (well he did manage to get to the toilet!) we called a very short family meeting. We thought we should probably discuss the issue of respecting people’s sleep and not walking the streets at 1am and all that jazz.

What was unexpected however was the sticky mess Lachlan discovered on the couch just as we were about to sit down for our meeting. Such a clever boy is my son, that he asked ‘What’s that Mum?’ So then, of course because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I thought I should investigate by TOUCHING it (really, sometimes I do fit the blonde category very well). My reply? “I believe that is your vomit Son”. He was all “no, it’s not, I didn’t throw up out here” and then I spied it…the sticky green (no, I have no idea HOW it was green) mess on the sleeve of his hoodie and put two and two together (I should be a bloody detective) and outlined my theory – hold your horses, it’s pretty amazing that I came to this conclusion – “I think you’ve throw up on yourself Son and then lay down on the couch and left your puke behind”.


Oh you could have heard a pin (or in this case the penny) drop as it sunk in. We had become one of THOSE families, you know – the families where teenagers come home and throw up on the furniture? Needless to say Lachlan was made to clean up his own mess. I draw the line at cleaning up self-induced adult vomit! Oh and he was also made to clean the toilet and the front steps (seriously, he couldn’t take one step to the left and make the garden bed???)

Throughout all of this I tried to calm an irate husband, a tired teenage daughter and maintain some perspective. Yes the vomiting is pretty gross but in the big scheme of things, coming home drunk and puking really isn’t that bad is it? And after all he didn’t drive home, he walked, so doesn’t that make us pretty great parents??? Oh who am I kidding? We’re the same as all of those other parents out there, just trying to tackle things one day at a time!

I’d love to hear about some of your less than flattering parenting stories!




As I was checking out Blog Society’s Instagram post today, I started thinking about how I take care of myself. I have learnt to be very good at nurturing myself when things are tough (so this week I get an A+!!!) which is great but I think it is just as important to be kind to ourselves when things are cruising along normally. I hope that by being kind to myself in the good times, I am depositing wonderful things into my ‘emotional bank’ so the balance is better prepared for those times when I need to make some withdrawals.

One of my favourite ways to spoil myself is a long, hot, gorgeous smelling bubble bath (and depending on my mood there may be a good book, some candles or music involved). It really does help me relax and fall asleep quicker and as someone with sleep habits that really suck anything that can help in that department is A-okay with me!

And guess what? Today is “Bathtub Day” (insert link). I know! Who would’ve thought there WAS such a day but I am here to tell you there IS. So get your taps running, get naked and soak away!
I’d love to hear from you.

How do you enjoy your bath?
How do you nurture yourself?
What do you do for “me” time?


New Blogger’s Angst

Blossom tree

Blossom tree

Oh the angst one puts oneself through in order to write a blog post!

This week my internal dialogue has gone from “Oh no! I haven’t posted for over a week” and “people will think I’m a slacker” or “people will lose interest” to “it’s okay not to write if you don’t feel like it” and “it’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself permission not to post when you’re feeling crappy”. Well I don’t know which of those thoughts is the most correct but I do know this – I have been feeling really blah recently and just didn’t feel like writing.

I have also been worried sick over the ‘right way’ to blog when one feels blue. I admire many bloggers who write through their pain and their blah feelings, bloggers who share their not-so-great moments with their readers. I admire their courage and honesty. I also admire many bloggers who choose to keep their blah moments private. I have been torn between being that honest and authentic blogger who connects with their readers by sharing their raw selves and being that honest and authentic blogger who connects with their readers by sharing their positivity and their gratitude.

The truth of it is that I am both – I think most bloggers are actually.

A very dear friend commented to me recently how positive and happy my blog is, and she is right, my blog IS full of positivity and happiness because that is what I choose to focus on. That is what keeps me moving forwards. My blog is my creative outlet and that outlet needs to be full of positivity or else it ceases to be my creative outlet. That doesn’t mean I am happy and positive every minute of every day, who is right??? It also doesn’t mean that when I’m feeling crap the happiness and positivity in my blog isn’t real. It is SO real. It is ME. It is authentic and genuine but it is not ALL of me.

I don’t think there are enough hours in the day or words in the English language to describe ALL of me but like everyone else, I have my share of light and shade. It just so happens that the shade is predominant this week but it won’t win – that is indisputable.

While racking my brain trying to work out how to deal with these juxtaposing thoughts and feelings I was reminded of a wonderful psychologist who told me that in the Buddhist faith they welcome negative emotions as an opportunity to learn and grow. Then I came across this lovely and totally appropriate-to-the-moment blog post that prompted me to remember that allowing myself to just feel whatever it is I’m feeling (good, bad or otherwise) can be very healing and can actually remove the fear from that emotion (let’s face it once we’ve felt the worst and moved through it, it becomes familiar and when something is familiar, its power over us is reduced exponentially).

If there is one thing I have learnt this year, it is to be kind to myself. So in the interest of being kind to myself I will take the attitude of “Whatever I choose to do is okay” and so allowing these emotions to run their course is what I’m doing and I’m okay with that. It doesn’t have to be all bubbles and light and it certainly won’t be all doom and gloom. It will just be me – a bit of both.



Raspberry Choc-O-Yay

Raspberry Choc-O-Yay

Following on from my post here on making my own chocolate, I thought I’d share my latest chocolate-making endeavours. And the results were stunning! No separation and they both tasted delicious hence the ‘yay’ part of Choc-O-Yay! I am very excited about making my own chocolate again and again and trying new variations too.

Today I used David Gillespie’s chocolate recipe from his awesome book The Sweet Poison Quit Plan Cookbook as a base to start from. Then I adjusted some ingredients and used my trusty stick blender to emulsify everything and created my own fructose-free chocolates!

I used dextrose syrup in the Raspberry Choc-O-Yay and rice malt syrup in the Fudgy Vanilla Choc-O-Yay just to see which one I preferred. I actually really like them both but I like the chewy consistency of the rice malt syrup best. However, I used more rice malt syrup than many recipes suggest so I may reduce the quantity next time…or not!

Raspberry Choc-O-Yay

Ingredients (same as The Sweet Poison Quit Plan Cookbook with the addition of raspberries)

80g Raw Cacao Butter
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup dextrose syrup (see notes below)
2/3 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and patted dry

Melt the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add cacao powder and dextrose syrup and blend using stick blender. It should only take a minute or two for the consistency to thicken then stir in the raspberries and freeze until set (at least an hour). I store mine wrapped in baking paper in the fridge.

* The raspberries were still frozen when I added them which started to set the chocolate immediately and made it very difficult to stir so I would let them thaw first next time. I also noticed that after a couple of hours in the fridge the chocolate had gone a bit soft. I think this may have been the moisture still in the raspberries so I will pat them dry next time too…but it tastes DE-lish

Fudgy Vanilla Choc-O-Yay

Fudgy Vanilla Choc-O-Yay

Fudgy Vanilla Choc-O-Yay


60g Raw Cacao Butter
20g Coconut Oil
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder (Oh my gosh vanilla powder makes EVERYTHING taste better!)

The method is the same as for Raspberry Choc-O-Yay. I just added the vanilla powder in with the cacao powder. This one didn’t get as ‘fluffy’ when I used the stick blender but it still thickened and emulsified.

* I used a little bit of coconut oil simply because I had 20g left in the jar and wanted to empty it! There are many recipes that make chocolate using a combination of coconut oil and cacao butter. I don’t particularly like a strong coconut flavour in my chocolate, so I wouldn’t use more than 20g but the call is yours!

I know I’ve mentioned The Sugar Breakup before but I absolutely love this website and can’t stop referring to it! If you like to live fructose free I recommend you have a look around and gather some excellent tips and recipes.

Delivery from The Sugar Breakup

Delivery from The Sugar Breakup

There are many raw chocolate recipes out there and as a novice I would never claim to have created anything from scratch, I have simply used the knowledge and inspiration gathered from reading fabulous people like David Gillespie, Sarah Wilson, The Merrymaker Sisters and The Sugar Breakup to make my own yummy fructose free treats.

Notes for dextrose syrup

Mix dextrose and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until combined and dextrose has dissolved. In this post The Sugar Breakup recommends heating it for about 10 mins until it has become a syrupy consistency but do not boil. I didn’t read this until after I’d made my syrup so mine was quite watery but it still worked ok. I will definitely try this tip next time though and report back 🙂