Creamy Quinoa &Cashew Bake

You can’t go wrong with a potato bake. It is one of my favourite dishes to accompany special occasions.

However, as potato bakes are rich with thick cream, sour cream, cheese and of course; potatoes, I designed an alternative recipe with more nutritional benefits.

This recipe retains the iconic flavours and creaminess of the legendary potato bake, but it does so at a slightly lower calorie cost.

This recipe is vegan and can be modified to suit other diets if required.

Serves5
Calories per serve304
Protein per serve12.1g
Cooking time50 minutes
Prep Time15 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. Florets from 1 head of broccoli chopped into medium-small pieces
  2. 1 carrot chopped into small chunks
  3. 1 brown onion
  4. 180g uncooked quinoa
  5. 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  6. 1 cup raw cashew nuts
  7. 1.5 cup of boiling water
  8. 1.5 cups vegetable broth (or beef stock for non-vegan flavour)
  9. 2 tbsp garlic powder

Method:

Part 1 Cashew Cream: Put the cashews into 1 cup of boiling water and let them stand for 10 minutes. Then drain the cashews and add them + the remaining 1/2 cup of water to a blender. Blend until creamy paste forms.

Part 2 Quinoa Casserole: Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Add all remaining ingredients + cashew cream into an oven safe dish. Stir well until all are incorporated. Place dish in oven for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and quinoa has cooked.

Let me know if you try it!


Avocado Brownies? You’re missing out if you haven’t had these

There’s no denying that avocado is the best breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack food available. But who says it can’t be used as a dessert?

Recently I have been playing around with avocado based desserts, and I took inspiration from a post I saw for brownies made for the Ketogenic diet (high fat/protein, low carb).

I ended up modifying the recipe – more towards my taste preferences – and since I’m not following the keto diet, I did add in some honey (which you might want to swap for monk fruit or stevia, if you are looking for lower carb options).

I will admit my first go was very underwhelming. I completely missed the mark on the sweetness, so brownies tasted more like buttery dirt.

But, practice makes perfect, and after many flops I have formulated a avo-brownie recipe that is undeniably healthy. You will need:

  1. 1 medium avocado
  2. 1/4 cup nut butter – I love peanut Mayver’s butter
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  5. 1/2 cup cacao powder
  6. Cinnamon
  7. 1 tsp baking soda
  8. 3 tbsp cacao nibs
  9. 2 tbsp warm honey (less sticky)

Mix everything (except cacao nibs) together in a blender until it is smooth and creamy, and press into a brownie pan. Sprinkle the cacao nibs and cinnamon on top.

Pop into an oven at 180˚C and bake for 20 mins.

Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Macro-nutrients1 serving of avo-brownie
(recipe makes 12)
Calories150
Protein4g
Carbohydrates7g
Sugar3g
Fat12g

Rich Chocolate Protein Bites (V)

This summer I’ve been seeking out protein balls/bites/bars wherever I go. This could be due to my constant snack cravings, or because they are freaking moreish.

Either way, my recent obsession has prompted the careful creation of a rich, chocolatey recipe that combines all my favourite protein ball ingredients in one.

Cacao is a dream ingredient because of all the health benefits it provides. Not only it is a powerful source of antioxidants, I recently found out it contains anandamide, which targets receptors in the brain to balance mood swings.

This makes 10 bites:

You will need:

To make: Combine all ingredients in a bowl, squish it into a square pan and chill in the fridge.

To serve, you can make cute little designs on the square bites, e.g. with almonds, desiccated coconut, crumbled peanuts, or whatever floats your boat.

These little guys have around 10g of protein in them.. yet they taste like chocolate cookie dough. ENJOY!

Do you have a protein treat you swear by?

High Protein, High Fibre, Summer Smoothie Bowl

I’m constantly devising new smoothie recipes, so its no wonder that my blog is full of smoothie variations (see my detox smoothie, my green tea smoothie, and my acai bowls). There are just endless combinations.

This summer smoothie bowl I have created with a focus on vitality, protein and fibre. The key ingredient here is the Cacao Macadamia Raw Slim &  Tone Protein by Amazoniathis stuff has 7.5mg of iron and is 76% protein, which is fantastic for reducing fatigue and boosting energy.

This powder gives the smoothie bowl an irresistible nutty chocolate taste, as well as packing it with protein and iron for satiety and energy throughout the day. 

In my bowl I have: 

  • 30g Slim & Tone Protein 
  • 1 cup baby spinach – a great source of vitamin C for immune health
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries – for fibre, to help your body digest the protein
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husks – brilliant for digestion as high in fibre
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • You can also add some extra nutrients such as the collagen and pro/pre-biotic powders from Vida Glow and The Beauty Chef

Whip these up in a blender, and pour them into a bowl. I like to garnish with Carman’s fruit free muesli, seasonal fruits, healthy nut butter’s from Mayvers.

Breakdown
Calories: 219 (335 with 1 tbsp peanut butter topping) 
Protein: 26g
Fat: 5g | Fiber: 14g | Carbs: 23g
Prep time: 5 mins

xx

Falling in Love with Poke Bowls

For those who don’t know, Poke pronounced “poh-kay”, is a native Hawaiian dish of diced raw fish in some sort of marinade.

For most, raw fish probably doesn’t seem appetising, but when whipped up in a salad-style bowl with an assortment of other flavours it’s to die for. Raw fish is also beneficial for heart health, weight loss, and contains vitamin A and D (see more here).

I got onto the poke bowl trend after discovering a restaurant (Greenhouse Asian Salads), which does a brilliant Poke bowl with tuna, black rice, soybeans, wasabi peas, and veggies.

I must have been going on about how much I loved Poke because a friend bought me a poke recipe book (probably to stop me from dragging her all over the place to try different poke bowls).

To make them yourself, you need a protein, base, salad, marinade, and some toppings for extra flavour and crunch. Here are my favourite combinations:

  1. Protein
    1. Diced Raw Tuna in Mayo
    2. Diced Raw Salmon in Soy Sauce
  2. Base
    1. Black Rice
    2. Quinoa
  3. Salad
    1. Shaved Carrots
    2. Green Papaya
    3. Roast Corn
    4. Edamame Beans
  4. Dressing
    1. Balsamic Glaze
    2. Roasted Sesame Dressing
    3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    4. Sesame Oil
  5. Toppings
    1. Wasabi Peas
    2. Seaweed Salad
    3. Dried Seaweed (Nori)
    4. Sesame Seeds

Each time I make a poke bowl I mix it up with a variation of the above! Let me know if you try it.

p.s. If you live in Sydney and want to have Poke in a restaurant, try Poke, Nude Fish, Fishbowl (Japanese twist) or Pokéd.

xx

Start the day right: Low FODMAP Fluffy Protein Pancakes

I’ve recently transitioned back to the low FODMAP diet, following the recommendation from my dietician, as my gut has been giving me problems again.

The low FODMAP diet reduces foods that may give people stomach pain and discomfort. I usually do the diet for 6 weeks or so, and then when I’m feeling better I slowly introduce other foods.

If you are not familiar with foods eliminated from the diet, head over to the the MONASH website to read more.

Although the diet is pretty restrictive, I’ve been changing up some of my favourite recipes to suit a low FODMAP lifestyle.

These pancakes are 100 calories each, and because of the extra protein, the meal keeps me full until lunch.

Why is protein for breakfast important?

Protein is an important macronutrient for muscle growth, tissue repair and recovery. You want to make sure you are getting a healthy serving of protein in the morning so that your body can use the day to develop and maintain its lean muscle. Protein also helps to keep you full, so having it for breakfast stops you from getting ravenously hungry at 3-4pm and binging on unhealthy foods in the pantry.

The protein powder in the recipe: The protein powder you choose really makes the pancake – so make sure you choose a protein powder you enjoy the taste of. Prana Plant Protein and Vida Glow are two of my to-die-for brands, as I really crave a sweeter protein mix, and I prefer plant-based formulas. Note that soy protein is not low FODMAP, go for brown rice protein or pea protein.

The Recipe

You will need:

  1. 25g Chocolate Protein Powder
  2. 1/3 Cup rolled oats (Use coconut flour for the gluten free option)
  3. 100ml almond milk
  4. Pinch of Salt
  5. Pinch of Cinnamon
  6. 1 egg or 1 tbsp chia seeds
  7. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  8. Coconut oil for cooking
  9. Peanut butter, blueberries (no more than 40g), chopped banana for topping (no more than 100g).
  10. Sometimes I also add Vida Glows Cacao Maple Beauty Skin Formula for collagen production, a probiotic boost and some great Omega 3’s.

Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender to form a thick batter
  2. Heat a fry-pan to a medium-high heat and grease pan with coconut oil.
  3. Pour the batter into circle shapes the size of your palm and cook each for about 3 minutes. Flip when you first see bubbles forming on the top of the batter.
  4. EAT & ENJOY

xx

Can you believe it? Healthy Cinnabon Rolls

Cinnabon’s aren’t the definition of ‘health’.

But, I wanted to devise a recipe which was just as yummy, but didn’t use up half my daily caloric intake (the average cinnabon has 880 calories).

When my cinnabon craving first hit, I was scrolling through recipes that take about 3 hours to prepare and bake. That was simply too long and I knew I had to find a cheaters quick version.

So, here’s the cheat sheet to my 45 minute, Plant Based Cinnabons:

Dough: 

  • 2.75 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast = 2.25 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water

Filling:

  • 0.5 cup pureed dates (1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 medium apple finely chopped
  • coconut oil as a base

Time: 45 minutes, Serves: 8, Calories: 294 each

Method: 

  • Preheat oven to 100C
  • Mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl
  • Heat water, almond milk and coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds
  • Add chia seeds, milk/oil mixture and flour mixture together and knead with hands until dough forms – set aside for 5 minutes
  • Roll out the dough on baking paper into a rectangle
  • Spread the coconut oil and pureed dates on the rolled out dough
  • Sprinkle the apple and almonds on top
  • Roll the dough into a log, and cut into 8 even segments
  • Put each segment into greased baking tins.
  • Put into the oven, and turn the oven off. Leave in rolls there for 20 minutes. Then, turn the oven to 200C and bake for 20 mins.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Let me know how it goes! xx

Pancakes: Breakfast with me!

Hands down my favourite breakfast is pancakes. Although scrambled eggs & avo on sourdough comes pretty close.

There’s nothing better than a tower of soft, fluffy pancakes, covered in delicious toppings.

This morning I woke up with a burning desire for pancakes.

I like to mix up my pancake toppings: it’s usually a compilation of nut butter (I’m addicted to Mayver’s peanut butter), fresh & frozen fruits, sugar free maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut yogurt, caco nibs, dried fruit & nuts, or regular vanilla yogurt.

Snapseed 3

Today I went with frozen blueberries and a very thick drizzle of almond butter for the topping. For the pancakes themselves I blended 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. I cooked this on a medium-high heat.

I wanted to address almond milk. If you are interested in the alternatives to cow’s milk, you have probably heard whispers about almond milk being part of a fad health craze, or that it just doesn’t taste good.

I investigated almond milk, and whilst it does have far less protein and calcium than soy milk and cows milk, it is a great option if you are looking for something lighter to go with a protein dense meal (such as peanut butter drenched pancakes). In terms of the taste, I’ve love it, but perhaps it is an acquired taste for some. Give the chocolate or sweetened versions a go for a while before you switch to plain, unsweetened almond milk.

Hope you have a lovely Friday leading into an even better weekend. I’ve got lots planned – this one’s meant to be sunny in Sydney!! Stay tuned for more recipes and adventures 🙂

xx

XMAS Healthy Salted Caramel Cookies

Okay so yes this is your usual Salted Caramel cookie recipe, however, for a sprinkle of Christmassy festivity I added cinnamon, nutmeg and rich dark chocolate to the dough.

Read on if you’re interested in my simple, yet divinely tasty XMAS Caramel cookies. Or better; create them yourself in 20 minutes.

Gather the following:

The Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except chocolate chips) together, until you form a cookie dough. You can add almond milk gradually if the mixture is too flour-y.

2. Use a rolling pin to knead the dough out on top of an acrylic/plastic/stone surface.

3. Here’s where it got a little more complicated. I’m currently experiencing an Australian summer, so naturally the sun was beating down at 30˚C, which made all my cookie dough melt and stick to my hands. So, I wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the freezer for 5 mins to make it think it was in Antarctica.

4. Cut little shapes out with the cookie cutter.

5. As the cookie cutter will make the raw cookies a lot thinner and smaller than Betty Crocker recommends for cookie sizing, you only have to place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F), so they don’t burn.

The perfect Christmas treat. Enjoy!

xx

New Brunch Spots, High Tea, and Health Shots

Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work.

I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good (and not so good) places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.

Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has dainty, flower embellished decor and serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.

I’ve also been having scone cravings lately. I’ve tried baking some myself, but my favourites are from The Tea Cosy in the Rocks. We indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea. This was a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of Christmas – you can buy it in their shop!

I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly, who brought the Poké trend to Sydney. I had the Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce. Delicious!

I have also had incredible brunches (i.e. A LOT of smashed avo on toast) at Laneway, The North Spoon, Wild Sage and The Bellagio Cafe.

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Momo Bar Manly – Tiki Bowl

Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. These supposedly prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little sceptical.

However, after looking into the argument for them, it makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.

I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea. They are bitter and slightly off-putting so you will need a palette cleansing chaser. I blend kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds.

If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to boost your daily nutrients, it’s something I would try!

xx