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?

Certainly not me (says me and my huge sweet tooth)

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) (DF)

This summer I’ve been seeking out protein balls/bites/bars wherever I go. This could be due to my incessant need to eat, or because they are fReAkInG delicious.

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

This makes 10 bites:

You will need:

*Costs are based on supermarket prices for a full packet of each ingredient.

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 as above), or you can top them with desiccated coconut, or 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!

High Protein, High Fibre, Summer Smoothie Bowl

Before we start, here’s the breakdown: 

Calories: 219 (335 with 1 tbsp peanut butter topping) 

Protein: 26g

Fat: 5g | Fiber: 14g | Carbs: 23g

Prep time: 5 mins 


Now that summer’s approaching here in Australia, a smoothie bowl is the perfect refreshing breakfast or lunch. 

I have curated the perfect recipe using healthy ingredients for vitality and energy. The key ingredient here (which I discovered recently and have been loving) is the Raw Slim &  Tone Protein by Amazoniathis stuff has around 7.5mg of iron in it. 

Incorporating this powder into a smoothie bowl gives it 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 
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries 
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husks (optional – but good for digestion of the protein) 
  • 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 also like to garnish with Carman’s fruit free muesli, seasonal fruits, healthy nut butter’s etc. 

I think I’m going to be trying some home-made bread recipes this weekend… will keep you updated! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to try! 

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, usually in some sort of marinade.

For some, raw fish alone probably doesn’t seem appetising, but when whipped up in a salad-style bowl with an assortment of other flavours – trust me it’s to die for. Raw fish is also a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals – see more on the health benefits 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 the bowls, because a friend bought me a poke recipe book (probably to stop me from dragging her all about Sydney to taste different poke bowls). After trying a couple of the different combinations, I figured you basically need a protein, base, salad, marinade, and some toppings for extra taste. 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. Here are some of my other favourite poke bowl spots:

xx

Start the day right: Light, Fluffy Protein Pancakes | GF, DF, low FODMAP

Here’s a delicious, nutritious recipe which involves rich, chocolate-ty pancakes…

I jumped on the protein pancake trend pretty quickly, but I will admit at first I was suspicious. I didn’t understand how pancakes could be super satiating, and I was convinced that pancakes had to be a cheat meal – as they aren’t packed with overly nutritious ingredients.

I was shocked to find that each pancake had as low as 100 calories, and the meal itself kept me full until lunch (even with a morning gym session). I loved all the recipes I found on the internet, but I really wanted to craft a recipe that was light, fluffy, and flavourful, as well as densely nutritious. Note: if you don’t have the same connection I did with these fluffy creations – be sure to check out my slightly naughtier, and just as yummy, regular pancakes here.

Protein for Breakfast?? Why is that important?

Protein is an especially important macronutrient for muscle growth, as well as tissue repair and recovery. You want to make sure you are smashing 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 eating a healthy amount of it at breakfast time, stops you from getting ravenously hungry at 3-4pm and binging on unhealthy foods in the pantry (trust me, I’ve done this too many times).

The protein powder in the recipe: The protein powder you choose really makes the pancake – so make sure you choose a protein powder you actually 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. I love the chocolate variations of both these brands and I am yet to try the other flavours.

I’ve made this recipe GF, DF, low FODMAP to assist anyone with allergies or dietary restrictions – and trust me, it tastes just as good!

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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. Vegan butter alternative or coconut oil for cooking
  9. Peanut butter, blueberries, chopped banana for topping.
  10. Sometimes I also add Vida Glows Cacao Maple Beauty Skin Formula for collagen production, a pro-biotic boost and some great Omega 3’s.

My very Simple Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender to form a thick batter
  2. Heat a fry-pan to a medium-high heat and grease pan with vegan butter or 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

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xx

Can you believe it? Healthy Cinnabon Rolls

Okay, so I think we all know 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 store-bought cinnabon has 880 calories).

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

So, here’s the cheat sheet to my 45 minute, Plant Based (and still delicious) 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 together 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.

Turn the oven to 200C and bake for 20 mins

xx

Clare

Pancakes: Breakfast with me!

Hands down my favourite breakfast is pancakes (scrambled eggs & avo on toast comes pretty close).

There’s nothing better than soft, fluffy pancakes, complemented by a tower of delicious toppings to start the day.

This morning I woke up with a burning desire for pancakes, and I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients I needed in the fridge.

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

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Today I went with frozen blueberries and a very thick drizzle of peanut butter to go with my pancakes. For the pancakes themselves I blended together 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup oats, 1 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to address the controversy around almond milk. If you are interested in the alternatives to cow’s milk (note: I still drink cows milk, I just prefer almond milk), you have probably heard whispers about almond milk being part of a fad health craze, and that it isn’t actually good for you. Because this stuff interests me (a lot more than others haha) 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 hehe).

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This was the final product: my incredibly tasty breakfast this morning, that I already want to make again. Please also enjoy the finger painted plate I crafted when I was four years old.

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

Clare

My XMAS Salted Caramel & Choc Chip Cookies

These did come out looking more like Patrick Star than Xmas creations, but they tasted better than you can imagine.

Okay so yes I used a store bought packet mix (Betty Crocker wins every time) as the base, but, there was a twist. For a sprinkle of Christmassy festivity, I added a hint of smooth choccy flavour by adding chocolate chips to the dough, and created star designs with specific cookie cutters.

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

Gather the following:

  • Betty Crocker Salted Carmel Packet Cookie Mix
    • Note: This is limited edition packet mix – hence why I grabbed it in Woolworths. If you aren’t able to get your hands on it, try adding Hershey’s caramel choc chips to a plain cookie recipe.
  • Cadbury choc chip cookies
  • Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • Star cookie cutter

Okay, so the method:

Mix all the ingredients together, until you form a cookie dough.

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

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 the northern hemisphere. Note: this might be a good idea if you are in a hot climate.

Cut little star shapes out with the cookie cutter.

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.

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Once cooked, place them on a plate and awkwardly place a rogue Christmas decoration next to them for aesthetic purposes (I’m kidding). 

The perfect Christmas snack.

 

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Caramel brown

xx

 

 

So Many Brunches and Trying Health Shots| Life Update

Brunch (an odd mix between Breakfast and Lunch) is around 11am, and is meant to be a hearty meal that covers breakfast and lunch. Somehow it always ends up being a second brekkie for me because I can’t hold out til then.

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. For some reason (I’m not complaining) the most convenient thing has been brunch.

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

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Flowerchild Chatswood –  Smoked chicken breast salad: greens, baby beets, roast carrots goats curd, apple, pine nuts

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 a dainty and graceful vibe serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.

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Flowerchild Brookvale – The vegan bowl: falafel, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, almonds, spiced chickpeas, sesame seeds, tahini dressing. Across from me – 12 hour slow braised lamb shoulder.

I’ve also been having the weirdest scone cravings lately – so I hit up The Tea Cosy in the (iconic) Rocks, where 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 (a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of  Xmas Markets).

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I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly (pictured below) who started the Poké trend in Sydney. 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: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce.

Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. What’s the purpose you ask? They are meant to prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little skeptical.

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

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I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea (note: they are incredibly bitter/sour/off-putting and you will need a palette cleansing chaser). I throw kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds into the blender and down that with a banana (the chaser).

If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to get all your daily nutrients in one go, it’s something I would definitely try!

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Today is my day off and I’m going to do the last of my Christmas shopping. I’ve already dropped $500 on presents this December, and I still have some bits and pieces I want to pick up. Looks like another expensive day, but it’ll all be worth it when Dec 25th rocks round.

 

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Silver Strawberry Pink for the holidays

xxx

 

Australia voted YES! Rainbow pizza & pancakes for marriage equality.

Although I’m not a member of the LGBT community, I believe in equal rights, and so, hearing that 61.6% of Australians had voted “YES” in the recent postal vote (legalising gay marriage) was overwhelmingly exciting.

Naturally, I decided to draw inspiration from the rainbow flag which represents the LGBT movement, and make rainbow pizza and pancakes to celebrate.

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If you want to make eye-catching (and extremely delicious) rainbow meals, read on.

Rainbow Pancakes (makes 15)

We’ll start with the pancakes – since they are the simplest (and because everyone wishes dessert would come first).  These are the perfect breakfast or lunch (or dinner??) recipe, and I used a simple pancake shake mix to make it all happen even quicker.

You will need food dye, pancake mix, vanilla essence, fruit (to garnish) and butter for greasing.

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Start by working off the pancakes you’re about to eat, and shake the pancake mix like crazy as per its instructions. Once it’s ready, add 1 tsp of vanilla essence to the mixture (gives it a delightfully sweet tang) and pour 65g of the mixture into 6 different bowls. Add the food dye as follows:

Red – 8 drops red dye

Orange – 2 drops red, 4 yellow

Yellow – 5 drops yellow

Green – 5 drops green

Blue – 5 drops blue

Purple – 3 drops red, 1 blue

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Then, cook up a storm, and cook the pancakes over a medium heat in a frying pan. Tip: make sure you add butter to pan between each pancake so they don’t stick and burn (and earn a lovely, buttery aftertaste).

Voila! Garnish with berries.

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I also tried making one large, multi-coloured pancake with the left over mixture. It looked a little funky, but was too yummy to turn away.

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Rainbow Pizza (makes 8 pieces)

I like it simple (and I want my food ASAP) so I decided to go with store bought pizza bases. If you can get them I recommend Bazaar Gourmet Pizza bases.

You will need:

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  • 1 Pizza Base
  • Tomato Paste
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (you can use light mozzarella if you want something healthier)
  • Colourful Veggies, my suggestions:
    • Red – Red Pepper (Capsicum) & Red cherry tomatoes
    • Orange – Carrot
    • Yellow – Yellow cherry tomatoes, Sweet corn
    • Green – Broccolini, Snow peas
    • Purple – Red onion, Cabbage (I didn’t end up using the cabbage)

First, after heating the oven to 220˚C, smear the base with tomato paste and sprinkle the cheese on top – this is different to normal pizza recipes; the cheese needs to be put on first so the veggies stick but you can still see their beautiful colours.

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Then, chop up all the veggies and place them on the pizza in a rainbow fashion.

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Cook for 10 minutes and your pizza is ready!

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These recipes were so tasty, and incredibly fun to make. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other rainbow recipes 🙂

xx

 

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I couldn’t choose just one colour for this post.